Copyright Wars Volumes 1 & 2

Greetings and salutations! On September 1, 2011 I had the great pleasure of publishing the first two volumes of my Copyright Wars series. They are up on both Amazon and Smashwords, and should be available on the Kobo, IBook, Diesel, and Sony Reader platforms in a few days. I published them under my imprint. Yes, […]

Technical Protection Measures – When They Work And When They Are A Disaster

I’ve been writing a lot about Technical Protection Measures (TPM) aka Digital Rights Management (DRM) over the last nine months, but one thing I haven’t covered is why some sorts of TPM appear to work, at least partially, and others are obvious failures. Since some appear to work (partially) people who don’t understand the technology and the market, think that all TPM systems should work. They ignore the failures, and what the failures are telling us.

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Enemy Or Why VP8 Is Important Even If It Came From Google

But everyone seems to be missing something. What if VP8 becomes the de facto standard? Remember that VP8 is an open standard. Totally open. This means that adding DRM to it will be difficult, if not impossible. So VP8 kills off Windows Media Video (WMV) and Quicktime as a video standards, just like MP3 killed off Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Quicktime as audio standards. Remember that one of the reasons that Microsoft and Apple fought MP3 was because MP3 wasn’t compatible with DRM, and the Frauhoffer Institute controlled the specification. Now we have the same situation with VP8, and we already know that Steve Jobs is panicking. You have to ask yourself why…

Simple – VP8 will destroy the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, ACTA, the new Canadian Copyright Act, the WIPO copyright treaties, and every other law which attempts to protect DRM. The ripping noise you hear is Hollywood tearing it’s hair out in clumps.

And now you know why the patent trolls at MPEG.LA are trying to sidetrack VP8 adoption.

Nina Paley Has A Wonderful Cartoon About DRM I’d Like To Share With You Thanks To Her Permission

Why does DRM open a system to additional exploits? Because there are more lines of code, and therefore more possibility of error. If you do a search on Google for the term ‘bugs per line of code’ you’ll find 10,800,000 results! Programmers know that this is a serious issue. For every additional thousand lines of code, there will be additional errors. Programmers aim for zero bugs, however it is impossible in a large, complex program like an operating system to achieve this, as there may be interrelationships that do not show up until after the product is shipped. The increasing complexity caused by the addition of Graphical User Interfaces, Networking, Web Browsers, Email Clients, etc. while useful from a user point of view, adds further points of attack. In cases where the various programs are tightly interrelated the problems will be worse, as an exploit in the email client may also allow the attack to work in the web browser (for example the Microsoft Outlook email client uses the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser to render HTML, which means an attack aimed at your web browser could be sent to you as an email message). Other operating systems do not have this problem, for example in Mac OSX the Mail application has it’s own internal HTML rendering engine, and while it is based on the same Webkit engine used in Safari, it does not call Safari. The same is true of the Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client. Both use the Gecko rendering engine, but they do not call each other, which limits the effects of any exploit.

Digital Right Management and/or Technical Protection Measures Cause Climate Change

The biggest problem with Digital Rights Management and/or Technical Protection Measures is that the biggest proponents of such schemes don’t understand the technology. For that reason I’m going to try to explain it in simple terms, that a non-programmer can understand. I’ve programmed for a long time. I got my start using punch cards on an IBM […]

Why Is Michael Geist In Favour Of Digital Rights Management/Technical Protection Measures?

The Apple IPad. The Amazon Kindle. The Microsoft XBox360. The Nintendo Wii. The Sony PS3. Blue Ray Players. All of these default to ‘DRM ON’ even if the author doesn’t want it. All of them push DRM at authors. None of them give the choice that the WIPO Treaty was supposed to provide. None of them are legal under the plain language of the treaty.

Amazon – Proving that the Kindle is the stupidest thing in town

OK, so you bought a Kindle, and you bought some books for it. You pick it up to read something, and it’s not there. Maybe you meant to buy it and forgot. Maybe Amazon deleted it. Seriously. When I first heard about this, I thought it was a mistake, but Amazon really does delete books […]