European Commission seeking position on DRM (and it doesn’t look good)

[ copied here from, original posting: “European Commission seeking position on DRM” ] reports that “EU Online Content Stakeholders Debate DRM“, which demonstrates the need for a much more informed debate on Digital Restrictions Management.

    On the one side there is the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a known mouthpiece for Microsoft’s corporate interests with a flaky grasp on truth in numbers, as the Economist has found: “BSA or just BS? Dodgy software piracy data“. It seems to continue this tradition with its newest claims based on “BSA data” that DRM would have allowed for an additional EUR 247 million worth of music downloads, because people would have bought many more players if there had not been private copying levies.

    Unfortunately it appears that Commissioner Reding and even the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC) were impressed by the BS(A) claims, believing in the perpetuum mobile of total control of all aspects of society without any damage to freedom of speech or privacy.

    As the TiVo, which spies on the viewing habits of its owners and reports them back to the company, and the SONY rootkit, which reported data about CDs played, demonstrated, both are already proven false by existing DRM solutions.

    The saddest part in all of this is probably played by the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC), which supports the quest of the industry to increase control and dependency of authors and composers by means of DRM, giving them even worse deals and negotiating positions in the future.

    The only voice of reason in all of this discussion seems to have come from the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC), which pointed out that Digital Restrictions Management is not about Copyright, but about protecting the business model of centralised and controlled distribution channels, which is why they call for an open dialog on alternative remuneration proposals.

    The Commission plans to make its mind up until the end of the year, and right now seems inclined to follow the lead of the BSA. Where that is heading becomes clear at the end of the article, when they point the finger at the EU Data Protection that makes it difficult for the BSA to play private police and enforcer for the large media corporations.

About Georg Greve

Georg Greve is a technologist and entrepreneur. Background as a software developer and physicist. Head of product development and Chairman at Vereign AG. Founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Previously president and CEO at Kolab Systems AG, a Swiss Open Source ISV. In 2009 Georg was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to Open Source and Open Standards.
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