With Google’s stock dropping 27% in the last ten days and Barron’s devoting their cover to “In the Drink,” a merciless dissection of the company’s growth prospects, true value and stock price (readable gratis this week as Barron’s offers a trial freebie to its pay site), I’m going to pile on to the search giant with this link to Cory Doctorow’s piece up at Boing Boing titled “Google Video DRM: Why is Hollywood more important than users?”
In a great look at the digital rights management system Google has put in place to “secure” the downloadable media on its new Google video store, Doctorow considers what Google’s DRM actually does versus what a true user-friendly mechanism might have looked like. His theme is that the Google DRM is a misstep by a company that rose to fame (and a once $450/share stock price) by both preaching and practicing simple and elegant workarounds to the conventional industry practices of the time. He also notes that the DRM put in place by Google (and, to be fair, most of the other major players entering the downloadable media arena) is considerably more restrictive to the user than the protections offered consumers by U.S. copyright law and represents a shift by Google from its “customer-comes-first” ethos to one of collaboration with the dominant media companies.
From the piece:
“It appears that the main reason Google got involved in DRM was to compete with Microsoft and Yahoo, both of whom have created online video stores with movies and shows from major entertainment companies. These companies demand that their works be locked away in wrappers that restrict users in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law and so if you want a license from them, you’ve got to play ball, even though no customer wants this. You can’t exactly put your offerings online under a banner that says, ‘Now with fewer features!'”
Click above and read the whole piece.