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GPL 3 to Take Hard Line on DRM

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the it's-bad-mmmkay dept.

GNU is Not Unix 574

sebFlyte writes "ZDNet is reporting that Eben Moglen, the FSF's lead lawyer and the co-authour of GPL3, has explained that DRM is 'fundamentally incompatible' with the aims of the FSF and will be given short shrift in the latest version of the free software licence, which bans the use of 'digital restrictions' in GPL3 governed software. In his words: 'I recognise that that's a highly aggressive position, but it's not an aggression which we thought up. It's a defence related to an aggression which was launched against the people whose rights are our primary concern... We don't want our software used in a way which batters the head of the user to please somebody else. Our goal is the protection of users' rights, not movies' rights.'" We discussed the new GPL on Monday.

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Signed packages (-1, Flamebait)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509261)

I demand that Red Hat immediately hand over all their private keys!

Re:Signed packages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509306)

I demand that Red Hat immediately hand over all their private keys!

Go study :p DRM != Security

Re:Signed packages (5, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509360)

I demand that Red Hat immediately hand over all their private keys!

Wrong. GPLv3 says that you need to provide all keys needed to make the software functional for its intended purpose, not the keys needed to make a bit-for-bit identical package.

Thus, if your piece of software is supposed to be able to read scrambled data, you cannot hide the decryption key -- but, you are free to sign the packages to prove they are untampered binaries produced by you. In the former case, the program wouldn't work, in the latter, it just will trigger a warning from the OS which says the user is about to install unsigned binaries. No one forces the user to heed the warning, and she can disable it if she wants. No functionality is lost.

Well, (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509264)

will that make it less appealing to Corporate suits?

Tough- they get too much their own way.

Sony fiasco related? (4, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509280)

I wonder if Sony's DRM screw-up and evidence [] that GPL'ed code was in their DRM software played any role in this rather firm approach.

Re:Sony fiasco related? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509367)

Whether this would really help is debatable. Anyone who wants to use a sample of GPL'd code in order to test for the presence of a particular GPL'd application still has various legal fair use and interoperability provisions available to them, regardless of what any FSF lawyers decide to put in the next GPL, so no doubt their own lawyers will find a way to argue that it's legal. Hence I don't see how any provision in any licence is going to stop some DRM-happy gang detecting and trying to block GPL'd ripping software, for example. (Whether they can use GPL'd code as part of their own application in its own right is, of course, a different issue, and it doesn't seem entirely clear which category XCP falls into from what I've read.)

Sony fiasco is related (4, Insightful)

QuaintRealist (905302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509376)

Broaden the meaning of this question and there is no doubt - the recent explosion of news events regarding DRM, especially the Sony issue, has hardened the opinions of many of us. Perhaps the use of GPL code did not itself have an effect, but the whole mess certainly did

Re:Sony fiasco related? (4, Insightful)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509398)

I would doubt it considering that they had already violated the GPL by not releasing their source. Why would an extra GPL violation matter?

Re:Sony fiasco related? (4, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509488)

Oh, I think the Sony DRM roll was just one point along a lengthy path.
Andy Oram [] had a nice blog entry on the whole topic, in particular, towards the bottom:
I hope FSF spokesperson Peter Brown is right in saying that we have a great opportunity to explain the benefits of freedom to the public over the coming year. I also sympathize with his claim that one must use the term "freedom" instead of focusing on "open source."
But opponents of the "open source" terminology always caricature the term and its supporters. Those who pushed for open source have promoted its ethics and community benefits just as free software proponents have. The virtue of "openness" as a general principle is powerful, and has brought people out on the streets in many countries.
I admit that the words "open source" do not slam the ethical challenge down on the table the way the word "freedom" does. But "open source" has helped free software spread to far more places in business and public organization. Now many more people have something to defend when the free software proponents warn them they're in danger of losing it.
The GPL is swell. I can agree that abdicating freedom through the use of proprietary software is stupid. Deeming the sale of such "unethical" seems subjective. More generally, fretting about the motives of others seems a collosal distraction. I dunno.
I wonder if the Free Software and Open Source communities don't have greater effect in combination than either would have had in isolation.
I also wonder if the chief benefactor of all the theological thumb-wrestling isn't sitting in Redmond.

My problem with DRM... (3, Insightful)

shinma (106792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509286)

I'm conflicted, to be honest.

As a writer, I'd like to be paid for my work. I'd rather not make it easy for people to redistribute my work without compensating me.

As a consumer, I'd like open access to the things I purchase.


Re:My problem with DRM... (5, Insightful)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509333)

As a writer, I'd like to be paid for my work. I'd rather not make it easy for people to redistribute my work without compensating me.

I'm a writer as well, and a believer in the rights of content owners to be compensated.

I think it's been proven time and again, though, that DRM is a failed concept that actually hinders consumers more than it thwarts pirates.

Rights and compensation for copyright owners is an issue. DRM is not the answer.

Re:My problem with DRM... (2, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509545)

DRM is not a single monolithic entity in my opinion. There are many ways of implementing DRM schemes stupidly, but that doesn't mean that non-stupid DRM systems can't be devise. You say 'DRM is a failed concept that actually hinders consumer' yet, no-one seems to be particularly hindered by the DRM in iTunes, and it thwarts pirates sufficiently to make the publishers comfortable.

Re:My problem with DRM... (4, Insightful)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509634)

It's true that iTunes DRM is some of the least obnoxious in terms of the practical restrictions it places on the user...

BUT you're still entirely at the mercy of Apple. If they go out of business, or get bought out, or become more evil/greedy, then they can impose new restrictions on the use of their products.

And while iTunes DRM does stop average Joe's from pirating songs, there's software out there to crack it, and it works.

Re:My problem with DRM... (3, Informative)

cronius (813431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509344)

If you really appreciate writing, wouldn't you want as many as possible to have access to and read your books, even if the majority didn't pay you? (In contrast to only a few/lesser reading your works, but everyone reading them also paid you.)

Re:My problem with DRM... (1)

Elvis Parsley (939954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509413)

It's not unreasonable to want to be compensated for the time and labor you expend producing something which other people find value in. Think about that in terms of your own job: if you like what you do, would you be happy if more people followed your recommendations, used programs you wrote, etc., even if you didn't get paid for it?

Re:My problem with DRM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509543)

I thought, upon reading your first sentence, you were disagreeing with him, but after that it seems like you're making the same point as him.

If someone likes their job, I think they'll be very happy if people follow their recommendations (run their programs, etc), even if they didn't get paid for it.

That's why there's volunteers, free source, etc, right?


Re:My problem with DRM... (2, Insightful)

Elvis Parsley (939954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509626) I'm disagreeing, rather strenuously. For example, how would you react if your boss came into your office and said "Everybody loves the widget-processing QA procedure you wrote. That should make you happy, so we won't be paying you this week." Creation for creation's sake is all well and good and I'm certainly grateful to the people who do that, but it's narrow-minded to think that that's the only reason new ideas can and should be created, and it's particularly selfish for someone to impose that mindset on a creator. Some people will create purely for the joy of creation or for the validation of other people using their work. Some might not regard it as truly validating unless other people are willing to make an effort (that is, spend some of their hard earned cash) on their work. Some create to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.

Re:My problem with DRM... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509375)

Sounds to me like you should look a distribution method called a "book".

1) Harder to copy than a web-accessible PDF
2) Conveniently sold in stores across the country.
3) Open access by flipping pages.

Re:My problem with DRM... (1)

SchrodingersRoot (943800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509514)

just out of curiousity, have you never met a geek with too much time on their hands? ;)

many ebooks you can find these days on P2P and so forth were never released as ebooks.
cut, scan, OCR, assemble, distribute.

i mean, i don't have that kind of free time, and i see it as sacrilege to harm a book (though i suppose it could be done, albeit with more difficulty without cutting the book up), but i won't say whether i have personal electronic copies of books i own, y'know?

Re:My problem with DRM... (1, Insightful)

superid (46543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509377)

How long after your death do you think your estate should be compensated for your writings?

Re:My problem with DRestrictionsM... (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509390)

Then get paid the first time you sell your DVD or book, and don't expect the same consumer to buy it again when you release the Bluray or Paperback edition.

Re:My problem with DRestrictionsM... (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509445)

In the world you are looking for there will be no Bluray or Paperback edition. Why should the content owner produce those if you won't let them recover their expense?

Re:My problem with DRestrictionsM... (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509553)

Earth to Space Cadet 029 - 'new media' editions of things traditionally were for generating new sales to new customers not return customers getting a new media, that's just a bonus

Re:My problem with DRM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509403)

Take it from a programmer,... DRM isn't going to prevent people from infringing on your copyright. It IS however going to make your products SUCK for your paying customers.

Sorry, no. (4, Interesting)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509502)

When I write, it is principly to spread my ideas. Monetary compensation is secondary, if present at all. And I very much dislike reading those who write for lucre. It shows. Have you never seen an author "go bad" after early success? Clancey and Rowlings are obvious examples.

Re:My problem with DRM... (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509525)

My problem with DRM is that we've all bought into calling it "DRM" instead of URR ("User Rights Restriction") or some other more accurate appellation.

That being said, I suffer from the same dilemma.

Re:My problem with DRM... (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509582)

What about this. (this idea just ocurred to me, it may be totally stupid, but...)

You may write a book, a darn good book. OK?

You publish it on your page, in PDF format with mega-ultra-super-l33t DRMcryption. If someone wants to have it then it will cost $xx.yy (you put your price).

Then, you tell the people this: "My time an effort to write this book was ZZ hours + NN HeadBangs. So after I recover $KKKK.KK I will make the book available without all the hazzles(DRM). " you could even make it free, as you have earned what you thought was right.

That way, people that really want to read your book, will buy it. And, after you have earned what you wanted for that book you would not care for what people do with it.

Well, as I said, it seems feasible... maybe if you change PDF for MP3 (or a DRMd WMV) a musician could do that, sell its music via iTunes, and make a public statement, "after selling NN number of [virtual] CD's the improved version will be offered to people that buy the song" and then, you just put a .FLAC, OGG and MP3 torrent in your site (of course after you have earned what you wanted.

Sounds fair to me.

open source DRM? (1)

sevinkey (448480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509597)

I hear ya, as I've been conflicted about this issue myself. I lead the development of a successful DRM product line in the past and I'm still torn about this issue.

Observations on DRM

After several years of thought, I like DRM for rental and subscription services... like the new napster. I'll accept DRM on purchased content if they aren't trying to stop me from burning a hard copy (this is configurable by content owners with Windows DRM). I find permanent rentals on one computer to be too much of a rip-off for me to buy into, but I don't have a problem with companies trying to use that as their business model if they want... don't think it will fly longterm. Sony rootkit? Now that's pure evil. I'd call that malware, not DRM.

Open Source DRM?

That being said. I've been waiting for a good open source standard DRM for MPEG-4 to finally come out. Something with interoperability between different systems... be really cool to download some movies from one service, then switch services and have new licenses issued for the new service without having to download those same files again, because both companies already have rights to distibute that same material.

I can think of ways to develop the DRM system described above with proprietary systems, but all of the content services would need to use my license clearing house in order to make that work... so now we're talking about a proprietary implementation on a proprietary framework.... yuck.

I think an open source implementation of DRM would be more likely to lead to the creation of a system that's fair for content owners, content providers, and consumers, than proprietary solutions. I'm concerned that requiring DRM products to use a different license may hinder development from open sources. What do you guys think?

(waiting for the ubiquitous "unbreakable DRM is mathematically impossible" reply... which is true, but that's true anyway as long as we view content using light, and cameras aren't illegal)

Hello Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509291)

I believe this is directed at would be future Sony' CD fiaso's.

Let us all pause and say "Hello Sony" at this point.

Linus' thinking (2, Interesting)

cronius (813431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509292)

I bet Linus is grateful he didn't put ".. or later" in the Linux copyright. These kind of political doings seems like exactly the thing he'd be against.

Re:Linus' thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509339)

Well, if he was against these "political doings", he wouldn't have use the GPL in the first place, as also the GPL2 is of course a license that expresses the, as you would probably call them, political views of the FSF.

Further, ...and later does also mean that the GPL2 would also still apply, so I don't really see your point here.

Re:Linus' thinking (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509570)

yes, but it would also mean that GPL3 would apply. what if the original author did not intend for his work to be redistributed along the terms of the new license?

Wonderful (5, Interesting)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509299)

It's good to see someone with some amount of clout taking a stand against unreasonable constraint of fair use rights. I just hope that this becomes a catalyst in a chain reaction of rebellion against DRM, which manages access in the same way that a jail manages freedom (my apologies to the /.er who I took this .sig from - cant recall his/her name).

GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (4, Insightful)

amigabill (146897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509317)

So it won't be legal for someone to write a media player for someone else's media content that comes with DRM, and release this media player under GPL3? Sure, other licenses can be used for such things, but now such projects cannot benefit from other aspects of GPL3.

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509409)

So much for the "Freedom to use the code the way you want." And this was a poor knee-jerk reaction to Sony. People forget that First4 used the GPL illegally. (No notice, and no source) They can already be hit for copyright violations.

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509513)

So much for the "Freedom to use the code the way you want."

The GPL has never been about "freedom to use the code the way you want" -- that's what public domain, or the modified (i.e. no forced attribution) BSD licenses are for. Otherwise, you'd be free to take GPL code, change it around, and release it as a proprietary product without releasing your source code -- "the way you want."

The GPL has always been about "freedom to view, change and distribute the code the way you want, provided that any changes that are made, are made available to the public." It's about user freedom, not distributor freedom.

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509444)

Why? Of course, you are allowed to write such a player (although certain laws like the DMCA can be a blocker). What you won't be able to is taking someone's player, encrust it with your DRM and distribute it without providing the key. GPLv3 just closes the loophole where someone can try to claim that the decryption key doesn't belong to the source.

If you read GPLv2 as intended, this was already the case in that version -- source that can't produce functional binaries is not the real source; GPLv3 just amends the wording so shifty lawyers can't play word games.

GPLv3 is not perfect and it has many warts, so bad that I would go Linus' way (pure v2) at this moment, but the DRM clause is one of its stronger upsides.

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509455)

I don't think anything will prevent you from creating an application to do anything.

I took it as meaning:
I can write a decoder/viewer program for decoding encrypted DRM streams and playing them back, but I cannot use DRM measures to restrict how that software is installed or used on peoples machines.

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (1)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509476)

You are missing the point of the DRM-clause in the GPL3. DMCA says that you can't circumvent "effective technological protection". GPL3 says that if the code containts GPL'ed code, then it's not "effective technological protection", and circumventing it is therefore legal under the DMCA.

The idea is to stop companies hitting people with the DMCA. If they use GPL as part of their product that contains DRM, they can't use DMCA as a weapon against the consumers, since circumventing that DRM is allowed.

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (1)

littlem (807099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509600)

As long as the program bypasses, rather than enforces DRM, there shouldn't be a problem.

Likewise and patent free-use licenses must be propagated downstream, and "If you distribute a covered work knowingly relying on a patent license, you must act to shield downstream users against the possible patent infringement claims from which your license protects you."

Re:GPL3 players for DRMed media illegal then? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509613)

You can always write such a player and release it under another Open Source license.

I think this is aimed at people who want to use things others have released under GPL3:
You cannot legally take a GPL3ed player someone else has written and release a version with DRM of that.
Think of something like Sony BMG producing an Ogg Vorbis player (lets pretend Ogg was under GPL3 for the sake of the argument) with DRM and distributing that on their music CDs.

What does Linus think? (2, Insightful)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509323)

This is assuming Linus even likes the new GPL. As far as I can tell, he's not too sympathetic to RMS's values anyway.

Re:What does Linus think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509606)

"As far as I can tell, he's not too sympathetic to RMS's values anyway."

He probably was before he started making money.

Re:What does Linus think? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509636)

Fuck linus. He the same idiot who vindicated RMS's stand during bitkeeper fiasco.

Do they even know what people want? (-1, Flamebait)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509338)

Do they actually want people to use the GPL vesion 3 or are they just trying to make themselves irrelevant? It seems to me that they dont care what the people actually want in the licence, but rather what their own self important inflated egos want.

Then use GPL2 (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509371)

I'm sure many people who agree with the spirit of the GPL3 will use it to ensure that the fruits of their labors don't infringe on the rights of others.

For those who don't like the DRM language, the V2 is always available. Just specify which version in your dist package.

Re:Then use GPL2 (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509517)

So your saying RMS can use version 3 and version 2 is there for the rest of us?

Re:Then use GPL2 (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509588)

For those who don't like the DRM language, the V2 is always available. Just specify which version in your dist package.

yeah, but if you used the GNU v2 licence verbatim you have this fun little line -

either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

So what happens then - I give you software with DRM with the GPL v2 or later, but the v3 causes problems with the DRM.

I think instead of GPL v3 they should be creating the New Gnu Public License v1 because the v3 proposal has some radical features added to it and a lot of software is licensed "v2 or later".

Enforceable? (1, Troll)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509340)

I for one would be interested to know if this is enforceable in an actual court. The GPL is legally sound (so I have heard from lawyers), but could this provision pass the actual muster of a bought and paid for legal system?

Re:Enforceable? (1)

spurtle15 (899792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509410)

Why not?

If person A sells his product saying you can only do X with it, can't person B give away his product saying that you can do only Y with it?

Re:Enforceable? (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509418)

How is this even a question. Nothing in copyright law allows you to modify and distribute someone else's code at all. The GPL gives you extra rights, but they are conditional. On what possible basis could someone say that they have a right to take copyrighted code belonging to someone else and modify and redistibute it in a way the copyright holder doesn't approve.

Just encouraging quality (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509342)

Remember folks, a 100% correct hardware/software design could be released under the GPL3 and still be effective. So in a way this is just pushing forward the day such a system is deployed.

Theory VS reality (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509357)

I think that the main reason for this is that DRM is great in thoery but nobody can make it work in practice. There is nothing in GPL3 that will be allowed to hide information (like no sources) but nothing will prohibit use restrictions as long as the source code is provided.

He who makes little sense, makes the most.

Nothing? (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509569)

I wouldn't say nothing, because it underestimates how clever programmers can be. If someone told me years ago that there would someday be a way for someone to listen to a complete two-way conversation between computers capturing every single byte, and to have a detailed specification of what type of encryption was used and still be unable to decipher the message, I would have really scratched my head. Yet here were are, using secure connections today that exactly fit that description.

Never say never!

DRM (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509363)

is easy to trash when your product is free.

Security ramifications? (2, Interesting)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509365)

Aren't file permissions in *ix and Windows systems a form of DRM? Does the GPLv3 distinguish between DRM that you control (file permissions and such), vs. DRM controlled by others (Hollywood's wet dream)?

Re:Security ramifications? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509505)

The difference is I can disconnect from the internet, change my settings and access the content.

Security restrictions are not DRM restrictions.

The comparison is just silly.

Re:Security ramifications? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509519)

Aren't file permissions in *ix and Windows systems a form of DRM?


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509526)

I don't have mod point to distribute at the moment, but I do want to say that the above comment is extremely insightful.

I can't think of an objective legal test that distinguishes "good" DRM (enabling sysadmins to limit users' actions) from "bad" DRM (enabling content owners to limit users' actions).

why is this necessary? (2, Interesting)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509366)

I don't get the point... no company in their right mind would write open-source DRM software already, so other than idealistic sentiment, why is this addendum necessary? If the aim is to ensure that no GPL'd code ever makes it into DRM software, isn't this going against the whole notion of the GPL to start with? I thought the free software movement was about increasing the quality of code in the world by cooperation.

Re:why is this necessary? (1)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509438)

No the provision boiled down is that if you build DRM software open or closed you loose you right to all GPL 3 software you use. So even an unrelated Linux box used in the movies production becomes a violation. It is not just the software that contains the DRM its all GPL 3 code inside your organization that becomes a violation. Being that many production studios now use Linux I would imagine that they are banking on Linux moving to 3 and therefore violating all movie studios if they upgrade.

Re:why is this necessary? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509554)

Utter FUD. Please stop posting.

Re:why is this necessary? (0)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509594)

Read the article before your posting. Oh yeah and the licence.

Re:why is this necessary? (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509489)

I thought the free software movement was about increasing the quality of code in the world by cooperation.

No, no, it's the Free Software Movement, whose guiding principle is that software should be free to roam the Internet, unidsturbed, at home in its natural environment.

And how does having the GPL actually increase the quality of code? It's about what you can do with the code, not so much how good it is. There's an awful lot of free code out there I wouldn't touch with an 8-ft USB cable.

Re:why is this necessary? (4, Interesting)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509499)

Here's an interview with Richard Stallman [] discussing Linus's decision to include DRM in the linux kernel.

And here's a post from linus [] on the kernel mailing list (thread "flame linus to a crisp") talking about DRM in the linux kernel.

So there you go GPLed DRM.

Re:why is this necessary? (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509510)

Based on the conference where the GPLv3 was announced, it's more concerned with open source (sorry, "free software") on closed hardware than free software in general. So let's say some product, let's call it "TiVe", uses free software to create a device that acts like a PVR. It's on closed hardware and requires a key that's embedded within that hardware to decrypt the DRMed files it creates.

So while you have the entire source code that explains how to decrypt the content, you can't get at the 256-bit key that's burned into the hardware. That clause in the GPLv3 is intended for that kind of situation.

A later clause says you have to give out the key to sign the code to allow it to run, to try and work around the reason you can't get at the key in the hardware: you can't upload a new binary onto the closed hardware and expect it to work, because only signed binaries work and the private key is in some safe in some company somewhere.

That's the theory, as I understand it. Not sure how well this works in practice, but this is still an "alpha release" of the GPLv3 - expect changes.

Shooting yourself in the foot? (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509374)

I know we all hate DRM but a lot of businesses see this as the future, if the GPL instantly cuts DRM out then the OSS community maybe limiting it's growth in the business world. I understand the GPL is a "play nice" style licence, but when you outright ban use of your software to any coompany using DRM you may well turn a lot of important areas away, so in the end you end up as a small time group instead of people who changed the world.

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509486)

It won't be much of a problem. Many people not happy with the GPL v3 will simply use the last GPL v2 sources for that program/library/etc. and end up forking it. (AFAIK, Linux is only under GPL v2, not under any later license. Linus, and possibly other kernel hackers, will have to grant GPL v3 status for his [their] code)

We don't see many GPL v1 licenses still around (in fact, I've never seen it), but I think if all this positioning against patents and DRM goes through, we'll see 3 competiting licenses: BSD, GPL v2, GPL v3

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (1)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509495)

Actually the way it is written is that if a company produces DRM software they instantly violate all GPL 3 licenses. They are doing this because many of the movie studios that product the movies that are DRM'ed rely heavily on GPL software for production of the movies. Many of the rendering farms now run on Linux clusters. If Linux is upgraded to 3.0 then they pretty much have the studios by the balls well at least legally. It was a pretty good play on the FSF part.

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509565)

but doesn't using linux on a rendering farm to make movies have nothing to do with releasing GPL-based media player software? one is content, the other is software.

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (1)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509616)

From my understanding it is a simple as if you produce or support DRM in a product that your company or a subsidiary produces said company loose their license to any GPL 3 software. Linux included if it moves to GPL 3.

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509585)

I think this is actually one of the strong points in the GPL. Basicly we use linux not only because it is a superior OS to other alternatives, but we like the free road it's going down. You're safe to contribute, because you know you are not going to be "the sucker" in the long run. Companies can always use the BSD's if they believe the GPL is too restrictive, or they can pioneer new business models and actually benefit the public instead of greedly asking for every last penny...

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (4, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509595)

The GPL isn't, actually, a "play nice" style license as such - the entire concept is that it "guarentees freedom," trying to balance the freedoms of both the creator and the user. The Free Software Foundation is about the "right to tinker" (Stallman's words at the GPLv3 release), and that includes the right to tinker with a program's data files.

Stallman is, essentially, an idealist. He wants to save the world - and he seems to honestly believe that allowing DRM to exist would destroy free software. So he's taken a hard-line stance against DRM in the GPLv3.

It's sort of explained in the rational behind Section 3 [] , which I'm just going to quote outright since it's so short:

DRM is fundamentally in conflict with the freedoms of users that the GPL is designed to safeguard, but our ability to oppose DRM by means of free software licenses is limited. In section 3 we provide developers with some forms of leverage that they can use against DRM. The first paragraph essentially directs courts to interpret the GPL in light of a policy of discouraging and impeding DRM and other technical restrictions on users' freedoms and illegal invasions of users' privacy. This provides copyright holders and other GPL licensors with means to take action against activities contrary to users' freedom, if governments fail to act.

The second paragraph of section 3 declares that no GPL'd program is part of an effective technological protection measure, regardless of what the program does. Ill-advised legislation in the United States and other countries has prohibited circumvention of such technological measures. If a covered work is distributed as part of a system for generating or accessing certain data, the effect of this paragraph is to prevent someone from claiming that some other GPL'd program that accesses the same data is an illegal circumvention.

Re:Shooting yourself in the foot? (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509604)

FSF/GNU doesn't care about the business world, only about its own ideological purity.

Free software used to make protected products (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509385)

The planned anti-DRM changes to the GPL are significant because the entertainment industry regularly uses Linux-powered computers in the production process, notably for special effects and animation. In general, movie studios support DRM technology.

It is a bit ironic that the same companies that don't want you to see their movies for free will use software that can be obtained for free to make their movies.
I guess the entertainment industry motto is: "Why pay for it if you don't have to?"

Greater Gnu General Public Licence (5, Insightful)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509394)

Restrictions on DRM are interesting, for there will be some who will want to extend the penetration of free software with an emaphasis upon programming freedom (of future programmers), and others who support the goal of general freedom.

Linus may stick with GPL version 2 for the simple reason that he may wish to equip Linux to be able to implement hardware-based DRM. Linus is pragmatic in the straightforward sense: many Linux users will want access to DRMed material... Hence version 2, not version 3.

Stallman is pragmatic in a more esoteric sense: the GPL version 2 has been increadibly successful. He is pitching the GPL version 3 to maximise freedom, and this blow against DRM will do exactly that. True, free software will have less penetration as a result, but the world will be a freer place for the compromise not being taken.

From a moral angle, this clause allows programmers to restrict how the fruit of their skills is to be exploited, which is naturally within their right, as long as copyright is recognised in law.

What does GPL have to do with DRM? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509407)

I thought the purpose of the GPL was to ensure that open source works weren't sold in a commercial product without providing the source-code at no added cost. I don't understand how that runs contrary to Digital Rights Management, which is, after all, just another kind of software product. Oh well, I guess you don't have to use the GPL in order to release an open source product if you don't want to.

Re:What does GPL have to do with DRM? (2, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509463)

The purpose of the GPL was to prevent lockin not to promote developers.

The idea was born out of the various incompatible UNIX'es which were all proprietary and therefore able to lock people in. Run a Sparc box? Get your OS from Sun. Don't like the OS? Too bad, you can't change it or replace it, etc...

The GPL3 being aggressive against DRM is a sane move I think. As a developer I have a right to license my software as "not for use in Japan" if I wanted. I could just as easily say "not for use with software that uses DRM".

And frankly I don't see anything negative about it. DRM is bullshit anyways, never will protect the producer and only violates the users ability to enjoy the product as they should be able to.


This is really too bad... (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509411)

If there was one hope for an acceptable DRM solution it was the OS community. Atleast there are still many other good licenses out there that don't ban and entire field of software development.


Re:This is really too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509537)

Plus, now anybody who does want to write software that can support DRM will use some other license which might not be as legally sturdy as the GPL or might not be copyleft at all (BSD). The GPL should not regulate the functions of it's programs. That's akin to saying "No window managers that put the close window button on the lower left". It doesn't belong there.

Right to read (4, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509420)

I'd be surprised if GPLv3 wasn't strongly against DRM, given one of Stallman's early papers Right-to-Read. [] Scarey stuff, and DRM has exactly these aims.

Good move in principle (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509422)

but I always hear about the GPL being violated and not about actual punishments.

there was a recent /. story about firmware, and even that looked just to be "we'll start releasing source code in our next version".

there need to be punitive fines, not just a constant fight just to make people agree to stop breaking the law next time.

I'm not so sure this is a good idea. (3, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509453)

First of all, let me state for the record that I loathe DRM.

That said, I'm not sure this is a good idea. What they're saying is that there is absolutely, positively no good use for DRM, and there never will be, in free software.

To me, there's a huge difference between free software and free content, and it seems to me that this stance in GPL3 is essentailly saying that if you want to make the former, you've got to embrace the latter as well. It seems to me that it is forcing developers who would otherwise want to release their software under GPL3 to unnecessarily put restrictions (no DRM) on the content (i.e. the data) that their code may use, and I just can't see that as a good thing. What if Microsoft started programming Word so that you could never save a document that contained profanity? To me, this is pretty much the same thing. It bans the use of digital restrictions on the content? I thought the GPL was about freedom, but now it's imposing some of the very restrictions that it has traditionally railed against!

I've thought for some time that if there were some way for free software to somehow manage to be able to protect DRM'ed content without compromising the freeness of the software code itself, that organizations such as the **AA would be at least a little more willing to work with the community instead of being so hostile. I think that one of the reasons they're so belligerent right now is because even though the open source community is right about a lot of things, they're also generally insistent that the industries give away their content for free. In other words, the two sides are both extremist points of view, with no one willing to meet somewhere in the middle.

This article shows that those who wrote the GPL3 are simply digging in on one of the extremist sides, which will undoubtedly force the content industries to dig in yet further and commit further atrocities to harm consumers. The shame of it is that in the end, it is the users who will suffer. The content is owned by the content industry, after all, and if it is not conducive to them to work within the GPL3, they will simply not work within the GPL3, end of story. That means that all GPL3 software users and developers will forever needlessly be relegated to either continuing to operate within the fringe or living without popular content.

Re:I'm not so sure this is a good idea. (1)

Enkrypter (252673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509501)

Now all they need to do is figure out a way to legaly grandfather in all previous GPL'd code to be v3 compliant. I think the FSF needs to start investigating every software vendor on the planet. I'm sure there's some open-source code in there somewhere.

One More Step Towards GPL Irrelevancy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509474)

Thanks to moves like this one, the move to truly free licenses that companies use for their products and are willing to allow to be used internally will be accelerated.

Commercial BSD variants just got a little stronger today.


Raise your hand... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509480)

... if you intend to use GPL3 in your software.
I don't. I find that GPL2 is more than adequate for my needs, and feel that GPL3 goes more than a bit overboard in many cases.

Re:Raise your hand... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509508)

I would be happy to use the GPL v3. If you enjoy the GPL v2 more, then by all means use it. Freedom of choice is good.

Re:Raise your hand... (1)

xfmr_expert (853170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509522)

I agree. The problem is, though, the FSF does intend to use GPL3. This means that GCC and all those other GNU tools for which there is no real alternative go the way of the whacko. How many businesses will want to invest or rely on GPL software after this?

Re:Raise your hand... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509548)

Heh... minor practical issues such as the one your raise are simply not important when it comes to idealoguing...

Re:Raise your hand... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509627)

You don't compile against GCC, etc. So they won't affect the license of you project.

That being said I see no advantage of gpl3 over gpl2.

RMS has no respect for other peoples work (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509484)

Again RMS and his fans has proven they do not respect other peoples products, rights, property or ideas.

They simply can't understand not every piece of software should be open and free, some can of course, but not everything.

Re:RMS has no respect for other peoples work (1)

trandism (835011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509515)

Don't follow him if you don't wanna, cowboy, but GPLv3 might be our last defence against corporations.

DRM based on trust? (4, Interesting)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509485)

since every drm schemed is eventually going to be hacked, and therefore the protection removed, not only for the ubergeeks but for everyone through file sharing systems. Since current drm imply shady business with the OS (Sony rootkit) and rights restriction (copying music between all the devices you own etc), since DRM has been critized to assume the consumers where outlaws. Then why not make a jump. I'd suggest a DRM system based on a simple RDF file indicating what the user has the right to do with the file... this file is attached to the media content. Sure, it'll be extremely easy to crack, so easy it won't even be fun. Ethic media players would read the file and tell you, this is the 10th time you've read this file. I can't read it anymore you need to buy another lease, or buy the song entirely etc.... Maybe I'm just a dreamer... after all how many sharewares, most of whom where not based on restrictions, just on nag screens after a certain period, where registered? Well maybe it's different for music, I don't know... But after all, the current DRM situation is the same with a little more obfuscation that's it... so why not?

Slippery slope, I think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509527)

I understand their reasons for not wanting anything to do with DRM, but I think they are making a mistake. The GPL should just stick to its roots and not get involved in deciding what is and isn't able to be covered. If they are going to take a hard-line against DRM then people will complain about other evils (child pornography being the biggest; I'm looking at you, Freenet!). Who is to say that one day GPL software won't be allowed in military use? Since nobody has done it yet I will:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Disregarding the fact that the above quote is always misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, I think the FSF is going down the wrong path. Today it's DRM, tomorrow it's kiddie porn, then government, then whatever the hell they want. While DRM obviously goes against the entire movement, I think disallowing your license to be used for certain purposes goes against the very nature of the movement. Freedom for all, not freedom for some (miniature American flags for others!).

On the other hand, the GPL is now much more grey than black and white. This could possibly be a good thing since the world itself is full of grey. Time will tell.

Re:Slippery slope, I think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509635)

GPL software is being allowed in military use I assure you. Of course I can't tell you where :-). It's not being "distributed" outside of the military so don't expect to be able to ask for the source code ;-).

The basis of rights (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509558)

I have the strong opinion that the word "rights" is being abused significantly by pretty much everyone inside and outside of industry. Rights to education, rights to health care, rights to fair use.

I'm not sure that the word "rights" should be used anymore, the meaning is lost.

To me, rights are something every person is born with -- inherent, God-given, natural, you call it what you want. I believe we are born as human, we have these rights -- American, Afghani, Zimbabwian. I believe the initial U.S. Constitution as very good about naming SOME of the rights that we're born with (no government can tell us what to say, which religion we practice if any, they can not search our body or our house without very specific details laid out to a public witness, they can't quarter troops in our homes, they can't make us testify against ourselves, etc, etc). These rights are the people's, all the people's, and they're not to be abridged by any government. These rights are also ours on our property to modify in respect to others (you have none of these freedoms when you are on my land).

The entire copyright issue is very complex for most people -- many loopholes and priviledges given to some but not others. I don't like unequal rules when they are put in the law. I especially don't like unequal rules that no one can understand with a lawyer. As some know here (and I really don't want to debate it on this forum), I am against copyright in every form -- I believe that once you have a physical item in your hands, you can do with that physical item what you want -- copy it, modify it, call it your own. The physical item is "protected" by inherent property rights as long as the original owner keeps it with him. It is like gold or diamonds. The minute they sell or barter away the physical item, it is now the new owner's item to do with as they please. PHYSICAL property can be protected, but intellectual property is thought, it is action, it is processing, updating and recreating.

Now we get to fair use. First, we the People give government the ability to lay down a monopoly rental to another person or corporation -- copyright. We let them control how we use a specific item, who we use it with, and what we can and can't do. This is a law, with force being used if we ignore it. Then we give "the People" the right to work around this rented monopoly, given some very peculiar reasoning. Copyright was intended to be useful for 7 years (which can be doubled) in order to further the arts -- it was not there to necessarily protect a profit or a demand complete control forever.

This is my big problem with "rights" today -- we can give them up and have to walk a very complicated path, but we also get some parts back in order to try to fix that complicated path but it just ends up being even more complicated.

If you won't agree with me that freedom is better than tyranny, how about you folks who love big government mandate a state-paid lawyer to follow around anyone who wants one, so we can live without the fear of jail or fines?

Easy Way Out (3, Insightful)

_Hiro_ (151911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509575)

For those who aren't fond of the changes to the GPL from v.2 to v.3, why not just vet your complaints about v.3 with a structured rebuttal, and then go on developing v.2 software until it's fixed or something better comes along?

Also, there are plenty of "Open-Source" Licences. (MPL, LGPL, BSD, CopyCat, etc.) Is there something the GPL v.3 does that the others (GPL v.2 included) don't do?

whether or not the license says it... (5, Insightful)

QunaLop (861366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509579) cannot have drm in oss, it just is not possible. if your software can render it, which involves processing the drm (decrypt, etc) then you can remove the drm pretty much just as easily and since the rendering code is there for everyone to see, the is trivial to adjust the app to play to disk.

Feels overbroad (2, Interesting)

augustz (18082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509591)

I'm as much against many of the DRM schemes (and more importantly the way they actually get carried out) as the next person.

That said, I think this is a mistake.

Under GPLv3 can I crate a xen node0 and tie it with hardware DRM so only that hypervisor boots? That's the path to a secure node0?
Could I use DRM type technology to avoid leaking client data I'm required to collect at my place of business?

What people forget is that DRM technology can be used in many ways. To destroy privacy and restrict rights, or to insure privacy and protect rights.

I can think of lots of areas (patents) that the GPL could have been improved / touched-up other than taking the hard DRM line.

Take it easy, fellas (3, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509614)

I'm reading a bit too much along the lines of "ZOMG no 1 will use teh softwares with GPL3" or "there's politics in my software!".

Here's the dish:

You don't like GPL v3? Don't use it. GPL v2 will still exist. In fact, I'm betting Linux (the kernel) won't ever be available under the GPL v3. I would be happy to use the new GPL since I enjoy such a license. If you don't like the new stuff added in, feel free to use GPL v2 software. More licenses == more choices. I don't see the problem here. BSD and GPL currently co-exist just fine. I'm sure BSD, GPL v2, and GPL v3 will do just the same.
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