DRM

Digital "Rights" Management, Digital Restrictions Management, Dishonest Relationship Misinformation

This is a generic acronym used to describe a system of software, often including technical measures, used by copyright holders who "claim" that this stops or reduces copyright infringement. DRM in fact does not affect those engaged in unlawful activities, and can only impose hidden digitally encoded contract terms on law abiding citizens.

Please see: Alphabet soup of acronyms: TPM, DRM, TCPA, RMS, RMI, Protecting property rights in a digital world.

"Copy Protection" Still a Work in Progress

This article by Brian Bergtein, AP Technology Writer includes:

Factor in lawsuits that Sony BMG could face, and it's worth wondering whether the costs of XCP and its aftermath might even exceed whatever piracy losses the company would have suffered without it.

That's not even accounting for the huge public relations backlash that hit Sony BMG, the second-largest music label, half-owned by Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news). and half by Bertelsmann AG.
...
"The biggest mistake the labels are making is, they're letting their lawyers make technical decisions. Lawyers don't have any better understanding of technology than a cow does algebra,"

If there is a dip in sales caused by this public relations backlash, the simple-math-impared cow..err..CRIA will of course blame it on unauthorized P2P sharing which has never been proven to be harmful to the recordning industry.

Microsoft and Sony-BMG malware commentary: Like finding out your brother's been sleeping with your girlfriend.

One ex-Microsoft user had this to say:

Microsoft, Symatec, McAffee and some others were aware of the Sony "rootkit: months ago. They either turned a blind eye or actively helped Sony "hide" their little present deep into your Windows system. The full story is here: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2005111316471781

CBC: Thousands of recalled Sony CDs sold in Canada

This CBC News update includes:

About 120,000 recalled Sony BMG CDs that create security glitches were sold in Canada, the company said Friday.

The discs contain XCP software, which is used to stop music piracy. But it leaves behind spyware, making computers that play the disc susceptible to hackers and viruses.

I sent the following as feedback:

It is a myth promoted by marketing people that Sony-BMG's dangerous malware was "used to stop music piracy". The fact that they likely infringed the copyright of many software authors as part of this software is clear indication that this wasn't about protecting copyright.

Reply to CBC's Sounds like Canada - podcasting, bad copyright law, and major label malware...

The following letter was sent as feedback to the CBC as well as to Marie-Chantale Turgeon.

I am excited to hear fellow creative Canadians talking with excitement about things such as "podcasting". Sounds Like Canada interviewed Marie-Chantale Turgeon about how she is now able to very cheaply create and communicate some of her own work without needing the very expensive, and very centrally controlled, infrastructure from the past.

In economic terms, new communications technologies have allowed the marginal cost -- the cost per additional unit -- for the reproduction and distribution of creativity to approach zero. Using peer production techniques we are also able to greatly reduce the fixed costs of production as well.

Security Vendors Clueless Over Rootkit Invasion? Policy makers are worse!

This eWeek security article by Ryan Naraine includes:

Dan Kaminsky, a security engineer for DoxPara Research, has already seen evidence of the Sony DRM rootkit installed in places it should not be.
...
Even more worrying, Kaminsky argued, is the fact that a legitimate company like Sony would attempt to legitimize the use of rootkits.

"It's no longer about detection and removal when the big companies with the big lawyers get involved. The difference between a good anti-spyware application and a bad one is whether your vendor will stand up to the lawyers. I don't know if we realistically can stand up to Sony's lawyers," Kaminsky said.

Is Sony-BMG the real "Pirate"?

It seems that the claim that Sony-BMG's rootkit was used to "protect copyright" has no validity, not that it is possible for a "technical measure" to protect against the activities that Copyright regulates. Sony-BMG's credability should be shot for even the most extreme recording industry apologist when they realize that there are legitimate accusations that the software Sony-BMG was distributing on these "music" CDs are themselves infringing the copyright of various software authors.

There are many sites reporting on this story, with two articles titled "Is Sony in violation of the LGPL" on the-interweb.com being referenced most often: Part I, Part II. My hope is that the authors of these programs will decide to "make an example" of Sony-BMG and sue them for statutory damages for each unauthorized copy of the software distributed. I suspect there are many lawyers that would be very interested in being involved in this case.

November 15 meeting with David McGuinty, MP for Ottawa-South

I set up a meeting with my MP, Mr. McGuinty, earlier this morning. We met in the Lobby which is part of the parliament buildings I had never been to before. It is a room immediately behind where the government-side parliamentarians sit in the House of Commons Chamber.

I wrote up a 1-page (2 sides) summary so that I would have something to hand to him and to reference during conversations. (OpenDocument format, PDF format)

Summary: I started by suggesting that this is an economic policy and competition issue, not a moral, property or "theft" issue. When new communications technology reduced the marginal cost (the cost per additional unit) of the reproduction and distribution of creativity. With techniques such as peer distribution (P2P) this marginal cost is brought near enough to zero to not being worth metering.

Protecting Creators' Rights in the Digital Age -- letter to the CRA.

The Creators' Rights Alliance sends out a monthly news briefing. In the November issue (#31) there was a report from the conference entitled Copyright Reform in Canada: Meeting the Challenges of the Digital Age held at the Old Mill in Toronto in September 15-16.

I sent the following letter as a reply to that section of their briefing.

The so-called "good intentions" of DRM.

The following is a letter to the editor in reply to Globe and Mail: Sony BMG shoots itself in the foot while firing against music pirates.

What does this harmful malware (Rootkit, Spyware, etc) have to do with stopping music copyright infringement? It is a CD that does not conform to the Red Book Audio CD standard, doesn't play with specific Microsoft software, but plays using other operating systems. The defect encourages Microsoft Windows users to install malware. A technically sophisticated person would use third party CD reading software that could read and/or "rip" the CD.

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