OK, this is exploding all over the web. If you haven’t seen yet, the key used to decrypt HD-DVD movies has exploded all over the net because the MPAA doesn’t want it on the net, and people are upset at the ensuing censorship. Pressure is being put on websites to take down the key, and even Digg is complying with the pressure by deleting digged articles that reference the key and banning people who repeatedly digg any such articles; meanwhile, Wikipedia has locked the HD-DVD entry. The key wasn’t big news when it was first discovered a few months ago, but it became big news after the censorship backlash became a tidal wave.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. There is no such thing as an invincible encrypted key. Any encryption can always eventually be broken. It’s the nature of how they work. The MPAA should not fight a losing battle.
Traditional entertainment business models will not work in this world’s future. People prefer flexibility and unbridled ownership of the products they buy, and research is showing more and more that they prefer watching on their computers, rather than on their TV sets. Piracy will continue to be an issue, but this is insignificant in light of the fact that consumer preferences have shifted, and will continue to shift. Terry McBride, CEO of the Nettwerk Music Group said it best:
“My philosophy is, don’t try to get people to consume the way you want them to,” he said. “Figure out how they’re consuming music, market to that and monetize their behavior.” Nettwerk works with a company called Intent MediaWorks, which seeds peer-to-peer networks with copies of the label’s songs that contain advertising.
This is what the MPAA should be focused on doing. Figuring out how consumers think in the new economy, and catering to that. Not trying to prop up an old business model that restricts people from getting their media the way they want. This HD-DVD key is becoming a phenomenom in itself. People are speaking here. MPAA, you should listen.