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The price tag of mobile DRM

Filed in: media, rights, Fri, Apr 1 2005 14:11 PT

If a consortium writes a digital rights management spec and nobody uses it, does it prevent you from making a noise? It looks like the members of the Open Mobile Alliance are about to find out. Mobile companies are balking at a per-device fee that they claim is too high, and a per-transaction fee that operators say is just plain not going to work. As a result, they may just ignore OMA’s spec altogether.

To me, there’s something very, very funny about this. Mobile operators may not be able to offer copyright holders the chance to lock down their content because it’s too expensive to license the upstream technology they need to do it. Maybe the fact that the mobile platform is more or less a closed system to begin with, and despite all that, the copyright holders have been demanding this is the part that makes me giggle.

Update (13 April): Looks like somebody blinked. The licensing scheme is now 65 cents per handset and 25 cents per subscriber per year, with no per-transaction fee. That’s one less nail in the coffin of unlimited music plans over the mobile network.

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