Vision Matters

Monday, January 09, 2006

Think about money

Doc is depressed about a dialogue he read on Lloyd Shepard's site about how DRM might actually be good. The problem in all of this is that content lends itself to being thought of as product, while it is also ideas. Like the physics problem of light as waves or photons, either way of thinking becomes limited.
The best model is money. We want money to be in a mostly frictionless flow, to be readily available and able to move. And we don't want to make it too easy to steal. So with money what we have done is set up a series of institutions, most of them commercial profit motivated, to handle money. We print and circulate money with serial numbers, and watermarks and we accept that there is a certain level of larceny going to happen. We try to make it complicated to steal, and we try to make it easier to catch thieves when they do, with all manner of security, but our priority is facilitating transactions, flexibility and access.
Applying this to content, it means we need to develop the technologies that enable uniquely identifiable units of any given product, support for multiple marking schemes that will enable tracking and enforcement, and be focused on facilitation of transactions.
The proponents of DRM have narrowly defined things based on their interests. This is why the 'argument' David Smith is looking for hasn't taken place. History shows us that monopoly interests, or even attempts to dominate a market, are not served by an open discussion.
If you were Apple or Microsoft, attempting to get exclusive access to the world's most widely circulated content, why would you talk to anybody else, and why would you talk about anything other than the content guys' hot buttons? Seizing the territory is what they are doing, and a 'consumer' market outlook is resonates with the studio leadership. None of these companies undestand why or how 'consumer' is a dead end.
It isn't that information wants to be free, as much as it needs to be free to move to have value.
Just like money.


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