[cc-licenses] awareness of the TPM/DRM clauses [was Re: DRM]

Luis Villa luis at tieguy.org
Tue Jan 24 21:24:50 EST 2012

On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 2:09 PM, Tim Cas <darkuranium at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd wager that the vast majority of CC-BY-* users do not
> know about this clause,

As a data point for future discussion of this issue, I've never met a
single user of *any* CC license who knows about this clause when I
bring it up. The only exception is people who work in licensing
full-time, and even many of them don't know about the clause. Granted,
this is more anecdote than data (a couple dozen data points across the
years, at most?) but it's consistent.

This lack of awareness shouldn't be surprising:

1) It's not in the human-readable deeds.
2) In the legal code, it's deeply buried rather than being a separate section.
3) It's not mentioned anywhere in the license chooser.
4) It is pretty hard to find anywhere on the website that mentions the
anti-DRM clause. (It gets one mention in the FAQ, plus a handful of
blog posts.)
5) It has never been enforced, as far as I can find.
6) Modern TPMs have become subtle and pervasive enough that many users
aren't even aware that TPMs are in effect (see, e.g., HDMI, Apple Fair
Play), so even those who are aware of the general problems around TPMs
may not be aware of when they are being influenced by TPMs.

All those factors probably explain Tim and I's anecdotes.

Without weighing in in this thread on the question of whether or not
this clause should be kept, I would propose that if it is kept, CC
should take steps to improve awareness of the clause; e.g., certainly
by breaking it out into its own section in the Legal Code, and likely
by mentioning it in both the human-readable deed and the license

A more ambitious version of this proposal would be to improve
awareness of the *impact* of the clause; e.g., the FAQ could include
an analog to the FAQ's answer that discusses the meaning and impact of
non-commercial use. To be most informative, the answer should include
an analysis of commonly-deployed TPMs, such as HDMI and iOS's
FairPlay, and discuss whether or not the clause prevents distribution
of CC-licensed content via such mechanisms.


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