DRM versus innovation

Here's a superb essay on the other DRM problem — DRM isn't only bad for fair use, it's also a disaster for innovation, because it forecloses on the possibility of disruptive new technologies (you can only build on DRM with permission from the DRM maker; no DRM maker is going to authorize a disruptive innovation that could hurt his bottom line). The paper is by Wendy "Chilling Effects" Seltzer, and will be published in the Jan 25 edition of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal.

First I briefly review the history and existing academic debates around DRM to consider why they have so overlooked the user-innovation impacts. The next sections examine the law and technology of digital rights management, particularly the interaction of statutory law, technological measures, and the contractual conditions generally attached to them. I focus particularly on the "robustness rules" in licenses at at this inter- section. I then introduce the rich literature on disruptive technology and user innovation, to argue that these copyright-driven constraints significantly harm cultural and technological development and user autonomy. I conclude that the mode-of-development tax is too high a price to pay for imperfect copyright protection.

The Imperfect is the Enemy of the Good: Anticircumvention Versus Open Innovation

(via JoHo)