Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Difference is DRM

Aside from hygiene practices, car to bicycle ratio, and trucker hats vs. berets per capita, what is the difference between the US and France? The attitude toward DRM, apparently. According to this article, 4 U.S. senators are pushing to make DRM mandatory for podcasts and internet radio. One of them, CA's own Dianne Feinstein, discusses how people "do more" than just listen to music:

"What was once a passive listening experience has turned into a forum where users can record, manipulate, collect and create personalised music libraries.

"As the modes of distribution change and the technologies change, so must our laws change."

Contrast that attitude with this one of media giant VirginMega of France. After losing a suit with Apple to use their fair-play technologies, Virgin has decided to forego the whole DRM thing altogether and allow for the download of 200,000 256kbps mp3s without it.

My quandary is this: considering that Virgin is directly connected to profits of its label's music, and a senator's well-being and is, far as I know, not entirely contingent on any label profits, why do they care so much? How many DRM-afficionado votes do they need?

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