The European Union wants to standardize content distribution as well as DRM standards, according to statements from EU Commissioner Viviane Reding. Under the proposals, the EU would regulate the market by creating a single, European market for online music, films, and video games.
According to Ars Technica, DRM would also be required to remain transparent to consumers with an aim of providing interoperability. Currently DRM standards from providers including Apple and Microsoft are not compatible, resulting in device lock-in that discriminates against consumers who wish to use their legal purchases on multiple devices, or even switch between devices, say from an iPod to a Zune.
To quote Commissioner Reding
“Europe’s content sector is suffering under its regulatory fragmentation, under its lack of clear, consumer-friendly rules for accessing copyright-protected online content, and serious disagreements between stakeholders about fundamental issues such as levies and private copying.” The way forward, she said, is clear. “Do we want to have a strong music, film, and games industry?”
On one hand the guiding hand of Government regulation may not be a positive, and yet when it comes to DRM perhaps forcing interoperability is a positive, even if the more logical solution would be to be rid of DRM altogether.