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Cory Doctorow at Microsoft

So I'm here at the Lecture Hall, and Young Master Doctorow will be speaking on Digital Rights Management in a few minutes. Frankly, I've had good experiences with DRM systems so far (Adobe Acrobat is the big exception). I'm eager to hear what he's stumping for; the Digital Rights Muddle is quite a messy one, and as a member of the EFF, Cory has better insight than most.

Later: "Greetings, fellow pirates! Arrr!" That was quite the attention-getting opener. His argument was an embrace of consumer-focussed products, rather than allowing record companies to determine what kind of record player you must buy to play their products.

Cory transcribed the whole thing and it's in the public domain
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So I'm here at the Lecture Hall, and Young Master Doctorow will be speaking on Digital Rights Management in a few minutes. Frankly, I've had good experiences with DRM systems so far (Adobe Acrobat is the big exception). I'm eager to hear what he's stumping for; the Digital Rights Muddle is quite a messy one, and as a member of the EFF, Cory has better insight than most.

<b>Later:</b> "Greetings, fellow pirates! Arrr!" That was quite the attention-getting opener. His argument was an embrace of consumer-focussed products, rather than allowing record companies to determine what kind of record player you must buy to play their products.

Cory transcribed the whole thing and it's in the public domain <A href+"http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt">Microsoft Research DRM Talk</a>. It's a strong historical and cultural argument for Microsoft to build the "universal record player", a device or program that plays everything: MP3, WMA, MP4, AAU, Sony's propriety formats, etc.

<lj-cut text="Argument In A Nutshell">His logical argument is sound: the company that builds this will win customers away from the iPod, from Sony, and so forth. This would probably get Microsoft sued, just as Sony was sued for the piracy implicit in the Betamax, but it might also do great things for music, artists, and consumers. The eventual descendant of the Betamax, the VHS VCR, generated a huge new industry that outweighed any public interest in keeping consumers from taping copyrighted TV.

My personal opinion is that he's right, such a device would be the New Walkman, because it gives customers exactly what they want. But I fear that Microsoft may lack the courage to take on the job, because it is too beholden to Hollywood and other IP holders, and it thinks its hardware solution (Palladium) gets around the problem of handing keys to the consumer.

In my experience with the eBooks group, it seemed that it was more important for the corporation to serve other corporations than it was to enable a generation of new fertility and creativity in publishing. Which is unfortunate; thousands of small publishers wanted to give Microsoft money, but in the end the system that was built served the interests of the big New York houses instead. Not a good omen for MS jumping into the P2P wars feet-first.</lj-cut>

Cory's selling his dead tree editions here, but I can't bring myself to spring for them. My house is already too cluttered with books and CDs, and as Cory himself said, "Physical objects are a liability."

Comments

( 2 sutras — Your wisdom )
mckitterick
Jun. 17th, 2004 11:51 pm (UTC)
Cool. I think he's a great guy, and it's interesting to hear his pitch. MS should do it, or somebody should. Perhaps the Linux crowd, because who would be the sue target? Not that I'm opposed to MS getting sued, but I think they are.

Chris
the_monkey_king
Jun. 18th, 2004 09:34 am (UTC)
Cory was pretty clear on his preference for Apple and Microsoft products over Linux. He went so far as to proclaim that "all the best P2P applications and tools are Windows-based". So, I think some other software company might build this for Windows, rather than for Linux.

I'm not convinced that Microsoft objects to being sued. Many suits are thinly-veiled extortion attempts, and others are a cost of doing business the way MS does. I'm thinking that corporate types are just adding the cost into the cost of their products, as doctors add the cost of medical malpractice insurance into their bills.
( 2 sutras — Your wisdom )

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