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DRM and Democracy 211

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the more-restrictions-are-always-fun dept.
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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DRM and Democracy

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  • Yeah maybe, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2.7182 (819680) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:55PM (#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.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:08PM (#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

  • by MrSquirrel (976630) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:00PM (#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 (Score:2, Informative)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      Really? [huffingtonpost.com]
    • 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.
      • 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.

        • 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!

        • 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.
    • 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?

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:00PM (#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... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:12PM (#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.

      • 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.

        Rega
      • Re:exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:20PM (#15488987) Homepage Journal
        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:exactly... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kozumik (946298)
        DRM makes filtering much easier though. If Net Neutrality is lost and DRM is implemented, that's really the perfect storm scenario. Then Telcos are given the right to filter at thier discretion and the tools to do so. For example they could block or encrypt content (downloads/streams/VOIP/etc) and require propriatary players. It'll become a standard part of service contracts that the provider can filter content and the customer has no legal recourse. They'd justify it as blocking piracy or child porn or so
    • by Zeio (325157) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:48PM (#15489246)
      Until we have public key voting and the ability to verify that the votes we cast were counted (verification of the vote should be able to be done online or at kiosks at City Halls, Post Offices and Police Stations) we don't even have a democratic constitutional republic.

      DRM, DMCA, the Patriot Act are making aggressive progress against the rights of "The People," where there seems to be a basic assumption of guilt.

      Back to the problem. If you don't know how the votes were tallied and that the elected officials were really the ones who won and have more than two parties allowed in each election (for all intents we have a two party exclusive system here in the US) we are going to keep getting these empty suit politicians.

      Both the GOP and the Dems are screwing the public so bad with illegal junk un-constitutional legislation it hurts to watch.

      Focus on how we count votes and making voting VERY transparent and verifiable online and may be able to make inroads.
    • It would be a shame to rely on the communications companies and government regulation to provide for our free speech. The only way to guarantee a right to free electronic speech is to encourage and facitate the spread of a true worldwide mesh.
  • by malraid (592373) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:02PM (#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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • by malraid (592373)
        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.
        • 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 differenc
          • the famous superbowl nipple incident
            IIRC that nipple was never visible, it was covered by some kind of jewelry. At least it was in all the newspaper photos :-)
    • Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by everphilski (877346) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:08PM (#15488452) Journal
      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.
    • by PB_TPU_40 (135365)
      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 po
      • 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 ar
        • I wouldn't wait for them to show up at my house. The best defense is a good offense. Most dont realize this but you can immeadiately find out any warrants that have been issued for you. All you do is call 911 and tell them it is not an emergecny and request a list of any warrants issued in your name. Logistically this all is a pain in the ass. But have you noticed that minor things, and most of the BS laws, they do NOT show up at your house for, there's a solid reason for that, it is considerably more
      • 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 you will die. It's all good if you can accept that. That Lady Smith (:-)) of yours might slow them down for about five seconds, max. The stock pile at the Branch Davidians didn't do them much good in the end, did it? If you want to win against the government, you'd better have bigger nukes that they have.
        • The stock pile at the Branch Davidians didn't do them much good in the end, did it?

          Actually, it took exactly one year and a bunch of diesel fuel and fertilizer.

          The government learned after that.

      • I don't think you can keep the goverment in check just by using guns. It worked with the American Revolution. But technology is much more advanced now. Even if you could stock pile AK-47 bought from WalMart, you wouldn't have chance against the goverment. But bombs, that's where the answer is. Look at Irak, the insurgents are fighting it out with IEDs, not with guns. Well, some insurgents DO use guns, it has more glamour than IEDs, but those are the ones that don't make it back after the first fire fi
      • Bad ordinance (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mal-2 (675116) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:00PM (#15490191) Homepage Journal
        So the proper answer to a bad ordinance is to drop the "i" and open up with the ordnance?

        This is why those in power boil the frog. In order for them to get what they desire, there must be no flash point, no single act so heinous that the populace says "hey wait a minute!".

        The fact is that when the shit hits the fan, you won't be able to fend off a tank with your shotgun. Certainly you can fend off one cop, or fight a dozen to a standoff, but if you're wanted bad enough and your location is known, you won't be on the loose for very long. You may just be sieged until you have to come out or starve, or you may have the authorities go Waco on you. Or you could just be "disappeared" and declared an "enemy combatant".

        Did you know David Koresh used to walk to Wal-Mart three or four times a week? If authorities had wanted to arrest him, they could have. Instead they wanted to set a loud example, knowing full well it could go to hell in a handbasket the way it did. The War on Terra is just a logical extension of this existing policy. Both parties are responsible for putting us frogs in the water and heating it up. It's just that one of them lately has been so blatant about it -- it may yet work, or they may get tossed out for the moment. As soon as the furor dies down, it's back to politics as usual, and power grabbing as always.

        Of course there is a difference in which groups get scapegoated by those in power, and there is a small handful on both sides who truly believe they are doing what is best for all concerned, but ultimately, money talks and all else walks. We don't have a voice. The bankrupting of the middle class (have you checked debt loads lately?) and of the country itself mean that dissenting voices will be too busy scrounging up enough money to "put food on their children" and not have time to cause problems for government.

        Face it, your gun is only going to help you fight off your equally starving neighbor. You won't be putting up any significant resistance to air strikes, commando raids, or even SWAT teams.

        Mal-2
    • 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.
    • but they can both play games, and enjoy democracy! look->!
      http://www.democracygame.com/ [democracygame.com]

      You cant expect me to resist a plugging opportunity this rich can you?
  • Not True (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jason Mark (623951)
    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 whi
    • Re:Not True (Score:3, Insightful)

      by doconnor (134648) *
      How many of those top thousand sites consist of user created content, like groups.yahoo.com and www.blogger.com
    • Re:Not True (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zidohl (976382)
      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.
    • 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 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EonBlueTooL (974478)
      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,
    • 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...

      For wealth this is certainly true in the US. I'm not sure that is the case for knowledge in general, or "access" or anything else.

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

      I don't believe you. Please provide support for this assertion. The numbers I've seen put the top 1000 sites as closer to 70%

    • It's democracy because 99.9% of the traffic goes to the top 1000 sites, voluntarily giving them the highest ad revenue/most influence in online penis-comparison contests, etc.

      QED

      The fact that this stifles individual voices and destroys the effective value of the individual just shows all the better that it's a real democracy, and is a shining example of why the U.S. isn't one, but is rather a republic with a specific charter protecting individual rights.

      By the way, giving the little guy a voice is pretty
    • Re:Not True (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Chode2235 (866375)
      I agree, if you look at the income gap it has defineatly increased with the introduction of computers to businesses and individuals. Esentially there is another tool for the privlidged to use to further exploit the 'have nots'. Computers increased efficiency, increased scale and have been used to leverage inequalities between groups for insane amounts of profit. Traditional cultural elites have been able to use technology to retain and futher entrench their control.

      Although technology has the potentia
  • Monopoly (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hummassa (157160) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:08PM (#15488451) Homepage Journal
    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Homology (639438) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:19PM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrSquirrel (976630)
      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?
    • >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 percentage of those are owned by Clear Channel [corpwatch.org]?

      >Broadcasting equipment capable of covering short ( 40km) distance is relatively cheap ( US$ 1000 [in today's currency]) since the 1970's
      and its deployment has been passionately opposed by the incumbents, who've gotten the the government to shut down such "pirate" operations withno evidence of interference.
      • Me:
        Broadcasting equipment capable of covering short (< 40km) distance is relatively cheap (< US$ 1000 [in today's currency]) since the 1970's
        You:
        and its deployment has been passionately opposed by the incumbents, who've gotten the the government to shut down such "pirate" operations with no evidence of interference.
        That was precisely my point, sorry if I wasn't clear enough.
  • by Fr05t (69968) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:08PM (#15488456)
    ... "DRMocrazy"

    Next Step: PROFIT!
  • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:09PM (#15488467) Homepage
    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....
  • Orwellian? (Score:3, Informative)

    by HumanisticJones (972339) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:11PM (#15488483) Homepage
    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?
  • Mistake in article? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mypalmike (454265) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:11PM (#15488484) Homepage
    "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).
    • Don't forget the ever-lovable Bill Frist (R).
    • 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).
  • 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

  • by Quirk (36086) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:16PM (#15488515) Homepage Journal
    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"

  • by scovetta (632629) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:21PM (#15488553) Homepage
    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.
    • by aaribaud (585182) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:31PM (#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.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        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

    • 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.
    • "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."

      All it takes is the major channels of distribution to not distribute non-DRM-ed content. Not so farfetched. And in terms of legal limits, do you think every country in the world has the same (even if diminishing) respect for freedom of speech that the US has? The places that need it the most are the places least likely to have it.

      FTA/S: "The full capability o
    • 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.

      DRM isn't only capable of preventing you from copying or distributing the document, it's also capable of preventing you from reading it too. This is what has the worst implications for Free Speech.

      Have you ever read 1984? If you have, then you should recall that the Ministry of Truth spent quite a lot of time and effort revising history every time policy cha

      • Just imagine: that leaked corporate email that proves corruption? Unreadable! Those White House recordings that provide damning evidence of some plot? Gone! That electronic map image showing that we've "always" been at war with Afghani... whoops, sorry, it shows Iraq now!

        Have you ever heard of a printer? Or a camera? Or testimony? Or handwritten notes?

  • 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.
  • by WalterGR (106787) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:26PM (#15488591) Homepage

    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.

  • 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.

  • Simple Truth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by boyfaceddog (788041)
    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 ow
    • 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.
  • by eieken (635333)
    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
  • ... 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?
  • 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 mailin
  • 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.

    • Re:More DRM FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aire Libre (603106)
      I respectfully disagree with your perception that this has nothing to do with DRM. Take Bruce's article, posted by Technocrat.net, for example. It got slashdotted, and we were all able to click on a link to see it. But suppose Technocrat.net had wrapped it in DRM, and the click took us to a "pay 25 cents to view it"? Or worse, we got a message saying "sorry, this article is available only to AOL customers"? Moreover, while Bruce, RMS and others may want to have their speech unwrapped, the wealthy tend
  • by cait56 (677299) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:23PM (#15489005) Homepage

    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.

    • I Perens has a point, although I haven't RTFA so i don't know whether he articulates it well. A lot of political speech requires quotation. If a candidate says something stupid on air, nothing beats being able to "quote" the audio or video in which he says it. If the government puts up pictures of something that turn out to be faked (as the Nixon administration once did to downplay the significance of anti-war protests), then nothing beats being able to display those pictures and point out how they were fak
  • Must all be authored by "the wealthy"... And a whopping 0% of them are utilizing DRM. The sky already fell and hit Mr. Perens on the head strongly.
  • ...the wealthy have dominated broadcasting.

    The state of commercial FM is pretty poor, but it has little to do with "the wealthy", a phrase that conjures up mustachioed capitalists in top hats. In fact, if more radio stations were owned by genuinely wealthy individuals, they could afford to try something different, instead of slavishly playing formula music.

    As usual when we encounter leftist code-speak, there's an ugly truth hidden underneath. In this case, the truth is that radio stations, which are not w

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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