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SubjectRe: Why DRM exists [was Re: Flame Linus to a crisp!]
Once upon a time, Larry McVoy  <> said:
>What seems to be forgotten is that the people who are locking things up
>are the people who own those things and the people who are complaining
>are the people who got those things, illegally, for free.

Stop right there - you are wrong. That is just the corporate party line
used to justify stripping consumers of their rights.

In the US (I don't know about the rest of the world), we have a legal
right (upheld many times by the courts) to "fair use". Much of the DRM
is a way for companies to deny the people that buy a product their legal
fair use rights. This has been through the courts numerous times with
VCRs and photocopiers.

I am allowed to make copies for personal use, such as taking an audio CD
and creating MP3s so I can listen on another device. Music companies
and the RIAA are trying to remove that right. I have a TiVo so I can
watch TV at my convenience instead of some network programmer's idea of
when I should watch, but some networks want to ban TiVo-like devices as
well (despite "time shifting" with VCRs having been upheld by the courts
as fair use).

I want to play DVDs under Linux legally. According to the laws, I've
bought the DVD and the right to play it (and even make backup copies
under fair use). However, the DVD consortium has restricted my (court
upheld) right to do this. The DMCA just adds criminal enforcement for

>Napster is a good example. I don't
>like the record companies any better than anyone else but they do own
>the material and you either respect the rules or the record companies
>will lock it up and force you to respect the rules.

The way a lot of people USED Napster was illegal. That doesn't mean
that Napster should be made illegal. Also, there are plenty of civil
laws regarding copyright infringement; why do we need additional laws
making it also a criminal offense?

>The open source community, in my opinion, is certainly a contributing
>factor in the emergence of the DMCA and DRM efforts. This community
>thinks it is perfectly acceptable to copy anything that they find useful.
>Take a look at some of the recent BK flamewars and over and over you
>will see people saying "we'll clone it".

Again - stop right there. Reverse engineering to copy something has
been upheld by the courts many times. We probably wouldn't be here if
Compaq, Phoenix, and others hadn't reverse engineered the IBM PC BIOS.
The patent side of things protects against this; is BK covered by any

You have every right to defend your trademark (and you should, or it
becomes diluted). Unless BK is covered by one or more patents, you have
no right to tell people they can't take their time reverse engineering
it (if it takes as many man-years to build as you say, why do you

>That's not unique to BK,
>it's the same with anything else which is viewed as useful. And nobody
>sees anything wrong with that, or copying music, whatever. "If it's
>useful, take it" is the attitude.

By your logic, why do you support Linux? It is just copying Unix.

>This problem is pervasive, it's not just a handful of people. Upon the
>advice of several of the leading kernel developers, I contacted Pavel's
>boss at SuSE and said "how about you nudge Pavel onto something more
>productive" and he said that he couldn't control Pavel.

Why don't YOU don't something more productive with your time other than
call someone's boss and complain?

>That's nonsense
>and everyone knows that. If one of my employees were doing something
>like that, it would be trivial to say "choose between your job and that".
>But Garloff just shrugged it off as not his problem.

Get a life. Are you going to call Transmeta and complain about Linus
working on something that rips off SCO's "intellectual property" (some
of which may even be covered by patents, something BK doesn't have)?

You chose to step into the frying pan; don't complain about the heat.

>Corporations are certainly watching things like our efforts with
>BitKeeper, as well as the other companies who are trying to play nice
>with the open source world. What are they learning? That if you don't
>lock it up, the open source world has no conscience, no respect, and will
>steal anything that isn't locked down. Show me a single example of the
>community going "no, we can't take that, someone else did all the work
>to produce it, we didn't".

There are things that Red Hat won't ship because they are protected
under patents (good or bad). Patents are the protection the US system
offers; if you don't come up with something original enough to rate a
patent, then anyone can copy it.

>Good luck finding it. Instead you get "hey,
>that's cool, let's copy it". With no acknowledgement that the creation
>of the product took 100x the effort it takes to copy the product.

Please name something that "the creation of the product took 100x the
effort it takes to copy". How much effort has gone into Linux, Wine,
GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice, etc. that originally was targeted to copy
another product?

>Do you think that corporations are going sit by and watch you do that and
>do nothing to stop you? Of course they aren't, they have a strong self
>preservation instinct and they have the resources to apply to the problem.
>The DMCA, DRM, all that stuff is just the beginning. You will respond
>with all sorts of clever hacks to get around it and they will respond
>with even more clever hacks to stop you. They have both more resources
>and more at stake so they will win.

No, because a growing number of people won't play their game. People
are already bringing challenges to the DMCA, as more people realize the
implications of it.

>The depressing thing is that it is so obvious to me that the corporations
>will win, they will protect themselves, they have the money to lobby the
>government to get the laws they want and build the technology they need.
>The more you push back the more locked up things will become.

Then you have nothing to worry about, since you are one of the
corporations. You can "lock up" BK and try to silence the critics (as
you have already said you've gone after at least one person).
Chris Adams <>
Systems and Network Administrator - HiWAAY Internet Services
I don't speak for anybody but myself - that's enough trouble.
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