Archive for the ‘DRM’ Category

revolutionary doublethink

January 23, 2012

When corporations hold some power in education and then take further steps to tighten that control, why do we call it a “learning revolution“? Digitized textbooks should be in open formats for editing and reading. Authors and publishers need to reject absurd EULAs, and educators need a dose of scepticism.

Google has “no plans” to ban copyleft

February 20, 2011

Both Apple and Microsoft have blocked the distribution of copylefted Free Software through their App Store and Windows Phone Marketplace respectively. Though there’s no indication or reason to believe this might happen with Google’s Android Market, I wrote their Open Source Programs Manager, Chris DiBona, asking him about the possibility. He replied:

No, we have no plans to restrict copyleft based programs. When we were creating our application market for android, we wanted to make sure that developers could offer programs that contained open source and free software. (email: 2/20/11)

Google’s inclusive approach to licensing will only help make their market more appealing to developers and users alike.

Kindle books’ latest antifeature: Lendle

February 16, 2011

A group of developers want us to believe they’ve made a wonderful new technology that “allows” digital books to be “lent”. With digitized works, the key advantage is the ability to easily make and distribute many copies at essentially no extra cost. A new antifeature (dubbed “Lendle“), aims to make books behave like physical artifacts (it is essentially an antifeature built on top of the Kindle books’ DRM antifeature). That is, while your book is being “lent” you no longer have access to your copy. Users should reject regressive technology that restricts the ability to share by copying.

For those thinking of chiming in with a, “but this will help people lend books and stop piracy” argument, here’s another perspective.

Obligations vs. Restrictions: The GPL, VLC, and Apple

November 4, 2010

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has followed up on the news that VLC may be pulled from Apple’s App Store. The title of his article is misleading and should be noted. It says:

GPLv2 blocks VLC from Apple’s App Store

but it should read something like:

Apple blocks VLC from their App Store

The blame here could be misconstrued by readers and thus, misplaced. There is nothing in the GPL that restricts software from being distributed through Apple’s (or anyone’s) app store. If Apple doesn’t want to accept the obligations of the GPL, then they’re the one’s responsible. Apple isn’t just blocking VLC, they’re blocking copyleft altogether.

and how freedom can work

March 4, 2010

Check out “WHY DRM DOESN’T WORK“.

Note that step #6 (which is closely coupled to step #5) is required for DRM to have its intended effect. I recommend running a Free system (e.g. GNU) and if you must, skip straight to step #20.

More of the above will encourage the popularity and development of services (for example) that offer win-win possibilities. Such services are examples of how freedom can work.

Amazon plays Ministry of Truth

July 18, 2009

I wonder if Doug bought either of these books. Something tells me it’ll take a memory hole in his Kindle (at least) before he considers turning his back on DRM-infested e-books. At least the irony in 1984 “magically” disappearing provides a good laugh given the disturbing news.

“thanks”, brokep

July 6, 2009

Apparently, some Pirate Bay users are unhappy that the site is being (has been?) sold. I’m not sure why there’s gloom – it’s just a site. Instructions to download similar files can be (and are) hosted on other sites. For nostalgia, some may desire the name “Pirate Bay” to refer to an uncompromising domain (it’s quite possible users may see the site compromised in the future) – but nostalgia is useless.

The money generated from the sale will go to an unnamed foundation that understands the political importance of this issue. As well, the video/audio tags of HTML 5 could (but not necessarily) make the Video Bay a site that needn’t require visitors to install any proprietary software on their machines in order to have a quality experience. The avoidance of proprietary software is what makes “breaking” any technical restriction as easy as slipping out of Jell-O handcuffs.

What I did notice is that the Video Bay asks one to register with an email address and tag it with a username. I sympathize when it comes to those posting, but it’s unclear to me why one who simply wants to watch/listen to and/or download a file must register.  So while my thanks are sincere, they do come with scare quotes. This is more information about you in the hands of others. Why does the Video Bay require this? Will it always operate this way?

say no to culture widgets

March 22, 2009

Doug Johnson asks Kindle questions. While I think it’s responsible (not paranoid) to voice concern over censorship, a more pointed reason why I’m so fanatically anti-DRM is that its objective is to keep individuals from sharing and creating society’s culture and knowledge. As Chomsky notes (6:52):

The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another – whose conception of themselves – the sense of value is just “how many created wants can I satisfy?”


In its current form, the Kindle is nothing but an attempt to package culture, turn it into “content”, and satisfy the wants of those who may otherwise be tempted to behave in a socially cooperative way. Say no to culture widgets!

i HAD to OPIne

March 11, 2009

Nate Anderson at Ars has an article labeling the drafted “HADOPI” law as “anti-P2P”, but it’s much worse. The law not only attacks p2p activities of the wired citizenry, but threatens to cut computer users off from Internet access entirely. If citizens are perceived to be sharing unauthorized works, a 3-strikes-you’re-censored response would take effect. While it’s impossible to imagine any justified trade-off in this approach, what’s proposed is insulting:

In return, French DVDs will appear a couple of months closer to their theatrical release date and music and movie groups will have to drop much of their DRM. Global music trade group IFPI thinks this is a wonderful trade-off.

So in exchange for Global Business Interests at the expense of freedom, digitized French works will be released sooner and stripped of the already ineffective technical restrictions known as DRM. If that isn’t une escroquerie, what is? “Wonderful trade-off” indeed. Beyond the imbalanced nature of this “deal” are other disasterous consequences. The law would require

home Internet users to install certain approved security software and to secure their networks.

Want to create a community of Internet users that share a public commons of bandwidth? Too bad. Doing so would prevent the recording industry from spying on your activity to peg you a “pirate”. Here, the “secure network” doublethink is language of Orwellian stature. It’s no wonder too, why ISPs might wish to support this measure. A legal measure preventing the sharing of bandwidth only serves their interests.

Finally, the insanity of this law is revealed through the handling of users who seek to share information using public wireless access points. To protect corporate media’s 20th-century business modelthe artists, this perceived problem will be taken care of using a “solution” that’s “simple”:

such hotspots would offer only a “white list” of approved websites.

Since the ability to spy on you is lost at the coffee shop or local library, the technology itself shall be declared guilty in advance and on your behalf. Vive la censure!

my home life captured by xkcd

December 2, 2008

sleet


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