DRM and other attacks on our property rights have no place.

The following is a letter to the editor. Letter was published by p2pnet.

In an article "Bull from the entertainment industry" (Computer Dealer News, July 14, 2006, Vol. 22, No. 10), Grant Buckler suggested that DRM has its place, but needs to have limits. One of the problems with the term Digital Rights Management and/or Digital Restrictions Management is that different people are operating with very different definitions.

From a technical standpoint I would define DRM as the application of a technical protection measure (TPM) to devices which are used to create, communicate or access digital content. While these TPMs are usually applied by device manufacturers based on agreements they have with copyright holders, it is important to remember that neither the copyright holder nor the manufacturer are the owners of these devices.

Imagine the builder of your home or the manufacturer of your car put locks on your doors and refused to give you the keys. They used the keys as a way to only allow you into your home when you have gained their permission to do so, and only under conditions they have set. The builder/manufacturer has made arrangements with other companies such that they will protect the interests of these third parties against you, the owner. The builder/manufacturer has also gone to various governments to make it illegal for you to remove their locks in order to put your own locks on, so that you can protect your property rights.

When understood this way, I believe most people would suggest that DRM has no place in a free and democratic society. Not only should we not allow the government to offer legal protection for this attack on our property rights, but we should be pushing for new laws which better protect our rights.

The Digital Copyright Canada forum and other supporters will soon be launching a petition to parliament to protect Information Technology Property Rights. People can learn more at http://digital-copyright.ca/petition/ict/

Russell McOrmond
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada