John Gilmore explains why sterophiles who buy DRM are suckers

A reader writes, "In response to ZDNet blogger Dave Berlind's DRM nightmare blog post about why his $20,000 worth of audiophile gear can't play the 99-cent songs he's buying, EFF founder John Gilmore sent an e-mail that says the nightmare won't stop until all of us to come to our senses and stop buying DRM-encumbered content. He even scolds Berlind because he ought to know better:"

It's really simple. It's because DRM is *designed* to break compatibility.

The whole point of DRM is *restrictions*. The point of all previous audio formats was compatability. CDs play on any CD player. Cassettes play or record on any cassette player. Neither one cares what you do with the audio that comes out. By contrast, DRM is designed to prevent the audio from coming out in any way that the oligopoly objects to. And they even keep changing the rules as they discover new things that annoy them. …Rather than calling for everybody to implement DRM, which would be uniformly terrible for most musicians, most equipment makers, and all consumers, you should be calling for nobody to buy DRM. We can't stop them from building it – there's no law against companies selling painful products. The only cure is education – of their customers.


Update: Jeremy sez, "I completely agree with John and have seen the evidence of this behaviour by consumers working. I used to be employed by a record label, Centaur Entertainment (, who began putting Macromedia Macrovision DRM on their discs. This lasted about a year. While they did have the policy of sending a consumer a non-DRM disc at request, all the complaints just got to be too much of a hassle and they stopped using DRM completely because of those complaints."