save us, Microsoft!

Cory Doctorow's talk to a MIcrosoft audience about why Digital Rights Management (DRM) is bad for society and for business is a fantastic and in-depth primer on the topic. But by far the most important part is where Doctorow urges Microsoft to use it's muscle:

Sony didn't make a Betamax that only played the movies that Hollywood was willing to permit -- Hollywood asked them to do it, they proposed an early, analog broadcast flag that VCRs could hunt for and respond to by disabling recording. Sony ignored them and made the product they thought their customers wanted.

I'm a Microsoft customer. Like millions of other Microsoft customers, I want a player that plays anything I throw at it, and I think that you are just the company to give it to me.

Yes, this would violate copyright law as it stands, but Microsoft has been making tools of piracy that change copyright law for decades now. Outlook, Exchange and MSN are tools that abet widescale digital infringement.

More significantly, IIS and your caching proxies all make and serve copies of documents without their authors' consent, something that, if it is legal today, is only legal because companies like Microsoft went ahead and did it and dared lawmakers to prosecute.

Microsoft stood up for its customers and for progress, and won so decisively that most people never even realized that there was a fight.

Do it again! This is a company that looks the world's roughest, toughest anti-trust regulators in the eye and laughs. Compared to anti-trust people, copyright lawmakers are pantywaists. You can take them with your arm behind your back.

Will Microsoft pursue the path of enlightened self-interest? and save us all? I don't know, but I sincerely hope so. But this is the right way to encourage them:

The market opportunity for a truly capable devices is enormous. There's a company out there charging *$30,000* for a $600 DVD jukebox -- go and eat their lunch! Steve Jobs isn't going to do it: he's off at the D conference telling studio execs not to release hi-def movies until they're sure no one will make a hi-def DVD burner that works with a PC.

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