I would have liked to have been at the Berkeley DRM conference yesterday, but I have a good sense of what went on from Dan, Aaron, Bryan, and Mary.
Two things strike me.
One is that no-one seems to be making the 'DRM Destroys Value' argument. It is demonstrable fact that customers will pay far less for locked up media than open media, so moving to locked media hurts your bottom line directly, far more than the 'leakage' of copying.
When combined with the fact that DRM is readily circumvented by the determined, but an annoyance to the purchaser, you have avery odd reward curve at work - the paying customers are getting less value than the non-paying circumventers. DRM is all stick and no carrot.
Instead, mediAgora proposes an incentive scheme for those who encourage sales of what customers really want - rights in perpetuity to unencrypted, high quality files.
The second point fits more into the 'Emergent Democracy' slot. The current ways of recording these thing via individual note-taking on weblogs are handy, but I feel that more could be done. I spent a lot of time in the early 90s working on ways of capturing multimedia versions of conference presentations, and these days an audio or even video recording is trivial to make.
The problem is that, like Audioblogging, it is not really much use - to have to listen through many hours of presentations in real time, rather than read summaries by others is less good to me. I had the same frustration with the emerging democracy phone conferences, as I wasn't there in real time, and had snippets of transcripts to go on.
What is missing is a just-in-time production tool that lets many people annotate and segment the ongoing recording, as they are listening, or afterwards. Commenting in a public space, like a shared weblog, with sound and slides neatly annotated and highlighted by many hands.
OneNote is groping towards this, but is is focused instead on generating private Office documents, instead of a public discourse. This is of a piece with the 'Office DRM' announced earlier this week. Microsoft has taken exactly the wrong message from having its damning internal memos revealed in court. Instead of behaving in a manner that can stand up up too public scrutiny, and encouraging public debate, it has invested in a plan to help hide corporate discussions though technology.
The best way to lose a battle of ideas is for no-one to be able to hear yours.