Linked by Linux Review on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:07 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source It's been a while since we caught up with Stallman. But a couple months ago we took a look around at what's happening with law, politics and technology and realized that he maybe perhaps his extremism and paranoia were warranted all along. So when we were contacted by an Iranian Linux publication and asked if we would like to publish an English translation of a recent interview they had done with Stallman, I thought that it was a particularly rich opportunity.
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RE[2]: Re:
by galvanash on Wed 21st Mar 2012 00:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Re:"
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

And that DRM is unethical as well as ineffective.


DRM is like a gun... almost exactly like a gun. The old saying is "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Sure, it is corny and the phrase is more often used just to make stupid political points - but it IS true.

On the other hand, going around killing people with a knife or club is a different thing entirely - there is no denying that if you eliminate guns murder becomes a significantly different proposition.

On the other other hand... Whether people like it or not, killing people is sometimes justified - a world without guns is a fairytale - war is part of the human condition.

My point is only that DRM isn't unethical from a technology point of view. DRM fundamentally boils down any technology used to retain control of how data can be used and copied. There are perfectly ethical uses for such technology (assuming you can actually make it work effectively - which as you point out is borderline impossible if the demand to defeat it is high enough).

The problem I see with DRM (at least when applied to the music industry) is they are trying to use the technology to impart physical attributes on something that isn't physical anymore. The idea of using technology to ensure that there is only one copy of something in existence is pretty stupid when you consider that the primary attraction of digital media is the ease of which it can be manipulated for different uses. The _reason_ people like digital media (as opposed to a CD or tape) is because it lets them use it all over the place any way they like...

In short I would say the biggest blunder in the history of music was the "problem" of DRM being ineffective. I actually wish it was 100% effective. Why? Because 100% effective DRM would represent the end of the "big label" music industry - they would DRM themselves to death quite quickly...

As things are now there is no real rebellion against the industry - it is much easier to just break their guns and ignore them. Effective DRM would make the general public realize how much they don't want to license music, they want to buy it. We will never reach the point of being able to buy music until this game gets played out completely.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Re:
by shmerl on Wed 21st Mar 2012 02:04 in reply to "RE[2]: Re:"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Not so simple. DRM is a preemptive policing technology intended for a very practical application. Thus it's not comparable to an abstract gun, but more to putting handcuffs on everyone, just in case someone will decide to act illegally. Handcuffs are just a tool, but putting them on everyone as a preemptive policing practice - is unethical. That's why DRM is unethical. It's not just an abstract technology, but technology created for the single purpose of preemptive policing.

Edited 2012-03-21 02:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[4]: Re:
by galvanash on Wed 21st Mar 2012 19:25 in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Not so simple. DRM is a preemptive policing technology intended for a very practical application. Thus it's not comparable to an abstract gun, but more to putting handcuffs on everyone, just in case someone will decide to act illegally.


Using handcuffs as an analogy is rather ironic to me - handcuffs are a tool used to inhibit a person's ability to resist. DRM doesn't inhibit this at all, if anything it has the opposite effect (it ends up promoting the exact behavior your imply it deters - primarily because it doesn't work and everyone knows it).

We are both against DRM. But I'm against it because it is used stupidly, not because it is evil. Assuming it actually worked, using it to control copying of sensitive data (that you in fact own) is not evil at all.

Demonizing technology doesn't do any good - I prefer to concentrate on the real problems... If people would stop complaining about silly things like DRM and start voting with their wallets a lot of these "issues" would resolve themselves rather quickly.

The fact is virtually no one is really happy with the rights they are granted when they buy a piece of music (DRM or not). But they buy it anyway... THAT is the problem.

Reply Parent Score: 1