One way web vs two way web

November 19, 2002

Is the personal computer a media creation tool or simply a playback device? I wrote a follow-up comment to the no Movielink for Mac users post from yesterday, and two articles I've seen today are discussing different aspects of the same idea. Regarding why there is no DRM for the Mac, I wrote:

I think the fact that no DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme has been introduced on the Mac yet is the differing philosophies of the media technology developers. Microsoft and Real are focused on the PC as a playback device-- one where "content creators" can decide how their content will be used. Apple is focused on the personal computer as a creativity tool-- enabling the user to create and manage digital media in the way that is most convenient to the user. As a result, DRM is a very low priority for Apple, since they see Quicktime (and OS X) as a creativity enabler, not a mere playback device. Apple's multimedia vision is consistent with the idea of the Internet as a two-way medium supporting the democratization of information and distribution, while the Microsoft/Real approach to DRM is more consistent with the traditional, limited, one-way distribution from a few sources.

In Tidbits, Adam Engst discusses the effects of "trusted computing" (an idea that is a superset of DRM) and the DMCA:
A trusted system could prevent you not only from copying a CD or DVD, but also from listening to the CD more than a certain number of times in a day or skipping commercials on a DVD or on broadcast television. Along with requiring us to buy new hardware to play such content and buy new protected versions of the content we already own, a trusted system could have another ill effect. That's because it could prevent us from working with content we would create, using tools such as those Apple kindly provides in iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and iPhoto.

Also, Lawmeme notes a letter from tech companies to cable companies expressing concern that cable internet access will not remain internet access, but become access to only "trusted" media sources.

I think there's a connection between these ideas, but it also may be that I'm just sleep deprived.

Posted by Andrew Raff at November 19, 2002 01:54 PM
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