Author Archive | Harry McCracken

25 Arguments for the Elimination of Copy Protection

Can I begin with a few disclaimers? I believe that people who create things deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. Which means that I think that stealing entertainment and software is wrong. Actually, come to think of it, if there was a form of copy protection that was never a hassle for paying customers but which effectively prevented piracy, I might enthusiastically support it. (Go ahead, mock me if you must–I’ll wait.)

With that out the way, I also believe this: Copy protection (also known in recent years as Digital Rights Management) just stinks. At its best, it creates minor but real inconveniences for the people who pay for stuff; at its worst, it badly screws up their experiences with the products they buy. Let’s just say it–the world would be better off without it.

Most of the best arguments against copy protection aren’t so much arguments as case studies. Over and over, it’s caused both anticipated and unanticipated problems. Including ones for the companies who use it.

So let’s review the case against copy protection by looking at what it’s done for us over the past 25 years or so. Warning: Persons whose blood boils easily should read no further…

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Gotta Love Google

It’s put Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear on its logo:

Why? Because October 13th is Paddington’s fiftieth birthday. Millions of people will see him when they Google on Monday–and as a Paddington fan for around 36 of his fifty years, I’m tickled by that fact…

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Release the McCracken!

I had a blast guesting on Leo Leporte’s This Week in Tech today and gabbing with Leo, Scott Rosenberg (who I’ve long admired), and CNET’s Tom Merrit. We talked about…well, what didn’t we talk about? Off the top of my head, I remember discussing Apple’s notebook event next Tuesday, Apple rumors in general, RealDVD’s legal mess, Richard “Lord British” Garriott’s trip into space, Google’s spy satellite, Windows 7, Windows Mobile, T-Mobile’s G1 phone, two BlackBerries (the Storm and the Bold), the Turing Test, Sarah Palin’s Yahoo Mail account, and whether the economic meltdown will destroy Web startups. We talked about Technologizer, too. And I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff.

Did I mention that the episode is titled “Release the McCracken?” Listen to the podcast version, which is now available, and you’ll find out why. More or less.

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