Content protection (DRM) advocate bitten by the hand that feeds him

Summary:Via ZDNet reader Steve Ackerman who called it "poetic justice" comes a pointer to a blog by anti-DRM crusader Cory Doctorow who (by way of circuitous route) picked up on intellectual property blogger (IP blog) Tom Giovanetti's DRM tale of woe.   Officially, DRM stands for digital rights management.

Via ZDNet reader Steve Ackerman who called it "poetic justice" comes a pointer to a blog by anti-DRM crusader Cory Doctorow who (by way of circuitous route) picked up on intellectual property blogger (IP blog) Tom Giovanetti's DRM tale of woe.   Officially, DRM stands for digital rights management.  Personally, I prefer digital restrictions management or better yet,  C.R.A.P. (also see CRAP, the movie). Wrote Giovanetti:

The problem is, we have been using the PVR to record 2 years worth of a Spanish language curriculum that is broadcast over an educational channel, and we've been using this content to teach our son Spanish. Now the curriculum is gone. It's not like I'm just inconvenienced in not being able to watch my "24" episodes. An educational curriculum is lost. 

Giovanetti goes on to ask:

Why isn't there a way to hook up a USB or Firewire backup device to PVRs and DVRs in order to backup the content? Is there an IP angle to this?

Uh, yeah.  Tom, if you can copy the content from your DVR to your computer through USB or Firewire, then why can't you copy it to the Internet? Ergo, you can't copy the content from your DVR to a USB or Firewire device because the same practice that keeps content from leaking onto the Internet keeps you from doing the things you should be able to do with your recordings.  Like back them up.  For Giovanetti to have experienced this sort of trainwreck is amazingly ironic.  On his about me page, Giovanetti says the following:

The purpose of the blog is to cover developments in intellectual property protection from a property-rights, pro-market orientation. It is our belief that strong intellectual property protection is a foundational condition for a growing economy, particularly in the Information Age. It is also our observation that intellectual property protection is today under seige as never before. Hopefully, this blog will be a valued resource, making arguments in favor of intellectual property protection, and drawing attention to important work being done in this area.

Steve hit it perfectly.  Poetic justice. 

Stay tuned for a podast that I hope to publish tomorrow that covers Sun's Project DReaM.  Contrary to what Brad Templeton at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told me,  Sun says there can be an open source open standard implementation of DRM.  Not that I'm crazy about DRM, but my biggest complaint about it is that all of the implementations are proprietary which in turn is damaging to consumers because of how the content they're purchasing or renting can only play where the content distributor says it can play (eg: an iPod).

Topics: Legal

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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