– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

07. Sep 2006

Defective By Design: Artikel om kopibeskyttelse/DRM i Boston-avisen Weekly Dig

I en længere artikel i Boston-avisen The Weekly Dig kommer man ganske rundt om en forklaring på, hvad elektronisk kopibeskyttelse (som vi kender det fra f.eks. iTunes) egentlig går ud på, og hvorfor det på langt sigt er en alvorlig trussel mod friheder, vi i dag tager mere eller mindre for givet:
We’re at a critical juncture in human history, you see. Barbarians at the gates. Liberty and wallets hanging in the balance. The Free Software Foundation has nine months, maybe a year, to land a haymaker on the media/electronics cartel, or we’re all going to be screwed. The cartel wields an unfathomable amount of political and economic influence, and it doesn’t help that the average consumer can’t parse the ins and outs of the dreaded acronym, DRM, that’s at the center of this fight.

The FSF's executive director, Peter Brown, is unfazed by the long odds. Sitting in the foundation’s offices, fiddling with his laptop and rocking a GNU/Linux T-shirt, Brown lays out a commonsense argument for toppling the cartel’s imposition of DRM that’s equal parts Thomas Paine and Bill Clinton: It’s the freedom, stupid.
Essentially, DRM is code that dictates how devices and media function. It exists ostensibly to combat piracy, but increasingly it’s being used as a tool to let the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America slither into consumers’ computers and living rooms. In its various incarnations, DRM can prevent CD and DVD copying; restrict the number of times iTunes songs can be burned or copied; block viewers from fast-forwarding through DVDs and DVR’ed TV commercials; and impair cross-brand operability, like when it prevents Napster songs from loading onto your iPod. And remember the Sony rootkit that spied on your computer, exposed your personal data to hackers and then fried your CD drive when you tried to uninstall it? That was DRM, too.
Dybest set handler hele spørgsmålet om kopibeskyttelse om, hvem der ejer din computer, din DVD-afspiller eller harddisk-optager, og om hvem, der ejer de film, du har købt.

Skal du have lov til at låne et eksemplar ud til en ven? Skal du have lov til at sælge filmen igen, eller vil den nægte at lade sig afspille på andre maskiner, når først den har været brugt i én?

Og skal det være muligt for producenter at gå ud og "slukke" for muligheden for at afspille TV-udsendelser, du har optaget på din video- eller DVD-optager? Den teknologi, selskaberne har tænkt sig at indføre, overtræder nogle grænser, man ikke før har set krænket - og efterlader døren pivåben, så f.eks. statslige myndigheder kan følge efter:
Increasingly, Brown says, media companies are writing restrictive DRM directly into hardware. Under a bill being pushed right now by Alaska Senator Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens, digital radio, television and media will include so-called broadcast flags that will tell recording devices that they’re not permitted to record programs. Manufacturers may be able to remotely switch off Blu-ray DVD players, and other digital devices will be able to monitor media and alert the authorities when impermissible activity occurs.

Why all the fascism? "The need to have media companies at all is disappearing," argues Brown. "You can create and distribute music on your own, all the delivery systems are free, the networking is free—where do you need a media company? DRM is a way to close all these alternate systems down. All we’re trying to do is slow the adoption of DRM long enough to give these new models a chance."

"All this stuff is being introduced in the hardware that’s coming this holiday season,” Brown warns. “The corporations are saying that all these technologies won’t be operable at first, but what they’re doing is getting us to take down our old devices, getting these DRM devices into our homes and then switching on the DRM over time."
Link til artiklen i Boston Weekly Dig.
Link til Free Software Foundations kampagne Defective By Design.