Defective By Design at Cardozo

Just got back from a talk by Gregory Heller of Defective by Design (FSF’s anti-DRM organization) at Cardozo. Some quick thoughts:

  • turnout was great- 55 people. I hope that at SLST can get similar or better turnout for events we do in the future. [Tangent: I’m on the SLST board as of last week; this is really exciting for me- I hope I can help it be a first-class student technology law group.]
  • It turns out that at Cardozo, free pizza lacks pepperoni. After about three seconds of thinking about this, it was incredibly obvious, but it did leave me surprised for those three seconds.
  • The talk was a solid introduction to DRM issues. Unfortunately, it failed to deal with the most common objections in the body of the talk. This allowed those objections to come up in questions, which put Greg on the defensive, and gave the objections a lot more credibility than they really deserved. (Most of them should have been easily disposed of.)
  • Greg had to explain what Amazon Unboxed was. This made me realize- most DRM-based systems, except iTMS, have been dismal failures, and so no one knows about them. I wonder if this is correlation or causation. My hunch is correlation (most of them have also been terrible user experiences completely independent of DRM), but I may well be wrong.

I’d write more about the talk itself, except (1) I have a feeling it would be mostly redundant to most of my readers and (2) it finally crystallized my thinking on the issue, so if I can unbury myself from school in the next few days, this means I’ll probably finally explain why Dobey is (mostly) wrong, using some of Greg’s ideas and some of my own.