Discussion: DRM or no DRM

August 7, 2006


Above: Pre-DRM primitive contraption

After posting today’s news about Yahoo! selling digital music with no DRM (Digital Rights Management), I thought that it was interesting to start a discussion here. So, if you are a regular visitor or just dropping in for the first time, please have your saying by posting a comment. First look in the Ah! The News! section and look at the latest on Yahoo!’s initiative and arguments. Then, please, do take the floor and tell us what you think: is DRM a requirement that is holding back the industry, is it a needed evil or is it the only thing that protects artists, publishers and distributors from not being ripped-off? 

Just to help you, here are the most common arguments on both sides:

Yes to DRM crowd:

Music takes a lot of money to produce, record and bring to the public. If music files are not copy-protected, then musicians will not get paid for their work and they won’t be able to keep recording. On the other hand, when you purchase a recording you are not purchasing the copyright (the right to make copies). Nobody prevents you from doing that. If you want you can try to buy the copyright of a leading pop-star new single and you’ll see how much it costs! It’s your choice (as a consumer) to buy a copy and decline to buy the right to make copies of the copy you bought. It’s the artist’s (and publisher’s) right to look for ways to prevent less honest people than yourself to abuse the system that has been bringing new music to you over the years. That is DRM. 

No to DRM crowd:

The industry has thrived on no-DRM based media. The vinyl was not copy-protected. Yet from Pink Floyd to the Beatles, from Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan, all were acts discovered, developed and successful beyond believe using an “opened platform”. Later the CD was also not copy-protected for the most part of the time it made millions of dollars for everyone in the industry, including artists. People want to know what more can they do with the music they buy. No music lover woke up this morning to the thought of what less can he/she do with his music collection. The industry has shot itself on the foot with DRM. It’s not reasonable to sell music (or any other product) and still retain or track how and when people use it. Look at the printing industry for once: Dan Brown never gave a damn if you leveled your coffee table with his “Da Vinci Code”! 

Link to Video from the NO DRM Crowd 

Before you watch this YouTube video (and we recommend you do!), please let us say we are not endorsing one opinion or the other. At Cyberextazy we operate digital music sites from many clients and most of them work with DRM technology. However we have serviced clients that have licences from record companies to sell non-DRM tracks. So, we only want to stir the discussion here. We want to know what you think.



  1. I’m a recording artist living in Canada and I think rights management are a necessary evil while illegal peer-to-peer sites keep stealing our work. It’s always good news when you have more reliable ways to press your record company to account for your sales in whatever format. I love the internet and I use it to expand my knowledge, I also use it to promote my music, sometimes giving it for free. What I don’t want is to see people in their garage making fortunes out of “sharing” – literally – my music

  2. No DRM period. Why do you have to lose your collection when your handset is stolen?

  3. I never had a problem with DRM. I use Sony Connect service. I own a small digital player and I take it anywhere I go. For the most serious stuff, I still keep my CD collection at home. It’s simply two different things. I only buy single songs online, when I want albums I go to a record store and buy one. The last album I buy was after I have listened to the single on my portable player for more than 1 week.

  4. I work at fnac in Spain. Many people discuss copy protection before they buy a new portable palyer. They want to pass the songs to cd and not have problems. They also want to listen to songs in different computers, at home and at work and they are afraid it’s not possible. iPod is the best seller here in Spain, but many people chose other players because they have heard about mp3 and they ask for a mp3 player and they are very surprised iPod is not mp3 and dont like when you explain about drm and how it works.

  5. The video is great! Very funny. It’s all crap anyway, you just copy your music to a cd and it becomes DRM free. Who do they think they are kidding?

  6. I’m a musician from spain. What many people don’t seem to realise is that when I put my songs on a cd it’s just like giving birth to a little child. I car what happen to my songs when they are out there. It’s not just the money, it’s also protecting them from abusers. Why should a punk kid have a copy of my song in his hardrive if he didn’t buy it? Why should I not care if he copies it to his friends. In the end they will never now who I am. So, I want to have the right to know where my children are. DRM is a good thing. Maybe not the perfect solution, but a good thing. If you don’t want to make anything illegal with the song why are you complaining?

  7. The CRAP video is very funny. I’ve been using iTunes for a long time and I’m happy with what I can do with it. Would I like to do more? I don’t know. I never had the need to search beyond the last frontier. Chicago here.

  8. I’m a consumer of music and I own a ZEN player from Creative. I must say I’m very satisfied with it. Most of the songs I carry on it come from my cds at home, but I have bought a few songs and an odd album at MSN music club and I don’t feel their DRM is limiting me in any way. I have burned the tracks on a CD, I have them on my home computer and in the player. What else do I need to do to enjoy the music? I think DRM or no DRM is a discussion that matters little to the average end user.

  9. I don’t agree with the last poster. I bought a Sony player and it was completely impossible to burn or transfer any of the songs I bought on their site. There is always an error message. It’s awful. I only use it to play tracks from my cds. If they want me to buy on line, they should make it easier to move the songs around.

  10. […] In a recent debate we conducted in our Blog (link here), readers were very much divided on the DRM non-DRM subject. While some did defend the DRM free model, many said they didn’t have a problem with the current services they have been using, although there seemed to be a few users that used a larger collection of music encoded from their CD collection rather than buying on line often. […]

  11. Guys, DRM is useless because it is simply a remote control for the content owners that don’t trust their users. If you want to make $$ with content it needs to be unprotected (but NOT free) so that the user can do as they please. Here are some postings I made on this on my blog: http://www.gerdleonhard.net/drm/index.html

  12. Paperilehden team.
    Entisen johtajan talon johonkin taidetoimikunta paikkatiedon avoinna lauantaina olemassa?

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