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Comment our last greatest hope (Score 2) 231

I say we drop it on Australia again, just to keep the tradition up

When I first came here, this was all empty space. Everyone said I was daft to build a station in empty space, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It fell down on Canada[1]. So I built a second one. That fell down onto Austrailia[2]. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then fell into the Pacific Ocean[3]. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest space station in all of space.

Comment Re:Amber Rudd is dim (Score 1) 357

For me, the most disappointing thing in the whole debate is how poor the media are at challenging these ideas when our political classes come up with them. I've seen several interviews and panel discussions in recent months where even the presenters or "expert" guests essentially start from the premise that yes, obviously we have to do these things to keep everyone safe, and then spend the next several minutes bike-shedding instead of exploring the big issues. Just once, I would like a high-profile, well-regarded political journalist to have some idea about the real implications of these technologies and how they are used, and to push back at least a little against the idea that you can just magically set up communications systems to allow government monitoring without any downsides.

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 255

OK, but with the gaming examples you're talking about (a) a DRM system that was obviously broken and (b) DRM applied to something where you bought a permanent copy. I have much less sympathy for the content provider in those situations, and if they wind up having to refund a lot of people's money because they shipped a broken product then I still won't have much sympathy for them.

The opposite side is when you have DRM protecting a service like PPV or Netflix where you know you're not buying a permanent copy, and most people will just fire up the player and enjoy the show without ever knowing the DRM is even there. In that case, the DRM is transparent to legitimate viewers, but some form of protection is reasonable to prevent casual infringement.

As I've said throughout, there has to be a balance. DRM that breaks stuff is bad, and people who supply broken products should make good on the damage to their customers. But DRM also makes it practical to follow new and useful business models that can benefit everyone involved.

Comment Re:makes suing security researchers a feature ... (Score 1) 255

Right, but why should any business give up broad legal rights like that? There needs to be a compelling argument that they get something worthwhile in return. From a commercial perspective, I just don't see one here. From the W3C's perspective, it's trying to bring some standardisation to the industry, but it's abundantly clear that major content providers will walk away and implement their own proprietary equivalents if they are backed into a corner, so the W3C has very little bargaining power to try to force the matter. (See also: Mozilla's handling of the same issue.)

Again, I have nothing against legitimate security research and responsible disclosure, but there is a reason we're talking about laws here. It's because it typically requires laws, or other regulations with statutory backing, to compel desirable behaviour when commercial pressures alone won't do it. If there's a problem with abusing provisions in the DMCA to inhibit valuable security research, that problem needs to be corrected at the same level, the DMCA, not kinda sorta worked around through some commercial agreement with a non-statutory standards organisation.

Comment Re:makes suing security researchers a feature ... (Score 1) 255

My point is that the rightsholders have those legal rights already. It's not anything the W3C is doing that provide those rights, it's laws like the DMCA.

And again, just because someone says they are a security researcher, why should they magically be above those laws? If the laws are inappropriate for some reason, they should be changed for everyone. If they are fair and reasonable, security researchers shouldn't get a pass for breaking them just because of their line of work.

In short, I think you raise valid concerns, but I think you're aiming at the wrong target.

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 255

I would agree that the scales were tipped too far towards creators if everyone actually played by the rules, but as we're all aware, in a world full of piracy that isn't always the case. The unfortunate result is the kind of polarised extremes you describe. The world would be a much nicer place, IMHO, if we had a culture of respecting creative work and contributing to support it, and a market for that work that operated in some reasonable and transparent way, more like what the original copyright tried to achieve rather than the modern, ever more draconian developments of the idea. If we had a more respectful culture, there would be no need for creators to waste time and money on DRM schemes, and no risk to consumers of DRM schemes going wrong. But sadly, you only have to read any discussion about copyright on a forum like this one to see how far away we currently are from that ideal.

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 255

And those rights, per the industry are to go "forever plus one day".

Excessive copyright duration is a real problem, for sure, but it's a completely different issue to DRM. Most works shared illegally online are very recent, and would still have been covered by even the shortest duration of copyright from when the idea first started. Most DRM is disrupting the sharing of those works, not things that were created 50+ years ago.

Comment Re:DRM (Score 1) 255

If it's DRM on something that was presented as a permanent sale, I'm inclined to agree.

If it's DRM to enforce temporary access when that was known to be part of the deal up-front (PPV, subscription libraries, and so on) then I think it's a different matter.

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 255

That assumes you're talking about the kind of mass market content that is usually available and easy to find on a torrent. There's a huge long tail where that isn't the case, and you're making a big assumption that someone who chooses to pirate will easily be able to find an alternative source.

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