Bill Gates on DRM

TechCrunch is running an article on what Microsoft’s Chief Architect thinks of DRM. Here are some bits from the article and my take on them.

Gates didn’t get into what could replace DRM, but he did give some reasonably candid insights suggesting that he thinks DRM is as lame as the rest of us.

Well, it is nice to know that some of the higher ups in some of these companies do not like digital rights management (DRM) systems. That means hopefully that they will start looking at coming up with alternatives and getting the content makers involved in coming up with better solutions.

Gates said that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which “causes too much pain for legitmate buyers” while trying to distinguish between legal and illegal uses.

Well this is what some of us like to call “stating the obvious” but then again, I guess the more people that say it the more chance there is going to be of the right people hearing it and looking for alternatives.

His short term advice: “People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then.”

Probably the best advice ever and also my current route for digital music.

I agree a lot with several of the short snippets from Gates on current DRM models. The best DRM is seamless and currently the only people that even come close to that for the average user is Apple and iTunes. I am not saying that Apple’s method is perfect (can we get a subscription service already?) but I do think that from the average joe’s standpoint they are the most seamless.

Many people on the internet are looking at DRM-free alternatives like eMusic. However, DRM-free solutions usually have a limited selection due to the major record labels do not like the idea of DRM-free music. As a result the DRM-free solutions consists of primarily independent artists.

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