0129: "Content Protection"

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Shoofle
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0129: "Content Protection"

Postby Shoofle » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:26 pm UTC

THIS COMIC NOT APPROVED. THIS FORUM THREAD NOT APPROVED.



Oh, and you can't forget the approved photons, and chair, and hair. Plus an approved house. And, of course, the approved religion is absolutely essential.

[Edited by RealGrouchy to add link to comic.]

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Postby hiddenmaniac » Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:22 am UTC

Right...

I have no idea what this DRM stuff is all about, and im looking for an NPOV-type explanation before I get into anyone's opinion. The only people I know who would be knowledgeable about such things are paranoid, and you can't have a conversation with them about anything (much less DRM) without something like "Oh me yarm Oh me yarm THE GOVERNMENT IZ CONTROLLIN US Oh me yarm Oh me yarm BUSH MONITORS MY BED Oh me yarm Oh me yarm I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY OWN CDS Oh me yarm Oh me yarm WERE ALL GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Oh me yarm OMGZ"

I take it this place will be no exception, huh?
There are things that don't exist.

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Postby xkcd » Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:37 am UTC

I have no idea what this DRM stuff is all about, and im looking for an NPOV-type explanation before I get into anyone's opinion. The only people I know who would be knowledgeable about such things are paranoid, and you can't have a conversation with them about anything (much less DRM) without something like "Oh me yarm Oh me yarm THE GOVERNMENT IZ CONTROLLIN US Oh me yarm Oh me yarm BUSH MONITORS MY BED Oh me yarm Oh me yarm I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY OWN CDS Oh me yarm Oh me yarm WERE ALL GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Oh me yarm OMGZ"


So yeah, here's the thing -- I was pretty moderate on the issue until somewhat recently when I did a lot more research on it (in part now that I'm an artistic creator myself for the first time), and I really do think a lot of the paranoid stuff isn't too exaggerated. I don't think it's the government's fault; I think they couldn't care less. But there's some fairly awful stuff going on as we make this whole transition to the digital age or whatever. We're letting people shape the future who don't have anything like the best interests of our culture in mind.

However, all I can give is my take on things, which isn't what you're looking for. I'd recommend something like Wikipedia, which is pretty good about the whole NPOV thing when it comes to laying out the facts of an issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management -- This looks pretty straightforward, from a read-over

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright -- a shitload of information

Now, if you wanna hear a fairly reasonable explanation of the ideas I've been siding with lately, you can't do much better than Lawrence Lessig's book Free Culture. It's available for free here:

http://www.free-culture.cc/freecontent/

It's by a copyright lawyer who argued a milestone Supreme Court copyright case, and lays out some of the ideas of how culture changes and how law changes with it. It's unabashedly advocating a position, but it's pretty reasonable and extensively argued.

I think it's really a matter of just getting an understanding of how the world is changing and what we might learn from the past, and trying to understand the possible consequences of the decisions we're making. Free Culture has an awful lot of neat stuff about cultural freedoms and the role they play in shaping a generation, and looks at the current direction digital rights are going in that context, and it's pretty scary. So I definitely recommend reading it.

But the facts of things right now are fairly straightforward, and covered by Wikipedia et. al. Beyond that, I dunno. It's pretty much try your best to peer into the future, keep an eye on the past, try to understand how it all fits, and make a judgement call.

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Postby shodan » Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:39 pm UTC

was that a Marshall McLuhan joke or was 130 panels of xkcd at once a very bad idea ?

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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby tokara2132 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:31 am UTC

For a while, I didn't quite get the idea of this comic. I know it must had been rather profound (or possible lead to a self-make-out joke, but who's going to blame me) so I went looking. After a wild goose chase (stupid random reviews) I was finally able to get it and download it to my N800 (nifty little gadget, ain't it?). After reading it, I have come to a rather strong conclusion: Lawrence Lessig is crazy, and I'm even crazier for believing him.

I think the overcompensation for DRM and Copyright law started like all bad things. It wanted to make sure that those who had put forth the effort to create content would be rightfully compensated. However, in a rush of threat after threat (often freakishly overblown, such as the student mentioned in the book who had to give up his life savings of $12,000 or face a lawsuit from the RIAA that was set at six (thats right, SIX) times the amount of profit gained by the RIAA's supporting companies. It talked about the skewing of those who support the concept of the Public Domain (which is the focus of Lessigs book, not getting rid of copyright) as little more than mindless hippies and anarchists who have no real idea of value.

The saddest thing is (as Lessig quite bluntly pointed out) with extension after extension of Copyright, many of the great stories from the turn of the century and just after (such as several of HP Lovecrafts short stories and the whole "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy) just so that some whiny benefactors can continue to live on the gravy train just as badly as someone like any stupid, blonde socialite whose first name rhymes with "Harris".

It just sucks how it perpetuates: By using the money gained by their grandfather or grandmothers copyright, they use it to lobby Congress to extend the copyright. After a few more years (and a couple million dollars or so) the process repeats itself. I now am in full support of his "$1 for full lifetime copyright and registration and twenty years for normal stuff" copyright concept.

Three cheers for Randall Munroe and Lawrence Lessig!
"It is indeed a sad day when the intelligent are scorned, the idiots praised, and the depraved define beauty"
- tokara2132

Blow 'em up, slice and dice, and spectacular stupidity all in an hour of news. Thanks modern american media!

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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:34 pm UTC

Media companies will tell you DRM is about piracy prevention, but the evidence is staggering that it's really about flat-out control. I noticed this in Future Shop recently. It's a bit blurry but notice one of the features: 2-region DVD playback. Are region lockouts really there for "protection", or are they just another case of selling a defective product and charging extra to repair it? If it were the former, this feature wouldn't make much sense.

See also: PS3 requiring HDCP for everything, DRM placed on free samples, etc. The more you look the more it becomes clear. DRM is only about controlling the market, dictating what the users can do, and creating new marketing opportunities. It sure as hell doesn't prevent piracy; just check a torrent site.
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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby pKp » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:58 pm UTC

Well...the aim of DRM, according to those who make them, isn't to stop piracy altogether, but rather to make it more difficult. But I do see your point. CC licenses ftw !
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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby Alphaniner » Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:56 am UTC

DRM really is a pain in the arse. Alas.

As far as xkcd on this subject goes, my favorite is the one with the inexorable wall of ice.

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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby muteKi » Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:19 am UTC

The problem with DRM is the problem with many rules found in your average grade school. It assumes that the average dude is a criminal, delinquent, felon, pirater, etc.

As such, by treating people as criminals people invariably act as such. As long as that what they expect, I mean...

By instituting a closed-campus policy my HS now has more fights (apparently gang-related) than ever. I'm not attending but my brother is
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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Mon Dec 03, 2007 8:19 am UTC

Yep. And the pirates have it beat in no time while legit users struggle trying to use the product legally. Hacked pirate versions have no region lockouts, no HDCP, no serial numbers or activation, no rootkits, and can be modified freely. It's no wonder people pirate?

Using DRM is like banning knives because they can be used as weapons. It's completely ignoring the legitimate reasons someone might want to copy something. For example just the other day I copied a bunch of audio tapes to my hard drive. Now instead of several tapes and a big clunky tape player, I only need to carry my MP3 player the size of a lighter. Tell me I shouldn't be allowed to do that? And things like HDCP and region coding are even more ridiculous. "Your equipment is capable of playing this movie, but you'll need to upgrade it anyway to support the latest copy protection, and also you'll have to buy another copy of the movie because this one's from another country. Sorry!" :roll:
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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby muteKi » Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:29 pm UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:"Your equipment is capable of playing this movie, but you'll need to upgrade it anyway to support the latest copy protection...Sorry!" :roll:


I did not realize that such was the case, and then I read the wiki article on HDCP. I mean, I can almost be willing to live with some of the early forms of DRM, but device lockouts and stream quality regulations are ABSOLUTE SHIT. I would swear it was a conspiracy to get people to buy more redundant devices, which are then not even usable to their full potential since the data streams are restricted to a lower quality than the best a high-quality display could show anyway.
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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:16 am UTC

You reminded me of another form: revocation. They can just shut down your machine for whatever reason. It's usually only until the next firmware update, but your average idiot doesn't even know what that means let alone how to do it. And imagine how bad the timing could be? You bring a girl home, go to put on a movie, and "sorry no". Firmware update isn't out yet. What now?

Modern technology has all sorts of BS like this built in. It's sickening. The best term I've heard to describe it is "defective by design". Because if things exhibited DRM-like behaviours without being programmed to, they'd be defective.

Only thing you can really do is refuse to buy things that use it. Don't buy CDs, movies, etc with DRM, or devices that implement such pointless restrictions if you can at all help it. When buying a new TV/monitor look specifically for the ones without HDCP. If everyone chooses the non-restricted stuff, hopefully the message will be clear.

It can also be fun to pretend you don't know about the restrictions, and return things to the store or call the manufacturer complaining about the defects. Or ask store employees about their return policy for games, CDs, etc. (You don't allow returns because people could just copy them and bring them back? But aren't they supposed to be copy-protected so that won't work?) Just try to educate the masses.
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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby sab39 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:38 pm UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:You reminded me of another form: revocation. They can just shut down your machine for whatever reason. It's usually only until the next firmware update, but your average idiot doesn't even know what that means let alone how to do it. And imagine how bad the timing could be? You bring a girl home, go to put on a movie, and "sorry no". Firmware update isn't out yet. What now?

Hope that it takes more than an hour to decide what to do next... :twisted:

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Re: "Content Protection" Discussion

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:18 am UTC

You win an Internet. :mrgreen:
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Re: 0129: "Content Protection"

Postby TimXCampbell » Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:29 am UTC

I am not, and never have been, a fan of copy protection.

I say this despite the fact that I've written software and text and have had both pirated (often with the copyright notices intact) or ripped off. In one case I took a copy-cat product to court, showing that his documentation duplicated entire sections of my original work. I won, but it was a Pyrhhic victory, since the court case cost more than we could get back.

But still I'm not keen on copy protection!

It infuriates me that I had to spend $25 to buy an HDMI cable for my wife's PS3 when an old-fashioned cheap VGA cable would have worked just as well if the PS3 had been designed that way. But no, we had to pay extra (for the cable, extra circuitry and development costs) because some people like copying movies. And now, sometimes, the TV monitor goes blank when the PS3 is changing modes. If I can remember where I am, I can return to the same program, at the same spot, and voila! the picture returns. Clearly, then, the HDMI is hand-shaking incorrectly. Yet another punishment we receive for the crimes of others.

Okay, I think I've proven that I don't like copy protection. Having said that, let me now ask:

How can DRM control content ultimately, as presented in XKCD # 129? It seems to me, rather, that DRM can control a particular channel of distribution, but not (in a semi-free society) the content an interested person can obtain. I won't say any more on this matter until somebody either (A) explains the premise of DRM = Content_Control or (B) tells me how I can read chapters 13 and 14 of Free Culture without paying any money. Because I don't have any left.


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