Monday, February 28, 2005

US Market (Not) Antagonistic towards DRM

Sony BMG thinks that the US market is ready for DRM controlled CDs: Sales Enterprise co-president Jordan Katz says "the company wants to alert the industry that it is implementing the content-protection technology, because extensive consumer research indicates widespread customer acceptance of it." Maybe Katz has read this new report Digital Rights: Content Ownership and Distribution by Parks Associates, some market research firm, which states in its press release: "Contrary to widely held industry beliefs, U.S. consumers are not overwhelmingly antagonistic toward the concept of copy-restricted music CDs, provided these CDs come with the proper incentives".

The words "not overwhelmingly antagonistic" are an interesting choice for a report that cheerfully concludes that "when given a choice between a normal music CD and a 'copy-once' CD priced $5 less, 33% of those who do not rip CDs and 27% who rip CDs preferred the copy-once CDs." So, to keep in the crude phrasing, two thirds of the (CD) users do not prefer a 'copy-once' CD, even at a lower price. Note how the accompanying graph displays this outcome:



Rather than giving a straightforward answer to the question
if consumers will accept copy restriction (Yes/No), the No is displayed as a choice for CDs, not against copy restriction.

The distinction between rippers and non-rippers is interesting, if one takes it as a difference between users who do and do not make active fair uses (presumed that the do's keep from (subsequent) infringing uses). With a margin of 6% it seems that even the people that do not copy CDs (yet), are not so eager to hand over this possible (fair) use. I would say that there is an awareness with (these) users that copy-protection is not something to buy into under the current conditions. And I'd say that a median of 70% saying "No" could qualify as "antagonistic", overwhelmingly or not.

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