I think there are four aspects to this that should probably be treated
separately, but are somewhat lumped together in your article.
1. Copyright Protection
2. The reality of what corporates claim is "copyright protection"
3. Controlling what people can/can't do with their own kit (and more)
4. Government spying claiming it's for "National Security"
In the case of #1, if a game company puts a scratch on their CD and a
big warning saying it's copy protected, but this CD does not harm
anyone's computer in any way, then I don't see the end user has a
justified complaint. If they don't like games they can't copy, then go
to a different company.
In the case of #2, this is where corporation X secretly installs SpyWare
onto the end-user's computer as soon as the end-user opens their
music/software (or in some cases merely visits their internet site).
This has been going on for years, but was more heavily publicized in the
case of Sony BMG and the root-kit. The corporations claim they are
merely "protecting their intellectual property" and "informing customers
about our wonderful products and services". In this case, the
corporation is COMPLETELY in the wrong, and should be attacked and
boycotted. In the US it seems people assume anything installed by a
big-name corporation is safe? Thing is, these back-doors can see a lot
more than any corporation's legitimate claim of it's use for tracking
copyright breach. A common defense is that the end-user clicked some
button and therefore "must have agreed" to our terms, but sometimes
those terms are not legal outside the US, especially where privacy and
minors are concerned.
In the case of #3 and trusted computing, this is just plain WRONG.
Imagine if Intel and Microsoft struck a deal where suddenly you can only
run Windows on your Intel based machine? You try to install Linux and it
says "WARNING UNTRUSTED EXECUTION, SYSTEM HALTED". But a more likely
scenario is where you'll find all Microsoft programs "just work", but
every time you try to run an Open Source program you get an annoying
dialog "YOU ARE TRYING TO RUN AN UNTRUSTED PROGRAM", and then some long
drawn out list of how to obtain certificates etc.
(Actually, from what I've heard about Vista, even Microsoft's OWN
programs cause pop-up warnings).
In the case of #4, the idea is that the "government knows best" and
therefore everyone should allow government SpyWare on their machines and
anyone who protests must be a "terrorist".
As I see it, the way forward for DRM and trusted computing will annoy
people and they will end up shunning it. To some extent this is
happening already, but even Adobe is in on the act now with their secure
PDFs and most end users will simply end up with what they're given with
their next hardware purchase - e.g. Windows Vista with everything locked
down and DRM enabled. I hope the GNU people get it together to outlaw
DRM in their new license. One other thing to note is that no one outside
the US/UK gives a damn about any corporation's rights to anything; in
Japan and China, copying is the "norm".
I'd be interested to know if it makes any difference if you use AMD/Sun
Shane M. Coughlan wrote:
Hi FreeDOS guys :)
As well as making OpenGEM for FreeDOS, I spend time helping the Free
Software Foundation Europe. One of our big topics of late has been DRM
and 'Trusted Computing', and I have just written a little article about
I'd really value any comments you may have.
I think these issues are really important to all Free Software
development. FreeDOS (for instance) does not really help spread
multimedia and therefore is largely excluded from the DRM conversation.
But what about in the future when only trusted software runs on trusted
hardware? Suddenly this wonderful system (FreeDOS) might not be usable
by people, even if they want to try it. We could be a victim of
Just a though...it's something that has been concerning me lately.
Gerry Hickman (London UK)
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