You may have read recently that the copy protection on everyone's favorite DVR has been defeated to allow recorded content to be played on one's networked device of choice. I know as a Mac user, who has been waiting for a blessed version of the software from the developer itself (especially after seeing such software demoed for three consecutive CES shows), I am excited at the possibility of watching even more recorded content on my way to work on the metro. I'm not alone, there are a number of other Mac users and Linux users who are rejoicing at the prospects of consuming more content on their device of choice.
But in just a few days since this cross-platform solution was provided to the public, some previously held DRM hostages are wishing they had never been freed. The argument is twofold: 1. that instead of spending time on offering additional and more flexible cross-platform features for its users, TiVo will spend the time repairing its now broken DRM; 2. that content providers and DRM approval committees will see this as a chink in this manufacturer's DRM armor, and not provide it content or certification to receive protected content, which would be bad for consumers in the long run.
Those arguments are not necessarily new, as they were essentially the justification for the DMCA: content owners must have legal recourse against those who break the digital protections of their works; if not, content owners will not sell their wares online. What's new about this argument is to hear it from the same group of people who have been complaining about the limitations and restrictive characteristics of such DRM in the first place. Those who have been abused by DRM are essentially asking for the restrictions to be put back in place. Perhaps we should call this psychological response the “digital Stockholm syndrome“?
Another interesting aspect of this recent development is that regardless of what side of the argument you fall on (support of the crack or wanting the genie back in the bottle), little if any talk is about distributing the previously protected content willy-nilly over the 'net. Instead, it's mostly about how previously neglected Mac users are now watching more content on their devices of choice, just as their Windows comrades have been for some time now.
Much like the story of how the studios are demanding tighter controls on Apple's DRM not out of fear of infringement, but to further control consumer behavior, this cracked DRM story is another example of the meme shift from the digital piracy to the digital freedom.