Why do people get so bogged down in the minutia?

If a proprietary software vendor wants to write proprietary software or hardware drivers for Linux and IF users want to use it, fine. Let them.

But the GPL doesn’t have to cater to them and allow something that is the antithesis of what open source software stands for … the ability to have the code and make it better if you so desire and give back to the community in the process.

David Berlind did a piece on the newest revision of the GPL, and even he and Linus seems to be wondering if the GPL should allow certain things related to DRM into the GPL, but at least David Berlind still feels it would be better if DRM was gone.

They have moved DRM for computers to a hardware/software/driver solution. We do not need that crap in Linux as a whole. Only those who wish to make use of copy protected or copy restricted content will need such things.

In the past, if a Linux user wanted to ‘taint the kernel‘ with proprietary software or drivers, they were free to do so in order to get their stuff to work. Why should that change? Why should the GPL be less that it is intended to be from the beginning? Free (as in free speech not beer) and open? If someone gets ‘open source’ or ‘free software’ it should be just that. Period. Proprietary things can be made available IF some users wish to use them.

Calling them part of the GPL open source will only cause more problems down the road.

Let the users themselves make the choice to use or not to use proprietary counterparts. If they don’t want DRM on their computers, then they should not have it foisted on them by some software that claims to be open source or GPL sanctioned — they should not have to worry about whether some restrictive DRM will be dropped on their computer in the process of installing open source/GPL sanctioned software to view/listen to/play content or get drivers/modules.

What is so hard about that?

I really loved the comment by Edward Meyers:

DRM is not there to prevent copyright infringement
The main purpose of DRM is not to prevent copyright infringement nor to prevent piracy. The main purpose of DRM is to give the publishers rights which they don’t have under copyright law.

CSS is a good example. CSS is used to enforce Region Encoding on DVDs. What CSS does is scrambles the playback if you try to Play a DVD in a region in which it is not encoded. Copyright law does not give the right holder the exclusive right to control playback. CSS does not prevent ripping, making an exact copy of the DVD. CSS prevents playing the DVD.

Every DRM scheme ever introduced to date has been broken http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/drmhacks.ars/1 and you know what? The Media companies could care less.

You know why?

Although it doesn’t stop piracy, this level of DRM may be good enough for most labels. It helps to instill a belief in the public that they can only do with their media what their media allows them to do (as opposed to exercising fair use rights, which may prove more broad than DRM restrictions). This type of thinking will enable media companies to better monetize their core products by selling them multiple times—movies on DVD, then again on Blu-ray, then once more for PSP, maybe a fourth time for your iPod, and a couple bucks for the privilege of time-shifting.

DRM need not be complicated to accomplish this. Even simple and highly-breakable encryption schemes have thrown up a legal barrier (courtesy of the DMCA) that will deter many average Americans from backing up their DVD collection (and then buying Finding Nemo a second time when the toddler sticks the disc in the toaster)

That is the true purpose behind DRM.
Posted by: Edward Meyers Posted on: 07/28/06

Well said!

For me, DRM or not DRM was never about piracy because it will never stop true piracy or copyright infringement, ever. What it is designed to do is rob users of our control of what we do with what we buy in order to make more money. Edward Meyers is right on the money here as is Cory Doctorow in his DRM Talk (presented at Microsoft by the way). And most of us just want to back up what we buy and use it across our media players and not be hampered or locked down like common criminals.

DRM is made for the LEAST technically sophisticated among us, and they are trying to indoctrinate our children into their way of thinking with curriculum in schools as well (thankfully EFF got involved and there will be a somewhat better curriculum due to that interaction, at least in California).

We have Apple and iTunes to thank for much of the previous indoctrination unfortunately. Apple took something that was anathema and turned it into something people were willing to put their money on….because it was the LEAST obtrusive DRM available. Now masses of people have all this money locked up in DRM restricted tunes/movies/games/files that they would lose a bundle if they couldn’t get to them.

Fine, let them have their proprietary crap if they want it, but don’t change open source, free software, the GPL to fit in with the Entertainment cartels control freak scheme.

Just my two cents. If I am missing something here, please feel free to comment to set the record straight.


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