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Why DRM Doesn’t Work

Why DRM Doesn’t Work

Forget the other arguments against DRM – that it doesn’t stop unauthorized distribution, that it harms you customers, that it is always circumvented, that it’s a way of controlling distribution and limiting it to big media – the real argument against it is that DRM doesn’t increase profits.

This basic misunderstanding between pirates and companies is the reason why anti-piracy measures will never work as a means of increasing profits. Game companies assume that if they decrease the ease with which people can pirate their game, they will increase their sales. But that is not the case. The vast majority of people will, if they lose the ability to download an illegal copy of a game, simply choose to not pirate the game and not purchase the game. I’m not making this up, either – independent game developer Reflexive published an article on Gamasutra about their experience trying to curtail piracy to increase sales. Their conclusion was that making pirated copies of their game more difficult to obtain did not increase sales. And this, mind you, was regarding game that only cost 10 dollars to purchase.

Although it focuses on game distribution the lessons apply equally well to music, movies and TV.