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Open-Source DRM Ready To Take On Big Guns

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the when-good-code-goes-bad dept.

Security 520

Barence writes "An open-source digital rights management (DRM) scheme says it's ready to supplant Apple and Microsoft as the world's leading copy protection solution. Marlin, which is backed by companies such as Sony and Samsung, has just announced a new partner program that aims to drive the DRM system into more consumer devices. 'It works in a way that doesn't hold consumers hostage,' Talal Shamoon told PC Pro. 'It allows you to protect and share content in the home, in a way that people own the content, not the devices.' When asked about the biggest problem of DRM — that customers hate it — he argued that 'the biggest problem with DRM is people have implemented it badly. Make DRM invisible and people will use it.'"

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520 comments

How can it be both effective and invisible? (5, Informative)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482559)

I don't get it... If DRM works, it restricts what you do. If it restricts what you do, it's not inivisible. How is this implementation different from any other DRM?

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (5, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482657)

How is this implementation different from any other DRM?

It's the shiniest turd of all!

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (5, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482807)

I visited their website. It appears to be based on the tried-and-true "license" model where you must buy a license in order to use a program... or in this case, play a song. The obvious flaw is that is the server goes down, no more license.

And of course licensing is typically an annual payment plan. I don't want to "rent" my purchased songs year-after-year-after-year.

http://www.marlin-community.com/technology/how_marlin_works [marlin-community.com]

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483027)

It dont matter. if I can play it I can rip it to a unencumbered format. all my Audible books are converted to mp3 the second I buy them.

DRM is the emperor standing naked in the forum. only the foolish believe it is pretty, useful and works. I guess it makes them feel safer, like a child hiding under the covers to be protected from the monsters.

To those with common sense and can actually see, DRM is useless, it's cracked moments after it is realeased and the worlds' 13-22 year olds have far more programming skill and resources than all the worlds companies combined.

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483105)

Ya, I don't like anything which has to call home either.

"It allows you to protect and share content in the home, in a way that people own the content, not the devices."

does it let me change it into another format so I can play it on devices which don't support your data format without loss of quality?
If not then I don't own the content.
Of course if you include a tool which allows me to convert it into MP3 or other formats of my choice with zero or ~zero loss of quality then no problem.

How it's theoretically different (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482713)

Based on their description, they seem to have built it from a better understanding of the human psychology WRT ownership of property. Most people instinctively believe that they own their music and movies and that their personal use shouldn't be restricted. This DRM seems to operate on the basis of restricting the ability to playback the content to the devices controlled by a customer, not to a set number of devices.

If this article turns out to be mostly right, it's a positive step. It recognizes the fact that most people will never get why it's infringement to share a CD or DVD across a family. So, the solution, is to focus more on how one user might give the data to a user that shouldn't receive it, than to focus on locking up the user's practical enjoyment of the product.

The key to making DRM work is to back off the user's day-to-day playback, and focus on making it so that devices won't receive content from users that don't have permission to give it to them. That's what copyright was created for: to prevent unauthorized reproductions, not tell the user exactly how they will use the IP once they buy it.

Re:How it's theoretically different (4, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482863)

No it works on licensing. You can copy the song as many times as you want, including over the internet with friends, but you can't use the song until you obtain a license.

I hate licensing. It's too much like renting. I want to OWN the device, program, song, whatever; not rent it.

Never limit sharing. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482931)

I live in a world without restrictions and that's the way it should be. No new restriction or means of delivering industry PR to me is a "step forward". US copyright was not made to prevent, "unauthorized reproductions" it was made to maximize the public domain and advance the state of the art. It was supposed to be temporary and it was always considered an evil exclusive franchise. I do not want devices that refuse help and information from my neighbors so that big publishers can keep revenues based on obsolete business models and technology. You are asking me to refuse to help my neighbors when they ask, that's wrong.

Re:How it's theoretically different (4, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482937)

That sounds great... but I have trouble imagining a DRM system that could actually make the distinctions you mention (given that we haven't quite solved that whole artificial intelligence problem).

For instance, the average person (as you mention) is going to want to be able to copy a song to their spouse's computer over the LAN. But how exactly does the DRM recognize the difference between a copy to the spouse's computer, a copy to a friend's computer, a copy to your work computer, a copy to a coworker's computer, a copy to a stranger's computer, or a copy to a redistribution server?

The only way I can think is with encrypted content, and then by defining "permission zones" or somesuch, where various devices get authorized as part of a zone, with restrictions on how many devices can be registered in a zone at a time (so that you can't add your closest 30,000 P2P friends into your zone). But managing these zones isn't going to be invisible. You'll be adding new devices as they are purchased, removing old devices as they are sold/discarded (do you have to prove you've erased the previously authorized content?), flashing firmware to re-authorize devices (because keys will have been revoked), using a restricted set of software (that is able to understand the DRM), waiting for network connections to be available (because it's been too long since the last time the device phoned-home), and so on. The user will notice.

I don't think there is any scheme that is sufficiently permissive that users will never notice it, yet sufficiently restrictive to actually put a dent in the "really bad copying" (commercial redistribution, uploading to P2P networks, ...). And TFA does nothing to actually address this issue: how does the software differentiate between good copies and bad copies.

Answer: computers can't. Actually, given the confusion and disagreement around copyright law, evidently humans can't either.

Re:How it's theoretically different (3, Insightful)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482941)

It recognizes the fact that most people will never get why it's infringement to share a CD or DVD across a family..

Now, see, I take issue with that statement. If that's true then it should apply to all IP, shouldn't it? That would include a printed book, too, shouldn't it? You're saying then that I can't loan a copy of a book I own to a friend or family member because it's copyright infringement. That's utter and complete bullshit. If I have physical media that I legally purchased, I should be able to loan that media out to whoever the hell I want to, and it's nobody's damned business.

Re:How it's theoretically different (5, Informative)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483107)

You're saying then that I can't loan a copy of a book I own to a friend or family member because it's copyright infringement. That's utter and complete bullshit.

No, he's saying that can't make a complete copy of a book you own and give it to a friend or family member because it's copyright infringement. And he's right. The difference between loaning a book and "loaning" an MP3 is that once you'd "loaned" your buddy a song, he has complete access to it whenever he wants. More importantly, he has complete parallel access to it with you. Only one instance of the song was paid for, yet two people are able to enjoy its use at any time, perhaps simultaneously.

If I have physical media that I legally purchased, I should be able to loan that media out to whoever the hell I want to, and it's nobody's damned business.

Agreed. If you have an iPod with songs on it that you purchased, you should absolutely be allowed to lend someone that physical media -- that is, the iPod -- and let them use it as long as they want. And you can. You cannot, however, just send them the songs off your iPod, for reasons stated above.

Re:How it's theoretically different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25483005)

If this article turns out to be mostly right, it's a positive step. It recognizes the fact that most people will never get why it's infringement to share a CD or DVD across a family. So, the solution, is to focus more on how one user might give the data to a user that shouldn't receive it, than to focus on locking up the user's practical enjoyment of the product.

Quite frankly, it SHOULDN'T be infringement to share a CD or DVD within the same household. That's just stupid.

Re:How it's theoretically different (1)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483035)

'not tell the user how they will use the IP' by making them authenticate to a remote service every time they want to. yes, i get it.

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (5, Interesting)

Aeolien (939711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482857)

The most invisible form of DRM I've seen is Steam. That's because it isn't just DRM, it's a fairly significant service. I can't sell my game, but I can play it on any number of computers, even if I don't have the original disc. I can chat with friends during my game, and every so often, I can play a game for free for a weekend, or give out a guest pass to my friends for a month or two. Given these benefits, and because the only thing it restricts is reselling, I hardly ever think of it as DRM.

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (1)

partenon (749418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483053)

Because having one common DRM implementation enables you to use the same *content* in different devices. The way it happens today, you can only play your "iTunes songs" in iTunes.

But no, I don't agree and I don't buy DRMed stuff.

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483073)

the biggest problem with DRM is people have implemented it badly

The biggest problem with DRM is DRM.

Nobody wants it.
Nobody is asking for it.
Nobody wants to pay for it.
It's a problem in search of a problem.

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (1)

CommieSmurf (1059186) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483079)

This implementation of DRM is a lot like government. It restricts what I do, and I've never seen mine working because it's invisible.

Re:How can it be both effective and invisible? (1)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483097)

DRM is always invisible if you buy all your products from one company. I don't see why they would ever have any problems with this.

Invisible DRM is no DRM (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482563)

Like it or not DRM restricts what you can do with your files. When you try to do something the copyright holders have forbidden, even the best DRM system will be plenty visible.

Re:Invisible DRM is no DRM (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482947)

A particular implementation of DRM might work if it expands what you can legally do with your files (relative to the normal terms-of-service). For example temporarily transfer your license to a friend for a weekend, selling your license to someone else, creating mash-ups based on the licensed files, etc...
Of course that's still limited compared to a totally free unrestricted public domain file, but there just aren't that many of those around.

Re:Invisible DRM is no DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25483015)

Yepp, did anyone remember what happened to DRM'ed ogg/vorbis? People who see the need to pay and can - will; others for other reasons won't.

There are always free-rider in a society. The question the number - the why and the why not. If a cheap good is highly overpriced and blah...

It's good to pay for free software because they don't try to @@#$%!% you. You cannot easily transfer this to books and music. "They" want to sell "their" stuff - they don't want to lock you in. On the other hand, 95% of
"their" stuff is stolen anyway. So, it is in a quiet good balance. :)

Re:Invisible DRM is no DRM (3, Insightful)

frieko (855745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483039)

Exactly. There's no way to change a fundamental fact: No matter what you do, pirates will always strip the DRM and upload it. Therefore this new DRM doesn't prevent piracy, and (they claim) it doesn't prevent fair use, so therefore doesn't it have absolutely no utility whatsoever?

Impossible (3, Insightful)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482583)

You can never make DRM invisible, since people are illegally sharing video and music files all the time today. If the point of DRM is to protect the content from being pirated, making it invisible to users will completely nullify its' original intent.

Re:Impossible (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482651)

You can never make DRM invisible, since people are illegally sharing video and music files all the time today.

I think they'll be happy if it's invisible to the people who have bought the content and are playing by their rules.

The ones who are sharing files on the internet .. they'd like to stop and have the DRM be anything but invisible.

Cheers

Re:Impossible (1)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482997)

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if the consumer plays by the rules.

Most DRM issues are caused by interoperability problems between devices when manufacturers interpret the spec differently (THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME).

So now you have a consumer that can't access legally obtained content, has no option for recourse short of returning the offending hardware, or turning to gray market software to break or remove said DRM.

An individual has NO INFLUENCE on a corporation manufacturing hardware.

Re:Impossible (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483061)

I think they'll be happy if it's invisible to the people who have bought the content and are playing by their rules.

Yeah but that's easy: the "rules" are by their nature restrictive. The DRM will indeed be invisible when you only buy songs via the approved website, only access them with the approved software, and only play them on the approved devices. Oh, and one of the rules is that you are not allowed to complain when the authentication servers are decommissioned and you have to re-buy your entire media collection.

The problem is that the distributor's rules are way too restrictive for the average person. A person wants to buy the content they like, buy the device they like, and then enjoy the content anytime and anyplace they like. In short, they hate the distributor's overly-restrictive rules.

To summarize: it's easy for a distributor to make DRM that is invisible when you play by their rules. It's impossible to make DRM that is invisible when the user plays by their own rules. Put otherwise: either the DRM will be annoyingly visible, or the rules will be annoyingly visible. Either way, the user is annoyed.

There's only one way to make DRM really invisible (5, Insightful)

DreamerFi (78710) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482595)

And that's by not having it at all.

I don't buy products with DRM, no matter how much they've tried to make it non-intrusive for me.

And backed by Sony? That puts it on my personal blacklist right away.

Re:There's only one way to make DRM really invisib (1, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482975)

And backed by Sony? That puts it on my personal blacklist right away.

You should have seen (well maybe you did) the rant I posted on my now-defunct site about XCP [wikipedia.org] . My daughter worked at a record store (since bankrupt, labels say copyright infringement, I say boycott) and put a Sony-BMG CD in the PC, which had autostart disabled, but she trusted the label to not put nasty shit on her dad's computer and ran it.

I had wipe the drive (thankfully I keep data on a different drive from OS and apps) to reinstall Windows, and couldn't find my driver CDs for my video card or sound chip. The video card mfg no longer supported 98 so I had to buy XP, and an Audigy. It cost me almost two hundred dollars, plus an afternoon of my time.

The rant's title was (in caps, with the sord "die" in red) "SONY MUST DIE!!!"

If I did to their computers what they did to mine, I'd be in prison.

I think you'll like Uncyclopedia's take on DRM [wikia.com] .

Re:There's only one way to make DRM really invisib (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482981)

If I had an account at slashdot, it would be for one reason only: to +1 this comment.

Sense, it makes none! (5, Insightful)

ijustam (1127015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482601)

...allowing users to share content between any Marlin-enabled device in the home rather than on specific machines. "It works in a way that doesn't hold consumers hostage,"

So long as Marlin stays in business, and every device you want your music on is a Marlin device. So, if Marlin goes under and your computer crashes, you're out of luck?

Invisible! (4, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482603)

"Make surveillance invisible and people won't object to it!"
Still, the implementation details would be interesting. How quickly will this be broken? Probably before it ever gets popular.

Re:Invisible! (4, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482709)

Any code made by a person can be broken by a person. We should invest less in cheap control schemes and more into robotic overlords.

Re:Invisible! (5, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482801)

I've taken a look at the specs and it's pretty impressive actually. They're using ROT-26 encryption, and you manage copies using commands called "cp", "mv", and "rm". These commands look at a set of user rights before they operate - read, write, and execute permissions are set separately and the content owner can also assign permissions to groups or even the whole world.

The only major fly in the ointment is that apparently DVD Jon has already released a beta of a tool called "chmod" that can change all of those permissions.

Invisible? Nah! (1)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482609)

It will become visible as soon as Bob wants legitimately to copy the same song in his car player, his two desktops and his laptop...

Make DRM invisible and people will use it (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482613)

Didn't Sony try that not too far back? And look at how well that worked out for them.

The only way to make DRM truly invisible is to effectively pwn the users' box.

"Invisible DRM" (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482619)

Is that the kind that silently reports you to The Authorities when you do something naughty with information?

It's possible that I'm being extremely stupid here (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482623)

Doesn't open-sourcing a DRM implementation make it extraordinarily easy to circumvent? If you have access to the workings, surely you can remove it.

Re:It's possible that I'm being extremely stupid h (2, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482833)

Doesn't open-sourcing a DRM implementation make it extraordinarily easy to circumvent?

Very true. I fully expect "Tivoization" where only officially signed binaries implementing the DRM will run on equipped devices, though.

Re:It's possible that I'm being extremely stupid h (1)

blackdew (1161277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482939)

1) Take computer on which you can run whatever you like 2) Patch open source drm to remove all restrictions 3) Re-encode to any free format 4) Play on any device you like 5) ??? 6) PROFIT! Open source and DRM are mutualy exclusive concepts, as DRM by definition relies on security by obscurity.

Re:It's possible that I'm being extremely stupid h (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483085)

No, it will be like the Tivo - the source is open, however the hardware will only execute code that is signed. So you can modify the software all you want but it won't run on the hardware. You won't be able to buy / make your own hardware device that isn't locked down because the managers of the DRM will not issue device keys to entities unless they sign a contract agreeing to lock down the hardware.

The benefit of being "open" is primary for the device manufacturers - they don't have to pay any royalties for use of the DRM, and have free reference implementation(s) to work with.

Re:It's possible that I'm being extremely stupid h (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483095)

Doesn't open-sourcing a DRM implementation make it extraordinarily easy to circumvent?

DRM on music is trivial to circumvent no matter what media. It's a felony to tell someone how to circumvent DRM, so should I just turn myself in to the FBI? [kuro5hin.org]

the biggest problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482629)

the biggest problem with DRM is people have implemented it

there, fixed for you

Don't bother reading TFA (0, Flamebait)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482635)

It is useless.

I'm convinced the only reason it got to the /. front page is the combination of the terms "open source" and "DRM".

Certainly there is a more informative article out there on the same subject, but this is not it.

What DRM has to do. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482647)

1. It can never deprive me of my media.
2. It can not restrict what devices I use my media on.
3. It can not restrict the storage format of the media.

In other words it is impossible.
Heck I do believe that copyright infringement is wrong. I just refuse to pay the price for others breaking the law.

Re:What DRM has to do. (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483059)

In other words it is impossible.

Untrue! It is possible to cryptographically lock media to your identity. (Whereby your identity is represented by a public/private key pair.) By loading your key to your different devices (something that can be done transparently if there is a standard), you can remove the media barriers while still throwing up barriers against illicit sharing.

Granted, the result would do little more than keep reasonably honest people honest, but that's about the best that companies can do anyway. If you can play it, you can crack it. So what's the point in coming up with ever-more convoluted DRM schemes? They all rely on security through obscurity, and are thus guaranteed to be circumvented.

If token DRM would give companies a warm, fuzzy feeling, than I'm all for it. (Assuming that a consumer-friendly standard is drafted and a good key backup system is provisioned in the standard.) It may not do much to stop full-on pirates, but what will? It will achieve the exact same goals as current DRM, but without all the anti-consumerism. A friendly compromise if you will.

Unfortunately, I have my doubts about the industry accepting such an idea. The RIAA's position appears to be that everyone is dirty-rotten pirates that must submit to their lord and master, the music cartel. Because if they don't submit, they'll just go back to their evil, immoral ways!

Yeah. The industry would be a lot better off if the RIAA was dissolved. :-/

Re:What DRM has to do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25483103)

2. It can not restrict what devices I use my media on.

What if the only restriction is that you own the device? That's what this is trying to do, although if it needs to phone home and it only works on some devices, it doesn't help much. But it's still a (very small) step in the right direction.

But how does it work? (3, Insightful)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482649)

The article doesn't seem to be very clear.

Will this mean I'll have to buy a new TV set, a new stereo receiver, a new DVD player, a new Cellphone, a new car stereo and reconfigure all of my PCs to be "Merlin enabled"?

Probably not, since whenever someone claims it will be "more difficult to circumvent then current DRM schemes", that seems to be a challenge to some of the more clever programmers to break it.

Invisibility (re)defined (4, Interesting)

Carik (205890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482659)

They don't mean invisible to everyone. They mean invisible to people who aren't breaking the law. Frankly, that's good enough for me, in this case; if it doesn't interfere with my legitimate use of a game or my music, I don't have a real problem with it. Yeah, it'd be nice if DRM weren't necessary, but when you get right down to it, most people will steal digital media (as opposed to physical media) when they think they can get away with it. I'm not going to debate whether that's morally wrong or not, but it IS against the law.

Now, of course, I'm not convinced this company is going to be successful in creating effective DRM that doesn't interfere with legitimate use, but it'd be interesting if they managed it.

Re:Invisibility (re)defined (5, Insightful)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482729)

Not "people who aren't breaking the law", but people "who aren't doing what we don't want them to do". Not the same thing at all.

Most DRM schemes are trying to put themselves above law and morality then imply that they are simply enforcing that. But law and morality are more complex than any computer is currently able to understand and enforce.

Re:Invisibility (re)defined (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482745)

Not quite.

They mean inviible to anyone who doesn't do what the corporation doesn't want you to do with it, even if it is within the bounds of the law.

And that is NOT ok to me..

Don't even get me started on the "If you are doing anything wrong" logical fallacy.

Re:Invisibility (re)defined (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482769)

"but it IS against the law"

    Which Law in which Jurisdiction ?

Invisible to people not breaking the law? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482805)

No, it's more appropriate to say it will be invisible to people who use the media in the ways the creators envisioned as the only legitimate uses. Those of us who are legitimate users who want to do something out of the mainstream (say, a home built media server; or putting a selection of titles on an inexpensive portable drive to take on vacation) are screwed.

Just as there is no way to determine what all the end users will want to do with the products they purchase, there is no way to place restrictions on a system without inhibiting some users.

It's not much different than the firearms issue in the US. There are people out there who will abuse the rights, but that shouldn't prevent the vast majority of users from exercising the right.

Invisible to people who buy Merlin (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482983)

They mean invisible to people who aren't breaking the law.

No, they mean invisible to people who buy Merlin devices.

Which means not invisible at all. Just because they have raised the restrictions a little higher for one class of device doesn't make it any better for the average consumer.

If someone says a DRM is invisible pull out a portable digital video player and say "So I can transcode my video to this, right?

The degree to which the faces fall and the stammering begins indicates just how "invisible" it is.

Re:Invisibility (re)defined (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483031)

but when you get right down to it, most people will steal digital media (as opposed to physical media) when they think they can get away with it.

I might be wrong here, but I think you are hanging out with the 'wrong' kind of people.

not every single human being is hell-bent on stealing.

that said, most humans have a sense of fairness and when their fairness 'alarm' goes off, they often take matters into their own hands. when they feel they've been ripped off for decades (some of us are old enough) they will take 'justice' any way they can get it.

cure: fix the GREED on the sellers/makers and the REBELLION will slowly fade. its super simple, really - like the elephant in the room that no one really talks about but everyone SEES.

if I find a valid FAIR way to pay, I'll pay. if I sense I'm being 'taken for a ride' I'll do what I need to to help reverse that injustice.

but your claim that 'if people CAN steal, they will' is just plain flat out wrong. maybe you are just too young and haven't lived/experienced enough yet?

Re:Invisibility (re)defined (1)

ccady (569355) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483121)

They mean invisible to people who aren't breaking the law.

Har-de-har-har! You think a piece of hardware can interpret a law? Gee -- I am making a clip for my class presentation tomorrow. Oops! My DVD writer has not interpreted this as fair use. Must be against the law.

Invisibile (1, Informative)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482663)

Surely each of the 3 commenters, who all phrase "if you can't copy yo shit, howzit invisible?" are intelligent to understand the guy clearly meant it's invisible during normal, fair use. Jesus Christ.

While I'm sure it's a load of BS, I don't think many people will hate "perfect DRM" any better than what we've got now. They'll just stop complaining about how it annoys them as legitimate license owners and start complaining that stuff costs too much. Because the people that are complaining are usually pirates.

Re:Invisibile (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482787)

No, plenty of people who aren't pirates complain, in my case it's a self fulfilling prophesy.
I didn't use to pirate, but then they took away all are consumer protections and rights.
When I can return a game I don't like, or resell it, or apply fair use I'll stop.

Now if I like a game or music I pirate, I buy it.

Some would disagree (3, Insightful)

Non-Newtonian Fluid (16797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482671)

One could make the argument that DRM, by its very nature, holds consumers hostage.

Also, I wonder how many slashdotters will be won over by the fact that this implementation is open-source. I'm sure it might make some feel warm and fuzzy inside, but not me.

Re:Some would disagree (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482859)

You could make that argument, but it'd be stupid.

There are plenty of legal ways to get DRM-free content. And there always will be, because there's a market for such things. While it's true and unfortunate that some consumers are getting stung by not understanding the details of the DRM that they might be buying into, that's nothing that a little education on the topic can't fix. As people learn, the market for specifically DRM-free media will increase. We're seeing that already start to happen in the online music world.

Hyperbole and drastic words like "being held hostage" are just silly. DRM is just another comparison feature (for better or worse) to take in account when you're deciding where to spend your money.

All that being said, I think there's at least one situation in which DRM makes some good sense, and that's stuff like online movie rentals. Give me a good resolution file, a decent media player, a window of a few days to watch it as much or as little as I want, and a fair price. If you do that, then I won't be offended when the media player refuses to play after the third day or whatever.

The biggest problem with DRM (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482685)

The biggest problem with DRM isn't that people hate it while they're using it. It's that they REALLY hate it when the company they bought their music/movies/games from turns their entire collection of "owned" content to dust because the company got tired [techreport.com] of running their DRM servers.

Marketing doublespeak (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482687)

"It works in a way that doesn't hold consumers hostage"

But that's the point of DRM - the content distributor gets to decide what happens to the content, not the consumer. Your purchased content is held hostage to the whims of the distributor. That's the point of DRM.

For an encore this guy will sell airplanes without wings that keep you safely on the ground, bladless knifes without handles, and a bucket of jumbo shrimp.

Open Source DRM would be cool (3, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482691)

Just think what you'd need to do to bypass it:

Original Source:

bool isLicenceValid()
{
      (Implementation goes here)
}

"Hacked" Source:

bool isLicenceValid()
{
      return true;
}

Job done :)

Re:Open Source DRM would be cool (2, Funny)

An anonymous Frank (559486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482879)

That's okay, since they've already planned to bundle a piece of "software" that prevents you from using a text editor, called OpenSony.

OK, please 'splain this to me . . . (2, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482693)

If it's open source, then I can go in, change the code and bypass the whole kit-n-kaboodle, right?

Re:OK, please 'splain this to me . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482831)

If it's open source, then I can go in, change the code and bypass the whole kit-n-kaboodle, right?

No. If your statement were true, open source encryption schemes would be worthless. But they tend to be better than "security by obscurity" solutions. DRM would be no different.

Re:OK, please 'splain this to me . . . (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482985)

You're missing the point.

Open source encryption works because the attacker doesn't know the keys, just the sender and receiver.

With DRM, the receiver *IS* the attacker. They have the keys, otherwise it can't be played.

Queue the anti-DRM utopians. (0, Troll)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482715)

I can see this is going to be a big long cry-fest from the anti-DRM crowd. What a wonderful world you all think you live in where you can just release digital content for all the wonderful people to share out for free and where apparently content is free to produce and content owners shouldn't worry about getting money for their work because they happen to work in a field where there's no perfect distribution model.

In my world, the real world, DRM is largely a necessary evil. People deserve to get paid for their work. Software and entertainment content requires work to create and the producers have the right to compensation. Couple that with the entitlement mentality rampant today and you'll find without DRM people will just give other people's shit away for free without a second thought, and other people will download said shit for free without a twinge of conscience.

Hell, I wish we there were no guns, no wars, no murder, no rape, etc... But here in the real world these are facts of life, just like DRM. The goal is to find a reasonable DRM model that lets people do what they want with only modest restrictions on use. If a DRM model doesn't fit that, then don't buy the product.

Raising issues about a particular DRM implementation is fine. Crying about the concept of DRM is like crying about death or taxes - i.e. pointless.

Re:Queue the anti-DRM utopians. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482911)

In my world, the real world, DRM is largely a necessary evil. People deserve to get paid for their work.

How dare you post such blasphemy on Slashdot. The next thing you'll be saying is Bill Gates isn't such a bad guy cause he gives away billions to poor people.

Re:Queue the anti-DRM utopians. (1)

Mortiss (812218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482921)

If "Sins of Solar Empire" can do it, so can the others...

With your attitude may as well just crawl under the white sheet, curl up and wait for the beating.

Re:Queue the anti-DRM utopians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482933)

By "anti-DRM crowd" I take it that you mean everyone that knows anything about DRM and its usage.

I am not a living, breathing ATM. When I buy something, it is mine. Companies do not have the right to tell me what I can and cannot do with the things that I buy, save for those little tags on my mattresses that I ripped off after I bought them.

Re:Queue the anti-DRM utopians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482949)

Welcome to the real world.

DRM will not make those inclined to pirate content stop.

DRM will only affect people who have already paid for the content they purchased.

Re:Queue the anti-DRM utopians. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482999)

Couple that with the entitlement mentality rampant today and you'll find without DRM people will just give other people's shit away for free without a second thought, and other people will download said shit for free without a twinge of conscience.

Except that it's not rampant. Sales of music and movies are still doing great in spite of piracy. Independent music is growing at faster rate than any time since the invention of recording. Furthermore, DRM does not prevent downloading which is the source of most personal copyright infringement, just copying among friends which has been going on since tape became popular in the late 1970's. If the music industry survived that just fine, then why is DRM suddenly a "necessary evil" today?

I don't like leechers that choose to download/copy media and never pay for it, and nothing I said should be taken as a justification for "piracy". I think they should be punished if caught, with the punishment proportional to the crime. But I am tired of people pulling out this "sky is falling" bullshit to justify punishing honest consumers (who are in the majority) with DRM, and draconian laws.

Same Issues? (4, Insightful)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482717)

FTFA:

"With Marlin, any device that runs Marlin can run content on the home domain," he adds. "It's a level playing field [for manufacturers] - they don't have to go up to Redmond with a begging bowl or suck up to Steve Jobs."

So, open source DRM that works well (only) with other hardware also running the same DRM? Don't we already have that? How is this new, or better? The only thing I can see is that, vis-a-vis it being open source, it could be circumvented easier.

If I can't see it, I'll use it? (0, Redundant)

autocracy (192714) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482719)

Making it invisible doesn't make me want to use it. Even if I can't see it, I still don't like it. Even if you make it so I don't smell the shit, I'm not looking to bathe in it.

Forgive the meme, but DO NOT WANT.

not quite right (4, Insightful)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482723)

"the biggest problem with DRM is people have implemented it badly. Make DRM invisible and people will use it."

That's not quite right. Yes, the biggest problem with DRM is people have implemented it badly. The solution, though, is to make DRM out in the forefront of the feature list and make the DRM HELPFUL and CONVENIENT to users. Making it invisible will show that the companies are trying to hide something. Steam is always brought up as an example of good DRM. People know there's DRM on it but nobody minds because it's actually useful and makes it easy to transfer the games you've bought over to other computers quicker and easier than if you had an actual disk. Make is useful and people will use it.

No, the problem is DRM sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482771)

It is a conceptual problem, not one of implementation. To stop me from doing something with data, you have to prevent me from ever accessing that data in its native format, and the devices must not allow me to make them do some things that they are technically able to do. At that point, I don't own the devices or the data. They're extensions of your domain into my domain.

My head just asploded (3, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482773)

Doesn't the latest revision of the GPL specifically prohibit DRM?

So I assume (withot RTFA of course) that the source to this DRM is published, but it isn't GPL 3? Is it GPL 2 or some pseudo "open source"?

Dumb Restrictions on Media can use any license it wants, I want no part of it. Anyone who has anything to do with DRM is either ignorant or a fraud, and I really don't like doing business with the ignorant or with frauds.

When information isn't free, neither are you. I think I'll make that my new sig.

Re:My head just asploded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25483093)

K. Please post your credit card number, name, billing address, security code, and expiry date.

You won't be free until you release this information.

Bad Solution to the Wrong problem (3, Interesting)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482793)

DRM is just using a technology to try and solve a "social" problem. It will never happen, in fact it just makes the urge to become a criminal stronger. I might not think of pirating software or music, but when I can't use what I purchased I then become a criminal under the DMCA for going around the technological road blocks.

The whole concept of DRM is flawed, because they give me the media, and the key, and the algorithm and then tell me I can not put the three together in any other way than the way they choose. Sorry, not happening here. You can keep your broken products to yourself and I'll spend my money somewhere else.

It always sounds good on paper (4, Interesting)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482839)

I like many consumers have been bitten bad by drm and other content "protection" schemes.

From my experience its not so much the DRM itself, but rather difference of opinions between the implementation and interpretation of the spec among the various hardware vendors.

Case in point. My home theater receiver is HDCP compliant, however it doesn't play nice with Vista. This forces me to use gray market software just so I can watch video on my projector. For the record I am not talking about just DVDs and HD disc based content. I can record an AVI with my digital camera and I will still get errors trying to play that content on my projector.

My main point is that its not necessarily the DRM itself that is the problem. HDCP "looks okay" on paper. However when you have a multitude of manufacturers interpreting the spec and the logistical impossibility of unit testing against everything else out there, ultimately its left up to the consumer to do the testing which will ALWAYS end up bad for the little guy. And there is NO WAY an individual user is going to have any teeth when a manufacturer doesn't play by the rules.

My last point is this. DRM doesn't prevent piracy.

again...let me repeat that for the industry folks who are a little slow. DRM DOESN'T PREVENT PIRACY.
It's kind of like network security. The only truly secure computer is one that is sealed in concrete, has no keyboard, no monitor, no mouse, no network, and no power. If someone wants in bad enough, they will get in. Period.
The only truly secure content is that which is never distributed.

There will always be a better mouse.

FlexLM revisited? (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482865)

Yeah, I heard this kind of promise from the FlexLM guys decades ago. Interoperability, you control the licenses, yadda yadda. It's a turd. Individual vendors couldn't get their client implementations working well enough to "play nice" with other competing vendors applications (yes, Altera and Xilinx, I'm looking at you.) If your network and license-server topology is slightly different from the reference one, nothing works properly. FlexLM is still a disaster. [woodmann.com] This form of restriction will be too.

DRM encounters a problem (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482905)

It is a simple problem but very hard to get around because the problem used to simply not exist. Standards.

Get this and get this if you get nothing else. STANDARDS HAVE GONE OUT THE WINDOW in the digital age.

ALL VHS was VHS. A LP's were LP's. All cassette tapes were cassete tapes.

Sure, there were competing standards for a short time but by and large, to the consumer media tech had one standard.

Now, in the digital age, this is no longer true. iPod may be synonmous with MP3 player but the fact is that it barely got 50% of the market. The rest of the market is split by dozens of brands each with dozen of models. Each model has its own system, its own capabilities.

This is why iTunes is NOT the standard method to distribute music. Nor is MS fairplay. Hey, even zune didn't support that.

This hampers DRM (and don't we all feel sad about this), how are you going to get your DRM method on all devices? Apple doesn't even bother with it, that is why it is trivial to convert iTunes music to MP3's and they don't license their solution out. Why would a MP3 maker bother with supporting fairplay when nobody uses it? And when so few players support it, nobody is going to use it.

Sure, Sony is a big company, but we all know how succesful it has been in the MP3 market. The company that OWNS the walkman has totally lost its touch, choosing to push its own formats over making money.

Unless someone comes up with a solution of DRM that works with just the file and doesn't need any software installed on devices that can't have software installed it can't work.

This new system doesn't fix that. Why is going to buy a Marlin enabled device when there are no services that use it, and what service is going to support it when nobody is buy marlin enabled devices?

Apples DRM slipped in by accident. People didn't buy iPod's because of iTunes. It just came with it. MS has totally screwed up its own changes by dropping its own system on its own MP3 players.

Saying that Apple and MS are the big boys in DRM land says it all. THERE IS NO DRM INDUSTRY. The consumer not only doesn't want it, but has no need for it. The industry, the hardware makers only offers it if it thinks the extra checkmark on the box is worth the effort and increasingly, they don't.

We're more openly fragile than others! (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482917)

DRM makes stuff fragile, so the consumer will lose it more easily. This just makes it fragile in an open environment, which is not relevant once you lose the stuff you paid for.

CSS is invisible. (1)

hedora (864583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482919)

I use it all the time. It works great, especially under Linux. (Commercial DVD players tend to be a bit crippled for some reason...)

Make it invisible (1)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482923)

and your customers won't realized they've been pwn3d until its too late, kind of like Sony making the now infamous root kit invisible by patching the OS?

They want to go to a license model for media, but they also want to charge for new media types (VHS->DVD->BluRay->)
I've bought Bladerunner now, oh, I don't know, 10 times, but if you believe the media folks I've never actually owned it, I've only had the right to view it......

making it open source might insure that you have a chance of using it everywhere and somewhat future proofs it, so long as the system uses a method that does not require external verification and/or an occasional phone home; DRM sucks, and the only way we are going get rid of it is to stop being ignorant consumers.

If they want DRM they can have it (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482953)

but the GOV should force manufacturers to put a label on that says "This item is DRM protectd" It would save us the consumers tons of headaches from buying something and later finding out I can't take my music/movies/games/game consoles/etc... and used them anywhere I want for my own personal use or build a terrorist device with it. I could then avoid those item and be done with it. If I have to do without "new" digital format music so be it I'll get a cd or a product that I can use anyway I want with out breaking the law.

Is it a rootkit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25482961)

I sorted through the Marlin website [marlin-community.com] to try and figure this thing out, and underneath the glut of shiny "This is great for your company" PR, there is actually some useful info on how the system works; it's quite complicated [marlin-community.com] .

What I didn't figure out was if the the client or "DRM Engine" on the consumer's side is a daemon process, let alone if it's doing boot-sector dirty work or poisoning the operating system for its own preservation. I can't tell if this is really "invisible" or if it's just another SecuROM - Sony is in the interest group, after all.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but is this really "open source?" As far as I can see, you have to license Marlin [marlinshare.com] (annual fee) or else you can barely see anything [marlinshare.com] .

"Make DRM invisible and people will use it." (1)

Foolomon (855512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25482965)

There's no better use for a Rootkit in my opinion. Just ask Sony about invisible DRM. :D

Waste of time and money for all (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483021)

If it's Open-source, then all that means is that it'll be cracked and nullified several orders of magnitude faster than Closed-source DRM. DVD and Bluray DRM has been cracked, there's Fairplay for Apple iTunes, etc, and those were Closed-source. Get a clue Sony, and give the hell up on DRM -- because even if you make it bulletproof, we'll just re-record it in analog anyway.

How can DRM be open? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483037)

The whole idea of DRM is to keep the decryption keys secret from the person who is using them. So how can you make DRM be open source?

MarlinPlayer(filename)
{
      SuperSecretKey = "WhoWillWatchTheWatchers123"
      GetKeyFromServer(SuperSecretKey)
      DecryptToSecretPlaceNobodyCanFindIt("C:\temp\__secret\123.mp3")
      PlayThatFile()
}

FAIL.

DRM And Open Source Do Not Go Together (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483065)

DRM and open-source do not go together. They can't. If it is open-source, you can circumvent the restrictions. You can simply look at the code and change it so that it accepts whatever you want to do. Even if they depend on some information you get from a system that isn't under your control. You do it once, and then you can get at the content, and then you can decode the content, and then you can do whatever you want with it.

Conversely, if you cannot alter the software to disable the restrictions, it's not open source.

Having said that, I suppose it is possible to slap an open source license on your software, and still have users be legally disallowed from circumventing the DRM that is in your software.

There's a reason copyright law isn't clearer (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483067)

There's a reason copyright law isn't clearer than it is, and that it because a lot of the uses are potentially infringing based on intent and effect. This is the four factor test of fair use:

What is the character of the use?
What is the nature of the work to be used?
How much of the work will you use?
What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread?

Of these, a computer could only know ONE, the nature of the work as that's already known when it's published. What am I going to use it for? Am I going to make one excerpt or 1000 covering the whole thing? What effect would it have on the market? Doesn't have a clue.

The only kind of DRM you'll find it the one that will block any use that may be potentially infringing, which means damn near everything. Please tell me how this DRM system will be magically telephatic and able to avoid this.

If it's Open Source, why not recompile it? (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25483113)

By it's nature, Open Source gives you both the code and the right to modify it to suit your needs, so why not recompile it to pass every file it checks, therefor nullifying the DRM aspect of it? The name Digital Rights Management gives away who it's made for....it gives the content producers the right to restrict what their customers can do with the stuff they bought, but calling it a more accurate "hire" instead of a "sale" would make more sheep wonder why.
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