Blockbuster + Circuit City May Mean More DRM

Today, Blockbuster Inc. announced its offer to acquire Circuit City. This is not good for consumers.

Big box electronic retailers control the consumer electronics industry more that you might think. In the US (and maybe elsewhere), Circuit City and Best Buy can pretty much tell consumer electronics manufacturers what to make buy telling them what they will buy in their buyers meetings.

Blockbuster can be influenced very easily by their primary vendors, the big Hollywood studios. If and when the acquisition occurs, Blockbuster could be a proxy from which big content content owners can exert control over consumer’s fair use and free speech rights. Hollywood studios could possibly push further anti-consumer efforts such as HDCP (high definition copyright protection), which is designed to stop piracy at a higher priority of satisfying paying customers. The false positives of anti-piracy mechanisms have a chilling effect, whether the content was fair use or if it was used to censor dissent at just the right time.

For this reason, this deal should not take place. Anti-trust watchdogs should take note. This is not “synergy.” It could be more infringements of free speech using consumer electronics. If the anti-consumer moves TiVo has recently made concern you, it is possible you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Update: Some think the merger is a joke because both companies are such weak players in their own marketplaces. I must admit that current with each companies financial positions until I read this post on CNet.

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