Intel's DRM by any other name is still DRM

Intel's DRM by any other name is still DRM

Summary: In calling a spade a spade, Cory Doctorow refers to Intel's DTCP-IP technology for what it really is: Digital Rights Management Technology.  Only I wish he'd start using my acronym for DRM: CRAP (see the video for why I call it that).

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In calling a spade a spade, Cory Doctorow refers to Intel's DTCP-IP technology for what it really is: Digital Rights Management Technology.  Only I wish he'd start using my acronym for DRM: CRAP (see the video for why I call it that).  That way, the headline could have read something like "Just when you were hoping you didn't have to take any more CRAP, along comes more of it from Intel."  Anyway, back to Intel's DTCP-IP: Intel gave a presentation of the technology at the Intel Developer Forum taking place in San Francisco this week.  Not only did Doctorow call a space a spade, he pointed out the most hard-to-believe part of Intel's licensing terms for the technology:

Scariest of all, though, is slide 25, shown here [viewable in Cory's blog], which explains what happens if your DTCP-IP implementation results in a breach: $8m in fines, more fines from copyright holders, and revocation of your devices in the field (meaning potential lawsuits from your customers)....The presentation ends with a bunch of "call-to-action" slides for the people in the audience who are supposed to go out and add this to their products. But none of those slides says this: "If you subtract value from your products by adding our crippleware, we might reward you by bankrupting you when the inevitable breach occurs."

If I'm not mistaken, this outrageously high fine sort of cuts to the chase of why DRM and open source are incompatible with each other.  In other words, you can't have an open source implementation of DRM.  Take for example the actual computer code that's used to take the layer of CRAP off an iTune Music Store-purchased song.  The reason that DRM works is that Apple is the only one with access to that code.  Because of this, Apple can also, in it's code, decide what can and can't happen once the layer of CRAP is removed.  It can be played back.  It can be burned to a certain number of CDs.  It can't be uploaded to the Internet in MP3 format in a way that everyone else can download it for free unless the person who purchased the song breaks the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by circumventing Apple's CRAP (punishable by jail-time). 

It's a closed system where Apple can guarantee the record labels that, as long as Apple is the only one with the code that removes the CRAP, it's the only one that controls the rules regarding what happens once the layer of CRAP is removed.  Now consider what happens in the open source world.  If no one controls the code and it's freely accessible to anyone, then the rules regarding what happens can't be controlled either.  The same day an open source implementation of DRM shows up, so too will some software that automatically removes that DRM from a song and uploads the song in MP3 format to Bittorrent.   So, when Intel says it has DRM technology that it will license to others, it's also attaching a stiff penalty to any breach.  In other words, if you let this code into the wild and it results in a breach, we're going to fine the daylights out of you.  It's real incentive to the licensee to keep that code under very tight lock and key.  And it's proof positive of why something like DRM is totally incompatible with open source.

Topic: Software Development

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  • Forget open source...

    ...why would a closed-source proprietary company go for this?
    Why license Intel's DRM, then have some industrious cracker break
    it, then be on the hook for $8 million and have to cancel all the
    licenses for products you've sold?

    It's amazing to me how people are trying to sell a product that's
    bad for your customers, and bad for your licensees. Who would
    buy into this?
    tic swayback
  • Intel's DRM and Treacherous Computing

    I totally agree that Intel's CRAP licensing terms are unconscionable, but I have an interesting question: Is Intel's DRM part of Trusted Computing? If it is, then I guess we can see how "trusting" it really is: not much. If it's not, then I think we may be seeing the beginning of a splintered, incompatible hardware-based DRM market, just like we have in software-based CRAP right now. Now that would really suck for consumers!
    Tony Agudo
    • But, It just might be the best way to get rid of CRAP. (NT)

      .
      Update victim
  • DRM Will Fail

    I can understand computer companies trying to be accommodating to content providers in an attempt to get them more and more to digitize and distribute their content. However somewhere along the way, computer companies who were once solidly behind their customers, are now more in bed with content providers. Now content providers are a unique set of companies - as one Znet independent writer alluded to. They see it necessary to effectively declare war on their customers, implementing what amounts to martial law on them en masse - regarding how they may consume content. This is madness ? or at the least tyranny. This is like saying our society should be restructured to have pervasive check points; agents assigned to every man, woman, and child to monitor and ensure that they comply with the law; and authorities given presumptive access over everything everyone does. Can you imagine the automobile industry implementing and enforcing policy on how their customers should use their cars? Phones would be ringing off the hook in Congress.

    The content industry has a right to protect their IP, but treating their customers like shackled dogs is not the way to go about it. DRM will fail. It is not a matter of if. It is a matter of when.
    P. Douglas
    • Wait a second....

      ---This is madness ? or at the least tyranny. This is like saying our society should be restructured to have pervasive check points; agents assigned to every man, woman, and child to monitor and ensure that they comply with the law; and authorities given presumptive access over everything everyone does.---

      Sounds exactly like what I've been reading in the news as of late. Check points where you have to show your papers if you want to travel, constant surveillance of citizens, jailing without any charges, the list goes on...

      Perhaps our industries are just following the trend set by our government.
      tic swayback
      • Could be. :-) (NT)

        .
        P. Douglas
  • You're mistaken

    Sort of.

    It depends on your definition of "open source." If you include [b]everything[/b] required to produce the shipping binary (as the GPLv3 does) then you're right. If, on the other hand, you don't require signing keys, you're wrong.

    It would work like this: Apple publishes the source code to the iPod to the world, but the boot sequence only unlocks the hardware if the code image has been signed with Apples private key.

    Apple can still update the code at any time while still letting the world see and play with their source code. However, since they're the only ones who can make it runnable by signing it, it still remains totally unusable by anyone else.

    [b]That[/b] is the scenario that the GPLv3 addresses.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • CRAP video

    It would be nice if the video was available without "CRAP" ;)

    With that, I mean it would be nice if the video was available for download with a CC license. That would make it much easier to spread the word :)
    pointwood
  • who is your enemy

    i am a bit confused over DRM ... is it the wholesale copyers that make thousands of illegal copies for sale that DRM is after (not likely they will have ways around present DRM) or is it the paying customer that makes a backup for time shifting or to let his kids play their favorite over and over with penut butter attached .. it looks like thats where DRM is aimed ...

    some members in my family almost always go to sleep halfway thru a movie ... is it the intent of DRM to force me to rent that movie again and again until my family is happy that they have seen it .. thats not going to happen EVER .. if thats the case and there is nothing i can do about it, then i wont rent or buy the movie to start with ..

    time shifting from TV and protective copies (to prevent original damage) are very important .. our enjoyment of all media is greatly improved by that .. and nothing is lost from the originator .. since no one is going to buy or rent the same movie more than once.. in fact i would be much more likely to buy a title if i were guarenteed that it wouldnt sneek something on my computer or spy on me in some way ..

    i am your customer not your enemy .. i have no intentions of mass producing your work or selling copies or denying the originator the right to do so .. i just want to enjoy what i have purchased ..

    aim your DRM at the criminals .. dont try to make me one ..

    any software/hardware that increases my liability for such trivial things will be boycotted in every way possible ..

    infact i think that any software/hardware that has purposly included some way of harming me, my family or my equipment should have to have an obvious tag stating such ... of course no one in their right mind would ever buy such a thing ... would they !!
    hlee_z
  • Nice Video, Shame About The CRAP

    I tried to send the video to my mates, since it was so good but it appeared to be full of CRAP as it wouldn't play except on the web page itself.
    If this truly is the case, it would be appreciated if the CRAP could be removed from the video to enable it to be played without restrictions.
    kaveetdanani@...