The well-mannered marketplace

The well-mannered marketplace

Summary: Still catching up on my blog reading after my trip to LWCE, and the long car trip back. This post on Copyfight highlights an important point about the DMCA and how it relates to open source.

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TOPICS: Piracy
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Still catching up on my blog reading after my trip to LWCE, and the long car trip back. This post on Copyfight highlights an important point about the DMCA and how it relates to open source.

The DMCA has largely been a failure at fighting illicit copying, but the unintended consequences have been substantial. If it has been largely ineffective, then why not look to getting rid of the statute? Probably because the unintended consequences are still favorable to the companies that pushed for the DMCA in the first place.

Fred von Lohmann points out, DRM is still popular because "anti-circumvention regulation constrains innovation and competition in the technology marketplace, thereby ensuring, in the words of one entertainment industry lawyer, a 'well-mannered marketplace.'" Without legislation protecting DRM, well, the entertainment industry would have to contend with a marketplace that is not so well-mannered.

Of course, open source is emphatically not well-mannered from the point of view of the entertainment industry (or the software industry, for that matter). Just the opposite, in fact. When people take matters into their own hands by writing open source software, they have a tendency to create software that does what they want, rather than what the entertainment industry wants. This is inconvenient for an industry that wants to make sure you can't even play DVDs from another "region" in your home DVD player, or make a back-up copy of a DVD for the road or in case the original is scratched. (I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but DVDs are much more susceptible to scratches that affect playback than CDs...)

On the same topic, Ed Felten has a post on Hollywood controlling parts of Windows Vista design that is also well worth reading. Is this really what we want? A future where we cede more and more control over our personal computers and content that we have legally purchased to a small consortium of companies?

Topic: Piracy

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3 comments
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  • The uncontrollable future

    We are fast approaching the time when media (disks) is not important. "On Demand" video services and streaming media are technologies that will continue to grow. This is the "Streaming Paradigm" that I attach to the WiMAX steamroller - but it can be considered in its own light. Once we are streaming all media, no DRM will be needed AND hollywood will get paid! WHAT A CONCEPT! If the MPAA would just LET GO of their stupid crusade, technology will come around TO THEM. The Streaming Paradigm is something that the MPAA and RIAA should want RIGHT NOW!

    How does the paradigm work? You offer your product from web portals for EITHER a per-use fee or monthly fee - whatever the market will bear. You then stream the media directly into the person's home. The way you defeat pirates is with CONVENANCE! No big files to categorize and keep track of. No bookcase full of CDs/DVDs to rummage through. No losing your favorite program because of scratches or disk crashes. NO HASSLE! Just go to the portal, log in and select what you want to watch. Portals can offer "free" streams with embedded commercials (just like commercial TV today), or the "premium" stuff for a price.

    Whether you, they or anyone else likes it or not, the Streaming Paradigm is comming. Embace it or get left behind (or SQUASHED in the case of WiMAX steamroller!).
    Roger Ramjet
    • Sigh

      Okay, I have no love for Hollywood, RIAA, MPAA etc. etc.

      But Rog ole boy - you rail on and on regarding media. But hold on now - for most users - what is the difference between your solution and just turning on the TV? Whether it's beamed/broadcast/streamed/carried over wire - people have been doing that for decades now. And it has not stopped the desire to own and have a copy.

      Jeez, people were copying radio broadcasts of favorite shows on wire recorders during the 30's - this behaviour will never stop. That desire to have an actual physical artifact will never go away.
      quietLee
  • Another well thought out blog, hey Joe...

    Let me reword a part of your rant so that it reflects real life more accurately.

    [i]When people take matters into their own hands by writing open source software, they have a tendency to create software that does what they want, rather than what the entertainment industry wants.[i]

    Should read:
    When people take matters into their own hands by writing open source software, they have a tendency to create software that attempts to bypass any controls set so that people can get said media for free. (Can I say DeCSS at this point?????)

    [i]This is inconvenient for an industry that wants to make sure you can't even play DVDs from another "region" in your home DVD player, or make a back-up copy of a DVD for the road or in case the original is scratched. (I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but DVDs are much more susceptible to scratches that affect playback than CDs?)[/i]

    Should read:
    This is inconvenient for the OSS community who believe they have a God-given right to play DVDs from another "region" in your home DVD player, or make a copy of a DVD to avoid paying for it, or in case they want to distribute it via usenet, Limewire etc. (I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but DVDs are much cheaper when downloaded off the net rather than paying for them).

    Get real Brockmeier. You might believe your tripe, but real life differs somewhat to your version.
    Scrat