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EFF Gets Animated About DRM with The Corruptibles 202

Lurker McLurker writes "An animation from the EFF shows DRM technology as a group of supervillans who aim to invade your home, interfere with your devices and stop you from using your digital media the way you want to, even if it is legitimate. Doesn't say anything about the subject most of us wouldn't know, but a great link to send to your friends as an introduction to the issue."
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EFF Gets Animated About DRM with The Corruptibles

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  • Nice link (Score:0, Insightful)

    by orta ( 786013 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:30AM (#15554539) Homepage Journal
    It'll be good at educating the masses, though it does seem really dumbed down, feels a bit abstract to me.
  • Analog Hole (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Feneric ( 765069 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:32AM (#15554544) Homepage

    I think I personally would have visualized the character of "Analog Hole" as a lot older... certainly not a kid.

  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ugayay>> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:44AM (#15554566) Journal

    Wasn't a free market and capitalism supposed to drive innovation and technology? Oh wait, yeah, Microsoft, never mind.

    Really, reading some of these proposed laws the clear message from the RIAA/MPAA is, "To ensure our continued hand-in-the-cookie-jar obscene money making machine, we demand the government enact protective legislation." Guess what? They're "gettin' 'er done"! Innovative ideas and extensions and forks of cool, useful, for-the-betterment-of-man technology fall by the wayside by fiat, at the entertainment industry's prompt.

    Again, ignoring the thesis for the moment that increased use of all of these digital technologies actually serve the entertainment industry spurring new growth in unexpected demographics, the new and improved technology traditionally has been the keystone of other new technologies. Often, as mentioned in a recent slashdot article, new directions are discovered accidentally. Squelch digital devices and you squelch potential new and rich fields of devices.

    The RIAA and MPAA, what a bunch of fucktards.

  • Subtitles (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rekolitus ( 899752 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:53AM (#15554584)

    I think this is a good idea, but I really wish more people would put subtitles on their flash videos, the EFF no exception.

    Seriously, how hard would it be to spend some 10 minutes adding subtitles?

    I do like the idea, though.

  • What good is it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:57AM (#15554590)
    if the only people who see this are already in agreement with the EFF on this one?
  • by hasbeard ( 982620 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:01AM (#15554599)
    Maybe the idea is to put something out there so that people can show it to other people or give them a link to it...
  • by rehashed ( 948690 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:12AM (#15554633)
    I have shown this clip to a few colleagues, and they just dont understand how these things effect them.

    Talking about HDTV, mixing down from Digital Radio, and Digitizing commercial products for school projects is not the way to appeal to the mass consumer market.

    Recording TV shows and making a favorites CD out of your music collection are more accessble principles to the mass market, and these are what should be highlighted.
  • by Kihaji ( 612640 ) < minus herbivore> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:18AM (#15554645)
    DRM is not evil. DRM is not wrong. Improper application and bad laws are.

    Fight the laws and bad applications of DRM, not DRM itself.
  • Re:Nice link (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vingt ( 191705 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:23AM (#15554658)
    It didn't look like something that'll engage the attention of anyone that matters. By that, I mean that it isn't a particularly well-done, entertaining cartoon sequence that also raises questions or drives a call to action. It's boring, the characters are uninteresting, the "story" is only the message. No wordplay, no good characterisation, no hook. The items that are destroyed are so generic and undetailed that they carry no identity, conveying no sense of loss when destroyed. I don't come away from it feeling that anything personal and valuable is under threat. So it remains a little cartoon sequence, easily forgotten. It certainly won't lead anyone not already fired up to go learn more, write a congresscritter, etc.

    Outside of the geek universe, this is worthless. It's the difference between the MPAA, RIAA & other lobbies and the "good guys". The bad guys know their marketing - they successfully sell their policies to those who can mandate them. The good guys are really ineffective at selling resistance to anyone that could be heard - including "the masses".

      Perhaps this would have gotten some attention if it was done as high-def, burned to Blu-Ray, and handed out at the locations where the Samsung player is launching this weekend?
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:26AM (#15554660)
    MS to be fair seem to have made reasonable efforts to unify DRM with it's 'plays for sure' thingy (although I've no experience on how restrictive it actually is)

    And if I have a Mac or Linux box?
  • Re:To One Side (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crhylove ( 205956 ) <> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:26AM (#15554661) Homepage Journal
    Now see, I had mod points today, and unfortunately there isn't a mod "wrong", otherwise I'd have used it right away.

    DRM IS WRONG. In any form ever for anything. It stifles the advance of human progress, be it technologically, in the arts, or even politically. Advocating DRM ever for anything is like advocating AIDS ever for anything. Sure occasionally some real fucktard like Dick Cheney might get AIDS and that would be great. However, AIDS itself still sucks, and I'd advocate taking him out another way.

    Specifically in this case prison time for purjury and election rigging until his pace maker gives out. Over all AIDS is still bad. Just like DRM.
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:30AM (#15554669)
    if the only people who see this are already in agreement with the EFF on this one?

    Post the link on your blog. Email it to your family members. Print the link on business cards and hadn it out to strangers on the street.
  • Re:Analog Hole (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:42AM (#15554697)
    Every portable mp3 player has a headphone jack by nature.

    . . . consumer electronics . . .

    The ultimate tool in the war, stop being a consumer. Learn to make your own . . .including music and video. Fill the world with "hole."

  • Re:To One Side (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tddoog ( 900095 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:48AM (#15554717)
    I watched the cartoon and it doesn't say anything about DRM. It talks specifically about the law being pushed through congress that infringes on fair use rights.

    The real problem is that it is almost impossible to constrain piracy while not infringing on fair use. These same types of things were brought up with the advent of VCRs and there has been no companies that have gone bankrupt (to my knowledge) because of VCRs. In my opinion, DRM is not necessary, and companies could make even more profit without it if they gave the consumers more options to get what they want, how they want it. Take a tip from Burger King, "Your way, right away."

  • Re:Analog Hole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:52AM (#15554732) Homepage
    Well, that part didn't really deal with the "analog hole" at all. She was trying to copy a short clip from a DVD - aka "fair use", but on a computer you're normally dealing with digital copies. Nevermind that audio/broadcast flag are anti-consumer, analog hole is pro-consumer and something they are trying to eliminate. Then again it's a teaser, not trying to be technically accurate.

    Anyway, the concept of analog "hole" only makes sense in the context of trying to stop digital copies. If we say A is an analog copy and D is digital, we started out with:

    Then we got CDs, but there was noone who had CD burners at the time:

    Nobody gave a damn that there was an "analog hole", I don't think the concept even existed. Then everybody and their mother got computers and CD burners, and suddenly you got all-digital copies:
    DDDDDDDDDDDDD = perfect

    Then they started inventing DRM, and got that protected through the DMCA. That was supposed to stop digital copying, with varying degrees of success. However, in those cases where they succeeded you still had the analog hole:
    DADDDDDDDDDDD = near perfect

    So the concept of an "analog hole" is very young, because it makes absolutely no sense without digital copies and DRM.
  • Re:To One Side (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:00AM (#15554755)
    DRM to constrain piracy = Good

    Well DRM does not constrain piracy. It only hurts the

    Zip. Nadda. Not one bit.

    If a pirate wants to copy something or get a copy of something, he already has the tools to bypass whatever DRM you throw at him. Those who end up being hurt all the time is Joe Six packs who buy a copy and then the company that sold him the media goes bankrupt or his drm copy goes bad and he couldn't make fair use backups of it.

    The "truth" about DRM is to make people buy media twice when they already own a licence for it.

    And guess what happens to DRM when the copyright expires in 100 years from now? You still have DRM and may heaven help you if you are a historian trying to research early 21st century history and can't seem to find tools to read archaic DRM schemes (although I'll give our descendants the benefit of the doubt with computer skills by 2100.)

    Not to mention this media is supposed to go into public domain once the DRM expires... But DRM is cheating the spirit of copyright law by making this impossible.
  • Re:Don't forget... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:10AM (#15554793)
    That's kind of the whole point of this debate. Idiots like the EFF paint DRM as some kind of evil monster, when the truth is that it's just an effort on the part of the people who own things and want to be able to sell them without having them stolen to find a technological solution to what's clearly a societal problem.

    The problem with DRM as a technical solution is that it uses my computer against me. My computer works for me. It doesn't work for anyone else without my permission... and that's why I don't use DRM.

    DRM isn't "evil" until people no longer have the choice of refusing it.

    That is why the EFF's campaign is important. It educates people about it, so that the market will make the right decision before DRM becomes an inescapable de facto standard.
  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:15AM (#15554810) Homepage

    The video is very cool and well done. But along the same lines as what you were saying, the video seems to assume that people understand copyright law, including fair use, and then goes on to explain how DRM can prevent you from doing things that are perfectly legal. The thing is, most people don't understand copyright law, and have never heard of fair use. The video uses the example of a kid trying to put a video snippet in her electronic school report. Although that clearly falls within fair use, I think most people, who don't know about fair use, would either think (a) the kid should be stopped from doing it, because it's illegal, or (b) it's illegal, but the law is stupid, so it's ok for the kid to break it. Same thing on the personal use exception, which would be relevant for the DVR example. I was unclear myself on the example of the mix CD -- is the EFF saying it's legal under personal use? Would it depend on whether the woman is his wife, who lives in the same house with him, or his girlfriend, who doesn't?

    They think that they will always be able to find a way to break encryption and use music they've purchased however they like
    I've heard a lot of speculation about how the analog hole could be plugged, for example, but so far I haven't seen it happen. It seems likely to me that any analog copy-protection system could be worked around by a sufficiently sophisticated digital or analog filtering system. Then the question is whether the media industry can make the relevant filtering software or hardware illegal. If it's as simple as a band-reject filter, then it doesn't seem likely.

  • by Kaimelar ( 121741 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:26AM (#15554843) Homepage

    As a citizen, you're supposed to just suck it down and shut up.

    Corporations don't see people as "citizens" anymore. We're not even their customers -- we're consumers. Language always gives one away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:30AM (#15554860)
    It's some kind of unviewable Flash nonsense that doesn't work on my operating system, and which I wouldn't enable even if it would work.

    When are sites going to start posting actual videos instead of the pseudo crap that is Flash?
  • Re:Nice link (Score:2, Insightful)

    by script_daddy ( 846338 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:50AM (#15554928) Homepage
    It didn't look like something that'll engage the attention of anyone that matters. By that, I mean that it isn't a particularly well-done, entertaining cartoon sequence that also raises questions or drives a call to action. It's boring, the characters are uninteresting, the "story" is only the message.

    I tend to agree. Simplified, hyperbolic, and in the end, unengaging. I think the talk Cory Doctrow gave to the Microsoft Research Group [] about DRM is a much better way to introduce friends and relatives to the issues at hand. Of course, it requires a slightly longer attention span than what's required from the animation linked to in TFA, but I find that I often underestimate my non-tech friends ability to absorb information. Especially when it comes to issues that very much concerns them. Excerpt:

    Here's what I'm here to convince you of:

    1. That DRM systems don't work
    2. That DRM systems are bad for society
    3. That DRM systems are bad for business
    4. That DRM systems are bad for artists
    5. That DRM is a bad business-move for MSFT

    And he does just that..

  • Re:Don't forget... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ichigo 2.0 ( 900288 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:08PM (#15555004)
    when the truth is that it's just an effort on the part of the people who own things and want to be able to sell them without having them stolen

    The problem is that these people want to sell the things they own and still own them afterwards.
  • by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) * on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:11PM (#15555011)
    Preventing someone else from reading something the government sent me without *my* permission would be fine. The government, preventing *ME* from showing someone else what the government sent me, *IS* abuse of power. If the govt sends me an illegal threat, I have *every* right to show that to my lawyer, the press, or whoever I want.

    DRM can never be open, becuase if it were, it would be defeatable.

    DRM isnt about protecting rights, its about taking yours away so that big media can prevent you from moving from one platform to another without having to pay them again each time.

    'Registering' a media player so that it can track what you listen to and when smacks of invasion of privacy.

    Big media would love digital downloads to take off in a form they can keep a tight fist on, if only so that they can start phasing CD's out or start charging more for them, since in their current form (as long as you don't run MS OS's that ignore the audio CD part and run the DRM programs on the data part) they don't trample on fair use rights such as the ability to make backups and to media and format shift.
  • I don't like it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Godji ( 957148 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:24PM (#15555054) Homepage
    As much as I love the EFF and everything they do (I donate every month), I don't like the movie on its purely presentational qualities.

    1. It presents too many things too fast. Everything happends too fast. I showed it to someone unfamiliar with the issue, and who had only vaguely heard some of the terms used (analog hole, fair use, and the like). Her reaction was in the lines of "Huh? What the...? Can you play that again?"

    2. It uses a foolishly cartoonish "superhero" style. When I see those overly comic-style "superhero" images with sharp lines, simple colors, and dumb logos on their chests, I find them stupid. They look stupid. This gives the whole video a comic feel, taking away any seriousness it might have wanted to imply. It fails to shock the unsuspecting viewer with what should be a shocking revelation. Don't get me wrong; the problem is not any crude drawing, but the adherence to the "comic superhero" style. Even the voice-over sticks to it...

    3. It doesn't explain anything. What's going on? This is the most difficult one to get right, but a video has to at least try to explain part of the issue. You could say it only tries to turn your attention to the issue, but it doesn't... the video, as it is, requires one to do some serious background reading. How many people, who have never bothered with the issue before, are going to just stop what they were doing and start reading about DRM?

    Number 2 is the biggest flaw in my opinion. Most people would oppose DRM if they knew about it, but if I send the link to anyone who's even a little sceptic about the importance of opposing DRM and the magnitude of its danger, that person would laugh at me. One already did, saying "What the hell is this bullshit?". The question was about the cartoonish guys, not the issue presented. I love the idea though, and hope they will come up with something better next time.
  • Re:Nice link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:27PM (#15555068) Homepage Journal
    I don't agree that the bad guys are so good and the good guys suck as you seem to characterize. Your are overreacting.

    The cartoon was uninspired and not worth forwarding to anyone I know, I agree.

    How do you let someone know that there is a new law that will let someone walk in your front door and change your television channel? its very hard to convince anyone of that because its so preposterous. People will think you are just exaggerating. The cartoon does not seem to understand that.
  • by Kihaji ( 612640 ) < minus herbivore> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:41PM (#15555114)
    DRM can never be open, becuase if it were, it would be defeatable. DRM isnt about protecting rights, its about taking yours away so that big media can prevent you from moving from one platform to another without having to pay them again each time.
    Spoken like a true sheeple. DRM can be open, most cryptographic algorithms are open, and they seem to be doing just fine. And the example you gave is one of the bad uses of DRM.

    DRM is like AJAX, it isn't a specific technology, but an application of other technologies to manage what others may do with something. Encrypting a message is DRM, SSL is DRM, anything that prevents others from seeing or doing what they want with some digital data is DRM.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @01:18PM (#15555219) Journal
    Document dissemination by governments/companies where you want to absolutely verify that either they sent it to you

    That doesn't take DRM, it just takes a digital signature

    or you are the only one who can manipulate/read it are one case where well implemented DRM would be beneficial.

    ...Until you need to show that document in court to prove your innocense in some matter, but thanks to the chip in your head, no one but you can see it. But that couldn't happen, because of course we'd always let the government have master decryption keys, and the government would never engage in any wrongdoing of a nature where they might block the decryption of politically damaging evidence... Right?

    Or, any place that the artist(not the publisher) wants to protect their work.

    Protect it from what? You've just described one of the biggest problems with DRM, not a good reason for it. Even ignoring our fair use "rights", how will you feel when you go to show your grandkids your favorite (but obscure) childhood book, only to find it no longer in print, and the only copy you have uses your own retinal static (encoded at the time of purchase) as the decryption key? Does that "protect" the artist, or just condemn him to historical oblivion?

    Companies internal documents, to aid in ensuring that they don't get "leaked".

    Yeah, real pity we plebes learned about the NSA spying on us; about Enron and Worldcom, about Israel's nuclear program (which, incidentally, broke international law no less than Iran's); And let's not forget the recently unmasked "Deep Throat", who ruined the career of a nice friendly honest guy like Nixon.

    DRM will not fix all the problems in the above senarios

    Yes, actually, it can - The problem here comes from those scenarios having a far more obvious dark side than a bright side.

    I don't think you work as an industry shill, because you sound sincere. But you need to realize that every application of DRM, even the ones you might contextually call "good", can and will come back to bite us.
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @01:21PM (#15555228)
    Wasn't a free market and capitalism supposed to drive innovation and technology? Oh wait, yeah, Microsoft, never mind

    How many american households owned a computer before MSDOS and Windows? How many after?

    The commodity PC running Windows has had an extraordinary impact on technology.

    The buyer at entry level expects to see networking, a 3 GHz CPU, DX9 level graphics, multichannel HD audio, 100 GB of hard disk storage, and read-write optical drives at $500 or less.

    In system bundle complete with monitor, ink-jet color printing, and free home delivery.

  • by asuffield ( 111848 ) <> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:39PM (#15555521)
    Corporations don't see people as "citizens" anymore. We're not even their customers -- we're consumers. Language always gives one away.

    This is very true. It's always a good idea to see what a corporation calls you.

    If you are a client, then they think of you as an integral part of the process. You are involved in the development of whatever they are selling to you, and it is built around your needs. Outsourcing companies, good hotels, and lap dancers think like this.

    If you are a customer, then they think of you as an individual who makes a take-it-or-leave-it decision about their product. They will attempt to make as many people as possible want to take it, but won't worry too much about missing a few around the edges. Still, they need to keep you happy and won't do something that's bad for you without a really good reason. The good ISPs and expensive high street stores think like this.

    If you are a consumer, then they think of you as tied up, prone, on the floor, while they defecate their products onto you and then send you an invoice. It doesn't matter what you think, you don't get to make a choice. The big media companies think like this. So do the telephone carriers, and most other monopolies.
  • Re:Analog Hole (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:17PM (#15556368)
    Actually, it is possible to make very good analog copies. Just as it is possible to make shitty digitally-ripped MP3s. I'd much prefer a good high-end tape recording of a nicely-mastered vinyl record, than a shitty digital rip of a poorly mastered CD. And CDs are getting increasingly poor mastering and engineering applied to them. Just because something is digital doesn't mean it sounds good.
  • Re:Analog Hole (Score:2, Insightful)

    by uid7306m ( 830787 ) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @04:47AM (#15557631)
    I see trouble for science, too. Lots of science gets done with computer electronics:
    speech research and psychology research is done 100% with consumer audio and video cards.
    Lots of other fields use a mix of consumer andio/video and specialized analog to digital
    converter cards. They'll all get hurt.

    Why? Because you need to be able to trust your data and understand it.
    Science is hard enough if your tools are trustworthy. If your tools start doing
    unknown processing on your signals, you're in deep hot water (or something smellier).
    At best, you'd have $10k of grant money to get the VEIL spec and (hopefully)
    someone who can tell you if it is important. More likely, you'd waste time
    testing your I/O devices, and then hope (with fingers crossed) that they'll
    work in your real experiment.

    It's a mess. Many people will pay for this in terms of increased costs,
    greater complexity, mysterious failures and (in my case) midnight worries
    that VEIL will somehow screw up my experiments. And all for what?
    Movies, I suppose. But somehow, I suspect that we'd still have movies to
    watch even if piracy abounded.
  • Re:To One Side (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eideewt ( 603267 ) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:54AM (#15558117)
    It's more like buying a product that stops working when you use it in an unapproved manner. Like a screwdriver that you can't pry open a can of paint with, a hammer that pounds nails but not chisels, a mattress you can't take the tags off of, or scissors that cut cloth but not paper. Not because of technical limitations, but because the manufacturers think it might possibly hurt their business.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.