[cc-licenses] Subject: Re: Version 3.0 - List Discussion Responses

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sun Oct 1 14:59:36 EDT 2006


Evan Prodromou wrote:
> On Sun, 2006-01-10 at 11:18 -0400, Greg London wrote:
>> You can apply DRM to your local copy and play it on your
>> own hardware player. You just can't distribute that copy.
>> Alice and Bob can still play on a DRM platform.
> 
> But they can't share with their neighbour. 

Yes they can. They have their non-DRM copy. If they can apply DRM, so 
can their neighbor, so they can give them the non-DRM copy.

(A digression: no, this is not an argument for dual distribution, 
because you cannot "decompile" the DRM-locked "binary".)

If they cannot do this, they are not free anyway. We cannot make them 
less unfree by giving them freedom they cannot use but that can be used 
to make others similarly unfree.

And since the systems you claim need CC content to be DRM-able for 
either don't require DRM content (rather than software) this is all 
rather irrelevant. If iTMS or Sony want to be able to add DRM to CC 
content (and I doubt they care), this is not currently an issue of user 
freedom.

The upcoming TC-based systems are worse rather than better.

Mia's point about who has the right to add DRM also has some bearing on 
this.

> That's why the anti-DRM
> clause makes the licenses incompatible with freedom. If you can't share
> your copy, then the work isn't Free.

Then DRM removes the work's freedom by your own definition. And we are 
back to the fact that you are arguing for the freedom to remove freedom.

> Let's look at the Free Software Definition:

If we are going to discuss the real definition of Free Software let's 
look at how the FSF and Defective By Design read it:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/opposing-drm.html

"We developed the GNU operating system so that we could control our own 
computers, and cooperate freely in using them in freedom. To seek 
popularity for our software by ceding this freedom would defeat the 
purpose; at best, we might flatter our egos. Therefore we have designed 
version 3 of the GNU GPL to uphold the user's freedom to modify the 
source code and put modified versions to real use.

The debate about the GPL v3 is part of a broader debate about DRM versus 
your rights. The motive for DRM schemes is to increase profits for those 
who impose them, but their profit is a side issue when millions of 
people's freedom is at stake; desire for profit, though not wrong in 
itself, cannot justify denying the public control over its technology. 
Defending freedom means thwarting DRM. "

http://defectivebydesign.org/en/about

"One common view among programmers is that the GNU General Public 
License (GPL) - the software license covering most of GNU/Linux - should 
say nothing at all about DRM, because DRM is a technical problem, and 
can be solved by technical means. This was true five years ago—all DRM 
was ultimately software, all software is data, and all data is mutable. 
So, DRM could always be circumvented. In other words, these people are 
perfectly happy to have DRM so long as it is toothless.

But even if it were acceptable to have DRM from which programmers could 
free themselves, that’s not the DRM we have in 2006. Modern DRM is based 
on Treacherous Computing (TC). The Trusted Computing Group realized that 
a secret cannot be kept in software that is widely distributed. So, they 
moved the secret, and the root enforcement mechanism into hardware. From 
the Trusted Platform Module’s private key grows a twisted tree of 
"trust", where "trust" is defined to mean that your computer does what 
others expect of it. You can't chop down the tree except from the root, 
and that key is inside a piece of hardware. Now, you not only need to be 
a programmer, but a hardware engineer."

I have stickers from DbD saying "Protect freedom 1". I am more persuaded 
that we protect freedom by refusing to allow DRM to restrict freedom 1 
than by refusing to allow freedom 1 to restrict DRM.

> You want to put other values -- some sort of macroeconomic manipulation,
> as far as I can tell -- ahead of the Freedom of people to share playable
> versions of works.

This is not my reading of Greg's work. He is using game theory to 
explain the practical effects of Debian's position.

And pleading for DRM in the name of allowing people to share playable 
versions of works is just a little bit topsy-turvy.

But if we wish to view DRM economically (rather than as the simple point 
of principle that I'm sure it is for its institutional advocates), 
here's DbD again:

''From Richard Stallman, President of the FSF:

”The motive for DRM schemes is to increase profits for those who impose 
them, but their profit is a side issue when millions of people’s freedom 
is at stake; desire for profit, though not wrong in itself, cannot 
justify denying the public control over its technology. Defending 
freedom means thwarting DRM.” ''

> Why? As far as I can tell it has to do with your idiosyncratic economic
> theories. 

I do not always agree with Greg's theories, but his analysis of the 
practical effects of Debian's mistaken understanding of DRM as code 
rather than law is compelling.

> I guess that's part of your personal frame of reference, but
> it doesn't gibe with mainstream Free Software and Free Content thinking.

It is an effective description of the effects of Debian-Legal's 
position. And as the quotes above illustrate it is Debian-Legal's 
position that is out of alignment with Free Software.

- Rob.



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