[cc-licenses] Version 3.0 - Public Discussion

Evan Prodromou evan at prodromou.name
Thu Aug 10 16:03:32 EDT 2006

On Thu, 2006-10-08 at 15:34 -0400, Greg London wrote: 

> You make a non-DRM version available,
> you can copy it, you can distribute it, you can even
> modify it. But you can't play the damn thing because
> the only thing that can play it is PS2, and PS2 is
> DRM'ed.

Another example like this would be source code for GPL'd works. You
can't execute it directly (for a compiled language), but you need to
have it around to read and understand the program as well as to make
modified versions.

> I don't think it's sufficient to require non-DRM copies
> of DRM works, because the copy isn't much good
> if the only way to play it, read it, use it, is through a PS2
> or an iPod or some other DRM'ed hardware.

Unless you modify it to work on another platform. Porting between
encoding systems and platforms is not an insuperable barrier and is
fairly commonplace. Especially for creative works that may be
incorporated into a game (images, video, music, text), it may be quite

> Yes, it woudl be nice if Alice could play Bob's game on
> her PS2, but if Charlie doesn't have a PS2, and the DMCA
> prevents him from running a PS2 simulator on his PC, then
> this is little different than allowing proprietary forks for oddball
> cases.

I think it's extremely different. If there is a cleartext copy,
downstream users can modify and extract parts of the program for their
own needs, or port it to another platform. It's not an optimal
situation, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of choice for satisfying
the needs of both developers and users.

Sony's not going to change their platform for us. They're just not.
Millions of users aren't going to throw out their PS2's because they
can't play Free Content games on them. It's not going to happen. So the
question becomes whether we're going to hamstring Free Software
developers who want to port to this kind of platform. What purpose does
it serve, besides restricting the freedom of those developers?

Again, I'll contrast to Free Software applications running on
proprietary operating systems. If the GPL had forbidden running or
developing a Free app on a propriety OS, there would be no Free Software

Letting people make their own accommodations with the increasingly DRM'd
world means we will see Free Content on more platforms, not less.
Turning up our nose and saying that our content is too good for DRM'd
platforms won't stop DRM; it'll just impede the distribution of Free

I don't like DRM. I think it sucks. But license provisions are the wrong
place to fight it.


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