Here is something from today's Wall Street Journal (internet version) dicussing exactly what my prior post is about. It's a little online debate between an executive at the MPAA (Motion Picture Assoc of America)
and a prof at Brooklyn Law School that used to work for the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Check it out here
Here's an excerpt, from the prof's view point:
We're both talking about balance, but our equilibrium points are very different. You seem content if we can pay in lots of different ways to see the same movies on a constrained set of devices. I see balance in an ecosystem of big and small media and independent innovation of technologies around them. I want to see what iPod for movies and TiVo for radio look like, and not just from companies who can strike deals with the major movie studios and record labels before they start.
DMCA-backed DRM lets the majors dictate the terms, well beyond price, on which we can use and interact with media. It makes copyright's limited monopoly into a technology regulation, a gate on hardware and software development through which only "approved" devices can pass. More sophisticated DRM will not improve that problem, just make the approvals more onerous and the range of consumer electronics smaller.
Nobody wants a door lock that locks its homeowner out too often. The law can support DRM in the short term, but as more and more honest people trip against its restrictions on their noninfringing activities, I predict they'll press Congress to change the law to allow for creativity in media and technology again.