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DRM Take II — Digital Personal Property

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the shhh-you're-disturbing-my-metaphors dept.

Encryption 356

Diabolus Advocatus writes "Ars Technica has an article on a new form of DRM being considered by the IEEE. It's called Digital Personal Property and although it removes some of the drawbacks of conventional DRM it introduces new drawbacks of its own. From the article: 'Digital personal property (DPP) is an attempt to make consumers treat digital media like physical objects. For instance, you might loan your car to a friend, a family member, or a neighbor. You might do so on many different occasions and for different lengths of time. But you are unlikely to leave the car out front of your house with the keys in it and a sign on it saying, "Take me!" If you did, you might never see the vehicle again. It's that ability to lose control over property that is central to the DPP system. DPP files are encrypted. They can be freely copied and distributed to anyone, but here's the trick: anyone who can view your content can also "steal" it irrevocably. The simple addition of a way to lose content instantly leads consumers to set up a "circle of trust" that can be as wide as they like but will not extend to total strangers on the Internet.'"

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You down with DPP? (5, Funny)

devotedlhasa (1298843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352879)

Yeah you know me!

Re:You down with DPP? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353201)

Yeah you know me!

Forshame, whoever tagged the parent offtopic.

Ahem. Someone give me a fruityloops beat.

CTaco about to rocko
Cowboy neal, gimme your spheel!

DPP, how can I explain it
I'll take you frame by frame it
To have y'all sharin' shall we upp it?
D is for digital, P is for personal
The last P...well... that's not simple
It's sorta like another way to call (a concept regarding imaginary property) as (actual property)
It's eight little letters that are missin' here
You share on occasion at the other (download) part
As l33t h4x 'n it seems I gotta start to explainin'

Bust it

You ever had a torrent and grabbed it with a nice client
You get the packages and the IP and you know your shits compliant
You get home, wait an hour, peer's what you wanna know about
Then you open it up and it's some fed who straight up tryin' restraint!

It's not a front, F to the R to the O to the N to the T
It's just the police at a seeder's house (Boy, that's what is scary)
It's DPP, data other people's what you get it
There's no room for rights management, there's just room to hit it

How many brothers out there know just what I'm gettin' at
Who thinks it's wrong 'cos I'm leechin' and rippin' at
Well if you do, that's DPP and you're not down with it
But if you don't, here's your l33t membership

You down with DPP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down with DPP (Every last matey)
You down with DPP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down with DPP (All the mateys!)

As for the lamers, DPP means something gifted
The first two letters are the same but the last is something different
It's the quickest, slickest, compres-- I call it the compressedest
It's another eight letter word rhymin' with unruly and a-stoolie
I won't get into that, I'll do it...ah...sorta properly
I say the last P...hmmm...stands for pachouli

Now hackers here comes a packet, blow ICMP back to me, now tell me exactly
Have you ever known a hacker who have another torrent or FTP
And you just had to stop and just 'cos it went so fast
You portscanned it, it blacklisted you right away
That it had some l33t porn but it wouldnt be yours anyway

You couldn't be caught with it and honestly you didn't care
'Cos in a room behind a door no one but ur server's there
When you finish, you'll start seeding is what you tell yourself
And then you know that seeding's whack, cut that shit to preserve your wealth!

You down with DPP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down with DPP (Every last matey)
You down with DPP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down with DPP (All the mateys!)

Download it down!

Re:You down with DPP? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353223)

Offtopic? This deserves +5 funny.

M to the P to P to the Y.
The reason that your data will not decrypt and die.

Re:You down with DPP? (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353441)

"You down with DPP?"

From TFA:
"The playkey, unlike the title folder, can't be copied--but it can be moved."

Allow me to speculate that Windows development teams are onboard with this. Windows will come with this feature, or said feature will be introduced via updates. Let's assume that it's actively pushed via automatic updates. Special files will be uncopyabable, at the request of IP holders. That's going to work out really great. For instance, you can't "sys" a floppy or a CD with XP, because vital files are "uncopyable" by Windows.

But - wait one. Aren't there boot CD's all the same? No, I don't mean Linux LiveCD's that can access Windows partitions. BART CD for instance. Win-PE. Various people have done things with the concept, but most haven't really caught on. How about USB? Tom's hardware has a how-to to create "Windows in your pocket". There are dozens more sites, with similar how-to stories. In short, those "uncopyable" files are routinely copied by people who are determined to copy them.

But - wait another one. Linux. Linux just doesn't recognize Windows file permissions. Boot a system to Linux, you can copy anything from anywhere to anywhere else.

So, yeah, I'm down with DPP. It's perfectly cool. They create it, implement it, and I ignore it. No problemo. I mean, this is BEFORE anyone gets around to creating a "crack" for the entire system, which will enable the least tech savvy elementary school student in the world to copy anything he wants.

Bring it on, I say. It's funny to watch the corporate idiots wasting their time and money on nonsense, rather than adapting to the world we live in today.

Re:You down with DPP? (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353547)

Bring it on, I say. It's funny to watch the corporate idiots wasting their time and money on nonsense, rather than adapting to the world we live in today.

Remember, if you buy their products, it's your money being spent. I use GNU/Linux exclusively since 2001, so that's a non-issue to me.

Re:You down with DPP? (4, Funny)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353607)

Damnit! You people and your "If I take your car, now I have it and you don't" analogies have ruined it for everyone! Now copyright infringement really WILL be theft!

At least for the week it takes someone to figure out how to duplicate the keys, anyway.

It is only DRM+ (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352909)

Even though the encrypted shared file is freely copyable, the key file to unlock it is "tamper-proof" so it has it's own DRM to make it "un-copyable".

Re:It is only DRM+ (2, Funny)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352973)

you mean DRM-? (DRM+ is a bit silly) Hmm ... never tried to copy a car before. After reading this, it should be as easy as copying an mp3. My mind is totally changed on DRM- ... or not.

Re:It is only DRM+ (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353383)

Really, the rest of us know that copying a car key is easy. Hell you don't even need a copy if you can pick the lock. I could only hope for DRM schemes that pathetically weak...

Re:It is only DRM+ (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353423)

DRM+ is right : DRM means "stupid", so DRM+ means "stupider"

Re:It is only DRM+ (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353051)

And anyone with a "link" to the key can assume ownership. So if you, or any of your friends' computers are compromised, they can "steal" your DPP protected stuff. And you can never get it back.

Of course, there is little reason to steal; people who want the files in question would simply get DPP-free versions. Only malicious sorts and vandals would bother, since there'd be no real gain from the act. But if you have a falling out with your friend, it doesn't look like you can "change the locks" so to speak. If I give a house key to a friend, and for some reason stop trusting him, I can change the locks on my house. This doesn't seem to support a similar mechanism. Also, unless you store the playkey online (which has its own problems), a hardware failure in the playkey storage device will cost you your files. Returning to the house analogy, it would be like your house burning down (okay, becoming inaccessible forever) because you lost the key to the front door.

Re:It is only DRM+ (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353233)

Actually after reading the article the guy is an idiot. The "playkey" is the whole problem with DRM. Whether downloaded off a drm server, or transferee securely br protected memory(as the article suggests). Transfer of that key is needed. Without it everything fails. What's worse in order to even be vaguely secure each music file would need it's own playkey. So for me alone that is some 5,000 keys.
  If you had even the same playkey for every song title theft is easy. If each person has one playkey. Then it be ones possible to steal thousands of songs nearly instantly.

So I say again the guy is an idiot. A dumb idea so poorly thought out I wonder if he actually thought about it or pulledit out of his ass.

Re:It is only DRM+ (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353455)

Yes, this sounds like a dumb idea, but there's a kernel of goodness here, I think. Forget about "ownership" for a moment, my biggest concern in digital files is identification - attribution if you will. I would like to be able to watermark a digital file and have everyone know it's mine. I don't care if it gets copied, but I want every copy to bear the sign that this content was made by me. You'd think this would be relatively easy today, but every time I've tried to find a way to do this, all I found were very expensive products from companies I'd never heard of.

I've got a slightly unusual situation. I make something digital, and people pay me for it. The people who pay me can copy it, sell it, do whatever they want, but I want the copies to bear my signature, just like a painting bears the painter's signature. I get my money up front, but attribution is the most important thing.

Let's talk about sound files, music specifically. I've tried putting encoded sound into the file, say very high frequency, but that can pretty easily be filtered out. Or, if the material is in just one part of the file, then that part can be simply edited out. What I'd like is something, I don't know, holographic that will be in any part of the file longer than say 5 seconds. Something that will stay in any copies of the file.

Does anyone know something like this? Every six months or so I try to do some research into any products like this and I come up empty, or as I said, with unknown solutions that are very very expensive.


Re:It is only DRM+ (2, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353683)

mp3 and other lossy formats have as their whole point removing the kind of information you want to add -- sound that can't be heard. Compression is still a hot research topic with both academic and industry interests. In contrast, steganography is much more obscure. For now, the compression beats steganography.

Re:It is only DRM+ (3, Insightful)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353739)

Unfortunately, it's not so easy to do this. When embedding a watermark, there are three fundamental approaches:
  1. Add some metadata to a nice, seperately partitioned out part of the file. While this is easy, persistent, and doesn't inconvenience the user, it's also very easy to remove.
  2. Change the content in a way that's not perceptible to the user. The problem here is that these tend to be removed by lossy compression - the lossy compressor uses a model of human perception to remove information that's not perceptible, and your watermark's no exception.
  3. Change the content in a way that is perceptible to the user. While this works, it's also very annoying.

So it's not an easy problem, and as compression improves, option #2 there will get even harder over time.

Re:It is only DRM+ (2, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353573)

It seems to indicate that playkeys would be per file. And the cost to store a key maxes out at about half a KB (for an RSA prime number based system); substantially less if it uses either a private key style encryption system or an elliptic curve based public key system. So for your files, that would be around 2.5 MB at the outside, or as little as 80 KB. If this were implemented, I'd expect a gig or two of flash memory to be included with any hardware based system, which would handle somewhere between 2 million and 62.5 million keys (depending on size of key and size of included memory). Or they maintain a separate file or partition on a hard drive, which has it's own protected key (on the hardware device), thereby eliminating the need for special purpose storage, and removing the cap on the number of files.

I suspect this is as much about resetting DRM to a real standard as it is about DPP. Since DPP would require a DRM-like system, if DPP were accepted, everyone would have a DRM capable system based on community developed standards. This doesn't make it a good idea, but it's not quite as half-assed as you think.

Re:It is only DRM+ (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353685)

Not to mention do you have any idea how many PCs I have to format in a year because some dumbass in the family did something stupid and got pwned? Say goodbye to your stuff! Because if it is easy for me to "backup" the key, it will be JUST as easy for the guy at Worst Buy with the porta drive and the script that copies everyones media files to help himself, and again bye bye media.

The media companies time and time again fall for the SAME stupid shit that the game companies do. I have to crack all my fricking games even though I paid good money for them. Why you ask? Because I have 9Gb of RAM (8 on the board and 1Gb on the GPU) and therefor use XP X64, which works beautifully on the games but the #$%#%$# [metacafe.com] DRM don't work, that's why! And God help you if you get a Starforce infection on XP X64, as their damned uninstaller doesn't do jack shit on X64, so enjoy spending the day dual booting and hacking the reg to kill that shit!

when are these PHBs ever gonna learn? EA got me to shell out to buy MOH:Airborne even though I had already read reviews that said it wasn't that good. How you ask? By packing the older MOH games together with it, along with a nice interactive timeline of WW2 and a "music of" disc, and all for a reasonable $30. By giving me MORE value for my money I was happy to shell out for the set, and it would be trivial for other companies to do the same. Instead they go out of their way to screw us on price and cripple their products with DRM, once again making the pirated versions BETTER in every way! How damned stupid can they be? They should be throwing extra discs containing the artist's older stuff and charging us a fair $20 for the set, not this assraping $1 a song BS.

Offer people a good value for a fair price, and watch the money roll in. It was true 100 years ago and is just as true today, but sadly these corporations have taken on the "too big to fail" mentality that they are entitled to ever climbing profits while screwing everyone else every damned chance they get. Sadly the "too big to fail" mentality, as well as massive bribery of our elected officials, is what has gotten us into the mess we are in now. our infrastructure falling apart, prices going ever higher while quality goes ever lower. And they have the brass balls to wonder why piracy is rampant? How about not buttraping your customers and given them broken DRM infected shit, how about that? How about instead of wasting all this money on pointless DRM shit, which is cracked by the pirates usually before release, you instead offer a good value for the consumer's dollar so he doesn't feel screwed when he buys you product, ever think of that? But sadly I doubt there will ever do anything that logical. They will instead pay for ever more draconian laws paid for with treasonous bribes, and shovel ever shittier DRM down our throats and be amazed that their profits take a nosedive. Just stupid.

DRM is always bad (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353625)

Any DRM will fail in the end. Why? Because all it takes is one person creating an identical product to a DRM'ed product without DRM, and they have just 'built a better mousetrap'. Implimenting DRM costs time and money, and isn't a 'feature' that an end user benefits from, so not doing something is a way of improving a product and lowering its cost.

Re:It is only DRM+ (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353763)

Of course, there is little reason to steal; people who want the files in question would simply get DPP-free versions.

I disagree. There is a strong reason to do so: by "vandalizing" this imaginary property you teach the idiot the notion that in no circumstances he would have to get a DRM infected file. In this context erasing the keys on the server would be a exemplary punishment for supporters of this idiocy. (Some music stores relying on DRM infected formats already had to do that when they went out of business - consumers of course were screwed)

Hey guys (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29352921)

You know me, the anonymous coward. I have been posting to Slashdot for years! Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that when I am included in your circle of trust, you can trust in me.

why do they keep trying? (4, Insightful)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352923)

what are they trying to achieve?

surely after years of being beaten to a pulp they MUST have learned that any attempt at controlling is more than futile?

Re:why do they keep trying? (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353035)

what are they trying to achieve?

surely after years of being beaten to a pulp they MUST have learned that any attempt at controlling is more than futile?

They keep trying for the same reason that politicians who push for shitty laws keep trying: they know that they only need one major victory and everyone will be stuck with it forever. That's why they don't read something like this:

For instance, you might loan your car to a friend, a family member, or a neighbor. You might do so on many different occasions and for different lengths of time. But you are unlikely to leave the car out front of your house with the keys in it and a sign on it saying, "Take me!" If you did, you might never see the vehicle again. It's that ability to lose control over property that is central to the DPP system.

and come up with a response like this: "but if I could make an infinite number of perfect copies of my car while retaining my own copy, at low or no cost, what would be my incentive to use a system designed to make me lose control over my car or any other property?"

Re:why do they keep trying? (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353731)

For instance, you might loan your car to a friend, a family member, or a neighbor. You might do so on many different occasions and for different lengths of time. But you are unlikely to leave the car out front of your house with the keys in it and a sign on it saying, "Take me!" If you did, you might never see the vehicle again. It's that ability to lose control over property that is central to the DPP system.

and come up with a response like this: "but if I could make an infinite number of perfect copies of my car while retaining my own copy, at low or no cost, what would be my incentive to use a system designed to make me lose control over my car or any other property?"

You made me think of universal assemblers [wikipedia.org] just there. I wonder what it would be like once *everything* is just information... from your car and house to donor organs. I wonder what those far distant future people would think of digital personal property....

Re:why do they keep trying? (2, Interesting)

Ardaen (1099611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353369)

People don't like dealing with change. Rather than trying to come up with a new system that works well considering the current realities, people try to make the current realities conform to what was previously in place.

Look at movies with flying cars, where so often the flying cars are restricted to 2d multiple lane 'roads' in the air. Seems like a ridiculous restriction to put on flying cars which would lead to almost the exact same set of problems we have with non-flying cars and traffic. It's just how people think (or is that how we don't think?)

Re:why do they keep trying? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353677)

There's a difference between fearing change and preventing it. One prevents growth and is an extreme, the other is natural. Of course clearly plenty of people don't know how to look beyond their own nose or recognize their own instincts.

Re:why do they keep trying? (5, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353375)

what are they trying to achieve?

Social engineering. They want to change the way in which we understand data.

Currently we tend to think of any sort of information as something to be shared freely. It's what we as a species do. I think that tendency to swap data among ourselves is what led us to amass the information that makes up our present culture and technology. It's a pretty basic thing in human beings.

But it's a pain to monetize data on that model. It didn't matter when distributing the data was expensive, since you could charge for the distribution. So as distribution costs for data approach zero, the challenge for the media cartels has always been to reframe our understanding of data, so that we think of it in the same terms as a car or a house. I believe that's why the term "intellectual property" was coined in the first place.

The trouble is it didn't work. It turns out that if you take a tune and try and rebrand it as some sort of household accessory, people still treat it as a song. So this is the logical next step: make that song behave more like real property, and see of that shifts people's thinking.

I can't see it helping myself. It's DRM, and it's always going to fundamentally, inherently insecure. But you can see where they're going with the idea.

Re:why do they keep trying? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353543)

"Currently we tend to think of any sort of information as something to be shared freely. It's what we as a species do. I think that tendency to swap data among ourselves is what led us to amass the information that makes up our present culture and technology. It's a pretty basic thing in human beings. "

Not exactly. Your statement most definitely doesn't apply to private information. Or else what would we talk about the other half of the time on Slashdot?

Re:why do they keep trying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353479)

Shirley, you jest!

All they've learned over the last 7 years is that they must try even harder measures.

Re:why do they keep trying? (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353481)

As long as the music industry thinks that they should be entitled to charge us money for hearing music anywhere (even elevator music at the mall), Greed will always overwhelm logic and common sense.

Re:why do they keep trying? (1, Troll)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353551)

Isn't it a bit ironic that we have this miraculous communication system which can transmit data all over the world at the speed of light, that we have encoded music and other media such that they can be copied and sent across this network at negligible cost, and that they're trying to indoctrinate us with the idea that none of this is true in order to continue an outdated business model?

There is a saying that for good people to do bad things, it takes religion. I'm beginning to suspect a corollary: For smart people to do stupid things, it takes capitalism.

Because they have to (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353577)

It's like when a five year old tells you he can't find his shoes because he lost them. But he doesn't want to get in trouble so he'll say a gypsy took them. And you know the kid is lying but when you press him - he'll start to describe the gypsy. "He had purple pants, a gold shirt, and a moustache. He had a little monkey with him."

Much the same with DRM. They've lobbied for it, they've pushed it, they've gotten people to buy it and then yanked the key servers and left them high and dry. It can't be a swindle, they just haven't found the correct solution yet! So we go around and around with the industry talking about how to do this the right way. The truth is that there is no right way. The truth is that DRM is a lie. It can't work. Ever. Whenever you hold both the lock and the key, it stops being about cryptography and starts being about how to game the system.

Read up on how people beat DRM systems. Like DVD Jon. He's not a gonzo cryptographer. He didn't break DVD by his sheer mathematical skills. No. He was a kid with a machine code monitor who found the decrypted key in memory.

But like any good lie, you have to keep telling it once you start. Because the minute you say "well as it turns out there wasn't any gypsy" that's when you get in deep trouble. Imagine the class action lawsuits that would result! No, telling the lie over and over is much cheaper. So let's hear it for DRM2. I'm sure it'll buy the industry at least six more months before the next bored kid from the Netherlands comes along.

Re:Because they have to (1)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353693)

at some point, they will have to admit it can't work.

i'm waiting for the day.

then again, a friend of mine said "nature doesn't toy around. when she creates an idiot, she means it"

Betting Pool (5, Interesting)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352953)

All right, time to start the ol' betting pool up. Let's guess how long it'll be before someone hacks that and just permanently steals everyone's DPP. I must say, however, it's awfully nice of them to make theft easier than ever. Why bother to leave your house when you can do it from the comfort of your office chair? If you'd like to ransom their belongings you can use the Internet for that too! Thanks Internet!

Re:Betting Pool (3, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353137)

This is insightful

This would create a market for hacker/thieves to create malicious software intended to transfer, thus steal, your DPP.

Hacked before they even began (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353303)

Since it obviously involves some type of key server to check against there are several ways from the very simple to very sophisticated. There are also several problems with it:

1) If the DRM permits on failure then that would be the simplest way to hack it, just block the server or specific queries to servers. If the DRM disallows on failure then a lot of people would be affected when a DDoS or a firewall/router 'problem' blocks the server somewhere upstream. This can off course be mitigated slightly by only disallowing after a certain time period, but that would require the keys to be stored either locally in the media file or locally in the media player. Both issues are simple to solve.

2) If the DRM uses a very central key server (hosted by the RIAA) that keeps track of all the 'stolen' keys then just distributing and submitting a rainbow table (easily accomplished through a botnet) of keys would be enough. If only few hold access to the key server, then there has to be some type of mechanism that finds and blocks the 'stolen' keys (where stolen is defined according to their dictionary, not the Standard English one, we would say copied to a public place). That mechanism will be very simple to either avoid (like blocking/allowing Google Bots) or mislead. Manually would be too time intensive and thus not work either.

3) If the central keys are held by the media sellers (eg. iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft) then it only takes a media seller to go out of business to have millions of files disappear. Also if the system has to be upgraded it will be very much fun to watch a) all systems synchronize their updates without downtime and b) maintain backwards compatibility. The option to 'hack' it in 2 is still valid especially when said sellers are big enough (Amazon and iTunes come to mind)

As with so many schemes for DRM it will not work and it will piss off the customers usually sooner than later. It will not be implemented and it will not be compatible with millions of devices/users out there. It is dead before it was even started. DRM does not work. It's akin to somebody making a perfect copy of your car (and/or license plate) and then driving off with the copy, you won't care, you won't know and/or you'll get in trouble for the other persons actions while you were the one that legitimately bought the car or applied for the license plate.

Seriously? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29352985)

When are the people going to get so fed up as to burn these controlling motherfuckers to the ground? Be them "Big Record" motherfuckers or "Big Government" motherfuckers. I'm already there, but (obviously) I'm too big of a pussy to do anything on my own.

Seriously people, what do we have to do to legally destroy these people and their businesses? LEGALLY DESTROY. I kinda like the sound of that...

DRM will fail. (4, Insightful)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352989)

Right now, it's easy to include DRM while only upsetting we, the minority, because the average consumer never tries to use their media in a way that runs afoul of DRM. They buy song off iTunes and just use it there on iTunes, never knowing the limitations of the "product". (I use iTunes merely as an example, I know there's DRM-free music there now)

With every new push, however, the average consumer comes closer to running head-first into these limitations. When you have people's files start disapearing off their hard drive when there is no physical product, they might finally join us in asking: "Why the Hell is a collection of ones and zeroes being treated this way?"

The harder DRM advocates push, the more the consumer becomes less ignorant of their questionable ownership philosophy.

Re:DRM will fail. (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353347)

No they won't.

Years of piss-poor software will lead them to think that it's "just one of those things" and power cycle their system.

If that doesn't work, they'll just buy a new one because what they had must have broken.

Re:DRM will fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353665)

I don't know... If DRM teaches people to power cycle their system BEFORE calling me then it can't be all that bad.

Re:DRM will fail. (1)

kingosric (472809) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353363)

The harder DRM advocates push, the more the consumer becomes less ignorant of their questionable ownership philosophy.

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

New Questions (5, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353005)

This new development in the copyright arena is going to raise several important questions. Do we refer to this as "Dippy" or as "Da peepee"? Do we change the acronym to "Digital Pretend Property" or "Digital Property Penalties"? Will this technology never really take off, or will it only die after a multi-billion dollar campaign and several dozen slashdot debates? Only time will tell.

Still smells like DRM to me... (3, Insightful)

blackmars0 (1162035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353007)

It's only a matter of time until it's cracked and shared.
On a side note... I would think that "stealing" mp3s would open up a whole new can of worms. What are you going to do when your "buddy" down the street refuses to "return" your music library, call the police?

Emulating the physical world... (4, Insightful)

Condor80 (686041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353019)

what they want, he tells Ars, is for digital property to "complete the emulation of the physical world."

One would think they would eventually see the change of paradigm that's been going on for... 30 years?

oh yah.. this is gonna work. (3, Insightful)

Arsenal4rs (1529513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353021)

Ya know, these companies bitch and bitch and bitch about how they arent making the money they used to... Maybe they should stop wasting their money on file formats and DRM schemes that will NEVER take off and focus more on the quality of the product they are producing.

Why treat it as physical media? It's not! (5, Insightful)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353023)

I wouldn't leave my car outside my house with the keys in the ignition for all to steal (well, actually, my car is terrible so I have contemplated it). However, if I could 'burn' a new car from a car 'blank' for the price of a few pennies every time I left the house I would. I would also drive it over to my friends house and not worry if I found a different way back - I'd just leave my car there and create a new one. There is no reason to treat digital media the same way as physical media unless you're trying to force people to play by your old rules when the world has moved on.

Re:Why treat it as physical media? It's not! (1)

rajanala83 (813645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353509)

>I wouldn't leave my car outside my house with the keys in the ignition for all to steal (well, >actually, my car is terrible so I have contemplated it). My first car was old and ugly, and I never kept anything valuable in there, so I didn't bother locking the doors, and often left the keys in the car; but never in plain view and only in the inition when it was parked next to the front door. And I never had any problems. Living in the countryside has its advantages.

Re:Why treat it as physical media? It's not! (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353721)

if I could 'burn' a new car from a car 'blank' for the price of a few pennies every time I left the house I would.

But wouldn't it be even better if you could 'burn' a new car with a nuclear warhead in the trunk, and give every one who had ever ridden in your car a big red button so they could completely destroy it and every single copy that you had ever made any time they wanted to? Wouldn't you feel a whole lot happier that way?

Paul Sweazey thinks that you would like that.

Stuff em! That's what I say (2, Interesting)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353027)

I stopped buying CDs, tapes & stuff a number of years ago, when the record companies started suing their own customers. I used to buy 9 or 10 CDs a month, but haven't now for over 8 years. Their loss :-) I still have an extensive, dust collecting, collection, it's just old & will never be added to.

They can add whatever DRM they like, I don't give a stuff. Bring it on, it will only hasten their ultimate demise.

nice try (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353039)

"For instance, you might loan your car to [...] But you are unlikely to [...] If you did, you might never see the vehicle again."

Yeah... that's because I can't copy my car.
Consumers will never treat digital media like physical objects.
IEEE, you fail again.

Fail. (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353049)

Digital personal property (DPP) is an attempt to make consumers treat digital media like physical objects

That's great, except for one small problem. Digital media have none of the characteristics of physical objects. Build business models that recognise this, or go out of business. Those are your only two choices. Trying to force consumers to treat digital media like physical objects is no more likely to work than the car industry trying to persuade people to treat the sea like a road.

dear IEEE (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353053)

Dear IEEE,

No thanks.

Sincerely yours,


anything, and we mean anything (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353067)

to keep from having to back down from DRM as it gives industries draconian control over software and hardware that keep the closed business model in operation well after the digital age has dis-proven its usefulness. DPP (dare i acronym) is just one more way to "buffer" the concept of DRM socially against known issues like the spore failure and windows vista problems. This asinine and redundant technology doesnt do anything that hasnt been done by FOSS for 20 years or so already. i look forward to seeing it fail.

i think that the data wants to be free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353091)

And people who want to pay for it will, and those who don't won't. Fucking DRM doesn't work.

The miss the point (5, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353109)

The point is, for most younger people: I have it, you have it, we all have it. All the time, and for free.

Anything that doesn't encompass that usage model will get bypassed in favor of stuff that will adhere to that model.

The problem is for creative types that this means they get one sale in an efficient market. The first buyer then makes their purchase available to the rest of the world for free. Why would they do that? I don't think anyone is completely sure, but a reputation or status built by sharing is part of it.

The "one sale" idea pretty much pushes things back to a patronage system. Instead of recording a song and selling copies of it, a band is paid by some rich guy to play. The rich guy gets to tell them what he likes and what he doesn't like - and if the band wants to continue living off music they will play that way. They can then distribute their work for free without any worries about compensation.

The problem is, as quite a few creative types found hundreds of years ago, a patronage system quickly ends up where everyone is trying to be just like Elvis because the people with money to spend on the arts really, really liked Elvis. Or whomever was the big favorite. So in 17th Century Europe you had playwrites coming up with pretty much rehashes of the same theme over and over again because that is what the patrons of the arts liked and would pay for.

Sounds sort of like what has happened with music recently. But the problem is while the record labels have (somewhat) learned that an endless series of "Boy Bands" aren't going to cut it any longer with a patronage system it isn't up to the marketplace - it is up to a very small number of patrons. Is that really where we want to go?

And no, I don't see the Internet making much of a difference. If the Internet lead to broad-based financial support it would. But the Internet is a way to distribute stuff for free. There is no "financial support" involved. iTunes is a myth and you might as well get over it. Nobody is making money off iTunes, especially Apple who created it as a music supply for iPods. And as many sales as iTunes has it occupies maybe 3% of music downloads today. No, no money that way.

Re:The miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353181)

How about the artists get paid when they perform, like at a concert.

Re:The miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353323)

actually, fans do support their artist. "154,449 people had downloaded NiggyTardust. Of that number, 28,322 people chose to pay the asked price of $5 USD" from wikipedia. i would personally be happy to pay $5 to download an entire album, especially in flac format, as it was in this case. but this is rarely an option as the record labels are the equivalent to your 'rich guy'

Re:The miss the point (2, Insightful)

slifox (605302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353339)

What if the patrons you mention aren't just a few rich people, but a bunch of fans which can now follow and contribute to their favorite artists with the internet?

Plus, what about all the artists who refuse to give up creative control to anyone? You do realize that many artists have second jobs to pay for their living expenses, while their art is their hobby?

History shows rejection of imitations (3, Insightful)

Geof (153857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353617)

First, it is not correct to assume that patronage is the only alternative. There are many other models. But I want to focus on this claim:

a patronage system quickly ends up where everyone is trying to be just like Elvis because the people with money to spend on the arts really, really liked Elvis.

Something like this actually happened in the 1950s. But it was resolved without the law. Musicians, fans and the industry decided against imitation.

Up until then the market for music had focused on songs, not particular recordings. There were many recordings of each song, and listeners did not mind a whole lot which one they bought. But with R&B music, the particular arrangement of a hit became more and more important. Instead of simply producing covers of popular songs, labels started to clone them, imitating everything they could, from using the same arrangement to hiring the same backup singers. Musicians protested, calling the clones "theft." Labels and radio stations said they would have nothing to do with them (though they didn't always follow through).

But what really changed the situation was the listeners. They wanted to hear the real thing - the original they had heard on the radio, not a knock off. The clones - and the covers simply faded away.

If you are sponsoring a musician (maybe you're Coke looking for music to use in advertising, or maybe you're a group of fans who have pooled their money for a sequel to Firefly), what would you rather do: pay for something that people will see as a cheap imitation, or put your money into something different?

Sure, people like things similar to what they already know. This is part of cultural change. My description of clones in the 1950s is drawn from Elijah Wald's How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'N' Roll, where he also writes:

One reason that the music of Whiteman and the Beatles was so phenomenally popular was that it blended styles that older listeners found abrasive and unmusical with familiar elements, so those listeners could enjoy it without abandoning their previous standards and feel broad-minded and modern without essentially changing their tastes.

A lot of the best innovation comes from taking something old and mixing in something new. Is the Mac GUI just a rip-off of Xerox? Is it bad that Linux is a reimplementation of UNIX? Was it bad that Shakespeare wrote his own versions of other people's stories?

Frankly though, I don't know that I'm really disagreeing with you. As you point out, the culture industries already put much of their effort into retreads and sequels.

Re:The miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353633)

you're also not including the music that will inevitably be made by people in their spare time, simply because they love making music. anything that's made "for money" is automatically subject to the risk that a given marketplace just won't be interested. that's not where the important cultural contributions are going to be made. they're going to be made by people who play music because they like playing music, even if they can't cash in on it, and even if that means they have to have a real job.

i've heard it said that while this is true, the quality of music will suffer because only professional musicians are competent enough to create music worth listening to. i reject this argument, and point to the "quality" of professional musicians that become popular, as well as the multitude of talented independent artists who just like to play and maybe get a paycheck for a gig every now and then. sure, not everything by everyone will be a gem, but that's no different than the status quo.

Re:The miss the point (0, Offtopic)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353681)

It needn't be one rich guy. It could be a group of several (or hundreds, or thousands, or more) people of more moderate means. If an author had a thousand fans, each fan could chip in $5 to an escrow account, with the money only being released when the author turned in a short story that fit the objective requirements (e.g. word count, theme, style) set by the group of patrons before some deadline. Of course, it will take work for an author to get enough fans starting out that eventually some of them would pay, but that's a problem in any system where artists want to get paid. Van Gogh had the benefit of strong European copyright laws, but only ever sold one painting in his life. There's just no easy way to get popular and sustain it.

So in 17th Century Europe you had playwrites coming up with pretty much rehashes of the same theme over and over again because that is what the patrons of the arts liked and would pay for.

You've described the summer blockbuster movie genre -- i.e. 'lots of crap blows up real good' -- perfectly.

Copyright rewards only popular works, even if they are crappy rehashes of the same old thing. It doesn't have anything to do with what's actually good. Nor should it, since the government is the last entity that we want making such decisions for anything beyond the odd public building, war monument, or building code.

This is idiotic. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353115)

In essence, they propose to solve the problem of making bits uncopyable, which is intractable; but not making those bits uncopyable; but making bits magically uncopyable. Wow, way to solve the problem guys. Perhaps you'll be able to go into private sector space exploration next, with an "own-bootstraps" based propulsion strategy.

Second, of course, is the strange idea that we should be striving to emulate the physical world. The physical world sucks. Scarcity sucks.

Privacy? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353117)

"Your" data looks a lot like what we could want as "privacy". This are my personal data, my email account, what i did somewhere, etc, and dont want that anyone could use it (you know, suing, with DPP excuse now) and much less share it with others

It's very simple.. (2, Insightful)

AlexBeck (1199189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353127)

... if you can play it you can copy it.

There's no way in hell that any sort of DRM will be ever successful.

Whoops (5, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353173)

The IEEE fails to take into account something rather major here:

First, that sounds like a royal goddamn pain in the ass and I'm a freaking software engineer. There's a reason the iPod has been so popular.

They can be freely copied and distributed to anyone, but here's the trick: anyone who can view your content can also "steal" it irrevocably. The simple addition of a way to lose content instantly leads consumers to set up a "circle of trust" that can be as wide as they like but will not extend to total strangers on the Internet.'"

No it doesn't, it instantly leads to people who quickly and repeatedly lose access to things they pay for, as malicious script kiddies get into their machines that they've added to the latest and greatest botnet, copy the files off, and snag the key. I can see people jacking those keys being as popular as sniffing for world of warcraft accounts.

And it gets even more confusing:

. To access the content inside, however, you'll need the playkey, which is delivered to the buyer of a digital media file and lives within "tamper-protected circuit" inside some device (computer, cell phone, router) or online at a playkey bank account. Controlling the playkey means that you control the media, and you truly own it, since no part of the system needs to phone home, and it imposes no restrictions on copying (except for those that arise naturally from fear of loss).

So this key is moved into a tamper-protected circuit (irrelevant, no?) that is device exclusive. So you stick it in your phone so your music files only work there, or on your desktop and they only work there, or online and it's not even in your hands (but useless if you're not online) and this license can easily be moved around and if taken, fucks you permanently. But also somehow is magically secure enough that I can't just use it to decrypt the files and strip the DRM? And I can't somehow duplicate this key? What about key backups?

As dumb an idea as ever, I suggest the IEEE leave this one to rot in the dustbin, and stop letting the media companies push the tech industry around.

So, let me get this straight... (1, Redundant)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353183)

I head out of the house and want to listen to the latest Lolcats album, "I cn haz Whyt Album?", which I've paid my $22 for ($1 to the artist, $6 to the studio, $15 to the Centralized Playkey Authority). Because I want to listen to it at the beach, I take my playkey for each song in the album and transfer it to my music player. Let's assume the transfer process is always perfect and you never get a "sent but never received" issue.

So I'm sitting on the beach, and decide to take a swim. Forgetting, in the process, that my MP3 player is in my swimtrunks. Instant flash memory destruction, and the playkeys are no more.

Now I have to go buy the White Album all over again. Or somehow recover those playkeys.

Thanks, but unless they make CDs illegal, I'll stick with those, and rip them as unencumbered MP3. And if they make CDs illegal, I'll just stop buying music. If I started playing the collection I've already legally purchased on CD, I could play it continuously and not hear the same song again for a couple of weeks...

I can imagine a black market in playkeys, except of course that in reality anyone who wants to bypass the system will simply have their neighbor's 12-year-old kid hack the playkey nonsense off the songs.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

giostickninja (1141347) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353389)

Hack the playkey? I'm just wondering how all of this DPP nonsense is going to get past the old fashioned burn-to-disk; rip-from-disk "crack". Unless they disallow burning to optical media as an audio CD, any five-year-old can and will "hack" the DPP, probably without realizing it.

Keep wasting resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353187)

This is a great way to keep some idiots employed for another six months. Let me ask you this: are you actually modifying peoples' brains to supply the key? Do I need a licensed neurosurgeon? Didn't think so. It's another fail by the content whores. Fix your business model or perish: your choice, but we will have unencumbered digital content regardless of whether you nuke yourselves to high heaven.


Pawn shops (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353189)

OK, I can lose property, and then it can be resold. So if I 'lose' a track, can the local virtual pawn shop buy it back at a nickel on the dollar, then resell it for 25 cents on the dollar?

Or, to protect against loss, can I insure it for a penny on the dollar and the recover my losses if something happens to it?

The problem with most current schemes is that are extremely consumer hostile. I might have a CD stolen, but I can buy a used one very cheap. Digital music must be cheaper to distribute, no loss, no theft of the CD, but we still pay the same amount for the music, and have not option of buying it again in the secondary market.

Likewise, if some steals a car from me, I can have the cops do something about it. If someone steals my iPod, nothing is likely to be done. Not the cops, not Apple, not the labels will help me recover my property. They will, however, happily profit off the crime. OTOH, if I put a few songs up for people to copy, I will be liable for millions. Go figure.

In articles like this, the conclusion is often not the interesting item. Very often the conclusion is impractical and ineffective. What is sometimes interesting is the process they went through. For instance, one of the IEEE mags recently published a methods of secure offsite testing. As far as I can tell, while it prevents the cat from getting a degree, it does not protect against feeding answer to the traditional students. So it is not 100%, but the methods they use are interesting. It would be nice if the summaries would include some interesting bits, rather than just a naked conclusion, which is rather useless.

And What Does That Change? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353195)

It might be more "intuitive" (and I'd dare to say it only seems to be on paper, most people would find it less intuitive unless carefully explained and would probably not listen to the explanations anyways), but it still doesn't change anything...

What exactly is making that protection any different? Just like BD+, FairPlay and any other DRM, it will be cracked, it will be exploited and we'll just end up with a slightly fancier but ultimately useless DRM that does what all older solutions did: harm the actual consumers while not bothering the pirates.

Plus, regardless of any form of cracking, there's still that little thing called the analog hole...

It's still DRM... (2, Insightful)

Theodore (13524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353213)

It's still another attempt to make reality match "legality" instead of the other way around.
'If someone else copies your file, you will be punished by loosing that file'...

Fuck. That. Shit.

The current (and as it has always been) paradigm of free copying of data, is the best and most honest way of dealing with data.
"He who lights his taper off of mine does not diminish mine"... Jefferson, IIRC.

Whoever came up with this idea should lose their computing licence.

Don't steal from us, steal from them instead! (3, Interesting)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353221)

With DRM, the media companies tried to prevent people from sharing their music. But cracking the DRM led to the same problem as before.
With DPP, the media companies are offering an easier dishonest way to get music: instead of cracking the DRM, just steal other consumer's songs...

Basically, DPP means: Don't steal from me, steal from my customers instead!

Car analogy would be a manufacturer making cars with great anti-theft systems that are to be removed when the car is first sold in order to discourage thieves from stealing a product before it was sold the first time.

New name, old shit (2, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353227)

Ok, by now everybody hates DRM. So here is what they do, they change the name.

I don't know if they are stupid or smart, either way it will penalize only the legal buyers, as always.

Adding a layer of indirection (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353247)

The core idea here is quite clever, it's kind of a Prisoner's Dilemma situation, where if you decide to be non-cooperative with whoever gave you a piece of media content, you can gain exclusive control over it... but if everyone decides to be cooperative, then everyone has shared access to it. This would provide a strong incentive for people to limit the sharing of their purchased content to people they trust, which would prevent unlimited sharing.

Very clever.

However, it ultimately suffers from the same fundamental problem as any other DRM scheme: Bits are too easy to replicate. While the idea specifically allows for unlimited replication of the content, it still requires strong DRMish control over the "playkey". Effectively, it just replaces the problem of controlling access/ownership of a large pile of very-copyable bits (the content) with the problem of controlling access/ownership of a small pile of very-copyable bits (the playkey).

While reducing the scale of a problem does sometimes make it more tractable, I don't think it really helps in this case. You still end up with some bits that must somehow be moved and shared, but without the possibility that they may be copied. How do you do that? No one knows. You can try to lock it up in secure hardware (effectively a dongle), but even if you succeed, you've just created a major hassle for end-users -- which is exactly what this scheme is supposed to fix. And, of course, really securing that key is very hard, and doing it cost-effectively darned near impossible.

And I don't see any possible way this could work without some sort of on-line interaction. When I "take ownership" of a playkey that I've been given access to, how is it that everyone else loses the ability to use that key? Obviously there must be some sort of central system involved, if not for each usage of the key, at least periodically, to check in to see if the possessor should still have access to it.

Perhaps there's another even more brilliant technical idea underlying the rather clever social hack, but I doubt it.

nude pictures (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353269)

It's that ability to lose control over property that is central to the DPP system. DPP files are encrypted. They can be freely copied and distributed to anyone, but here's the trick: anyone who can view your content can also "steal" it irrevocably. The simple addition of a way to lose content instantly leads consumers to set up a "circle of trust" that can be as wide as they like but will not extend to total strangers on the Internet.

You mean they not only copied my files, they deleted my copy as well?

So this is for nude pictures? Now what excuse will young stars have when they leak such pictures for publicity.

On the inconvenience (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353291)

Any, repeat any DRM will inconvenience legitimate users far more than copyright violators.

Won't work. (1)

riley (36484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353311)

Here's the thing... DRM, DPP, whatever, are attempts to technically impose the physical world onto the digital world. The physical world naturally has the notions of exclusivity of ownership and scarcity, whereas the digital world doesn't. Trying to graft a simulation of the physical world onto the digital is cute, but won't be successful. Because of the nature of the media, it will be bypassed by those who wish to do so. The morality and desire to apply the economics of scarcity to digital media simply don't matter with regards to whether someone will or won't copy the information. In short, it's a waste of money. Attempting to find ways to use the nature of digital media to make money would probably result in a better return on investment.

The Right to Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353359)

Excerpt from Stallman's The Right to Read [gnu.org]:
And there wasn't much chance that the SPA - the Software Protection Authority - would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishmentâ"for not taking pains to prevent the crime.

I don't get it (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353367)

They propose solving the "problem" of files being copyable by encrypting them, and making a key that somehow can be moved but never copied.

How do they plan to do this key? Any time you decrypt the file to use it, you must have the key to it, and at that time you can make a copy of it. What ensures it'll be irrevocably lost when transmitting it to somebody else?

idiocity (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353405)

So, the answer is to make things worse? Yeah, I'm sure that's gonna fly.

Uh, right... What a crock of shit (2, Insightful)

Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353457)

Digital Personal Property? Why the fuck is anyone trying to apply real-world realities to something that is fundamentally different? What would be productive, and for the long-term benefit of society, would be to educate people about the differences, the reality of digital information, and the inescapable reality that duplication costs are zero.

Copyright is a social contract which has time, and time, and time again been abused and violated by large corporations and their lobbying groups. This DPP nonsense is a sop to their war on the public domain and the rights we are used to enjoying.

This proposal? Well, let's smoke some MPAA/RIAA crack and spend a fortune making computers work in a way that suits their old business models.

Ancient ways (1)

PWNtheon (1633637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353465)

Legality and what is best for the creator of creative works aside. It never fails to amaze me how the industry keeps trying to strip the internet and digital world of all it's benefits, to make it more compatible with their age old business models. It seems clear, even to an average Joe like me with no education on this matter, that trying to screw your customers over instead of adjusting to their habits is a terrible strategy. Instead of spending millions on limiting our ability to share and distribute media, they should spend that money and manpower on developing new solid business models that awards and takes advantage of this pattern. It has been done in small scale, but because the majority of the industry clings to it's ancient ways like a samurai in a 21st century gunfight, it will need a few more bullets to the chest before it is defeated. Whoever then remains with a new and customer friendly business model is gonna get really, really rich.

You can't treat a number like property (2, Insightful)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353469)

When you boil the matter down to its essence, digital content is simply a bunch of very long numbers. You can't treat numbers like property. Imagine trying to treat the number 17 as property. It doesn't work.

Re:You can't treat a number like property (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353587)

Exactly. I keep trying to persuade those that supposedly are in charge of these things that you cannot patent numbers. (i.e. you can't patent the algorythim for .mp3 or for .jpg or .doc or whatever) because they already exist. You can copyright them, but then that is a different set of laws.

Huh (0, Troll)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353499)

The study group's mission statement makes the same point, saying that it wants to give consumers true ownership of content while still "preserving business models based on the sale of private goods where the number of items in circulation equals the number sold and the number of users of each item is naturally, reasonably, and unavoidably limited."

Why would we want to preserve these business models? Given that it is everyone else who is being asked to shoulder the burden of propping them up, what good are they to us that they deserve it?

Copyright may be desirable under the right circumstances (i.e. a copyright law that produced social benefits greater than those produced by any alternative, or no copyright law at all), but at least it can be easily changed according to the needs of society, assuming the government is legitimate and not corrupt. DRM -- which is what this quite obviously is, just with a different name -- is too subject to the whims of creators and publishers, rather than the public, and too fixed once in place. Attempts to push DRM need to be strangled as soon as possible, although we must respect that free speech includes the right to use DRM.

So a better alternative would be a copyright law promulgated by a legitimate and non-corrupt government, which put the needs of the public first (i.e. the need for more works to be created and published so that the public can get access to them, and the need for such works to be as useful to the public as possible, which means uncopyrighted, or at worst, minimally copyrighted, in both scope of rights, and duration of term); where the grant of copyright on a work would be conditional on neither the copyright holder, nor anyone authorized by the copyright holder, applying any sort of DRM to copies, performances, or displays of the work made available to the public; where if DRM was so applied, the copyright would be revoked; and where the government would cooperate with the public to crack DRM systems and freely republish works which had been protected by DRM, and were therefore, in the public domain.

It'll take some work to accomplish this. Various treaties (WIPO, Berne, the UCC, etc.) set up minimum standards that interfere with meaningful reform efforts (e.g. legalizing the breaking of DRM, terms shorter than life+50, resurrecting formalities so that an author must opt-in to copyright for a particular work or else forgo it). We'll have to withdraw from these treaties, but to be honest, they're not really that important anyway; it is in the interests of each country to unilaterally offer national treatment (i.e. a country should not discriminate on the basis of nationality with regard to any aspect of copyright law), without minimum standards that compel two differently situated countries to enact the same laws as though they were perfectly alike.

Ever greater disgust at this stupidity (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353505)

I know! Let's come up with a way to break digital content, simply because it's digital! Not because it's a technical flaw!

Why? For social reasons!




bash (1)

jointm1k (591234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353541)

#104052 +(12518)- [X]

<NES> lol
<NES> I download something from Napster
<NES> And the same guy I downloaded it from starts downloading it from me when I'm done
<NES> I message him and say "What are you doing? I just got that from you"
<NES> "getting my song back fucker"

Car analogy? (1)

mrmagos (783752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353557)

The car analogy doesn't work here, yet again. I've seen what happens when someone leaves the keys in a car, puts a sign on it that says "Take Me." Nothing. That's what happens. No one touches the damn thing.

A friend of mine did just that, as well as place the title on the dash, in an attempt to get rid of the pos. This was at least 10 years ago, so no CARS program, and he was too lazy to do much else with it. Our theory was that he made it too easy, that anyone who would potentially acquire a car by such means would be too suspicious. That, or it was such a pile that not even potential car thieves would touch it.

Copying Stealing (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353561)

I think the main issue here is copying. Copying does not equal stealing. In the example, I can lend someone my car and they will eventually (hopefully) return it. However, if I supposedly lend them my copy of Led Zeppelin IV in .ogg or .flac format, they can "steal" it by making a copy. Well, if they take my car - i.e. they steal it - I don't have it back. If they "steal" my copy of music/software/games then I still have it. There's no difference to me, as I still possess what I purchased/obtained. I think the powers-that-be need to get their minds around this concept. Oh, I wonder if there's a crack yet for Windows 7...

Something nobody else has pointed out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353695)

This won't work because the media companies won't go for it, because it still dilutes their pricing.

They want to milk each and every one of us. But if you set up a shared repository of 50 of your friends (as the article suggests) then only one person needs to buy say, the song, and all 50 share it.

So now instead of an iTunes song costing about $1, 50 people will share that $1 purchase and iTunes gets only $1 instead of $50, and the song effectively costs 2 cents each.

Nice try fella, but there's no way the media cartels will go for this.

DRM (1)

n2hightech (1170183) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353699)

This Playkey idea is just plain stupid. It solves nothing and changes nothing. Now instead of not being able to transfer and/or backup the mp3 file to play several different places (all mine) the issue will be not being able to transfer and backup the playkey to several different places. Same problem different file extension. The only real market based solution to the problem is to lower the cost of obtaining the MP3 file from a reputable source (the producer) to a level where no one will bother to look for a free source when the free source could be contaminated with malware. At that price point the profitability of selling the songs illegally becomes a non money maker at a big risk of getting caught. When the risk reward ratio goes negative the crooks find some other method of making money. The thing the media companies have not yet realized or learned to cope with is that the cost to manufacture and distribute media has dropped so dramatically that it is nearly zero. They are still trying to market media like it is still made up of CDs and books with the same impediments to entry in the market.

The obvious question is... (3, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353713)


"Digital personal property (DPP) is an attempt to make consumers treat digital media like physical objects."

When we see things like this, we need to sit down and have a hard look at the intent here. The fundamental nature of digital media is that copying is essentially a zero-cost event. The entire point of "DPP" is to break the nature of digital media.

Why? Why are we breaking the natural advantage of this new format? This isn't much different than pouring ink all over the pages of a book, so that they can't be read. Ultimately, we have to realise that we're doing it to make digital media fit the mold of traditional media.

Yes, I know you're thinking "but that's exactly what it SAYS! Make consumers treat digital media like physical objects." No revelation here--just repeating the blindingly obvious.

My point, though, is that the digital media breaks the economic model. We need to fix the model, not break the media. DRM is backwards. DPP is backwards. They're making the media fit the model (by kneecapping it), not making the model fit the media.

Reality is that digital media are here. A model that doesn't change to adapt to reality is one that HAS to die eventually.

I leave my keys in my car. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353741)

My car is out front with the keys in it. Same with the pickup, truck. tractors, motorcycle ..... But I live in the country. I don't have the sign saying "take me". I am sure all my neighbors act the same. Of course I have a shotgun by the door so you may want to be careful if you come for the car.

I work for iTunes at Apple... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353759)

And I thought my job was hard before? Now I have to keep the songs stocked! Every time someone downloads one it comes right off our shelves.

Call me crazy but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29353767)

Isn't the whole digital revolution the result of information not following the laws of physical objects?

We technically as a society have the capabillity to archive and distribute for free nearly all information and culture we have, and these incompetent, closeminded fools are trying to take it away from us. How can we fight this? How can we get past simple civil disobedience and actually influence lawmakers and corporations to stop this nonsense?

All these questions lead to the million dollar question: How can we get the general public outside of our digital circles to actually care about these issues and make informed opinions without being brainwashed by the media?

Anyone who can answer this question should recieve the nobel prizes of peace, technology and culture in my opinion, and maybe a little worship as well. :)

I like it. (1)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353773)

Seriously, hear me out. I've been wondering for years when an implementation like this would finally come along. I think it's a really good compromise between the big corporations and the free peoples, and here's why.

1. Legitimate use is easy and non-annoying. In other words, if you purchase the product on iTunes or Steam or any service implementing this protocol, you can use the product where ever and whenever you want, on whatever devices. There's no "Kindle 1984" scenario looming and no need to buy special "DRM-ready HDMI" cables. Granted, this particular implementation (DPP) may have some annoying aspects, but if the idea catches on hopefully those can be engineered away (that thing about a "file which can not be copied" is stupid, but could probably be replaced with a good private-key scheme).

2. Infringing use is easier to prove/disprove. This assumes that the files are watermarked with your account identifier and digitally signed in some fashion (not difficult -- iTunes does something like this already). A naive user who puts the file up on BitTorrent with their metadata still in it becomes a target for the legal apparatus. (And if there's less infringement, that legal apparatus may shrink from the horrific monster it has recently become.) OTOH, though, if the FBI seizes your hard drive, and all the files on it are properly watermarked and digitally signed, they have no case.

Obviously, some hackers will find a way to crack the file format pretty much the day it is announced, and the BitTorrents will continue. That's OK; a little piracy never hurt anybody. The idea is to protect regular people -- folks who just want to buy or rent a song or movie and play it without a big hassle and without giving control of their computers over to some other company -- and to help the big publishers feel comfortable about moving towards digital distribution.

  -- 77IM

Steam accounts (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353783)

I have a friend who shared his Steam account like this, I think two accounts filled with games were stolen by "friends of friends".
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