Sunday, October 09, 2011

DRM doesn't work, says study

It's folk wisdom that DRM is counterproductive - if you make a product that you charge for, and is less useful than a free version, you're going to harm your sales.

Now, some research appears to back it up. TorrentFreak reports:

Researchers from Rice and Duke University looked into the effect of digital restrictions on music piracy. In their paper “Music Downloads and the Flip Side of Digital Rights Management Protection” they conclude that DRM doesn’t prevent piracy at all. Quite the opposite.

“Only the legal users pay the price and suffer from the restrictions. Illegal users are not affected because the pirated product does not have DRM restrictions,” the researchers write in their report.

Ditching DRM and other restrictions would actually reduce piracy according to the analytical model developed by the researchers.

“In many cases, DRM restrictions prevent legal users from doing something as normal as making backup copies of their music. Because of these inconveniences, some consumers choose to pirate,” DinahVernik, assistant professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business says.
It's worth remembering that the research hasn't yet been published, so it's not clear how wide-ranging the investigation was.