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


[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 04:59 pm (UTC)
Technology used by big media companies to restrict when and where you can play back things you've legitimately purchased.

Also, I should note, technology that guys like ME use to keep from getting ripped off. Honestly, I've never run into an open source guy who wasn't kind of an asshole towards artists or thought they, you know, deserved money for their efforts (I'll stop here because I have a rather lengthy rant about hackers vs. artists building.)

I do have personal objections to some DRM (especially when we're talking Sony's rootkit BS)
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[User Picture]From: johnsu01
2008-02-07 05:33 pm (UTC)
Have you checked out http://creativecommons.org? Lots of artists there, and they are also in favor of free and open source software.

I'm an artist, maybe not a very good one, but I know that I learned my art based on the work of others. DRM prevents me from doing that effectively. Think about all the great jazz musicians and how they learned from public domain works. Then check out http://lnk4.us/7vmM. Alice in Wonderland is a public domain work -- but this is a DRMd recording that expires and that you are not allowed to share with other people, being offered by the BPL.

Artists not being paid is a huge problem in our society, but DRM isn't the way to make it happen. It's also ironic that Viacom will claim a huge lawsuit against YouTube for digital rights violations and then argue that writers don't deserve any cut of digital royalties (referencing the strike). The people pushing DRM "in favor of the artists" with one hand are smacking them around with the other, with the end result being that both the people making the art and the people enjoying it lose.
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[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2008-02-07 05:59 pm (UTC)
in this case 'public domain works'... those would be works either placed in the public domain, or with expired rights protections, yes? copy all you like.

if you check an actual cd out of the library, they want it back, yes? probably in say, 14 days... that's an expiration period of sorts. you give it back, you can't listen anymore. want to listen more? check it out again.

as well, in theory, since you checked it out, you shouldn't share it. it might get damaged/lost, and you'd be liable for the return.

quoting the DRM terms from that link you posted:
'''This title can be played during the lending period
Collaborative play of this title is not allowed
This title can be burned to CD during the lending period (for personal use only; no other duplication/distribution of material is permitted under the terms of the license)
This title can be transferred to a portable device during the lending period'''

lending period. same as borrowing. there is an end/return date. check.

you can't share your download; well, you can't in the say that you can't send that file to someone directly. you really can't share books/cds either unless you copy them.

you can transfer the title to cd or a portable device, so you COULD keep it after the lending period were you of a mind to, and easily rip it and share it, but that would be a trifle extra work, and possibly illegal as well (most current works are probably copyrighted and/or not public domain)

when you borrow something from a library, you've effectively entered into a contract with them as i understand it, which makes you responsible for the borrowed materials. they've already limited your rights! always have done so.

generally speaking, you are not supposed to wholesale copy books, or cds, or movies you borrow from libraries. literary excerpts have been allowed, to a limit, and some people make so called fair use of such things.

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[User Picture]From: johnsu01
2008-02-07 06:10 pm (UTC)
The warrant for restrictions on lending periods from libraries is scarcity. If you have it, someone else can't have it. That's not true for digital materials so we don't need the same restrictions. Libraries that don't have a problem with scarcity often have infinite lending periods already. Additionally, the software for enforcing the lending period digitally is spyware and sits between you and your computer -- that in itself is a precedent to resist.

Note that the restriction list for Alice and Wonderland says No Collaborative Playing. But this is a work that's *already* in the public domain. DRM systems mean the end of the public domain, because every work will be wrapped in digital restrictions that are independently enforced from copyright law. That's not just the same old same old, that's something new.

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[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2008-02-07 06:28 pm (UTC)
scarcity. the library listing for that item is 1. it's on reserve. so you have to wait. they have scarcity. why? because they bought a single copy of it. same for any media. being digital doesn't change licensing on copyrighted materials generally speaking.

yes, it's copyrighted. the STORY is public domain now. you can download a nice copy from gutenberg or mobipocket for free! you don't even have to pay them for storing it for you.

however, that narrated version? it's much like playing a song. it's a performance, recorded, and copyrighted as anything. it's not free either. sells for $15 iirc. the library had to buy a copy. they are not going to buy one and distribute 999 copies for free... not going to happen DRM or no.

it's perfectly fair and legal currently to take a public domain non copyrighted work and wrap it up and sell it. book publishers do it all the time. in this case, it's been done via audio narration, and they've put some restrictions on it - none apparently so good that you can't copy it.

i will agree with you that requiring software to be installed to use it may stink, and that the software MAY even be malicious later, but i can't speak to that. if all the software is doing is restricting the N day policy, and otherwise allowing you to play it, it's not much different than any other music playing software (which may contain malicious code).

thetathx1138's comment below addresses something similar.


Edited at 2008-02-07 06:30 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 06:06 pm (UTC)
The Creative Commons is a good idea, but it's seriously flawed, not least because it assumes people will abide by its terms; I've seen even something as flexible as that be gleefully violated. It's useful for people who want to give things away for free and be supported by the fan base that builds (i.e. Jonathan Coulton), but not everybody can rely on that and frankly, for some art forms it's really not an effective model.

I'm an artist, maybe not a very good one, but I know that I learned my art based on the work of others. DRM prevents me from doing that effectively.

I'd like you to support this statement with some elaboration. You have no other way of experiencing art other than in digital form? Why?

As for the Alice DRM, just because the content itself is public domain doesn't mean THAT RECORDING of it is. You're not alone in making this mistake, but it IS a little annoying that our valiant defenders of copyright don't know the goddamn difference.

As of right now, DRM, as awkward and unpleasant as it is, is the only way to guarantee the artist gets paid for their work. When a better solution comes along, one that accomodates consumer, artist, AND middleman, that'll be great. Until then, if you don't like it...don't buy digital media.
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[User Picture]From: johnsu01
2008-02-07 06:17 pm (UTC)
Read up on the copyright status of audio book recordings -- it's not at all clear, and given that public performance rights belong to the original copyright holder and there no longer is an original copyright holder the case seems pretty clear to me that audio recordings of public domain books should not (and often are determined not to be) copyrightable.

Much art is moving toward digital from -- it's happening with books, music, visual media. Do you not agree with that?

What artists make money from DRM? Why are there artists like Radiohead and Trent Reznor speaking out against DRM? Why is the #2 player in the digital music market (emusic.com) completely free of DRM?
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[User Picture]From: thetathx1138
2008-02-07 06:44 pm (UTC)
Much art is moving toward digital from -- it's happening with books, music, visual media. Do you not agree with that?

I don't, actually. I do think digital distribution will be popular in some areas (television and music especially, possibly film rentals, although I'm skeptical), but not in others, and I don't think physical media will fade entirely in ANY area.

What artists make money from DRM?

If a distribution is paid for in some form (bought from a store, watched off of Netflix, etc.), then the artist, at least in theory, receives some form of royalty for their work. If it's downloaded illegally, they don't. It's really that simple. If it prevents illegal downloads, it helps artists get paid.

This is not to say I have any pity for the music industry who, realistically speaking, are the ones really taking it on the chin in terms of piracy. Most major-label musicians don't care about illegal downloads because, honestly, they're unlikely to see any money from any sort of legitimate sale (small label and self-distributed musicians are, of course, another matter).

We're talking about an industry SO corrupt that a platinum-selling band can actually wind up owing their label money, and have absolutely no control over how the songs on that album are used (ringtones, advertisements, etc.)! So, honestly, what do they care? Somebody's downloading an MP3? Great! That's more promotion for the tour, the merchandise, the fan club, the stuff that might actually make them money and keep them playing music.

Reznor is a great example of this: he will never see another penny from several of his albums due to the label that owned them collapsing and the rights being sold off. Royalty arrangements are separate from rights, so he's shafted. This is why I'm not going to buy a new copy of those albums; at least if I buy a used copy there's a possibility he might have seen a nickel out of that sale.
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