November 13, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized

Digital Is Flexible

I can’t remember the context, but I remember reading an article a little while ago about music, DRM and other digitally formatted media. The line that really struck me was not one that was tucked away anywhere, or that was the centre of any argument. It was presented as so obvious that it didn’t need any further emphasis:

Digital is flexible.

The natural state for things, anything, that is digitally represented is that it is mutable and changeable. If I chose to buy a digital book, the natural feeling thing is that I should be able to read that on my laptop, iPhone, Kindle or any other device that I pick. If I buy music, I should be able to crank it through my stereo, or put it through headphones. That’s the obvious take-away from that statement.

It struck me, too, that it’s natural to be able to take these digital things and reuse them as much as possible; whether that’s remixing music with other tracks, using digital media as the basis of an art project of some sort, or even just exploring a shift in context (like visualisation around novels to explore the themes) it seems like it should be an easy thing to do. That’s why DRM is bad.

Digital is flexible is the obvious, default starting point. If your media isn’t flexible, demand better.