Digital Rights Management. Rights holders love it, many consumers passionately dislike it, while a few others are totally ignorant of its existence. DRM has become the poster child for the ‘free the net’ movement, representing the fight for control of rights between Big Media/Entertainment and Everyman’s supposed right to free content.I believe passionately in DRM, but not the locks and keys form that holds currency today. Media consumption is no longer linear. Channels to market are no longer unitary. In the digital environment consumers have become simultaneous creators, distributors, marketers and retailers. Rights holders should understand (if they don’t already) that their content is being acquired, sold and resold an exponential number of times the world over.
Users of rights infringing P2P networks regularly engage in the ‘acquisition’ and ’sale’ of content, however — and herein lies the problem — no financial consideration is given to the exchange. Similarly, many bloggers regularly reuse content without appropriate compensation of the content creator, let alone attribution.
Rather than trying to modify these behaviours it behoves rights holders to monetise these transactions, while providing an economic incentive for those engaged in the acquisition of content to also be involved in, and remunerated for, the resale of that very same content.
I believe that the very tenant central to the theft of literature, music and film content — greed — is the very thing that can turn the tide in favour of monetising digital media/content. It is time for all rights holders to become actively involved in redefining the term technically while seeking application of new paradigms.
It is time for rights holders to embrace and profit from the consumers’ right of resale.
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