[cc-licenses] Parallel Distribution Statement

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Sat Dec 2 10:54:39 EST 2006

> Greg London wrote:
>> If the DRM'ed file allows the exact same rights as the non-DRM'ed
>> file, fine. If the DRM is applied simply to allow the rights to
>> be exercised on a platform, and you can copy, derive, and distribute
>> that DRM'ed file, then that form of DRM isn't a problem.
> This analysis skips over platforms that don't allow copying-out.
> There, the DRM allows some rights to be exercised on the platform
> (more than could be exercise without it), but not all.

DRM Dave sells Alice a DRM-file over the internet.
Alice downloads the file to her desktop PC.
Alice then plugs her DRM-Only player to her PC and
downloads the file from her PC to her player.

The only acceptable DRM for that file is the kind that
would allow Alice to take the file on her PC, COPY it,
DISTRIBUTE that copy to Bob, and exercise all the other rights.

This also means that Bob MUST be able to take the file
he recieved from Alice and DOWNLOAD it to his own player.
If DRM somehow restricts this, then it violates the license.

If Dave can send a file to Alice, Alice must be allowed
to send a file to Bob. If Alice is allowed to download that
file to her player, Bob must be allowed to download a copy
of that file to his player.

If the DRM-Only player can't handle sending files out,
then there isn't a gate keeper that is giving one
person special rights that no one else can exercise.

The key distinction is whether the hardware has a gate keeper.
If the hardware has the CAPABILITY to exercise some right,
but that right is CONDITIONALLY ENFORCED in the hardware
so that only some people can exercise it, then it violates
the license.

If the hardware simply cannot support some right,
like it cannot copy the file out to another platform
or whatever, then that isn't a TPM, because everyone
gets the same rights on that platform.

So, how many Creative Commons supporters would insist
that some network TV station be PROHIBITED from broadcasting
someone's CC-SA work to everyone's television on the grounds
that some televisions can't record, some televisions can't
copy out that broadcast to another TV, some televisions
can't let users edit the broadcast?

I hope no one who supports CC and FLOSS in general would
demand that prohibition.

The point is not to punish hardware that simply does not
have the ability for anyone to exercise some right.
Just because you're iPod doesn't have an audio waveform
editor, doesn't mean the license should disallow CC-SA
works on that platform.

The platform is at least "fair" in the sense that it provides
the same capabilities to everyone. Alice doesn't get special
priviledge to do something that Bob is prohibited from doing.
Neither one can do it because the platform doesn't have the

The ANTI-TPM prevents uses of a CC-SA work in ways that
are not fair. It prevents the use of a gate keeper to allow
certain people to exercise rights and prohibit others.

Parallel-distribution does not address this unfairness directly.
It allows a technological gate keeper to pick and choose who
can exercise the right on the platform.
Parallel distribution allows this and attempts to assuage
the unfairness by requiring a copy of the work be distributed
in parallel that can operate on a DIFFERENT platform.

But the DRM platform remains unfair. It still has the gatekeeper.
It still selectively enforces rights. It does not SHARE ALIKE,
in the most basic sense of that phrase. It shares with some
but not with others.

Anti-TPM says that all instances of the work must treat everyone
equally: Alice, Bob, and Dave must be able to exercise the same rights
on any particular platform. If Alice can exercise a right, then
some TPM cannot prevent Bob from exercising that same right.

Greg London

Take the Courage Vow
Pass it on.

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