Friday, September 15, 2006

More crackpot DRM ideas

Defective by DesignI spoke last night at an entertaining meeting of the British Literary and Artistic Copyright Association. Tanya Aplin (Kings College, London), Florian Koempel (British Music Rights), Brigitte Lindner (Registered European Lawyer, Searle Court), Ted Shapiro (Vice President, Motion Pictures Association) and I all spoke about Technological Protection Measures (aka DRMs). You can probably guess that I was not too complimentary about the technology.

What I found interesting was that (a) a room full of copyright lawyers had very little idea of the very many technical problems with TPMs and (b) those that did were busy thinking up new crackpot schemes to "protect" their clients' 20th-century business models.

The current favourite seems to be that ISPs should be forced to monitor all exchanges of data and charge customers when a copyright work is spotted. When I asked how the spread of encryption could possibly be compatible with this scheme, they airily replied that only paedophiles use that technology and we would all be better off if it was banned. They obviously don't know that the US government already tried extremely hard to do this over about 25 years, and failed.

Given the ever-increasing focus on securing critical national infrastructures, anyone who hopes that governments will go down that road again is living in fantasy land. To think that companies are being charged several hundred pounds an hour for this type of advice…

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cryptography is only used by paedophiles, surely we should lock up everyone involved with producing CSS-encrypted DVDs, not to mention everybody involved in the military, government or police...

JohnB said...

Er, sorry and SSL is not crypto?

Anonymous said...

Sad. These guys should come in for brainscans, to find which parts of their clue lobes are damaged. Unless they've never used an ATM, a chip&PIN card, or bought anything online using that tricksy Pedo-only https..

Matthew said...

I think it should be legislated that all the personal mail, bank statements, business mail and private correspondance by these lawyers should be be conducted by public notices in all the national newspapers, since only paedophiles use the post office mail and envelopes.

After all, if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear.

Twats.

spinfire said...

Have these people heard of SSL? The only reason why the Internet is such a huge factor in world commerce is because encryption keeps that commerce secure.

Apparently encryption is OK when it is used for DRM and buying CDs and tunes over the Internet, but not for any other reason.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but does the post collect revenues on anything that is passed throught the mail that might infringe on copyrights?

bytehead said...

One word.

Idiots.

They really don't understand that DRM is exactly encryption. Let them ban encryption. And shove it down their throats when they realize that also includes their beloved DRM.

Anonymous said...

Why not just obliterate all our rights like the government is trying to do while they're at it. That's right. Because of copyright infringement, people should all be suspected terrorists. Good idea guy! *thumbs-up*

Anonymous said...

"They airily replied that only paedophiles use that technology and we would all be better off if it was banned."

I suppose only a paedophile use online pay services on HTTPS connections, and only paedophiles work from home on an encrypted VPN connection, and only a paedophile is at all concerned about privacy. :-p

Anonymous said...

cryptography is only used by drug-addled gaylords and paedos

Anonymous said...

Cryptography is the language of homosexuals and is against the word of G-d

Anonymous said...

I would like to know who made the outrageous suggestion that only paedophiles use encryption.

I routinely encyrpt my examination papers and draft calculations of university examination results.

Anyone who insists this should not be encyrpted is behaving unethically. If they are lawyers, they should be struck off for unethical behaviour.

Or do they want to copy examination papers and sell them to others?

The enclosure of the mind is as evil as the enclosure of the commons was in the 17th century.

Anonymous said...

They should have the phone companies monitor all calls in case someone threatens to kill the president or faxes over a copyrighted magazine article!

And, Toyota should monitor my every driving moment in case I speed or make an illegal left turn!

Anonymous said...

Clearly the anti-encryption attitude is directed specifically at individuals (since they don't bat an eyelash about corporations administering crypto). What a bunch of corporatist nutjobs.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that lawyers have a structural and hence almost universal dislike crypto: at its heart, crypto provides a near absolute obstruction to discovery; anything that so obstructs discovery obstructs litigation; anything that so obstructs litigation limits fees and career prospects, ergo except for shielding their own comms and scams, lawyers dislike crypto.

Florian said...

As part of the Panel I remember that the discussion were more open and differentiated. Personally, I am rather surprised about your selective reporting, Ian, but: whatever floats your boat, as they say. In any case, it seems to go down very well with your appreciative audience which I guess is fair enough. I am still hoping we have moved on since 1998 and can discuss DRM without the rather fatuous tora tora battle cries.