Last week, Kirk discussed why some companies don’t want consumers to be educated on DRM; why that’s a bad stance, and how you can get educated your own self. His article reminded me of a comment that was made during the whole controversy over whether or not Zune imposed its DRM on works that had no DRM. Someone from the site Zunemax made the following comment:
but there are at least a billion people out there that don’t give a damn for any of this DRM stuff.
Which on the surface of it, is true. Most people — not the people that you hang out with, of course, but most people — don’t know what DRM is. It’s just one more acronym in an alphabet soup of brand-new concepts that are being thrown at people as the entertainment world lurches towards a full-on digital age.
But that may change. For a couple of reasons.
First off, while the acronym is unfamiliar, the concept will hit them square in the face. After all, for the past few decades, consumers have grown accustomed to technology making it easier for them to record or back-up or copy or otherwise fairly use the media that they have purchased. As more and more people realize that — for the first time ever — the latest technology might just make their lives more difficult, they won’t be happy.
If you’ve spent your entire life recording songs off of the radio and recording shows off of the TV and making mix tapes for your car and ripping your CDs to .mp3s to listen to at work and circulating those MST3K tapes and turning your friends on to music that you love so much that you just want the entire world to hear it like this amazing new album by The Hold Steady and discovering your next favorite band from a rip your lover gave you or your next favorite author from a book that that someone lent you and you know in your heart that you’ve spent way more money on new stuff because of all of the free stuff you’ve been lent and suddenly all of that goes away? You might get a little bit pissed. So they’ll get the concept, even if they don’t what name to put to it.
Meanwhile, a small group of activists are trying to do just that: give the masses the name for this concept. There are actually people holding rallies in major U.S. and European cities trying to get the word DRM into people’s minds.
Groups of concerned consumers and technologists handed out leaflets during rush hours and lunch breaks in American and European cities like Boston, Zurich, Paris and London, alongside an Internet campaign to raise awareness.
I love this. Even as I wonder where they find the time to actually hold rallies.
In any event, slowly but surely, consumers will learn about DRM. They’ll ask why they can’t do this or do that like they always have, and the answer will come back, every time: DRM. DRM. And for all of the bluster about it “protecting” this and that, my guess is that they’ll see it as limiting their rights. It will become a dirty word.