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DRM More Important Than Life or Security? 427

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-at-least-our-music-will-be-safe dept.
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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DRM More Important Than Life or Security?

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  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:35AM (#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.

    • by khakipuce (625944) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:06AM (#14970648) Homepage Journal
      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
      • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:19AM (#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.

        • I suspect the easiest way to differentiate with these is to have "copyright holders" and "copyright owners".

          The owners of the copyright should be the creators of [media item]. They then effectively 'allow' the corporation to become the holder of the copyright for them. It's this 'holding' of copyright that's unethical.

          Therefore, owners are OK, holders aren't.

          And your penultimate par is spot on, that's the way it should work. But I'd bet anything that MegaCorp Inc. would lobby like hell against any developme
        • the right for them to terminate the license at will (despite any contractual wording to the contrary) should be built into law

          This could be very bad in some situations because it could be used by the copyright holder to hold a distributor to ransom.

          For example, you write a library of software functions. I build my own product on top of your library and buy a distribution licence from you. I'm now selling my product, which includes (and is intimately tied to) your library - you're probably getting a slice of the revenue too as part of the licence deal.

          Now, you decide you want more money - you terminate my licence (as the law you suggested would allow you to do) and then ask me for a lot more money in order to get a new licence.

          It's far too expensive for me to competely redevelop my product to either rely on another library or to develop my own library to do a similar job (not to mention possible software patent problems if I produce my own library instead of using yours), so I am now forced to pay you the crazy amount of money you're asking for.

          Similarly, if you wanted to put me out of business (maybe you want a slice of my market?) you could revoke my licence and I'd be truly buggered.

          Your idea is great if you're assuming the distributor is evil and the original copyright holder is not - unfortunately it seems more and more as if we have to assume everyone is evil until they prove otherwise. :(
          There have probably always been a lot of people abusing their power in an effort to make money, but increasingly it seems that those people have more and more power.
        • I suspect that the original authors of the Constitution saw it that way, too.

          They did not. Copyrights were alienable under the Statute of Anne, under the state copyright laws prior to 1790, and under the first federal copyright act in 1790 (n.b. that we often look to the acts of the first Congress as instructive with regard to the meaning of the Constitution).

          The system we have right now, where copyright is almost always immediately and irrevocably transferred to some corporation, is little more than a syst
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:54AM (#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.
      • the kinda people who the word applies to have been so bad for so long that the word now carries a negative connotation all by itself. You don't call someone you like a "copyright holder" anymore then you call them a "Politician". You use artist, or Statesman, or something along those lines.
    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:26AM (#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.

      • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:52AM (#14971070)

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

        Actually, the most succesfull parasites are those that figure out how to not only do no harm to their host, but to actually benefit it. Your stomach bacteria are a good example: a human will try to get rid of flu (by resting), while a human will try to keep his stomach bacteria healthy - since if he doesn't, his body will work worse than it does with them.

        The most succesfull parasites are those who stop being parasites and become symbiotes. Especially when we are talking about an intelligent host species, which might figure out how to get rid of inconvenient freeriders, but won't bother with things that won't bother them.

    • by deanj (519759) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:56AM (#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....
      • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:17AM (#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.

      • by jZnat (793348) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:48AM (#14971419) Homepage Journal
        Maybe a good solution to the copyright problem that you hinted at there is to not allow corporations/organisations/whatever to own a copyright on something. Only the original creator(s) of the work should get a copyright. Sure, people could license their copyrights to their company/whatever in a style similar to the Creative Commons Attribution license, but if an unspecific group of people were unable to own a copyright, the problems would slowly fix themselves.
    • I don't think it is a problem of people that hold copyrights in general.

      But the description does ring true of any corporation. As made clear in the film "The Corporation", they act like psychopaths unable to either tell the difference between right and wrong, or give a damn about it when they do.
    • As long as they get theirs, that's all that matters to them.

      That pretty much sums up American society today: "I got mine, screw you."
    • fsck 'em, nationalize their product and stop the debate.
  • The bottom line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:37AM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EzInKy (115248)

      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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:40AM (#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.
  • by Indy Media Watch (823624) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:40AM (#14970568) Homepage
    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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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...
      • 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???

    • by khakipuce (625944) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:21AM (#14970690) Homepage Journal
      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 ...

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

      Yes, because they run Windows 2000 [techworld.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:42AM (#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 .
    • 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 softw

      • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:45AM (#14970781) Homepage Journal
        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?
        • Your disrespect surprises me. Ayn Rand has had a dramatic and positive impact on the world you enjoy today. L. Ron Hubbard? Was that a serious comparison? Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes (Scientologists) are not Alan Greenspan and Ronald Reagan (fans of Rand).

          Once you do read up a little, you'll learn that fundamentally she illustrates simply that it is best if everyone chooses their own path and should not be forced to carry others.

          Despite your callow question about the 911 firefighters, I will give you

        • I don't see anything wrong with fitting the books and philosiphies of Ayn Rand into your moral philosophy. There's good stuff in there. But no, it's not the end-all and be-all of moral philosophy, and you do need more - hey, anyone basing their entire moral philosophy off one book is probably going to have something a little skewed. (Apologies to fundamentalists everywhere, those within Christianity and elsewhere...)

          The Fountainhead shows the ultimately ugly tyrannical end of unrestrained socialism and com

          • by elrous0 (869638) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:52AM (#14971456)
            The essential paradox of the American liberals

            *EVERY* religious and political philosophy is filled with paradoxes.

            Look at the modern American conservative, trying to blend the wildly incompatible phliosophies of Christianity and capitalism.

            Look at Pauline Christianity itself, trying desperately to blend classic Hebrew religion with more sophisticated Greek and Roman philosophical concepts (a religion popularized by the very Romans responsible for crucifying its founder, no less).

            Look at communism, libertarianism, judaism, islam, etc., etc., etc. All have their paradoxes and problems. We humans are just really good at reconciling incompatible ideas and actions in our heads.

            -Eric

        • treating the works of L. Ron Hubbard as a religion.

          I personally get all my philosophical and religious instruction from hack sci-fi writers. Just this morning, I sacrificed a goat to Harlan Ellison.

          -Eric

      • 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.
      • You're assuming that copyright is property. It isn't. It's a privilege granted by society through the use of violence.

        Copying a work is the part that is actual production, *and that is done by the end users*.

        Yeah, I've read Ayn Rand. I think her philosophy is shortsighted and easily can appeal to people that lack proper mooring, so I've made sure to put away her books when I've got youngsters visiting.

        Eivind.

      • Human nature is not the only nature to consider. Parent post was not talking about human nature, so it is you who are teaching the wrong lesson.

        Corporations have a nature that, if the corporation becomes large enough, is independent of the human nature of its employees. It is a corporation's raison d'etre to grow and profit. And that is all. Even when it is at the expense of the general populace or even its own employees. Sometimes the humans working for the corporation see the harm that is being do
      • Shorter Ayn Rand (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Von Rex (114907)
        Be the biggest asshole you can possibly be to everyone around you at all times. Helping people hurts them. Hurting people helps them. Never feel shame. And always wrap yourself in a cloak of smug self-righteous virtue, even while you're kicking some poor helpless slob in the teeth.

        It's a really good philosophy for sociopaths.
    • 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...
    • 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.
    • by MECC (8478) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:36AM (#14971000)
      Its not really the fault of capitalism, as such. Perhaps the larger problem is that corporations are aritficial persons in the view of the law, with the full protections of the 14th amendment. They are legally persons, yet are bereft of internal moral codes and common senses. They have far more defacto rights that any human being could hope to have. They have never nor can ever shed blod for their country, and have no vested interest in the welfare of the society that lets them exist.

      People will always be greedy. Artificial people walking the earth immune from the realities of living a life is a new twist on things. Its no wonder that endangering human life is of no interest to them. Sadly, corporations don't need to be given the same rights as humans in order to be profitable or create jobs. They have nearly all the rights as you and I but one. The right to die. Give them that right, and see if things change.

      Or, go ahead and treat them just like a person. Next time one is one trial, give the corporate entity a psycological evaluation and see if they are fit to stand trial. Also see if, lacking any of the mental abilities that enable a person to be a positive member of society such as a sense of right and wrong or the intrinsic value of life, see if a guardian needs to be appointed to handle their affairs, just like any dangerously mentally ill psycotic person, including the capacity to enter into a contract. They like having the same rights and privileges as human beings, then judge them as people.

      I've had to provide care and restraint for psycotic individuals. They're just like corporations. Fine one minute, dangerous to all life around them them next.
    • For humanity it is necessary to recognise the intrinsic nature of capitalism (blah blah)

      What have government-granted monopolies (such as the circumvention clause in the DMCA which makes DRM possible) got to do with capitalism?

      Rich.

    • This a cute story, but it promotes a rather simplistic view of the world.

      What about the snake whose best friend is a hamster? [msn.com]
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:44AM (#14970575) Homepage
    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.
  • by jettoki (894493) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:45AM (#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.
  • by NotAHappyCoder (223421) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:48AM (#14970586) Homepage
    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*
  • by smchris (464899) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:53AM (#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.
  • by Jivha (842251) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:54AM (#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".
    • 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...
    • 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.
      • 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.
        • Yes, but I'm sure the companies making that sort of software available are more concerned that the RIAA and MPAA and the BSA.

          The BSA cares about preventing the illegal copying of software, MPAA movies and video, RIAA music...

          Now, there are issues with the BSA, perhaps, but the MPAA and RIAA? What on earth would a hospital be doing have movie or audio software installed on their computers? To be more clear, why would they have need to play DRM'ed material (surely they might have movies of a patient, but th
    • "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 the

    • Begging the question is assuming as a premise one of the things your argument is intended to prove. What the post is doing is creating a "straw man", i.e. rebutting a position that one's opponent has not actually put forward (usually done purposefully as part of an ad hominem attack).

      This lesson in vocabulary brought to you by the association of people that took rhetoric and philosophy electives in college. Have a nice day :)
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LParks (927321)
    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.
    • 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 rep
      • 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?
    • What does the Copyright Office gain by not putting in these safeguards?

      They get... a BRAND NEW CAR!

      Are these corporations truly funding them?

      No, they just go golfing together, at their townhouse, take anything from the fridge... if you feel lonely, just call this number, we have a tab, don't worry...
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:55AM (#14970615) Journal
    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.
    • 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 w
    • by dwandy (907337) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:17AM (#14970905) Homepage Journal
      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...
  • 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
  • Liability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Petskull (650178)
    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?
    • ...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!"
      • 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!"
        • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:25AM (#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.
  • 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
    • 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 sho
    • It was originally designed to protect the artists but now it also benefits the labels and other big business.

      The DMCA was never designed to help artists - the DMCA was always only about big business. The original copyright deal (14yrs) from a coupl'a hundred years ago was designed in a (misguided*) attempt to help artists, but out of that protection grew a very wealthy oligopoly that has pushed the copyright deal well beyond reasononable and well into unreasonable and socially damaging protections (thei

  • No, it's not.

    Next stupid question?

    • Yes, it is more important. Billions of dollars are at stake here, and the artists, and label execs have mouths to feed. If you think that it isnt worth a few live in danger for all those lives that they represent, then you are simply not human. they need money to live, so this issue is nopt exactly clear cut.....

      *ahem*......
  • It's fairly simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:41AM (#14970765) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Ultimately, money is more important than anything - to most people.
  • 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 a
  • Freedom vs. security (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmv (93421) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:18AM (#14970910) Homepage
    They say that those you will trade freedom for security deserve neither... Wonder what happens to those who will give up freedom and security at the same time?
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2 AT earthshod DOT co DOT uk> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:03AM (#14971133)
    Capitalism and socialism are both means-oriented philosophies. That is, the means by which an end is achieved is considered more important than the end in itself. {This goes against the Principle of Equivalence, which states that "all means to the same end are equally valid"; its corollary is "means that are not equally valid serve different ends".}

    To a capitalist or a socialist, obeying orders -- even if the intended aim is not achieved -- is considered more important than achieving aims.

    If a high-ranking officer orders an NCO to lead troops to their certain death, but the NCO thinks on his feet and at the last minute finds a way to save the lives of his men and take the ground, he will be court-martialled and executed for gross insubordination. If the NCO instead leads his men to their death, he will be hailed posthumously as a hero, and the deaths recorded as tragic but necessary. Their deaths will not be considered the fault of the NCO for obeying orders, nor the HRO for issuing the orders, but the fault of the Enemy.

    It would be better for an entire city's worth of innocent civilians to die in screaming agony, than for the law to be broken. If the law says property is more important than life, then property is more important than life. In fact, US law is quite explicit that is is OK to kill a human being in order to protect {real, physical} property. {UK law stops just shy of this. In some parts of Continental Europe, a shopkeeper must actually allow a hungry person to shoplift food, or face penalties.} Killing to protect false, "intellectual property" is surely the next logical extension of this principle. The DMCA is there to protect intellectual property, which is considered equal to physical property and thus to be protected from harmful pirates. Any damage done in the name of protecting intellectual property is surely the fault of the pirates against whom that property was being defended, and not the fault of the defenders.

    That's the means-oriented view, anyway. If you take a more ends-oriented view like the filthy libertarians {disliked equally both by capitalists, for their perverse ideas about how some things can be more important than money, and by socialists for their ideas about the individual [individuals are an unhealthy concept] as an extreme case of a minority [minorities are to be protected]} then you probably think it is a little strange .....
    • It would be better for an entire city's worth of innocent civilians to die in screaming agony, than for the law to be broken. If the law says property is more important than life, then property is more important than life. In fact, US law is quite explicit that is is OK to kill a human being in order to protect {real, physical} property.

      Actually, that's not quite correct. This topic came up during a discussion I had recently with some lawyers over a man in the news recently who is facing murder charges fo

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:38AM (#14971338)
    In an unprecedented move, well-known terrorist Osama Bin Laden filed lawsuit in a federal court against the United States government for violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. In a press statement released by Al Qaeda this afternoon, Bin Laden alleges the infringement to have occured in the bomb defusal in the White House last week. Citing the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA, Bin Laden notes that the bomb squad allegedly circumvented access controls designed to prevent illegal copies of the bomb ignition software.

    "We're hoping that this lawsuit will yield considerable damages and provide an injunction that will prevent future attempts to defuse bombs.", Bin Laden states from his cave "It's the only way to stop piracy."
  • you know.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MRoharr (243317) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:10AM (#14971613)
    ...something is bothering you when it pops up everywhere you turn. The public needs to be more aware of the lasting implications of the DMCA. It should be a household word. Last evening i was flipping through the channels and it happened to stop on "Wheel-Of-Fortune", it was time for the prize puzzle, 3 consonants and one vowel. The lady choose D-M-C-A. She solved the puzzle and i don't even remember what it was. All i remember was her choice of letters. It stuck in my head. If this keeps up the future will not belong to us, but to corporations and those that govern. My 2 cents.
  • by Expert Determination (950523) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:17AM (#14971673)
    Eg. a bum on the street doesn't suddenly gain the right to take products from a food packed supermarket just because he's starving to death.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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