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The Role of DRM In '06

  • Wired, Wednesday, December 28, 2005 10:01 AM
Next year, music, television, and movie companies will be looking to Congress for help in keeping their content from appearing on peer to peer networks, or from being copied for friends. Digital rights management (DRM), which broadly refers to the ability to curtail the functions of one's own software, will be a major issue in 2006, but we've already seen some early examples, such as CDs that keep users from playing them on computers or being copied. Under pressure from entertainment companies, firms have even been scaling back the functionality of their own products. Apple has started releasing updates to iTunes that take away features available in earlier versions. Other examples include: Sony PSP firmware updates that block users from running homebrewed games and code, Microsoft's plans to lock down video and audio outputs to protect its content from being copied or from playing unauthorized software, and generic MP3 player software that would prohibit the transfer of files to computers altogether. Wired argues that in the interest of progress it would be bad to disallow hackers the room to experiment; also, the big media companies could run the risk of being abandoned by consumers for open source products.



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