Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I dance on DRM's grave

It's happened, and sooner than I dared hope. The hated Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology that its backers barefacedly called Digital Rights Management, is dead on arrival.

Blatantly gouging customers requires a watertight cartel, and thankfully, the music industry isn't one. EMI, the smallest of the Big Four record labels, had the most to gain by breaking ranks. It had a willing partner in Apple. Together, they made history, and history will thank them for it. I know, they're rats, but they're our rats :-).

Now where does this leave Microsoft? The company spent years and megabytes encumbering its Vista operating system with DRM handcuffs to tie down users, and now the anti-consumer alliance is unravelling even before Vista has had a chance to gain traction. There must be chairs being thrown in Redmond at the news.

In the months to come, we will surely read detailed post-mortems about how a technology that had literally billions of dollars invested in it finally came a cropper. If the powerful backers of DRM are anything like the Colombian drug cartels, they'll target (Apple and EMI CEOs) Steve Jobs and Eric Nicoli for scoring a costly own goal, like poor Andrés Escobar did.

But for now, I'm celebrating. If the would-be-laughable-if-not-so-dangerous software patents are invalidated next, my cup of joy will truly run over...