DRM and open source

Summary:There's an interesting discussion going on between KDE developers about putting DRM in open source applications -- in this case, KPDF, a PDF reader for KDE. On the one hand, KDE developers may not have a choice -- Adobe claims copyright over the PDF spec, and grants permission to implement it only if there are "reasonable efforts" to implement restrictions in PDF.

There's an interesting discussion going on between KDE developers about putting DRM in open source applications -- in this case, KPDF, a PDF reader for KDE.

On the one hand, KDE developers may not have a choice -- Adobe claims copyright over the PDF spec, and grants permission to implement it only if there are "reasonable efforts" to implement restrictions in PDF. (See the spec here.) Since Adobe is the company that went after Dmitri Sklyarov for cracking the DRM in their eBook Reader, it's not unreasonable to believe Adobe would go after developers who implement a DRM-free PDF reader.

On the other hand, there are those who feel that there's a moral obligation not to implement DRM in free software.

As digital restriction management continues to proliferate, this is a question free and open source software developers will have to answer. What do you think? Should open source software implement DRM?

Topics: Software Development

About

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is the community manager for openSUSE, a community Linux distro sponsored by Novell. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist primarily covering the Linux and FOSS beat, and wrote for a number of publications, such as Linux Magazine, Linux.com, Sys Admin, UnixReview.com, IBM developer... Full Bio

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