The French Have Got It Right

I am watching France – Brazil right now. France just scored to go up 1-0. But this post isn’t about football, its about iTunes and their use of DRM to lock in users to their proprietary platforms.

As this story in today’s NY Times explains, France has passed a new law attempting to open up the market for DRM’d content. Apparently the law was watered down a lot before getting passed, but the big thing for me is that France gets a simple but important fact that too many people here in the US do not understand.

Simply put, "the law states that copy protection software cannot hinder access to a legally purchased digital work".

That’s exactly what I hate about DRM. I don’t mind paying for music and movies and TV shows. I am fine with that. I don’t believe that artists should be forced to make their content free and ad supported (I do think that many of them will make more money that way). But frankly its for them to choose how to make money with their content.

What I object to is purchasing content and then being restricted as to where I can play it. We have at least 20 devices that I can play music on in my home, between computers, iPods, music servers, phones, PDAs, etc. And that number is going up, not down.

Just now, I got an email from iTunes alerting me that my friend Jimmy’s new TV show, Blade, is available for free download on iTunes (the pilot is available for free, not the entire series). So I clicked on the link, and tried to download it to my new MacBook Pro. But I got this screen:


I know I have authorized five computers. I want to authorize about fifteen more, not de-authorize computers! Don’t they understand?

This is a big issue. If someone purchases content legally, they should be able to consume it when and where they choose. So I am a really happy that the French have got it right. I hope the US will get it right someday too.

#VC & Technology