Research and interviews for the piece led me down some pretty lonely tracks of thought. Such as...
How do DRM rules apply to apps running on hosted guests? If DRM is tied to a given 'machine' (think Apple's imposed five-computer limit for a downloaded song), how does an iTunes instance running on an XP guest count against that tally? One machine or two?
Well, the RIAA and MPAA probably will at some point.
I'm not talking unlicensed songs or movies. I'm curious about the legitimate use of licensed media files within virtualized user environments. I'm also not discussing existing permutations of SW application licensing; we're doing a pretty decent job of working those details out as our industry comes to term with server and client VMs. Microsoft and Apple have each recently revisited the impact of virtualization. Frankly, we're all going to be playing with client VMs before we know it on personal and enterprise machines.
While I feel that the world will ultimately end up on the DRM-free side of the fence, there may be more light brought to bear on this topic as desktop virt goes mainstream over the next few years. Until this discussion is rendered moot by some far-future wide-open fair use doctrine allowing all digital media to be freely exchanged in a perfect world I'll keep thinking about copyright. And potential litigation.
I found a paper close to topic from a 2004 DRM workshop; a bit obscure, but I'm comforted that at least someone else has started to suss this out.I'm attending a symposium on Fair Use at Columbia Law today. Here's a 'rights' angle to consider for VMs while I listen to a eight hours of lawyer-talk.