I feel like Oliver Twist saying "Please sir, more." Are we sadomasochists asking for another beating from our dominatrixes (Steve Jobs: Head Mistress)? Go ahead. Send me some art. I'll use it.
It's bad enough that if I download a video from the video section of Apple's iTunes Music Store (iTMS), it only works in the iTunes client or on a video iPod. And then, if I download a video from a merchant that complies with Microsoft's PlaysForSure technology, it will only work on PlaysForSure-compliant playback technologies (portable, Windows Media Player, etc) but not Apple's iPods or in iTunes. Now, we have yet another proprietary form of DRM (aka C.R.A.P.) --- and a very untested one at that -- in the market thanks to the deal that the Warner Bros. movie studio has entered into with Bittorrent.
On the one hand, the deal sends a clear message that Warner Bros. will not subject itself to the sort of abuse that Steve Jobs just handed out to the top four record labels. Great. The movie industry is trying to figure out how not to repeat the mistake of giving Steve Jobs the keys to its business that the music industry just made. At the same time, as my colleague Dan Farber points out, it knows it has to experiment with Internet-based distribution models and that to do so, it needs to seek out massive digital distrbution channels like iTMS. In that case, Bittorrent seems like a natural choice.
But, on the other hand, to go with yet another proprietary DRM technology when the market is already full of exisiting non-interoperable ones that are screwing it up is quite an unnatural act and evidence that either Warner Bros., the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or the movie industry as a whole have no clue how to right a ship that's about sink as it floods with stupidity.
So. Let's see. I need PlaysForSure-compliant technology to playback content X, FairPlay-compliant technology to playback content Y, and Bittorrent technology to playback content Z. Why don't we bring back BetaMax and VHS while we're at it? When I recently spoke to Tom Jacobs, Sun's director of engineering in Sun Labs, about the Open Media Commons and the freely deployable version of DRM it was trying to bring to market, Jacobs told me that the entertainment industry has been asking for an open interoperable solution like Project DReaM to get itself out of the jam it's in now. With idiotic moves like this (by the entertainment industry), I'm beginning to wonder if that's really the case. Or, if maybe it just has no clue how to get out of that jam, even with companies like Sun trying to help it.
Boy, they really stuck it to Steve Jobs now. And you.
Warning: Don't fall for this C.R.A.P.