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“DRM is Used to Lock in, Control and Spy on Users” (torrentfreak.com)
246 points by cheiVia0 on Nov 9, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 55 comments



Interestingly copyright industry has grown to be one of the greatest enemies of the democracy and freedom of speech.

I think that the shame is shared though as too many people started to disrespect the right of the authors to get a fair share for their work.

It still does not follow that we should prefer rights of the authors over more general civil rights.

If the choice is between authors not getting paid and freedom of expression, or any other more important right, we should choose the last.


>>disrespect the right of the authors to get a fair share for their work.

Because there is no right or "fair share".

Creators have only the right to ask for money for their works, they have no right to compensation at all.

Further from an American Legal perspective there is no "choice is between authors not getting paid and freedom of expression" the constitutional reason for copyright, patent and trademark is to promote free expression. That is the sole reason the government was empowered to create copyright law in the first place. to the extent that copyright becomes detrimental to free expression it becomes unconstitutional

Copyright does not exist to protect the profitability of Disney no matter how much their lobbyist believe that it does


> Creators have only the right to ask for money for their works, they have no right to compensation at all.

Similarly, we as consumers have no inherit right to view or use their work without paying the creator's asking price. Nor do we have the right to force the creators to create work.

IOW, the only way to really motivate creators to create is to compensate them somehow (money works great). Capitalism at work.


>>we as consumers have no inherit right to view

So if I am walking past a home and they happen to be playing a movie I do not own I some how "owe" the created monetary compensation?

> use their work without paying the creator's asking price.

that depends on how you define use, I do not believe a content creator has the ethical authority to tell me how I can or can not arrange the bits on my computer system, or what order I am allowed to write words on paper I own.

I dont believe a creator should be allowed to use government violence or the threat of government violence to prevent me from downloading instructions from a website that directs my computer to store a series of 1 of 0's in a manner that a translation program can then direct my display to light led's in a specific pattern that many brain will recognize and accept as entertainment

They have the right to ask me to voluntary give them money in exchange for them recording how the computer should store these 1 and 0's but to make it illegal for me to copy this pattern is where I draw the line.


Fortunately, you don't have to speculate about your first case in the US: the legal system has carved out exceptions to copyright against this kind of issue under the name of "Fair Use".

> I do not believe a content creator has the ethical authority

And here's the crux of our disagreement. You don't believe that the creator should have rights over their creation, perhaps because their creation came to you over a medium that allows for easy duplication.

I (and the US government, clear back to the constitutional convention) believe they should.

The rest of your argument centers on DRM; I agree that DRM is an abomination which should be abolished. It hurts both creators and consumers. But, and this is a big but, it's our own propensity to not respect the rights of the creator which has encouraged the adoption of DRM. If we were were only creating perfect copies of a creative work for the purpose backing it up, I don't think we would be here.

We don't just back it up, though, we create perfect copies and give them away or sell them for our own gain. DRM was originally conceived to stop this, and I have a hard time blaming them for going down that road when we were so blatantly breaking the law and ignoring the rights of the content creators.

We justify it with "it's just ones and zeros", or "information wants to be free", or "they would have made the content anyways"... but that's all it is, a justification. And in my opinion, that justification results in less original content.


> You don't believe that the creator should have rights over their creation, perhaps because their creation came to you over a medium that allows for easy duplication.

That "easy duplication" is entirely the point. The concept of property is based on the limited nature of physical objects. Land, food, books, player piano roles, and DVDs are scarce resources[1]. The zero-sum nature of scarce objects is where concepts like "theft" and "property" apply. We invented the concept of property to manage scarcity.

When dealing with anything that isn't scarce, the entire concept of "property" doesn't apply. Math, for example - those "ones and zeros" - is non-scarce. Teaching someone that 1+2 is 3 doesn't deprive the teacher future use of addition or the numerals 1, 2, or 3. Most reasonable people would agree that nobody gets to claim property rights over math, because it's a non-scarce idea.

> but that's all it is, a justification.

The unwarranted justification is claiming that unlimited ideas are a scarce resource that requires property rights.

> results in less original content.

Do you also complain that teaching algebra - where ideas are copied from teacher to student - results in fewer novel discoveries in mathematics? Just as teaching math tends to lead to more math discoveries, freely using non-scare stories, sounds, music, images, etc, often leads to more content creation. This is so common we invented terms like "remix" and "cover band" to describe some of the ways media is reused.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarcity


I don't disagree and I hate DRM, but your math argument is slightly flawed. The teacher gets compensated evenly no matter how many students they teach, while conversely the artist gets paid per student, if you will. Neither scenario is a perfect analogy, but I just wanted to point that out.


This is the fundamental disagreement on this issue: whether mental creations can be owned. The idea of property is an idea too; it can apply if we wish it to apply.

We can go down this rathole again, or agree to disagree. Btw the law does recognize ownership today.


>>but that's all it is, a justification. And in my opinion, that justification results in less original content.

Given that more content from more people is being created today that at any point in human history runs counter to your statement

Copyright is about protecting the Gatekeepers, the Movies Studios, the Music Labels, the Book Publisher, not about protecting creators.

Karl Fogel does a great job explaining the History of copyright and why is it not needed to protect creators

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhBpI13dxkI

>> it's our own propensity to not respect the rights of the creator which has encouraged the adoption of DRM.

I do not recognize them as rights. Copyright is a Positive Right created by government. I am a supporter of Negative Rights theory and do not support any Positive rights at all

>>The rest of your argument centers on DRM;

it is not just about DRM,DRM is how they attempt to force my property to disobey my commands, it is also about the law the DRM is attempting to enforce on my machine


Fair use is impossible under most forms of DRM.


If you walk by my house and you're peeping in my window to watch my movie, I can pull the curtains and you don't have the right to demand I open them.


And that has nothing to with if I owe the creator of the movie monetary compensation because of "viewed" the movie


I disagree. The economy works as follows, the seller asks the price that the seller gets away with and the buyer pays the price that the buyer gets away with. Anything else added to that is protectionism. So if the seller gets a good payment then kudos for the seller. Similar if the buyer is able to get it for free then kudos for the buyer. Also there are many motivations that enable creators to create, narrowing it down to only money is a very shallow view of creation.


Because there is no right or "fair share".

And there lies the problem, I think. Or perhaps maybe I did not express myself precisely enough. So this is another take.

Everyone has right to ask and receive a compensation for their work. Nobody should be forced to work for unfair compensation. I do not know if this is written in your constitution, this is just something in what I believe.

I believe that generally the justification for DRM arises from the second sentence. What I expressed was that if the measures used to safeguard this position interfere with other more important rights then we should value more important rights and accept that some work may not be created.

We can not force somebody to work for free, but we can accept that some work will not be created.

Creators have only the right to ask for money for their works, they have no right to compensation at all.

Does this mean that if you do not accept what they ask for their work, you still will have the right to use their work?


>>Everyone has right to ask and receive a compensation for their work. Nobody should be forced to work for unfair compensation

Last I check no one is being forced to create movies, music, books, software, or any other creative works.

I work in software development. I have had commercial projects fail miserably, I have spent 100's of hours on projects that have earned me $0, why because while I valued them clearly no one else saw enough value in them to provide me with money for them. I have no right to compensation for that labor. I only have the right to ask people to compensate me, if they choose not to then I miscalculated the market.


> Last I check no one is being forced to create movies, music, books, software, or any other creative works.

No, most do it because they think they can make money off it.

Movies are expensive to make, and without the expectation of making that money back (or more - its an investment), why would make the movie? Books can take years to write (cough, GRRM), and the authors are frequently paid up front for the book. Would GRRM still be writing ASOIF if he wasn't able to make a living off it? Perhaps, perhaps not. Paying him makes it a lot more likely.


First I should remind that no DRM does not mean that creative works moves into the public domain when released.

I have a cabinet full of discs holding movies I could more conveniently just have downloaded. I chose not to as I believe that this is not an acceptable behaviour for me.

Now lets just assume that people like me become a really small minority and the only way to use digital distribution effectively would be to implement DRM in its fullest draconian beauty.

For this I'll say that if this is the only way to have a digital distribution, we should let it go.

First of, we will only loose the digital distribution, that did not contain any monetary interest anyway.

It would not mean that there is no money to made be in the movies. There are still cinemas. Yes, we will loose convenience, but this is in my opinion a small price for the greater good if it has to come to this.

Second, the financing model assumed here is not the only option.

Many movies get made, at least in Europe, based on the money from the culture funds, national or private. Perhaps the budgets of these movies are not really huge, but interesting work still gets done.

There also exists the kickstarter model. Nowhere it is told that the only way to finance a big budget movie should be by to movie studios. Perhaps it would not work for all the ideas, but I can see it working for novel and promising ones. It is possible that the quality of the work will actually increase.


> Would GRRM still be writing ASOIF if he wasn't able to make a living off it? Perhaps, perhaps not. Paying him makes it a lot more likely.

But copyright and DRM is about forcing people to pay - this has nothing to do with being able to make a living or not.


> But copyright [...] is about forcing people to pay

Which, in my opinion, is not an unreasonable thing. If you want to consume the content, you pay the content creator in their currency of choice (be it github stars, their name immortalized in an attribution clause, or cash).


But I don't care about your silly movie and I'm still forced to pay for the enforcement arm of the law, the courts, etc, that you use to prop up your government granted monopoly.

And even with all that, we don't guarantee you an income, we only offer you help hurting people who don't pay you. You can still go broke and nobody cares, which I think shows that it's not about helping creators or rewarding hard work.


> If you want to consume the content, you pay the content creator in their currency of choice (be it github stars, their name immortalized in an attribution clause, or cash).

I consider doing this as a gesture of politeness, but nothing that should be enforced by violence.


> I consider doing this as a gesture of politeness

I disagree. The rights of a content creator are, after all, enshrined in the constitution. That's a bit more than "being polite". That said, the right of the public to have access after a defined period of time is also enshrined, so that does need to be taken into account.

> nothing that should be enforced by violence

Thats quite the jump - violence? I'm going to make the assumption that you're referring to the idea that no law should be made that you aren't willing to resort to violence to support.

Even under that assumption, I am OK with this being the law of the land. I believe that a person has the right to demand compensation for access their work, regardless of the form that work takes.


>> I'm going to make the assumption that you're referring to the idea that no law should be made that you aren't willing to resort to violence to support.

All laws are enforced by violence, that is what makes them law.

Law is force, Force is violence. Every law, from Jay Walking, to First Degree Murder is based by the threat that an armed agent from the government will enforce that rule upon you.


> Law is force

Not really - a law is a codification of desired human behavior.

> an armed agent from the government will enforce that rule upon you.

This is definitely at the extreme end of the list of possibilities. The enforcement of those laws can take any number of forms, but most do not involve armed agents. Most involve certified letters and negotiations between lawyers in front of an (unarmed) judge. This is especially true when we're discussing copyright (with the occasional exception proving the rule). Even speeding tickets are handled more and more frequently by mail.

Armed agents are typically reserved for cases where harm to either a body or a property are possible.


> Not really - a law is a codification of desired human behavior.

No, that's a standard.

> This is definitely at the extreme end of the list of possibilities.

No, it's in the middle of the inevitable steps of escalation. A speeding ticket becomes an armed agent hitting you with a stick and jail time if you wait long enough. As does a court judgment over an illegally downloaded song.


> becomes an armed agent hitting you with a stick and jail time if you wait long enough

At which point you've broken a separate law, and have been held in contempt of court. Ditto the copyright infringement example.

If you break the law, and then willfully break the law again, you can't expect to be treated with leniency.


Clearly you are not in the United States...

>>Most involve certified letters and negotiations between lawyers in front of an (unarmed) judge.

While the judge himself may be unarmed, he has armed protection often several armed protectors at the ready.

And if you ignore the commandment of the judge he/she has no problem ordering those armed agent to bring violence upon you to compel your obedience


> he has armed protection

Which is drastically different from an armed agent coming to get you. I know of COOs of corporations who have armed bodyguards - does that make them a direct threat to you?

> if you ignore the commandment of the judge

If you ignore a judge, then you're breaking a separate law, and being held in contempt of court. At which point, you're playing in a whole separate ballgame than if you were caught speeding.


> whole separate ballgame than if

This is the game libertarians play with 'Initiation of force'.

You're saying that you're allowed to disagree, can negotiate with an unarmed judge, won't be hurt, etc, but then if you ignore a ruling - boy howdy you initiated violence against the state and they have a right to hurt you.

If I'm not free to ignore the outcome of the first issue (speeding, as you say) then the men with guns have metaphorically been there all along.

Stop dodging and just admit it - our laws are backed by the threat of lethal force. All of them, from murder down to jaywalking or posting speed-trap data on twitter.


> If I'm not free to ignore the outcome of the first issue

In what society are you free to ignore the penalties for breaking the law without consequence?

Saying that the lethal violence is at the forefront of our legal system because you're not free to ignore the law with impunity seems quite disingenuous.

I won't disagree that ultimately our laws are backed by the threat of lethal force. All societies have this same reality, though. Even in a pure anarchy, violence is the ultimate deciding factor.

Violence is certainly not the first tool of enforcement, however. Most US citizens can speed, or park illegally, or download a movie via BT, all without fear of being killed as an outcome.


This is why libertarians only support laws that are DEFENSIVE in nature, i.e law banning Assault, rape, murder, theft, fraud, etc.

Outside of these types of laws, enforcement of other laws like Copyright, Drug Possession, etc are unethical initiation of force.

Here is a quote from what many consider a foundation book on libertarian legal theory

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G004

The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.


> libertarians only support laws that are DEFENSIVE in nature

This is key for a few reasons. By rephrasing everything from 'X is wrong because ...' to an issue of the right transgressed you're entirely sidestepping the issue of victimless crimes. Second, they're by nature proportional.

> only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do

Right, a collective is the sum of its members so it has their rights and no more.

This firmly roots all power in the individual. It's semantically incorrect to write a libertarian law allowing actions that people themselves don't have the right to perform. Again, sidestepping entirely the tyranny of the majority.

It's not perfect, but it's a far better base to start from.


> This is definitely at the extreme end of the list of possibilities.

Color me crazy or something, but it's the possibility of being shot that stands out.

It's extreme only in its brutality, not its rarity.

> Even speeding tickets are handled more and more frequently by mail.

Right, but as soon as you don't agree with the outcome the men with guns are right there.

> a law is a codification of desired human behavior.

A self-help book is a codification if desired human behavior. (The author usually doesn't threaten to beat/jail/kill you if you don't follow their advice.)

Law is a set of rules and punishments.


I welcome you to reread my comment.

What I essentially said was that nobody should be forced to work for unfair compensation. If this compensation can not be reached, we should accept that there will be less work created, instead of enforcing this compensation at the expense of our other more important civil rights.


> What I essentially said was that nobody should be forced to work for unfair compensation.

I'm not aware of any penal servitude in the United States.


It's right there in the 13th Amendment. Just look at FPI/UNICOR, a government-owned corporation founded in order to exploit prison labor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Prison_Industries


Hence "we should accept that there will be less work created."


But, if people keep using your software (or, for comparison, music), then there does seem to be value in it. Why then, shouldn't you be compensated for the work it took?


There are many forms of "value" outside that of currency.

Further the sole reason they may use my software it because it is free, any attempt to even charge $1 for it exceeds the monetary value of the software.


I don't know why you are being downvoted.

If you really are willing to change to a different software (or see/listen a different movie/music) just because you are not willing to pay a dollar, then the value of that software/song/movie really is lower than a dollar.

How is that controversial?


Because when this software/music, in its final form, only consist in pure information, it's nearly impossible to guarantee your compensation without giving companies the tools to interfer with essential freedoms.


> Does this mean that if you do not accept what they ask for their work, you still will have the right to use their work?

No


The problem with the copyright lobbyism is that it affects not just Disney but everyone else. Right now nothing will ever reach the public domain through copyright expiration.

It would be okay if copyright law had a short duration like 10 years but a way to extend the copyright term by another 10 years for a flat fee that keeps up with inflation. It doesn't have to be an increasing fee. The point of this fee is to check whether a business can still extract money out of their IP. If they can't then release it to the public domain.

If Mickey Mouse is a cash cow that lasts forever then so be it.


Have there been any challenges to copyright on constitutional grounds?

If not, at what point might that happen?


Copyright and patents are written into the US Constitution. The wording allows congress to pass laws granting for a limited time exclusive access to their creators. The Supreme Court of the US has held that congress can declare any duration as limited as long as it is not literally forever. There is nothing unconstitutional about copyright law.



> copyright industry has grown to be one of the greatest enemies of the democracy and freedom of speech

And there I don't know if you are talking about the noble trying to stop Illuminism at the beginning of our times, facists (actual ones) trying to stop the press at the beginning of the last century, or about nowadays.

Anyway, one could consider it interesting, but hardly surprising.

About the modern version, the Trusted Computing Consortium, that is the ones that invented DRM and mostly the ones pushing for it until today (but with the consortium disintegrated) placed in the predicted use cases of their technology self destructing documents before even movies that couldn't be copied. That should be enough to understand what people want DRM for.

(It should, but interesting that it was not. People mostly reacted to the idea of self destructing documents as "Of course that won't be used to organize crimes and destroy the evidence! What kind of paranoid are you?" Personally I'm the kind of paranoid person that 20 years later still couldn't discover any other use for self destructing documents - but that's me.)


One of my fears is that the technology we make would drastically reduce the entry level into a sophisticated organized crime.


I have been thinking of why this happened. I wonder what would have happened if DAT was invented before the record industry consolidated in the 1970s for example.


Indeed it is. But somehow the push to reform DMCA and repeal 1201 isn't strong enough. Why would anyone sensible (besides corrupted control freaks who designed that) not stand against this garbage?


I think their argument would be stronger if DRM opponents were more specific when talking about harms.

For example, DRM is used to spy on users. The article notes that DRM'd software can maintain a connection with a server and user actions are reported and recorded on the server. They need to go one step further and explain why this is bad and list some of the real damage that has caused.

If they don't, it sounds more hypothetical and people just aren't going to get all that bothered by it.


So many legal lawyers here.

If the numerical representation of content can be arbitrarily shifted via encoding, encryption, or masking, how can anything be copyrightable?

DRM itself encrypts and morphs the numerical representation, thus obscuring its precise identification.


The numerical representation of the content is not what's in question. It's the user-perceived content.

Let's say you take the contents of a book, add an extra space between some words, then compress/hash the new contents. The numerical representation could be completely different, but the user-perceived content is the same.

Sorry to get all legally lawful on over your ass, but the law of the land (and common sense) dictates that the new contents are still the works of the original author even though the numerical representation is completely different.


...as opposed to nonlegal lawyers?


Can't argue with my friend. "If DRM then Warez".




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