Print Story drm feeds my family

Well, I suppose actually it doesn't.  DRM doesn't really taste that good with peanut butter, after all.  But like many people in this modern era, my job depends on the fact that there are provisions in place to prevent copyright infringement.  Specifically something called "Digital Rights Management", DRM vaguely describes a set of actions that someone can do to prevent digital media from being copied.  The most famous negative example of this is Sony's disturbingly stupid release of software that broke peoples Windows computers when they simply inserted an audio CD.



Activist types don't like that, and as my friend joh3n pointed out the other day, they are all too willing to bend the truth past its breaking point in order to make DRM sound like the devil.  Whether their true intent is to just get free stuff or actual moral issues about freedom of information isn't Now, I have to concede a point -- part of the argument that anti-DRM folks present is that DRM can make it hard for you to do things with your owned media that you really ought to be able to do -- I am also frustrated by this.  However, by using this as an example of why DRM ought to be abolished in the US is both naive and limited in perspective.


It's naive because politically, railing against DRM is a dead end.  The United States economy has evolved over the years, from manufacturing and such to now where the one thing that the US is indisputably good at is producing entertainment that the rest of the world wants.  You'll hear US music on the stations of France, see the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast in Japan.  When I was in Tunisia the tour guide drivers would swap cassette tapes back and forth so half the time you'd be listening to traditional Arabic music and the other half Madonna or U2.  So it is only natural the US government would embrace policy that tries to protect the creations of the producers who make these lucrative exports.  Arguing against that is as foolhardy as trying to convince the Saudis that they should stop exporting oil because it's bad for global warming -- arguably true but a fruitless and naive approach.


It's limited in perspective because it is theoretically possible to satisfy both the demands of the media industry (they want you to not be able to share your media with others) and the demands of the public (they want to not be trapped to a specific computer, platform, etc).  There is no technical reason why you couldn't have a DRM implementation that allows for portability between platforms so you could buy your song on iTMS and play it on your car stereo on your way to work, and play the same video/song/whatever on your iPod, Mac, Windows, Linux, or even some platform that doesn't exist yet.


So if there is no technical reason why we can't this, why don't we?  The simple answer is because the major DRM implementations have been left in the hands of corporations who have an interest in not having these open platforms.  The two biggest players in this market are Microsoft and Apple, each of which has an obvious interest in attempting to leverage the proprietary nature of their DRM implementations to provide vendor lock-in.  Apple wants you to buy your music collection off iTMS which will then force you to buy an iPod if you want to have portable music.  Microsoft wants to keep people locked into Windows, so they let people use any player they want but tie everything back to their Operating System moneymaker to limit people's ability to switch away.


There is another term for the actions described in the previous paragraph: anti-competitive behaviour.  Obviously for-profit corporations like Apple and Microsoft have a shareholder duty to try to maximize their various monopolistic power, but this is why governments ought to step in and legislate a limit to that power.  Apple should not be allowed to force someone to buy an iPod to play back music they bought via iTMS, if someone else can make a player that conforms to the terms of the DRM but lets them play the music, that should be allowed.  Likewise if someone writes a player to be able to play MS DRM content on Linux which again conforms to the rules of the DRM, this should be fully legal under the law.  And to top it off, the specifications of these DRM implementations should be forcibly opened so that anyone can write a legal application on any platform they want, so you can listen to iTMS songs on your Sony Walkman and play MS DRM'd videos on platforms that don't even exist today.


Unlike the naive banging-head-on-table-to-get-attention that anti-DRM activists are doing now, there actually are steps that could be taken to satisfy the demands of consumers with the demands of the media producing corporations.  All that is required is some political will, which may not come from the current administration but is certainly feasible in the near future.  Isn't a feasible goal something better to work toward rather than complaining that the sky is blue until you are blue in the face?

< From the Meuse to the Neman, From the Adige to the Belt ... | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
drm feeds my family | 36 comments (36 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
PS by theantix (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 11:46:04 AM EST
This was cross posted to the most awesome site on the whole internets, which is also a good source of information about Kansas City.

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.
on irc, just moments ago... by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 11:59:57 AM EST
[16:59] <mm> ok is tix's new diary a troll or not
[16:59] <ana> with the best trolls, you never find out.
[17:00] <mm> I'll just have to club him in person

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

wtf? by theantix (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 12:42:40 PM EST
IRC commentary that doesn't revolve around the world cup?  Say it ain't so!

Now I think it's you who is trolling me, because every single channel I usually sit in is in "world cup this, soccer this, bunch of stupid countries that no one cares about kicked a stupid ball into a stupid net" mode.

And to answer your question, no I wasn't trolling you.  Though if I was, I would have had the same reply.  Kind of a catch-22, eh?

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
Be thee behind me satan! by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 12:29:10 PM EST
No one who promotes the chaining of information in a safe of bits is a friend of mine! How can you sleep at night, working for people who promote DRM!?

In fact, I hereby proclaim that I *refuse* to have anything to do with anyone who works for a company that supports DRM!
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Yeah by theantix (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 12:45:14 PM EST
Together we can team up and oppose people who work for companies that use DRM.  I'm totally with you!

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.
[ Parent ]
I think by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 05:54:35 PM EST
We should shoot them.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
isn't there by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 12:35:02 PM EST
some open-sores DRM in the works?

I anticipate Apple ads which portray it as a must-have featue: "Now with DRM!!!" Or "Song comes with FREE DRM!!!" Or how about "For only $0.09 extra, get DRM so your friends can't steal your music!!!"

Depends on what you mean by theantix (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 12:40:17 PM EST
Since DRM is a process, not a product, what matters is not open source, but open specifications and open standards.

Sun has a new project called OpenDRM (I think, something like that), but I haven't looked at the details enough to know if it's just another useless project sponsored by Sun or actually a good idea.

____________________________________
You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
I dunno who that joh3n guy is by joh3n (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 02:49:32 PM EST
but he's an asshole.

I'll have to disagree with you on a key point of your argument though.  I actually don't see anything wrong with the iTMS+iPod lock in, since it's not the only solution from Apple.  You can play mp3s in both iTunes and on the iPod, same goes for AAC's and CDs in iTunes.  So the player doesn't lock you to the media, just the other way around. 

It is most certainly the case that to play iTMS music portably, you need iPod, but isn't that the choice you make when you choose iTMS?  (see my stupid blog post about old/new media for a more thorough description of why I think it's ok).  It's not all sunshine and roses though.  What worries me about Apple's system is not how it is implemented now it's how it will be implemented in the future, since every indication I've seen from Apple is that their trend will be to further restrict iTunes playback and interoperability. 

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I am a crime against humanity
-theantix

*ahem* by theantix (4.00 / 1) #11 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 06:25:49 PM EST
Recently, you criticized someone else, one "Doctor Cor E. Oh" if I recall correctly, for confusing the difference between iTMS and iTunes.

iTMS is what produces lock-in, not iTunes.  iTunes can give you mp3 music which is portable just as you suggest, it is patent protected but the company licenses the decoder for free so mp3 music is playable anywhere.  So, I'm not talking about iTunes... for the sake of my argument iTunes is just a player that I happen to find really annoying to use.

Apple is able to leverage iTMS's DRM to provide a degree of vendor lock-in that is anticompetitive.  It is anti-consumer to disallow other companies from creating implentations of FairPlay so that customers can  use their purchased media on platforms that Apple does not bless.  Did consumers have a choice when they bought the product?  Yes, but it was not a fair choice, and regulating anticompetitive behaviour is in my opinion a legitimate role for government.

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
itunes annoying? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 07:45:09 PM EST
you never tried to use musicmatch, i take it.

or ephpod.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
No, I haven't by theantix (2.00 / 0) #13 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 08:21:48 PM EST
If it helps, I'll take your word that those suck as well.  Most music players suck at doing the one thing I want them to do: play music.  I'm pretty sure the next iteration of iTunes is going to give the users cat grooming tips or something in a little box that appears randomly from time to time, in between popups reminding you to download quicktime pro of course.

I know I'm a Lunix junkie, but you know what the best player out there for my needs is?  WinAmp.

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
hmm. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:24:07 AM EST
Maybe it is annoying now by theantix (4.00 / 1) #27 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:20:00 AM EST
I've not used it in several years.  What I like it to have music arranged on my hard drive in subdirectories, each folder for artist and  a subdir under that for album.  Then I would like a simple media player to accept this filesystem structure and let me choose and album and let me play my goddamn music without trying to make toast or sell me the latest issue of Time magazine.

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.
[ Parent ]
um. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #29 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 09:15:36 AM EST
using itunes, my music is arranged in subdirectories, one folder per artist and then one subfolder per album.

i get that you don't like itunes, i'm just not sure i understand what it is that you dislike about it. :)

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
iTunes is not designed for people like me by theantix (4.00 / 1) #30 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 10:04:22 AM EST
It's a kitchen sink player, designed for people who buy music from iTMS, who share music with an iPod, and listen to podcasts.  To play music you need to import it into their music library which sorts by annoying things like metadata that some parts of my music collection may or may not have.  Also, convincing it to play a free format like .ogg is frustrating as hell for no good reason.

It's just too big and clunky for me.  Like driving to get groceries in an armoured tank -- it gets the job done but it's just not what suits the task best for me.  I can see how some people need a tank in certain situations -- if I was in baghdad I'd probably want one too.  And if people buy stuff from iTMS and want to sync with their iPod and listen to music in different ways than I do, I can see why they would like iTunes.

This is just a case where not everyone's preferences are the same, it's not that I'm saying that you are a bad person for liking iTunes, it's just doesn't suit my particular needs and preferences very well.

____________________________________
You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
Dude, I DONT EVEN KNOW YOU ANYMORE! by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:39:33 AM EST

Driving to get groceries in an armored tank is the most awesomest way to get groceries, everybody knows that!

Would you like some Kool-Aid? I can get you 15% off...


-
You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Nope, no confusion at all by joh3n (2.00 / 0) #17 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 03:15:29 AM EST
since you dont use iTunes, you may not know what I mean.  A number of software updates over the years have either removed or blocked functionality in iTunes, and what I worry about is further blocking/removal to the point where actual lock-in also occurs with iTunes, not just iTMS.

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I am a crime against humanity
-theantix

[ Parent ]
What I mean is by theantix (4.00 / 1) #26 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:17:59 AM EST
I took a lot of care to distinguish between iTMS and iTunes for my rant, just so that I wouldn't be lumped in the category "people who piss joh3n off by confusing the two".  But then you respond talking about iTunes!!!

Also, I poke you in the eye! With a fork!

____________________________________
You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
My eye! by joh3n (4.00 / 1) #28 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:27:50 AM EST
You Bastard!

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I am a crime against humanity
-theantix

[ Parent ]
My fork! by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #31 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 10:48:30 AM EST
You bastard!

[ Parent ]
As that old saying goes by theantix (4.00 / 3) #33 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 02:04:01 PM EST
"It's all fun and games until you get joh3n's eye remnants all over your fork".

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.
[ Parent ]
For a while, breaking copyright fed me family by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #9 Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 03:23:02 PM EST
well, not exactly, but for several years at $corp I was supporting something that made copying books very, very easy.


Yuo fail it by komet (2.00 / 0) #14 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:10:30 AM EST
You'll hear US music on the stations of France, see the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast in Japan. When I was in Tunisia the tour guide drivers would swap cassette tapes back and forth so half the time you'd be listening to traditional Arabic music and the other half Madonna or U2.

U2 are not from the US. Therefore, your entire line of argument is invalidated and every logical statement you have ever made is false. HTH HAND!

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<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

nonsense. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #21 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:26:01 AM EST
all popular music and film comes from the united states. even the beatles were americans.

except for asterix and oberix. the europeans can keep them, we don't want them.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
heh, oops. by theantix (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:14:23 AM EST


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You sir, are worse than Hitler.
[ Parent ]
I agree with you about the American perspective by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #15 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:38:47 AM EST
The American government, by and large, does what is in it's best interest regardless of other factors.

I think it's absurd to hobble current technology to fit a legal system designed for 14th century technology and social organization. Copyright, patents and such only exist because they supposedly have a beneficial result. I would say that a global network storing all human publication available to everyone is more valuable than a possibly imaginary increase in publication brought by those policies.

Actually, I largely agree with you by theantix (2.00 / 0) #23 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:11:34 AM EST
I would be very interested to see how a copyrightless society actually functioned wrt cultural products.  I have a suspicion that it would be far superior than the system we have today, but it's a pipe dream to imagine that such a system can emerge anytime in the near future.  America butters it's bread with copyrighted content, and in case you hadn't noticed America sort of rules over the planet right now.

Post-apocalypse, I'll be right there at your side trying to build a copyrightless society.  Deal?

____________________________________
You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
I have a copyrightless society now, essentially by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #32 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:27:15 PM EST
America hasn't stopped me from downloading what I like.

It won't take an apocalypse to get rid of American global dominance or copyright. Both are on the wrong side of history, and will sloff off within our lifetime. We're just seeing the death throws now.

[ Parent ]
Just don't hold your breath. by theantix (2.00 / 0) #34 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 02:06:45 PM EST
America is already cracking down on foreign countries with more lax copyright laws, Russia's AllofMP3.com and Sweden's Piratebay are two good examples of this.  Don't be surprised if Canada's copyright enforcement squad steps up to the plate, especially now that the white house's puppet governor is in charge.

Will this change?  Maybe, but you're speculating... a lot.  Doesn't mean you are wrong though.

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.

[ Parent ]
I'm not... by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #35 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:41:01 PM EST
Holding my breath for America to fall over and die any minute, but they don't need to. Copyright enforcement has been becoming harder and harder for a long time, and there's no sign that's changing.

Historically, technology changes society, not the other way around. I'll grant that it took several hundred years for the printing press to topple the monarchy, but things tend to move faster now.

[ Parent ]
WIPO: by Gully Foyle (2.00 / 0) #16 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:23:11 AM EST
Refuse to buy anything with DRM that I can't crack.

As far as I know by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #19 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:42:09 AM EST
The only way to make a DRM system that can't be cracked is to make it so unpopular no one bothers.

(The $BigJapaneseCorp strategy.)
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Damn by theantix (4.00 / 1) #24 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:12:32 AM EST
That should have been a poll option.  I'd have voted for that too.  :-)

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You sir, are worse than Hitler.
[ Parent ]
Never mind your cornflakes... by motty (2.00 / 0) #18 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 03:46:02 AM EST
Who put the benzedrine in Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine?

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
I think you mean to say by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #22 Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 07:51:49 AM EST
"DRM puts food on my family."

--
"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."
drm feeds my family | 36 comments (36 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback