Tuesday, February 14, 2006

boingboing, cory doctorow and google

This morning I present boingboing, truly a directory of wonderful things, and an excellent editorial from the insightful Cory Doctorow. boingboing may already be on your reading list as it is the world’s top-linked blog. Its principal authors post at a staggering rate (20 entries so far this morning), and it is a great resource for staying ahead of web trends. If not, you should add it to your favorites and you should certainly read Cory today.

In Google Video DRM: Why is Hollywood more important than users? Cory, a passionate advocate for reasonableness in copyright laws, dissects Google’s new video service and explains how it is an additional step backward in consumer rights.

Increasingly when we purchase pure digital versions of media (iTunes songs and videos had been the prime example) we surrender end-user rights like resale and fair-use copying that we have when we purchase the CD or the DVD. With Google’s DRM approach, we forfeit additional privacy, convenience and value when we buy their rights-protected media. As Cory explains, Google’s system:
requires that you have a live Internet connection to Google every time you want to play a movie. That means that every time you watch a Google DRM movie, they get a record of your viewing. What's more, if you're not on the Internet, or if Google's servers are unreachable, you can't watch your movies…

And if Google goes bankrupt (stranger things have happened -- just ask anyone who ever bought and loved a Commodore computer), that's it, game over. No authentication server to approve your video viewing, no alternative player that skips the authorization step, and no legal way to make such a player.

For those that know my interest in media and copyright laws, this is the post that I would have written were I to become smarter and more eloquent and have more time. I encourage you to continue reading Cory’s analysis as he suggests some alternatives and the implications for Google if they continue to play by Hollywood’s rules.