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

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Mon Oct 2 13:12:35 EDT 2006

Greg London wrote:
>  For all those platforms that are DRM-only, but allow you to
>  DRM-enable content, you can get the content openly, and apply DRM
>  yourself and watch it on the hardware platform of your choice.

This is *another* failing of the source/binary analogy to non-TPM/TPM.

Compiling to binary from source is a complex and error-prone problem, 
which is difficult for the end user, and can't usually be automated in a 
fool-proof way.  This the practical reason that there are any binary 
distributions of Linux at all, for example.

TPM, on the other hand, is just encryption of some kind. It doesn't 
involve a complex web of platform assumptions or libraries. So it *can* 
be automated in a completely foolproof way.  Thus, there is little 
practical drag created by insisting that TPM is only applied by the end 
user (much less than for the same requirement applied to binaries).

In fact, what DRM Dave can do for Alice and Bob, if he wants free 
content to be easy to play, is to provide a simple tool for applying DRM 
to those packages (he could, for example, build it into the downloader 
so that the end user needn't even realize it's happening).

Mind you, this means he can still do something nasty: He can publish DRM 
wrappers specific to specific distributions of free content (i.e. that 
depend on the hash of the content). In this way, he can still keep his 
platform monopoly, despite the fact that the works themselves are free.  
That's because it's actually Alice and Bob who apply the TPM, and no 
distribution is involved.

(This was suggested to me by the argument put forth by Edward Macnaghten 
in his recent blog at
Free Software Magazine: http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/node/1777 )

I'm afraid that's a new can of worms.


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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