Tim Dickinson’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Sep 17th, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    Surely just simple DRM makes more sense now?

    Surely the best DRM going forward in a purely pragmatic sense for all involved will be something very basic along the lines of CSS.

    As we see time and time again, every DRM scheme that appears is pretty quickly rooted and this is not only embarrassing to the entertainment industry but also makes each attempt a massive loss making exercise and completely pointless. The pirates are always going to find a way to circumvent the DRM, and the movies/music/whatever will be shared.

    The only benefit that the entertainment industry gets out of DRM schemes then is preventing the common man (non-techie and non-pirate) from just making copies of his movies and sharing them with his friends. They want to avoid the situation in music we have had for the past decade where even you Mum or Dad could and might easily share a burned copy of a recent album purchase with friends.

    To prevent this "common-level" copying of discs, they could just as easily use a simple DRM like CSS, but use the legal protections to make sure no mainstream hardware or software manufacturer offered anything that circumvented that copy protection. Yes anybody can find some DVD-ripping utility online now to copy DVDs, but because the feature is not built into iTunes/MediaPlayer/Nero/etc they don't.

    Just making use of the legal protections like this will save them a fortune in implementing increasingly complex but equally useless DRM, and having to deal with all the associated problems that arise.

  • Sep 15th, 2010 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    @Paddy Duke

    You're absolutely right - there are plenty of politicians (the vast majority in fact) that have gone into the job for the right reasons - but problematically very very few of them understand digital issues.

    You could see that in the discussion on the DEA in the Commons - there were a handful like Tom Watson that argued intelligently on the subject - but most simply didn't even understand the terms involved like IP addresses. They all understand the idea that digital industries have become very important to this country - and then just accept the bag of half-truths the lobbyists throw at them because that is often the only information they are presented on the subject.

    The only way to solve these issues is to have a digital freedoms lobby group that argues the other side. Not the Pirate Party that is easy to dismiss, but something with support of tech companies and the like who can flash their market caps and show how many jobs and how much tax they are worth to the UK.

  • May 7th, 2010 @ 7:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    Complaining about the lack of variation for trials of different copyright systems does seem to be a very minor quibble and not one that adds much value here. The harmonisation of copyright systems would make technology much cheaper to develop to make use of the available material as well as offering users greater certainty of their position.

    I'm pleased some people in Europe are at least proposing such useful ideas, even if they aren't yet fully fleshed out.

  • Apr 26th, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    (untitled comment)

    Thanks for picking this up Mike.

    Most of the discussion may be a little sarcastic on here, but as you noted the takedown is pretty ridiculous in this case. Nothing in the tweet was infringing and it was not linking to infringing material. It was even linking to material that linked to infringing material.

    I know this must have been a mistake by someone at Beggars, who you rightly point out are normally pretty decent towards how people consume their content. But the issue is how easily Twitter capitulated without doing any investigation - none. Had they even clicked the link in the tweet they would have seen that this was not infringement, but instead the law favours copyright holders so much that service providers just bow down to them when confrontation appears.

  • Apr 7th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    (untitled comment)

    I just can't believe such an important bill had so little discussion and what discussion there was, was those objecting to the bill trying to convince an otherwise empty house. Both the conservatives and labour just whipped this bill through - utterly depressing. Why there isn't a rule that if you don't come to the debates you cannot vote is beyond me.

    This bill is going to cause major headaches for the digital economy it is supposed to support and only serves give the lobbyists a hollow victory. I know law has to play catch up most the time, but this one pushes the laws further away from the needs and rights of the public than where they started from.

    I hope the Dark Prince Mr Mandelson gets enjoys his free holidays off the back of this. Ugh.

  • Apr 6th, 2010 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Elections May 6?

    That's not entirely true though.

    There were full page ads both for and against the DEB in most broadsheets today. And the BBC had an episode of Panorama dedicated to the topic (still on iPlayer @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rl4dl )

    However, whereas in the US politics looks to have become quite polarised, at least to outsiders like myself, with both sides of the debate defending their views strongly. Sometimes both sides with misinformation, but there certainly does look to be interest in politics.

    Here in the UK the general public is so apathetic towards politics and politicians that most don't think they can make a difference and that MPs are on the take. The decline in interest has happened over decades, but the recent scandals about MPs' expenses and then laws for cash has disillusioned people so far most just no longer care at all. With an election coming the parties stay pretty close in the polls because no-one is really worth voting for and people are trying to decide on the lesser of two evils.

    Watching the DEB getting "discussed" in Commons today was unbelievably disappointing. This is a massively important bill and it is being rushed through in the wash up procedure, but even then only about 35 MPs bothered to turn up to say anything.

  • Feb 11th, 2010 @ 9:25am

    Re: Couple clarifications

    Whilst the posts are named in the DMCA complaint - bloggers are not always told which file is offending - that is part of the problem.

    Here's one of the recent notices
    http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512c/notice.cgi?NoticeID=32154

    Where are the offending files listed?

    Now the majority of bloggers in that list were sharing copyrighted files and the DMCAs were legitimate, and there would be little complaint about those blogs disappearing. But still the offending files are supposed to be listed, no?

  • Feb 10th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

    (untitled comment)

    Pleased you picked this up Mike. I was interested to see your take on it.

    I don't blame Google for the lack of consistency from the labels or the skewed DMCA process - but you're absolutely right that communication fell apart again, and that is something that is at least partly their fault.