Security

Why we should allow DRM on open source platforms

The problems with DRM are many, but that does not mean we should prevent people from using it. There are good reasons to let them suffer the consequences of their own bad choices.

In the article Shouldn't Linux embrace DRM?, Jack Wallen opened a can of worms. He questioned whether the larger Linux community -- so dominated by voices in opposition to digital rights management software (DRM) that an outsider could be forgiven for thinking there is a single open source community voice deploring DRM as evil -- should rethink its opposition to DRM.

In fact, Jack Wallen's article essentially adopts the position that this single voice exists as a sort of semi-official precept of the open source software philosophy. He himself, meanwhile, takes the position that DRM is a reasonable, and even important, protection of the rights of creators. I believe the situation is quite different from what his article suggests, however; that the majority of people in that community is made up of people who do not care about DRM, who consider it a necessary evil, or even who feel the same about it as Jack (and perhaps even more strongly) that DRM is important and, in some respects, good. The most raucously noisy, obnoxious, cohesive subcommunity within the larger open source community is the Free Software community, which orbits the Free Software Foundation and its founder, the man who coined the term Free Software as this community knows it: Richard Stallman. The fact is that the cohesive community voice Jack identifies as that of the Linux and open source community is actually that of the Free Software community.

Richard Stallman and the FSF guide the definition of that term of propaganda, "Free Software". They have decided to lead the Linux community merrily down the garden path of "DRM is evil and should be disallowed by law". The definition of open source software in general, on the other hand, does not require any such legal battle against DRM per se. The term "open source", in contrast to Free Software, is not at its heart a term of propaganda for a particular philosophy of sharing. Rather, it is a term of engineering, a term used to describe a manner of developing and distributing software, where this manner of distribution supports a given development model, creating a virtuous circle where the process of sharing with others encourages others to share as well, feeding back into the continued development and improvement of the software -- in theory, even if the software under development is DRM.

This does not mean that DRM is not, in some ways, antithetical to the mechanisms of open source development. This mechanism of a virtuous circle is not limited to software development. It applies, in varying ways, to any creative endeavor whose product is subject to sharing. DRM, by contrast, is a technological mechanism for breaking the exchange inherent in that virtuous circle. It is meant to insulate something against sharing, limiting (or even eliminating) the ability to distribute. It should be easy to see why many open source software developers and users in general might chafe at the idea of DRM. Many other open source software developers and users are invested in the idea of controlling distribution, of strictly enforcing copyright via technological means to maintain the monopoly that copyright law is intended to create. The result of the friction between the desire to control distribution on one hand and the necessities of an open source development model on the other tends to polarize many of the most vocal commentators on the subject at extreme opposite positions in a rhetorical battle.

Ironically, the most natural place for DRM is in the enforcement of copyleft licenses -- those which attempt to enforce certain "requirements" of Stallman's Free Software ideal. Consider that more permissive licenses, especially copyfree licenses, essentially require no enforcement at all. By contrast, copyleft licenses such as the GPL require diligence and, at times, even lawsuits. As commercial distributors of digital content who most assiduously defend their legal monopoly privileges have shown us, the next logical step after suing customers for copyright infringement is escalating the war of enforcement to the use of technical measures to prohibit redistribution under terms of which the original distributors disapprove. Those technical measures are what we call DRM technology, and just as the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued a bunch of its member corporations' customers for copyright infringement, then its members went on to start installing rootkits on their machines in a futile attempt to stem the tide of sharing, so too has the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) sued (or legally threatened) some copyleft software developers' "customers" including TiVo, MEPIS Linux, Linksys, and Kororaa Linux. Is the next step a Free Software brand of DRM? Logically, yes, it might be -- but in practice Richard Stallman, the FSF, and their faithful supporters are all virulently opposed to the idea of DRM.

The Open Source fight over DRM

The polar opposite combatants in the fight over DRM in the open source community at large are simple enough to identify. In one corner, we have those who believe in the righteous necessity of DRM, as Jack Wallen evidently does. In the other corner, we have those who believe that DRM is not just a bad idea, but effectively or even literally evil. Neither category of combatant on this field of ideological battle is prone to recognizing the opposing party as having a valid argument, and each often seeks to characterize the other's motivations as evil. Neither is prone to recognizing those who do not live at one extreme or the other as anything other than undecided or corrupt.

The pro-DRM contingent's assertion that DRM is a righteous tool for the protection of a creator's right to profit by his or her efforts seems reasonable, if you accept its underlying assumptions of ownership of ideas. Even taking a somewhat techno-anarchistic bent, it makes a certain amount of sense; to some extent following the philosophy articulated by Lawrence Lessig's suggestion that "code is law", DRM is then the embodiment in code-as-law of the idea that creators own their creations even when those creations leave their immediate possession.

Anti-DRM partisans, particularly in the Free Software movement, attempt to use licensing (such as GPLv3) to legally prohibit the effective use of DRM under any circumstances where they can, in some cases by imposing restrictions on what parts of a DRM system must be distributed in what forms. They attempt to influence policy (as in some Linux distributions' software support policies) to inhibit the use of DRM on any operating system platforms they can affect.

While the majority probably land somewhere in the middle, flanked by these two extreme positions, and are not willing to take a purist's principled stand, there is another position of principle that is all too often ignored. This is the approach I take:

DRM is a bad idea. It is a bad idea mostly because of the way DRM is counterproductive to the aims of creators who want to be able to make a living at their vocations as creators. Jack Wallen talks about the supposed need for DRM to protect the livelihoods of artists, but the truth of the matter is that DRM is prone to hurting the creator's bottom line in the long run. Despite this, even leaving aside the notion that strict copyright enforcement is itself obsolete, that does not mean DRM should be actively disallowed. Doing so is actually antithetical of the ideal that many people equate with open source software -- the ideal of protecting the freedom of software and content developers and users. What use is freedom if we are not free to make our own mistakes?

How is our freedom protected by telling us that we cannot create and deploy DRM software as effectively as the technology allows if we really want to? True, it is not actually very effective, and comes with a heap of unintended consequences. It is also true, however, that trying to protect us from ourselves by preventing us from using it will not solve the underlying problem of people who want to use DRM, or whatever measure these people will develop to replace it if DRM is somehow effectively prohibited. The same questions arise for end user availability of DRMed content as for developer freedom to create DRM systems in the first place, and Jack Wallen's article pointed out this problem of prohibiting DRM. An arms race is not the way to reach peaceful agreement between opposing factions, but it is the inevitable result of each of these extreme factions simultaneously backing the other into a corner.

We do not live in a world where the people trying to prevent deployment and use of DRM are in a position to come anywhere near universal prohibition. As a result, such efforts often have as counterproductive an effect as content creators' use of DRM has, because this prohibition pushes away the very people who might make their DRM-free platforms more popular, encouraging them to use more restrictive platforms and restrictively licensed software for the sole purpose of accessing restricted content. In the end, the best way to get people to choose unrestricted software and content is to give people unrestricted access to all their options in one convenient place. Only in an environment where they can use both restricted and unrestricted software and content, side-by-side with equal convenience, will they face the question that necessarily arises: Why the heck am I subjecting myself to the restrictions of DRM-encumbered software and content?

This is where open source platforms could serve as the ideal environment for undermining the goals of the pro-DRM crowd, by catering to the ability of end users to make their own decisions. To the extent DRM is disallowed by legal or counter-DRM technological means, that environment is prevented from developing, and the relative merits of legal DRM-free content channels may never be realized by users who choose restrictive platforms simply because they believe that is the only way they can get the software and content they crave. As a result, these users end up increasingly being limited to only getting access to DRM-encumbered software and content, and never realize that another option could -- and should -- be the norm.

Letting the enemy fight itself

The counterproductive effects of DRM are the best weapon against those who try to push DRM on their customers. In both the short and long term, however, there is a much more important reason that we should think twice before using what influence we have to actively prohibit people from using DRM -- whether through licensing, operating system development project policy, or even DRM-like software that serves an anti-DRM purpose. The reason is simply that, if you take the Jack Wallen approach of assuming a singular philosophy of the open source community as a whole, one of the core ethics of the open source software is choice. If you want to fight DRM because of its choice-restricting effects, do not do so by taking choice away from people.

Let DRM fight itself by undermining the business models of those who use it most, by letting people choose what content they want to use, whether it is DRM-encumbered or not. The way to win a war of popularity, after all, is to give people what they want.

About

Chad Perrin is an IT consultant, developer, and freelance professional writer. He holds both Microsoft and CompTIA certifications and is a graduate of two IT industry trade schools.

50 comments
AlgotRuneman
AlgotRuneman

Digital Rights Management is essentially copy protection. If I don't want to copy something, the DRM isn't important. If my goals are to share my own work, DRM isn't useful. DRM isn't really a software copying issue as far as this discussions is concerned. The article seems to suggest that proprietary software isn't "allowed" to operate in conjunction with GPL software. The effort to encourage a completely liberated distribution is separate, and a philosophical stand. Proprietary software often runs on systems that are otherwise based on software freedom. It is clear that DRM-enforcing software runs on the Linux kernel. Look at all the ebook readers running Android. My Nook equally well displays DRM epub files which I buy, and the epub files from Project Gutenberg which are non-DRM. My Android phone came with the Kindle app installed. Now, if the goal of the article is suggesting that DRM should be applied to GPL licensed software, protecting the GPLd software from being duplicated, then that just doesn't make sense. GPL licensing is designed to provide the freedom to not only duplicate, but also study, modify and redistribute those modified programs. DRM doesn't make sense in that context. To write some GPL licensed software to have a DRM component, protecting an ebook, for example, makes no sense to me. To work under the GPL license, the DRM component of the software would need to be source-readable, revealing the twists that make duplication of the ebook impossible. There was some comparison made to encryption. That certainly is a different case. While the content is hidden from prying eyes, anybody who wants to do so, can copy and distribute the encrypted data. Copying isn't prevented, just accessing the encrypted data. Privacy is at issue with encryption, not copyright. They are not the same issue. In fact, any boor along the chain who was given the key to decrypt the data could then distributed the unencrypted file. Poor form at least. Ultimately, the article seems to confuse me more than help me understand a complicated issue. For me, it is simple. Whenever I can, I PURCHASE an ebook free of DRM. When I cannot do that, I try to find the best price for a DRM-encumbered copy. I regret that I do not have my own copy stored on a couple of disk drives. Digital stuff just isn't as solid as a paper book. It is oddly easier to "lose" a digital book through format obsolescence than it is to lose a physical book. That does not prevent me from supporting software freedom. Software is not a physical object. Software is, for me, best expressed under the FSF four freedoms. That is my "choice."

Noonian Soong
Noonian Soong

As you point out, in order to support the pro-DRM argument, it is necessary to accept the concept of ownership of ideas. This is a fundamentally flawed concept, though. Ownership of physical items exists because only one person can control any one physical item at any given time; with ideas on the other hand, this is not the case. If I share an idea with you, we both have the idea, so there is an inherent difference and due to that, there is no ownership of ideas. Moreover, how should an implementation of DRM in Free Software work? Every user could easily remove the DRM; the only way to prevent that, would be to keep the DRM part secret, but then it would not be Free Software anymore. I am also not sure how the GPL could be enforced via DRM. DRM can prevent copying, but I do not see a way to use it to make sure every user receives certain freedoms. So DRM and Free Software are inherently incompatible. Free Software promotes freedom for users and DRM is designed to take users' freedoms away.

CajunTechie
CajunTechie

This article discusses the issue of DRM very fairly I think. One of the things that's always bothered me about the free software movement is its attempt to legislate non-DRM. If free software really is all about freedom, then why would we seek to deny users the freedom to choose to be enslaved by DRM if they choose. Then, through continued education and their own negative experience, we could bring them over into the non-DRM world. Trying to force a state where nobody *can* use DRM is harmful to the cause in my opinion. It's saying 'we support freedom, as long as we define it and agree with it'. Creating a state where users voluntarily *choose* a non-DRM option should be the goal. That's when you know you've one. Anyone can legislate compliance, it takes real work and a good cause to win hearts and minds.

thnurg
thnurg

This article and some of the comments are based on a couple of incorrect assumptions. Firstly the assumption that you are not allowed to create DRM systems for open platforms. Secondly that the FSF have the authority to enforce such a restriction. There are already DRM systems that will run on GNU/Linux systems. Adobe Air is one such system that is used by BBC iplayer. By using Air iplayer is able to place time limits on downloaded programs. One thing that people need to understand (and I think there are a few here who may not) is that DRM requires software to be proprietary. DRM requires that software obey its author rather than its user. Thus it would be impossible to create DRM software and release it under GPL, or even to use any GPL code in the creation of the software. But anyone with the skills can create software for a Free operating system that contains DRM. Feel free. However I won't be installing it on any of my systems.

cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749
cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749

Too much ad-hominem, too many distortions of fact for me to get past paragraph 2. Maybe you had something to say. Too bad you had to bury it under a load of ill will.

Randy.earl
Randy.earl

All the highfalutin' philosophical arguments aside, why are the Free Software Taliban deciding for me that I can't use DRM if I want to? They so loudly proclaim themselves to be giving the community "choices", when in the case of DRM they are absolutely doing the opposite! It seems to me their core principles change as it suits them. So, in that way I agree with the last paragraphs. However, I'm insulted by articles such as the above, which basically are condescending to me by saying "well, if you really want to do this stupid thing, we should let you". I borrow eBooks, both audo and eReader formats, from my public library. These are copyrighted materials from authors who make their living selling their works, which are only available on platforms that support DRM. I fully agree with and support that - artists should be able to be paid for their work, and without DRM the piracy rates will make that impossible (no arguments about that - the piracy situation speaks for itself, all moralizing about how the world "should" be notwithstanding). So, I resort to booting the hated Windows, so I can legally support and use my Public Library System, because the FS Taliban want to eliminate my choice and control how I consume ideas. Smoke starts to pour from my ears as I ponder the Linux community refusing to let me support a fine information-sharing institution like the public library system in a legal manner. Sorry, but I'll dump Linux first.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

I know you've been thinking deeply on this subject for a long time, and this seems to be a distillation of some of those efforts.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The point is that a subsection of the open source community uses a license that bans their code from being used for DRM purposes. That is a way of shoe-horning DRM out of anything built upon that work. If an OS has incorporated these free-software parts, then coding DRM for that OS may become impossible, or pointlessly complicated. Chad always conscientiously links the articles he refers to and which form the framework in which to understand what he's writing, so I would suggest you read through those in-line links. The issue is not canceled by *some* DRM-content working with *some* open-source platforms.

seanferd
seanferd

The same way DRM enforces other rights and restrictions: poorly. Being a bad idea with bad implementations and bad applications hasn't stopped DRM so far.

apotheon
apotheon

> Moreover, how should an implementation of DRM in Free Software work? Every user could easily remove the DRM; the only way to prevent that, would be to keep the DRM part secret, but then it would not be Free Software anymore. Not necessarily. All that needs to remain secret is the key -- which can be kept as secret in open source software as it is in closed source software (otherwise all that awesome open source cryptographic software wouldn't work). > I am also not sure how the GPL could be enforced via DRM. DRM can prevent copying, but I do not see a way to use it to make sure every user receives certain freedoms. It can prevent copying in the case that it is not distributed with source, perhaps. I haven't thought very long and hard about the idea of using DRM for copyleft software licensing terms enforcement, but I'm sure someone could come up with some cockamamie scheme no more ridiculous than that used by traditional copyright enforcement DRM.

apotheon
apotheon

Succinct, eloquent, and powerful. Perhaps you should take up the task of advocacy.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

If the DRM market had open source participants, it would ensure that those DRM solutions will have documented, checkable-in-the-source means of operation. It will mean, that people will know what they get into. I can see a number of good things that might follow from that. Consumer pressure towards less intrusive means being one.

apotheon
apotheon

> This article and some of the comments are based on a couple of incorrect assumptions. No, it isn't. Let's examine those assumptions: > Firstly the assumption that you are not allowed to create DRM systems for open platforms. There is no statement in the article to that effect at all. There is such a statement in Jack Wallen's article, Shouldn't Linux embrace DRM?, to which this article linked -- and I'm not even 100% certain that Jack wouldn't be able to claim some kind of loophole in his phrasing to escape the obvious implication in this: Many within the Linux community (even developers) refuse to include DRM software on the Linux platform. This, unfortunately, causes problems. One of the biggest, current, issues is the inability to play Netflix streaming content on Linux. There is not such a statement in this article, Why We Should Allow DRM On Open Source Platforms, however. As such, there is no reasonable basis for a claim that the article says one is not allowed to create DRM for open platforms. You seem to feel differently, so I give you this challenge: find me a quote from the article that makes the assumption that one is not allowed to create DRM systems for open platforms. I'll guarantee you right now that if you find something you think qualifies, I will be able to show you how it does not assume such a thing at all. > Secondly that the FSF have the authority to enforce such a restriction. This "assumption" you claim has exactly the same problems as the previous assumption -- except for the fact that even Jack Wallen's article doesn't make such a claim. > One thing that people need to understand (and I think there are a few here who may not) is that DRM requires software to be proprietary. DRM requires that software obey its author rather than its user. Thus it would be impossible to create DRM software and release it under GPL, or even to use any GPL code in the creation of the software. This understanding is displayed within the article. Perhaps you did not notice the mention of GPLv3. In fact, GPLv3 is mentioned specifically because of the fact that one actually can use an open source license for DRM software, contrary to what you claim -- as long as one chooses the "right" open source license. One of the reasons GPLv3 was written the way it was is the fact that it eliminates some vagueness in the way GPLv2 applies to DRM software. This is relevant to what you are saying if your intent is to say that open source DRM software simply cannot work at all. If, on the other hand, all you're saying is that making DRM software open source makes it crackable, then your statement has no real meaning at all because DRM software is crackable anyway. That's because DRM software is fundamentally flawed as a concept, attempting to simultaneously provide something and withhold it. Check out Radiohead Knows More Than Microsoft About Security for more about that subject. Finally, I suppose you might possibly be making the claim that if it's open source all anyone has to do is change the source, and compile the changed version. This, however, implies two things: 1. The file format does not implicitly rely on the DRM scheme. 2. The DRM software can still be called DRM software after being altered so that it doesn't actually do anything DRM-ish.

apotheon
apotheon

Your statement is probably code for "I'm an FSF advocate, and noisily so. As such, I take offense to being called obnoxious, and will not bother to read your argument." How is that willful ignorance working out for you?

seanferd
seanferd

Which you borrowed from the library. Way to support the content creators, DRM or no.

thnurg
thnurg

Can you please cite any references for your assertion that "the Free Software Taliban" have decided that you can't use DRM? Just because it is not available does not mean you or any one else are prevented from writing and using DRM software on your GNU/Linux systems.

loidab
loidab

You can write the code yourself, or you can find someone to write the code for you. If they're gracious, they'll do it for free. If they're not, you'll have to pay them. What you don't get is to demand that others do your bidding.

cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749
cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749

First of all, nobody is prohibiting you from installing an eBook reader on your Linux box. It's your computer. If you can't get an eBook reader for your Linux box, why not direct your anger at the eBook publishers who have neglected your needs? Or at the folks who have tied up media codecs with patents. The author of this article has set up a straw man by inaccurately portraying the position of the FSF and you appear to share his misconceptions.

apotheon
apotheon

> artists should be able to be paid for their work, and without DRM the piracy rates will make that impossible Evidence does not support this assumption. Let's examine some earlier analyses of the matter I've written: * DRM software is inherently flawed. * DRM has unintended consequences. * DRM Is Counterproductive. * Strict copyright enforcement is becoming obsolete. In addition to all of that, a related (but not as directly applicable) piece of writing is Open Source Software Users Voluntarily Pay More. Let us not forget the direct damage DRM can do, and the indirect damage too, while we're at it -- but that's another subject entirely. Ultimately, the point is that your assumptions are not only far from proven truth, but contradictory to the evidence at hand. You do not need DRM to make a living, and DRM is not an effective way to protect a revenue stream.

apotheon
apotheon

I've commented in the past on the problems with trying to actually disallow DRM the way RMS and the FSF would like to, but this is the first time I've written an article about it for TechRepublic. I'm glad you found it valuable.

apotheon
apotheon

Depending on the misunderstanding in AlgotRuneman's view of the article that prompts his questions and tentative statements of disagreement, your response may effectively answer his concerns. I'll go with the assumption that it does, for now. It is a bit difficult for me to form a coherent picture of the root cause of the misunderstanding, though, so I'm not entirely confident of that. I'm even less confident that I'd be able to address the matter any better. I will, however, add additional commentary just to offer one specific piece of information that addresses one of his stated concerns: Encryption was mentioned not as a comparison, but because cryptographic technology is an intrinsic part of common DRM scheme implementations. Yes, the (proper) use of cryptographic systems is for privacy, but it is misused (to comically undermined effect) to attempt to technologically enforce restrictions on the use and distribution of copyrighted works via software systems we call "DRM". edit: I notice you don't have a clicky thingie for receiving private messages on your TR profile, AnsuGisalas. Bummer (and though I think you may have gotten in touch with me outside of TR before -- maybe? -- I failed to save your contact information in a convenient place, such as an email alias).

apotheon
apotheon

> The same way DRM enforces other rights and restrictions: poorly. That's an excellent, succinct, and unflinching analysis.

marado
marado

> Not necessarily. All that needs to remain secret is the key -- which can be > kept as secret in open source software as it is in closed source software > (otherwise all that awesome open source cryptographic software wouldn't > work). That isn't correct. In a crypto system, the "secret key" must be in possession of the one who will open the lock. That's why the free software gpg works, because I use it to create a private key I keep to myself and I use it to open the locks. The difference here is that, in a DRM system, you give the lock and the key to the person you don't want to open it. Example: you sell me a DVD, which has DRM so I can't make a copy from it. The DVD has a "virtual lock" which needs to be opened to reproduce the content. So, when I want to play the DVD I have to put the key on the lock. Which means that I need the key, so you give me also the key in the DVD. When I play the DVD what really happens is: "I look at the place where the content is, I see a closed locker. I pick a key which is in the keychain, open the locker and play the DVD." Now, in closed source software this can (arguably) work, since you can't see what the software is doing. So, the user presses play, the software puts a blind in front of the user saying "please wait", and behind the blind it does all those steps: "look at the place where the content is, see a closed locker, pick a key which is in the keychain, open the locker and play the DVD." Then takes the blind off and there's your movie. The problem is that when you're talking about open source, there's no blind. If there is you can just comment the "put the blind in front of the user" instruction. And you have access to the code, so you have the key, the locker, everything.

apotheon
apotheon

I wish I'd made that point in the article.

thnurg
thnurg

Firstly the title of the article is a bit of a give away. Why would you write an article entitled "Why We Should Allow DRM On Open Source Platforms" unless there was a perception that it is not allowed? Is there a point in arguing that something should be allowed unless you believe that it isn't? > Anti-DRM partisans, particularly in the Free Software movement, > attempt to use licensing (such as GPLv3) to legally prohibit the > effective use of DRM under any circumstances where they can, in > some cases by imposing restrictions on what parts of a DRM system > must be distributed in what forms. They attempt to influence policy > (as in some Linux distributions' software support policies) to > inhibit the use of DRM on any operating system platforms they can affect. Taken at face value you appear to be accusing the Free Software movement of attempting to disallow DRM altogether which is plainly not the case. In another of your later replies (entitled "The point went sailing over your head.") you qualify the statement and make it clear that code released under GPL3 cannot be used in DRM systems, but this is not made clear in your main article. This is a far narrower restriction than your article appears to assert. So much so that another poster bemoans the "Free Software Taliban" for deciding what he is allowed to run on his own computer. It appears that I'm not the only one who perceives your article as claiming that DRM is not allowed on Open Platforms. The quote you give from Jack Wallen's article has a massive hole in it. People who put GNU/Linux distributions together can choose what ever they like to include. But how does this cause the problem with Netflix? Netflix could provide a client for Open Platforms that includes their DRM and will stream their content. It is not up to the distribution developers to provide code to let them do this, but refusing to help does not count as actively hindering. > This "assumption" you claim has exactly the same problems as the > previous assumption -- except for the fact that even Jack Wallen's > article doesn't make such a claim. Again, your quote referenced above would appear to claim this were it not for the later qualification. You mention GPLv3, but do not cite the text within the license that applies to DRM. Can I presume that you are refering to Section 3? When people choose to license their software under GPL3 it is because they want to contribute to a software ecosystem where users are empowered rather than powerless. DRM takes power away from the user. Therefore is it really any more unreasonable to prohibit using GPL3 code in DRM systems than it is to prohibit GPL3 code in proprietary software? All it means is that you cannot use our code in your DRM system. You have to write your own. > This is relevant to what you are saying if your intent is to say > that open source DRM software simply cannot work at all. If, on the > other hand, all you're saying is that making DRM software open source > makes it crackable, then your statement has no real meaning at all > because DRM software is crackable anyway. Not so much crackable as utterly pointless. The whole basis of DRM (as far as access to files is concerned) is to encrypt the files and provide the decryption key and algorithm in software that will refuse to play the files under certain circumstances. There is no point at all in creating Open Source software that will refuse to do what the user has asked if the user can tweak the code and recompile, or simply get a binary from someone else who has done the tweak. Anyone who wants to DRM their content would be worse than daft to use Open Source libraries to provide access to the content. I'd like to finish by addressing a comment you made in another reply. > . . . and if RMS and the FSF thought they could get away with > propagating a license that prohibited people from installing > DRM software on the computer at all, I'm sure they would. I take great offense at this statement. As some one who despises DRM and would release any code I wrote under GPL3 in order to prevent its use in proprietary, DRM or Tivoized systems I would never presume to tell other people what they can and can't install on their own computers. I may try and educate them but would never prevent them. You have levelled an unsubstantiated accusation at RMS and the FSF (of which I am an associate member, so by extention you are accusing me). While we may wish that DRM did not exist, and while we attempt to point out its harms and highlight those who would abuse DRM schemes (e.g. the "Send a brick to Nintendo" campaign) we cannot ban it outright. See http://www.softpanorama.org/People/Stallman/interviews.shtml

cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749
cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749

My statement is not code for anything. You know nothing about me, yet you choose to portray me in an unflattering light. This is hardly the way to encourage a civil dialog. Perhaps that is not your aim. In other words, I'm not the one doing the name calling. As far as ignorance is concerned, enlighten me. Please provide some evidence for the claims you make elsewhere.

apotheon
apotheon

While I find your argument compelling as a counterargument to Randy.earl's implications, I believe a flaw should be pointed out: In cases where people are not such DRM-apologist assweasels as Randy.earl appears to be (though I withhold final judgment for the moment; perhaps it's only an unfortunate appearance), and where people have a more nuanced, reasonable, clear view of the matter, borrowing from the library is consistent with the idea of supporting the author. If sixty million people read a book containing a work of my authorship from the library, I would be ecstatic with that widespread dissemination of my work and the likely attendant advertising many of those readers would then spread about on my behalf by talking about it -- assuming the work of my authorship in that book was not something I now found embarrassing, of course. From the point of view of a DRM proponent who believes that the only way to support a content creator is to pay for a copy of something whose copyright is held by some publishing company, though, you're absolutely right: borrowing from the library is the antithesis of a consistent argument, and by that person's own argument does not support the author. I didn't address that (apparently) weirdly hypocritical statement basically because I had little idea how to even describe the strangeness of it, at least at first.

apotheon
apotheon

Randy.earl might have been referring specifically to the fact that RMS and the FSF, through the agency of the GPLv3 and their (sometimes implicit) advocacy for legal prohibition of DRM, are doing everything they think they can get away with to stop people from using DRM software -- and not to an actual, practical, universal prohibition. Read what people say for what it could mean, and where some interpretations might seem incorrect to you, ask for clarification, rather than leaping to a connotative assumption. More specifically: > Can you please cite any references for your assertion that "the Free Software Taliban" have decided that you can't use DRM? The people who made the final decision about the terms of the GPLv3 at the very least decided that those reusing GPLv3 code cannot legally use effective DRM in such software. Perhaps Randy.earl refers to the (possibly hypothetical) case of wanting to write software without having to reinvent the entire world of supporting software, or to the hypothetical future in which RMS and his ilk would succeed in influencing legislation that outlaws DRM software entirely. Randy.earl was inexact -- downright vague, in fact -- in the presentation of the cited statements. Try to interpret them for accuracy rather than the least accurate interpretation possible, or at least to ask for clarification where you express your disagreement with the factuality of what you seem to believe is the most likely interpretation. There is, in fact, no denotative requirement in Randy.earl's choice of phrasing that necessitates the interpretation you appear to have assumed unquestioningly must be the only interpretation.

apotheon
apotheon

You are clearly not familiar with the text of GPLv3 (or you're misrepresenting the FSF's favorite license, but I'm trying to assume good faith here).

marado
marado

You're making a big mistake in assuming that the Free Software movement wants to "disallow DRM". DRM are technological measures. What's really bad about DRM are the discriminative legal protections around DRM. If you put DRM into something, then I can't even touch it (the DRM) or else I can go to prision, both in USA and EU. That "legal protection" DRM gets is harder than that of copyright, which should be enough to rightfully protect software. Arguments as "freedom is giving people freedom to use DRM" wont work as long as people don't have freedom to bypass DRM to execute their freedoms as users of a copyrighted (or not, take for instance material in the public domain which is DRM'd) work.

cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749
cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749

And you don't identify yourself as such in the comments? Please say it isn't so, because if true it brings astroturfing to a whole new level. A self-shill as it were.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I do have the box checked, but the list of people with mutual followings doesn't match the list of electable PM recipients. Some people can PM me, whom I can't PM back.

apotheon
apotheon

> That isn't correct. In a crypto system, the "secret key" must be in possession of the one who will open the lock. News flash: the "secret key" is in the possession of "the one who will open the lock" in DRM, too. In this case, it's the software that opens the lock -- and in the case of compiled closed source software, that means the key is detectably embedded in the binary executable or delivered along with the binary executable. > The difference here is that, in a DRM system, you give the lock and the key to the person you don't want to open it. This in no way contradicts anything I said. > Now, in closed source software this can (arguably) work, since you can't see what the software is doing. Not really. People crack DRM all the time, because the key is in the code -- even the binary compiled code of closed source software. The reason I say that DRM can work about as well in open source software as in closed source software isn't because it works in closed source software; it's because it doesn't work very well in either case. > So, the user presses play, the software puts a blind in front of the user saying "please wait" Uhh, no. It decrypts the content and loads it up, where software without DRM doesn't have to perform the decryption step. No part of that is necessarily visible, so no "blind" is needed.

apotheon
apotheon

While we are in agreement on the fact that this is not a concept I have not considered in the past, it is something that I kinda wish I had explicitly said in the article, nonetheless. As such, I appreciate the fact you brought it up here, regardless of any influence I might have had on inspiring you to do so. Feel free to take credit for mentioning that point.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I'm just distilling what you've taught me, with a little help from some friends. If you didn't say it now, you've said it in other ways in other cases.

thnurg
thnurg

Through our discussion you have cleared up that which I thought was a little blurry in your article so thank you. While we still don't agree completely (and I don't think we ever will) it's been a pleasure discussing this with you. Peace, Phil. (Thnurg)

apotheon
apotheon

Some of the language I use in the following is a bit charged. I prefer to be bluntly honest rather than gently equivocating where I am certain of my beliefs. Hopefully that's not a problem. (On a related not, I do use equivocating terms a lot, but only where for absolute precision I choose to avoid the potential for accidental inaccuracy.) Also . . . my response is really long. Sorry about that. > DRM is evil and I hate it. I will not install DRM systems on my own machines or purchase hardware that uses it. Any code that I write will be released under GPLv3 because I do not want that code to be used in a manner that restricts the freedoms of others. > > Beyond that feel free to write whatever software you want and install whatever you want on your own machines. Let's look at my perspective, by comparison, with parenthetical commentary: DRM is wrong (I will make an ethical statement about it here, but not a moral statement) and I despise it ("hate" is pretty strong). I do not (I choose descriptive rather than prescriptive here) install DRM systems on my own machines and try to avoid purchasing hardware that uses it (though the truth is we don't always know for sure whether our hardware uses DRM). Any code that I write will be released under a copyfree license (generally the OWL) because I do not believe it is ethical for me to tell other people what to do with my source code without an explicit agreement between me and the recipient, regardless of how fervently I wish people would not write DRM software. > I reckon that if we sat down over a couple of beers we'd find that we agree on far more than we disagree. If you're ever in Scotland look me up, the beers are on me. Maybe so. Fair enough. I tend to believe, however, that people who try to assume good faith on the part of the other party do not leap to conclusions about whether I'm making erroneous claims about the state of reality when, in fact, my words do not imply such claims at all -- strictly speaking. This is why I offered the opinion that you would be able to reason that out if you tried. I believe that, even when people are trying to have a reasoned discussion, they fail because they do not make a specific effort to actually parse each others' words for their precise denotative meaning; this, in fact, is one of the two most likely reasons that people misunderstand statements I make (the other being that people are intentionally misrepresenting what I said, but I try to assume good faith in that respect). > It is not correct to say that GPL3 disallows DRM. By stating that GPL3 disallows DRM you are effectively saying that DRM is not allowed at all, ever, period. No. I'm saying that DRM is not allowed where the GPLv3 is applicable -- which is to the use of GPLv3 code. Why would I say that the GPLv3 prohibits me, for instance, from installing DRM software on a computer that doesn't even have any GPLv3 software on it, or that has no GPLv3 software on it that interacts in any intimate way with the DRM? To assume that's what I'm saying is so far outside the realm of reasonability that, once again, I get the impression you are just looking for excuses to disagree with me (presumably because you think I'm criticizing the GPL). > GPL3 does not disallow DRM altogether. It does not disallow the running of DRM software on Open Platforms. This is why I tend to suspect people making statements like yours of missing my point in a case of willful ignorance at best, looking for excuses to disagree with me -- because suggesting that my claim is that the GPLv3 disallows "the running of DRM software on Open Platforms" is accusing me of either rampant stupidity or intentional, blatant, egregious deception to a pretty intensive level of maliciousness. It should, if you are not trying to assume I'm either a complete idiot or a very bad person by nature, be utterly obvious that when I say the GPLv3 "basically disallows DRM" (emphasis added to point out something else you missed), I am saying "As a license that governs the source code of covered software, the GPLv3 disallows the use of the covered code or its object code representation in DRM systems." Shouldn't it? Shouldn't that be obvious, given that I have demonstrated at least the tiniest modicum of understanding of what a software license does? Anyone willing and able to read deeply enough into the dense legalese of the GPL to find the relevant clauses should be able to understand that the GPLv3 applies specifically to the software to which it is applied and works that make use of that software. > So go write your own code if you don't like the conditions attached to someone elses. Now we're getting dangerously close to something I consider evil, in addition to unethical. Where the further advancement of technological progress in key areas is critical to the long-term survival of the human race, development of software systems serves as an accelerator of scientific and technological progress in general, forcing people to reinvent wheels is a (connotatively) criminal waste of resources that makes me question the moral belief systems of the people forcing others to waste those resources -- especially considering that they may be forcing others to choose a suboptimal way to reinvent something, if the optimal way potentially be what has been restricted from reuse. That's aside from the strictly unethical matter of restricting what I can do with what has been conveyed into my possession without an explicit agreement contrary to my desires for reuse. > OK. I won't say that because I don't think that. I just thought that the quote itself was so daft that it deserved comment. (re: Jack Wallen's statement and whether you thought I agreed with the sentiment) Okay, thanks for clearing that up. The way you presented it could be interpreted as responding as though I had expressed agreement with his statement, so I had to ask. > I'm not expecting a full examination of GPL3, but if you believe that it prevents DRM then you could at least point to the paragraph that states this. Why should that specific piece of my writing, in particular, require me to quote something -- and not every other statement I made? What makes that one quote more important to relay to the reader than any of dozens of others that could have been made but weren't because I judged them insufficiently important to repeat here when they are easily found elsewhere on the Internet in more focused discussions of their relevant topics, and chose to cut them for space? The fact that you in particular decided this one thing was worth a nitpick, while someone else did not, does not constitute a moral imperative on my part to focus on the one nitpick that most bothers you. When writing an article like this, there are always at least dozens (if not hundreds) of times when I must make an assumption that the reader knows something or can find out about it. Unlike many authors, I try to be quite consciously aware of such assumptions, and choose between them based on the ease of finding relevant references using Google where all else is equal and the need to keep things relatively succinct prompts me to leave one out. For instance, a simple Google search for GPLv3 DRM brings up Linux: GPLv3, DRM, and Exceptions (as the third item for me, where the first two obviously do not quote the relevant section from any later than a first draft), which offers the following quote from the license draft. provided you also distribute any encryption or authorization keys necessary to install and/or execute modified versions That's just in case you needed a hint how to find the text within the GPLv3, which is publicly available on the Internet for all to see. So -- search for the word "keys" in the text of The General Public License v3.0 and you find this in section 6: "Installation Information" for a User Product means any methods, procedures, authorization keys, or other information required to install and execute modified versions of a covered work in that User Product from a modified version of its Corresponding Source. Not so difficult for anyone who actually cares to understand the subject. In fact, it's much easier to track down than other pieces of knowledge necessarily (for effective space constraints) assumed on the part of the reader, such as the definition of "digital rights management", the existence and general purpose of the Free Software Foundation, the identity of Richard Stallman and his relevance, the meaning of "open source software" in a general sense, what an operating system is, or even how to follow hyperlinks in cases where they are provided as a way to make some background information easily available to the reader. The line between what is explained to the reader and what is left to assumptions of prior knowledge and/or the ability to use a search engine must be drawn somewhere, and it just so happens that your apparent pet peeve fell on a side of that line you do not like. In other articles, I have had the Free Software Foundation and "digital rights management" fall on the wrong side of that line for particular people contributing comments, but for the moment at least I stand by my decision, especially because in this case the only people who expressed any problems or misunderstandings directly related to what I said or did not say are people who claim to know I'm "wrong" somehow -- thus demonstrating that their problems are related to the fact that they think they know better than me, and do not actually need me to quote the GPLv3 at all. Meanwhile, you try to blame someone's apparent belief that DRM software is actually disallowed on all open source platforms on me and the fact I did not quote (and, of course, necessarily explain at length) the relevant passage from GPLv3 (because many people might not graps the significance of "authorization keys"), despite the fact that the article explicitly states the opposite (something else you overlooked when you accused me of saying the GPLv3 stops people from installing DRM software). . . . and then there's section 3, which you keep bringing up, and says very little to which I might actually object. I find that waiving the legal privilege of suing people based on a law I find unethical in the first place is in no way distasteful, and does not actually prohibit DRM so much as it prohibits suing for circumvention of DRM. > In order to maintain a free society it is necessary to ensure that no one has the right to restrict the freedom of others. You are making the classic mistake of FSF/GPL partisans, confusing "right" with "ability". I have the ability to restrict the freedom of others in quite a few different ways: I could shoot or stab them, or batter them with a piece of rebar; I could kidnap them and lock them in the basement of an abandoned building; and I could use restrictive licenses such as GPLv3 to impose unreasonable restrictions. That ability does not give me the right to restrict their freedom, however, because even if I restrict that freedom in an effective and legal manner I will have done something wrong. If someone (mis)uses DRM to restrict others' ability to dispose of what they possess, that demonstrates the ability to do so -- not the right. As such, the GPLv3 attempts to restrict the ability, and not the right, to impose DRM restrictions on others by restricting the ability and the right to legally modify source code in their possession however they like. > You've obviously thought more about it than I have. I still fail to see how you can implement DRM in Open Source software. Maybe that's just me being dim but it sounds like someone installing a lock and hasp in such a way that the screws holding the hasp in place are exposed. First of all, that doesn't make you dim. It makes you ignorant, to a certain extent, of the way cryptographic systems work -- just as I am ignorant of way to properly operate a weaver's loom. The problem I had was not with your lack of knowledge of how DRM software works, but with the way you appeared to assume I knew nothing about the subject. Secondly, more effort is needed to achieve the same level of difficulty of cracking DRM in open source software than in closed source software, but given that DRM software is fundamentally broken in concept anyway, all we're talking about is degrees of difficulty and not an "on/off" sort of difference between whether DRM can work or not in open source software. Ultimately, it does not work even in closed source software except where one can safely assume that the people who would like to circumvent it are not particularly knowledgeable about the principles of DRM software design at all. > I agree with him in that I wish DRM did not exist (re: RMS) Me too. > as far as legislation is concerned the strongest I would go for is to insist that DRM encumbered products were labelled as such so that consumers know what they are getting. I wouldn't want a specific "DRM" label law, because I believe that overly broad laws tend to result in unintended consequences worse than the benefits they might provide. I would, however, like the law to allow for corrective measures to be taken that discourage propagators of DRM from doing so in a deceptive manner, thus achieving much the same ends -- but probably more effectively, and with fewer negative consequences. > I don't hate you. I wouldn't offer you a beer if I did I appreciate that. I'd happily offer to buy you a drink as well, even if I'd then go back to opposing your efforts to propagate a license I find unethical when we were done. > See you in the pub? Probably not. I'm unlikely to get to Scotland any time soon, in part because of my distaste for airline "security" these days, and in part because of my distaste for certain characteristics of the Scottish legal climate. If by some twist of fate we end up in the same neck of the woods, though -- yeah, sure.

thnurg
thnurg

Your article appears to have polarised the argument. In these comments there are those claiming "DRM is evil and should be banned", while there are also those saying "how dare anyone tell me what I can and can't install on my own computer". I was merely attempting to put forward what I believe is a more balanced view. DRM is evil and I hate it. I will not install DRM systems on my own machines or purchase hardware that uses it. Any code that I write will be released under GPLv3 because I do not want that code to be used in a manner that restricts the freedoms of others. Beyond that feel free to write whatever software you want and install whatever you want on your own machines. > That's easy. You'd write it as a blanket response to people who say that DRM should not be allowed. I'm sure you'd be able to reason that out if you tried, rather than just looking for excuses to disagree. Point taken. I am trying to reason it out, that's why I am engaging in the discussion. I'm not looking for excuses to disagree, simply trying to get a little clarity on the issue. I reckon that if we sat down over a couple of beers we'd find that we agree on far more than we disagree. If you're ever in Scotland look me up, the beers are on me. > Funny -- you say the FSF does not want to disallow DRM altogether, but then you later concede that GPLv3 -- the license the FSF is primarily there to promote and defend (until a later GPL version comes along) -- basically disallows DRM. Make up your mind. I think it's a bit rich to accuse me of being incautious and then make this assertion. It is not correct to say that GPL3 disallows DRM. By stating that GPL3 disallows DRM you are effectively saying that DRM is not allowed at all, ever, period. That's why our "Taliban" friend got so upset. GPL3 does not disallow DRM altogether. It does not disallow the running of DRM software on Open Platforms. The only thing that it disallows (regarding DRM) is the use of GPL3 covered code in software that implements DRM. For example you cannot take some code that is part of Samba and use it as part of your own software project if your project implents DRM. So go write your own code if you don't like the conditions attached to someone elses. > I agree that's a problem. Don't tell me you're so incautious a reader that you thought I was saying I agreed with what Jack Wallen said. That would be utterly ridiculous, considering I very plainly said otherwise. OK. I won't say that because I don't think that. I just thought that the quote itself was so daft that it deserved comment. > GPLv3 is pages and pages of dense legalese. This is merely one small article. I'm not expecting a full examination of GPL3, but if you believe that it prevents DRM then you could at least point to the paragraph that states this. You are expecting your readers to either believe you without question, or go hunt through the GPL3 text in the hope of finding the conditions which have led you to your conclusions, without any guidance as to what or where those conditions are. From your article: > Anti-DRM partisans, particularly in the Free Software movement, attempt to use licensing (such as GPLv3) to legally prohibit the effective use of DRM under any circumstances where they can,... I think that a more clear and correct statement would have been: "Section 3 of GPL3 legally prohibits the use of GPL3 covered code in software that implements DRM." I think that this would have made for a lot less confusion among your respondents. > Too bad that's not the effect it has. The effect it has is to restrict the way people are allowed to modify and redistribute software. I think that this is the one area on which you and I will strongly disagree. In order to maintain a free society it is necessary to ensure that no one has the right to restrict the freedom of others. Some people see this as restricting personal freedom. I see it as ensuring freedom for all. Is it really an unacceptable restriction to tell someone that they may not bind and gag another? > I'm aware of how DRM works, as you'd know if you read some of my articles referenced in my previous comment. OK. You've obviously thought more about it than I have. I still fail to see how you can implement DRM in Open Source software. Maybe that's just me being dim but it sounds like someone installing a lock and hasp in such a way that the screws holding the hasp in place are exposed. > Why? Is your name Richard Stallman? I can't imagine why you would take offense at my statement that RMS and the FSF would probably propagate a license that prohibited people from installing DRM software at all, if they get away with it, unless you are either RMS or very confused. OK. I'm going to eat some humble pie here. Stallman is on record as wanting to see DRM banned. http://www.teleread.com/copy-right/richard-stallman-on-freedom-or-copyright-why-not-an-information-utopia/ So I apologise for accusing you of making an unsubstantiated accusation. I agree with him in that I wish DRM did not exist, but as far as legislation is concerned the strongest I would go for is to insist that DRM encumbered products were labelled as such so that consumers know what they are getting. > I don't think you really care, though. I suspect you just have a starry-eyed awe of the FSF and believe it can do no wrong, and hate me for my disagreement with that estimation of it. I don't hate you. I wouldn't offer you a beer if I did ;) Nor do I have a starry-eyed awe. I just happen to agree with them on enough points to happily be associated with them. > I might as well make it worse: I believe that RMS and the FSF have actually become a gross liability to the cause of propagating, and advocating for, open source software (or "Free Software" if you prefer, though that term too has become a liability). Believe what you wish. I disagree with you but I don't think there's any value in slugging this one out on a web forum. See you in the pub?

apotheon
apotheon

> Why would you write an article entitled "Why We Should Allow DRM On Open Source Platforms" unless there was a perception that it is not allowed? That's easy. You'd write it as a blanket response to people who say that DRM should not be allowed. I'm sure you'd be able to reason that out if you tried, rather than just looking for excuses to disagree. > Taken at face value you appear to be accusing the Free Software movement of attempting to disallow DRM altogether which is plainly not the case. Funny -- you say the FSF does not want to disallow DRM altogether, but then you later concede that GPLv3 -- the license the FSF is primarily there to promote and defend (until a later GPL version comes along) -- basically disallows DRM. Make up your mind. > It appears that I'm not the only one who perceives your article as claiming that DRM is not allowed on Open Platforms. Yes, it's true -- you are not the only incautious reader in the world. > The quote you give from Jack Wallen's article has a massive hole in it. People who put GNU/Linux distributions together can choose what ever they like to include. But how does this cause the problem with Netflix? I agree that's a problem. Don't tell me you're so incautious a reader that you thought I was saying I agreed with what Jack Wallen said. That would be utterly ridiculous, considering I very plainly said otherwise. > You mention GPLv3, but do not cite the text within the license that applies to DRM. GPLv3 is pages and pages of dense legalese. This is merely one small article. I get pretty tired of people always complaining that articles under 3000 words lack the complete history of the price of rice in China to the tune of 250000 words of explication. This article isn't about how the GPL disallows DRM; please don't act like you're incapable of figuring out that the actual topic of the article is the fact that we should not be trying to stop people from accepting DRM on their computers. Please, while you're at it, stop expecting me to provide thousands of words of extra explanation about every single tangent that happens to have a peripheral connection to the background material that sets the stage for the main topic of the article. If you want that kind of in-depth treatment, pay me to write an entire book on the subject. Otherwise, just deal with the fact it's only a single article. > When people choose to license their software under GPL3 it is because they want to contribute to a software ecosystem where users are empowered rather than powerless. Too bad that's not the effect it has. The effect it has is to restrict the way people are allowed to modify and redistribute software. > Therefore is it really any more unreasonable to prohibit using GPL3 code in DRM systems than it is to prohibit GPL3 code in proprietary software? I never said otherwise. I have the Uzbl browser installed on a laptop running Debian; Uzbl is GPLv3 licensed. I feel only as restricted by that fact as by the fact that there's DRM on a system running MS Windows. I find it just as restrictive that I cannot implement effective DRM software (not that I'd want to, but the principle still applies) while legally making use of GPLv3 code as that I cannot implement a new HTML rendering engine while legally making use of (closed source) Trident code (not that I'd want to, but the principle still applies). > The whole basis of DRM I'm aware of how DRM works, as you'd know if you read some of my articles referenced in my previous comment. > There is no point at all in creating Open Source software that will refuse to do what the user has asked if the user can tweak the code and recompile Not necessarily. If the file format used is resistant to being read properly without the actual DRM system in place, the DRM system may be no more circumventable in open source code distributed properly under terms of some non-GPLv3 license than if distributed as closed source software. What makes GPLv3 special with regard to DRM is that it essentially forces the coder to expose the key more clearly. Now . . . it would be difficult to implement a DRM system that would actually work as well as open source software as it would as closed source software, but the nature of cryptographic algorithms is such that it is not considered a strong algorithm if knowing the algorithm makes it crackable. > I take great offense at this statement. Why? Is your name Richard Stallman? I can't imagine why you would take offense at my statement that RMS and the FSF would probably propagate a license that prohibited people from installing DRM software at all, if they get away with it, unless you are either RMS or very confused. > You have levelled an unsubstantiated accusation at RMS and the FSF (of which I am an associate member, so by extention you are accusing me). Allow me to be clear: I'm not talking about people who think the FSF does good work in some general, hand-wavy sense and give it money. I'm talking about the majority of decision-makers in the organization as a group, even if specific decision-makers may not agree on all points. If you don't feel that way, you are by definition excepted. I don't think you really care, though. I suspect you just have a starry-eyed awe of the FSF and believe it can do no wrong, and hate me for my disagreement with that estimation of it. I might as well make it worse: I believe that RMS and the FSF have actually become a gross liability to the cause of propagating, and advocating for, open source software (or "Free Software" if you prefer, though that term too has become a liability). > while we attempt to point out its harms and highlight those who would abuse DRM schemes (e.g. the "Send a brick to Nintendo" campaign) we cannot ban it outright. I hope you understand that there is a big difference between "cannot" and "would not if we could".

apotheon
apotheon

> This is hardly the way to encourage a civil dialog. You scuttled that ship with your first comment -- making claims and accusations that actually bear no substance, and serve only to distract from the fact you have nothing to offer to the discussion. It's a bit like stabbing someone in the face then complaining when the guy pulls a gun on you that his actions are "not the way to encourage a civil dialog". > Perhaps that is not your aim. It clearly isn't your aim. > As far as ignorance is concerned, enlighten me. Please provide some evidence for the claims you make elsewhere. Read the whole article. Ceasing to read the moment you find that someone doesn't like a particular viewpoint because you don't like the idea that someone dislikes that viewpoint is willful ignorance; it is willfully ignoring the fact that there may be a reasoned argument right in front of you. That's all.

apotheon
apotheon

> Please, take care of not comparing licenses to legislation. "Comparing"? Who compared licenses to legislation? > There's no attempt (how could it be effective anyway?) to create legislation to ban DRM on the GPLv3 text. I don't think anyone (including me) said otherwise. Read my words for what they say, and not for some random nonsense you made up. > Nor there is any other FSF attempt to turn DRM illegal (if there's so, please be so kind as to tell me what and where). There are, however, statements by people like RMS that DRM should be illegal. > What many free software advocates - including myself - want, is exactly the opposite of what you're saying - and something you seemingly should agree: DRM *shouldn't* be regulated on the law. Right. I don't think the law should either make it a punishable offense to crack DRM in and of itself, and I don't think the law should make it a punishable offense to create or distribute DRM in and of itself.

marado
marado

Please, take care of not comparing licenses to legislation. Software with a GPLv3 license is written in such a way that you cannot change it on order to restrict its users from their freedoms (like GPLv2 has the clause the "changed versions must keep the same license" - it's really just an extension of that). There's no attempt (how could it be effective anyway?) to create legislation to ban DRM on the GPLv3 text. Nor there is any other FSF attempt to turn DRM illegal (if there's so, please be so kind as to tell me what and where). What many free software advocates - including myself - want, is exactly the opposite of what you're saying - and something you seemingly should agree: DRM *shouldn't* be regulated on the law. If that happens, of course, DRM on a CD, for instance, would be legally ineffective (and technologically, we all know simply DRM doesn't work) in countries like Portugal, since I have the *right*, as a consumer, to make a personal copy of the CD (for instance to be able to not only listen it on the CD player but also on my computer).

apotheon
apotheon

> The real misrepresentation is the claim that GPLv3 or the FSF somehow prevent a user from installing DRM software on his or her computer. That claim is just a blatant lie. Your claim that someone said that is the blatant lie here. Nobody said that the GPLv3 or the FSF "somehow prevent a user from installing DRM software on his or her computer". The point about the GPLv3 is that it prohibits writing effective DRM software using code that has been distributed under that license. Please stop lying about what claims others make. . . . and if RMS and the FSF thought they could get away with propagating a license that prohibited people from installing DRM software on the computer at all, I'm sure they would.

cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749
cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749

The real misrepresentation is the claim that GPLv3 or the FSF somehow prevent a user from installing DRM software on his or her computer. That claim is just a blatant lie. Unless, of course, you can offer a citation from GPLv3 that shows otherwise. If it's Article 3, don't bother. That article applies to people who originate or modify software. It does not apply to end users.

apotheon
apotheon

> You're making a big mistake in assuming that the Free Software movement wants to "disallow DRM". I think I'll take the GPL's word for it, and RMS' word, rather than yours. > What's really bad about DRM are the discriminative legal protections around DRM. I agree that's the biggest problem with DRM. > Arguments as "freedom is giving people freedom to use DRM" wont work as long as people don't have freedom to bypass DRM Two wrongs do not make a right.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

He's also trying to do a buffer overflow of the membership form.

apotheon
apotheon

I mean "stop trolling". Read if you want to; you might learn something.

seanferd
seanferd

Not sure how it could be a "whole new level" either, since the interested party does the sock puppetry or instigates the astroturfing by definition. Congratulations on being wrong^3 in a few short sentences.

cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749
cjkcjk-23334387676943186554179972441749

Do you mean stop reading Tech Republic? That would not be a great loss to me, as the signal to noise ratio is fairly poor. Or maybe you just mean I should stop reading Chad Perrin. No problem there, pal.

apotheon
apotheon

I did identify myself as the author in comments -- in the comment to which you replied, in fact. I was going to say that in the bio snippet attached to the article they link to my "apotheon" profile, too -- but evidently someone decided to change that without informing me, so I guess it's not quite as easy to find out "apotheon" and "Chad Perrin" are the same person as it used to be, but I wasn't aware of that fact. In any case, as I said, I did identify myself as the author in comments. Even so, the profile for "apotheon" identifies me as "Chad Perrin", so if you can't figure out that "apotheon" and "Chad Perrin" are the same person I think the failure is your incompetence, and not my deceptiveness. I'm sure you'd be complaining about my ego if I said "I'm Chad Perrin!" at the top of every comment I posted. You're not trying to identify my perfidies; you're just looking for excuses to distract from the fact you have yet to make a well-reasoned argument in discussion. Furthermore, the very comment to which you're responding with the accusation of astroturfing is an implicit statement that I'm the author, so you're completely lost way out in left field by making the claim of astroturfing or self-shilling where you did. . . . and finally, you're a very unpleasant person who obviously cannot summon a meaningful argument to support his position, so you resort to insults and accusations. I find that pretty detestable. Why don't you crawl back into the hole whence you came?

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