Interesting Wired article on Bram Cohen, creator of BitTorrent — amazed to learn that BitTorrent traffic now accounts for up to 1/3 of all internet traffic, by some estimates(!). Part-way through the piece an interviewee refers to “Microsoft DRM being useful to ‘keep content out of pirate hands…'”, which naturally sets Cory Doctorow into paroxysms of rational response at Boing-Boing:
…there is not a single piece of content in the history of the universe that has been “kept out of pirate hands” (i.e. kept off the Internet, or prevented from being stamped out in pirate CD factories abroad) by DRM. It’s a weird kind of Big Lie strategy by the DRM people to talk about how DRM can prevent “piracy” when there has never, ever been an example of this happening … BitTorrent proves the futility of DRM as surely as DRM turns honest customers into studio-hating downloaders.
I bought a Sopranos Season Three DVD set for a friend’s Christmas this year. When the friend opened the gift on her Christmas holiday in France, the discs wouldn’t play in her hotel’s French DVD player; nor would they play in the on-site English PowerBook — because the discs had DRM. At that point, the rational thing to do would have been to sell the discs on Amazon and just download Season Three using BitTorrent — the studios have rigged the game so that you get a superior product (e.g., something you can actually watch) when you download bootlegs from BitTorrent, and they actively punish customers who buy their products instead of downloading them.
In a continued public volley, Wired editor Chris Anderson responded to Doctorow’s blog entry, and Doctorow posted an additional rebuttal.