DRM Is The Right To Make Up Your Own Copyright Laws

from the why-anticircumvention-laws-are-a-problem dept

We've written about the problems of DRM and anti-circumvention laws since basically when we started way back in 1997. Cory Doctorow has been writing about the same stuff for just about as long (or perhaps longer). And yet, just when you think everything that can be said about this stuff has been said, Doctorow comes along and writes what may be the best column describing why DRM, combined with anti-circumvention laws, is so incredibly nefarious. Read the whole thing. It's so well done, and so important, I'm actually going to write two posts about it, because there are two separate issues that deserve highlighting.

The first concerns just how the combination of DRM and anti-circumvention is effectively a way that the content industry (and many other industries since) have been able to void the limitations on copyright law. Here's the key paragraph, which follows a discussion of the Reimerdes case, which more or less said that breaking any DRM is illegal in itself, even if the circumvention is done for legal reasons. And, because of that, we've taken copyright out of the law, and put it into the DRM:
Ever since Reimerdes, it's been clear that DRM isn't the right to prevent piracy: it's the right to make up your own copyright laws. The right to invent things that people aren't allowed to do – even though the law permits it -- and to embed these prohibitions in code that is illegal to violate. Reimerdes also showed us that DRM is the right to suppress speech: the right to stop people from uttering code or keys or other expressions if there is some chance that these utterances will interfere with your made-up copyright laws.
This is an important point summarized so perfectly that it deserves to be repeated over and over again. Because any circumvention of DRM is considered illegal, even if the purpose of the circumvention itself is legal, it basically gives not just "the copyright industries" but pretty much any industry the road map to stop people from making, say, fair use of copyrighted works. Or, worse, preventing them from tinkering with products they own. It allows them to wipe out fair use and other important user rights -- by just writing into code that it's not allowed, and even though that code is easily breakable, making that code breaking itself a form of "infringement."

In short, DRM with anti-circumvention restrictions lets industries simply route around the aspects of copyright law that are designed to protect the user's rights.

And, because of that, Doctorow wonders if there's a chance go to back and revisit the Reimerdes case, and bring back freedom to the public. As we've noted in the past, fair use is not, as some would have you believe, a "limitation and exception" to copyright, but rather a definition of the public's rights, whereby copyright is a limitation on those rights. DRM with anti-circumvention actually blocks those rights. Cory further points to another milestone case involving software, Bernstein v. US, in which it was determined that software was a form of speech, and that restricting it was a First Amendment violation. Doctorow notes that Reimerdes goes against that ruling -- and he thinks that this, plus a decade plus showing the damages done to the public's rights because of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, open up a real opportunity to revisit the issue:
No court case is ever a sure thing, but I believe that there's a good chance that a judge in 2014 might answer the DMCA/free speech question very differently. In 14 years, the case for code as expressive speech has only strengthened, and the dangers of censoring code have only become more apparent.

If I was a canny entrepreneur with a high appetite for risk -- and a reasonable war-chest for litigation – I would be thinking very seriously about how to build a technology that adds legal features to a DRM-enfeebled system (say, Itunes/Netflix/Amazon video), features that all my competitors are too cowardly to contemplate. The potential market for devices that do legal things that people want to do is titanic, and a judgment that went the right way on this would eliminate a serious existential threat to computer security, which, these days, is a synonym for security itself.
We've seen entrepreneurs take on these kinds of high risk/high reward challenges before (Aereo comes to mind, though so do ones that ended up failing in court, such as ivi and Zediva), so this seems like a very real possibility. This would be an important ruling not just to free up innovation, but to bring back the rights of the public, and to stop an encroachment that began years ago, entirely at the behest of a legacy entertainment industry who was focused on using mechanisms of control to remove the freedoms of the public, solely to protect an obsolete business model.


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  1.  
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    Michael Donnelly (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:12am

    What, you mean like unintended consequences?

    Such as the DMCA being used as a tool to prevent people from automating a video game? ;)

    This is the true root of the evil that is DRM. It has nothing to do with being ineffective or inconvenient. It's all about creating control over something where it does not legally exist.

    In the situation with Adobe's recent announcement, the focus has been too much on the annoyance to the end-user. But looking for the control aspect, it's plain to see how Adobe can change their DRM to create a ton of new licenses. Obsoleting old devices generates a bunch of new purchases, and even existing devices that can be "upgraded" will almost certainly result in more revenue from the device maker to Adobe.

    Just rev that DRM every few years to keep the cash flowing. It all comes from the consumer indirectly, anyway.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:15am

    Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    You can accept the licensing terms or not use / consume the product.

    You must vote with your money. That's the ONLY legal way to express your displeasure with DRM.

    "potential market for devices that do legal things that people want to do is titanic," -- Oooh, is that equivocal.

    Huh? -- HEY, I SEE YOU FANBOYS! STOP READING MY POSTS IF YOU'RE JUST GOING TO "REPORT" ME!

    Where the fanboys troll the site with vulgar ad hom, and call anyone disagreeing "trolls"! (7 of 201)

    07:15:09[i-226-0]

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    This isn't so new

    This is the point I've been making for the better part of a decade now: the entire point of DRM is extralegal enforcement of a private interpretation of copyright law, and as such it has zero legitimacy and needs to be made illegal.

    In any other context, a private entity taking the enforcement of the law into their own hands, judging who is guilty and who is not and then punishing the guilty according to rules they devised themselves is considered legally and socially abhorrent. We call such people vigilantes, and there are very strict laws against doing so, particularly when the vigilante and the alleged victim are the same entity.

    Why does this simple bit of common sense suddenly get turned on its head when the law being allegedly violated is copyright law?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:31am

    so, all that's needed then is someone with a bottomless money pit, equal in value to the entertainment industries and Hollywood combined and the appetite to keep going back to court, time and time again, to face the endless appeals from those industries because there is more chance of Hell freezing over than these industries, as illegal as they are in what they have done and how they have done them, giving up anything! they have bribed and corrupted so many politicians in the USA, the UK and almost everywhere else so as to have their way and lock up what they want, for whatever reason, for whatever length of time they say, that to give in, even though they know they should, will never happen. it may break that industry, but personally, i would rather that than have this millstone to carry.

     

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    Jay (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    Re: This isn't so new

    It's actually bogged down in complexity. There is actually an even stronger dichotomy that I recently used to clarify "fair use" so that everyone could understand the issue.

    You have two sets of rights in copyright law: Public rights and corporate rights.

    Public rights would be fair use, archiving, etc.

    Corporate rights are basically DRM, three strikes laws, and ways to usurp the rights of the public.

    When we battle, we fight for public rights over corporate rights, our the rights against control of dissemination.

    That's why framing the issue in this way would help more poorer understand why fair use, the rights of the public, have been decimated for so long.

     

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    artp (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    The fallout from DRM

    I've been thinking about this aspect for a while now. Nobody had provided me with the opportunity to comment on it yet.

    One of the rights given to me is the right to make a backup. With DRM, I no longer have that right. It forces me to buy another widget instead.

    It also keeps me from using the widget as I please. This came out recently as I was trying to move music and movies to a media device so I didn't have to risk scratching a disk. It avoids all the wait time while a DVD is loading. It lets me randomize the order that I play things in.

    But with DRM, I have to ask permission to do anything, and the answer is always "No!"

     

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Re: What, you mean like unintended consequences?

    For those who don't know, Adobe recently announced changes to their e-book DRM scheme, which would have had the effect of disabling older e-readers unable to update their software. Although Adobe itself backed off this draconian mandate, it merely pushed the timeline for implementation onto resellers and publishers, who, it should be noted, have a vested interest in making current e-books unusable in order to sell "new" versions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    Re: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    No, you made it, then you sold it, I bought it so I own it and all rights to do with it as I damned well please.

     

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    David, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:51am

    No vaccine against bit rot

    One major point of DRM is to abolish the public domain. You are not allowed to copy the media while the copyright lasts, and the media will be unreadable sooner than their copyright expires.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    REPOST in game of whack-a-mole: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    You can accept the licensing terms or not use / consume the product.

    You must vote with your money. That's the ONLY legal way to express your displeasure with DRM.

    "potential market for devices that do legal things that people want to do is titanic," -- Oooh, is that equivocal.

    Huh? -- HEY, I SEE YOU FANBOYS! STOP READING MY POSTS IF YOU'RE JUST GOING TO "REPORT" ME!

    No tyrants are worse than "libertarians", because they're new to it and don't understand the practical limits, and are so utterly certain that their own personal will is the Supreme Best. (202 of 203)

    07:52:04[i-705-4]

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:53am

    Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    You can accept the licensing terms or not use / consume the product.

    You must vote with your money. That's the ONLY legal way to express your displeasure with DRM.

    "potential market for devices that do legal things that people want to do is titanic," -- Oooh, is that equivocal.

    Huh? -- HEY, I SEE YOU FANBOYS! STOP READING MY POSTS IF YOU'RE JUST GOING TO "REPORT" ME!

    By the way, kids: I'm stubborn and thrive on adversity, always stirs me to get inventive. (203 of 203)

    07:53:33[i-810-6]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    @ AC: "No, you made it, then you sold it, I bought it so I own it and all rights to do with it as I damned well please." -- No, that's trivially untrue.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    I can't decide if it's more funny or sad ...

    ... to watch Blue screaming and bawling for attention with his recent habit of multiple reposts.

    Sad, on the one hand, because it's only further cementing his well earned reputation as a total looney and he just doesn't have the sense to realize that the more he shouts the less he will be heard.

    Funny, on the other, because of the schadenfreude for someone who really deserves it.

    It must be like a big old stew of apoplexy and impotence for him.

    Regardless, it obvious that's he having a meltdown.

     

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    PRMan, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Fair Use

    In the DeCSS case (Reimerdes), the appeals court judges even lamented that the defendants didn't use DeCSS for personal fair use and never argued that way at any point, rendering them unable to address the issue.

    This implies heavily that they would have come out in favor of fair use if the defendants weren't dirty, rotten pirates.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Here's the thing about DRM.

    At some point copyright runs out, be that a year or a lifetime. No one is going to take the DRM out after it is in public domain. So in essence it violates in the end copyright limitations.

     

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    badocelot, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    It's interesting that physical property rights - which you can avoid infringing upon just by going somewhere else - are subject to many exceptions and regulations while we're supposed to accept that control of copyrighted works - which can be imposed upon you just by a friend turning the radio on - should be virtually unlimited.

    I also remember reading a quote somewhere by Roderick T. Long to the extent that we treat scarce resources as if we could never run out of them and non-scarce resources as if there's a terrible shortage.

    When did I wake up in Bizarro world?

     

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    Scote, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:09pm

    DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    If DRM was the right for me to make up my own copyright laws it would be great! I could just ignore all the copyright maximalism in the world and get on with creating stuff. But that isn't what it means. DRM is the right for **corporations and legacy industries** to make up their own copyright laws, and enforce them with the power of the *criminal* justice system rather than the civil courts that are the remedy for copyright infringement.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    Ah, at last the "Comment held for Moderation!" -- So Mike does censor.

    And whack-a-mole goes on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Ah, at last the "Comment held for Moderation!" -- So Mike does censor.

    Yes. We're all against you. Please wallow in your persecution, and continue posting. Thank you.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    Say that all you want, it will never change his tune. Best to just report and ignore.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    That's okay. They'll just make sure it never enters the public domain.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    Ah, at last the "Comment held for Moderation!" -- So Mike does censor.


    Nope. Wrong....again, Blue.

    Repeating the same thing over and over tends to be viewed as spam and will get caught in the spam filter. I've had it happen to me even though I have an account. It's probably even more stringent for anonymous users like you.

     

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    James Jensen (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    "I made it, therefore I own it."

    Ah, yes, the view Stephen Kinsella calls "libertarian creationism."

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:33pm

    DRM

    One moment you guys say the industry needs to embrace new business models like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify, but the next moment you say DRM is evil and needs to be abolished. You guys can't have it both ways. Netflix and Spotify wouldn't exist without DRM. Streaming subscription services would not exist without DRM.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re: DRM

    Netflix and Spotify wouldn't exist without DRM. Streaming subscription services would not exist without DRM.


    Why wouldn't they? They are not technically required for such services - it's only the legacy gatekeepers that require DRM. The customers or the service providers themselves don't need it nor really want it.

     

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    beltorak (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re: DRM

    bullshit, youtube existed just fine for a long time without copyright. netflix and hulu exist despite copyright, not because of it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    I guess that makes you a fanboy based on your tag line. By the way, congrats on breaking 200 idiotic tag lines!
    P.S. If your comment is "censored" it will be totally deleted. Period. Reporting it hides it from people who don't care for idiots in the discussion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: DRM

    Because their business models would be completely ruined. Spotify users could subscribe for 1 month and download thousands of songs, just to promptly cancel and keep all the music. They would have no way of retaining subscribers. They would have no way of tracking plays and paying rights holders appropriately. Real download sales would be instantly cannibalized to 0.

    Netflix would be in a similar position. They don't offer offline downloads like Spotify, but without DRM, they wouldn't be able to protect their streams. If they can't protect their streams, there is nothing preventing people from downloading all their favorite shows and canceling. Or just using trials and never subscribing in the first place.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Ah, at last the "Comment held for Moderation!" -- So Mike does censor.

    actually, 'we' *are* 'all' against him, *NOW*...

    i am THE most adamant and extreme defender of the true concept of free speech as you will find on these tubes, and *I* hate the lamer so much *I* WANT TO censor him...

    as far as i'm concerned, he/she/it has forfeited all 'rights' by being SUCH a total tool nearly all the time...

    the VERY FEW nuggets of semi-wisdom he/she/it OCCASIONALLY has are not crucial to the education of us all, and NOT WORTH THE ANNOYANCE of him being such a fucktard 99% of the time...

    at some point, you just don't give a shit about an annoying child 'expressing themselves', and just want them to STFU...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: DRM

    Youtube videos weren't copyrighted? Say what?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM

    People don't use those services because they are legal, they use them because they are convenient.

    your whole assumptions that protections are necessary goes out of the window right there. people can find everything those services offer for free already, regardless if it is illegal or not.

    so, riddle me this, since everything can be found for free already and people still use those services, what exactly does your protection achieve?

     

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    CK20XX (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM

    I think he means that YouTube was doing just fine for all involved before it started going down the path it's been going down for a few years now, which has generated no small amount of backlash from all corners of the internet.

    http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/the-youtube-snake-is-eating-itself/1100-4815/

    It's also probably worth mentioning that copyright has become such low, spooky voodoo that most people have no idea how it works or where it applies anymore, yet that hasn't ruined any businesses. For all intents and purposes, copyright is no longer relevant in the modern era, and everyone is pretty happy living without knowledge or care of it until some big corporation stomps in to remind everyone of why we can't have nice things.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM

    I'm not following.

    If someone was willing to download the music/movies like that, why would they ever bother paying out for even a trial subscription in the first place? The option to download the music/movies is already out there, to say that if those services dropped DRM suddenly people would do what they already can, doesn't seem to hold up under scrutiny.

    Services like Spotify and Netflix succeed not because they're infested with DRM and locked down, but because they offer an easier alternative to piracy, the idea of 'movies/music whenever I want, with minimal hassle, for a decent price', and it's been made quite clearly that people are quite willing to pay for a service like that, if offered.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM

    "Spotify users could subscribe for 1 month and download thousands of songs, just to promptly cancel and keep all the music. They would have no way of retaining subscribers."

    This is absolutely not true, as demonstrated both by the experiences of similar services in the past and by the fact that people pay for these services right now when they could easily get everything on them for free by pirating. Right now.

     

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    crade (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:30pm

    No, DRM is an attempt to make up your own copyright laws. Anti-Circumvention is the right to make up your own laws..
    Not just copyright related ones, either.. Laws that tie hardware and software together, tie data to particular applications.. All sorts of bad stuff.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:37pm

    The ONLY legal way?

    Petitioning my government for a redress of the current copyright system and urging it to shutdown current and future plans to expand copyright (SOPA, PIPA, et al) is also a legal way to express my utter disgust and contempt for DRM and the provisions of the DMCA which effectively and ludicrously give it the force of law.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

    Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    The key element here is that DRM has the force of law.

    It would be fine if DRM existed and circumvention methods were legal. It's the outlawing of circumvention methods that makes our use of things WE PAID FOR a crime.

    Individual rights on real things become subservient to corporate rights over imaginary things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: This isn't so new

    On the other hand there's no reason to alienate potential allies by staging the fight over copyright as yet another aspect of class warfare. There are plenty of corporations for whom copyrights are a massive burden and an impediment to their own goals.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Something is stopping you from adding DRM to your own shit? As I said above there's no reason to alienate potential allies by staging the fight over copyright as yet another aspect of class warfare. There are plenty of corporations for whom copyrights are a massive burden and an impediment to their own goals.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM

    because that's the sort of scum bag thing that you would do, does not mean everyone else would

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Re: DRM

    Netflix and Spotify wouldn't exist without DRM.


    You say that as if the DRM is an essential component to the way Netflix and Spotify work but you know full well the only reason that's true is because the incumbent music and movie industries insist upon it. If I demand 1,000,000 blue M&Ms to do my job that does not mean by job only exists because of blue M&Ms.

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: This isn't so new

    Exactly. This is a fight over basic common sense and legal principles that have been considered settled for longer than the USA has been a nation. Enforcement of the law, deciding whether a crime has been committed, and meting out punishment all belong to the criminal justice system, and it is an abomination to put the process into private hands, particularly the hands of the aggrieved party.

    It really is that simple.

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    It would be fine if DRM existed and circumvention methods were legal.


    No it wouldn't.

    What DRM does is takes the fundamental control of the operation of your computer away from you--the computer's rightful owner--and places it under the control of another party. In any other context, that's known as hacking, and is illegal. Why should there be any difference in this specific case?

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    If you give it permission, it's not hacking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    "In any other context, that's known as hacking, and is illegal."

    Not exactly. The term hacking has a very specific meaning that many people lose sight of which doesn't have any of the negative connotations commonly associated with it in and of itself. Hacking is tinkering with and studying something in an attempt to figure out how it works. Sometimes that involves changing it to work in a different way than it originally did. Sometimes the purpose of hacking something is to do some nefarious activity. However hacking something itself isn't necessarily bad.

    If you design something a to work a certain way and limit the end user's access to it, you aren't hacking it. However if the user tears it apart and studies it in an attempt to figure out how to get past those designed barriers, that of course would constitute hacking it. An individual that tears apart their car and customizes it could be described as a hacker. However, the original manufacturer wouldn't be a hacker at all.

     

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  46.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Words change over time. That's what "hacking" originally meant, it's true. Today, though, everyone except Richard Stallman understands it as meaning "breaking into someone else's computer property."

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    No, it still means the same thing as it did. It's just politicians who have no concept of technology misuse the word and confuse people into thinking it means something that it doesn't. And even IF it did mean what you think it means, that's still not hacking. It would only be hacking if they tried to somehow access it to take it over. Building something to keep someone else out is not the same as breaking into that something to take control of it.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Hacking is breaking into other people computers? I think many hacker spaces would disagree with you, as would Hack a Day. It is still used in its original meaning.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    Re: The fallout from DRM

    Don't be silly. The answer isn't "NO' it is "buy it again for the new device"

     

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  50.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Building something to keep someone else out is not the same as breaking into that something to take control of it.


    It is when the "something" in question is someone else's property, which is what DRM does. It hacks my property (my computer) to take my rightful control of what I can do with it away from me.

     

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  51.  
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    JEDIDAIH, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Cracking wasn't illegal before the DMCA. It was done all the time and you could even buy such tools in Best Buy.

    "Hacking" in legal terms is breaking into someone else's computer system. It has nothing to do with breaking encryption. The piracy that often accompanies cracking also has nothing to do with the legal definition of "Hacking". That was just garden variety copyright infringement.

     

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  52.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    You're getting what I said backwards. I didn't say that breaking DRM was hacking; I said that DRM itself is hacking, because what it does is indistinguishable from an act of hacking: subverting the computer owner's control of his own property.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    Let's be accurate here. In Bernstein v. US the district court originally held as noted in the article, and an appeal to the 9th Circuit resulted in a split decision by a 3 judge panel upholding the district court in large measure. But the story does not stop there. The government asked the entire 9th Circuit to hear the case en banc, the 9th Circuit withdrew the panel's decision, some changes were made by the US to its export control regulations (not the federal statutes, but the administrative regulations crafted pursuant to the statutes), everything got sent back to the federal district court, and then the case was dismissed on technical grounds. IOW, what the district court originally decided appears to have vanished into legal ether as if the issue had never been decided. Of course, the original opinion is still available, so it may have some persuasive effect, much like an amicus, since it was crafted by a federal court judge. In all candor, this was a weird case from the get go and remains so with the speech question having been addressed but not in my opinion conclusively answered so as to comprise 9th Circuit precedent.

     

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  54. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ah, at last the "Comment held for Moderation!" -- So Mike does censor.

    Well, you know what to do then:

    REPORT OOTB AND EVERYONE WHO RESPONDS TO HIM

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM

    >Spotify users could subscribe for 1 month and download thousands of songs, just to promptly cancel and keep all the music. They would have no way of retaining subscribers. They would have no way of tracking plays and paying rights holders appropriately


    Except that I could do the same damn thing with analogue CDs. Linkin Park and "Weird Al" Yankovic don't get any extra money each time I play the CDs I purchased legally.

    Funny how, for all the "downloading is stealing" ranting that copyright fans like to make, they get to pick and choose when the lines between analogue and digital blur.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    If you give it permission, it's not hacking.

    That Subset of computer crime that relies on the victim to betray themselves, like a phishing email claiming to need your personal information & bank details because the bank computer is broken.

     

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  57.  
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    Anon, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:03pm

    Even if laws calling DRM circumvention "infringement" are removed, contract law remains. EULAS and similar can still control what we can do - and breaking a legal contract, even if allowed by fair use, is a breach of contract law.

    For example, a license might state that you are not allowed to reverse-engineer a program. Technically, you may be allowed by law (fair use) to do so, but you are breaking the contract. That still causes a huge mess.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymouse Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:13pm

    Perhaps we should develop our own DRM implementation and use the DMCA as the key.

     

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  59.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Except that is fraudlent, so it's different than giving explicit and knowing permission.

     

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  60.  
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    James Jensen (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:50pm

    Re:

    Even so, it would be a vast improvement to transfer the situation to contract law. Contracts apply only to those who agree to them, so researchers could not be sued merely for doing security research on DRM systems.

    And I would much rather be sued for breach of contract than copyright infringement.

     

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  61.  
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    James Jensen (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:51pm

    Re:

    I'm not sure what good that would do. Could you elaborate?

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymouse Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Reimerdes also showed us that DRM is the right to suppress speech: the right to stop people from uttering code or keys or other expressions if there is some chance that these utterances will interfere with your made-up copyright laws.


    The key part being the codification of the law. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

     

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  63.  
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    Jay (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This isn't so new

    This is a fight over basic common sense and legal principles that have been considered settled for longer than the USA has been a nation.

    We've had 40-50 years of the MPAA in control of innovation and they've done a poor job of utilizing the technology.

    We're having the same fights we've had in the 1800s in other places such as the UK.

    So if that is the case, we're repeating the issues and that isn't moving us forward.

     

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  64. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Absolutely IS! "I made it, therefore I own it", and ALL rights to dispose of it.

    "Vote with you money."

    What a laughable and impotent platitude! If money gets you "votes" in the market, then who has the most votes? The people with a war chest the size of the Exxon Valdez, you twit! If your influence is contingent on how much money you have, then it's pretty plain why nothing changes. The status quo has the money. The status quo has the votes. The status quo has the most influence and they can leverage that influence to make sure they get to keep it. So you can take your "vote with your money" excuse and stuff it up your atrophied posterior until you can tickle your adenoids with it.

    Do you even know what an ad hominem attack even is? No, you don't. "You can't trust John's recommendations on tax policy, he doesn't even have a job!". That, is an ad hominem. Calling you out on your bad behavior is not an ad hominem.

     

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  65.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 10:17pm

    Re: The fallout from DRM

    I don't think anyone who cares about the subject is incognizant of the fact that DRM is a tool to make people buy more copies of the same thing when they ought to be able to make their own copy after they've paid for the first one. It's quite apparent that is what they sought to achieve.

    As the AC said, the answer isn't "NO!", it's "give us more money and we'll think about it."

     

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  66.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 10:24pm

    Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    I'd like to DRM my money so that when I buy DRM content, I can dictate to them if and how they can use my money. That would be poetic.

     

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  67.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

    The biggest convenience is that I don't have to have a local copy of every movie, show, song, or book in existence. Imagine if you had to download every work that exists in a digital format to your hard drive in order to access them at you whim. Downloads are cheap, but you have to wait for them and you have to have space to store the download. So yeah, the selling point is remote storage and instant access.

     

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  68.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 10:38pm

    DRM Is The Right To Make Up Your Own Copyright Laws.
    'Nuff said.

     

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  69. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:45pm

    Re: Re:

    And the best part, he conveniently leaves out his usual rant about the rich. If you don't vote with your money, he mocks you. If you do vote with your money, he rants that you're rich.

    What a fucking jacktard.

     

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  70.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    "At some point copyright runs out..."
    When I die, for me, all copyrights have expired as well.

     

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  71.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    BitCoin.DRM.com

     

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  72. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 7:30am

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced. Remember to read this reported comment!

     

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  73.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: DRM Is The Right for **Corporations** To Make Up Their Own Copyright Laws

    Oh that would be hilarious.

    'Seller agrees that the transfer of funds is merely a license to access said funds, and that this license can be revoked at the whim of the purchaser, at any time, and for any reason, removing the seller's access to said funds. Seller further agrees to follow the 'use guidelines' with regards to what the funds may be used for, and acknowledges that violations of these guidelines will render the license null and void, revoking seller's access to the funds.'

     

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  74.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: The fallout from DRM

    As the AC said, the answer isn't "NO!", it's "give us more money and we'll think about it."

    For which the response from the potential customer should be "Screw you, I'll make my purchases from companies and groups that respect my right to control what I've purchased, and don't try and charge me multiple times for something I've already paid for, so you can go bankrupt for all I care."

     

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  75.  
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    Anon, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Just like how Monsanto sues researchers who exp on their seed - using contract law.

     

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  76.  
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    xz11111000000 (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 7:43pm

    Problem with Doctorow's Proposal?

    Yes, we would like a media player with features that enable fair use, however, isn't the basic problem that a majority of existing media is owned by legacy companies that already have the law on their side and would be unlikely to license such a system?

    So then you accomplish what?

    Obviously many artists themselves might be interested to publish on such a system, in which case (eventually) there might be substantial libraries of media without the problem, but ....

    .... I don't see how that is used as the basis to sue to change existing law, if that is the/one intent.

    IOW, such a system I presume to have, in theory:

    (a) DRM to prevent pirating
    (b) Features to allow at least one full personal copy
    (c) Features to allow sampling for fair use

    Love it. Now, how do you use that to initiate a legal process to overturn the present law against hacking other DRM systems?

    Am I missing something? Please explain.

    Sincerely,

    Confused

     

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  77.  
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    xz11111000000 (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

    I think there is a difference in how the law treats personal use of physical media or software of a work purchased for personal use (where artist/owners presumably receive a royalty) and how it treats "public broadcasting" for profit, where license fees are distributed on a pro rata or other formula by licensing bodies such as RIAA etc., where the owners DO receive royalties.

    As far as I know, internet services such as Spotify are licensed as "broadcasters" and do pay these traditional bodies for use of the works. In fact one of the issues related to Apple's new broadcast service is the deal they cut (only in USA) achieves a lower effective royalty rate (as it was bundled with iTunes licensing for sales, apparently) .

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 3:56am

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

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  79.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Feb 9th, 2014 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Problem with Doctorow's Proposal?

    Quite simply:

    Determining what is, or isn't, covered by "Fair Use" is well beyond -- and intrinsically beyond -- the purview and the capacity of an application or computer program.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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