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

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.

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TOPICS: Legal
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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).

Topic: Legal

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5 comments
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  • Pass the blinkers please - in case I see the way out.....

    After reading his blog and some of the [i]"How do you like a dose of that medicine?"[/i] postings, his response was to say that it was a minor inconvenience and it was all for the best really.

    Simon and Garfunkel wrote a line in "The Boxer" that went [i]"... a man hears what he wants to hear and he disregards the rest"[/i]. Some things haven't changed then!

    The sad truth is that all DRM is completely useless and easily bypassable. Even my 8 year daughter can do it. At some point the encoded stuff has to be decoded and passed along to a screen or a speaker so that it can be watched or heard. At this point AFTER all the decoding is done it is easily copied. Such copying may or may not be illegal, but it can be done.

    The next stage will be when they build the DVD player into the fascia of the TV so that you can't intercept the signals as they get displayed, but the technical crooks will just open up the TV and stick on a couple of crocidile clips. No doubt they will then put some sort of interlock on the casing and so on.

    It's all so tedious and so stupid. If they charged a fair price, nobody would bother ripping it off because it would not be worth the effort. If I could get CD's at ?2 or ?3 instead of ?15 then I would buy more of them. Ditto DVDs. I buy plenty of the low cost ones at ?3-?5 each but I never buy the new releases and ?15-?20 each.

    There's a lesson there.......
    bportlock
    • The DVDs are Cheaper In The US

      New releases go for about $15-$19.99 USD, Older Movies go 2 for $14.99, and there is the $5.99 and $1.00 basket- Those are prices at Wal-Mart New.

      FYI
      1 GBP = 1.75250 USD
      Edward Meyers
    • Breeding a new generation....

      ---At some point the encoded stuff has to be decoded and passed along to a screen or a speaker so that it can be watched or heard. At this point AFTER all the decoding is done it is easily copied. Such copying may or may not be illegal, but it can be done---

      What's interesting here is that we may be breeding a new generation of consumers to whom the quality of the media is less important. Obviously the kids out there are downloading crummy sounding mp3's left and right from p2p networks. They don't seem to think it's worth the extra effort to get the better sounding cd version. And we're going to see more and more patch-clamping, as you suggest, to get around annoying DRM (CRAP) systems. Which will let people watch the content unhindered, but will result in a drop in quality.

      So it's kind of interesting, when we're reaching new technological heights, HD televisions, such high quality sound and pictures, that the efforts of the content industry are actually driving consumers to having lower standards for the quality of the media they use.
      tic swayback
      • They think liberty is just a nice sounding phrase

        [i]So it's kind of interesting, when we're reaching new technological heights, HD televisions, such high quality sound and pictures, that the efforts of the content industry are actually driving consumers to having lower standards for the quality of the media they use.[/i]

        To many of these guys, liberty is just a catchy, sounding phrase. I suggest these guys do an experiment. Offer people houses with really cool entertainment equipment and other life amenities, but tell them they can never leave the houses. Also offer the people houses with old radios and black and white TVs, but tell them they can come and go, and do as they please. Next see how many people opt for the nice, comfy, prisons, over the houses in which they can live freely.
        P. Douglas
  • My heart bleeds for Mr. Giovanetti

    Either it is legal to copy the program, or it's not. The actual content must be immaterial: While Giovanetti considers his programs as representing a social loss, another might consider season 3 of the X-Files to have equally redeeming societal values. The subjective nature of the content cannot be the determining quality under the current DRM statutes because of it's varying underlying cultural bias. To change this, scrap the current DRM and start again.
    gmerin