November 17, 2005
Sony Recalls DRM-ridden CDs

After taking a beating in the court of public opinion for releasing music CDs which install DRM software that leaves computers vulnerable to viruses (which I blogged about in more detail here), Sony has not only halted production of CDs containing the program, but has bowed to consumer pressure and issued a recall.

How long will it take for companies to figure out that copy protection doesn't work? The problem with DRM technology is that if it's non-invasive, it can and will be cracked or circumvented-- and if it is invasive, you run into problems like Sony did, with people using it to cheat in World of Warcraft (on the one hand) and hackers using it to make viruses and malware impossible to detect. No matter how clever you get, you're going to have some piracy-- hell, you could tape songs off the radio long before Napster showed up.

To continue my 5 stages of grief metaphor from an earlier post, the RIAA and the music industry have moved past denial (their pre-Napster apathy towards mix tapes and expensive CD burners) straight into anger, and have stayed there for most of the last decade. Whether alienating their audience with DRM counts as anger or bargaining is debatable, but until people begin to come to terms with the new media landscape spawned by P2P, they're going to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

(Hat tip to Lost Remote for news of the recall.)