Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Aug 2006 21:03 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source "With the recent release of the second draft of the GNU General Public License version 3, digital rights management is back in the news. The new draft may raise concerns about the rewording of section 3 of the license, which deals with DRM. The Free Software Foundation dislikes the term "digital rights management" and instead choose to call it digital "restrictions" management. But many people don't understand the implications of DRM on free software like Linux."
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RE
by Kroc on Wed 9th Aug 2006 21:21 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Say I'm in an enterprise. Currently there's very little technology which allows me to verify with absolute certainty that the original of a file has not been modified. In order to meet FSA Compliance and other legal compliance requirements - in order to not be fined into non-existance - I have to be able to proove that no unauthorised changes are being made to data.

I therefore need the right to digitally restrict a document to make it meet legal requirements, as well as keep the integrity of my own business and that of my staff.

Let me say this: The OS should not have rights over my data. An OS is there to manage my data. If I want to digitally restrict my data, because I have genuine requirements to do, I should be allowed to do so.

If companies wish to apply DRM to files, then they should be able to do so, because there are genuine needs. If some companies are abusing that, then you should be pushing congress, your local representative, and the EFF, not your OS.

DRM in Linux, is going to be a basic need to meet enterprise systems and requirements in the future. And it's not evil, wrong, or restrictive. The RIAA is evil, wrong and restrictive, DRM itself is not - it is a computing need that needs to be served.

Reply Score: 5

Re: RE
by elsewhere on Wed 9th Aug 2006 21:54 UTC in reply to "RE"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

DRM in Linux, is going to be a basic need to meet enterprise systems and requirements in the future. And it's not evil, wrong, or restrictive. The RIAA is evil, wrong and restrictive, DRM itself is not - it is a computing need that needs to be served.

This is brought up constantly, and I wish they would quit using DRM when discussing v3 since it understandably confuses the issue. It's nothing to do with controlling access to data, it's about using things like signed binaries to restrict modified gpl software from running on specialized hardware (ie. Tivo).

If Apple wanted to use some sort of embedded linux on the iPod, nothing in v3 would prevent them from implementing Fairplay. But it would prevent them from designing the iPod to restrict users from modifying that firmware. It's not quite the same thing.

Put another way, if v3 was about preventing restrictions on access to data, such as documents or media files, or what we normally think of when discussing DRM, then it would have equal implications on popular widespread applications like pgp or tripwire, or even some of the basic authentication mechanisms in linux. GPL v3 isn't about to prevent encryption of user passwords to prevent unauthorized access to system files. It's all the same basic underlying principle, since all of those examples are about using encrypted controls or similar restrictions to prevent unauthorized access to data, so that's not what this is about.

Having said that, I'm still of the opinion that v3 oversteps the boundaries of what a software license should control.

EDIT: Clarification

Edited 2006-08-09 21:55

Reply Score: 5

RE: Re: RE
by usman on Thu 10th Aug 2006 20:23 UTC in reply to "Re: RE"
usman Member since:
2006-07-01

GPLv3 does not prevent any measures to protect data from unautharized use. The pupose of the clause under discussion is to prevent a problem similar to what was created (and still exists) by propreitery formats. Every one knows the evils of propreitory formats - however, most people do not realize that there is another way that this can can happen.

i think an example will make it more clear ...

Certain softwares are used to digitally sign/encrypt
data such as emails, documents etc, using digital keys.
If, for example, some implementation of OpenPGP is used, the data can be accessed from any modified versions of the same implementation, or any other implementation of OpenPGP, only if i have the keys.

I think this is what is generally required in preventing unauthorized access to data. And GPLv3 does not in any way disallow creation of software which does this.

The GPLv3 adresses this situation.

Lets say i write a software A, which is used to restrict access to data by encrypting it. However, what i do is digitallysign the 'software' such that the data that has been encrypted can only be accessed if that signed binary is used.

Now, lets suppose, i only write the software for x86, and there is someone who is using a 64bit linux distro, he cannot compile that software and access that data even though he has right keys, because the binary has not been signed. Similarlry, it will also mean that the data can only be accessed on operating systems of my choice, and even hardware of my choice. And once someone is using my software, there will be not way out.

I think you can put all the evils associated with propreitary formats here. Need i mention that such propreitary formats can be hacked, but here ... oh well ... good bye .. my data .. you are at someone elses mercy forewer


However, if my software is licensed under GPLv3, what i'll be required to do is to provide the keys which can sign that modified 64bit binary so that it can acccess the data for which the person had the keys.

So do you not think Gplv3 is actually much more beneficial for end users (including enterprises) ...?
Yeah, if you want to try any of the things i have mentinoed ( like Tivo, Microsoft do ) .... oh well .. what can i say ... but if you, as the developer, do not have any plans to do any such thing with your end users , then this clause is of no consequence for you.

here is a relevant qoute from the second draft ...

"(For instance, if the work is a DVD player and can play certain DVDs, it must be possible for modified versions to play those DVDs. If the work communicates with an online service, it must be possible for modified versions to communicate with the same online service in the same way such that the service cannot distinguish.) A key need not be included in cases where use of the work normally implies the user already has the key and can read and copy it, as in privacy applications where users generate their own keys. However, the fact that a key is generated based on the object code of the work or is present in hardware that limits its use does not alter the requirement to include it in the Corresponding Source.

Edited 2006-08-10 20:33

Reply Score: 1

RE
by raboof on Wed 9th Aug 2006 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

I therefore need the right to digitally restrict a document (...) If I want to digitally restrict my data, because I have genuine requirements to do, I should be allowed to do so (...) DRM in Linux, is going to be a basic need to meet enterprise systems and requirements in the future.

I agree that DRM-ing stuff can be desirable.

However, while I won't pretend that I completely understand the GPLv3 DRM provisions, I'm certainly not convinced yet that the GPLv3 forbids the kind of situations you describe.

There seems to be a consensus that "Tivoization" is not allowed under the GPLv3, and I'm not sure yet, but I think that's too restrictive for my software to my taste. So I'll probably stick to the GPLv2 with a "contact me for negotiating alternative licensing arrangements" notice ;) .

Reply Score: 3

RE
by g2devi on Wed 9th Aug 2006 22:40 UTC in reply to "RE"
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

> Currently there's very little technology which allows
> me to verify with absolute certainty that the original
> of a file has not been modified.

What's wrong with with PGP or MD5? The first technology allows you to sign a file with a private key any allow verification of that file using a public key. The second technology creates a checksum for your file which you could verify. Neither of these technologies are DRM. DRM is something entirely different.

Reply Score: 5

RE
by eMagius on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:18 UTC in reply to "RE"
eMagius Member since:
2005-07-06

What's wrong with with PGP...? [It] allows you to sign a file with a private key any allow verification of that file using a public key... DRM is something entirely different.

Can GPLv3-licensed files be distributed as [e.g.,PGP-]signed binaries (with source code readily available, of course) without the private key being disclosed?

If so, can the GPLv3 somehow prohibit the manufacture of chipsets/processors/operating systems that check the signature of running binaries against a specific public key?

That's DRM right there, isn't it?

Reply Score: 2

RE
by hobgoblin on Thu 10th Aug 2006 16:04 UTC in reply to "RE"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

hmm, i kinda recall torvalds talking about something similar when draft 1 was released. iirc, its common to sign patches so that people can verify that when they put into the kernel is what the programmer created.

i think torvalds claimed that GPL3 would force all linux programmers to release their private keys.

but then DRM is more then just encryption. its about restricting what you can do with the encrypted content. but encryption is the basis for all kinds of DRM as it puts in place a lock and key combo.

DRM is kinda like having multiple doors to the same material. some doors may only allow you to see whats inside the room when opened (more like a window with locked shutters, or something similar), another will allow you to take stuff out, and the master door will allow you to put stuff in.

Reply Score: 1

RE
by elsewhere on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:34 UTC in reply to "RE"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

DRM is something entirely different.

No, and this is where things get muddled.

DRM is a concept, PGP is an application, public key encryption is a mechanism. PGP using public key encryption is simply one form of DRM. PGP encrypts data to ensure that only authorized users (holders of the appropriate key) have access to the data, which is no different in concept than encrypting a digital media file to ensure that only authorized users (holders of the appropriate key) have access to the data.

You can sign an MD5 sum to prevent compromise and verify file integrity, the same principle Tripwire operates under, but this is simply another form of DRM in that you're restricting access to digital data (the MD5 sum), in this case preventing it's modification.

The concept of DRM has been hijacked and turned into something evil due to the heavy handed nature of the RIAA and related authorities, but DRM is not exclusively related to monopolistic pillaging of consumers and impediments to fair trade provisions in copyright law. This is why any mention of it is sure to set off a firestorm of debate, but there are many many valid applications of DRM.

GPL v3 is only concerned with a particular application, the use of DRM with regards to restrictions interaction with GPL'd software. It has nothing to do with preventing DRM controls on user data, whether confidential corporate information or iTunes downloads.

Reply Score: 5

RE
by brown_rm on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:54 UTC in reply to "RE"
brown_rm Member since:
2006-02-23

"It has nothing to do with preventing DRM controls on user data, whether confidential corporate information or iTunes downloads."

Except how can DRM controls on iTunes downloads work if the stack below the player (OS, audio subsystem/driver) cannot be verified? Or am I wrong that GPLv3 would prevent this? If the DRM controls can be trivially circumvented, no "legal" player for DRM media will exist on Linux.

Reply Score: 2

RE
by raboof on Thu 10th Aug 2006 07:48 UTC in reply to "RE"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

how can DRM controls on iTunes downloads work if the stack below the player (OS, audio subsystem/driver) cannot be verified? Or am I wrong that GPLv3 would prevent this? If the DRM controls can be trivially circumvented, no "legal" player for DRM media will exist on Linux.

My impression is that Linus agrees that the scenario you describe should be possible, and that Linux will not move to the GPLv3 if it forbids it.

It's still a nontrivial technical and social problem, but that's another discussions.

Reply Score: 2

RE
by Dima on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE"
Dima Member since:
2006-04-06

If I want to digitally restrict my data, because I have genuine requirements to do, I should be allowed to do so.

Ok, so you want to restrict your data. But my OS should do what is in my best interest, not yours. So modifying your data may be illegal, morally wrong, whatever - but it is my decision. And the OS has to respect it. Otherwise, I can look for another OS.

Reply Score: 2

as
by deanlinkous on Wed 9th Aug 2006 22:10 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

v3 is not against DRM, they are not trying to overstep and take on something outside the scope of what the GPL has always provided. v2 provides certain specific software freedoms, v3 does exactly the same but must take into account DRM that has specifically been implemented in such a way to take away some of those freedoms. That is unacceptable. Nothing has changed about the intent of the license only it has seen a threat (tivo) and now will implement a mechanism that makes sure the freedoms are upheld. Not demanding the death of DRM only that the life of the software freedoms live on.

Reply Score: 3

RE: as
by Mitarai on Wed 9th Aug 2006 22:18 UTC in reply to "as"
Mitarai Member since:
2005-07-28

DRM + Keys = No DRM

It is anti-DRM.

Reply Score: 3

and
by deanlinkous on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:13 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

DRM+keys=software freedoms
Which is the whole purpose of GPL/FSF

Reply Score: 1

I have to agree with Stallman here ...
by WorknMan on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:19 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Anybody who has read any of my posts probably knows that I am not exactly an OSS evangilist. However, I am a lot less tolerant of DRM and other BS in hardware than I am software. First of all, you can't really pirate hardware as you can with software. Second of all, when you 'buy' a piece of software, you're basically just paying for a license to use it in most cases. I can understand why the author probably doesn't want me to take a $50 piece of software I just bought and distribute a million copies of it. If I write a piece of software myself and I don't want people to modify the code, then Stallman can suck my big toe, because he's not getting access to it.
But when I buy a piece of hardware, I own it, and it is mine to do with what I damn well please, so long as I'm not breaking any other laws in the process. If I buy a Tivo and want to install software to turn the f**king thing into a toaster, then I should be allowed to do that, and the company should *NOT* be allowed to tell me what I can and can't do with it. If I want to use it as a prop so that my dresser no longer leans, then that is up to me. Sure, if I wipe their software and put something else on, and thus void the warranty, that's fine. But, IMHO, it should be illegal for them to specifically put barriers in there so I can't do that.

Reply Score: 5

Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

The difference you mention about hardware and software is interesting and it gets to the core of the problem. And this is that patents, copyrights, and the like are artificial, unfair rights given to "stimulate" productivity .They say: "if you invent/create something original we'll give you a prize for it". This prize is at the expense of others, of course. But since it's supposed to increase productivity/creativity/technical advance, it's supported by governments.

If you buy a car, you can do what you want with it. You've payed for it and you're the owner, and your rights are not restricted. But if you buy a book, a CD or software, you're not the owner. You only have the right to use it in a certain way. And this is evil.

Let's say I buy a painting from a famous paniter (alive) and I pay $3 million. Then I am the OWNER of that paint. I can retouch it, copy it or sh*t on it. That's why I payed $3 million for it ! The author keeps no rights over it (he keeps the money, which should be enough).

But when a CD sells 150.000 copies for $20 dollars each to a sum of $3 million the funny situation is that the owner of that music is still the one who has sold it ! All the 150.000 users who bought it and made the seller rich only have the right to listen to it.

How can someone sell something and still want to be the owner? If you want to kep your rights on your music, don't sell it ! You'll remain the owner of it (alas, you wont get rich).

You may say that the difference with a car or a desk is that music can be copied while cars or desks can't. But that's also the musician's advantage. If he had to go to the home of those 150.000 persons with his guitar to play his songs every time they want to listen to them, he wouldn't be able to do it. So digital copies are as good as bad for him.

And if someones says that not protecting these rights would stop invention, progress and creativity, please let me laugh about it. The examples through history and in the current times are too many to even doubt about it.

These rights were created in a time when they seemed to serve a purpose. Now they no longer serve that purpose (on the contrary, they've been turned to their evil side). Users are revealing against them, and the time for them to disappear is not far away.

Reply Score: 3

eMagius Member since:
2005-07-06

Let's say I buy a painting from a famous paniter (alive) and I pay $3 million. Then I am the OWNER of that paint. I can retouch it, copy it or sh*t on it. That's why I payed $3 million for it ! The author keeps no rights over it (he keeps the money, which should be enough).

But when a CD sells 150.000 copies for $20 dollars each to a sum of $3 million the funny situation is that the owner of that music is still the one who has sold it ! All the 150.000 users who bought it and made the seller rich only have the right to listen to it.

How can someone sell something and still want to be the owner?


If you'd like to buy the exclusive rights to a certain CD for $3 million and then give away free-as-in-freedom copies, there are plenty of artists/managers out there that would be happy to sell 'em to you.

Reply Score: 3

Mitarai Member since:
2005-07-28

When you buy a painting you buy the original you have all the righs because you bought the orginal, when you buy a cd you buy a copy of the cd not the original, the original belongs to some one else and the owner of the original have all the rigths not you who just bought a copy.

Reply Score: 3

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

When you buy a car, you are in effect buying a copy, and yet you still have the right to do as you please with it.

If you pay for something, be it a copy or the original - YOU OWN IT.

Reply Score: 1

Wrawrat Member since:
2005-06-30

Technically, you can do pretty much everything you want with a book or a physical media, too. However, stories and songs are not object, but intellectual properties, which are not submitted to the same rules in most societies.

If copying a car was a trivial task, then I am pretty sure that we would have car-copying regulations, car-copying proponents, etc.

Just a note: although you might do everything you want with your car, I am pretty sure that you cannot make a verbatim copy without having trouble with the manufacturer and its army of lawyers.

Edited 2006-08-10 01:12

Reply Score: 3

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

I think that we are getting sidetracked here anyway. Cars, books, paintings etc. are not covered by the GPL.

The point is that the GPL is designed to provide end users with the right to copy and modify anything that uses the license. Whether you or I think that's right or wrong is irrelevant.

It seems to me that DRM as a concept does not fit with this license.

Reply Score: 1

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

It seems to me that DRM as a concept does not fit with this license.

Making the license unlikely to be of value in the coming world of pay-per-view entertainment.

Reply Score: 2

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

You're talking about content, I'm talking about software. They are completely different.

Content is not covered by the GPL, the media player that plays it is.

Reply Score: 1

elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

If you buy a car, you can do what you want with it. You've payed for it and you're the owner, and your rights are not restricted. But if you buy a book, a CD or software, you're not the owner. You only have the right to use it in a certain way. And this is evil.

No, that's not quite correct. Different countries have different legislation, but for the most part, when you purchase a book or a CD or software, you are the owner of the right to use it as you see fit. In the US, I believe the Doctrine of First Sale enforces this, and is the reason used books stores or used CD stores or used video game stores are legally able to operate.

Copyright law covers the re-distribution of protected works. So you can sell your book to someone else, but you can't photocopy it and sell that, or keep the photocopy but sell the book.

This is the catch, media DRM has absolutely nothing to do with piracy, copyright laws already address that anyways, the media companies are simply using that as a scapegoat since it sounds bad. DRM is about the first part: issues like doctrine of first sale, or fair use. It "robs" the media companies of revenue since they do not get any money back from people who legally and legitimately resell work that they legitimately own. They use piracy as an excuse to justify your inability to copy a DVD to a format that will play on your portable media player so you can view it on the road; the reality is they would simply prefer you purchase an additional copy to play on your portable media player. This is also why DRM is also referred to as things like "Fair Use Bypass Surgery".

And this is also why DRM enforcement etc. has varied results in different countries and jurisdictions.

Let's say I buy a painting from a famous paniter (alive) and I pay $3 million. Then I am the OWNER of that paint. I can retouch it, copy it or sh*t on it. That's why I payed $3 million for it ! The author keeps no rights over it (he keeps the money, which should be enough).

But when a CD sells 150.000 copies for $20 dollars each to a sum of $3 million the funny situation is that the owner of that music is still the one who has sold it ! All the 150.000 users who bought it and made the seller rich only have the right to listen to it.


Apples and oranges. When you purchase the painting, you're purchasing the work and most likely all rights that go with it. That's ownership. When you purchase a CD you are purchasing a "copy" of the work, and absolutely no rights other than those granted by fair use (copy + rights = copyrights). It would be no different than buying a print or lithograph from an artist instead of a painting, you wouldn't be able to reproduce and sell it because you don't have the material rights to.

In the CD example, what often happens is that the record labels effectively force the artists to "sell" their rights to the music they produce, and the record labels then have ownership and can reproduce and sell copies of the music. The artists often lose ownership of their own work and have no more rights than you when you purchase it on CD. Record labels don't like co-ownership of work, they want it all, you generally need to be in the stature of U2 or the Stones to have enough clout to maintain control of your own work.

And if someones says that not protecting these rights would stop invention, progress and creativity, please let me laugh about it. The examples through history and in the current times are too many to even doubt about it.

These rights were created in a time when they seemed to serve a purpose. Now they no longer serve that purpose (on the contrary, they've been turned to their evil side). Users are revealing against them, and the time for them to disappear is not far away.


There's nothing wrong with things the way they are. Artists or other content providers have a right to earn a living, and you have a right to choose what you do or do not want to pay for. Copyright law has a legitimate purpose, and besides, remember that the very same laws "inhibiting" you from downloading warez or sharing music on p2p also prevent Microsoft or Apple from taking GPL'd linux code and using it in a proprietary manner.

Don't confuse this with DRM. The media companies actually do not like the status quo and the protections you have (ie. copyright law) which is why they're trying to supplant them or maneuver around them with DRM provisions. They're simply playing a game of misdirection with the public and various legislatures as to where their concerns really lie.

Reply Score: 3

Tivo would not exist with Tivoization
by NotParker on Wed 9th Aug 2006 23:24 UTC
NotParker
Member since:
2006-06-01

Tivo would not exist without Tivoization.

The owners of the movies and TV shows being copied would sue Tivo to death if Tivo's could do anything with those shows.

I hpe the GPLv3 succeeds. It will end Linux's existence on media players and give Bill Gates a huge win.

Edited 2006-08-09 23:25

Reply Score: 5

butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Let's suppose the Linux kernel were licensed under the GPLv3 (as unlikely as that may be). Further suppose that Tivo's users began to use the keys that Tivo was required to distribute in order to modify Tivo's software or install new software on their Tivos. Finally, suppose that these users were modifying or install software in order to break copy protection schemes and "pirate" content.

I don't think that any court in the world, even in the US, would find Tivo liable for damages under something like the DMCA. It seem quite clear that Tivo's users can to go to significant lengths to use modify software and use digital keys to break the copy protection. The users would be found liable, if for no other reason, because Tivo didn't ship software that allowed users to break the protections.

Now, this treads kind of closely to the "Hot Coffee" fiasco. In that case, Take Two was found liable, largely because the questionable content was distributed as a part of the software, even though the user needed to modify the software in order to access it. However, since the user would have to supply their own copy protection-breaking software, Tivo could not be held liable on the same grounds.

IANAL.

Reply Score: 1

Murrell Member since:
2006-01-04

I hpe the GPLv3 succeeds. It will end Linux's existence on media players and give Bill Gates a huge win.

Why would you actively want that? Why do you care?

Reply Score: 3

GPLv3 loopholes or lack thereof
by Wes Felter on Thu 10th Aug 2006 00:07 UTC
Wes Felter
Member since:
2005-11-15

Can GPLv3-licensed files be distributed as [e.g.,PGP-]signed binaries (with source code readily available, of course) without the private key being disclosed?

Yes, unless....

If so, can the GPLv3 somehow prohibit the manufacture of chipsets/processors/operating systems that check the signature of running binaries against a specific public key?

Yes, if such hardware is bundled with GPLv3'ed binaries.

Reply Score: 1

RE
by Wes Felter on Thu 10th Aug 2006 00:12 UTC
Wes Felter
Member since:
2005-11-15

Except how can DRM controls on iTunes downloads work if the stack below the player (OS, audio subsystem/driver) cannot be verified?

They can't (in theory), that's why lots of software DRM has been cracked.

Or am I wrong that GPLv3 would prevent this? If the DRM controls can be trivially circumvented, no "legal" player for DRM media will exist on Linux.

Keep in mind that Linux will never be under GPLv3. But if it was, you would be right. People could always evade DRM by patching the kernel (in theory). This is the reason why Fluendo's GStreamer DRM either will not work (because the kernel is untrusted) or will not be accepted by the community (because it requires a signed/verified/trusted/crippled kernel).

Reply Score: 2

Stuff
by HappyGod on Thu 10th Aug 2006 00:15 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

I really think Torvalds has lost the plot here. In the end it comes down to this:

- Do you think the success of linux is more important than the freedoms provided by the GPL?

- Are you willing to sacrifice those freedoms so Linux (or any other GPL based OS) becomes a more attractive option to use with proprietary devices?

I don't and I'm not. I couldn't care less if MS gets "a huge win" by manufacturers moving wholesale to Windows for devices.

What makes GNU/Linux great is the freedoms provided by the GPL. That is why I use it, and why it exists in the first place.

Reply Score: 2

What's the point of Software Freedom...
by codehead78 on Thu 10th Aug 2006 01:21 UTC
codehead78
Member since:
2006-08-04

...if it won't run on anything?

Why do we have this DRM clause again? That's right, the sky is falling and soon no one will be able to modify any software because the whole computer will be locked down. It's a slippery slope folks, we have to do something!

OR that will never happen because no one in their right mind would try to force unilateral "Trusted Computing" because on one would buy it.

OR I'm wrong and if I am the GPL can't stop it. If those evil bastards really want to lock up all the software and hold all the keys, they really won't care if it can't run GPL.

All this shows is that the FSF doesn't care about User Freedom, just their uncompromising flavor of Software Freedom which really means nothing if it restricts User Freedom.

Reply Score: 2

buying, leasing, et cetera
by Cloudy on Thu 10th Aug 2006 03:05 UTC
Cloudy
Member since:
2006-02-15

When you buy a car, you don't have absolute rights to it. There are the obvious laws governing what you're allowed to do with it when you use it. There are laws people tend to forget about being required to keep it road worthy in order to use it. There are laws about what modifications you might legally make to it and continue to use it. There are laws about things like changing odometer setting, et cetera.

But that's not relevant to this discussion, because we're not talking about buying an object when we talk about recordings, we're talking about licensing the right to use a copy of the recording.

This isn't a particularly new idea. Pay-per-view television has been around for decades, for example, and before that premium content, and before that basic cable. But even before cable, "free" TV was transmitted under a license to view, not as a property you could do anything you wanted with.

Prior to pay-per-view, when you bought a recording of something, you bought a transferable right to unlimited playing of the recording. You never had the right to copy it, except under the fair-use clause of copyright, for personal backup, or small parts of it to reference in other limited ways. You did have the right to resell the object containing the recording, though.

This has always been different than when you bought a license for a single performance. A movie ticket gets you in to see the movie once, and that's it.

DRM, then, from a legal viewpoint, is about taking the movie ticket one step passed the pay-per-view model of cable TV to the limited-controlled access model of computer multimedia replay.

Almost the entire confusion (and it exists on both sides of the debate) is due to people not understanding the difference between buying a recording (like a CD) and buying the limited right to view content (like a movie ticket.)

This has been further complicated by the media industries trying to abuse DRM for "anti-piracy" because, let's face it, there are people who make illegal duplications and the distributors are greedy.

So here's the deal: if you want playable media like a movie ticket, then you have to take DRM to get it it. If you want playable media like a CD, then you have to buy physical media to get it, but you're still not allowed to make copies.

Reply Score: 5

Tivo issues
by mkone on Thu 10th Aug 2006 07:19 UTC
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

From http://www.ituniv.se/~klang/wrote/2006/07/17/gplv3-issues-tivo-isat... and I quote The problem is that TiVO contains a special mechanism that shuts down the machine if the user attempts to install modified software. Therefore the user is allowed to modify the code but is prevented from in reality from using these modifications in the embedded application of the TiVO. This makes freedom 1 into a sham."

If you replace software on a Tivo box, and I can't see this being impossible, perhaps very hard though, then you just replace all Tivo's keys with your keys, but you may not be able to access their service. That is them enforcing your 'contract' with them. If you try replace only parts of it whilst trying to pass off your box as a Tivo, then they wont let you. Either run all their software, or run all of your own. You would lose the same functionality either way. But you don't have a right to pass of your modified Tivo as an original Tivo

Reply Score: 2

Question though...
by mkone on Thu 10th Aug 2006 07:22 UTC
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

...I understand that if one links their non-GPL compatible app to a GPL library, they are not allowed to distribute the resulting binary. But what if they just distribute the source code for the end user to compile (like Gentoo). They are not distributing a derivative work, so would that be legal?

Reply Score: 1

Can't have it both ways.
by BTrey on Thu 10th Aug 2006 13:47 UTC
BTrey
Member since:
2006-03-27

But when I buy a piece of hardware, I own it, and it is mine to do with what I damn well please, so long as I'm not breaking any other laws in the process. If I buy a Tivo and want to install software to turn the f**king thing into a toaster, then I should be allowed to do that, and the company should *NOT* be allowed to tell me what I can and can't do with it. If I want to use it as a prop so that my dresser no longer leans, then that is up to me. Sure, if I wipe their software and put something else on, and thus void the warranty, that's fine. But, IMHO, it should be illegal for them to specifically put barriers in there so I can't do that.

You can't have it both ways. You say that if you buy a hardware device, you purchased it and should be able to do anything you want to with it. Well and good. I fully agree that you should be able to take any action you like with your piece of hardware. However, you go on to say that it should be illegal for the seller to put specific technical barriers to certain operations. Before they sell you the hardware, it isn't yours. It belongs to the company that sold it. And if you can do anything you like with your hardware, then they can do anything they like with their hardware, including installing technology designed to limit what you can do with it after they sell it. If you don't care for that, don't buy their hardware.

Now, once you bought it, if you can find away around those restrictions, that SHOULD be legal. It's yours. Do with it what you want. The DMCA et al prevents that, and I'm right there with you oppossing those laws. But if no one has a right to tell you what to do with your hardware, the exact same provision applies to the manufacturer. No one has the right to tell them how they can design and build their hardware either.

Reply Score: 2

exactly
by deanlinkous on Fri 11th Aug 2006 03:56 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

It is much like other security mechanisms, a irritation and bother to the honest person and just another hurdle to the dishonest person.

Most people are upset when any entity treats them as a criminal simply because of a bad few and yet with DRM people are actually accepting of it.

I do not tolerate anything that treats me like I am dishonest simply because I am not dishonest. If you want to catch the dishonest then by all means do so - but don't bother me with it.

hey, it is late and I haven't posted in a while...

Reply Score: 1

DRM not evil
by mkone on Fri 11th Aug 2006 07:18 UTC
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

Anything that is powerful has the potential to be used for good or bad. You can't give up the potential for something to be used in bad ways without giving up power for that same thing to be used in new good ways.

Which is why I think GPLv3 takes it too far. I think Tivoisation is a good thing. Any time someone has provided you with their key, then they provide you with a service, and the argument moves from the realm of a software license to that of a contract. I think what Tivo did is a novel way of enforcing a contract with you. They did not take away the rights of anyone to have and modify the source. They just say, if you do, then do not expect service from us, and they enforce that. I am sure if someone really wants to, they can get by the restrictions on the Tivo, but it does invalidate the contract. If you do not like that, do not take the contract, simple, easy. If enough people do not like it, they will change their business model, but I do not see that happening.

Why, when Linux(and other open source software) is getting pervasive, do we suddenly feel the need to be militant against organisations who are pushing Linux in areas no one dreamed of ten years ago. It smacks of downright jealousy if I may say so. If the object is to make it impossible to make money using free software, then the GPLv3 moves close to achieving that goal.

Reply Score: 1

RE: DRM not evil
by deanlinkous on Fri 11th Aug 2006 16:20 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Well nothing right now stops ANYONE from pulling the tivo stunt. So while it *may* be alright in provided-service type hardware the same could go for dell tommorrow and then would you still be happy?

Reply Score: 1