New paper says DRM doesn’t work, hurts only legitimate customers


We’ve said before that draconian DRM measures don’t work, but we’ve never had scientific proof to back it up. Until now that is. A paper written by Duke and Rice University says that ditching DRM actually lead to a decrease of piracy, which, you know, is the complete opposite of what companies that use DRM tell us. In the paper, titled “Music Downloads and the Flip Side of Digital Rights Management Protection”, the researchers used an analytical model which examined how piracy is influenced by the presence or absence of DRM restrictionsm and found that while these restrictions make piracy more costly and difficult, the restrictions also have a negative impact on legal users who have no intention of doing anything illegal.

“Only the legal users pay the price and suffer from the restrictions,” the study said. “Illegal users are not affected because the pirated product does not have DRM restrictions.”

“In many cases, DRM restrictions prevent legal users from doing something as normal as making backup copies of their music,” said Dinah Vernik, assistant professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “Because of these inconveniences, some consumers choose to pirate.”

Source: Rice University