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SubjectRe: Flame Linus to a crisp!
On Thu, 24 Apr 2003, Werner Almesberger wrote:

> A more important barrier than what the GPL allows might be what the
> Linux community accepts. If some DRM extensions are never accepted
> by enough of the "mainstream", they will fail to work.
> The main problem I see with accepting DRM functionality is that it
> will encourage frivolous uses of DRM, just because it's possible
> then. Just like most vendors instinctively default to closed
> source.
> It's also worth to keep in mind that such decisions are frequently
> taken by people with very different agendas, e.g. if "protected by
> DRM" is perceived to appeal to analysts, shareholders or potential
> shareholders, it may quickly become policy in many companies, just
> like patents did.

It seems that the people who form the "market" (and buy shares, write
analyses, buy CDs/DVDs) need to be told the implications of buying
copy-protected material or material that enforces to boot only
particlular kernels or whatever.

The problem is that those in favor of (ab)using DRM to fortifying their
monopoly don't tell you where the other side of the knife cuts. Those
analysts and shareholders are only interested in local, egoistic optima;
Microsoft will tell us that DRM brings "security" -- but they won't tell
all the details, say, you can only play $MEDIA if $COMPANY allows it.

The hard part about this discussion is not the technical one, but the
social one, tell those people who just go to a shop what can happen if
they buy a copy-protected CD, and what can happen if they tolerate their
members of parliament voting in favor of DMCA-like laws (such as the new
German copyright act that doesn't allow you to enforce your right to
fair use, to a private copy of your CD for your car audio, if the vendor
puts protection in place) or voting in favor of big companies rather
than companies. The common people need to understand that their rights
are being taken away, and that these rights are tied to their money.

I haven't seen copy-protected CDs being sold cheaper than unprotected
CDs (which would make some sense, because after the companies' logic,
this will rise the sales). This is the example that has been
established, others are to come. The sharks (see Jamie's WIPO comments)
will know how to defend their territory.
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