Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: DRM Explained

Please tell me you're being sarcastic. Please do. (it reads that way, but... :)

A simpler way of explaining DRM is this: it's about controlling your right to talk and your right not to listen. It allows someone to control how and who you give gifts to. It is a mechanism to prevent normal (legal) activities - like playing CDs and DVDs you've paid for on devices designed for playing them. It allows someone else to control what you do, irrespective of whether a law or common sense says you can or cannot do that thing.

It prevents artists sharing video which plays on common DVD players easily and conveniently. It prevents musicians from creating CDs playable by all (see below). It prevents people taking an ebook and making it available to the blind. It prevents you trusting your own machines, since they may be required (by the personal controlling the DRM mechanism) to destroy your content on a frame-by-frame, megabyte-by-megabyte basis. (http://tinyurl.com/9sy2y - google link) It allows someone to prevent you from reselling things you bought and nolonger need or desire: http://tinyurl.com/cje2q (last paragraph (uspto)).

It is about controlling your leisure, and fundamentally, your ability to communicate with others.

Example, right to control what you listen to: DRM is used to force you to watch adverts on DVDs. If you remaster it you're breaching copyright, and breaching DMCA (or equivalents) and are a criminal.

Example, if you don't think it controls your right to talk consider this: I can record a tape for a friend (ie a spoken letter) and send it to them. Perfectly legal, no infringment of anyone's granted intellectual monopolopy rights. They can play that tape on any tape player.

If however I have a CD burner and blank CDs, and a microphone, I should be able to do the same. Ever tried to play a CD (burnt properly, etc) with your own created content on a PS2? (Even though it'll play "normal" CDs)

DRM doesn't solve the problem it's designed to do: prevent copyright infringement. It simply encourages it in order for consumers to enjoy their existing legal rights. Like watch content. Like skip content. Like watch the bits they want to watch. Copyright infringement sucks, but DRM these days, goes waaay too far the other way.

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by Michael Sparks