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Sony exec: DRM should be ‘invisible’

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Digital rights management is an inevitable byproduct of the capabilies consumers now have to store and stream large amounts of information, but for it to function properly it must be virtually invisible to the consumer, Albhy Galuten, vice president of digital media technology at Sony Corp. of America, said in his opening keynote at the Digital Media Summit.
“We all hear the rumors about how DRM is going to be dead, it’s too complicated, it’s too confusing,” he said. “The goal is to have it invisible to the consumer.”
He squarely puts that responsibility on the industry. Media companies must allow consumers to enjoy the content they want on the device they prefer on their schedule, he said.
“This whole personal network could be more convenient, more durable and more flexible,” Galuten said, adding that consumers are frustrated by the lack of interoperability among their multiple devices at home.
“Things change, friction goes lower and lower,” he said, but if the industry doesn’t harness that potential it will miss significant business opportunities in the future.
“The consumer will ultimately figure out how to do it on their own without our help,” he said. “We can morph the business to stop the bleeding.”
Part of the problem is in educating consumers about the people who earn their living on increasingly declining revenues, he said.
“I personally feel that whoever creates something ought to be able to get paid for if they want” and have a say in its distribution, he said.
“Ideally what you want to do is give the artist the tools to create their media . and allow it to flourish,” he said. “How do we get there? Obviously we need to make DRM invisible.”

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