Although the economic argument is more powerful - that DRM destroys value for customers and hence will be shunned by them - the technical argument is strong too.
This rests on one of the fundamental pillars of Computer Science - the Church Turing Thesis that states that any computer can emulate any other. When this is combined with the continual improvement in computing power available, it means we will always be able to run old software, or indeed protected software, by emulating the environment it runs within.
Simson Garfinkel describes how emulation saved the BBC Domesday Project, the authors of which I worked with at the BBC and the MMC.
"But that wasn't DRM" I hear the cry, "just obsolete hardware and data formats".
How about a systematic program that defeats the hardware protection for pay per use interactive experiences that works in a general enough way to encompass 25 years worth of hardware design?
It's called MAME and it has just been ported to the Nokia N-Gage cellphone/game gadget. It has emulators for various CPUs (and graphics and sound chips) to run the code directly from the original game ROMs - they look and feel just like the real thing
If Nokia are smart they will license this and the games and use it to promote the gadget - this company has licensed Atari ROMs for sale. After all, those 80s games are smaller than most MMS photos that get sent, and they're lots more fun than ringtones.
I hope Ed Felten and maybe can explain this to the assembled lawyers at the Berkman conference today. Most of them seem to like on compulsory licensing schemes.
I wish I had been able to take the chance offered to join them and present mediAgora to them. I look forward to reading the blogging of the event.
Here's a cartoon I made with the wonderfully silly Bayeux Tapestry Construction Kit