I'm not saying homebrewers are hypocrites. I'm saying I find it an odd style of mental gymnastics that in the same breath someone wants to limit the potential to rip off a home brewer who *freely* provides their roms to the forum here, knowing people will play them without paying, but yet doesn't have a problem with the promotion of playing thousands of stolen/illegal rom files from a commercial source.
I suppose it's a bit of honor among thieves or something, in that it's ok to rip off the big corporation because they won't feel it, but not ok to do it to a hobbyist. I get the notion. I understand the sentiment. But it's all thievery in the end. And a 7800 sd cart would typically by design support 2600 compatibility, which then opens the door to the theft of thousands of actively sold IPs. So while defending the little guy sounds more noble, it's really the same thing either way - to me.
I wouldn't want an sd cart that can't play homebrews and hacks, because there are tons of homebrews and hacks that aren't released on cart, and emulation still isn't the same thing. If a home brewer chooses to code some drm into their rom to prevent SD cart use - great, more power to them. But doing it at the ad cart level seems a bit presumptuous.
I really can't believe people discussing the legalities of an SD cart, again. Yes, it's legal gray area to run commercial ROMs or share homebrews without the permission of the author. But the legality of said usage of the end user does not make the flash cart device itself an illegal device, especially if it can be used for legal uses (ie development).
Yes, homebrewers (some) release their games for free. Others go through a public beta stage, and the final version that gets released on cart may be slightly or significantly different to the early public access betas, but I digress. Flash carts are an invaluable tool for homebrewers to test their games on real hardware so any measures to lock out homebrew games running on flash carts would also impede development of said games.
I am also strongly opposed to any type of DRM system that would lock homebrew software to a specific flash cart (ie, copying the encrypted ROM from one flashcart to another or attempting to run in an emulator results in an unplayable file that only works on the flash cart it was originally downloaded to). This is an important step for hardware and software developers entering into an agreement to establish a secure marketplace for modern consoles that predominantly use downloaded software purchased online. These companies go to great expense to produce a product and expect that their product will be protected from theft. However, enabling such a secure downloadable marketplace for a flashcart to be used on ancient pre-internet consoles, to protect the rights of homebrew developed games, will only cause more problems than it solves.
I don't consider it necessary at all, as physical cart sales mostly take care of the DRM aspect of things. The physical cart is a container for the game program, and most people with the technical ability to dump homebrew games, so far, have also respected the rights of the homebrewers who place their games onto the carts.
I'm fine with creating a digital marketplace where users who want to play the games but don't want to deal with carts can download unprotected ROMs, using honor system (and possibly store some embedded identification data in the free bits, stored to an undisclosed location of the ROM, in order to identify anyone who tries to disseminate downloaded ROMs to sharing sites), and play back said ROMs on their own device, be it a PC, Raspberry Pi, a flash cart for an original hardware console, etc.
TL;DR: If paid downloads are an option, I think they should not be encrypted, and allow the user to decide how best to play back their purchase. Encrypting the files will only aggravate customers and deter sales IMO.