Protection Racket

Published on 4 October 2005 in , ,

I don’t often comment on news stories but I loved the Media Guardian article about the fact that 90% of entertainment companies are failing to protect their products from illegal online use, and that only 50% of products have any protection.

What amuses me about it is not that it’s hyping up that old crap argument about MP3s killing music. Nor is it that out of all the albums I’ve bought recently, only about one has been supposedly protected – and even then, CD Paranoia got through it without hassle.

It’s not even the fact that the survey was commissioned by Macrovision, who, of course, make so called protection systems for CDs and DVDs, and who have, of course, a good deal of money waiting to be made if only they can persuade people to take their ‘encryption’.

No, what amuses me is that they clearly did this survey to try and drum up more custom for themselves, yet didn’t seem to ask the question "Would this survey make my company want to ‘protect’ my products?"

Well lets face it, when it comes down to it, telling me how many people don’t ‘protect’ and then wittering on the standard industry scare stories about how home MP3 playing is killing music, isn’t exactly going to be a convincing argument if I’ve already decided not the deliberately break the CD format in the first place. It’s hardly going to bowl people over.

And what does such protection do for me as a (hypothetical) producer of entertainment products? Well it means I have less money as all of a sudden, I’d be giving a big wedge to Macrovision… And for what gain? Prevent piracy? Err… guys… DVDs have been protected for years so how do the pirates get round it? They take video cameras into cinemas. Is there a copy protected CD that hasn’t been cracked, ripped and online for illegal download? I seriously doubt it.

People who don’t want to pay, will find ways. All copy protection does is make it more awkward for us legitimate to actually use what we’ve paid for. Of course that would deprive Macrovision of its profits, and we can’t be having that now, can we…