This may run counter to what your common sense tells you but, a new paper out of Duke and Rice University says that ditching DRM could actually reduce piracy. The study, which relied on analytical modeling, showed that while copy protection made illegally sharing content more difficult it had a significantly negative impact on legal users. In fact, the researchers say, "only the legal users pay the price and suffer from the restrictions [of DRM]." Many consumers simply choose to pirate music and movies because doing simple things, like backing up a media collection, is difficult with DRMed content. Even the most effective DRM is eventually broken, and fails to deter those already determined to steal. Meanwhile, abandoning these restrictions could increase competition and drive down prices (as well as remove a serious inconvenience), encouraging more people to legitimately purchase content. You can check out the November-December issue of Marketing Science for more details.
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