"Penny Aracde" Poos on DRM

Normally the link above would link to the comic itself, but I've decided to link it to Tycho's rant as it's more appropriate. Today "Penny Arcade" finishes their three comic opus on Digital Rights Management and ends it with a bang. First off I need to ask you guys to read this comic. If you don't get what's going on at first then read it again. And a third time. By now it should be clear what's going on. If you don't get it...well, that's what God invented bloggers for. The first two panels of a three panel comic are supposed to be a set up for the punch line in the third panel. To an average user though it looks like there is no punch line, and they would only be half right. There is no punch line in technical terms, but in liberal terms PA just (as the RPGer's would say) "pwned" on DRM in a big way.

The first panel sets up the opponites: The corperate leader and the pirater. The second panel stablishes that the war is between them and that the one's that end up being hurt are the inoccent bystanders who legitimately buy their products. The third panel has Elton John singing "Candle In The Wind?" Some of you may be looking at that third panel and thinking something along the lines of "What the hell is Elton John doing in this strip? It's pointless." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the ENTIRE point: DRM is pointless! Extremely pointless. It neither resolves anything, progresses anything, or works anything out. It's there, but it's pressence does nothing for the issue at hand. In this case the issue being that Electronic Arts wants pirates to starting buying their stuff and the pirates will spend much time trying to crack the codes because they simply don't want to.

Meanwhile the DRM is still in the third panel, taking up pointless space where a real resolution could be found if the companies would just take the time to figure out what that solution is. Make your product worth buying. Find a way to make it where stealing it would serve no ultimate purpose other than pure greed. iTunes has cut into the pirated music scheme because they found a model that made stealing the music more trouble then it was worth. And finally I want to end with a bit of advice someone once told me about managing one of my businesses: If you can't make people want to buy your product you don't have a business.

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