At the Association for Computing Machinery conference workshop on DRM tomorrow, four (Microsoft) researchers give the scholarly take on Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution. Darknet is a collection of networks and technologies used to share digital content. Interesting points: the legal system can disable the current darknet systems, but as users become more sophisticated networkers, smaller more personally established networks will take over and DRM will be useless for tech-savvy pirates. Examples: think about IM-ing a DVD to a few people, or small world networks strung together to quickly diffuse content.
Their conclusion: "There seem to be no technical impediments to darknet-based peer-to-peer file sharing technologies growing in convenience, aggregate bandwidth and efficiency." Also, they believe strong DRM may be a disincentive to legal commerce as people worry about privacy issues, and movie pirating is less of a problem because rentals on or offline are so cheap and easy, in contrast to the current state of music.
This is not to say that the Music Industry is not fighting back. The Economist reviews the limitations of the current music download possibilities, including the relatively few selections and download availability, and makes clear the industry is going to have to distribute more like rental movies if it's going to overcome rampant piracy. News.com mentions the same problem regarding EMI's new service and consumer's understanding of how limited the downloads are online. Apparently, EMI has allied with many other music distributors to better meet consumer's needs.Posted by Mary Hodder at November 17, 2002 12:18 PM