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Event on Saturday to get DRM out of the Boston Public Library [Feb. 7th, 2008|11:04 am]
The Boston Community

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[johnsu01]

DefectiveByDesign.org has announced an action against libraries that support DRM on their collections. Boston locals can join them this Saturday from 1pm to 3pm at the Boston Public Library's main branch, and non-locals are encouraged to stage an action against their own library if it's using DRM.

Read story at Digg

(I'll be there.)

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: sunow
2008-02-07 04:47 pm (UTC)
Ah, see -- I'm very much a technophobe. I have no iPod or anything like it. In fact, I'm typing this from an Apple 2GS.

I guess I don't understand why it's a problem in media you'd take out from the library -- you're not buying that so you don't have any kind of consumer right to it?
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[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 04:50 pm (UTC)
Don't ask me. I actually support certain types of DRM, because it keeps people from stealing my work!
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[User Picture]From: baughj
2008-02-07 05:06 pm (UTC)
...No, it doesn't. It just makes it harder. And along the way, you are forced to give up more and more control of your technology to arbitrary authorities (Apple, Microsoft, media cartels) about what you can and cannot do with the things you purchase. DRM isn't about rights, it's about restrictions. It's about converting ownership into rent; it's about a generalized erosion of property rights.

No one would ever suggest that a publisher has the right to come into my house and take back a copy of a book I purchased. Or that I can't give the book to hundreds of my friends to read - or cut up the book and paste it on my wall, if I so wanted, and then take pictures of that and call it my own art.

Why is it reasonable to suggest such things (or worse) for works which can be expressed digitally?
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[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2008-02-07 05:18 pm (UTC)
now i'm getting fuzzy... imho and all that. opinions may vary, contents may settle.

read the shrink wrap on software and movies. they generally try to assert that they own the software and all rights bleah bleah bleah, except that you are given a limited license to use and view it. the DR is already in the legal contract. yeah yeah, limited enforcement on shrinkwrap stuff. so they're also trying to enforce that via other methods. DRM != rootkits necessarily (those suck).

actually, yeah, some publishers would like to take their books back :) but also, down the line, if you destroy your book, you're not going to be able to ask the publisher for a backup copy. they really don't want you to lend it either. the fact you CAN is a particular they can't work around. trust me, if they could figure that out, they would. movies? in theory, you buy it for YOUR enjoyment. you're not suppoed to have "showings" or lend it out. they really hate that, but there's little they can do. at no time though do you OWN the movie or its content. just the shiny deliverly platter.

digital media is new. content is similar to old stuff (books). one of the complaints is that "books last forever" - well, no, not really. yes, i have a book 150 years old. exceptional really. that paperback i bought last week? i doubt it'll last 20 years of reading and lending.

so, cut up your cds, and make art. just don't sample them. that's bad ;)

#
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[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 05:23 pm (UTC)
Spare me the canned sermon, because it's missing a good chunk of scripture.

I agree to a point about consumer rights, and I loathe VOD, but the reality is, digital media and physical media are not the same and cannot be treated as such. You can loan a book to your friends, sure, but that's not just the intellectual property; that's the physical object that you, yourself, purchased. You can't just stick the book in a printing press and run off 100,000 copies to sell out of your house.

It would be nice if people behaved ethically, but you know what? Enough don't that it makes DRM a necessary evil. I don't approve of all the ways that it's used or the problems with consumer rights that you mentioned.

But there's an easy way around that: don't buy digital media. I notice, however, DRM-haters like to avoid having that discussion...
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[User Picture]From: baughj
2008-02-07 05:50 pm (UTC)
So....let me get this straight. You're basically saying that my rights evaporate entirely when it comes to pure, aetheric "intellectual property" - but that the act of binding intellectual property to a physical object magically restores all of my rights? You must have been an alchemist in a previous life.

You also conflate the issue, and assume since I am against DRM, I must, of course, use BitTorrent 24 hours a day to screw artists out of money. Not everyone who dislikes DRM decides that artists need no compensation and decide to pirate everything and anything. The difference of opinion here is really about what rights the artist retains when he transmits the works (via whatever medium) to the consumer.

As far as DRM goes, there is no such thing as completely enforceable DRM, unless you like the concept of your computer's hardware and all its software not really belonging to you, and you also dig the idea of living in a police state.

DRM fails and will always fail because it assumes from the beginning that the agent who wishes to restrict has full control over the software and hardware of the machine. DRM is like handing someone keys to your house in a taped cardboard box and asking them "Please, don't open this box. Seriously."

It is not a deterrent in any way to piracy (this is absolutely proven) and it causes serious problems and interference for many consumers who genuinely want to support the artists. Ever been fucked over by FairPlay? How about the fact that the number of authorized devices for iTunes has gone down over time?

DRM means the rules change arbitrarily, when the enforcer feels like it. DRM means your access can be revoked at any time to what you have paid for. DRM means you don't actually own what you pay for, or have any irrevocable rights to it.

You wouldn't sign a contract if the contract said, in fine print, "WangCorp has the ability to retroactively update and change this contract, and reserves the right to do so without notification."

You wouldn't ever sign it. In fact, you'd probably tell them to piss off. Yet this is the very architecture and system you praise for "protecting your work".
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[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 06:22 pm (UTC)
You're basically saying that my rights evaporate entirely when it comes to pure, aetheric "intellectual property" - but that the act of binding intellectual property to a physical object magically restores all of my rights?

No, I'm saying you're acting like digital media and physical media are the same. They're not and to assume so, especially for the case of something like this, is ridiculous. You are basically saying that if I make and distribute a digital copy of my work, only ONE person has to pay for it, and on the basis of that one person, everyone else with a computer gets it for free.

This is how your argument works out IN PRACTICE. Don't even pretend otherwise.

Not everyone who dislikes DRM decides that artists need no compensation and decide to pirate everything and anything. The difference of opinion here is really about what rights the artist retains when he transmits the works (via whatever medium) to the consumer.

Not everyone who dislikes DRM is a pirate, true. I'm not a pirate, I put my money where my mouth is. HOWEVER, enough people ARE pirates that it's a problem that needs to be carefully considered and makes the issue a lot greyer than either side likes to pretend it is.

As far as DRM goes, there is no such thing as completely enforceable DRM, unless you like the concept of your computer's hardware and all its software not really belonging to you, and you also dig the idea of living in a police state.

Yes, I am aware that DRM has holes. Thank you, for repeating the obvious.

Also, you seem to be under the impression that all DRM is draconian. Um, no. I'm also tired of the police-state hyperbole. Read up on East Germany before you trot that shit out.

Ever been fucked over by FairPlay? How about the fact that the number of authorized devices for iTunes has gone down over time?

No, I haven't. I don't switch computers and iPods often enough that either of these issues are such a big deal, and I knew about this kind of thing before I bought anything from the iTunes store. You're not going to win any arguments with me by getting into the crybaby corner assuming that the music labels were always going to play nice or by not reading the fine fucking print (yes, I read EULAs.) Anything that I don't want to lose, I buy a physical copy of.

DRM means the rules change arbitrarily, when the enforcer feels like it. DRM means your access can be revoked at any time to what you have paid for. DRM means you don't actually own what you pay for, or have any irrevocable rights to it.

No, no and no. Some DRM does in fact do this, and I object to those systems. Others it doesn't.
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[User Picture]From: anotherthink
2008-02-07 07:01 pm (UTC)
don't buy digital media.
In many cases, not a reasonable solution, since certain things (some music, movie, tv releases) are not available in non-digital format.
"Don't buy digital media" is a red herring. Following that advice will increasingly mean not buying recently created media -- and thus not supporting the artists who create it now.

Here's the issue as I see it:

Suppose I buy a book. I take the book home and start reading it in my living room. Then I go to another room and keep reading the same book. No one would suggest that I've done anything wrong or illegal here.

Now suppose I buy a DVD of my favorite TV show ($$ --> content creator; no piracy involved). I take it home and start watching it on the DVD player in my living room. Then I decide I want to finish watching it in another room on a different device. Oh... the DRM on the DVD prevents my other device from playing this DVD. And while I or someone else may have the technical skill to get the other device to play the DVD, thanks to the DMCA, it's completely illegal to do so WHETHER OR NOT any copyright infringement is involved (in this case, probably none is).


This is my (and probably many other DRM/DMCA opponents') biggest issue -- we oppose these things not because they deter/prevent piracy/illegal uses or deter/prevent actions like unsanctioned copying that might hurt artists' ability to be compensated, but because they deter/prevent actions that would otherwise be completely legal and within the rights of the consumer.
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[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 07:05 pm (UTC)
Here's the thing: what you cite is a minor annoyance. What carries more weight, the fact that you have to watch a DVD in one place in your house, or the fact that those who own the copyright and created the work could be screwed out of their just rewards?

I'm not saying I don't see your point, I'm just saying that I think the situation is a LOT more complicated than either side plays it off.
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[User Picture]From: lillyflowers
2008-02-07 05:06 pm (UTC)
It doesn't matter whether you purchase it from Amazon or borrow it from the BPL. Things like Sony's root kit can really mess up your system's software and open you up to malicious software.

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[User Picture]From: johnsu01
2008-02-07 06:58 pm (UTC)
The service is dangerous and sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the library collection. We're not just talking about audiobooks, we're talking about ebooks too. And we're not talking about copyright protection, we're talking about something on top of that -- DRM schemes are independently enforced by the law, separate from copyright.

Part of this is letting the library know that they have the backing of a large number of people if they want to stand up for this. If alternative arrangements need to be made to fund the library and rightsholders to make this possible, then that can be done, as it is being done for music now. If they know that a lot of people support that, maybe it will seem more realistic.

Everyone in the chain of DRM products has a chance to stop it -- we definitely work on the producer end too, but working on the demand side of things is also important.
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[User Picture]From: johnsu01
2008-02-07 07:14 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's a small angsty group :). Amazon.com, Sony BMG, Universal, iTunes, EMI, etc. all seem to think it's a pretty damn big group, as they are now moving toward DRM-free music. That movement started largely because of the outcry against DRM and the way iTunes used DRM to try to control the digital music market and its competitors. Now the same argument is happening with ebooks and audiobooks. There's no reason why viable DRM-free business models can't be found in the same way that they are now being found for music.

Accepting it and getting lots of people to willingly install spyware on their computer in order to use the library is a dangerous precedent. I guess we disagree about that. But I'm definitely interested in your experiences from your library -- if you want to take the time to tell me more (here or by email) about what you think the best approach to getting this changed would be, I'd really appreciate it. For example, your point about all the tech/support requests was interesting..
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