Can VRM fix DRM?

So I’m answering an inquiry from a student doing a paper on DRM. While doing that, I’m wondering if VRM is the cure for DRM. Meaning, it does away with the need by replacing one-way coercion with two-way relationship. Or maybe three-way if a trust assurance party is also involved. Need to think about that.

From my reply:

The idea is to equip customers with tools of both independence and engagement. That is, independence from sellers and better ways of engaging with sellers.

For copyrighted works, could involve agreements made on an individual basis — ones that could involve actual relationships between copyright holders and their customers. For example, if I buy an open (non-DRM’d) copy of an album by Mike Marshall (my favorite mandolin player), it might involve letting him know who I am, the fact that I like his work, a commitment not to duplicate it beyond fair uses, and the option to do any number of things, including re-distributing it for pay that would get us both a slice of the take. The options are wide open. What matters is that there would means for a real reslationship based on mutual interest, trust and control.

What think ya’ll?


  • ttp://

No time to make those links “blue” right now. Will get to it when I’m off the bus and have time later.

1 Comment

  1. Crosbie Fitch

    With such a relationship there is no need for any commitment against duplication. On the contrary, if anything the fan would indicate a commitment to promote the musician by duplicating their works and distributing them far and wide.

    Who then needs DRM or even copyright?

    If the musician has a direct relationship with the mass of their fans we have seller and buyer sitting across the table from each other, disintermediated, and able to haggle over a commission/sale price for the next work.

    Art for money, money for art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2023 ProjectVRM

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑