Ethics of digital rights management

Do you really own the products you buy? It seems more and more apparent that tech companies discourage tampering and non-authorized repair, and in the case of DVD’s shouldn’t the initial cost of a movie cover unlimited use of it? In reality due to digital rights management the licenses’ distributed to the end user only cover mostly-unlimited use within the terms pre-defined by the companies whom profit off the end users limited legal access to the content they rightfully own. Despite the piracy warnings that played in the beginning of movies on digital versatile discs, as a consumer of content, and owner of the physical media license, copying and digitalization of discs shouldn’t be criminal if the intention isn’t to distribute it. I can support this claim by providing use cases that back up the need to copy or digitalize content that legally forbids it:

  • Ripping DVD’s onto a personal media server, so they can be streamed when away from home.
  • Ripping media that can be upscaled with modern AI upscaling techniques to give the appearance of a higher resolution.
  • Reducing the size of a library of DVD’s by backing them up onto network attached storage.
  • Converting .mpeg files to a more reliable and futureproof file format.

Understandably, there’s no reason you should have to repurchase a movie when you inevitably switch platforms and upgrade to a media machine that doesn’t have a disc drive. It’s unfair as an end user to have to put up with content protection when piracy as whole has become completely and ironically victimless. As discs fade away one has to wonder why Hollywood’s lawyers cling onto the notion that discs are not only relevant in this day and age, but also that they must be protected as if they were. Even if the underlying fact stands that copying content that doesn’t belong to you should be considered criminal, its exceptionally unlikely any one person will end up being prosecuted for violating the digital licensees enforced by monopolization in cinema hagiarchy. As an ending note, the legality of this subject is complex yet slow to change in favor of consumers. So myself and others interested in digitalization for personal use, have to remain in subject criminality. In the meantime as we wait for the government to catch up with faster media and laws governing copy protection, watching the movies in which I purchased, in the modern way that I choose, will stay illegal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *