Friday, January 13, 2006

Securing Podcasts

Melodeo has a product called MobilDRM. It's the first DRM designed specifically for mobile phones that protects content whether downloaded or acquired via subscription. The major music labels have all endorsed it. Verisign has licensed it. Macrovision formed a partnership with us around it.

Recently someone asked if we can apply it to podcasts. Sure, we can apply it to nearly any form of digital content downloaded to a phone. But this begs the question of whether podcasts should be DRM protected, and if so in what scenarios.

I realize this topic is going to upset a few people. Afterall there are those who believe that DRM is the evil and anyone who wraps their content with DRM is the spawn of the devil. The simple fact, though, is that people do have the right to protect their content if they choose. But this has not been the case in the podcasting world. In fact the beauty of a podcast is that it's freely available to any and all who want to listen to it. That's the entire point. Why would anyone want to restrict listeners?

Have you noticed how many record labels have podcasts today? And in those podcasts they will play entire songs? Then stop to think how concerned-ok, obsessed-about piracy the labels are? Doesn't it make sense, then, that at some point they will want to start applying DRM to their podcast?

Or what about the guys who decide that their podcasts are only available via subscription? I know of at least 2 mass media companies that want to offer premium podcasts. One sure way to ensure these podcasts go only to subscribers is to use DRM.

I'm not trying to suggest this needs to happen. But I know it is going to happen. And I know people are going to cry foul and revile anyone who applies DRM to their podcast. But ultimately the desire to "protect what's mine" is going to win out. At least for some part of the podcasts available, or soon to be.

Tags DRM security podcast

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