Digital Consumer Enablement

It seems that some of the movie industry folks are out to change the name of DRM (Digital Rights Management) to DCE or Digital Consumer Enablement. This specifically comes from the good folks at HBO, the cable movie network that has given us Sopranos, Carnivale, and Entourage.

This idea is not only silly but absolutely idiotic. The idea of naming something that directly disables a consumers use of a product as an “enablement” is absurd. Beside, changing the name is not going to accomplish anything. People are still going to hate it, they are going to speak against it, and they are going to find ways around it. The fact that someone would think that changing the name is going to make things any better is idealistic at best.

The problem with DRM is that it restricts a consumer’s use of a product. Right now if I purchase a movie off the iTunes Store I can only watch that movie on my computer or on an Apple TV. And I really can not do either of those because I’m running Linux.  Now on the subject of Linux and open source if anyone tries to hack the DRM, they are in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  So not only can we not use the products that are wrapped in DRM but we can also not reverse engineer the DRM so that we can play the the movies and music so that we can play what we legally purchased on our own computers.

I know, cry you a river, that’s what I get for using Linux.  While I did know the consequences going in, the fact that they exist is a problem.  Changing the name is not going to solve the problem that is inherent in DRM technologies.  Certain people are still going to be left out in the cold and others are going to find that some of the things they buy can not play on the players they own.

You see, the problem with Digital Rights Management is not the name.  It is the idea itself that is wrong.  For one thing, it really is not guaranteeing the determent of any form of piracy, the exact problem that it was invented to prevent.  Let us stop worrying about the name and move on to exactly what purpose the technology is serving.

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