Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The CBC and DRM

Dr. Michael Geist explains why the CBC is wrong to claim that they have no choice about using Digital Restrictions Management software to lock their streaming music.

Tod Maffin, who runs the blog, defends the CBC's use of DRM, arguing that DRM is required under its commercial music broadcast licenses and that the CBC invites lawsuits if it fails to adequately protect its streams.

While I'm a big fan of CBC's streaming services, the suggestion that CBC must use DRM is plainly wrong. First, there are many other public broadcasters who not only reject DRM, but have adopted open licenses (RadioBras in Brazil makes all of its content available under Creative Commons licenses). Second, there is no legal requirement to use DRM under Canadian law. If certain rights holders demand DRM use, the CBC has an alternative. It can reject those demands and choose instead to use only music that rights holders permit to be broadcast without DRM.

As Dr. Geist goes on to explain, there is no shortage of open music: hundreds of thousands of songs published under Creative Commons licences, and thousands of public domain recordings. In addition, most Canadian independent labels have given DRM a resounding No! As those independents are creating 90% of new Canadian music, the CBC has lots of Canadian content to choose from, instead of sticking with the same old forgettable foreign labels promoting foreign artists.

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