Bill Gates slams DRM, says people should rip CDs

— 11:01 AM on December 15, 2006

Even though Microsoft is diving head-first into the music business with its new Zune portable media player and the accompanying Zune Marketplace, Microsoft founder and Chairman Bill Gates thinks current digital rights management implementations are flawed. During a sixty-minute Q&A session at Microsoft's Redmond, Washington headquarters yesterday, Gates made some surprisingly negative comments about DRM to a crowd of bloggers. One of those bloggers was TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, who quotes Gates as saying the following:

Gates said that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which "causes too much pain for legitmate buyers" while trying to distinguish between legal and illegal uses. He says no one has done it right, yet. There are "huge problems" with DRM, he says, and "we need more flexible models, such as the ability to "buy an artist out for life" (not sure what he means). He also criticized DRM schemes that try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific.

His short term advice: "People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then."

Another blogger who attended the Q&A session says Gates added that "DRM is not where it should be. In 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."
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