Just 'Cause It's Open Source, Doesn't Mean It Will Help

from the hype-for-all-the-wrong-reasons dept

Sun is trying to make a bit of a splash by open sourcing a copy protection standard, which they say will be royalty free. While it's likely to get some attention for being "open source," there are a few problems with the plan. First, there are so many incompatible copy protection standards out there, leading to compatibility problems it's hard to see how throwing another log on the fire helps solve any of the issues in getting copy protection adopted. Besides, while Sun may claim it's royalty-free, it seems quite likely that some of those companies who own various copy protection patents will see otherwise and will sue claiming patent infringement. Meanwhile, you can pretty much bet that the various entertainment companies will be extra suspicious about this offering, assuming that if it's "open source," it will be more easily broken. This is most likely incorrect. It's probably just as likely to get broken (meaning: very, very, very likely) as any proprietary standard, but no more likely. Of course, since the entertainment industry believes that anything free must be stolen, then by their logic, they wouldn't want to use this either way. Anyway, it seems like plenty of companies are still going to need a good reason to make their products less valuable by adding copy protection, even if they don't have to spend to do so. Update: Aha. Sun plans to get around the compatibility issue by asking the government to set a universal DRM standard. That seems like a recipe for a huge disaster. Government-set tech standards rarely come anywhere close to working.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Aug 22nd, 2005 @ 6:47am

    It's not for most Open Source projects

    "Sun is releasing its code from its Project DReaM (DRM/everywhere available) program under the open-source Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL)." The Register This is ... incompatible with the GNU GPL. GNU Project "By some measures, the GPL is the single most popular license for free and open source software. As of April 2004, the GPL accounted for nearly 75% of the 23,479 free-software projects listed" Wikipedia

     

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  2.  
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    Pete Austin, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 7:37am

    Cory Doctorow says it's impossible

    "If you have an open source DRM "client" or "player," then how can it keep users from modifying it to allow the saving and manipulation of the conditionally rendered cleartexts? ... DRM is supposed to keep users from manipulating their players. Open source is supposed to encourage users to manipulate and modify their players. They are utterly incompatible." BoingBoing

     

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