Ways to use the blockchain turned somewhere not there. Sony announced the creation of a DRM-system based on the chain of blocks

    When the blockchain just started its way "to the masses", evangelical technology told us that it brings only positive changes to the world. The clarity, invariance and transparency of the blockchain as a transactional platform presented the technical community an excellent opportunity to change the world for the better. However, as time went on, developers and companies began to look more and more actively for applications of the block chain. After bitcoin and the Altcoin boom, smart contracts for business and insurance appeared on the scene, private blockchains appeared, which ignored the postulate on transaction transparency and, as a result, we came to DRM.

    The other day, Sony saidthat is developing a new DRM-system based on blockchain technology. And for all those who have “copyrights” cause tooth gnashing and well-founded indignation, this is very unpleasant news.

    Piracy in itself is not the best phenomenon, so it should not be confused with the free flow of information. Gradually creative people, and the whole world, come to the fact that information should be distributed freely, but you cannot force people to do anything. Some authors prefer to protect their intellectual property in the courts, clearly controlling the distribution of their works, others personally go to the bridge of the “pirate ship” and personally unload new tracks or books into free access. The first ones receive income from sales through the usual offline networks, most often delegating or selling their exclusive rights to large publishers. The second - collect money through platforms like Patreon or thanks to concerts. There are stars of world magnitude, which simply do not need to protect their creations: after the first listening / reading, people who have money for it will go and buy a physical and digital copy for themselves. Just because it is a "good waste of money."

    DRM systems as such serve only the first category of content producers and copyright holders. But long-term practice has shown that any DRM-system is not fully effective and carries multiple risks. At the same time, Sony burned DRM at least once: in the 00s, their CD copy protection system installed the DRM system software on Windows machines without the user's knowledge. In general, a good idea of ​​how manufacturers and companies abandoned DRM is provided by the corresponding article on the wiki . Throughout the material, simple logic can be traced: DRM often violates the rights and freedoms of consumers in favor of copyright holders.

    The only area in which DRM is still actively (and at the same time relatively successful) is the distribution of video games. Moreover, the decision to use the protection class of the well-known Denuvo always lies directly with the developers. At first glance it seems that the use of DRM-systems in the field of video games is justified, but on the other hand we have a lot of examples where developers refused any protection against piracy at all, and their games still went to the top of sales. For example, CD Project RED did so with its The Witcher 3 and did not lose. The game scattered over pirate resources at the speed of a forest fire, and after that sales went up, because the game immediately got a huge fan base. The conclusion is simple: a quality product does not need DRM.

    In general, the practice of applying DRM has proved so controversial that many producers and distributors of content release their products with the DRM-free mark , which speaks for itself.

    What is wrong with Sony blockchain-DRM

    The very idea to create a catalog of works protected by DRM, based on the blockchain, at first glance looks sensible. Well, is it true that what can go wrong in the immutable through structure of a chain of blocks? The second problem (the first - in the very idea of ​​applying the blockchain) of the situation lies in the fact that Sony plans to use a new system to control texts, music, video, games and VR content . And, for a second, Sony Entertament is one of the world's largest copyright holders. The list looks strange also in the light of the fact that there is no hard DRM protection on PS4 games: you can exchange disks, resell and so on without any fiddling with unbroken consoles and accounts.

    But first of all, the principle of the immutability of the blockchain itself causes concern. As you know, “nailing” everything is not worth it, the system must be flexible and customizable. Virtually all DRM systems are built on the principle of content encryption and, at launch, comparing the keys of the buyer with the very “firing list” of buyers. Some of them have or had special instructions on how to copy / write, run on different devices, and so on. In addition, it is assumed that customer data (and Sony may eventually collect anything on the blockchain) will be stored in the blockchain as much as this DRM blockchain will exist.

    It is impossible to cross out something from the blockchain, and in the case of DRM, this becomes a minus rather than a plus. Any user error or inattention in the case of the use of “lock” on the device - and now the purchased e-book or music track turns into a useless set of zeros and ones. The blockchain will be too “unambiguous”. If Sony declares that it will be possible to add new data with a higher priority to the block chain to correct errors, then it will not be any easier: any copyright holder at the slightest hint of a violation of his rights immediately takes the position “I was robbed”, shifting the burden evidence of innocence on a potentially "pirate".


    From the above, another potential problem of blockchain-based DRM systems arises. First of all, we are talking about the so-called Fair Use - the use of copyrighted materials, without the goal of extracting any benefit. That is, we are talking about fan clips, parody processing, and so on. If the Sony DRM-system based on the blockchain is as automatic as it seems, then a huge amount of content on the network, which was created according to the Fair Use principle, will be at risk. If we add to this perennial position of the right holders of "I was robbed", we get an unattractive situation in which Sony will start to block everything in a row without a break.

    At the same time, many states promote the principle of fair use and take the side of the consumer. For example, DRM-systems that provided a regional lok DVDs, ran into the restrictions and prohibitions of the legislators in several countries. And even if we imagine an “ideal situation”, when everything works as intended, we get a plastic world in which DRM won and went to a new level. Because until that moment, DRM-systems worked frankly poorly, if they worked at all.

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