Digital Restrictions/Rights Management (DRM) is a technical measure that removes rights we have by law, such as the right to copy legally purchased music to our mp3 players or to copy text for educational reasons. DRM is legally protected in NZ but as artists we believe that this is unfair and goes too far. People should be able to use their rights and DRM shouldn’t be legally protected.
As of 2008 New Zealanders can now bypass one type of DRM that allows us to watch movies from international regions, but other DRM restrictions are still legally protected even if these restrictions remove your rights.
The DRM Free movement is widespread and supported by mainstream media, including The Economist:
Belatedly, music executives have come to realise that DRM simply doesn’t work. It is supposed to stop unauthorised copying, but no copy-protection system has yet been devised that cannot be easily defeated. All it does is make life difficult for paying customers, while having little or no effect on clandestine copying plants that churn out pirate copies. While most of today’s DRM schemes that come embedded on CDs and DVDs are likely to disappear over the next year or two, the need to protect copyrighted music and video will remain. Fortunately, there are better ways of doing this than treating customers as if they were criminals.
As innovations in technology have emerged, the companies who distribute this technology have imposed restrictions on competitors through DRM. For example, technology that uses DVD or Blu-Ray video will always encounter DRM and this has effectively created an anti-competitive monopoly over video players. Without Government protection of DRM we could have better technology, more suited to artistic, educational, and public needs.
DRM technology will always be restricted so if people wish to improve it independently they are encouraged to adopt illegal workarounds or to turn to illegal downloads where, ironically, they’re not treated as criminals. What’s more, illegal copying online is not stopped by DRM: DRM primarily has the effect of harming legitimate customers.
New Zealanders should be allowed to exercise their rights and legally bypass DRM.
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