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Chocolate Teapot

chocolate teapot

Michael Sparks in the BBC Backstage permathread on DRM:

However any arguments based on open standards do need to take facts into account though. Such as this one: The BBC is currently required by the rights holders to use DRM.

Tell me how you can have a DRM system that’s completely free software, and I’ll readily listen and push for such an approach. (I doubt I’ll get anywhere, but I’ll try)

The two ideas strike me as fundamentally opposed concepts. After all one tries to protect your right to use your system in any way you like (for me modifying it the system is a use), whereas the other tries to prevent you using your computer to do something. I’ve said this before of course. No-one has yet said how they’d securely prevent trivial access to the keys and trivially prevent data dumping (ala vlc’s dump to disk option).

So personally I can’t actually see how you can have a completely free software DRM system and have that system viewed as _sufficiently secure_ from the DRM proponents side of things. Kinda like a chocolate tea pot. I like to be proved wrong about things things. (chocolate is good too)

I like this explanation. It kinda captures why I’ve been happy working at Joost. Content’s the thing, and vast amounts of content simply won’t go online in a stable, referenceable, linkable, annotable, decoratable form unless the people who made it or own it are happy. Which, in the current climate (including background conditions like capitalism and a legal system) I think means DRM and closed source. I love Creative Commons, grassroots content, free, alternative and webcam-sourced content. But I also want the telly that I grew up watching to find it’s way into more public spaces. If the price of this happening now rather than in a decade’s time is DRM and closed source, I’m ok with that. Software is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

All that said, I’d also like a chocolate teapot, of course. Who wouldn’t?

ps. and yes, I did Google to make sure that “chocolate teapot” isn’t some terrifying sexual practice. It doesn’t appear to be, and I’m left wondering whether it’s Englishness or the Internet that has warped my brain to the extend that I’d even consider such an interpretation of this lovely phrase… I blame the “Carry On” films….

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  1. DRM is defective by design. [1] It criples your computer and it criples your rights.

    When the BBC launched the iPlayer it the statement went along the lines of “here’s the iPlayer, it will only work with MS Windows, of course.” After months of public outspeak, protests (which I attended outside the BBC Manchester studios) and other activism the BBC changed the message to “here’s the iPlayer, it only works with MS Windows, but we realise this is broken and we’re working really hard to get things

    If everyone sits back and says “oh well, it doesn’t effect me,” nothing will change. The Overton Window is moving, slowly, but we need your help.

    Refuse to use Joost, refuse to use the iPlayer and make your voice heard.

    [1] http://defectivebydesign.org/

  2. Nobody likes DRM, not even the people selling it: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071121-uk-retailers-to-record-labels-drm-is-killing-us.html and even Hollywood admits it’s about rent-seeking, not preventing piracy http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070115-8616.html

    Sun claims to have an open source DRM, http://www.openmediacommons.org/

    Also, two different OpenID providers were refused with “Server denied check_authentication.”

    “stable, referenceable, linkable, annotable, decoratable form” ahah, you’re an RDF freak, that’s why you sold out :P