Some people are more intelligent after life

And here’s a great example of that theory. Yea right. Voluntary Collective Licensing VCL is about as legitimate as the “Universal language” many Linguist experts have been working towards for generations. It’s a system that will never work because it’s fundamentally flawed. What makes it so moronic is that people know it’s flawed, and they market it as perfect. So they blame Apple, a who recently entered this disaster as a failure. Yet having that much penetration in such a large market, and against all odds is rather substantial. Especially considering iTunes was Mac only for quite some time. And it’s competing against something that has no charge.

This is hysterical:

The vast majority of file sharers are willing to pay a reasonable fee for the freedom to download whatever they like, using whatever software suits them. In addition to those who would opt to take a license if given the opportunity, many more will likely have their license fees paid by intermediaries, like ISPs, universities, and software vendors.

Yea, come on guys. I’m positive even the author doesn’t believe that one.

A much better idea would be to create one open sourced DRM based network that is legalized.

So far every DRM system has been closed, proprietary, and the real important part: Expensive. Whats needed is a freely available DRM system licensed by the music industry for use with legal systems. Requirements would be that it could easily be ported to various platforms and hardware, without licensing costs. It could be issued to any music network that has a royalty collection method that requires all users to pay. P2P, centralized, streaming, whatever. It doesn’t matter about the science of the network, only that the network itself is open and protocol documentation is available, it can use this DRM. Hardware and media players can also get the DRM system at no charge.

There several advantages here for all sides.

For customers:

  1. Freedom of choice. Users can switch networks, and their music is compatible. Since it uses the same DRM.
  2. Free DRM can be added to most media players since theres no big licensing issues. Most other DRM is expensive to license. Again compatibility.
  3. Leaves networks free to evolve, mature, revolutionize. But the security is managed all the same.
  4. Because the protocol for all networks must be open source, it can become available for all platforms. What’s interesting about this in particular is that a company has several places to make money here: Either use a centralized network an charge for the access to the networks servers, or charge for a superior client.

For Record Industry:

  1. Secure income base
  2. Secure distribution.
  3. Simplicity. By sharing the DRM between all it’s possible to facilitate an entire

Note: If the DRM was smart, it could potentially double as a virus scanner by being able to use “definitions” to block bad data from ever being accessed if it can auto-update. When the network deploys a new update to the system, your computer could become aware of the threat, and avoid it. Secondly, hashes were used it would be possible to ensure a file is what it really says it is. Using a key provided by the DRM similar to an MD5 hash, one could validate the file is what it says it is.

This system fixes many flaws in VCL:

  • Nobody gets by on someone else’s dime. In VCL it’s voluntary. There’s no reason why someone can’t use the same service as you, despite not paying. It doesn’t fix anything that exists today.
  • Nobody wants their ISP to charge them for services they won’t use. So ISP’s will make it an opt-in service. And guess who will opt in? A very small percentage.
  • Step towards security. Many trojans are now appearing that target networks like Kazaa. This at least looks towards using DRM as a duel purpose tool to verify everything as said above.
  • Requires Open Source Protocols. In my method, at the very least, the protocol must be documented and available. This means clients on all platforms will always be possible. If there isn’t a Linux client made available by Network X, there’s no reason why a Linux project couldn’t be created to read the docs and implement a client.
  • No licensing to hardware/software providers. Apple, Microsoft, Dell, nobody needs to pay to make their software/hardware able to play media. Just development resources are needed. No licensing. Lots of hardware supporting it.

Now how about pricing?

Pricing is done by the network. There’s a required “DRM fee” in there. And that’s all that’s required. A minimum is setup between negotiations of the RIAA and participating networks(ideally FTC regulation would define the max/min they could impose). Of the base price 1% will always go back to the network. This can be used to fund future development, pay for perhaps a programmer, bandwidth for client download, etc. A network can add to the minimum to make a profit if it sees fit, to a limit as set by the negotiations.

So say for example the base is $5/month, and the max is $10/month. A network will get a minimum of $0.05. And a maximum of $0.10 per month from each user. This would seriously help innovation and encourage companies to come it. This is the DRM fee. After that, it’s completely up to the network to choose. They can add no network markup, or unlimited. Just like any service available today. A free/pro model, or anything you can imagine. I’d imagine competition would keep at or very close to the base because of competition. Bulk will be key here.

An interesting method could be to create a P2P network that actually paid you for the bandwidth you provide for downloads. You pay $8/month. That includes 500MB’s of music downloading on this network. $5/month for your DRM and $3 for the network. For those with fast uplinks, you can host all your media, and be paid on bandwidth used and your speed. Compensation for use of your collection. This won’t be a way to make a living, but encourages people to have fast connections and large collections, without using a centralized server system.

Conclusion

DRM is unquestionably the answer because it fixes the fundamental problem: Greed. There will always be people in the Utopian voluntary system that will use on your dime. And that’s lost money. That’s money developers never get either. People utilizing your bandwidth (that you pay your ISP to have) in a P2P network, but don’t compensate for it.

Everyone needs compensation for what they do. This is how capitalism works. This is how we all survive. Everyone reading this who is a functioning part of society has a job to pay for the computer they are using (or a parent paying on their behalf). We all expect payment for our work. Creative (music), technical (programming), or service (bandwidth). This system, at least lays the groundwork for everyone to get their fair share, promote innovation in software and web services, as well as facilitate a new economic forum.

And yes, this can be applied to movies as well. If the DRM technology developed was nice and smart, it would only apply to after the first 20-30 seconds. So there’s a free unprotected preview. A key feature in iTunes.

This involves a few things taking place, mainly reform on both sides, as well as development of DRM. Collaboration must take place prior to benefits (as is always the case in society). And perhaps the greatest challenge. So props to the clever programmer who lays the groundwork. I think the easier part is creating the ultra-flexible DRM. It’s the cultural problem that must be fixed.

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