DRM and Linux

I would like to take a little time out of the normal lessons on Linux and discuss the movements towards Digital Rights Management and it’s impact on the personal Computer. For more information see the references section at the end of this page.

What is DRM?

DRM is the initiative being presented to the US congress by the Movie, Music, and Publishing associations to allow them to defend their copyright in a digital world.

Here is a quote from the EFF on what this is all about:

Fred von Lohmann
Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Digital rights management (DRM) technologies are aimed at increasing the kinds and/or scope of control that rights-holders can assert over their intellectual property assets. In the wake of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) ban on the circumvention of DRM technologies used to control copyrightable works, DRM restrictions are now backed up with the force of law. In essence, copyright owners now have the ability to write their own intellectual property regime in computer code, secure in the knowledge that the DMCA will back the regime with the force of law.

It’s not surprising that in light of these developments many have expressed alarm that DRM technologies may be used by copyright owners to erode capabilities that had previously been permitted to the public by copyright law under the “fair use” doctrine (or its cousins, such as first sale or limited term).

What is the nature of the tension between DRM (as backed by the DMCA) and fair use? Is the tension irreconcilable? If so, which should give way?

For the full text see Fair Use and the DRM

We are the Stake holders

I have been reading articles by Ruben Safir for a while to understand the problem and all it’s ramifications. Briefly, the music, movie, and publishing industry are trying to outlaw the use of computers to produce new ideas, and share current ideas. Sound draconian? I wish it was just hot air, but it isn’t. Here is a link to one of the best presentation I know about the issues: Who owns the music

Unlike many politicians lately, I want you to spend some time reading the articles, and form your own opinioins. My take is that this will be extremely distructive to Linux and all the Open Source programs. Just when the price of creating content has fallen to unprescenidented lows, the Intellectual Property companies, are trying to demand more compensation than ever before, thus offsetting the low cost of production, with unreasonable licencing costs.

On an interesting note, do any of you use cable modems, or satellite links? If you do, take a look at the license agreement, you are not allowed to run a web or ftp server. Why not? Are they afraid that you might overload their network? No because they limit it at their end, the answer is that they do not want you to be a producer of content. Producing content is not allowed since it would cut into the profits of the current media producers. Interestingly, that same argument is why magazines and news papers pay a lower mail rate than letters. Do you think it is cheaper to mail a magazine than a letter. If you don’t believe me, try figuring out the difference between the mail carrying a letter and a magazine to a home. They want you to be a consumer, not a producer. Sounds like control to me.

OK, I have probably bored you to tears, but please read and get involved, the future of the home computer could be at stake. George Orwells classic 1984 might be happening today thanks to DRM.


Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) on DRM
EFF “Intellectual Property: Digital Rights Management (DRM) Systems & Copy-Protection Schemes” Archive
NY for Fair Use

Salon.com Has declared the RIAA the winners in the fair use wars as they are poised to take on software developers from making peer to peer networks and to firewall the internet.

Where were you when the lights went out in Georgia? Your children will want to know why you let them down…

Lawrence Lessig
<free culture>
Over the past three years, Lessig has given more than 100 talks like the one captured here.

On July 24, 2002, at the O.Reilly Open Source Conference he announced this would be one of his last.

Written by John F. Moore

Last Revised: Wed Oct 18 11:01:31 EDT 2017

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