The EFF chimes in on Sun's DRM scheme

The EFF chimes in on Sun's DRM scheme

Summary: I touched on Sun's DRM plans earlier this week, so I thought I'd throw in this release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It looks like the EFF takes a dim view of Sun's so-called "Open Media Commons.

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TOPICS: Oracle
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I touched on Sun's DRM plans earlier this week, so I thought I'd throw in this release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It looks like the EFF takes a dim view of Sun's so-called "Open Media Commons."

"No one woke up this morning and said, 'I wish Sun would figure out a way to let me do less with my music and movies,'" said Cory Doctorow, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's European Affairs Coordinator. "DRM doesn't sell hardware, software, or movies. The only reason to build DRM is to trade your users' freedoms for a bit of favor from the entertainment companies, a promise that they'll generously allow your record player to play their records -- provided it meets with their approval. If Sun wants to ship technology that competes with Microsoft DRM, it should start by asserting that copyright holders never get to design the record players their records play on."

...Using "commons" in the name is unfortunate, because it suggests an online community committed to sharing creative works. DRM systems are about restricting access and use of creative works. A better way to protect the public's ability to make fair use of their media is to support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA, HR 1201). That bill would permit people to circumvent DRM on media in order to make a legal use of that media.

I didn't really address this the other day, but I agree with Doctorow and the EFF -- Sun should be a bit less Orwellian and give their DRM project a name more fitting to a technology or set of technologies intended to cripple the users' ability to use media.

Topic: Oracle

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  • One more time, it's not just media!!!

    Come on Joe, the fact is that systems get hacked all the time, millions of people have had their private information stolen recently. My being in control of my "content" (financial, health, personal, etc.) and letting me decide who may see what and when is very, very attractive.

    Certainly you would not argue that business (non-entertainment) has a legitimate right to enforce rights on their "content". (Financial, legal, planning, etc.) If you add up all the non-entertainment business it would demonstrate that entertainment business is a tiny fraction of all business. Of course proprietary software would also benefit greatly from a secure DRM system built in the hardware.

    (We have pretty much proven software DRM doesn't work, all software can be hacked. Very few people are going to try and muck about with a soldering iron.)

    It would seem to me that your argument is that say 95% of businesses and 100% of users should go without DRM because a tiny segment gets to use it too. You would either like to condemn everyone's use, or you want to create a second class "business citizen" out of nothing more than a desire for one of life's purely luxury items.

    You complain that there might come a time where we are charged for each view or listen to entertainment content. I don't see it happening, simply because the market won't bear it, but if it did so what? It is a LUXURY, nothing more and lots of luxury items have reoccurring costs. Hmmm, hitting Six Flags is a luxury and they charge every time I want to go in and ride the coaster, even though I paid to do it just last week.

    If you decide that you are unwilling to be a buyer of this luxury item, that is your choice. If enough agree with you then it will change, if they don't, you are simply out voted in the market, end of story...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • By the way, the 5% argument...

      If I recall correctly the Judge said that even if something only had a legitimate use 5% of the time, it was still a legal and valued offering and the public had a right to use it. Of course he was talking about P2P software but there is absolutely no reason to think it doesn't apply here just as well.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Go look at Sun's materials

      Sun is talking about DRM for media. If you want *encryption* to protect your data, it's already available. I use GPG regularly, and other forms of encryption to protect my data when it's warrented. On Linux, and other OSes, you can already encrypt entire filesystems - and I have no problem with encryption, hardware or software, to protect people's data. That's not the same thing as DRM that's being discussed here.

      I do have a problem with being sold media that is crippled with DRM. And it's not restricted to "luxury" items, either - You'll be seeing DRM popping up in college text eBooks, which I'd hardly classify as "luxury" (I certainly didn't see any of my college texts as luxuries...).
      Zonker_z
      • Y, Zonker

        You're welcome to use (and spread) the term I just coined -- I rather like it:

        "technological vigilantism"
        Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Encryption simply doesn't work!

        First it is far to hard for the average person. (It has never caught on.) Second there is no way to control the "life duration" of the data/content. And third once decrypted it can be viewed by anyone on any machine. All of these issues are addressed with DRM.

        Now as to Sun trying to sell the idea to a specific content provider, that is their business choice, but it has little to do with the other 99% of the world, unless of course you are being sucked into their marketing hype...
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Uhmm... No

          DRM use encryption too. Also once the DRM is broken its pretty much useless also. Not to mention that almost nobody would be using DRM for Data- Explain exactly how DRM will prevent somone from getting a SQL Query from a DB?? Likewise it is harder to use DRM than Encryption- Let alone the fact that you have to have a rights server if you are talking MS DRM you must have so many rights servers per documents.

          In short, you sir are blowing smoke.

          The entire reason for DRM is not to protect data in the sense you are advocating. MS did toss in DRM for its office product, although it does nothing for ODBC queries from a MS Access DB.

          Now DRM is specifically designed by MS and SUN to do 1 thing... Lock down music and video.
          Ed_Meyers
          • and whats wrong with that

            "Now DRM is specifically designed by MS and SUN to do 1 thing... Lock down music and video."

            Whats wrong with that
            In life there are 2 kinds of people.
            1) The creators (or doers eg create music, movies, software, build, ...)

            2) The good for nothing.

            It is the people in the (2) category who want everything for free
            zzz1234567890
          • There is a lot wrong with this

            1. The creators are claiming rights which do not belong to them. These consumer rights were specificly given to the public/consumer through both legislation and litigation... They include;

            A. Fair Use http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 Under Fair use you may make a portion of a copy, and in some instances a whole copy of the work, if it is for critism. In the case of parody you may copy the entire work. In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. 2 Live Crew copyed the entire lyrics of Pretty WOman to parody it. The courts found that use fair. Under DRM you can't copy any of it. Google has recently been sued for making thumbnails - Even though this has already been decided in Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp.,
            114 F.Supp.2d 1116 (C.D. Cal. 1999) as fair use ( http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/cjoyce/copyright/release10/Kelly.html ).

            B. Library Exemptions ( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#108 ).

            Librarys have always been allowed to copy and send copies to other librarys for both research and preservation. With DRMed materials under the DMCA they have to respect the EULA and not copy for preservation. This is why the Librarians are on the side of the FOSS comunity and Cival/Consumer Rights Groups- as much as the they seem to be strange bedfellows. Many libraries are already stuck with E-Texts which require a fee paid for each view and expire over a period of time.

            C. First Sale Doctrine ( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#109 ) DRM locks the work to the machine. EVen Sun's DRM locks it to the person. There is no way you can transfer the work without permission from the copyright holder/label/Publisher even though their rights have been limited to allow you to do this. FIrst sale doctrine is not new. It dates all the way back to the Statute of Anne (One of the first copyright laws -passed in 1710). Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus, 210 U.S. 339 (1908) was Supreme Court case in the US which explicitly backed first sale doctrine. That E-Book deal with the Universities didn't allow the textbooks to be resold or transfered. Even CSS effects first sale rights becuase one of the features of it is Regional Coding (The real reason why they wanted DeCSS stopped as it was still possible to copy without breaking it). You for example could not buy DVDS in Mexico or Latin America and watch them on a DVD player for the US-Canada even though there is NAFTA and CAFTA. Regional coding is not a right that has been legislated.

            D. Computer Software ( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#117 ) You have the right to back-up, repair, or patch computer software. Storagetech v Custom Hardware Enginering and Consulting and David York ( http://fedcir.gov/opinions/04-1462.pdf ) is a very current example where the software maker has sued a repair tech for servicing the computer. There are several other current examples- One was decided in March where a the creator sued becuase the software was patched against the EULA - The courts found that the EULA was voided on that portion. You also have Mai. There are so many examples of this it isn't funny. In all but Mai (There was no DMCA law under Mai) they claimed DMCA.

            E. People with disabilties in paticular the Blind( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#121 ) have the right to make copies and have the works placed into a form that is accesible for them without the permision of the copyright holder. Adobe locked down its E-Books and tried to license them in such a way that a blind person would have to purchase a special (Mor Expensive ) copy to have the software read the book aloud. Skylov the company he worked for (Elmsoft), based in Russia where it is against the law not to provide a copy accesible to the disabled, created software which strips the text from the Adobe E-Book so a standard Text2Speech program could be used. The US Arrested Skylov and prosecuted him under the DMCA.

            F. AHRA ( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap10.html#1008 ) In The US, Canad, Most of Europe, and other countries there are home taping laws which allow consumers to make personal copies of the Music (In The US and Canada) and in some cases Movies (Germany and France in paticular). DRM prevents you from maaking copies. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent the DRM even though the AHRA specifically states that recording devices will not be banned. In France the courts ordered that DRM on DVD's is illegal http://www.boingboing.net/2005/04/23/french_court_bans_dr.html

            G. Copyright is suppose to expire ( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html ) It is not forever. However in MGM v 321 Studios the court ruled even if the copyright expired the DRM does not Public Domain materials may only be copied if there is no DRM. The Problem is that for the last 20 years or so MacroVision has been in use ehich is a failed DRM technique. Also no new movies will be distributed without DRM. Essentially from about 20 years back and into the future no Movies will enter the Public Domain becuase of DRM.

            Besides all of this section 1201 (DMCA ANTI-ACCESS provisions --NOTE THE WORDING OF 1201 DOES NOT SAY ANTI-COPY EVEN THOUGH IT IS LABELED SUCH http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap12.html ) by its nature sets up rights not defined in section 106. Section 1201 does not provide for copy control but rather access control. Was is thatimportant? Well you certainly can't copy it if you don't have access but you also CAN NOT PLAY, WATCH, READ, ECT it either. In essence it gives copyright holders rights they did not have before. The whole pay per Play, neverending protection, and expiring textbooks/movies/software is due to the wording of section 1201. This is why the DMCAr needs to be pased. The DMCAr would change the language of section 1201 so that you may access materials for any not restricted activity such as playing the content.The MPAA and RIAA and BSA are strongly against this law.

            Not only that but there are other problems;

            1. In order for DRM to really work you can not have control of your machine. If you had control of your machine you would just tell it to let you do it.

            2. In current P2P networks perfect copies are not being used. They same tools to Rip and Burn MP3 and Divx are the same tools used to create new content in that format. In order to stop P2P and illegal distribution the RIAA, MPAA, BSA (In Europe they already have an agreement with the ISPS) propose to ban all servers and server like device and have them turn your name over if you use what they determain is an excesive amount of bandwith. In essence they are stopping competing indie artist and developers from using alternate competing distribution chanels forcing them to use their distribution chanel. They do this becuase at current the labels sign deal with the artist so that they;

            A. Don't really get paid for their work. They Loan the Artist the money to make and promote the work. The artist must pay back the loan at something like $.05 per CD.

            B. In these Contracts the artist become "employees" of the Label and the work is owned by the Label.

            C. If you buck the system or try something new the Labels will can your work. This can be seen with the Third Fiona Apple CD which Sony refuses to release even though the bulk of the CD is already out on P2P and has signifigant Airplay by radio stations.

            Why do you think several artist (Creators) filed Amicus Briefs in suport of Grokster ( http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/20050301_artists.pdf )?

            Not to mention the Privacy concerns and the fact that you would have to register with the RIAA, MPAA, or BSA in order to create or distribute anything if they get their way.

            In short your response is short sided and mis-informed, besides being the party line of the *AA.
            Ed_Meyers
          • Nice Post

            Very informative, thanks. I'd just add that any form of DRM that is
            strict enough to be effective at all is going to be a major pain for
            any consumer to actually use the product. Which will result in a
            less attractive product and lower sales. So your choice as a
            manufacturer is to either spend nothing and lose some sales to
            piracy, or spend a fortune on DRM and lose some sales to having a
            difficult to use product. Which one makes financial sense to you?
            tic swayback
    • Ttoally beside the point

      [i]Come on Joe, the fact is that systems get hacked all the time, millions of people have had their private information stolen recently. My being in control of my "content" (financial, health, personal, etc.) and letting me decide who may see what and when is very, very attractive.[/i]

      So encrypt it and don't let anyone see it.

      If you're looking to control secrets once you've let someone else in on them, DRM isn't going to help you. No conceivable technology is going to let you lock down that story about you, the lampshade, and the gerbil.

      [i]Certainly you would not argue that business (non-entertainment) has a legitimate right to enforce rights on their "content".[/i]

      I most certainly do. They have rights to enforce certain statutory rights and contracts in the courts, which is what they're for. What you're advocating is technological vigilantism.

      I have serious problems with vigilantes, Don. I prefer the rule of law.

      [i]If you add up all the non-entertainment business it would demonstrate that entertainment business is a tiny fraction of all business.[/i]

      Which is why it's so insane for them to be dictating to the rest of us.

      [i]It would seem to me that your argument is that say 95% of businesses and 100% of users should go without DRM because a tiny segment gets to use it too.[/i]

      Let's take a vote Don. Ask every purchaser of an electronic device, "Do you think it's worth $8.00 [1] added to the price of this item to add locks that prevent what you can do with it?"

      [1] Stated OEM cost of DRM patents with the usual distribution chain overhead.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Sorry,it has EVERYTHING to do with it.

        Let's start witht he 5% rule that was applied to P2P networking to the other side of the very same coin. If only 5% of the people have a use for it then by gawd it's full steam ahead, just as it is for P2P software. Sorry YBK but if you support that argument on one side you must also support it on the other. To do anything less is pure hypocracy.

        Second, encryption has simply never worked as it is confusing to the end user. It has now method to control the "life duration" of the content, and once decrypeted it can be viewed by anyone on any machine. No, simple encryption is not nearly good enough.

        As to your poorly worded and deliberately misleading question, don't be silly. Ask users if for $8 they want the ability to truelly secure their private information...
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Oddly-shaped coins

          [i]Let's start witht he 5% rule that was applied to P2P networking to the other side of the very same coin.[/i]

          I wasn't aware that the debate was whether DRM should be banned under penalty of law.

          [i]If only 5% of the people have a use for it then by gawd it's full steam ahead, just as it is for P2P software.[/i]

          Interesting theory: if 5% of people want it, the other 95% have to use it whether they want it or not?

          [i]To do anything less is pure hypocracy.[/i]

          Speaketh the master.
          Yagotta B. Kidding
        • /dev/null

          [i]Second, encryption has simply never worked as it is confusing to the end user.[/i]

          Therefore, control over document security has to be taken away from the end user. Makes perfect sense.

          [i]It has now method to control the "life duration" of the content[/i]

          You mean that the user has no knowledge etc? See above comment.

          [i]once decrypeted it can be viewed by anyone on any machine[/i]

          A problem DRM doesn't solve. Like I posted originally, that story about you, the lampshade, and the gerbil is beyond your power to recall barring Arisian intervention.

          [i]No, simple encryption is not nearly good enough.[/i]

          Well, simple encryption is all you have. After that it's key management and the only way you're going to get the kind of key management you want is to never let people see the keys to their own documents.

          Yeah, [b]that's[/b] empowering.

          [i]Ask users if for $8 they want the ability to truelly secure their private information.[/i]

          They already have it, and it doesn't cost $8. DRM doesn't allow them anything they can't already do, it just keeps them from doing things not allowed by the DRM scheme.
          Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Iffy posters

    I've seen a rise in unlikely, unusual arguements lately. I've held off putting on my tin hat for awhile now, but I guess it's time to put it on.

    I suspect the RIAA/MPAA/Whoever types have figured out that people are influenced by bloggings and have hired people to frequent places like ZDNet and Slashdot and post/modUp their propaganda.

    There has simply been too sharp a turn of 'public opinion' lately compared to the consensous of netizens for years and years.

    Perhaps there should be a name for it (if there isn't already) spam/blogging=splog. Or blogging spam=blam. Maybe SpamBloganda.

    Because there is no physical way to validate who is writing this stuff my assertions are conjecture by default. But really.. it will take more suspention of disbelief then that.
    icecow
  • STREAM it

    The end of media "ownership" is at hand. The Steaming Paradigm will make sure that everyone gets paid and no DRM is necessary. The ONLY thing preventing the paradigm from happening NOW is the lack of broadband. Why spend the time, money and effort to create terribyte file systems, bookshelves FULL of CDs/DVDs and developing local search to catalog all of your media files, when you can go to a media portal and get whatever you want streamed directly to you? A cheap internet appliance is all that is needed to get media content (or a MiniMac!?!) streamed into your home.

    When you look at it THIS way, DRM isn't even a consideration.
    Roger Ramjet
    • Steamroller Baby!

      Hey Roger, thought you'd like this article over at Wired News, about Dell's plans for the WiMax future, and how it's going to be a massively disruptive technology (basically, the phone companies, cable tv companies and movie theaters will cease to exist if Dell has their way):

      http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,68652,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html
      tic swayback
      • Yes!

        You heard it HERE first (and second, and third, and over and over like a broken record . . .). When it comes to the "I told you so's", I will have witnesses that corroborate my claim to be first with the WiMAX steamroller story. I started a FAD!

        Oh yeah, dump your stock in telcos, cellcos, broadcast media, Blockbuster and Netflix, and ISPs. Oh yeah, and buy stock in Yahoo - THEY announced that they were looking at the media portal idea . . .
        Roger Ramjet
    • If you can stream it, I can capture it, and "share" it

      ;-)
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Good point

        If I can play it on my machine, I can capture it and share it,
        regardless of any DRM. I may lose some audio/video quality, but
        so what. The DRM is broken. Once again, another reason why
        DRM is a sucker's game.
        tic swayback
        • Afraid not..

          If I send you say a Word document with DRM (IRM for Microsoft) you are not able to do anything I don't want you to. Check it out for yourself sometime.
          No_Ax_to_Grind