02.13.14

Gemini version available ♊︎

DRM is Protectionism and Misuse of Laws, Nothing Technical

Posted in DRM at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Interpretation of recent, truly troubling news about DRM and back doors, which are being promoted at a political level

ONE OF the world’s best known critics of DRM recently explained why the W3C lost credibility with its DRM moves. A week ago he explained [1] (getting applause/hat tip from the original Pirate Party’s founder [2] and TechDirt [3]) why DRM without corruption in politics is a pointless exercise of futility. DRM can, by definition, easily be circumvented, but it’s new laws that ban circumvention that make DRM what it is. It’s criminalisation of copying — even copying of what’s legally copyable. It’s a war on sharing. Apple is a big proponent of this and Microsoft became the biggest facilitator when it dumped Vista (and its predecessors) on this world. We need to fight back against those who are waging a war against our rights.

Sony, another infamous DRM booster (going as far as illegally sabotaging people’s computers with rogue DRM), is still fighting to spread DRM to books/literature [4] and Valve proved itself to be equally guilty (like Sony and Microsoft in consoles) by using the courts to prevent passage of digital data [5] (not even copying, just passage of ‘purchased’ — in reality rented — media). Meanwhile, as we learn from the press, “OEM “Kill-switch” anti theft bill proposed by California State” (criminalising devices with no back doors) [6].

If this is where technology is going, namely the enforcement of back doors and suspension of ability to copy and pass data (disguised as ‘technological solution’ when it’s actually political), then we are seriously destroyed. We are losing power over technology to a bunch of tyrannical technophobic plutocrats. DRM is their weapon of choice and it is one among several. DRM helps censor and divide the population, making everyone exceedingly dependent on copyright ‘masters’.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. What happens with digital rights management in the real world?

    In the real world, “bare” DRM doesn’t really do much. Before governments enacted laws making compromising DRM illegal (even if no copyright infringement took place), DRM didn’t survive contact with the market for long. That’s because technologically, DRM doesn’t make any sense. For DRM to work, you have to send a scrambled message (say, a movie) to your customer, then give your customer a program to unscramble it. Anyone who wants to can become your customer simply by downloading your player or buying your device – “anyone” in this case includes the most skilled technical people in the world. From there, your adversary’s job is to figure out where in the player you’ve hidden the key that is used to unscramble the message (the movie, the ebook, song, etc). Once she does that, she can make her own player that unscrambles your files. And unless it’s illegal to do this, she can sell her app or device, which will be better than yours, because it will do a bunch of things you don’t want it to do: allow your customers to use the media they buy on whatever devices they own, allow them to share the media with friends, to play it in other countries, to sell it on as a used good, and so on.

    The only reason to use DRM is because your customers want to do something and you don’t want them to do it. If someone else can offer your customers a player that does the stuff you hate and they love, they’ll buy it. So your DRM vanishes.

    A good analogue to this is inkjet cartridges. Printer companies make a lot more money when you buy your ink from them, because they can mark it up like crazy (millilitre for millilitre, HP ink costs more than vintage Champagne). So they do a bunch of stuff to stop you from refilling your cartridges and putting them in your printer. Nevertheless, you can easily and legally buy cheap, refilled and third-party cartridges for your printer. Same for phone unlocking: obviously phone companies keep you as a customer longer and make more money if you have to throw away your phone when you change carriers, so they try to lock the phone you buy with your plan to their networks. But phone unlocking is legal in the UK, so practically every newsagent and dry cleaner in my neighbourhood will unlock your phone for a fiver (you can also download free programs from the net to do this if you are willing to trade hassle for money).

  2. Because Of DRM, The Entire Copyright Monopoly Legislation Is A Lie

    Would you consider it reasonable if the copyright monopoly legislation ended with the words “but if publishers think this law is too permissive, they can rewrite it as they like, and we’ll enforce that instead”? Because that’s exactly what the law looks like.

  3. DRM Is The Right To Make Up Your Own Copyright Laws

    We’ve written about the problems of DRM and anti-circumvention laws since basically when we started way back in 1997. Cory Doctorow has been writing about the same stuff for just about as long (or perhaps longer). And yet, just when you think everything that can be said about this stuff has been said, Doctorow comes along and writes what may be the best column describing why DRM, combined with anti-circumvention laws, is so incredibly nefarious. Read the whole thing. It’s so well done, and so important, I’m actually going to write two posts about it, because there are two separate issues that deserve highlighting.

  4. Sony and Barnes & Noble look like their ebook days are numbered
  5. You can’t resell Valve games in Germany – court

    A German court has dismissed a ‘reselling’ case in favour of Valve Software, the maker of Steam OS. German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv) had filed a complaint against Valve as Valve’s EULA (End User Licence Agreement) prohibits users from re-selling their games.

  6. OEM “Kill-switch” anti theft bill proposed by California State

    As more and more persons become owners of smart phones, thieves have found an ever increasing number of targets to prey on. Theft of cellphones is at an all time high in major urban centers across the US and many other countries, and the Californian government has decided to take a stance against it. With cellphones taking a more prominent roll in our lives, we all store sensitive information on our devices, and this is what the bill proposes to address.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  3. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  5. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  6. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  7. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  8. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  9. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  10. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  11. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  12. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  14. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  15. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  16. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  17. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  18. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  19. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  20. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  21. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  22. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  23. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  24. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  26. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  27. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  28. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  29. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  30. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts