I have often pointed out that Digital Rights Management is futile. It is ineffective, and destroys the value of the content that it supposedly protects. Suncomm have sunk to a new low here:
SunnComm Technologies, a developer of CD antipiracy technology, said Thursday that it will likely sue a Princeton student who early this week showed how to evade the company's copy protection by pushing a computer's Shift key.
Princeton Ph.D. student John 'Alex' Halderman published a paper on his Web site on Monday that gave detailed instructions on how to disarm the SunnComm technology, which aims to block unauthorized CD copying and MP3 ripping. The technology is included on an album by Anthony Hamilton that was recently distributed by BMG Music.
On Thursday, SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs said the company plans legal action and is considering both criminal and civil suits. He said it may charge the student with maligning the company's reputation and, possibly, with violating copyright law that bans the distribution of tools for breaking through digital piracy safeguards.
Suncomm sold a product to damage CDs. Haldemann showed how to get the value back.
'We feel we were the victim of an unannounced agenda and that the company has been wronged,' Jacobs said. 'I think the agenda is: 'Digital property should belong to everyone on the Internet.' I'm not sure that works in the marketplace.' "
The agenda is 'I want to have control of software running on my computer'. Suing for the right to install software on my computer without my permission would (I hope) be thrown out.
Mr Jacobs, it is DRM that doesn't work in the marketplace. Customers don't want to buy damaged CDs that have missing features.
My suggestion to computer manufacturers is as follows.
When the user inserts a 'protected' CD, the computer says:
"This CD appears to be damaged - it has a corrupt Table of Contents."
"Would you like to burn a corrected copy? [Eject] [Play] [Burn]"