I read Mark Shuttleworth’s post on DRM today. He makes some good points about how DRM doesn’t work, and he’s right. Thing is, he and other DRM-haters seem to think digital distribution is the future. It’s not.

What ever happened to physical ownership? You can’t have that with digital distribution (and in some ways, DRM). When I own something I want to hold in my hands. If you buy a movie online and your hard drive breaks down, which any hard drive will ultimately do, you don’t own the movie anymore. You can probably get the movie back again, but that’s expensive for the distributor and what if they refuse, or go out of business? I’m sure plenty of people would be fine with this, but it won’t become a popular idea until all types of people jump in.

In the end, a DRM-laden Blu-Ray disk is still better than any movie I’d download. When I own something I don’t want it stuck on my computer, I want it to exist independently, and I’m sure plenty of other people feel the same way whether they know it or not. Unless digital distribution finds a way to seperate itself from a computer (although any efforts to do so today would be hindered by DRM) it will never succeed. Ownership is about freedom, and both DRM and digital distribution don’t offer that.

Update: I wrote a followup.

3 Responses to “Digital Distribution is Not the Future”

  1. Luke Yelavich Says:

    I totally agree. I personally prefer to buy my music on CD, as the quality is at its best, no compression/size reduction what soever. This then allows me to encode the music into whatever format I want, knowing that I have a full quality copy available to me if I need it.

  2. Brian Says:

    I disagree. You can buy a Blu-Rey disk, leave it in the sun and it will melt, or drop it and it will crack. Saying digital distribution is not the future because you want to hold something is a poor argument. with backup capabilities now, digital distribution is probably the safest way to go. As a guy who loved his vinyl albums, has about 1000 music CDs, and about 50 DVDs, I can honestly say how delighted I am not to be taking up valuable space in my home, when I can simply get things online or over cable channels, etc. No moving parts, nothing to break… Quality issues are debatable. Only audiophiles / videophiles will really be able to tell the difference. It wont be enough of a difference to stop the trend… my two cent.

  3. Max Says:

    My real point though is that your ownership of whatever you downloaded is vauge, and requires more expensive hardware, especially if you intend to back it up. It may seem like a more attractive option since you have so much more stuff, but few people really own that much and space isn’t as limited.

    I’m not saying there aren’t advantages to digital distribution, but if it’s going to become popular (and thus, profitable), then most people need to jump on board, I’d just think my thoughts are the same as a large percentage of those people.

Leave a Reply