Anyone who has worked with me knows my philosophy on successful public interest advocacy in the copyright and communications policy spheres – where at all possible, partner with companies who share your policy ends, even if the goals (making lots of money as opposed to promoting democratic and cultural values) are different. While we love working with the tech, consumer electronics and telecommunications industries (yes, you heard right, the latter are among our most valuable partners in copyright debates), we sometimes wish that they would join us more often on the front lines of the policy battles in which we engage. This is particularly true of copyright debates, where there is a fear of angering their partners Hollywood and the recording industry (of course, the content industry doesn't think twice about angering their partners in the tech, CE and telecom industries).
That is why I was so delighted to see the comments of Yahoo! Music executive David Goldberg decrying the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools in online music. His argument is simple – use of DRM in online music, by preventing interoperability, prevents legitimate competition to iTunes and drives consumers to illegal free sites. Here is some of what Goldberg said:
“The notion that a track I buy in DRM is protected and one without DRM isn't is a fallacy…. ” It's all nonsense. Music is never going to be protected, and anybody who tells you that is not being honest. Yes, you can put up speed bumps, but the people who really want to steal music are going to steal it. So you're just making it hard for people who want to do the right thing to get the music they legitimately purchased on the devices and services that they want.”
I couldn't have said it any better myself. Thanks Mr. Goldberg. Let's hope that the music companies and hardware manufacturers are listening.