De facto standards and DRM

Red Herring reports

…”This text affirms a new principle—interoperability—which makes France a pioneer country in Europe,” Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the French minister of culture, said in widely reported remarks to France’s National Assembly as it adopted the law on Friday. “Interoperability is fundamental for consumers and creators because it allows for a greater circulation of works while respecting copyrights.

Apple’s iTunes has been so successful to date because they control the entire value chain. By controlling the hardware as well, Apple can use DRM that is invisible to the end user (at least I’ve never had any issues) and provides comfort to the record labels. If Apple is forced to open it’s DRM to support other hardware, they lose that control mechanism, which will result in a loss of confidence from the music (and video) industry.

I’ve got issues with DRM like many others, but I can’t see this helping bring more content onto digital devices. Steve Jobs has single handedly opened this market and is bringing video to market as well.

However, in a report released Friday on digital content strategies, the OECD said the rise of proprietary and incompatible standards is slowing the development of digital content. The report states “there are considerable lock-in effects due to the development of de facto standards.”

Lock-in and de facto standards are music to a VCs ears, plus de facto standards = interoperability. Seems like both the OECD and France should support DRM.

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