[cc-licenses] PROCEDURAL SUGGESTION

Greg London teloscorbin at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 18:40:44 EDT 2006


On 10/2/06, Patrick Peiffer <peiffer.patrick at gmail.com> wrote:
> Please, make one short, to the point  wrap-up of what you has
> been contributed to the public discussion so we can understand
> and continue.

This is as short as I've got right now:

DRM is a threat to Free projects similar to a software patent.

Both allow someone to create some new ground
(new patented software functionality
or new DRM-only platform monopoly),
leverage Free content into that new ground,
and then fence it off from the Free community.

A patent can be used to prohibit the Free community
from implementing the patented functionality.
A DRM-only platform plus DMCA can be used to
prohibit the community from exercising the rights
to that work on the platform in question.

The response to software patents in GNU-GPL
is to allow software patents as long as those patents
are licensed Freely so the community is able to
use the functionality, distribute the code Freely,
and make their own modifications. If the patent is
not made Free, GNU-GPL revokes the license
to the patent holder so they cannot use Free
software to create closed, proprietary, patented
software.

The response to DRM should be similar.
DRM can be allowed as long as it is transparent.
As long as everyone has access to all the rights
to the work on the DRM hardware platform.
And it is important that this apply to the DRM-enabled
version, not some parallel copy of the content.
A DRM-enabled version of Free content is allowable
as long as DRM allows everyone to copy, distribute,
and create derivatives of that DRM-enabled version.

If a DRM version of a Free work has some DRM
which restricts the rights to the work that are
normally available to the community, then the
response should be similar to attempting to use
a software patent to close off a part of teh Commons.
It should be disallowed.

DRM can be applied to a work as long as it
does not restrict any of the rights to the work.

And for those who are not convinced of the potential
harm that a platform monopoly could inflict,
using DRM-only hardware and the DMCA to create
a platform monopoly, would be similar in nature to
a manufacturer using encryption and the DMCA to
create a platform monopoly with replacement ink
cartridges for their printer.

The cartridges have some encryption module.
The printer detects this module and will only function
if the proper encryption is detected. The DMCA
allows the manufacturer to enforce their monopoly
as sole producer of replacement ink cartridges.
And that's a platform monopoly, a sole source provider.

In this metaphor, a CC-SA project would
come up with a design for some Free ink cartridge,
the manufacturer would add DRM/Encryption to it
and would use the work created by the Free community,
while using the DMCA to prevent the community from
applying DRM/Encryption to their own design to work
on the printer.

Requiring the manufacturer provide a parallel copy
of the work does not prevent the platform monopoly.

If the manufacturer attempts to enforce a platform
monopoly, they will not grant anyone permission to
apply DRM, and in this situation, anti-TPM prevents
the manufacturer from leveraging Free content into
their platform monopoly and fencing it off from the
community who created it.

Greg

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