Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bill Gates: I don't want your money. No, really. Why are you laughing?

Gates didn’t get into what could replace DRM, but he did give some reasonably candid insights suggesting that he thinks DRM is as lame as the rest of us.

Gates said that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which "causes too much pain for legitmate buyers" while trying to distinguish between legal and illegal uses. He says no one has done it right, yet. There are "huge problems" with DRM, he says, and we need more flexible models, such as the ability to "buy an artist out for life" (not sure what he means). He also criticized DRM schemes that try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific.

His short term advice: "People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then."
And yet Microsoft just rolled out a revamped online music store, with, you guessed it, souped-up DRM for the music sold. Apparently, Bill Gates is capable of holding the following thoughts in his head, at the same time:

1) DRM doesn't do any of the things we want it to. (He doesn't say this in the interview, but if he believes it's effective, he's a total and complete moron.)

2) DRM just inconveniences and harms honest customers.

3) DRM-wrapped music, invented in the 1990s, is plainly inferior to the Compact Disc, patented in 1979.

4) Because 1, 2, and 3 are true, people should "just buy a CD and rip it."

5) Microsoft should sell DRM-wrapped music.

Suddenly, the shitty nature of Microsoft products makes a lot of sense.

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