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DRM More Important Than Life or Security?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the but-at-least-our-music-will-be-safe dept.

427

An anonymous reader writes "Ed Felten of Freedom to Tinker has an interesting writeup regarding how copyright holders are still having serious objections to the built in exceptions of the DMCA even when it might threaten lives or national security. From the article: 'One would have thought they'd make awfully sure that a DRM measure didn't threaten critical infrastructure or endanger lives, before they deployed that measure. But apparently they want to keep open the option of deploying DRM even when there are severe doubts about whether it threatens critical infrastructure and potentially endangers lives.'"

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Thanks for the fucking! (-1, Troll)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970542)

First post.
keep banning me for 24 hours, cowboy!

Re:Thanks for the fucking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970675)

Some people also seriously suggest using Linux for medical devices. I mean come on, it's still a pretty buggy toy-OS.

"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (5, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970552)

... about anything but themselves.

They never have. Perhaps the biggest role of the corporations that belong to the organizations mentioned in TFA is to act as a middleman. Today they add almost no value to the economic equation. That means they're basically parasites. Parasites that, in this case, don't give a fuck about the host (the public) they prey upon.

As long as they get theirs, that's all that matters to them. And they will do everything in their considerable power to make sure that remains the case. They embody everything that is wrong with modern crony capitalism.

It's long past time for them to die.

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (4, Interesting)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970648)

If you every created anything, you too are a copyright holder. I believe that's the whole point of "copy-left" type licenses - i.e. they make it ok for you to copy my work, otherwise it would not be ok. And if you are a creative person there is nothing wrong with trying to make a living from your cretions. I do agree with your sentiment though, the big publishers never create anything themselves and yet seek to protect copyrights so that they get their large slice of someone else's talent

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (5, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970684)

If you every created anything, you too are a copyright holder.

Yeah, that's why I mentioned the "copyright holders" in the TFA in particular, but I suppose I should have been more clear that I'm limiting my comments to them, and not extending them to all copyright holders everywhere.

In my humble opinion, copyright should be nontransferable, and should belong solely to the original creator of a work, or to every individual involved in the joint creation of a work. It's fine for the copyright holder(s) to exclusively license their work(s) to a corporation, even for free, but the right for them to terminate the license at will (despite any contractual wording to the contrary) should be built into law. This is the only way I can see copyright properly benefitting the original creators of a work. The system we have right now, where copyright is almost always immediately and irrevocably transferred to some corporation, is little more than a system of slavery.

I suspect that the original authors of the Constitution saw it that way, too.

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970813)

if you are a creative person there is nothing wrong with trying to make a living from your cretions.

Of course there is.
It would be obviously wrong to point a gun at someone and make them pay for a copy, "or else."

My point is that there is nothing wrong up to a point and then there is wrong.

The debate is about where that point is when it goes from right to wrong. Some people believe that point is just short of pointing the gun, and some people believe that the point is all the way back at simply publishing the creation. A lot of people don't really know where they think the point is, just somewhere in between those two extremes and thus you get the constant debate, rehashing the same ideas over and over again.

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (1)

Redwin (805980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970834)

there is nothing wrong with trying to make a living from your cretins

Am I the only one who misread that and still thought that seemed to describe the RIAA perfectly accurately?

Apparantly they're not just parasites... (0)

gerf (532474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970655)

They're terrorists too! Send them off to Gitmo, I say.

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (3, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970709)

That means they're basically parasites. Parasites that, in this case, don't give a fuck about the host (the public) they prey upon.

And that's mean to the parasites. Parasites actually do care that their host survives long enough to spread the parasite.

This is, in part, the reason why extremely deadly diseases such as Ebola usually don't spread far: they kill their host far too quickly.

The most "successful" diseases are those that merely inconvenience their host, such as for instance, the common cold.

Re:"Copyright holders" (4, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970819)

Today they add almost no value to the economic equation. That means they're basically parasites.


You're confusing individual copyright holders with the middlemen that some of them are tied to. Big difference.

Take comic strips for example. The vast majority of new comic strips (within the last 15 years), have artists that own their own copyrights. (That didn't used to be the case).

If you're saying the middle men don't add anything to the equation, well, that's wrong too. They do... it's just they don't add as much as they THINK they do.

Again, comic strips... The syndicates that 50% of the sale. The other 50% goes to the author.

Is that worth it? In this day and age on the web, hell no. In the past, when individual salesmen had to go around selling to each paper (and, yes, some still do that), then that's arguably with the "worth it" category, since that's how the newspaper business works.

Some of the copyright holders are corporations themselves, which paid the salaries of the folks that wrote the software for the months/years it took to write that software. If you're saying THAT'S unfair.... well....

Re:"Copyright holders" (5, Informative)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970902)

You're confusing individual copyright holders with the middlemen that some of them are tied to. Big difference.

No, I'm not. In the vast majority of cases, the copyright holder is the middleman. Most people who do creative work do so for someone else. The creator doesn't retain the copyright, the person they're doing the work for does.

And for most individual creative endeavors, the copyright isn't owned by the creator, it's owned by the publisher. The assignment of copyright to the publisher has become a condition of getting paid at all.

No, in the general case the copyright holder and the middleman are one and the same.

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970856)

Of course, the core of the problem comes from government and its special "right" to employ coercion in what would otherwise be a voluntary market. The more government in the market (for example corrupt copyright law), the more you will find that the winners are those who can successfully exploit that coercion, and the losers are those who just want to complete in the market fair and square.

They embody everything that is wrong with modern crony capitalism.

Crony indeed. Just remember that cronyism is seeded by government, not by peaceful individuals or groups who just want to complete fairly in the market.

Re:"Copyright holders" don't give a fuck ... (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970900)

Amen, brother!

The bottom line (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970554)

What you really need to keep in mind when talking about this is that the groundwork is already laid. The DMCA is law. What is being argued over now is the details of what types of media should be covered by exemptions. If you think that you are fighting over consumer rights, the DMCA is doing laps around you.

Re:The bottom line (2, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970725)


The DMCA is law.


The DMCA is BAD law and since I'm replying to the guy himself I'm going to us a bad analogy. According to "The Bible" killing first born children was a law at one time too.

Re:The bottom line (1)

Bobby Orr (161598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970823)

According to "The Bible" killing first born children was a law at one time too

Interesting. Could you provide a reference for that?

In many countries... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970566)

copyright infringement is already grounds for heftier punishment than some crimes against physical inviolability. What did you expect? He who pays the politician makes the laws.

Re:In many countries... (4, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970756)

copyright infringement is already grounds for heftier punishment than some crimes against physical inviolability. What did you expect? He who pays the politician makes the laws.

And the logical conclusion to this is, that if you are caught red-handed violating copyright, you better punch, maim or kill the guy who caught you. You'll get a lighter sentence that way.

Re:In many countries... (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970837)

No. You'll get two sentences that way.

Re:In many countries... (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970885)

No. You'll get two sentences that way.

The point is to make sure nobody can report on your copyright violation. So punching and maiming may not be enough ;-)

Critical Infrastructure (3, Interesting)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970568)

Systems which are considered mission critical or whose loss/damage/downtime could endanger human life fall into a category of their own. This category tends to have failsafe design safeguards built from the ground up.

There is a reason air traffic control systems don't run Windows XP.

For the same reason, I expect such systems would have a large sign hanging off the front of them saying "Do NOT use this system for playing your new Britney CD".

I accept the argument he is making, however I believe the scenario is unlikely.

Re:Critical Infrastructure (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970577)

Well the answer is simple, you want drm, stick it on a specialist bit of external hardware, not on my general use computer, where the only rights management I care about if my user rights management (my box, my digital life, my privacy).

Re:Critical Infrastructure (3, Insightful)

LParks (927321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970591)

It doesn't matter that the "scenario is unlikely." It is an unlikely scenario that you will be wiretapped without a warrant, but that doesn't make it any more just.

The fact is that the scenario COULD happen where DRM takes down a machine that is needed to keep people alive. This is BS either way you cut it.

Re:Critical Infrastructure (3, Insightful)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970665)

It may be unlikely, but this is what these companies are arguing for -- "We don't want you messing with our DRM systems, because it might be holding control over your computer/network, and screwing with it might break your computer."

You: "Wait, why would you have control over my computer? I don't want a screw-up with your DRM to mess up my computer!"

Company: "That's why you shouldn't play with it! Our DRM would NEVER break unless you fool around with it. It's completely bug-free and hacker-proof."

You: "Uh..."

And as for it being unlikely, I direct your attention to a certain Sony-distributed rootkit that broke your computer if you tried to remove it on your own...

Re:Critical Infrastructure (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970739)

Company: "That's why you shouldn't play with it! Our DRM would NEVER break unless you fool around with it. It's completely bug-free and hacker-proof."

so then... what happens when DRM systems from several different suppliers are duking it out on your computer for control of the channels from dvd drive to display and sound???

Re:Critical Infrastructure (1)

j.bellone (684938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970669)

There is a reason air traffic control systems don't run Windows XP.
That's funny. My buddy worked at an FAA Tech center and they ran Windows 2000. Maybe not the whole system, but a good portion of it.

Re:Critical Infrastructure (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970712)

That's funny. My buddy worked at an FAA Tech center and they ran Windows 2000. Maybe not the whole system, but a good portion of it.

There's nothing funny about it, plenty of critical infrastructure runs on Windows and that's just plain sad.

Re:Critical Infrastructure (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970730)

These days Windows is stable enough with the right device drivers. If they put the system through enough testing then I'm fine with it.

Re:Critical Infrastructure (3, Interesting)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970690)

One of the big issues with infrastructure kit is obsolescence. Twenty or thirty years down the line there are no spares available for the hardware, and the company that made it may have folded (and it is expected to go for this long and no it isn't PCs).

So one solution is to write an emulator for the equipment that needs replacing and possibly run this on a rack mount "industial" PC. What's inside the PC? pretty much standard stuff, and in a few years I guess this may be forced to include DRM chips. Which either means ruling out this as an option, or doing extra validation to prove that the DRM hardware does not lead to unexpected results.

I've seen this done with PC's to replace teletypes, PCs to replace tape drives, PCs to replace hardware montiors ...

Re:Critical Infrastructure (3, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970691)

There is a reason air traffic control systems don't run Windows XP.

Yes, because they run Windows 2000 [techworld.com] .

The scorpion and the frog (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970571)

"One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.
"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"
"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.
"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"
"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"
"Alright then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.
"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"
So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
"You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.
"I could not help myself. It is my nature."


This is a story often told in psychology classes. To understand the immutable nature of something is vital. There is no point intellectualising, making excuses and analysis, sometimes something just is what it is.

For humanity it is necessary to recognise the intrinsic nature of capitalism . It is an unfettered force which puts the value of money and profit above life itself. There are too many examples and stories from reality which prove this time and again that we would be fools to ignore this force. Unless we take steps to moderate the present capitalist system a few unlucky people will be left sitting on a vast pile of gold upon the smoking remains of a planet .

Re:The scorpion and the frog (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970699)

Frogs really seem to get a raw deal, between this and being slowly boiled to prove a point, who'd be Kermit?!

Seriously though, I believe that you are right that there has to be a moderating factor on capitalism. Companies are treated as individuals and as such are subject to the same laws as the rest of us, in addition to this there are other corporate/consumer laws to regulate various industries.

On the whole, the system works but it can always be tweaked. It is all a matter of balance, at the moment it is arguably in favour of business over the consumer. But swing too far the other way and businesses suffer affecting profits (yes companies DO have a right to make profit!) thus leading to broader economic problems.

Lobyists do seem to have more voice than the voters and that has probably been a major factor for the current position.

Regulatory bodies only work if the red tape is minimal and they have a clear impartial mandate (hence they seldom work).

Re:The scorpion and the frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970715)

The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.
"I could not help myself. It is my nature."

Substitute those two sentences with the following:
The scorpion shrugged and calmly jumped from the frog's back.
"But i can swim, little frog."

Re:The scorpion and the frog (2, Insightful)

timcam (962810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970724)

Good story, wrong lesson. The lesson is nature is nature and human nature is human nature. To deny it is to deny the sun and the earth. Stop living off others. You're making yourself miserable. Here's some homework for you:

http://www.aynrand.org/ [aynrand.org]

or

http://www.atlassociety.org/ [atlassociety.org]

You are not going to change the frog, the scorpion or the human. And they are all beautiful. But please, if I am wrong, please let me know when you've convinced the scorpion to share his food, his recordings and his software with you.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (4, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970781)

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha.

Taking the works of Ayn Rand as a moral philosophy is right up there with treating the works of L. Ron Hubbard as a religion.

Tell me, where do the 9/11 firefighters fit into Ayn's enlightened self-interest. Do you consider their self-sacrifice, and their attempts to save others, to be stupid, or just immoral?

Re:The scorpion and the frog (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970830)

Stop living off others.

"No man is an island."

Besides, isn't that basically what all the -ism's are? Ways of taking from others what you want? Socialism is taking it through force, and capitalism is selling the crappiest, cheapest thing for as much money as you can through marketing and lies?

Re:The scorpion and the frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970841)

The best thing I heard it characterized as is

Capitalism is predicated on greed.
Socialism is predicated on envy.

I'll take my greed, thank you.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970890)

You are not going to change the frog, the scorpion or the human.
Perhaps, though no matter what, there is still hope. But at least we can - and should - build a cage for the scorpions.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970771)

Dont like capitalism do ya?? Do you like high unemployment? What about taxes so high that they damage the economy making it very difficult to compete globally?? What about stagnant growth that makes its citizens poorer every year no matter what they do? These are all issues that the EU nations deal with everyday. Even though the world talks about how "heartless" the Americans are, they still have unemployment 5% and growth rates at least twice what every other EU nation has. No socialist nation could even hope for these numbers....

I dont need the government to protect my "life" while enriching themselves in office. I want them to leave me alone and let me compete. I can damn well take care of myself....

Re:The scorpion and the frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970849)

Except maybe Canada, where they've managed to have a federal surplus for past several years, have an unemployment rate of 6%, have been growing faster than the US for years, and yet manage to run a fairly socialist system.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970809)

Unless we take steps to moderate the present capitalist system a few unlucky people will be left sitting on a vast pile of gold upon the smoking remains of a planet .

While I understand the point that you're trying to make, surely the survivors are the *lucky* ones...

Re:The scorpion and the frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970814)

I don't think anyone is lucky in this situation.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970866)

For humanity it is necessary to recognise the intrinsic nature of capitalism . It is an unfettered force which puts the value of money and profit above life itself. There are too many examples and stories from reality which prove this time and again that we would be fools to ignore this force. Unless we take steps to moderate the present capitalist system a few unlucky people will be left sitting on a vast pile of gold upon the smoking remains of a planet.

Poor, ignorant fool. Capitalism's nature is cooperation. It is *government's* nature that is "unfettered force", not capitalism's. Capitalists understand this (as do environmentalists) and simply try to (ab)use government's force to maintain and extend their position.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (1)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970891)

The good point about capitalism is that you don't have to take the evil empire products. If you don't like people putting the value of money and profit above life itself, go to a competitor that doesn't. (Their products are probably cheaper, too.)

There's nothing wrong with capitalism, there's something wrong with being a bunch of obsessive control freaks. DRM only hurts the capitalist system because it hurts competition.

Re:The scorpion and the frog (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970903)

Funny. When I started reading this post, all I could hear in my head was "Bird was a bloke! Bird was a bloke! ..." Damn. One day soon, I'm gonna tell the moon about the DMCA.

I'm a copyright holder too... (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970575)

But I'd rather see DRM and DMCA gone!

Practically anybody who's ever released anything into the world is a copyright holder, most of them just aren't that anal about users using their work.

Re:I'm a copyright holder too... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970689)

I make my living from copy protected commercial software.

And I'd like to see DRM and DMCA gone too.

Mr. President, we have a problem... (5, Funny)

jettoki (894493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970579)

The terrorists have open-sourced their WMDs, and the DRM on your BRR (Big Red Button) has expired. I've called an emergency meeting with Linus Torvald.

Re:Mr. President, we have a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970616)

I know the president of the USA has a reputation for the occasional moment of amusing stupidity, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't spell 'Button' with an R. :)

Re:Mr. President, we have a problem... (1)

jettoki (894493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970647)

Fortunately, he doesn't post on Slashdot, so he's able to backtrack and correct spelling errors.

Re:Mr. President, we have a problem... (1)

HeliumHigh (773838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970741)

DRM? Linus Torvalds?
Call Maxxus and DVD Jon... :)

It's all about money (4, Insightful)

NotAHappyCoder (223421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970586)

This all comes down to money and the fact that so many people are very very greedy.
Corporations fear that if they don't do everything to protect their precious products
from tampering, they'll lose some serious money.

We /. readers know that providing specifications and helping people to tinker with a product usually helps the company in the long run. It is very sad to see that
this whole DRM thing has blurred the vision of so many managers out there and they
just can't get it that by making non-restricted products you help yourself. *sigh*

Re:It's all about money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970673)

Actually, I believe that its all about Control. Money is (and always has been) a means to exercise control. The US Federal Gov't also is gaining more control over the lives of its citizens via the patriot act (for Good or Evil is not my point here) not for an expectation of money, but to have final control.

Re:It's all about money (1)

MSZ (26307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970867)

I think it comes from the Imaginary Property concept.

Stop treating ideas as property, notice that bits are just impulses - and the idiocy will disappear.

Ha ha like it would happen...

It would set a bad precedent (4, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970605)

First you wedge in the "critical for life" exceptions and before you know it people will argue that voting machines should be open source.

Begging the question? (2, Insightful)

Jivha (842251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970609)

While there is not an iota of love inside me for copyright holders, both the poster and the blogger are trying to stir up reader's emotions by their choice of phrases.

The poster says "DRM more important than life or security" and the blogger's headline reads "Future DRM might threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives."

I read the article that is linked to, and from what I could decipher of the legal wording from the RIAA is that they're afraid that until someone clearly defines "privacy or security" or even "threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives", they don't want to commit anything.

Nowhere does it imply that they said DRM is "more important than life or privacy" but merely that "till you can define privacy, security etc., we don't want to commit".

Re:Begging the question? (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970643)

While there is not an iota of love inside me for copyright holders, both the poster and the blogger are trying to stir up reader's emotions by their choice of phrases.

You must be new here...

Re:Begging the question? (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970772)

I'd also like to know who, in this case, is installing music and/or video software on some computer that's critical for life and security. That guy should be fired. I'm also failing to see the problem when you can choose not to install anything.

Re:Begging the question? (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970817)

But what about, say, a glitch in hardware-based DRM making patient records inaccessable in a hospital?

In fact, with all the special requirements for the storage of patient records these days, I wouldn't be surprised if using hardware DRM becomes a requirement for them in future.

Re:Begging the question? (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970869)

"till you can define privacy, security etc., we don't want to commit".
laws are never so well defined ... that's why people find room to wriggle out of them.
Words like 'privacy', 'security' and 'critical infrastructure' have reasonably well defined meanings.

Besides ... this is coming from the Digital Rights Management and piracy! crowd who turn words over at their whim.
At this point, imho, they are only concerned with allowing the minimum number of exception/exemptions - regardless of how egregious their actions might be.
This is like the politician who says: 8% tax increase (everyone boos), well, we reworked the numbers, and if we work real hard together we can do it for only 5%. (everyone cheers for a 5% tax increase?!) It's an age old tactic of setting up something so untenable that people accept something merely bad as being ok by comparison. (and if they happen to be ok with 8%, then you just got a raise too!)

Why? (2, Insightful)

LParks (927321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970610)

Based on their track record, the Copyright Office will likely do what is asked by these corporations. However, I'm curious as to why? What does the Copyright Office gain by not putting in these safeguards? Who do they answer to? Are these corporations truly funding them? I know little about the Copyright Office mentioned in this article.

Re:Why? (1)

m_maximus (750318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970729)

The same reason the DEA will always opose the leagalisation of drugs: because it justifies their existence.

Re:Why? (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970764)

The corporations are not funding the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the USPTO is funded by US taxpayers. Corporations are funding, both indirectly and through lobbyests, the lawmakers who tell the USPTO what to do. There are many thousands of lobbyests in Washington, DC and almost all of them are being paid for by corporations. The corporations would not be funding this vast army of lobbyests if they weren't successful in getting pro-corporate laws passed.

Another issue is that the republicans are in the majority in the House and in Congress, and the President is a Republican. Republicans today tend to look out for the best interests of corporations (and good Christians). One way that politicians raise money is to have fundraising dinners, which cost hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars per plate. Who attends these fundraising dinners? Corporate officers and their lobbyists attend these dinners.

Re:Why? (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970811)

The corporations are not funding the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the USPTO is funded by US taxpayers.

So it's free to file a patent then?

Is this really a concern? (4, Insightful)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970615)

Wouldn't the designers of any system entrusted to protect the lives of others automatically reject DRM as an elemnent of that system if it could prove to be a point of failure?

I am not a system engineer, but I don't see how DRM would ever be considered in a system of this nature. I would expect that a lot of the components used in such systems would either be highly modified/customized off the shelf components or custom made.

Re:Is this really a concern? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970791)

This underscores the need for open source operating systems (and related software). Windows Vista will have a built in DRM scheme -- and a surprising number of public institutions actually use Windows-based systems for their work, and will eventually move to Vista. When this starts to create real problems in public institutions, I would hope that Net/Free/OpenBSD (I am actually a Linux fan, but I have to admit that BSD is probably more stable) find their way in. Sadly, the reality of the situation is that Microsoft will probably respond quickly by disabling the DRM for a special "mission critical" version of Windows, and very few institutions will end up using something better...

Re:Is this really a concern? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970851)

but I don't see how DRM would ever be considered in a system of this nature.

And then one day, the Sargeant's wife shipped him his favorite artist's latest CD, and he slips it into the closest thing around that'll play it.

Re:Is this really a concern? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970907)

And given that he doesn't have admin access to the machine he's using, nothing happens, unless he gets caught doing it, in which case he'll most likely be disciplined (and possibly court martialled).

I work in the private sector, and do a lot of work for various (UK) government departments and related organisations. We have a secure development room for working on particularly sensitive projects. All of the machines are locked down tight. Ordinary users do not have access to the CD drive or the USB ports. If you want to listen to music, you use an iPod or similar (although for a while, they were going to be banned too, due to the voice recording facility most such items have).

I refuse to believe that my company (which is by no means the most stringent in this regard) is more secure than any critical DoD system.

Re:Is this really a concern? (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970876)

Potentially life/safety-critical things that some may want protected by DRM:
* Patient records in hospitals, etc.
* Police records/criminal records.
* Building security information (door codes, etc).

Imagine what would happen if a glitch in a DRM system made those types of things inaccessable...
* Patients could recieve incorrect/inadequate medical care and could die as a result.
* 'Inapproprate' people could be given sensitive jobs (especailly if records are unavailable for a long period of time, organisations would probably resort to employing people pending the result of a background check.)
* If a building needs to be evacuated (fire, earthquake, etc) and the DRM system decides that it won't give out door codes, people could die as a result.

Re:Is this really a concern? (4, Insightful)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970905)

Wouldn't the designers of any system entrusted to protect the lives of others automatically reject DRM as an elemnent of that system if it could prove to be a point of failure?
...yes, until your trusty sysadmin drops the latest Our Lady Peace - Healthy in Paranoid Times [eff.org] CD into the production server to help pass the weekend by. And then your production server is infected with DRM and you're fskered.
Yes, this is a configuration/control issue, but if I had told you 5 yrs ago that audio CDs sold by a major international corporation would install back-doors, you would have told me I was crazy. I'm sure that plenty of sysadmin's have played audio CDs on the production box at one point or another...

Nothing Surprising (Or New) (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970619)

This position is not surprising. I imagine that *any* relaxations of the DMCA itself or its' interpretations would get an immediate rejection reaction from the copyright industry.

These aren't (in most cases) individual people with copyrights, these are a group of companies and corporations that profit from the current status-quo of copyright law.

Nothing new in a bunch of corporations trying to protect and increase their profits, morality and fairness be damned, nor the politicians with their hands out and a vote up for the highest bidder. That's just the way we got here.

A practical, workable, reasonably fair and minimally-destructive method for changing the above scenario? Now, *that* would be new and exciting!

Strat

Re:Nothing Surprising (Or New) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970731)


A practical, workable, reasonably fair and minimally-destructive method for changing the above scenario? Now, *that* would be new and exciting!


I would prefer a practical, workable, reasonably fair and maximally-destructive (to the RIAA/MPAA and their bought laws) method...

Life is cheap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970637)

and money is not...

Liability (3, Interesting)

Petskull (650178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970646)

If this gets voted in their favor, wouldn't they then be liable for damages incurred from their disruptive technology? Let's say that a new The Cure CD brings down a machine at a telco and then someone wasn't able to call 911. We have already seen that, if you 'Crunch Box' a whole area code, then you are responsible for losses incurred on account of the downed lines.

Wouldn't this open the makers up for litigation given that this was the intended use of their product?

Re:Liability (1)

ricepudd (960850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970697)

I suspect it's more likely the employee who put the Cure CD in the computer in the first place to get into trouble! I would hope, especially following the Sony affair, that businesses with mission critical hardware would have policy's in place preventing employees from inserting music CD's in the computers, in the same way they shouldn't insert a floppy disk they've brought in from home or download dodgy software from the internet!

Re:Liability (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970768)

OK then, riddle me this... what if I were at home, my only phone was a "Skype" connection via my personal computer, and at the moment I desperately NEED to make a 911 call, I can't because some crappy DRM from some crappy Britney single that I'd had in the CD drive disabled the audio input on my soundcard and didn't re-enable it on removal of the crappy Britney single???

Re:Liability (1)

ricepudd (960850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970894)

IMHO anyone relying on a Home Computer to make 911 calls is asking for trouble! You need guaranteed network connectivity, hope that your overnight virus software update didn't give you definition files that delete your skype software, that other application software on the machine isn't hogging the CPU for some unexpected reason. Indeed, Windows Update may have decided that now was that opportune moment to reboot your machine! Anyway, I don't think I'll say any more on the topic, my tinfoil hat may not be up to it!

Since when... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970734)

...are you liable for any crap that happens because your software is buggy? Standard EULA, summary, "Whatever happens to you because you're dumb enough to use our software, SUCKS BEING YOU!"

Re:Since when... (1)

republican gourd (879711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970757)

You mispelled forced: ...are you liable for any crap that happens because your software is buggy? Standard EULA, summary, "Whatever happens to you because you're FORCED to use our software, SUCKS BEING YOU!"

Who forces me? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970780)

I might be forced at work, but there DRM harms my employer, not me (directly). And its his job to make sure we can still be productive despite DRM infested soft- and hardware.

At home, nobody can force me to do what I don't want.

Re:Since when... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970824)

> You mispelled forced

If someone forced you to listen to a Cure CD then perhaps you'd have a point, possibly. But no-one is forcing you to listen to Cure CDs, or any other CD. Even if you simply couldn't buy any music, films, software, books etc etc without DRM you'd still not have a point.

Re:Since when... (1)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970783)

Under English law (and that of other jurisdictions) exclusions of liability for death or physical injury are void (it's quite funny, sometimes, to go through consumer level EULAs which purport to be governed by English law and spot all the things a first year law student could tell you wouldn't be enforceable, I don't know where the software companies get their legal advice but I am very sure that few of them ever take any real local advice, they just change the governing law clause and hope for the best).

I don't know US law in this area (and I imagine consumer protection statutes differ between states) but I really can't believe those sort of EULA exclusions would be 100% effective in a country where the tort laws apparently allow you punitive damages for pouring boiling hot coffee on your own crotch.

It's enough if it's believed (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970897)

When people believe that those EULAs are valid, they will abstain from filing a suit, thinking they either agreed and thus have no right to sue or thinking they can't win against a company with more funds than dear god himself.

So, goal accomplished.

Should someone dare to threaten to sue, they'll dump some bucks on him (change money for the corp, but a lot for the individual) in exchange for his silence.

They Live (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970696)

But apparently they want to keep open the option of deploying DRM even when there are severe doubts about whether it threatens critical infrastructure and potentially endangers lives.

Since when have 'they' cared about human lives over profits? Just look at all the war profiteers today.

Obvious conflict of interests (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970702)

MY interest is my security and safety.
THEIR interest is the security and protection of their property.

I get to decide which hardware I buy and use. So MY interest will be the one deciding which hardware will be sold.

Tell the copyright holder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970708)

Tell him (or her) that one day he (or she) might be in hospital, with a computer-controlled machine irradiating his (or her) cancer and trying to save his (or her) life.
There must be 'free' machines that the engineers and doctors can be confident will behave according to design and prescription.
I can't give legal advice, or medical advice, not being a lawyer or doctor. But I can give engineering advice.

Who the DMCA is for (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970726)

It was originally designed to protect the artists but now it also benefits the labels and other big business. Now that big business has money at stake, it's like sharks in the water. They aren't looking for protection, they aren't looking to make sure they get a fair shake. They're already getting their due and they want more, more, MORE! However much they get is simply not enough. Every concession they are given only motivataes them to fight harder for MORE. Their apetite knows no bounds. It does no good to give into them because they'll only shut up for a few months and then be right back asking for more.

I realize money is their only motivator, but somehow it still amazes me how brazen and shameless they are when they are trying to squeeze more money out of the consumer. It's gone so far beyond reasonable that they simply have no ground to stand on when trying to justify their demands. I think everyone has gotten tired of them crying about the starving artists. When you look back at all the concessions that have already been given, it doesn't take a genius to realize the artists never benefited from those concessions.

Why should we believe they will ever benefit from more concessions?

Re:Who the DMCA is for (1)

witte (681163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970847)

They're just boiling the frog.
If they had it their greedy little way, you'd just hand over your salary and "they" would deduct whatever losses they had incurred from "piracy".
Using RIAA/MPAA math, this would come down to be about ten times more than what you could possibly earn, and when you are bled dry they put you in work camps where you get to shovel DRM into CD boxes all day + you get to sign away all IP rights to your DNA and anything leaving your body in whatever form, in exchange for food ... and free music.

Re:Who the DMCA is for (1)

debest (471937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970855)

It was originally designed to protect the artists but now it also benefits the labels and other big business.

Umm, the DMCA was always for the labels and big business: the "artists" never entered the equation.
  • Copyright law (in the sense of how it was conceived of a few hundred years ago) had the purpose of temporarily protecting the distribution rights of an artist.
  • The DMCA's purpose is to make DRM solutions on media/downloads a technology which is forbidden to mess with by end users. Artists generally shouldn't concern themselves with the details of the technology of distribution.

The rest of your comment: I agree wholeheartedly, but I don't believe we will see any change to the situation soon.

Re: DRM More Important Than Life or Security? (1)

Sneakums (2534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970728)

No, it's not.

Next stupid question?

It's fairly simple (4, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970765)

Some of the people who want this technology (most of them in fact, I'd guess) are people who do literally value money more than life itself. They're the type who haven't learned what Cal Hockley did when he tried to buy a place on one of the lifeboats during the sinking of the Titanic; namely, that money isn't some kind of miraculous cure-all that can make them completely impervious to problems.

So yeah...Money to them is more important than anything else. More important than longevity, more important than having edible food or breathable air, more important than people. (Including, if they were honest, their own loved ones)

Reminds me of a businessman I heard about once who was interviewed about the cancer risk from mobile phone use. He said that even if there was a risk of brain cancer from using a mobile phone, he still would, because it was too important for, you guessed it, making money.

That's the type of mentality we're dealing with here...the type that thinks that having money is literally more important than being alive to spend it.

Tugawar (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970770)

There is a tug of war between media corporations and the end users. The media companies would have us believe that they are protecting the artists' rights with DRM. Let us not forget that the main goal of a company is to make money for the shareholders, and that doesn't necessary include the artists who create the content. Was the world a worse place when digital media didn't exist? I don't think so. But then the audio CD was invented and media corporations made a lot more money without thinking that a disc that interacts with a computer is so much easier to copy, not only by them but by users, too. The world is being shaped by this ongoing "bat and moth" fight and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. Personally, I would never purchase songs or videos that I cannot copy, or convert to any digital format I wish, or send a copy of to my friends. The perfect model is the printed book: I can carry it with me wherever I go, lent it to a friend, and (photo)copy parts of it no questions asked -- no proprietary, patented, DRM-protected device required. And I know that most of my friends think just like me.

not DRM, but rather money (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970774)

Ultimately, money is more important than anything - to most people.

Re:not DRM, but rather money (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970798)

Actually it's power and control. Money is usually the "civilized" way of acheiving that. You think Bill Gates spends his money? You think there aren't hordes of people that wouldn't do anything he says for a piece of the action? [Not to pick on Bill Gates, I just used him as an example... I still hate MSFT and his legacy though].

DRM is yet another pathetic "power struggle".

It also sounds impressive to execs who have never had to engineer anything in their frickin lives.

Tom

something is not right here (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970797)

Alex and I asked the Copyright Office for an exemption allowing users to remove from their computers certain DRM software that causes security and privacy harm.

they want the Copyright Office to withhold from users permission to uninstall DRM software that actually does threaten critical infrastructure and endanger lives.


Excuse me, but I never knew the copyright office could change the law.

They're asking the wrong branch of government. The copyright office is part of the Library of Congress, it keeps records and acts in an advisory capacity to Congress. I'd be very surprised if the copyright office had the power to grant exemptions to a law Congress has passed and the President has signed.

Copyrights and their exemptions are codified in Title 17 of the US Code [cornell.edu] . Pretty sure the copyright office cannot rewrite any of this. I may be wrong.

Can't see the problem... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970799)

This is America doing what America does best.

Don't like it? Don't be American. Try to kill as many of them as possible. Don't trade with them. Leave them on the continent they had ruined and get Canada and Mexico to close borders.

Then get on with your life in the rest of the world.

Re:Can't see the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970818)

Fuck you, you murderous, bigoted sack of pig shit. Should we slaughter the citizens of whatever dumbass nation you call home when a couple people there have stupid opinions? It's scumbag monsters like you that have to be wiped from this Earth. If you really wanted to help the world, you'd slit your wrists as soon as you can.

Good or Bad - its simply Capatalism (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970833)

This is self-obvious really, such ideology is a fundamental principle of Capitalism.

Take the situation in the USA. Trillions of dollars is being spent on roads and oil pipelines, often predominantly for wealthy corporations (with government grants increasing) while the Health service is falling to pieces especially for the moderately-poor (and having even more government funding cut).

The idea is of course that in the long run this will allow for even better Health Services (and all the rest) in the future although this is subject to A LOT of debate by a lot of clever people with good points for both sides of the argument.

But the simple fact is - Corporate interests nearly always take preference in a capitalist democratic system. So it is silly to look at one small specific part of the system and blame them for not wanting to receive government help to make profit even if it is at the expense of everyone else. We just have to hope that profit means they produce something of value in the future.

Equal criminal rights for corporations! (1)

roosen (125111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970865)

Up to this point, the "content industries" have only been able to participate in the rather boring white-collar branch of criminality. They merely want to join their brethren in the automotive, chemical, and oil industries in the murder and mayhem branches.

America (1)

Red Jesus (962106) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970901)

Whoa, folks, what are we saying? One way of looking at this is that the government is asking the recording industry to give up its "rights" to save lives and to strengthen homeland security. Tell me... If the government asked you to give up something that was legally yours (say, protection from random wiretappings) when there are "severe doubts" about whether it threatens critical infrastructure or lives? (And don't say I'm pulling this out of nowhere -- more police powers can make it easier to catch criminals who want to kill folks.)

I'm not in favor of DRM, but we can't just pull out the "it risks lives" card whenever we want to. A major part of American philosophy is that we allow people and organizations to maintain certain rights even if there's a chance that someone may die indirectly as a result.

I really hope that fifteen people reply with thorough explanations of why I'm wrong here, because I really don't want the **AA to be right...

RJ
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