Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Tue Oct 3 22:21:54 EDT 2006

drew Roberts wrote:
>  On Tuesday 03 October 2006 09:06 pm, Terry Hancock wrote:
> > drew Roberts wrote:
> > One possibility is that he must maintain such a service for X years
> > after the last time that he provides the DRM'd work.
>  As long as he wants to have the rights to distribute the licensed
>  works with TPM applied?

Merely "as long as" isn't all that great. What if he only decides to 
publish these works during their "top of the charts" period (well, 
probably "top of the free-licensed charts")?  Or for only a couple of 
weeks after they are released. Then he abandons the work, so as to avoid 
any responsibility to the "conducers" in the audience who want to 
publish remixed versions.

I don't think that's adequate. It still leaves the work in Greg's 
non-free platform monopoly position, for all practical purposes.

> > Or he might publish the key, rendering the DRM
> > ineffective/transparent (this might be a good platform-retirement
> > option).
>  This might be an important line of thinking to explore.

But remember he can only do this if he is also the TPM platform owner.  
Our hypothetical community based TPM-keeper can't do it legally, because 
of the terms under which he receives the key.

> > Of course, the biggest question here is why is this more attractive
> > to the TPM platform owner than just allowing their platform to play
> > free, non-TPM content? (Which we'd prefer anyway).
>  I thought I answered this when I pointed out that the platform owner
>  could still have sort of monopoly position when it came to non-Free
>  works. He could still charge his rent for those works. If he allowed
>  the platform to play non-DRM works, he could not charge this rent
>  from anyone.

Yes, you're right. There's even a certain business logic to that.

Still, I feel that the obligation has to go a bit beyond the immediate 
moment. That's a bit like the 3-year source code offer that GPL insists 
on.  However, it's unclear whether 3 years is adequate.  Cultural works 
don't become obsolete so easily (and especially when we are considering 
derivative works. It's not at all difficult to imagine a 2000s techno 
remix of a 1930s song like "Over the Rainbow", for example).

So maybe we need an almost "in perpetuity" promise. Or to put it another 
way: you must provide the service as long as you keep the DRM key 
secret.  But note how this forces us to put these requirements on the 
DRM owner, not any recipient of the content. So it becomes more like a 
requirement that "you can distribute this content in DRM form, but only 
if the DRM owner has provided a promise to DRM all derivative works on 
demand for the entire time that the DRM key is held secret".  But of 
course, we then have to ask how the DRM party (not party to the 
license!) will be held accountable to such promises.  Or what the 
responsibility of the would-be DRM'd distributor will be if the DRM 
platform or technology owner stops offering this service.

At this point, ideas like international DRM key registries and deposit 
of keys in escrow start to pop up as the sort of solutions you need for 
that kind of trust (and this is the RIAA/MPAA partisans depositing their 
crown jewels with the likes of Creative Commons and Debian, mind you -- 
this requires a political miracle to happen! Of course, the Space 
Shuttle did eventually dock with Mir after all, but only after a lot of 
walls fell).

And if we require such involvement from the DRM distributor, DRM 
platform owner, and DRM technology provider, why aren't we just asking 
them to contact the authors, get permission, and pay a royalty in order 
to sell the DRM'd version?  They always have this option.

It seems like we're in for some major slogging through the mud if we 
want to draft this kind of requirement.  Lots and lots of details with 
risks at every step.


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

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