Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has stated that there are "huge problems" with current digital rights management (DRM) systems, and has advised that the best strategy is just to "buy a CD and rip it", an act which is illegal under UK law.
Speaking at a conference in Seattle, Gates was scathing about current DRM practices, especially those that tried to limit the number of devices on which music and video could be played.
Blogger Steve Rubel quoted Gates in his Micro Persuasion blog as saying: "DRM is not where it should be.
"At the end of the day, incentive systems [for artists] make a difference, but we don't have the right thing here in terms of simplicity or interoperability."
Another blogger, Michael Arrington from Techcrunch, also reported the conversation with Gates, quoting the Microsoft boss as saying: "People should just buy a CD and rip it. You are legal then."
Sadly such practices are not legal in the UK, where ripping CDs is technically illegal. Record companies, however, have said informally that they will not be trying to prosecute people for doing so.
But CD ripping may also become illegal in the US. The RIAA has already called for the practice to be outlawed in submissions to the US government.
Bill Gates slams DRM systems
By Iain Thomson on Dec 19, 2006 9:17AM