Piracy has been a significant problem for the film and music industry for many years now. Even in the days of tape, there were problems with people making tape to tape copies of video or music. Prevention of piracy was far more complicated then, but now that we are firmly planted in the digital age, there is a robust DRM (digital rights management) culture. Unfortunately, DRM, as it is today, is the most unfair system.
DRM is any of several methods of preventing a digital file from being copied. The techniques are generally applied to media files such as movies, music, and digital books but could be used to almost any digital file.
One of the reasons that people consider DRM unfair is that it limits the freedom of genuine buyers. For instance, a physical paper book can be loaned to a friend any time you want to lend it. Every member of your family can read it, and then when you are finished with it, it can be given away to someone else who is interested in reading it.
An eBook cannot be lent to a friend. Others can read it in your family, but only if they are using the same account as you are to download eBooks onto their device-or else, you have to loan them your eBook reader. Some companies are now permitting ebook-but lending only for a maximum of fourteen days, and only once ever for each book. Worst of all, you cannot give the book away or gift it to other people when you are done with it. Yet, you still have to pay the same amount for the average eBook as you would pay for a physical book. It is often possible to find the physical book on a special offer for less.
Similar issues arise with digital media. When you buy a DVD, you can play it on any of the DVD players you own. However, a legally purchased movie and downloaded may be limited to only certain types of devices or even to a single computer. And if your computer is somehow damaged and you need a new one, you may not be able to play your old movies.
DVDs are prone to their issues. When watching a movie on DVD, you have to first wait for a lengthy warning regarding piracy. Though the signs are genuine and of use, they are being shown to the people who have legally paid for their DVD, whereas the pirates see no warning. Illegally downloaded files can be watched on any of your devices, and they don’t have any of the annoyances of going straight to the movie.
As annoying as it is, DRM is all that companies currently have to protect their often costly productions. Considering them to be anti-piracy measures instead of just DRM helps keep in mind the real reasons behind their use and may help them seem a little less annoying.