DRM, because someone has to pay for it

IT Culture

I don’t know if this is a uniquely American trait, but the sense of entitlement is just huge in the IT space. We want it all. We want it now. We want it free.

Does anyone for a moment consider that things actually cost money?

From production staff, to satellite uplinks, to broadcast staff, to bandwidth required to distribute content, to market it, to deliver and support it – oh, and a few hundred million to grease the wheels and obtain the “rights” to the certain content people want to see.

Most people don’t like to face reality that things simply cost money. Best example of this ignorance is all over this Digg discussion titled: NBC Olympics video site snubs Linux, older Macs. In a nutshell, Microsoft handed a boatload of $$$ to make sure the digital Olympiad 2008 broadcast over the Internet was powered by Silverlight. They made a business decision to invest money into the event and process that would expand the installation base of their software. It is that simple.

But it angered the entitled people. The no DRM people. The information needs to be free people. The liberty or death people. Bah. These guys wouldn’t even spend $100 on an operating system, but demand a digital broadcast from China free of charge. Here is the best argument I’ve seen so far on the topic:

itsthebrod said: Last I checked, no one is forcing you to use Linux or old Mac versions. Stop bitching for the choice YOU made. Jesus, this is one reason Linux fanboys are one of the most annoying groups of people on earth: they make a decision to be a tiny minority and use Linux as their OS and then bitch when the world around them doesn’t cater every piece of software to them…

The counter-argument follows:

magic6435: That has got to be the dumbest comment i have ever read on digg…. so mabe they wanted to save some cash and not blow another 2 grand on a new mac if their powerpc is still doing what they need it to. or maybe they wanted to use and support the open software moment. there is no reason for the content NOT to work on these systems. its a matter of companies artificially mucking things up for certain techs.

Welcome to the power of choice.

You chose poorly.

You see, the beauty of living in the free world and enjoying all the benefits of the free markets is that you have the power to choose. It’s your right. The beauty of free markets for corporate citizens is that we too have a power of choice – on how we make our investments. So in the same way that you selfishly choose one alternative over another, corporations choose one alternative over another. The right to broadcast Olympics isn’t free. The right to broadcast the college football game isn’t free. That right has to be bought, and every time there is a transaction to be made someone pays for it.

In this case, Microsoft paid for it. And they offer it under the terms they set. Take it or leave it. Nobody is forcing you. Nobody is snubbing you.

Microsoft chose the format to broadcast the Olympics with. You chose an operating system that does not have the capabilities to watch the Olympics. Thats all there is to it.

Now the delicate dance that the creators (such as the music industry) and distributors (iTunes, Best Buy) and consumers (us) do in order to determine just what the right amount of money, DRM and restriction is acceptable so that everyone walks away from the deal happy and content…. that’s a much longer blog post. But in the end it comes to the exact same conclusion – it is all about the choice.

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