Digital Rights Management has been a hot topic for quite awhile now. With record and movie companies going after users who download content without paying, people seem to immediately go to DRM as the culprit that record and movie companies use to control their customers and limit what they can do.
As of now that’s pretty close to how it has worked also. There are other models that are working and people don’t seem to mind or notice. Netflix currently DRMs all of it’s watch now content, you have to have an authorized Silverlight player in your browser or use a device that can handle your credentials to prove access.
Personally, I have no problem with DRM, I have a problem with the implementation of most DRM models. Imagine with me for a minute:
I currently pay well over $100 per month for Cable. Let’s take a huge number, say $75. Let’s say that I pay $75 per month to the Acme Media Company. For that $75 I get unlimited access via the internet to music, movies and television shows. I can watch as much as I want, and they support viewing their content on all of the devices that me and my family own.
I can watch on my TV, my Zune or iPod, my laptop or desktop computer or my phone. I register my family’s devices with this company and they allow any of their content to be played on my registered devices.
I no longer have to rent DVDs, buy CDs or deal with scheduling and recording television. Acme just handles that for me. I never own any of this content, it’s just like on-Demand cable for all of my media, except it comes over the internet and I can take it with me on my portable devices.
Does that sound good or bad? It sounds amazing to me. These models will never work without DRM. The current thinking says, they won’t pay, so lets fill it with advertising. I would rather pay a fair fee, get access to TV shows when they would normally be available on air, movies they day they release to DVD, and the entire music catalog. If it was open enough to give my wife and child access as well, I would already be on the phone cancelling Cable TV.
I already pay a service fee like this for ZunePass for music. For someone like me who buys two to four CDs a month usually, $14.99 a month for unlimited downloads for 3 devices and computers is a steal. I want that to cover my movies and TV too.