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.

Kerr - October 27: What happens when law protects the technologies that protect copyright?

The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to invite you to its Breakfast on the Hill seminar series, created to provide relevant and timely research in the social sciences and humanities to Parliamentarians and policy makers.

Ian Kerr, LLB, PhD
Professor of Law
Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology
University of Ottawa

What happens when law protects the technologies that protect copyright?


Uses and Abuses of Technical Protection Measures (TPMs)

By Russell McOrmond (Please see dynamic version that is periodically updated).

When reading the 1996 WIPO treaties (WPPT and WCT), there is an assumption that these treaties require legal protection for controversial types of DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). These are technologies which excessively control and/or monitor the private activities and choices of technology users, attacking their privacy, property and other rights.

Stories behind the stories

p2p news / p2pnet:- There's always more behind some of the stories reported in the media, and some recent p2pnet stories deserve to be expanded.

Being under copyright != activities are unauthorized != copyright infringement. (For non-computer folks, != means "is not equal to" )

A recent headline story on p2pnet is about Michigan lawyer John Hermann who represents several victims of the EMI, Sony BMG, Warner and Universal sue 'em all marketing campaign.

While it's great to have a lawyer defending these victims, it's important that he uses language that doesn't harm our rights in the longer term.

As Apple and Labels feud mounts, labels continue to demonstrate technology illiteracy.

This article by Steve Knopper in Rolling Stones shows just how illiterate the major label executives are about the technical protection measures (digital locks) they are lobbying governments to legally protect.

Compatibility: Apple's FairPlay copy protection is incompatible with non-Apple products such as Microsoft's Windows Media Player and Napster's song-download service. So if you buy a song on Napster, it won't play on an iPod. At first, labels accepted this arrangement, but now that Apple sells the bulk of downloaded music and seventy-five percent of all digital-music players, some say Apple has an unfair monopoly. In retaliation, Sony BMG and EMI introduced copy-protected CDs that aren't compatible with iPods.

Australian High Court Deals a Blow Against Ubercopyright, and gives lessons to Canada

This Corante article posted by Donna Wentworth includes the following quote from the Australian High Court:

[The] true construction of the definition of "technological protection measure" must be one which catches devices which prevent infringement. The Sony device does not prevent infringement. Nor do many of the devices falling within the definition advanced by Sony. The Sony device and devices like it prevent access only after any infringement has taken place...[In] construing a definition which focuses on a device designed to prevent or inhibit the infringement of copyright, it is important to avoid an overbroad construction which would extend the copyright monopoly rather than match it.

Standards? What standards?

p2p news / p2pnet:- A p2pnet article on October 3 describes how online music sales have tripled to make up 6% of total sales, according to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). This masks a growing problem they're creating themselves.

As they move from standards-based physical media to vendor-dependant file formats, they'll be excluding past customers from future sales, and systematically excluding independent creators from participating.

Microsoft 'quits' music licensing talks

An article by Tony Smith in The Register includes:

Microsoft had stepped away from the negotiating table because the labels were seeking to impose royalty rates it considered to be too high. Curiously, the sources allege the labels wanted $6-8 per user, per month, essentially what existing subscription services already pay.

They and a similar Reuters article published by the Washington Post referencing a Wall Street Journal (Subscribers only) article.

Microsoft can easily sit back and wait, given the growing use of its DRM technology will mean that in a very short time it will have a captive market and will be able to dictate rates to the legacy recording industry rather than the other way around.

Musicians document how to circumvent the "copy control" put on their CDs by label...

This article on p2pnet includes complete instructions on how to get around the "DRM" that Sony adds to new releases.

My heart is heavy with this whole copy-protection thing. Many PC users have posted problems that they have had importing the new songs (regular disc only, not the dual disc) into programs such as itunes. Let me first say that as a musician AND as a music fan, I agree with the frustration that has been expressed.

Note: Technologically what is being done is not DRM but a "media defect" where the audio CD violates the Red Book audio CD standard, not qualifying as an real audio CD.

What would you say to the Canadian motion picture industry about digital distribution?

As part of the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival there will be a panel on Saturday September 24 titled "Digital Distribution: Technology and the Entertainment Industry". Along with Fading Ways Music musician Johnny Charmer, I will be participating in this panel. While this panel will not allow for speeches, the following is what I would like to say and I will try to bring different aspects of it into the discussion whenever possible.

I do not believe that people downloading and sharing music or movies without authorization is a sign of some type of moral decay in otherwise law-abiding Canadians. While there are a small few that may want something for nothing, the vast majority are expressing some unfulfilled need that they would pay for if what they wanted was available commercially.

Movie Studios Form DRM Lab

This Freedom to Tinker article by Edward W. Felten includes:

Imagine that you somehow convinced policymakers that the auto industry could make cars that operated with no energy source at all. You could then demand that the auto industry make all sorts of concessions in energy policy, and you could continue to criticize them for foot-dragging no matter how much they did.

Also covered by p2pnet.

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