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Against DRM

My own thoughts against DRM

I don't quite get why it shouldn't be possible to simply legalise all file sharing and pay the artists with one simple fee on internet-usage.

As it is now, I pay a small tax on every blank CD and my CD burner. And I pay for blank tapes and tape-recorders. Not to forget VCRs and blank video-tapes. At least in Germany this is the case, and it works.

The reason for this was simply, that it was impossible to keep people from recording from the radio and from TV.

Now artists get paid, when their songs are being played on radio, because you can't track which songs are being copied from CD to CD.

This is a very inexact system, where chart-artists get most of the cake (because most of the time, those get played on the radio... we don't have that many good radio stations in Germany as I recently found out again, when I didn't have a tape for my car-radio with me...).

The same is true for the TV.

You have some few hundred (or so) people who agree to put a counter on their TV, which tracks what they watch. The copyright holders of the watched programs get the money from the Tax on VCRs and video-tapes.

Naturally people who don't use their tapes for recording tracks from the radio pay for something they don't use, but this is negligable, because it grants most people more freedom (because they don't have to think about costs and legality all the time). It is the same as with a tram-ticket which allows you to use any tram you want for one month:
You don't have to think about tickets, and even if single tickets would cost 3/4th of the price, the added security/feeling/"entspannung" makes up for the higher price.

As with software: A good GUI saves as many clicks as possible. IMO, a good paying-system saves as much thinking as possible. The less I have to think about, when copying Music, the better the system gets (as long as the price difference is reasonable). When I had micro payments, I'd always have to think about my bank-account ("when I don't buy these three songs, I save enough money to be able to buy my girlfriend and me icecream, when we go into the park next week") as opposed to simply having a fixed costs, at which I don't waste my thoughts, because it is simply there and doesn't change.

So why don't simply pay a tax on my internet-connection, which allows me to share all kinds of media on the internet?

You could install a counter-program in a few thousand Computers, which track the shared files and commit them in a safe and secure way to a central server. That server adds the numbers and based on those, the copyright-holders get money.
This would be far more exact than the current system, and it would legalize filesharing, thus make a common activity legal (About 30% of Germans use filesharing-networks, so all those get criminalized by the current system, which seems like a kinda misplaced strategy).

Just a side-thought: With this, the copyright-holders would have an incentive, to make sure that files have the correct meta-data.

Plus: There is already an organisation, which wants to further the usage of that kind of tax:

All this began with the Wizard Of OS 3-Conference in Berlin and is known as the Berlin declaration.

PS: At the moment the music industry in germany begins to give up on DRM. Almost all chart-CDs had DRM systems (which meant, that many of those CDs didn't play in Computers, and that some even crashed them). Naturally their sales dropped (and they blamed it on filesharing).
Now two major labels decided to give up on DRM, and one indy label (K7) replaced DRM with the text "CD without copy-protection, please respect music".
I assume that most others will follow.

Best wishes,
- Arne Bab.

Arne Babenhauserheide