The CEO of Macrovision has sent an open letter to Steve Jobs telling him off for speaking out against DRM. Macrovision is a company that makes abusive DRMs (the system that stops you from hooking up your VCR and your DVD player in series, the system that stops your TiVo from recording "accidentally" crippled Fox shows, etc), that had the great good fortune to get its technology mandated under the DMCA. That meant that it could charge anything it wanted to the entertainment industry for its nonfunctional anti-video-user technology, and it proceeded to hose the living hell out of Hollywood.
Now that the free ride is over, Macrovision is trying to find the next easy lay. The CEO's letter to Jobs tells a bunch of lies about DRM -- including a genuinely hilarious call for "interoperable DRM" (this from the company that would sue you if you tried to interoperate with its DRM!). Another dumb claim: "DRM will increase electronic distribution." How's that again? The majority of digitally distributed works online were distributed in spite of DRM, or from works with no DRM -- scanned books, ripped music, digitized vinyl and film, and so on.
The most ridiculous of all the claims is this one:
DRM increases not decreases consumer value –This is my favorite DRM fairy tale of all: that someone out there will use DRM to charge you less and deliver more. It'd be great to see any compelling examples of this, but they're pretty thin on the ground. Where's the CD that only costs $0.0001 because it's been crippled with Sony's rootkit? Why is it that Macrovision-free DVDs of old movies cost less than ones that have the DRM added to them? Is Vista cheaper because they added DRM? How come Amazon Unbox charges the same to deliver crippled, spyware-encrusted digital movies as the real Amazon charges for DVDs (hell, those DVDs are often way, way cheaper -- because you can buy and sell them used).
I believe that most piracy occurs because the technology available today has not yet been widely deployed to make DRM-protected legitimate content as easily accessible and convenient as unprotected illegitimate content is to consumers. The solution is to accelerate the deployment of convenient DRM-protected distribution channels–not to abandon them. Without a reasonable, consistent and transparent DRM we will only delay consumers in receiving premium content in the home, in the way they want it. For example, DRM is uniquely suitable for metering usage rights, so that consumers who don't want to own content, such as a movie, can "rent" it. Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas – vacation homes, cars, different devices and remotely. Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a "one size fits all" situation that will increase costs for many of them.
The idea that a company with more negotiating power over its customers will cut them a better deal is just hilariously dumb.
Link (Thanks, Alan!)