Tuesday, June 27, 2006

DRM futures

Ever since I first encountered DRM I've always thought that there is an opportunity for a DRM aggregator. In this ideal world, there would still be DRM protection that would protect the rights of the content holder AND would enable the customer to be able to purchase media from the store and use it on as many devices as possible.

The following is an example of how I am currently restricted by DRM (which of course could happen to anyone) and I'll use the example of music...

I have a number of music playing devices in and around my home
- 60Gb ipod
- Windows media centre PC
- Roku soundbridge wireless streaming music player
- Sanyo 9000 Mobile Phone with 1 Gb memory

Here's how DRM (and the licensing issues around technology conspire) against me, the customer...

Ipod plays AAC and protected AAC format songs. Protected AAC songs are purchased from the Itunes Music Store.
Media PC plays WMA via Windows Media Player and AAC files via itunes
Roku plays AAC streamed from a service called Firefly 'cos its not licensed to connect directly with itunes. Won't play protected AAC. Apparently will play protected WMA.
Sanyo 9000 plays unprotected AAC but only protected songs purchased from Telecom's mobile store in a special format. Apparently this will extend to downloads of protected WMA

What all this means is that I have to THINK everytime I want to play a certain song in a certain place. eg if i want to play a song in my living room that happens to be a purchased song from itunes I can't do it using my Roku, I can only do this by physically connecting my ipod to my stereo (stink!) If i buy a song on my mobile, I won't be able to sync it to my ipod. I recently bought an ipod nano and because of all of this carrying on, I haven't taken it out of the box (thinking may sell on trademe) as i am starting to wonder whether i need to have a player that's protected WMA capable just in case someone brings out a subscription music service that supports this a la URGE.

That's why I'm interested in this article from Wired.

I don't want to think about this DRM stuff - I just want the music that I have bought a license for to work on the variety of players that I have. (Not I didn't say MY music). I get the fact he labels need to protect their music I just don't see why I need to buy the license for a song twice to play on two different devices when it is essentially the same format. The team at Navio seem to share this view by effectively allowing the customer to by a multi-format piece of content.

If I can get this puppy to work, maybe I'll open the nano after all...

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