[cc-licenses] Encrypted ink cartridges for your printer

Greg London teloscorbin at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 12:14:29 EDT 2006

If you have some CC-SA project and you
allow DRM-Dave to be sole source supplier
of that CC-SA content on his hardware player.
And if DRM Dave uses DRM and DMCA to
make sure no one can get content to his
player unless they pay him for every copy:

Then your CC-SA project is equivalent
to a team that designed a Free ink Cartridge,
and you have decided to allow DRM-Dave
to take your design, apply DRM to it, put
hardware in his printer that detects the DRM,
and causes the printer to refuse to operate
unless the ink came from Dave.

This is what I mean by platform monopoly.

Dave becomes sole source for ink or for
content for his hardware platform.
And he uses DRM and DMCA to enforce this.

If Dave applies DRM to the content so that
it is transpararent and does not affect the
rights to that instance of the work,
If Alice can buy that DRM content from Dave
and then turn around and give it free to Bob
because the DRM doesn't prevent it,
then fine, DRM is transparent and the rights
to all instances of the work are not restricted.

If Dave uses DRM to restrict access to the
content, so that he can sell Alice a copy for
fifty dollars, and Alice is unable to share that
copy with Bob, and Bob must buy a copy from
Dave for fifty dollars, then you have a platform


You've allowed your Free printer ink cartridge design
to be used in a completely non-Free way.
And your parallel copies do nothing to prevent this
platform monoply.

While copyright doesn't extend to the design of
mechanical parts for printers, the metaphor is the
same. Except in the case of copyrightable content,
you can actually use a copyright license to prevent
a platform monopoly. Anti-TPM does that. You can
allow TPM as long as its transparent, but if TPM
restricts the rights to the DRM-ENabled version of
the work, then it's a monopoly, and is not Free.


Take the vow.

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