DRM a business decision, not an ethical decision

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Many PC users don’t like digital rights management (DRM) copy protection, especially if it remains ineffective at preventing piracy while remaining a nuisance to legitimate buyers. Consumers are more likely to pirate than purchase products with DRM, but studios want to rightfully protect their products.

The decision to implement DRM for music, movies, and software titles can be extremely tiresome for copyright holders. There is a fine line companies are willing to cross, even if it means alienating paying customers with intrusive procedures.

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DRM a business decision, not an ethical decision

However, there is a growing movement among musicians and other copyright holders willing to work with the community if it means alternatives to copy protection.

“While the moral arguments are interesting for philosophers, historians, sociologists, BoingBoing commenters, and others, for a business, the question must descend from moral abstraction at a certain point, and come back to the reality of deciding what is best for business.” said Hugh McQuire, founder of audiobook publishing company iambik, in a recent interview.

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McQuire’s approach to DRM is a very interesting, refreshing glimpse towards a new way to interact with customers.

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousins also said DRM isn’t the answer, but very few others have spoken out against the controversial technology.

Companies will continue to use DRM if they believe it’s the best business decision — but they’ll continue to face a very outspoken public backlash, especially from gamers. Earlier in the year, Capcom actually apologized for including always-on DRM on one of its game titles and not being completely honest about it.

I’m all for companies using some type of security to protect their products, but they lose immediate support if (and when) the anti-piracy features interfere with game play or content playback.

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