Japan, DRM and Innovation

Closed Architectures for Content Distribution [via CoCo]

In my paper I take a closer look at the implementation of DRM schemes and analyze what effect they have on the use and re-use of the content they aim to protect. I argue that the scope of this protection is much wider than it should be; in essence, every use that is not specifically permitted by the content provider is in fact prohibited. Moreover, adding DRM to the materials they distribute places the content providers in a very powerful position: They enable themselves to control the architecture and development of the downstream devices that process their digital content. Control of such an extent has or will have a stifling effect on innovation in Japan both on the content production level as well as on the content carrier/editor development level — a very unpromising outlook indeed. In this respect, I question whether the Japanese content industry’s current DRM tactics are the way to go — possibly rethinking and adjusting business models may ultimately prove to be a more viable solution.