Microsoft propaganda minster Robert Scoble has remarked that news that Longhorn will prevent playback of DRM’ed video unless it is to a sufficiently “secure” or “digital” device has provoked a strong “anti-reaction”.
Just what the hell is an anti-reaction? It generated a strong reaction: a reaction that should tell Microsoft that anyone intelligent enough to know what it means knows that it is inherently anti-consumer. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: there are no consumers who think that DRM is a good thing. There is a reason for that: it only restricts consumers, it doesn’t empower them. It only makes things more difficult for consumers, it doesn’t ease their tasks. And perhaps even more importantly, it restricts the world of media creation to using those devices which are somehow approved of by Microsoft or their taskmasters in the media world.
In the last three or so years, I’ve begun to think of my computers as something fundamentally different than in years past. I’ve thought of them as engines for playing with mathematics and physics, I’ve seen them as game machines, I’ve seen them as storehouses for vast quantities of the written word.
Now, when I look at my computer, I see it as a method for creating media. I use it to process pictures, audio and video. I use it to store them, forward them to others, and subscribe to other people’s media feeds.
And DRM doesn’t help me at all with that because it takes some distribution decision out of my hands and gives it to someone else.
When I snap a picture with my digital camera, carefully nurse it with the Gimp until it is a masterpiece, I want to be able to print it without having to ask permission. I don’t think I should have to beg and plead Walmart and try to convince them that I am truly the owner of my own images, just because they look professional.
I’d like to be able to take my video content directly from my MiniDV camcorder, and load it onto the machine I use all the time (a Linux box). I’d like to be able to transcode them into a format which can be used in popular video players (like DVD players for instance) without worrying whether I have the right patented technology. I just want it to work.
I’d just like things to work, and be easy to distribute. Nothing about any of these DRM features seems to be at all concerned with these topics.