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bomyne's avatar

Why do media companies keep going for stronger DRM?

Asked by bomyne (636points) November 22nd, 2014

I got my dad a bluray drive for his birthday, for use on his Linux Mint 16 system. My intention was to allow him to watch bluray movies just as easily as he watches DVDs. I can read the files on the disk, but no program in linux can read it directly.

Thinking it was a Linux problem, i installed Windows 8.1. Nada. I can read the files, but i can’t watch the movies using Windows Media Player. I went back to Linux and tried again.

After all that, i did some googling and discovered that it was part of the DRM designed to prevent piracy. Thing is, i have enough access to rip the movies as it is. If i wanted to pirate, that’s all i need to do. I don’t. I just want my computer illiterate father to be able to place the disk in the drive and it autoplay.

And it isn’t just the movie industry either. The Games industry has some pretty overbearing DRM. I remember having trouble with Steam anti-piracy day one patches. Everytime i get a new EA game, i have to fight with Origin to install it.

All this because i wanted to buy the products legitimate… and those that want to play it illegally have already got it on pirate sites when the game isn’t even a few hours old.

So my question is, why does the movie, games and even music industries keep going for stronger and harsher DRM? it doesn’t even seem to slow the pirates down, but it does amount to a large inconvenience for legitimate users.

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7 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They cannot understand that this is the old business model and to continue this is destroying the industry. Obviously the old guard still runs the show here. If they simply remove the DRM and price things fairly it’ll be better for all. Why they can’t realize that the media itself is the advertising and the money is made on other shit and essentially free manufacturing and distribution through digital downloading. They are still greedy, so it’s getting pirated. I don’t think media industry analysts are very bright.

Zaku's avatar

Giant media companies are afraid of becoming obsolete. Their business model is based on controlling access and charging for it, and they have not yet given up on those power plays. In fact, they keep escalating their attempts. It’s very wrong-minded in many ways, but they have been committed to it for a long time. There needs to be a thinking revolution that transforms the way the industry thinks before they will stop.

If you’re interested, here’s a relevant lecture by Richard Stallman .

Buttonstc's avatar

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

This is just another turn on the merry-go-round on essentially the same issue: what constitutes “fair use” of purchased media?

They tried to prevent being able to copy cassette tapes, then resisted VCRs the same way and now this.

The advent of VCRs actually increased revenues for media companies with the creation of rental stores which increased media sales. Sure, it saw decreases in theater attendance but the explosion in revenues from tape sales more than made up for it.

But then, as now, they were refusing to trust in the majority of consumers who are willing to purchase things honestly for a FAIR PRICE ( without resorting to piracy).

Sure, there will always be some who copy things illegally but they aren’t the majority and strangling ALL copying (even for FAIR USE) just alienates legitimate customers needlessly.

You’d think that after all the Draconian efforts to stop cassettes and VCR taping were defeated, they might have learned. But obviously not.

Therefore, legitimate FAIR USE customers like you who simply want to make one copy for a family member (NOT distribute them by the thousands) are practically forced into piracy methods for simply doing what common sense tells you that you should be entitled to do after purchasing it legitimately.

They are still as shortsighted as they were 20–30 years ago. They have learned nothing from history.

jerv's avatar

Because they are technologically illiterate and they forget that, historically, DRM has done more to hinder legitimates users than pirates. Media companies are ignorant of the fact that pirates have historically often cracked the DRM before the program/movie/record goes on sale, and in the uncommon case where something actually does make it to market without being cracked/bootlegged first, it’s rare that it isn’t pirated within the first 6–12 hours.

Ignorance plus optimism is a dangerous combination.

seekingwolf's avatar


That’s right. Dedicated pirates crack the DRM before the release or soon afterward. Tech saavy users who want to pirate WILL pirate the material. An “ironclad” DRM will maybe delay them cracking it for what, a few days?
Yet many, many legitimate users who aren’t as saavy will be put off by the DRM and will be very frustrated because it makes it harder for them to enjoy the content that they rightfully paid for.

jerv's avatar

@seekingwolf If by “days” you mean “hours”. Advances in parallel computing (basically, video cards; see the difference between CPUs and GPUs) have sped up the cracking process immensely.

seekingwolf's avatar


For the most part, it’s hours, yes. However, I do recall with the Nintendo 3DS, the DRM on those puppies was really tough and it took a long time to crack. Even though the 3DS has been out for years, only very early firmware versions will support a certain game cart (to play stolen games, only one game cart supports 3DS games) and not all the games work.

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