Friday, March 05, 2010

DRM busted again - Bad Investments (click this title for DRM free works)

Boing Boing gave space to the debate on digital copyright. There is logic, emotion, idiocy, and infantile weeping - and that describes the folks that bothered putting expensive and always ineffectiveDRM controls on the buyers of products they sell.

Boing Boing also printed the code used to break the unstoppable DRM by Ubisoft. AC2, Assassin's creed 2, is now a free willy. Normal buyers rights have been restored to purchasers that know how to insert the code.

Copyright on digital media never works - never.

Yet companies spend millions, and waste developers that could create products to please customers, on trying to frustrate customers. Sometimes the Million dollar DRM protections take minutes to break -- this unbreakable DRM took less than a day. And they will do it again - how do you explain such idiotic investments to your stockholders? "We want to teach the nameless hoards a lesson."

And you call yourself business people? Or worse you call yourself gamers and create a game you can't win? Save money - invent and play Tic-Tac-Toe.

"Strange Game Professor. The only way to win is to not play." about nuclear war, from the movie War Games

imagine book publishers (they are working on their own ways to go out of business) trying to:

get all libraries closed

create books that self destruct unless they read your fingerprint.

file punitive law suits if you let a friend read part of *your* book

Throw you in jail if you sell or buy a used book.

And waisting millions inventing new chastity belts for lock smith's girlfriends. Locks that use antique skeleton keys.

The best part of the comment debate on Digital Rights Management comes from Cory Doctorow. For those of you unfamiliar with Doctorow, he is a best selling author, and also publishes all of his books online in many downloadable formats. Very good books. Free Downloads. And he still sells many traditionally published and marketed copies.

Cory gets it - and he's quoted it somewhere. The vast majority of book readers know only a few authors, and buy few books. An author's enemy is not the copy machine, or lending libraries, or friends passing books to friends. An author's enemy is obscurity.

Here is Cory's comment answering a prior childish comment rant:

First of all, the reason people stop at stop signs has nothing to do with the law. That's just a dumb thing to say. 99% of the time, people could *not* stop at stop-signs and not get arrested. The reason people stop at stop signs is that stopping at stop signs is a reasonable social contract.

As to being nice to old people: if you believe that the reason people are nice to old people is that the law compels them to:

a) You are making reference to a nonexistent law

b) You are possibly a sociopath

The reason people are nice to old people is that people are generally nice to one another.

DRM has no connection with preventing piracy. Pirates download the DRM-cracked versions. DRM on music is there to reduce the rights that you get in copyright -- the right to play your music on a competitor's device, the right to sell or give away your music, and so on. These rights are enshrined in law, but DRM is a loophole to copyright law, since breaking DRM is prohibited even for people who are making otherwise lawful uses.

The reason people break DRM is that is makes unreasonable, unilateral incursions on your property rights: your right to lawfully enjoy the products you purchase, in lawful ways. The reason I celebrate breaks to DRM is that they show:

1. That the technical hypothesis that DRM will prevent piracy is ridiculous

2. That the public has the capacity to reassert its rights under law and practice and restore the reasonable social contract between creators and audiences.

You tell 'em Cory!

If you are thinking, "I'll bet you wouldn't say that if it was your art, art you had created, others were using without permission."

Hackers End Game - Complicit Simplicity. That's my book, a hacker's novel, all free, all online. Use it, copy it, send it to your friends. There are at least three prequels, and a dozen or two stories of minor characters you can use, or make movies, paintings, or games from Complicit Simplicity. Make it yours.

I would like a shout out if you like it, but it's your choice. I've even put the back story, Complicity Universe online. Dig in, play, create, craft. explore.

I can see a value in patents for inventors, give them a year or so to profit from their invention before others make a profit improving it. If other's can't improve it, they have a Kleenex - a first mover advantage that will run for years.

But copyright?

Over 50 years ago Walt Disney drew a mouse. Walt's dead. The bloated and arrogant company that now manages the mouse is still making hundreds of millions from his creation. And effectively suing nurseries that have the audacity to paint cartoon characters on their walls. There's an idea. Proclaim you are the company the owns cave wall drawings and you want credit for every drawing since.

That's copyright. Oh you might have to add an extra line to the original Buffalo's tail every 50 years. But all drawings now belong to you - Pay up Picasso.

Now I'm starting to rant. Back on point - DRM as a concept shows its flaws in the mirror of reality. DRM as a business proposition should get all senior management fired.

For obsessively nursing the equivalent of:

"I'll show that English teacher, I'll missspeel a werd."

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Its really hard to enforce copyrights online.

1:30 PM  

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