How DRM would kill the next Netflix


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#2 booms are hardly worth the trouble any more. We should resocialize the internet.


That’s what FaceBook is for, ain’t it?





Personally, I automatically stop reading whenever I see the phrase “disruptive innovation” being used to qualify a service…


Except the phrase does have a proper use, and Netflix is a good example. The problem is that it can only be seen in hindsight - but every MBA in the world wants to use it in the future tense.

The part I don’t get is why Netflix, for example, should sign a covenant limiting their right to sue? Have their lawyers decided they’ve lawyered enough now? I also don’t see why signers don’t simply disregard this covenant when there’s money to be made.


Take away the envelopes and replace the DVDs with VHS Cassettes and that’s how Blockbuster Video (and countless others) started decades earlier. Netflix just did away with brick and mortar and then did away with the DVDs. I don’t think it was revolutionary, I think it was evolutionary. Instead of me going to get the movie, the movie came to get me.

To my taste, the revolutionary model would be to allow me to watch what I want, when I want, where I want. And that has yet to be invented.


Yes. We need to be disruptively innovative on a go-forward basis.


It seems like a stretch to compare Netflix’s original business model to what is essentially Piratebay (or Popcorn I guess though I don’t know much about the latter). In one case the number of simultaneous viewers is limited by how many DVDs you purchase. In the other nothing other than network capacity imposes a limit on simultaneous viewers and that’s essentially limitless.

Is that a significant difference? Netflix buying whatever number of physical DVDs to satisfy their customers’ needs vs a service that buys one (we’ll assume this new disruptive service doesn’t want be built upon pirated copies) and then lets unlimited numbers of people watch it whenever? Maybe, maybe not but I don’t think the scenarios are the same.

Also would adding DRM to HTML prevent the next Netflix? There’s nothing stopping a company today from offering DVDs by mail and then once they get big enough negotiate with content owners for streaming rights. Other than stiff competition from the established players if course. Which has little to do with DRM.


This is what they call “pulling up the ladder after you”?


Imagine a new, disruptive company figured out a way to let hundreds of people watch a single purchased copy of a movie, even though the rightsholders who made that movie objected. The new company charged money for this service, and gave none of it back to the movie’s creators. That’s exactly the business model that a controversial project at the Web’s premier open standards organization seeks to prevent.

So… How exactly is this a bad thing? “Everyone was already using that business model and no one will get to use that business model again” isn’t much of an argument.

It seems to me that the alternative to making DRM part of HTML5 would just be for a company to make its own independent closed-source non-portable solution that will probably be rife with its own security bugs forever, and that doesn’t sound better.


It’s been invented.


Do share with the rest of the class.


It’s called the internet. Taxpayers paid for it. Digital content can be inexpensively and perfectly copied and instantaneously shared subject to intellectual property law and FCC rules.


So that you no longer used the suppliers that didn’t change their business model (as did enough people that lots went bust). That is the very definition of disruption - it ended the viability of a previously viable business model.


Whoa, not so fast! Some of us are still enjoying that service.


Which to the best of my knowledge is not happening now.


Fair enough. I didn’t take issue with the disruptive nature of the business model but rather the notion that Netflix invented the idea of charging money to let hundreds of people watch a movie that had only been paid for once.


I dunno. It paid for this house.


It is called “torrents.”

I can find any movie that has been released (and many that haven’t) in under 60 seconds and have them in under 30.