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Dropping DRM: What the Macworld proclamation means to you

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By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

Each year Macolytes around the globe breathlessly await the introduction of cool new technology at the Macworld expo. But this year, the coolest news was not the addition of great new tech, but the subtraction of bad old tech. DRM will soon be gone from iTunes, and that’s cause for excitement, whether you use Apple’s music store or not.

Here’s what it means:

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  • The legitimization of unlocked content sales as a viable business.

    The argument that DRM is needed to protect business models is now dead. iTunes is an incredibly lucrative business - it’s America’s biggest music retailer. If digital locks aren’t part of its business plan, then should it be a part of anyone else’s?

  • No more punishing customers.

    The stupidest thing about DRM is that it achieves the opposite of its goal - rather than deter piracy, it encourages it. Given the choice of buying a locked song or pirating an unlocked one, many willing customers have chosen piracy. I know I have.

  • DRM looks lamer than ever.

    “Hi, I’m a Mac. Anything with DRM now looks like a PC.“

  • New anti-circumvention legislation becomes a total anachronism.

    If and when our neurotic government ever get around to forcing its flawed copyright bill down our throats, they may find themselves criminalizing the breaking of digital locks that nobody even uses anymore.

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