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.

BBC: What price for 'trusted PC security'?

You can now buy "trusted computers", but can we really trust the PC vendors, asks technology analyst Bill Thompson in this BBC article.

One wonders whether hardware-based DRM will work for those who believe that locking-down digital content is a bad idea, and that the flexibility of copyright law is something that should be embraced and not taken away.

It will not work because of the fundamental flaw at the heart of the system: in order for the purchaser to view the content it has to be unlocked.


We need to ensure that trusted computing remains under the control of the users and is not used to take away the freedoms we enjoy today.

Toronto Star: Tech firms protest reforms

This article by Tyler Hamilton includes:

New copyright protection plan Opponents fear `liability chill'

Researchers in Canada who make it their job to find holes and glitches in digital security products are worried that proposed "anti-circumvention" amendments to federal copyright legislation will undermine their livelihood and lower the bar on digital protection

Canadian Security Businesses Speak Out Against (Legal protection for) TPMs (claiming to protect copyright)

CIPPIC News (Title edited to be more specific)

A coalition of Canadian security businesses have provided Industry Minister David Emerson and Minister of Canadian Heritage Liza Frulla with a letter calling on the government to consult with them prior to tabling any legislation to amend the Canadian Copyright Act to provide for legal protection for technological protection measures, or “TPMs”. The coalition warns that “anti-circumvention laws throw a shroud of legal risk” over the security research community and conclude that “anti-circumvention laws that provide for excessive control make for bad security policy.” CIPPIC legal counsel David Fewer assisted the coalition with the preparation of the letter, and with its accompanying press release and coalition backgrounder.

Grokster case: seventeen computer science professors file brief

On March 1 seventeen computer science professors filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Grokster case. It goes into some of the technical issues around the Internet, including the underlying end-to-end design of the Internet which makes peer-to-peer communication the norm, and client-server a temporary anomaly due to historical bandwidth constraints.

A document we need to see filed is a more lawyer-friendly version of the Microsoft Research DRM talk by Cory Doctorow which explains how cryptography can never be successfully used to protect copyright. Once it is understood that technology cannot achieve a specific goal, the legal community may discontinue trying to give legal protection for concepts that don't make sense.

Having legal protection for DRM makes about as much sense as having legal protection for the concept of a flat-earth: making any discussion of or use of the fact the world is round-ish illegal.

Japan Media Review: Closed Architectures for Content Distribution

Closed Architectures for Content Distribution, By Andreas Bovens

The strict built-in controls meant to enforce copyright in Japanese mobile devices could stifle the creative ways people enjoy, use and reuse digital content.

Moreover, adding DRM to the materials they distribute places the content providers in a very powerful position: They enable themselves to control the architecture and development of the downstream devices that process their digital content. Control of such an extent has or will have a stifling effect on innovation in Japan both on the content production level as well as on the content carrier/editor development level -- a very unpromising outlook indeed. In this respect, I question whether the Japanese content industry's current DRM tactics are the way to go -- possibly rethinking and adjusting business models may ultimately prove to be a more viable solution.

Cryptographers to Hollywood: prepare to fail on DRM

For someone involved in computer security this will seem obvious, but policy makers do not yet understand the basics. This article by John Leyden includes:

Speaking on the RSA conference panel Hollywood's Last Chance - Getting it Right on Digital Piracy, Carter Laren, security architect at Cryptographic Research, noted that cryptography is "good at some problems, such as transmitting data so it can't be eavesdropped or even authentication, but it can't solve the content protection problem. If people have legitimate access to content, then you can't stop them misusing it.

CNet: Apple, Sony sued over DRM in France

This CNet article by Jo Best includes:

Apple Computer and Sony are to appear in court over claims that their respective music download sites have been deceitful and have forced consumers to buy products because they are tied together.

Tied selling is the issue that I brough up in a submission to the Canadian Competition Bureau. I sent a reply to CNet's feedback section.

EU steps into digital rights debate

This CNet article by Jo Best includes:

The European Union has issued a draft document on the implications of the spread of digital rights management, which is often used to protect copyrighted material such as software and music.

I have sent a message to our own Privacy Commissioner, as well as feedback on the News.com site.

Gosling questions Sun-Microsoft pact

In this CNet News article by Brendon Chase, the father of Java, James Gosling, discusses many things relating to anti-trust settlements. As with many in this field he also has harsh things to say about the DMCA (Note below)

Gosling described the DMCA, which was passed in the United States a few years ago, as "really vile."

Reverse-engineering in the United States is now "legal for stuff, except stuff doing digital rights management," or DRM, he said. "So what has been happening is folks like Microsoft have been putting DRM into everything. DRM has been put into places you wouldn't think would make a whole lot of sense, like the document format being wrapped in DRM stuff...Under the sheets, the major justification is to make reverse-engineering illegal."

Letter: Parliament must protect citizens rights in the information age!

Michael Geist's article suggested we contact MPs about Digital Rights Management (DRM, also called "copy protection", or "technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights"). My letter copied to the Industry and Heritage ministers and critics was copied to the Discuss forum.

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