The Cato Institute puts out a white paper condeming DRM.

It’s pretty apparent by now that Daryl isn’t buying my arguments on why DRM is a bad idea so perhaps it’s time to let someone else do the arguing. Say, the folks at the Cato Institute? Daryl keeps hyping about how great a totally free market would be and the folks at the very Conservative Cato Institute are big on that idea as well so obviously Daryl should have a lot in agreement with them, right?

Eh… not really:

The courts have a proven track record of fashioning balanced remedies for the copyright challenges created by new technologies. But when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, it cut the courts out of this role and instead banned any devices that “circumvent” digital rights management (DRM) technologies, which control access to copyrighted content.

The result has been a legal regime that reduces options and competition in how consumers enjoy media and entertainment. Today, the copyright industry is exerting increasing control over playback devices, cable media offerings, and even Internet streaming. Some firms have used the DMCA to thwart competition by preventing research and reverse engineering. Others have brought the weight of criminal sanctions to bear against critics, competitors, and researchers.

The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders—and the technology companies that distribute their content—the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

Holy shit! Could it be? The Cato Institute is saying more or less exactly the same thing this crazy liberal has said? Surely it’s a sign of the Apocolypse! Hey Mikey, they fucking hate it! Conservative, libertarian, free-market types that they are, they hate DRM and they think it’s a bad thing that should be avoided. Imagine that!

You can read the full white paper by going to their website. Perhaps Daryl will see the light now that some of his fellow free-market types have come out opposed to DRM, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

7 thoughts on “The Cato Institute puts out a white paper condeming DRM.

  1. It’s actually not surprising.  The Cato Institute is not “conservative” as in Karl Rove/Pat Buchanan/James Dobson conservative.  It’s “business conservative” for the most part, verging on libertarian.  Free markets and competition and lack of government restraint on business are their touchstones, for the most part, and their argument (rightly) is that DMCA and DRM create inefficient markets, de jure monopolies, and a lack of competition.

  2. Many, many libertarians have been against the DMCA and DRM in general for years. What’s great about this is that Cato have a lot of weight in Washington, and some of the people who listen to them aren’t necessarily libertarians.

  3. Like it would have been any state secret that aim of use limiting/content raping technologies is monopoly and completely fascistic stranglehold from consumers…

  4. Hell, when even the Cato Institute recognizes DRM to be an example of the free market run amok, that’s all I need to know to stay far, far away.

  5. The Cato Institute is not so much pro-business as they are pro-Lazziez Faire, pro-liberty, pro small government and pro-freedom.  The Cato Institute is against DRM not because they are moderating their views, but because DRM would require extra government involvent.  In this respect, they are maintaining consistency with their core values.

  6. **Whoops, meant to say “involvement”, not “involvent”**

    Sadie Jane, we do not live in anything close to a free market.  Virtually every economic transaction in America is regulated by Federal, State and/or municipal government.  The lawbooks regulating business are fatter than Roseanne Barr.  4 out of 10 of our dollars go to the government.  40% of our GDP is federal spending.  That number has increased, not decreased over the years.  The number is even greater than when FDR was president, even during World War II.

    The state has a monopoly on money generation. It centrally sets interest rates for loans and banking.  The state requires anyone who deposits more than $10,000 dollars to report it to the federal government.  After the Patriot Act, the Federal Government now has the right to randomly look at anyones financial and banking records, randomly, without even telling the person.  Food and Drugs are so regulated, that it takes 10 or more years for a new product to emerge.

    Even our personal lives are highly regulated.  There used to be a time when one did not have to go through extensive security to board an airplane.  One would simply go up to the gates and board.  You were allowed to smoke on the plane and even bring a gun or a large knife.  Such things are unthinkable today.  Want to start a business, or set up shop?  Need a license, as well as permission from local officials.  You also have to report how many employees you have, as well as be subject to random workplace searches by government employees.  You also have to report your profit margin, submit a business plan, and in some cases, is required by law to make a profit.  You cannot even buy a house today without permission.  How about wanting to fix or alter a house you already own?  You need permission for that too.

    The truth is that our lives are so highly controlled, we don’t even think about it.  By the way, I only touched the tip of the iceberg here.  Anyone who says that we have a free market economy is clearly ignorant of economics and markets, or probably under the age of 25.  Have a nice day.

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