Posts tagged ‘laws’

Flash Away! Youtube, et al, Time to move to Ogg video!

Adobe was bad enough before, now that they own Macromedia (Flash and Dreamweaver, etc.), they aren’t satisfied with owning the most expensive ‘must have’ unfortunately web software — they want more! They want a piece of you and me, and everyone!

Adobe Push DRM for Flash

The immense popularity of sites like YouTube has unexpectedly turned Flash Video (FLV) into one of the de facto standards for Internet video. The proliferation of sites using FLV has been a boon for remix culture, as creators made their own versions of posted videos. And thus far there has been no widespread DRM standard for Flash or Flash Video formats; indeed, most sites that use these formats simply serve standalone, unencrypted files via ordinary web servers.

Now Adobe, which controls Flash and Flash Video, is trying to change that with the introduction of DRM restrictions in version 9 of its Flash Player and version 3 of its Flash Media Server software. Instead of an ordinary web download, these programs can use a proprietary, secret Adobe protocol to talk to each other, encrypting the communication and locking out non-Adobe software players and video tools. We imagine that Adobe has no illusions that this will stop copyright infringement — any more than dozens of other DRM systems have done so — but the introduction of encryption does give Adobe and its customers a powerful new legal weapon against competitors and ordinary users through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Much more in the article!

I say that it’s time for the likes of Youtube.com et al to move to open source Ogg Video!

It’s so sad that when a previously free and open ‘proprietary’ standard gets ‘full of themselves’ that all of a sudden, it’s smash the users and providers till it breaks their backs!

Unfortunately, “Adobe now has an incentive to push the use of DRM: it’s only available to sites that use Flash Media Server 3 software, which starts at over $4,000 (with extra fees depending on the number of simultaneous streams).

As if that isn’t bad enough, “Users may also have to upgrade their Flash Player software (and open source alternatives like Gnash, which has been making rapid progress, may be unable to play the encrypted streams at all). Third-party software that can download Flash Video, like the most recent RealPlayer, will also break.”

There are lots of good reasons why DRM is not viable. And here are just a few of them from the article:

Finally, there’s a classic suite of arguments against DRM that will be as true for online video as they were for music. DRM doesn’t move additional product. DRM is grief for honest end-users. And there’s no reason to imagine that new DRM systems will stop copyright infringement any more effectively than previous systems.

More in the article.

Also, I think it is very deceptive. Allow folks to make use of a format till it’s ubiquitous! THEN!!! Encrypt it and lock it up! People will ‘THINK’ it’s all the same old Flash as always — very friendly as always. They will have no idea what hit them or their computers.

Totally disgusted about this. IF THEY WERE GOING TO START DOING THIS. They should have created a totally NEW DRM’d video delivery product with a new name so we users could avoid it like the plague, and kept Flash as it was. That would have prevented confusion about what this ‘new’ format was all about, as compared to the well-known Flash format, and just kept Flash as it was.

They quietly started this crap with Flash 9.x. But it’s not till some companies start making use of this new $4,000 DRM nightmare that folks will begin to really see the head of this monster.

I think Google‘s Youtube, et al should stop using Flash and go with an open source type of video delivery system. Maybe help the open source Ogg/Theora Video Projects or some of the others that EFF mentioned in their article.

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1984. Max Headroom. Brave New World. Time Machine. I Robot.

Why these books? I personally believe there is an element of truth in all science fiction. Maybe not as written, but the concepts upon which they are written.

1984. For those who have not read this rather sick and twisted version of a future no one wants to be a part of. It is a cult classic, science fiction tale of extrapolation of the worst possible scenario that could happen. At least in my humble opinion. I enjoyed reading it as I have many other great piece of literature. It was masterfully written, enveloping, and although I don’t believe we will live to see this happen, I do see some inklings of things that niggle.

Regardless of how folks feel about the book itself, there are some amazing quotes from George Orwell’s 1984 that we all should be aware of.

The mantra of INGSOC presented by the “Ministry of Truth”:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Two particularly interesting paragraphs at the beginning of the book speak about the signs everywhere with the black-mustachio’d face gazing right into your eyes from everywhere, with the words, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” as a caption. He also indicated the police patroled in helicopters peering in homes, but they didn’t matter, it was only the “Thought Police” that mattered.

Winston, the main character, was trying to remain, what he considered to be sane in the midst of insanity around him where truth was lies, and lies were truth, and truth was only what they were told it was.

He began to write his thoughts down in a hidden book, hidden, at least he thought it was hidden, from the “Thought Police.”

There were televisions in each home, but these televisions were two way -receivers and transmitters of both audio and video – and you never knew when they would be ‘tuned’ into your particular television. Something that would be unnerving to anyone.

His first words in his journal was the date April 4th, 1984 and after some thoughts, he began to madly write thoughts down. Then after some ‘normal’ everyday things happened, including strange mind control rallies where everyone was ‘encouraged’ to take part. Winston sat in his little ‘apartment’ and after realizing that “only the “Thought Police” would read what he wrote before they wiped it out of existence and out of memory. He wondered how you could appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive.” He began writing again,

To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone–to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone:
From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink–greetings!

After some rather morbid contemplation, he wrote again:

Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime was death.

He knew first hand how someone could be wiped out; his job was part of the process of rewriting history to reflect the current needs of ‘the Party.’

It is really a very sad story of a man, driven quite mad by the insane life forced upon him and the insane thinking forced upon him by the ‘Party.’

There was no freedom, no true living, no hope.

One final thought from the book, toward the end of the book in one interview with O’Brien, who apparently is trying to convince Winston of the ‘Party’ truth’…

O’Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.

‘There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,’ he said. ‘Repeat it, if you please.’

‘”Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,”‘ repeated Winston obediently.

‘”Who controls the present controls the past,”‘ said O’Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. ‘Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?’

Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston. His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not only did not know whether ‘yes’ or ‘no’ was the answer that would save him from pain; he did not even know which answer he believed to be the true one.

O’Brien smiled faintly. ‘You are no metaphysician, Winston,’ he said. ‘Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?’

‘No.’

‘Then where does the past exist, if at all?’

‘In records. It is written down.’

‘In records. And—-?’

‘In the mind. In human memories.’

‘In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?’

In our current world of ‘political correctness’, and the wishing to do away with a past that might bother some folks, where wonderful technologies are being created, and used by, or made use of by, massive companies who in turn make use of agencies to control them, and by association, those who make use of them – Well, that could make something ‘like’ these scifi scenarios, like 1984 and others, or the equally unacceptable future in the Max Headroom scifi television series, actually come to pass some day in the future…

This book along with so many other great scifi books really do have some (hopefully) twisted elements of truth in them, but they are still very interesting. Science Fiction is the mind out to play, searching for a combination of possible future science and social responses…and maybe to in some small way, foresee or forewarn.

I genuinely hope we never live to see anything like this come to pass. But it’s great fiction, and thought provoking, none the less.

NOTE: Originally posted: March 2005 (recreated from my original mangled blogspot.com blog)

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