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DRM and Democracy

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the more-restrictions-are-always-fun dept.

211

jar writes to tell us Bruce Perens has a short editorial on why DRM could have an impact on much more than just our record collections. From the article: "Within the last century, electronic communications have increasingly become the vehicle of democratic discourse. Because radio and television broadcasting are expensive with limited frequencies available, the wealthy have dominated broadcasting. The Internet and World Wide Web place into the common man's hands the capability of global electronic broadcasting. [...] In order to protect democratic discourse in the future, the Internet must remain a fair and level playing field for the distribution of political speech. The full capability of the Internet must remain available to all, without restriction by religious, business, or political interests."

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211 comments

Yeah maybe, (3, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488329)

But probably not. The truth of the matter is that there will be a 100 petabyte flashdrive that people hand around that has ALL of music on it and the issue will be moot.

Re:Yeah maybe, (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488454)

> But probably not. The truth of the matter is that there will be a 100 petabyte flashdrive that people hand around that has ALL of music on it and the issue will be moot.

"Real Americans don't use backups, they just email a disk image to their grandmothers and let NSA handle the archiving!"
- with apologies to Linus

Re:Yeah maybe, (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488481)

It's funny that you should mention it, but I've been trying to think of ways of using free online services for backups. Gmail may work, but it is akward to open a lot of accounts. What you really want is to be able to run a business. I was thinking of taking data and encoding it into jpgs and then uploading them to photo sites.

Re:Yeah maybe, (1)

Volvogga (867092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488673)

Timex had a product for you at one time. The Data Link Watch ( http://www.212.net/computershop/prod96/timex_pr.ht m [212.net] ). Only problem is that it was in PCWorld's list of Dis-honorable mentions on their 25 Worst Tech Products Of All Time ( http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,12577 2,pg,7,00.asp [pcworld.com] ), so it may not be the best choice.

Maybe you can improve on the idea though. Just don't do too good of a job, or else someone may start limiting the frequencies of light we are allowed to see.

Re:Yeah maybe, (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488966)

I liked my datalink watch...

It required some strange TSR to work with modern (2000) video cards, but it just kept working. Even after I switched to WinXP, I was able to load the software on to a Windows 3.1 machine I had laying around to keep updating it.

To this day I still have yet to find a PDA watch which works as nicely as that one.

In summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488356)

Wahhhh! They are going to make me pay for it. Wahhhh!

internet politics (5, Funny)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488378)

"the Internet must remain a fair and level playing field for the distribution of political speech."
Like: 'bush is teh gh3y.' "no, gore pWnz u." 'bush/cheney ftw.' "you stole my election!"
[ANALOGY TIME] Finding political speech on the internet is like finding poop in the toilet: it's easy to find, but you don't want to see it.

Re:internet politics (1, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488428)

Really? [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:internet politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488503)

LOL, isn't that where one contributor claimed katrina victims were eating corpses? Yes, it was. Huffingtion Post indeed. Ariana Huffington is just another shrill rich shill.

Re:internet politics (2, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488543)

Finding political speech on the internet is like finding poop in the toilet: it's easy to find, but you don't want to see it.

I'd say it's more like sifting through poop: You've got to dig through tons of crap before you can find a tasty peanut.

Re:internet politics (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488799)

You've got to dig through tons of crap before you can find a tasty peanut.

I don't think "tasty" is the appropriate word for describing a peanut that has been sitting under tons of crap.

Re:internet politics (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488927)

How short sighted of you. What if you'd been crawling through a gigantic desert of shit for days in search of sustenance? I imagine a peanut would make good eatin' at that point.

What the fuck? Why won't this analogy break? We're pushing it as hard as we can and it just won't give! It's too fucking accurate!

Re:internet politics (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488952)

I don't think "tasty" is the appropriate word for describing a peanut that has been sitting under tons of crap.

Compared to the crap it sure is.

Re:internet politics (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488614)

Finding political speech on the internet is like finding poop in the toilet: it's easy to find, but you don't want to see it.

Have you copyrighted and DRM'd that line, or can I steal it as a forum sig line?

Re:internet politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488669)

like finding poop in the toilet: it's easy to find

I'm constipated, you insensitive clod.

Why Net Neurtality legislation is so important (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488380)

This subject really applies more to "Net Neutrality" than DRM. When big media controls the pipes, they effectively control the internet, unfortunately. We should stop that now, before it's too late and the Internet becomes every bit as locked-down as the airwaves and big media outlets.

-Eric

exactly... (3, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488486)

While the broadcasting treaty raises much concern, the only reference to DRM has to do with proprietary formats being limited.

I'm sorry but as much as I am against DRM I don't think his example regarding internet radio streams holds water.

for one existing laws do the same thing without DRM. Major internet and satellite radio streaming companies already require contractual agreements and presumably the proprietors of the streams can "filter out" politically undesirable speech.

for another the guy seems to completely ignore open formats which will remain so either by virtue of the GPL or by virtue of the lack of a DRM specification (such as MP3) in the standard. while major outlets may end up drm'ed to hell, there will always be a format allowing people to make an internet stream on their own.

Re:exactly... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488960)

Agreed. The one doesn't follow from the other. Protecting books, music, movies, or other content doesn't impact "democractic speech" any more than requiring a subscription to a magazine or making someone buy a newspaper impacted free speech pre-internet.

In fact, one could easily argue that the way the NY TImes hides content behind registrations and passwords has more impact on democractic speech. DRM in this case is just another scare word. Surprised terrorists and child porn were not mentioned as well.

Regardless, anyone who chooses is free to publish that which they will, and charge for it, or not, and protect it, or not, just as we're free to determine if those conditions are worthwhile, or not...

Re:exactly... (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488987)

for another the guy seems to completely ignore open formats which will remain so either by virtue of the GPL or by virtue of the lack of a DRM specification (such as MP3) in the standard. while major outlets may end up drm'ed to hell, there will always be a format allowing people to make an internet stream on their own.

This is true, but only if people can play back data that's been encoded into one of these free formats.

I don't think it's very hard to imagine a future where the most common playback device would only play music recorded in a proprietary format: as much as I like the iPod, it's pretty close. It plays MP3 (patent encumbered, although everyone just seems to ignore that), AAC (semi-proprietary, although documented, probably patent encumbered), and Apple Lossless (proprietary, not sure if it's open or not).

Right now we don't see this as much of a problem -- after all, anyone with iTunes can encode to any of these formats. So if I wanted to make a radio show and distribute it, easy enough. But that doesn't have to be the case: suppose the next-generation of CDs weren't easily rippable, or they just came pre-encoded in one of the proprietary formats. Then there would be no need for the average consumer to have an encoder. It would be like MPEG-2 was a few years ago: you could buy a lot of pre-encoded content, but making your own was a real bitch.

Suppose also that computers by default become incapable of running code that hasn't been signed by an approval authority. Even if somebody wrote a free encoded for the non-free formats (which would probably be illegal to import and use), most people probably wouldn't be able to run it. Similarly with decoders for the free formats.

The fact that formats like Ogg Vorbis or Xiph exist won't matter if 80% of the population doesn't have an easy way of listening to them. Alternatives like that will always exist for geeks and people interested in technology, but they're pretty far from mainstream. The majority of the population lives at the whims of whatever's available on the the mass market, and given that they're allowed to vote, it's worth keeping an eye on the situation there, even if you and I and all the other people reading this on Slashdot won't be directly impacted.

Re:Why Net Neurtality legislation is so important (1)

DaSenator (915940) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488584)

Agreed. Proprietary control over most things is only restricting the potential user base for any given media. Think of it this way, what if we drove cars (All of which are different manufacturers), and could only fill them up in a gas station owned by our car company? What if we could only drive in lanes that were for our car company, or even have our travel to wherever we want restricted, because the city we want to drive to is incompatable with our car model and brand?

I disagree with 99.9% of the DMCA, but that doesn't mean I'm against common sense procedures. Encrypting a DVD to prevent illegal copying is good. On the other hand, encrypting a DVD to cripple it so that it only plays in a certain region is not a good idea. Until enough of us decide to not buy from or support in any way a company that limits our rights to own and utilize our media, we are never going to see any positive changes with current and emerging copyright law.

Re:Why Net Neurtality legislation is so important (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488698)

Encrypting a DVD to prevent illegal copying is good.

Un, un! Lbh pna'g pbcl guvf.

KFG

That's true, but... (4, Insightful)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488398)

the issue is that most people (in the US at least) don't care about democracy. They use the Internet to search for thinds that require little actual thinking. Right now top searches for Google are: the omen, french open, and father's day. The issue is that people just don't care. People don't care that their liberties are taken away as long as the can watch the game on tv and look for porn on the net.

Re:That's true, but... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488437)

And the end to net neutrality plus the widespread adoption of DRM could seriously hinder our ability to look for porn on the net. This is a potential disaster in the making.

Re:That's true, but... (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488450)

I disagree. A large portion of the millions of new blogs have been created to rant. Check the search terms and popular tags on technorati. There's a lot of political discussion going on. Google isn't the only gateway to information. Millions of people are reading political blog posts in their RSS readers every day.

Re:That's true, but... (2, Informative)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488540)

Sure there are lots and lots blogs and other political discussion going on. You and I and a lot of people are doing it in this particular story. But that's a small minority, and sadly it shows on election day.

Re:That's true, but... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488936)

If one million Americans are reading political blog posts, that's only around 1 in 300. But it's still a million people, which is not an insignificant number. And in fact I believe if there are tens of millions of blogs there are tens of millions of people reading political blog posts.

Let's not forget the influence just a few thousand people can have. It only took a few thousand complaints (and from only one organization) to get the FCC to fine the famous superbowl nipple incident. It took the difference of only a few hundred thousand votes to choose a president.

Uh... (4, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488452)

the issue is that most people (in the US at least) don't care about democracy. They use the Internet to search for thinds that require little actual thinking. Right now top searches for Google are: the omen, french open, and father's day.

No... yeah of course those three are going to be popular because they are common. Plenty of people make uncommon searches. But the thing about diverse searches is ... if we all made the same diverse searches ... wait for it ... they woudln't be uncommon or diverse anymore! Just because the most popular searches are brain-dead doesn't mean everyone is brain-dead, it just means that there is a common thread among people.

Re:Uh... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488617)

Just because the most popular searches are brain-dead doesn't mean everyone is brain-dead, it just means that there is a common thread among people.

This just in: Father's Day linked to cancer!

KFG

Re:Uh... ot re your sig but... (1)

acornboy (920113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488739)

I'd take one good Apple over an orchard of wormy nasty little (wannabe) apples any day!

Politics unifies the people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488862)

Of course there will be common threads shared amongst all of the people in a country. In a democracy or republic, that common thread should be politics.

Let's take the United States as an example. If it truly were a solid democratic republic, then people would be searching for information regarding the Iraqi debacle. They'd be searching for information regarding the Enron scandal. They'd be reading about any number of other political matters.

The fact that searches regarding Fathers' Day are at the top of the lists shows that everyday politics don't matter to the general American population. Frankly, that's a sign of two things: first, an ignorant (if not outright stupid) populace, and second, a seriously ill democracy or republic.

Re:That's true, but... (3, Interesting)

PB_TPU_40 (135365) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488557)

Actually in my book, its as long as I have my firearms. The government can claim to do this that and the other thing, however with an armed populace, the goverment must still tread softly. You know what kicked off the American Revolution? The British going after an armory. Also we have a republic, not a democracy, we elect representatives to vote for us. The problem is, most representatives now days no longer care about their voters, instead the care about those willing to shell out money into their pockets. At this point as well, voting in the US doesn't do much good. If the voters vote something down, whoever's affected complains till they get their way. Case in point, Seattle's Safeco Field. Voted down twice by the voters of Washington state, yet we're paying for it anyway. Same thing for the recent governers race. She lost, and had complained till she won, immeadiately after she hiked our gas prices by 10 cents, *when it was already 2.80 a gallon*. And a better example of how messed up that was, if you look at it county by county, she only won maybe 3, however King is so big, that they can tell the rest of the state what to do. Including telling farmers they cant shoot varmits, or telling farmers how to run their farm, costing farmers money and livestock. That ordinace was repealed after a riot almost insued in downtown Seattle.

Most people dont search google for political items anyway, they watch CNN, CSPAN, FOX News, etc. I would much rater watch a debate, than read a transcript. Its the difference between reading something, and hearing the tone in their voice.

I do care about all the bull that they're doing, however complaining to your REP doesn't get anything done any more. I've tried, more people care than what you think, but also alot of those that don't care, used to but they see the system being so corrupt, they look at it as a waste of time.

On that note, I can do and say what I want, becase if they want to come and arrest me over bull, I wont just go quietly, I'll shoot back.

Re:That's true, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488885)

*when it was already 2.80 a gallon*

Oh. Poor dear. Immediately to your north, we're being charged (even with currency conversion) $3.82/gallon, at the pumps this morning. Sometimes higher, but I haven't seen it at the CDN$ equivalent of $2.90 a gallon since before I was allowed to drink. So enjoy the government subsidies on an irreplaceable fuel source, and quit whining because of an insignificant (compared to the rest of us) rate hike.

Re:That's true, but... (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488904)

I probably shouldn't, but I'll bite:
Actually in my book, its as long as I have my firearms. The government can claim to do this that and the other thing, however with an armed populace, the goverment must still tread softly.
Gun ownership does not guarantee freedom. Saddam's Iraq had high gun ownership, but it didn't topple his regime.

Lack of gun ownership does not condemn you to tyranny. The democratisation of the old eastern block happened via peaceful mass protests (ok peacefulish, but still protests not armed revolt), same with the recent "colour revolutions" in the former USSR itself.

If a tyranny ever did embed itself in the US (I'm skeptical myself but anyway) do you think it will be thrown out by an armed militia? Wouldn't it be more likely that the tyranny would organise the armed militia into a defender of their regime? (again, reference Saddam's Iraq).

I can accept - or at least be ambivalent towards - many of the arguments made by supporters of gun ownership (deterence of crime, right to defend you and yours, etc.), but the guns == freedom thing really irritates me.

Re:That's true, but... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488993)

On that note, I can do and say what I want, becase if they want to come and arrest me over bull, I wont just go quietly, I'll shoot back.

And they'll be sure to mention the damage you did to the little robo-sidekick they sent in to subdue you at your funeral.

I think America's "armed populace" might be just an illusion today. You might as well be running around with hammers and pitchforks for all the good your arms will do you should the goverment turn its army on you.

Take a look at the fighting Iraq. They aren't accomplishing much with handguns and rifles. It seems that all the "incidents" where any sort of blow was struck against the US relied primarily on explosives, grenades, rpgs, etc. This simply isn't the sort of stuff America's armed populace has.

Re:That's true, but... (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488578)

Of course most people are going to search for whatever is relevent in their life right at the moment. Would you expect the top searches to be "democracy," or "freedom" all the time? The fact is that some,/i> people searching for that stuff some of the time is pretty much all you need. And it's better if those resources are available to those few, than not.

Re:That's true, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488857)

most people (in the US at least) don't care about democracy

If nobody cares about government, then why do we have so much of it?

(Read that back again -- this is a much deeper question than you think.)

Not True (2, Interesting)

Jason Mark (623951) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488425)

While in a theoretical world, this makes sense, in reality this isn't what's happened. When you look at the distribution of wealth (or knowledge, or access, or whatever), you find that since the internet these gaps have grown bigger, and while the big players may be new, the truth is out of the billions of sites online, the top thousand sites get 99.99% of the traffic. How's the democracy? How's that "power to the people"? While new technologies may come out that gives the "little guy" a voice for a while, this period goes away quickly as either entrenched companies jump into the fray (i.e. Microsoft/Apple/Dell) or new companies spring up (i.e. Google/Ebay/Amazon). -Jason Gravity Switch [gravityswitch.com]

Re:Not True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488455)

If Net-Neutrality is legislated away, it might actually become more difficult for the average schmuck to get his porn fix.

Maybe that will snap people into action?
Or will special interests like Soccer Moms and the various religious groups call it an unexpected bonus?

(I really should create an account...)

Re:Not True (2, Insightful)

doconnor (134648) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488457)

How many of those top thousand sites consist of user created content, like groups.yahoo.com and www.blogger.com

Re:Not True (2, Interesting)

zidohl (976382) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488493)

The point is that you should be able to access this information.. If you do not want to read what the "little guy" has to say, you're simply not interested, that's your buissness and you shouldn't be forced to. As long as the information is out there and easily accessed you have a choice to read it, but if the hardware you buy will stop you from accessing this information even if you want to it becomes a freedom of speech problem.

Re:Not True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488571)

"while the big players may be new, the truth is out of the billions of sites online, the top thousand sites get 99.99% of the traffic. How's the democracy? How's that "power to the people"? "

It shows that democracy is extremely strong - although there are massive numbers of pressure and interest groups advocating political causes, the people has the power and freedom to ignore them. Would you have it otherwise?

Re:Not True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488781)

"the truth is out of the billions of sites online, the top thousand sites get 99.99% of the traffic"

    How's that Democracy? Well even the powerful are mostly using the same tools we are and mostly have the same access to information we have. Democracy is not about chosing everyone's opinion simultaniously... it's about allowing everyone one to have an opinion --then allowing each individual to chose the best one.

This obviously leads to a situation where some have a track record of better successes.

    Where I personally think Democracy fails at times is that people get caught up in a form of elitism. Many seem to believe that because something is the product of those that have become powerful... they should therefore immediately dismiss those that are not. This sort of feedback mechnism gives more resources to the powerful which eventually undermines democracy (thus the tendency to move towards elitism/facism/aryanism AND the violent revolutionary reaction to it when it goes too far)

      The reality is even the powerful are VERY OFTEN wrong about things. I view many philosophical issues akin to baseball players that average .300 and ones that are not as good at .230. One is a star, a millionaire and famous.... the other is stuck in the minors as "a nobody". However in the end, anyone can get a hit at any moment--and the statistical differences between them is quite marginal. I would even go so far to suggest that perhaps in areas that aren't baseball related-- the "nobody" is probably more often than not...superior. (TANSTAAFL)

    Alas, many lose track of this today and are caught up in the nonsense of idol worshipping. Pretty human I guess. People for thousands of years prayed to alters of imaginary all-wise creatures. Instead today they're evolved to praying to creatures that are imaginary all-wise.

Cheers.

Re:Not True (1)

non0score (890022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488859)

And where does Slashdot rank? How about Wikipedia (and as one sibling poster said, other user groups)? As far as I can tell, those (and this) sites are decently democratic if you ignore Walmart and "news for nerds, everyone else go away."

Re:Not True (1)

Jason Mark (623951) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488937)

Great point. I wonder what percent of the web traffic is "grassroots"? For instance how many people go to wikipedia vs. "ask Jeaves"?

Re:Not True (2, Insightful)

EonBlueTooL (974478) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488903)

While in a theoretical world, this makes sense, in reality this isn't what's happened. When you look at the distribution of wealth (or knowledge, or access, or whatever), you find that since the internet these gaps have grown bigger, and while the big players may be new, the truth is out of the billions of sites online, the top thousand sites get 99.99% of the traffic. How's the democracy? How's that "power to the people"? While new technologies may come out that gives the "little guy" a voice for a while, this period goes away quickly as either entrenched companies jump into the fray (i.e. Microsoft/Apple/Dell) or new companies spring up (i.e. Google/Ebay/Amazon).

Yeah but there is a fair playing ground. If people want to see it then they can. You don't think myspace was put up and it just got popular. People found it interesting people wanted to go to that site. They wanted to put up their page on the internet.(Sorry for using mysapce but its a good exmaple) People are controlling themselves, no one is being told you can only go to x sites.

Anyone can make a site, anyone can put what they want on that site (I think we can all agree there are limits to everything) Any site can get popular. When anyone can succeed, and everyone has their own power that is democracy.

Where do you think google [archive.org], yahoo [archive.org], craigslist [archive.org], microsoft, slashdot, digg, apple and dell started from. If I'm not mistaken a couple of those started in a garage. Remember that the american paradigm of opportunity is not guarunteed success, but the chance to be succesful with hard work.

It has already begun (1)

lostinbnw (979632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488441)

Through profit oriented search engines and governments firm grip on the political voices that we can find the chances of keeping the Internet free is imposable. The Internet is not a place for freedom anymore it is just another place to blast us as a population will propaganda.

Re:It has already begun (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488538)

Through profit oriented search engines

And your suggestion for a non-profit search engine would be...? Perhaps you like the EU initiative, that has the government providing it? Nope. How about something like wikipedia? Oh, right, it would have completely died without financial support from companies that make money.

No, you're better served when people compete for your use of their search engine offerings. If you don't like Google, use any of several others. Except we all know that Google actually works better. So, right now, they win most of our eyeballs. I'm very glad that they aren't run by some non-profit coalition or committee that has to bow to political pressure from interest groups or government funding at the mercy of whoever's in office that week.

Profit-driven sites have an interest in being better (for you, their users) than some other site. That's why it works. Non-profits have to depend on patronage, and with that comes baggage that really does have an agenda axe to grind.

Re:It has already begun (1)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488858)

You're wrong. Profit-driven sites have an interest in making money, not in providing a good service. Mostly, these two will coincide, but not always.

Re:It has already begun (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488958)

You're wrong. Profit-driven sites have an interest in making money, not in providing a good service. Mostly, these two will coincide, but not always.

And when they don't coincide, the companies providing the inferior service lose customers. The moment that Yahoo or MSN really and truly, for the average user, provide a demonstrably better search experience, they'll see a shift. And then right back when Google refines theirs. The incentive for improvement is huge, financially. And the costs of providing such continual improvements is enormous. Now, who would you rather provide that money - customers, or taxpayers? How would you drive such innovation (to say nothing of the colossal daily operating costs) in some government-run or non-profit environment?

Monopoly (3, Interesting)

hummassa (157160) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488451)

He, he:
Because radio and television broadcasting are expensive with limited frequencies available, the wealthy have dominated broadcasting.
Make that "because the wealthy have assured monopoly in the broadcasting frequencies, others could not use it". Because I don't know if you turned the dial on your radio lately, but of the 90+ possible FM radio stations, only 20+ are occupied in my city. Broadcasting equipment capable of covering short (< 40km) distance is relatively cheap (< US$ 1000 [in today's currency]) since the 1970's.

Ah, and Bruce, sorry for being a grammar nazi, but please: Effects =/= Affects.

Re:Monopoly (4, Interesting)

Homology (639438) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488536)

Make that "because the wealthy have assured monopoly in the broadcasting frequencies, others could not use it". Because I don't know if you turned the dial on your radio lately, but of the 90+ possible FM radio stations, only 20+ are occupied in my city.

What Pereens is talking about is that so much of the so-called "mainstream" media is owned by a few, and it is a controlling factor in reporting. So while there seems to be much choice, in reality, there is very little. The "mainstream" media serves the interests of the powerful and the rich. Look at who owns who.

The coverage of the Iraq war should give you some insights (hint: what is not widely reported).

Re:Monopoly (2, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488717)

Yes, the equipment is cheap... but the broadcasting license http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcast_License [wikipedia.org] will get you. You could set up a pirate radio station, but it's not extremely difficult to track those down. Also, how are you going to get people to listen when they can hear that one song for the fifth time in the hour?

Re:Monopoly (1)

TheRequiem13 (978749) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488794)

That's exactly what he meant, I believe. The equipment is cheap enough for "anyone to own and operate" but the problem is in the licensing, which is saturated by big media.

DRM Thoughts (2, Funny)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488467)

How long until they DRM our thoughts? I mean with singing sensation Meatloaf trying to lay claim to the phrase "Bat out of Hell" http://www.playfuls.com/news_0000516_Meatloaf_My_B at_Out_Of_Hell.html [playfuls.com] I am going to trademark "like um" and then be rich, I am talking crazy boy band rich....

Re:DRM Thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488995)

I've purchased both of the current albums and I think you understand the facts in this case, yet you appear to side with the person wishing to restrict it's use, while touting fair use of a common phrase. The phrase was in common usage long before Steinman decide to co write and co produce two albums named with this phrase. My Banana bike jumped a plywood and cinder block constructed ramp in my cousins backyard "Like a Bat out of Hell" twenty years before either album was released.
Aday is also an accomplished actor:
http://www.hollywood.com/celebs/detail/id/385892 [hollywood.com]
And stared in one of every true geeks favorite movies "Roadie"
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081433/ [imdb.com]
In which he played a geek who could fix anything with damned near nothing. In the movie aliens landed and asked him to fix their space ship.
He is not a "Back Street Boys" boy toy and is hardly a singing sensation, except to those who've followed his work. I'll explain: at any party remove whatever is currently playing and insert any "Bat out of Hell" CD and watch what happens. If you force the party to listen to the CD, all but about ten people will eventually leave. Those ten are your real friends and soul mates.

Orwellian? (3, Informative)

HumanisticJones (972339) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488483)

While not quite on the level of taking over language and slowly redfining it so that it becomes imposible to put into words bad thoughts about the current system, the idea that companies and governments could control the net crosses into that. We've already seen the government deciding to re-classify materials resulting in libraries suddenly missing books. What will happen when they can do this with the internet too? Who in the future will be able to debate the mistakes of our day when there is no record of them open to the public?

The Internet isn't US-centric. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488574)

As much as you seem to think otherwise, the Internet is not US-centric. This information will be stored in a multitude of other places. We're talking China, Russia, Iran, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, the Ukraine, France, Austria, Uganda, Jordan, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Argentina, Denmark, Turkey, Slovakia. Of course, that's just a smattering of places where such information will be stored.

People in those countries will save news articles posted online. They will save other content. Perhaps if things get really nasty, the US gov't might take out systems in such nations. By that point we'd likely see people printing off such documentation, and stashing it in safer locations. Or they must just disconnect their systems from publically-accessible networks.

Even if the US citizenry fail to protect their history, others in the world won't.

Re:The Internet isn't US-centric. (1)

HumanisticJones (972339) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488668)

Very true that the internet is not US Centric. I have no doubt that other countries will preserve such things. The problem comes when a US citizen attempts to access this information. If the pipes become regulated and access to whole countries worth of information is revoked (access to any information controlled by the highest bidder for that matter, Net Neutrality more important every day), how is any US Citizen going to get to it short of leaving the country and accessing it while outside. I'll admit my concern on this is a bit tunnel-visioned given that I live here in the US. It makes me sad to see so many of the great things that I was taught we stood for being dragged though the mud for the benifits of some lobbyists.

I guess its time to start making renegade libraries for the preservation of my own history before I'm not allowed to see it anymore.

Mistake in article? (2, Informative)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488484)

"DMCA does it today, Barbara Boxer's PERFORM act, and the WIPO broadcasting treaty will soon add to the burden."

I believe the PERFORM act was introduced by Feinstein(D) and Graham(R), not Boxer(D).

Re:Mistake in article? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488670)

PERFORM - "Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act". Man, I wonder how many jiggers of Gin it took to come up with that acronym.

Of course, their enemies are the underground villianous organization, P.I.R.A.T.E. - "People Indiscriminately Ripping All They Enjoy". This is a job for the Man from U.N.C.L.E.
(that's "United Network Command for Law and Enforcement" - for a thrill look up THRUSH).

always ask for a refund (2, Interesting)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488506)

I have never bought anything that contained DRM, but if I did accidentally buy something, I would simply demand a refund.

Anything with DRM should have a message on it similar to the "WARNING: SMOKING KILLS" warning. I don't want a small label I have to search for - it should be big, clear, and standardised. The exact same logo/warning message should appear on every product. Something like "Warning: This product uses Digital Rights/Restrictions Management" would do the job.

Anyway, if anyone accidentally buys a product with DRM, they should be entitled to a refund. It is for all intents and purposes a defect, if you thought the product you were buying was a movie/music that you could use however you like.

Re:always ask for a refund (1)

master_meio (834537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488567)

It is for all intents and purposes a defect, if you thought the product you were buying was a movie/music that you could use however you like.


Except you can't. Re-read the copyright disclaimer when you play a DVD. By buying it, you have paid for the right to watch it, that is all. Even then you can only watch it in certain circumstances (less than 20 of you, not on an oil rig or in a pub etc...). The DVD disc may be be yours to do with what you want, but the data on it is not, and never has been. DRM is simply one step further in enforcing those already existing rights.


I don't agree with DRM, but then I don't agree with Piracy. However I also feel that most movies and music certainly arn't even worth the blank media they are printed on. So what do I do ? I vote with my wallet - I don't buy the disc. At some point down the line I'll watch the movie on Sky, and with the music - well there's plenty of other music out there that isn't DRMd and is far better quality (as in ability not bit rate).

Re:always ask for a refund (3, Insightful)

dick pubes (963843) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488582)

Nonsense.

Whatever conditions appear when you play the disc are not part of your agreement to buy the disc. You bougth one copy of the DVD, you own it. No question about it.

It's still true that you cannot do everything you migth like with it. But that's because of copyright-law, and not because of any legal-sounding bullshit on the disc itself.

Copyright-law prevents you from, among other things performing the work in public and distributing copies of the work.

Re:always ask for a refund (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488802)

I think he's talking about activities permitted by copyright law, but forbidden by DRM.

How relevant for democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488513)

I fail to see how a tiered internet is relevant for democracy.

Even if part of bandwith became 'premium', that would have negligible impact on the possibility of transmitting political material and speech.

I am sure that in the visionary and conceptual world of symbolism and imagery, that someone is binarily 'forced to communicate with lower effect' (i.e. at lower kbps) is a major obstacle to democracy.

In reality, the impact would firstly be negligible unless you want to stream video, in which case you should in any case pay for it. Secondly, there are already costs attached to communication - the costs of setting up a TV station, including recording and transmitting, are already massive. Even the cost of getting a high-traffic site hosted is very high. Surely the argument for why traffic should not cost anything or else it would be an obstacle to democracy, is mirrored by an argument for why hosting should not cost anything or it would spell instant dictatorship?

Tiered Internet isn't about Bandwidth (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488770)

That is not what we are talking about. Everyone here is fine with the fact that people pay more for more bandwidth. The problem is that the Internet is like a lot of interconnecting kingdoms. Each kingdom wants to make the citizens of every other kingdom pay to cross it's borders. The problem is that to get anywhere, you have to cross dozens of kingdoms. Right now, you just pay the kingdom you live in, your ISP. And the places you go, they pay their own kingdom. And the kingdoms have a deal: Kingdom A lets Kingdom B's traffic cross it's borders and vice versa.

What the tiered internet is all about is extorting more money out of you and the places you want to visit. Anytime you want to visit someplace outside your kingdom, you will have to pay extra. Most backbone level ISPs are owned by media companies. So, say you use AOL. Any time you want to access something not owned by Time/Warner, you wil have to pay a premium or suffer slowdowns or outright blockages.

Will you even be able to find speach critical of Time/Warner? Doubtful. Will you be able to find political speach that potentially damages Time/Warner's interests in Washington? Highly unlikely. Do you see the frightening problem here? I sure hope so.

Parallels with the advent of print (4, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488515)

I ran a quick search and came up with the following site that attempts to study the parallels between the development of the printing press and the internet. History is replete with book burnings and the suppression of books by the power elite. The Vatican Library was thought to hold untold supressed works of great import. The questions arises as to whether we have learned from the past and have wrought a sturdy enough framework of legislation and findings in law to offer the users of the internet the opportunity for free expression.

From the site:"The purpose of this web page [rand.org] is to serve as a focal point for investigations of the parallels between perhaps the two greatest qualitative jumps in communications capabilities of the last millennium - printing and internetted computers"

Further the same site has referenced a number of relevant papers:
" There is a wealth of information available on and off the Web that talks about printing and/or the Internet and/or their social and cultural implications. Since the interest of this web site is in the parallels between printing and the Internet and what they might tell us about policy about the Internet, only a small subset of such papers will be relevant [rand.org] to that understanding. Though even the concept of what is relevant will evolve, there are at least two general topics that should remain relevant:

understanding the parallels and divergences between printing and the Internet

understanding the history and impact of printing"

Freedom of Speech trumps DRM (3, Informative)

scovetta (632629) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488553)

I'm sorry, but I left my tin-foil at home on my dresser today. How exactly would DRM suppress freedom of speech (at the heart of the democratic process)? I can understand the TV/radio issue because they are finitely available resources, but the Internet is not the same. Let's say video/audio goes DRMed WMV/WMA, and maybe some DRMed DOC/HTML format becomes popular, too. So what? You can't copy/distribute out what other people (the companies) give you. Nothing stops you from distributing your own (non-DRMed) content.

Of course, if non-DRMed content was made illegal, then that would change things dramatically, but I don't see how that would **ever** happen.

DRM is a Bad Thing(TM), but I don't see it threatening democracy as the article suggests.

Re:Freedom of Speech trumps DRM (5, Insightful)

aaribaud (585182) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488621)

I guess the idea is that once DRM is generalized, it is a trivial matter to switch from a "non-DRMed content is allowed by default" to a "only DRMed content is allowed" stance, and then, to be able to produce content that anyone can actually see, any individual would depend on DRM providers. But surely no DRM "key holder" would even only think of deciding which content deserves being DRMed and which content should be banned, err, bared, from being viewed, or even known of.

Re:Freedom of Speech trumps DRM (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488991)

A few years ago, then-Intel-VP Leslie Vadasz testified before Congress about DRM. One of the things he said was that Intel had been approached by people in the content community who wanted to be able to restrict devices so that you could not forward any content -- including home video -- without their approval.


We have rejected some of the more onerous controls that have been advanced by the content community, such as:

Playback controls, which could require devices to inspect all digital content and prevent playback of any content which is not approved by Hollywood.


So: "Hollywood, may I have approval to forward a copy of my home videos of my newborn to my mother?" And they could say "No" or charge a fee for their permission!!! That was too much even for DRM arms supplier Intel to stomach.

The moral of the tale? Keep in mind that the people who asked for this sort of control over your life and your works are still around -- and probably still eager to gain this sort of unwarranted power.

Reference: http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/022802vasdasz. pdf [senate.gov]

Re:Freedom of Speech trumps DRM (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488691)

I believe they are using the term "threatening democracy" as a way to catch your attention much like how Bush does the same for his political actions. Even if the term they use brings much harsher connotations with it than what the reality is, I think they are on the right track.

Look at it this way, from a non-technical person's view point. When said person wants to play music, they play it. When they want to play a DVD, they watch it. When they want to write a document, use email, browse photos, stream internet radio/tv, or chat online, they want to be able to do it in whatever way is more comfortable for them. The problem is, that if each company has their own propriety formats for every single one of these types of media, they are suddenly forced to use that one companies' program to use it. This means they'll have to purchase a license for each one, and all of their friends who want to be able to view the content on their own pc's will have to purchase a license, and so on. This is a GREAT business model... that is if people were dumb enough and rich enough to buy into every single piece of software/mediaware they need to access all possible forms of media. That is exactly what the DRM backed companies believe the common (majority) computer user to be. They think my non-technical friends are lemmings, pawns, and nothing more.

Only the naive think that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488737)

Of course, if non-DRMed content was made illegal, then that would change things dramatically, but I don't see how that would **ever** happen.

Really? Are you truly that naive?

Historically, such unreasonably restrictive legislation is passed after an arranged attack upon some national icon. Of the two events you've likely heard of before, one happened in Germany in the 1930s, and the other on September 11, 2001, in the US. There are other similar events, like the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964.

Of course, there doesn't even need to be an attack. A widely-hyped spree of arrests of supposed "militants" or "extremists" can often be enough to scare the general public into buying into the idea that they're under threat. Or as we saw in 2002 and 2003, politicians frequently saying that some nation has "weapons of mass destruction" for long enough will have a similar effect.

A smart media company or association can quite easily use even a plan they're not directly involved with to their benefit. Tell people, even if completely incorrectly, that "terrorists" listen to un-DRM'ed audio files, and soon enough you'll get a large number calling for limitations on such material. Or hell, pay off the right politicians at the right time, and such legislation could be slipped in without much debate, let alone knowledge of it being included.

The worst part is that people such as yourself won't even realize what has happened. You'll all be so bummed out by the barrage of ooh-so-scary media reports that you won't be capable of rational thought. By the time you realize that you've been fooled (often years later), it'll be too late.

Re:Only the naive think that. (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488866)

I'm not worried about it. If such a law were enforced, I think the outcry would force the politicians to revoke it. Most people don't care if they can back up their DVDs, but they probably care whether they're allowed to send email without putting DRM on it. That's something that actually makes normal people's lives more difficult every day, and offends them to boot. Plus there's no way it would stand up in court. Despite all the hype and increased conservatism (which is very real), the Supreme Court does still make decisions that protect the Constitution. That presumes that the law would ever be passed, which I doubt to begin with.

Re:Freedom of Speech trumps DRM (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488822)

I'm sorry, but I left my tin-foil at home on my dresser today. How exactly would DRM suppress freedom of speech (at the heart of the democratic process)?

Simple. When "trusted computing" is out there, then everything must be signed to run. If you want to speak freely, you must sign it. That gets rid of anonymity. Don't think about how DRM now would be a problem, think about when Trusted Computing requires signed DRM on everything. For our own good, of course.

Private networks will arise... (2, Insightful)

deficite (977718) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488556)

If the internet gets destroyed by a bunch of idiots that don't understand the internet, I don't think people will just turn around, bend over, and drop their pants. Instead, I think people will just create their own networks. Think of the "good" old days BEFORE the internet.

Re:Private networks will arise... (1)

Daravon (848487) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488697)

I think one of the biggest concerns is that the big telcos and other controlling companies are abusing their current position to control the flow of information. Right now it's only "Company A paid more money than Company B, so they get priority of bandwith". The tin foil hat crowd is worried that eventually the Telcos will say "This website doesn't fit with our worldview, and thus is banned. We'll just make it apprear to the customers that the website is down." I think this has even happened a few times in the past, but I'm too lazy to look it up. Think it was Comcast that did it to a competitors site?

Anywho, the idea of reforming our "own" network is a pretty idea, but you have to get through the Telco Claw (tm). You want to run a dial in BBS like days of yore? Need to get your lines from the local telco. They don't like you running a private network? They turn you off. You run everything through encrypted tunnels, they track down the flow of data and turn it off. Even if the diehard manage to always get one step ahead of the controlling powers, you'll face one of two problems. First (and most likely in my mind) is that legislation will be created to destroy the ability to do that. Second is that people will get tired of constantly playing catch up and will just give in. A year or two of daily or weekly changes to stay with your crowd and people will just give it up. Except the diehard that will keep things going even if they are reduced to only a dozen or so people(like O/S2 users...zing! ;)).

This issue is orthogonal to DRM (3, Insightful)

WalterGR (106787) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488591)

A number of "Internet radio" and "streaming TV" devices and programs have become available today. Most of the products sold for this purpose only receive stations that have been enabled through the gateway site of product's manufacturer...

Imagine the problem for democracy if, when that day dawns, the manufacturers of our access devices are a few companies that have attained a market lock on Internet broadcasting, thus determining what political viewpoints the electorate can receive.

This issue is orthogonal to DRM. The problem is restricting what data sources these devices can listen to.

Re:This issue is orthogonal to DRM (1)

GregStevensLA (976873) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488658)

I apologize for being off-topic, but your sig said:
Grammar tip: "Effect" is a verb. "Affect" is a noun.
...which is making my brain bleed, because it's exactly backwards.

Or is it incorrect on purpose, as some kind of joke that I missed?

Will anyone admit that DRM isn't bad? (0)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488603)

I know this isn't popular to say on Slashdot, but DRM is not the end of the world.

Apple iTunes Store has been selling DRM music for several years now. And the world is still here. People love their iPods and their DRM music.

Linux Tvorvalds has said, "I want to make it clear that DRM is perfectly ok with Linux!" http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2003042401126O SKNLL [linuxtoday.com]>

Basically, mainstream America is fine with DRM. Implemented properly, it's a reasonable part of a solution to a the real problem of widescale IP theft.

My viewpoint may be one standard deviation off of normal Slashdot opinion, but this IS where mainstream America is.

Re:Will anyone admit that DRM isn't bad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488720)

How can anyone "admit that DRM isn't bad"? It is bad, and claiming that it isn't would be buying into a lie.

As for "IP theft", the term "IP" is nonsensical and the term "theft" is inaccurate, for reasons that have been gone over many, many times before. It's impossible to take away (steal) a copyright by making an infringing copy of a work. Or were you referring to the way that record companies force artists to surrender their copyrights as a precondition to getting published -- and keep those copyrights even after bands have repaid their advances (loans) out of their small share of the take?

Re:Will anyone admit that DRM isn't bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488761)

Show specific instances where DRM solves any problem of widescale IP theft and i might take DRM as a solution, until then i don't see it as a solution, more of a distraction to what they really want.

just cause its tolerated doesnt mean its not bad (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488833)

Apple iTunes Store has been selling DRM music for several years now. And the world is still here. People love their iPods and their DRM music.

no people tolerate and conume their DRM music because the government, media, and huge multinationals have been threatening them with lawsuits and imprisonment and brainwashing them into "guilt" with propaganda and outright lies for 7 years.

You can't judge weater people like it when it is the only "legal" option out there. That would be like saying people in iraq "loved" saddam because he was the only "choice" for a leader.

Basically, mainstream America is fine with DRM.

while most americans are not familiar with the name of DRM, they consider it's effects to be nothing less than a plague. I can't tell you how many "mainstream" people have requested my help to rid them of the restrictions imposed by DRM they had ignorantly purchased.

This brings up another good point.. how can america be "fine" with something they know little about. There are not consumer protection laws which mandate companies tell them. As it is now most of them don't know the restrictions even exist until after the purchase is made, and it will only get worse as products come out with "Revocation" and "selective output control" built in.

Implemented properly, it's a reasonable part of a solution to a the real problem of widescale IP theft.

and the idea that it can be "implemented properly" can be filed under the same fallacy as supply side economics.

just as supply side economics cannot succeed because of the invariable human nature that is greed and moral hazard, "properly implemented" drm cannot succeed because of the fact that all DRM schemes are merely security through obscurity.

Freedom of the Press (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488627)

is for those who own one.

If Bruce wants to have freedom on the Internet, he can build his own.









I wish I were being funny.

Re:Freedom of the Press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15488964)

I wish I were being funny.

I wish you were so not so ignorant.

Simple Truth (2, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488676)

If people own something they have the right to protect their items from beings stolen. I'm sure theft is very clearly defined in the law - all types of theft. On the other hand, there is nothing in the world that says people must use DRM. If you think it is an abomination, don't use it and don't buy things with DRM. But here is a question for all of you who think your liberties are threatened buy big business and DRM; when was the last time you baked your own bread or grew your own potatoes or made your own ketchup? Convenience will keep people coming back for more. I will buy my music in whatever format I find most convenient, and so will you.

Re:Simple Truth (1)

wesman83 (700326) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488740)

if i take your chair, thats theft. if i make a copy of it and you still have yours... i'm not sure what that is legally, but its certainly not stealing.

Re:Simple Truth (0, Redundant)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488762)

If people own something they have the right to protect their items from beings stolen.

except copyrights are not analogous to property. a copyright is merely a government enforced license to be the sole distributor for a short period of time.

you can't call a copyright property any more than you can call deer hunting (also a government enforced licensed activity) a property.

Re:Simple Truth (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488939)

I don't want to get into a long discussion, but I need to reply.

If I record a song, I own a copyright to the song. I can sell/license the copyright to someone OR I can sell copies of the song for as long as the copyright holds. If I sell or license or otherwise transfer ownership of the copyright to soeone else, they have some or all rights to the song. If I sell copies of the song, the government has decided which rights the purchaser receives with the purchase, but the purchaser does not receive all the rights - like the right to make more copies.

Digital objects are easy to copy. It is trivial to make a copy of a non-DRMed song and distribute it for money. If you are not the copyright holder, you don't have that right.

I don't like DRM the way it is now, either. But as writer I do see it a a neccessary evil.

Re:Simple Truth (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488979)

I'm sure theft is very clearly defined in the law - all types of theft.
You are correct. The law is actually very clear in distinguishing between copyright infringement and theft. Somehow you're such a failure that your being right is actually proof of how stupid your point is.

The Future Is Locked (2, Insightful)

eieken (635333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488701)

Indeed it is, here [kuro5hin.org] is an old article I wrote about this same subject. From the article:

A system that works best for recording and tracking each and every individual transfer of creative work will serve to diminish that work. A system that works to give that creative work to its audience in its purest form, without restrictions will both reward the audience and the creator (though the artist will not be nearly as financially supported by his work).

We would have never seen many of Da Vinci's works if he had access to technology that imposed expiration dates on his writings. We know he used encryption in his work, so just allow yourself jump a step further.

The full capability of pizza delivery... (1)

Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488743)

... must remain available to all, without restriction by religious, business, or political interests.

So let's talk about politics. What should it do with pizza? democratize it, or republicanize it?

It's a Mandate for Spammers (2, Insightful)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488807)

Re: In order to protect democratic discourse in the future, the Internet must remain a fair and level playing field for the distribution of political speech. The full capability of the Internet must remain available to all, without restriction by religious, business, or political interests.

Be careful what you wish for ... You can't allow all political messages without also allowing spam and offensive content.

Politics and spam already get confused. For example I was recently involved with a news mailing about economic policy, and this triggered spam filters. Why? Because there's a heck of a lot of spam advertising cheap loans, comparing rates, and my email compared interest rates too. But you couldn't unblock my democratic mailing without also unblocking some of that spam.

More DRM FUD (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#15488874)

This has nothing to do with DRM. True, the wealthy have dominated broadcasting. The wealthy will try to lock their stuff up with DRM when they put it on the Internet. But a Britney Spears single is not political speech. Anyone who's making political speech (say, RMS, a political candidate or, even, Bruce Perens) is not going to use DRM to lock up what they're saying. They want the speech to be distributed on a wide basis.

No "Net neutrality" might be a threat to this--maybe. But DRM? No way.

DRM and Open Platform are separate issues (3, Interesting)

cait56 (677299) | more than 7 years ago | (#15489005)

The issue of subsidized players is quite distinct from DRM.

A very strong argument can be made that devices that deliver content MUST be open to playing non-DRM-constrained content from ANY source.

In fact I believe the FCC mandated this for radios and TVs. Basically a TV or radio station was not allowed to distribute players that would receive only their frequency.

It would be an excellent idea that anyone who creates a DRM would be required to allow anyone who publishes content to make use of that DRM. Publishing someone else's material would of course be illegal, just as stamping DVDs without someone else's material is.

But to imply that DRMs are incompatible with free speach is simply stretching things a bit too far. Ensuring that all players will continue to play non-DRM material is all that is required to preserve the essence of public discourse. Letting small publishers use the Big Boy's DRMs would be nice, but certainly not essential.

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  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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