Music Industry Copyright Solved
Ok before I start on this topic I want to put a disclaimer out there:
- I do not in any way shape or form condone piracy, its robs artists of their well earned commission and is no better then stealing a piece of artwork from the Louvre.
- I do not condone intrusive DRM however I appreciate that DRM has its place if it is implemented properly.
One of the big problems that face major entertainment based companies these days is piracy, now I have heard of many many ways of the industry combating this problem, some good, some really really bad (invasion of privacy sort of bad). While I don’t know much about the industry as a consumer looking at the problem from the outside my solution would be something like the system I’m about to outline
Before going further its key to point out that the principles of this system relies on cloud computing/storage and Digital Rights Management Software (DRM). For those who don’t know much about these I’ll give you the quickest break down here after the jump but if you want to know more Google will be useful.
Cloud Computing/Storage: Computer processing or storage that exists on the internet, this information is less secure then having a virtual hard copy which means making the trade off between security for convenient access wherever you are in the world, this is not a place to store sensitive information however for the use needed here (transfer of media) it makes it ideal
Digital Rights Management (DRM): In a nutshell DRM is the use of software downloaded on to the computer along with the media it pertains to, in this case the music files. This software ensures that the user has sufficient privileges to play the media it pertains to or as you will see later will ensure that certain criteria are met so that playback may occur
Where The Idea Came From
Now that we have that out of the way we can continue to the actual solution.
The main concept of this idea came from a Gilmore Girls Quote:
Emily:Well, Lorelai, when you’re tasting anything, the first taste acclimates the palate, the second establishes the foundation, and the third is to make your decision.
Thinking about this idea got me wondering about how true that phrase may be and then i was reminded of an appearance of Stephen Fry at the apple music festival from a couple of years ago where he was talking about how the industry has approached the copyright issue and how most people turn to piracy because they either want to “try before they buy” or because they can’t afford the content at that time.
Considering these ideas lead me to think of the a system that would allow users to try the track out before they decided on the purchase and would allow users that don’t have the funds at the time limited access to the media. The system would work like this.
Via software provided either by the labels themselves (however this would have to be a collaborative project to make it appealing to the user) or through a third party such as Apple’s iTunes service the users would download a DRM protected track or album from the cloud onto a hidden and encrypted file within the users system for free.
The DRM restriction will only allow the track to be played 3 times before the user is informed that they have reached the limit of there free plays and must now purchase the track (this would be charged inline with industry standard charges such as those on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify). If the user chooses not to purchase the track then the file is then deleted from there system immediately.
However if the users decides to purchase the track then the user will then download a new higher quality version of the track that does not contain DRM and can be transferred to other players as they chose,l this file would also be downloaded to a freely accessible folder on there system such as “my music” on a windows machine. (As a side note the user will also unobtrusively be offered the choice to buy the track similar to the way the Spotify service currently handles things with the buy button inline with the track name).
As a back up to DRM included in the download of the lower quality “taster” track there is also a 3 stage verification process to ensure that the DRM file has not been tampered with.
Stage 1: The client software will be aware of the tracks that have DRM protection and will maintain its own internal count of the number of plays the file containing this will also be contained in a random, encrypted file to prevent tampering.
Stage 2: Each file downloaded from the cloud will be marked with DRM which is already established, now as each track is played a portion of this track will relay the tracks Unique Identifying Number (UID) to the online cloud service to enable the counter there to recognize the number of plays that the file has had to further ensure that no more then 3 plays are allowed. (It’s important to note, the UID mentioned here is not unique to the user but to the track and that every track has a different UID, this is belay privacy issues associated with private data and unique ID’s tied to the user)
Stage 3: Know as the “Fail Safe” if the any of the play counts do not match up (either on the track in the software or on the cloud) the un-purchased file will be locked out and deleted from the users system immediately unless the user chooses to buy the track outright. This provides protection from DRM and software tampering.
The music industry faces a delicate battle against piracy and it is one that so far they have yet to make clear progress on, services like iTunes provided by apple have made it easier for people to access a legitimate source of quickly available content which has helped the industry. Another service called Spotify has also helped allowing full access to tracks and on the premium services by allowing local storage for any track in its library for offline play.
Neither of these platforms are without there downsides however, the constant advertising bombardment of spotify has been noted as a problem for people as well as the fact that spotify is not available in many countries at the moment. Apples iTunes service also has its downside with its previews for tracks being on 30 seconds long which usually doesnt provide users much on a new track to base there decisions on.
By providing a service like this one the long term aim is an increase in the number of people legitimately purchasing tracks instead of download tracks via illegal methods, this would hopefully have the added long term benefit of re establishing some trust and respect for music labels for providing this service.
Further more similar schemes have been shown to work for other media providers such as television and film with the large rise in “catch-up” services allowing people to watch programs that have been on the TV in the recent days, for all intents and purposes the above proposal would probably be the closest that the music industry can achieve without actually giving it away for nothing. (which as much as the consumer would like it, isn’t good for the industry as a whole in the long run)
If you have any questions about the idea or anything to add then please comment below, if your from the music industry and your interested in this idea please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Finally, if you think this is a good idea and decide you want to make the system, don’t forget who thought of it and wouldn’t mind a cut of the profits for his dreaming the system up.
Posted on May 10, 2011, in Art, Copyright Issues, Culture, Music, musings, technology, Thoughts and tagged amazon, apple, art, artists, audio, cd, copyright, culture, digital, file, free, industry, iphone, issues, itunes, management, marketplace, mobile, mp3, music, piracy, rights, sharing, software, spotify, tape, technology, thoughts, vinyl, zune. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.