An article in Guardian IT website has highlighted the fact that purchasers of DRM protected Google Video content stand to lose access to their content after the service shuts down in August 2007.

According to The Guardian, and other articles, it just goes to prove the argument against DRM with a vengeance.

To be fair this is not a surprising reaction and I can see the rationale behind it. However it also highlights some issues and observations as follows:

  1. DRM works. DRM was always designed to enable the content provider to shut off access to their content at the flick of a switch, in which case Google DRM will have done its job very well. The problem therefore lies with the judgement of the operator in question i.e. Google.
  2. Rent versus Buy. When you 'buy' DRM protected content you do not really 'own' it; instead you are effectively renting access to it, and consequently are at the mercy of the content provider. However, as much as we blame content providers and DRM, the public perception of digital content, (even those without DRM protection), must also be adjusted to recognise that it is not a tangible product and that different rules of 'ownership' may apply.
  3. DRM Interoperability? There is no such thing, and this has always been a fundamental issue with DRM and no apparent resolution in sight. The launch of Google Video and its proprietary DRM only added to this concern even back in 2006, and it would still seem from this latest development that no DRM is good DRM.

The burning question is where should the blame lie: the protection technology, or the content provider/operator?

About the author

Jude Umeh is a trusted advisor and digital innovator with track record of helping clients identify and define forward-looking business / technology strategies to capitalise opportunities and adapt to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. A published author and Thought Leader in Digital Content and Rights Management, Jude is a Fellow of BCS, Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS), and Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, All opinions are his own.