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