Monday, September 15, 2008

Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE)

Ok, let's be honest, until it has shipping products merely talking about it is advertising vaporeware, but, let's talk about it, or, more accurately, let's steal from the NYT and discuss that.

"...deliver a product to the consumer that's better than free," said Mitch Singer, chief technology officer at Sony Pictures and the lead architect of DECE.
What a horribly marketing thing to say. Better than free? Sure, catchy slogans can be helpful, but a working product is better. Better than free should make you all react with not possible.

There are "several precedent-setting principles" that DECE would bring about. "Participating devices and services will be interoperable regardless of differing brands or corporate provenance" is one. I really thought I could play any CD on my Apple computer, my Sony car walkman (16 years old), my Sony PS2, my Microsoft Xbox 360, or in my car, regardless of publisher. And I'm pretty sure I can play MP3s in a lot of places. DVDs and region codes, well, that was an industry idea wasn't it? 

"DECE would allow an unlimited number of copies of a video to be created or burned onto a disc." CDs aside, that would be very different from DVDs. I have read industry hacks lamenting the CD and praising the DRM on DVDs, but I knew (and so did you) that we don't listen to such people. Of course they don't mention how much it would cost, but it's better than free, so, well, I don't know what that means. They pay us to copy it, perhaps. That's certainly less than free, but is it better? 

This one is rather incredible:
The consumer would even have the option of not storing the copy at all, but rather streaming it from a server-based "rights locker" that can be tapped from any location.
Recall how the RIAA sent their lawyers after to stop something similar in 2000.

So, don't believe it until you see it, and even then be doubtful. Economists have shown how lowering costs reduces piracy (I have an article on it somewhere), but most of the industry seems to stick to their old ways. Apple gets it ($0.99 songs with weak DRM to keep consumers and the industry happy). We will see what happens.