During this Easter season, like with all holidays, people like to party and celebrate. Music is an invariable part of partying. Odds are that the music in your car, home theatre, PC, laptop, phone, portable player and of course that party was illegally copied onto that device or disk.
Since the last article on the subject a year ago things have taken a turn for the worst: with the rise in the use of cellphones there has been an unprecedented increase in piracy as people use microSD cards and Bluetooth enabled phones to share music. Gulf Complex has replaced Ximex mall as the hub for music piracy as people get bargains of 30 songs for one $1. It is hard for genuine producers to meet such deals and so I was forced to ask myself: is it time we gave Digital Rights Management another chance? Or do we need our own version of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? Here we look at the case and feasibility of Digital Rights Management.
Digital Rights management entails the use of a set of access controls by hardware manufacturers, music publishers, copyright owners and individuals to restrict the use of said content after sale and in our case to prevent piracy. For example Apple used to have DRM music only that prevented you from playing the music on say your DVD player or putting it on a memory card for your GTide phone.The question at hand is DRM effective and is it justified in the Zimbabwean case.
- Zimbabwean musicians are some of the poorest on the planet a possible factor for this pauperism is zero to poor sales.
- The reduced lucrativity of the industry might have or might lead to a decline in interest in the industry resulting in loss of talent as people look for alternative careers as people give credence to the old saying kuridza magitare ndezvehurombe.
- Non existent and corrupt police officers who do not care about piracy or simply use it as a way to get more bribes are doing nothing at the moment.
- Ubiquitous illegal file sharing by individuals through bluetooth.
- It would be difficult and hard to envisage let alone implement an acceptable/effective DRM scheme.
- Musicians are “greedy” and do overcharge for their music.
- The poverty of these musicians is due to reduced spending income on the part of consumers and DRM is not going to change that
Much as I feel for the music and content industries I fear now as ever that Digital Rights Management is a lot like the death sentence it sounds good in theory but is pretty much ineffective as a deterrent and preventive measure in reality. I wonder if those sentiments are shared by anyone else.