MPs in Digital Downloads Warning

The All Party Internet Group of MPs has been looking at DRM and has now announced it’s results. Their main recommendation is that all digital content should be clearly labelled with details of what you can and can’t do with it.

I think this is a great idea. Record companies have been slowly introducing DRM by adding it to products without really making people aware of it[1]. That way, they hope that people don’t become aware of what rights they have lost until its too late. I’ve learnt to be careful and not to buy copy protected CDs, but many people don’t check (and even I’ve be burnt a couple of times when buying CDs over the internet). If CDs and downloads were clearly labelled with a list of things that you can’t do with them, then hopefully that will make the issues surrounding DRM more public.

The BBC story about this has a nice quote from Suw Charman (the executive director of the Open Rights Group). She says:

We think people rightly feel that once they buy something, it stays bought

Update: Full details of the report are here.

And here are some of the suggestions for labels:

  • You are not permitted to make any copies of this CD for any reason and if you try to make a copy, you should note that we have tried very hard to ensure that you will fail
  • This CD may not play in all devices
  • If your current player device breaks or is stolen this content may become inaccessible
  • Moving this content to a new device will not be possible if we cease supporting this platform or go out of business
  • You cannot access some parts of this DVD without a working Internet connection to enable us to record your identity
  • Your playing of this song may be recorded in marketing databases in foreign countries

[1] Bad publicity like the Sony Rootkit disaster is still rare.

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