Open Media Commons

Very, very strange! I’m really conflicted about this… You see, there is a project out there called Open Media Commons. They aim to develop open source technology that would become an universal standard in digital media content management.

The project is backed by Sun – and I can clearly see why they want this. Sun is very concerned about the digital media crap, because it will affect the future of the Linux based, Sun Java Desktop platform. They are afraid that without some kind of DRM scheme RIAA and MPAA will lock them out of their content. If MS DRM becomes dominant on the market, then all non MS platforms will have a really hard time getting access to RIAA and MPAA stuff. Hence, Sun wants to release a competing DRM scheme which could be used on Unix and Linux system – and thus appease the RIAA and MPAA content gods.

Why do they make in Open Source? Well, they want to give MS a run for it’s money. Sun wants to establish a defacto DRM standard – or even become the official standard. For this they need allot of people jump on the bandwagon and help out. SJD does not have a large market presence, so they need the support of the rest of the Linux community on this. Someone needs to port this stuff to Debian, and make RPM’s for Fedora. Sure as hell Sun is not going to do spend their resources to do that – they could possibly develop and maintain a windows port, but the competing Linux distros will have to maintain their own packages.

OSS is great for rapid development on the cheep side. If they manage to get people interested, they can get allot of work done and forward their agenda without spending a dime.

Question is – why should people help them? Is there a difference between an open source DRM and a proprietary one? In my opinion, they are both the same. Both are designed to lock you out from the content, and impose limits on what you can do with your data. It is simply a bad idea which can only be made worse by this project.

The truth is that backing Open Media Commons project is a brilliant move for Sun. They are ass kissing the content gods to make sure they stay a major player on the market when the upcoming media lock down ensues. But the DRM is bad for the consumers,

On the other hand, they always say to choose the lesser of two evils. While very evil, and hurtful an open DRM technology, is still not as bad as Microsoft controlled DRM. So instead of being royally screwed by RIAA, MPAA and Microsoft, we will be royally screwed by the first two only.

I guess the fundamental issue here is – will the concept of DRM survive more than few years. People hate DRM, and sales of DRM’d products are dropping. So, the market pressure might kill DRM within the next few years. If so, investing in an open DRM project would be foolish and counter productive. It would only help to establish common platform that could be used by many companies, prolonging the lifespan of DRM dominance. In other words, it will help the media companies and hurt us in the end.

On the other hand, if we assume there is no hope for open media in the future… If *AA organizations get their way, and DRM stays here for good, then and only then would it be beneficial for both the Linux community and OSS community to have an open standard in place to avoid being locked out and screwed over by Microsoft.


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