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Apple Businesses Your Rights Online

DMCA bad for Apple Users 304

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-to-mention-everyone-else dept.
Aguazul writes "TidBITS has published a really strong article on the DMCA and on how this is bad for Apple users, with some good links and suggestions for action. The author, Adam Engst, is regularly voted the most influential person in the Mac world outside of Apple, so this is a serious wake-up call to Apple users everywhere."
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DMCA bad for Apple Users

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  • by Dr Thrustgood (625498) <ThrustGood@spamoff.atari.co.uk> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:30AM (#4705913)
    Whilst the DMCA is undoubtedly bad, it's not just about Apple users - it's bad in full. Bad bad bad, bad to the teeth, bad bad bad bad bad bad!

    Can't we all get together on this just for once?
    • by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:22AM (#4706401) Homepage Journal
      Goddammit, why can't we get together and do something about this? Why don't we geeks create some infrastructure where people can create, review, rate, and sell content at a fair price? No, geeks can't just come out and do something that will affect joe sixpack and his ??AA overlords, but why not create the infrastructure for ourselves, and use it fairly, let joe sixpack join if he wants. Every indy artist has one or two geek friends.... if you build it, they will come.
      • Uh, we already have. It's called "The Internet" and various ancillary systems and software. The problem is that certain forces don't WANT people to be able to easily create and and transfer content easily. What we want - ease of use, complete "fair use" rights, etc. is at odds with what they want - strict control on our ability to use the content. I strongly question whether it's possible even in theory to develop a system which satisfies both parties.
  • of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mirko (198274) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:32AM (#4705925) Journal
    Apple is known as *the* creative people's platform, look at how many sound engineers use Logic or ProTools on Mac, enumerate Avid's video users, Photoshop's/MacOS hardcore DTP'ists...
    Now if they can't use some existing copyrighted work in private to flex their creative muscles, they won't be creative anymore...

    (I wrote "is known as", it doesn't mean I actually endorse this vision)
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:37AM (#4705972) Journal
    Hmmm, the link is dead. *Somebody* must not want us to see it...
  • by Shuh (13578) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:38AM (#4705980) Journal
    One has to wonder: if you produce something on your Mac, are you going to be able to tap into all that DMCA pay-as-you-play goodness, or are you going to need a DRM-authorship liscense to distribute your wares that is only affordable to the largest media companies? Something to think about...
  • True story... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aslagle (441969) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:39AM (#4705995)
    A friend of mine owns a Mac, which he bought with a CD-R drive.

    Another buddy was being driven to frustration trying to edit digital video on his PC. So, my Mac friend hauls his Mac over, and they go out and buy iDVD.

    Turns out that Apple has put a firmware check in the software. When you launch it, iDVD checks for an Apple DVD player, and if it doesn't find one, doesn't load.

    "Ah!" My friend says, "I'll just buy a DVD burner...I wanted one anyway!"

    But Apple won't sell you a bare drive. If you want a DVD burner, you have to buy a whole new Mac.

    An enterprising man made software that would sit between iDVD and a 'regular' DVD burner, and make iDVD think it was an Apple drive. Apple threatened him under the DMCA, and got him to remove his software from the market.

    • Re:True story... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mcwetboy (561083) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:42AM (#4706018) Homepage Journal
      Since you can't buy iDVD separately (i.e., without a Mac equipped with an internal DVD burner), I call bullshit on this "true" story.
      • Re:True story... (Score:3, Informative)

        by clifyt (11768)
        Ummm...I've always had distain for folks that 'call bullshit' on things anyways so I'll respond.

        http://www.apple.com/idvd/upgrade/

        Yeah the page says 'Upgrade' but its the full application...I bought it here and was hoping to use it on my iBook and was a little miffed when it didn't work as well, but I also knew they said it wouldn't work as its spelled out in the system requirements (I was hoping the hack would allow me to edit the stuff and then burn it to my G4 later).

        clif
        • Re:True story... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mcwetboy (561083)
          Try buying an upgrade version of Office, Windows or Photoshop to save money without having an earlier version installed. Are you going to be miffed if that doesn't work either? It's not the company's fault if you try to save money by trying to get around their requirements and it doesn't work.
          • Again, I read the requirements and took the risk that it wouldn't work. For $20 who am I to complain -- I thought the hack might work...it didn't.

            But don't tell me that one can't buy the software online. I wiped my G4 when I installed OSX and didn't have anything on it except the OS. iDVD2 installed anyways. Didn't do any checks except to see that the drive was present. Its the full version.
        • Re:True story... (Score:5, Informative)

          by MoneyT (548795) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:30AM (#4706504) Journal
          From the Apple wb page for getting the 2.1 upgrade:
          Check the minimum system requirements:
          iDVD 2.0 or later.
          Mac OS X, v10.1.3 or later.
          Any Power Macintosh G4, G4 iMac, or eMac equipped with a built-in Apple SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW drive).
          Minimum of 256MB of RAM installed with 384MB recommended.


          From the FAQ:
          Can I use iDVD 2 with other CD-R or DVD-R drives?
          No. iDVD 2 is designed to work only with the Apple SuperDrive available on certain configurations of iMac and Power Mac G4 computers.


          It's not their fault you didn't read the information clearly presented before you bought it.
          • he said *** but I also knew they said it wouldn't work as its spelled out in the system requirements (I was hoping the hack would allow me to edit the stuff and then burn it to my G4 later).
            ***

            he knew it might not work(without a hack, and that hack he missed).
    • First of all, you can't buy iDVD separately, so your friend was probably pirating to begin with.

      That said, Apple has to pay a licensing fee for for the technology in iDVD and that fee is included in the purchase of the computer (y'know, those overpriced ones?).
    • Re:True story... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hype7 (239530) <u3295110@[ ].edu.au ['anu' in gap]> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:54AM (#4706115) Journal
      "Ah!" My friend says, "I'll just buy a DVD burner...I wanted one anyway!"


      But Apple won't sell you a bare drive. If you want a DVD burner, you have to buy a whole new Mac.

      An enterprising man made software that would sit between iDVD and a 'regular' DVD burner, and make iDVD think it was an Apple drive. Apple threatened him under the DMCA, and got him to remove his software from the market.


      That's called "bending the truth". For your friend to have had a possession of iDVD without having purchased a mac with a DVD burner in built, he must have pirated the software.

      Apple's application of the DMCA wasn't because he had modified the software. It was because his need to modify the software arose only due to pirating iDVD.

      Apple's application of the law in this instance is entirely defendable.

      -- james
      • Re:True story... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by halftrack (454203)
        This is sort of besides your point, but why on earth couldn't he get the iDVD (legally (I don't support piracy)) for his excisting mac and buy a DVD burner? MS is a convicted monopolistic force, but I think we ought to be glad Apple is small compared to MS. They controll - as proved by this post - the users choise of hardware and software and dictate unfair (though legal) policies on consumers.

        To keep this slightly on-topic, I think it's great that Apple is taking a stand (haven't read the article, /.ed), but it's probably not because it's 'the right thing to do.' They probably just find it a profitable view (or they're building market share.)

        There are no nice companies. IBM might support Linux and play by the rules, but their just looking after their market share.
        • Re:True story... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hype7 (239530) <u3295110@[ ].edu.au ['anu' in gap]> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:11AM (#4706266) Journal
          This is sort of besides your point, but why on earth couldn't he get the iDVD (legally (I don't support piracy)) for his excisting mac and buy a DVD burner? MS is a convicted monopolistic force, but I think we ought to be glad Apple is small compared to MS. They controll - as proved by this post - the users choise of hardware and software and dictate unfair (though legal) policies on consumers.


          To be perfectly honest, this is the real reason that they asked the update to be pulled. Kinda comes back to Apple's mantra - if it can't work reliably, it can't work. They didn't want iDVD etc out there with a whole lot of untested DVD burners.

          It was pulled after a whole lot of support issues cropped up on the Apple support website. Which is fair enough.

          -- james
        • Because the cost of a dvd encoder for every MacOS sold would raise the price considerably.

          It's prety black and white, and apple is clearly in the white. Do a little more reading on this topic and you will realize the posts on slashdot under "Apple enforces the DMCA" are prety much all incorrect.
      • Re:True story... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Nomad7674 (453223) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:07AM (#4706230) Homepage Journal
        That's called "bending the truth". For your friend to have had a possession of iDVD without having purchased a mac with a DVD burner in built, he must have pirated the software.

        Actually, this is not necesarily true. My brother just bought one of the new 1 GHz TiBooks without a DVD-R drive and it came included with iDVD. It was apparently just cheaper to have one standard build of the software for the 1 GHz TiBooks. Legal copy, no DVD-R.

        • Re:True story... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by lemkebeth (568887) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:12AM (#4706277)
          Quite true.

          The thing is the software does not support other drives. If another manufacter wants to sell a DVD burner then they have to either do one of two things if they want it to work with Macs.

          1. Write their own
          2. License someone else (even iDVD). No one has obtained a license to bundle iDVD therefore it is not sold or supported to work with it.
      • i did. and, of course, it's very tough to find some fine print that says it requires a super drive.

        i ended up spending around $600 for idvd and a dvd-r drive and firewire enclosure only to find out that idvd only supports superdives.

        so in fact, apple's application of the dmca is not cool. in my case, i would have loved to have the patch for that and in fact i looked for quite a while and then just gave up.

        apple has a nifty os & apps just to sell the hardware. just like m$ has a crappy os to sell office software..
        • by mttlg (174815) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @12:47PM (#4707255) Homepage Journal

          i did. and, of course, it's very tough to find some fine print that says it requires a super drive.

          Yeah, very tough. I mean, you'd have to read the FAQ or the item description at the Apple Store.

          From the iDVD FAQ [apple.com]:

          When it comes to burning DVDs, iDVD 2 is designed to work only with the iMac and Power Mac G4 computers with SuperDrive. DVD Studio Pro can be used with the SuperDrive as well as with third-party DVD-R drives on Macintosh computers that don't ship with a DVD-R drive.

          ...

          Can I use iDVD 2 with other CD-R or DVD-R drives?
          No. iDVD 2 is designed to work only with the Apple SuperDrive available on certain configurations of iMac and Power Mac G4 computers.

          From The Apple Store [apple.com]:

          System Requirements

          • Any Power Macintosh G4 or G4 iMac equipped with a built-in Apple SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW drive).
          • Minimum of 256MB of RAM installed with 384MB recommended.
          • Requires Mac OS X, v10.1.3 or later.

          Apple is obviously trying to hide this information by putting it in plain sight, those damn sneaky bastards...

          apple has a nifty os & apps just to sell the hardware. just like m$ has a crappy os to sell office software..

          Yes, and McDonald's uses free toys to sell Happy meals, and Sports Illustrated uses the swimsuit issue to sell magazine subscriptions, and cereal manufacturers use toys and junk to sell puffed corn and/or colored marshmallows, etc. The difference between all of these (Apple included) and Microsoft is that freebies that people actually want are being used as a competitive advantage instead of monopoly power. And this is the way things are supposed to work - convince me to buy something by offering something I actually want. Apple clearly has it right, because lots of people seem to want to use iDVD. It's not Apple's fault that you went about getting it the wrong way.

      • Sorry, wrong. (Score:4, Informative)

        by mblase (200735) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:51AM (#4706733)
        That's called "bending the truth". For your friend to have had a possession of iDVD without having purchased a mac with a DVD burner in built, he must have pirated the software.

        Um, no. iDVD is freely downloadable from Apple's Web site [apple.com].

        As for not supporting other DVD burners, there's two reasons for this. One is because Apple wants to propel sales of SuperDrive-equipped Macs, which is within their rights to do (after all, the iDVD software is completely free). Those who want to use external third-party burners may pay big bucks for DVD Studio Pro [apple.com]. The second reason is because Apple needs to support drivers for all those other burners, and they'd rather spend their time right now developing the software. iTunes followed the same curve: it initially only supported Apple-branded CD burners, then gradually expanded its support for third-party burners as the software matured.

        However, it is possible to buy a SuperDrive (Pioneer DVR-105 [pioneerelectronics.com]) direct from its manufacturer and install it in a G4 Mac. So upgrading isn't completely out of the question, it's just a very narrow range of options.
        • Re:Sorry, wrong. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Tide (8490) <chadNO@SPAMchadsdomain.com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @12:24PM (#4707054) Homepage
          It's not downloadable, why do people keep thinking it is. 2.1 is and *update* to 2.0. You can *order* 2.1 full version on DVD for shipping only (19.95). Apple doesn't host this rather large download, since anyone and their mother would try to download it (1.06 GB). There are plenty of places you can get an Apple SuperDrive, slap in your machine and install iDVD. Worked fine for me.
    • Re:True story... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sharrestom (531929)
      Actually, you can buy, as I did, an upgrade copy of iDVD2 for $19.95, (which is actually the full version), and install an aftermarket DVR-A04, which is recognized by iDVD. iDVD does not recognize an external DVD drive, and will not launch if a internal drive is not found. The software patch for an external drive, as I recall, was created by one of the fellows at Small Dog Electronics, who heeded Apples warning, and stopped providing said software. This may or may not be about DCMA, but Apple chose to portray it as such, as the story goes.
      • So you buy an upgrade version with (I assume) a licence that requires you to own a copy of iDVD1. Just because you paid for the upgrade doesn't mean you have a licence to use the software if you don't have the first version.
      • Re:True story... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lemkebeth (568887)
        It was Other World Computing (OWC) not Small Dog.

        Small Dog knows better.

        OWC has done some stupid things in the past.
    • FUD (Score:2, Informative)

      by splateagle (557203)
      before FUDing first check your facts: iDVD is a *FREE DOWNLOAD* and like all the other iApps it explicitly lists it's system requirements in the download page: (see http://www.apple.com/idvd/download)

      as for support for third party DVD burners, your "friend" (assuming they exist) could have bought DVD Studio Pro, Apple's retail product for driving such devices.

      Apple didn't hammer the guy over the iDVD hack because he was on the side of the little guy, but because his software was killing their sales by enabling users of a freebe iApp to get the same functionality they're expected to pay for from the retail apps.
      • Re:FUD (Score:4, Informative)

        by benh57 (525452) <bhines@@@alumni...ucsd...edu> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:07AM (#4706234) Homepage
        Totally wrong. iDVD is *NOT* a free download. That's just a small iDVD 2.1 updater. See the system requirements:

        iDVD 2.0 or later. Mac OS X, v10.1.3 or later. Any Power Macintosh G4, G4 iMac, or eMac equipped with a built-in Apple SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW drive). Minimum of 256MB of RAM installed with 384MB recommended.

        The iDVD DVD (it comes on DVD) has well over a gig of data on it, and you will only find it for download on warez servers.

    • Re:True story... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:17AM (#4706337)
      Problem #1: iDVD issues.
      You can't buy iDVD without buying a new Mac either. So your friend probably pirated iDVD.

      Apple sells Macs. That's how they make money. As an incentive to buy a high-end Mac, Apple throws iDVD in as a free pack-in with systems that have a DVD burner. Apple doesn't include iDVD with every Mac, just the ones with DVD burners. iDVD(unlike the rest of the i-apps) is not free. Apple didn't invest their money in developing iDVD just to have a thousand other companies give it away with DVD drives that take sales away from Apple's bottom line.

      If you want a DVD burner, get one from Pioneer($400). If you want encoding software, Apple is more than happy to sell you DVD Studio Pro, which works with any DVD burner($1000). If you want DVD burning software, Roxio has a kickin' version of Toast 5($100). Just don't expect to get freebies when you haven't paid your dues. The above solution will only cost you $1500. A new Mac with DVD burning capability can cost as little as $1000(check ebay [ebay.com] or smalldog [smalldog.com] for an old G4/733 system with a SuperDrive).

      Problem #2: Editing video.
      You don't need iDVD to edit digital video.

      What you really needed was iMovie, which is included for free with every Mac. It's also available for download from Apple.

      Then you can burn VCD's with Toast or dump the video back to the PC and burn with whatever PC burning software you like.

      Problem #3: Replacement parts.
      Apple sells replacement parts, including SuperDrives.

      If you wanted one that badly, and wanted it to work with your questionable copy of iDVD, then you should've gotten a "replacement" SuperDrive.

      Of course, this wouldn't be cheap, but at least it would work. And you'd have to pay Apple for their product. What a concept.

      Problem #4: Entitlement.
      You assume Apple owes you something. They don't.

      Apple makes the whole widget. If it breaks, get a replacement part. If you just want to upgrade, well, go buy a new widget. It's their business, and it seems to pay rather well. Get over it. They don't owe you a damn thing. Especially not when you're expecting them to give their livelihood away for free.

      Problem #5: The DMCA.
      The DMCA is a problem.

      Of course, in this instance, the DMCA was doing exactly what it was supposed to do - protect a copyrighted work. Software is a copyrighted work, iDVD included. If Apple(who owns the copyright) says that you can't use it that way, then you can't use it that way! It's their decision. There was a validity check in the software. To bypass that without permission from the copyright holder is wrong. (This applies to DVDs too, since you can make a bit-for-bit copy as a backup, and you can still use it on your PC. You can even make a disk image. You just can't break CSS.)

      The End...
      I'm sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but it's rather irritating to see all these jackals leeching off of one of the few companies that's actually trying to do something right(or at least different). Support them with your dollars if you want to use their product. If you don't want to pay, don't use it.

      Matt
    • Re:True story... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Titanium Orc (626195)
      I personally have a G4 which came with the standard dvd-rom drive, and I upgraded the drive with the pioneer DVR-A04 (the drive iDVD looks for) and it works just fine. So you don't *HAVE* to upgrade to a new mac, you just have to know what to buy.
  • All of us (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Inf0phreak (627499)
    Well, considering how DMCA is bad for everyone, I can't really see it as a surprise that you would come to the conclusion that it is bad for Apple users as well. ${x | x \mathrm{is an Apple user}} \in P(everyone)$
  • Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:44AM (#4706031) Homepage
    The Evil That Is the DMCA

    by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com [mailto]>

    Much has been written about what's wrong with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). After all, it's been used to jail programmers, threaten professors, and censor publications, and because of it, foreign scientists have avoided traveling to the U.S. and prominent researchers have withheld their work. In a white paper about the unintended consequences of the DMCA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the DMCA chills free expression and scientific research, jeopardizes fair use, and impedes competition and innovation. In short, this is a law that only the companies who paid for it could love.

    <http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/20020503_dmca_conseq uences.html [eff.org]>
    <http://www.educause.edu/issues/dmca.html [educause.edu]>
    <http://anti-dmca.org/ [anti-dmca.org]>

    Just who are we talking about here? Primarily the large movie studios and record labels, who own the copyrights on vast quantities of content and who have been working with one another and via their industry associations, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to control how we are allowed to interact with that content. Their unity of purpose and storm-trooper tactics have led some to dub them the Content Cartel.

    <http://www.riaa.org/ [riaa.org]>
    <http://www.mpaa.org/ [mpaa.org]>

    However, the DMCA is merely one link in a chain that's being used by the Content Cartel and many others to restrict access to the shared cultural heritage of the world, and in the process, extract money from our pockets, stifle innovation and competition, and protect entrenched interests.

    DMCA and Trusted Systems -- I recently attended a talk by Professor Tarleton Gillespie <tlg28@cornell.edu [mailto]> of Cornell University in which he made a compelling argument for how the Content Cartel is using the legal force of the DMCA to direct us down a path where content cannot exist outside of a trusted system, which is a set of hardware, software, and file formats that all agree on what the user is allowed to do with a piece of content. (The trust here is between the pieces of the system, because the content owners don't trust their customers at all.) The trusted system's goals are simple - to eliminate all unauthorized uses and create a situation where we pay more for the content we consume.

    A trusted system could prevent you not only from copying a CD or DVD, but also from listening to the CD more than a certain number of times in a day or skipping commercials on a DVD or on broadcast television. Along with requiring us to buy new hardware to play such content and buy new protected versions of the content we already own, a trusted system could have another ill effect. That's because it could prevent us from working with content we would create, using tools such as those Apple kindly provides in iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and iPhoto. In the worst case scenario, Apple could lose not just the Mac's current digital media advantage in the marketplace, but the ability to work with digital media at all. See Cory Doctorow's article on the broadcast flag in TidBITS-642 [slashdot.org] for more on this disturbing possibility.

    < http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=06901 [tidbits.com]>

    Professor Gillespie illustrated how this could happen with a discussion of the awkwardly named Content Scramble System (CSS), used to prevent people from copying DVDs, and the DeCSS software created by a Norwegian teenager with help from others on the Internet to build a Linux DVD player.

    (A brief aside: DeCSS violates the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, which ban devices or services that are designed primarily to circumvent copy prevention technologies, that have only limited commercially significant purpose other than circumvention, or that are marketed for circumvention. The DMCA was signed into law in large part to bring the U.S. into compliance with a pair of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties that require anti-circumvention protections in the copyright law of signatory nations. You might think Norway would be included among the nations signing these WIPO treaties, but in fact, only 37 countries have signed on, including the U.S. and Japan, along with the likes of Kyrgyzstan, Gabon, and Paraguay. We're not talking about full international support here, especially in contrast to the 149 signatories to the more general and long-standing Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.)

    <http://www.wipo.int/treaties/ip/wct/ [wipo.int]>
    <http://www.wipo.int/treaties/ip/berne/ [wipo.int]>

    In particular, Professor Gillespie focused on three defenses used in the court case filed against Eric Corley, publisher of the hacker magazine 2600, by eight movie studios to prevent 2600 from publishing the DeCSS software. Although Eric Corley didn't create DeCSS, he made it available on the 2600 Web site. His lawyers' defenses focused on ways DeCSS might escape the anti-circumvention provisions in the DMCA, which was the law under which the case was being tried.

    Let's look at these defenses, all of which the court eventually dismissed in ruling for the movie studios and enjoining 2600 magazine from posting the DeCSS code. A subsequent appeal also failed, and the defendants chose not to appeal again to the Supreme Court (probably a wise move - this particular case struck me as fairly weak).

    <http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/2000 0830_ny_amended_opinion.pdf [eff.org]>
    <http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/200111 28_ny_appeal_decision.html [eff.org]>

    Create a Linux Player -- The primary defense that Eric Corley's legal team, funded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), advanced was that CSS was reverse engineered and DeCSS written to further the development of a DVD player for Linux, which allegedly had no way of playing DVDs at the time (four players are available now; see the Linux Journal review linked below for details). Unfortunately, the judge deemed the defense utterly irrelevant because the DMCA offers no relief based on motivation. In short, if a technology violates the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, the purpose for which that technology was created simply doesn't matter. The judge also wasn't impressed with the fact that DeCSS is actually a Windows program, so although it could be argued that it was a necessary step in the creation of a Linux DVD player, it's a weak argument.

    <http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=564 4 [linuxjournal.com]>

    The obstacle that actually lies in the way of creating a DVD player is the lack of a key to decrypt the CSS encryption used on DVDs. The only way to come by such a key is to sign a contract licensing CSS from the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), a group made up of companies representing the movie studios, consumer electronics companies, and the computer industry. At $15,500, the licensing cost is not usurious, but the contract effectively prevents individuals and small organizations from licensing CSS. For instance, in the event of a material breach of contract, the licensee is liable for $1 million, and damages can grow to a maximum of $8 million. In addition, the contract prevents licensees from reverse engineering CSS or working in any way counter to the goal of CSS's protection of DVDs.

    Put simply, the CSS license is the sort of thing only large companies can reasonably sign, so it's clear that the effect of the DVD CCA contract is to keep newcomers out of the cozy little club. Perhaps that wasn't a likely concern before the age of the Internet, but the rise of Linux and the open source movement shows that small, informal groups organized over the Internet can produce software that threatens the largest of companies.

    The end result here is that innovation is stifled. Companies that license CSS cannot, even if they wanted to, produce products that consumers might like to buy, such as DVD recorders that could copy a DVD. That keeps new companies, niche players, or even independent programmers from competing with the consumer electronics giants with innovative features that in any way run afoul of CSS. So although the consumer electronics companies might not have minded consumers copying DVDs, since they would sell the equipment to make that happen, it's worthwhile for them to abide by CSS to eliminates potential competition.

    Equally as problematic is that the CSS license's numerous requirements force the consumer electronics firms to be technologically responsible for regulating our movie viewing and copying behaviors for the studios. Signing this draconian contract is an all-or-nothing deal, so the movie studios have cleverly managed to pass off the dirty work of technological regulation on everyone else (they just produce the content; the DVD and player manufacturers must implement CSS). It's a big step toward a trusted system in which all the parties are bound by the CSS contract.

    (As an aside, another effect of the CSS contracts is also to move the entire issue from the world of copyright law, where there is at least some presumption of needing to benefit the public, into the world of contract law, which doesn't give a damn about the public good. If this continues to the logical extreme, the concept of copyright, and unauthorized access to any content, could be locked up forever in simple contracts that lie underneath a trusted system's technologies, all backed up by the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions.)

    Perform Encryption Research -- Another defense that Eric Corley's lawyers put forth was that DeCSS was created as research into the CSS encryption method, since the DMCA does allow copy-prevention technologies to be circumvented for encryption research. However, the DMCA specifically requires that the encrypted copy be obtained lawfully and that the person performing the research make a good faith effort to obtain authorization in advance. In addition, the decryption tools from such research may be shared only with collaborators for good faith research purposes - in other words, distributing these tools publicly isn't kosher.

    Note the words good faith above. In determining whether encryption research is good faith, the judge said the court must determine whether the results are disseminated in a way that advances the state of knowledge of encryption technology, whether the person is engaged in legitimate study of work in encryption, and whether the results are communicated to the copyright owner in a timely fashion. Deciding that none of these tests were true of Eric Corley, the judge dismissed out of hand the claims that DeCSS had protection under the encryption research exception to the DMCA.

    Looking past the specifics of this case, consider the ways in which encryption research is considered to be in good faith. You must be a legitimate researcher, have a goal of advancing the state of knowledge, and have at least made an effort to get authorization from the copyright owner. Now think about how these requirements completely disenfranchise the interested individuals and the Internet technical geek community. What does it take to be considered a legitimate researcher - a white coat, thick glasses, and a job with a university, corporation, or government body?

    What we're seeing here is how the DMCA in essence props up the status quo, denying that legitimate research could be done outside the halls of academia or a company's R&D department. Left on the outside are the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers... oh hell, go read the rest of Here's to the crazy ones from Apple's Think Different ad campaign for yourself. Whether we're talking about Apple's target audience or the open source community that has had Microsoft running scared is immaterial. The point is that the DMCA, supported by this court ruling, prevents that sort of person from doing anything that's not sanctioned.

    <http://www.apple.com/thinkdifferent/ [apple.com]>

    Report as a Journalist -- A third defense that Eric Corley's lawyers offered was that posting DeCSS was protected by the First Amendment's protection of the press, and by the First Amendment in general. It took the judge significantly longer to dispose of this defense, since free speech issues are notoriously tricky, but in the end, he concluded that the speech in this case is content-neutral due to the functional nature of the DeCSS code. He then went on to note that regulation of content-neutral speech is acceptable if it advances the government's interests and that preventing the copying of digital works is a government interest due to the existence of the Copyright Clause in the U.S. Constitution and the importance to the U.S. economy of exporting copyrighted materials.

    If you haven't looked at the Constitution recently, the Copyright Clause reads, To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. Personally, I come down on the side of copyright existing to benefit society through the progress of science and the useful arts, and only secondarily to give authors and inventors exclusive rights. By my reading, the government interest thus lies in promoting the progress of science and the useful arts, and there's no question that the DMCA eliminates progress.

    <http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constit ution.articlei.html [cornell.edu]>

    But I digress. The final result of the case was that Eric Corley and 2600 may not post DeCSS on their Web site or knowingly link their Web site to any other site on which DeCSS is posted. The decision was worded carefully so that linking in general would not be affected by the DMCA, but only in cases where those responsible for the link (a) know at the relevant time that the offending material is on the linked-to site, (b) know that it is circumvention technology that may not lawfully be offered, and (c) create or maintain the link for the purpose of disseminating that technology.

    In other words, it's acceptable to link to DeCSS if your intent is not to disseminate DeCSS, but merely to report on its availability, a fact I proved to my satisfaction with a trivial Google search on download DeCSS that provided over 17,000 hits, many of them still functional. You can verify this for yourself; just remember that DeCSS is only for Windows.

    <http://www.google.com/search?q=download+DeCSS [google.com]>

    Here's where Professor Gillespie's argument becomes a bit more speculative. Although the court went no further in this case, he suggested that in any future cases in which the legitimacy of linking was called into question, he felt that the court would include in its deliberation the nature of the publication in question. For example, if the New York Times chose to link to DeCSS or some other technology that violated the DMCA (as in fact the San Jose Mercury News and Wired News have, in making the point that a ban on linking is seriously problematic), he felt that the court would have little trouble accepting the journalistic intent of the link. On the other hand, if some silly little electronic newsletter aimed at Macintosh and Internet users were to perform the same action, he was concerned that it would be more difficult to make the same defense. And if TidBITS wouldn't match up to the journalistic level of the New York Times in the eyes of a theoretical court, what about a blogger?

    The end result would be that this court's interpretation of the DMCA could have the same effect of stabilizing the large news organizations in favor of the small newsletters and bloggers who are redefining what journalism means in today's Internet-enabled world. Speaking as someone who has done some of that redefining over the last 12 years, that worries me.

    Regime of Arrangement -- In the end, Professor Gillespie argues that the true power of the DMCA is not so much related to its effect on copyright but these ways it weaves established organizations like large manufacturing corporations, research universities, and media conglomerates into what Professor Gillespie calls a regime of arrangement.

    Don't assume that these established institutions are necessarily being co-opted against their will. Apple's Think Different campaign reads like a manifesto for the very people who are disenfranchised under this regime of arrangement, and yet Apple is a member of the DVD CCA, and, obviously, a licensee of CSS for the DVD hardware and software that comes with the Mac. The open source community has proved the power of teams of independent programmers as an alternative to the traditional software development model, not to mention the ivory towers of research institutions. Distance education hints at the decline of the traditional university, and entrenched media organizations have struggled for years with the way the Internet lets anyone be a publisher.

    If there's one theme we take into the 21st century, it's decentralization, and you can see it everywhere. The PC overtaking the mainframe, Napster changing the face of music distribution despite the recording industry's best efforts, DeCSS causing the movie studios conniptions, Linux successfully challenging the mighty Microsoft's server operating systems, even the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon - all are examples of the power of decentralization and the ever-increasing clash between these forces of decentralization and the centralized power structures that control everything about our world. I have no answers here, but I'd note that despite the awesome power of both systems, I'm seeing the forces of decentralization making significant inroads.

    What Can We Do? I've been attending a number of talks on copyright and intellectual property issues at Cornell over the last year. Almost without exception, the talks are warnings of dark times ahead (obviously, most are slanted toward the academic and library worlds), but at the same time, none have offered any suggestions for how we can work to reverse the efforts on the part of the Content Cartel to lock up our cultural heritage and stifle innovation for the future.

    At a recent talk by Alan Davidson of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), I chatted with Alan afterwards about this problem, and he agreed it was a concern, but had no silver bullet to prevent the hordes of well-funded Content Cartel lobbyists from having their way with our elected representatives. I, too, have trouble knowing what will be effective, but I offer these possibilities.

    <http://www.cdt.org/ [cdt.org]>

    • Spread the word to everyone you know. In most cases, the best argument is probably that the entire situation is a move on the part of big business to make everyone buy new consumer electronics and new copies of all of their content. If the Content Cartel gets their way, it will cost you. In some situations, making the intellectual commons argument - that our culture needs access to its cultural heritage to grow - can be effective, though it's generally too abstract. Try to avoid sounding like a zealot (I know it's hard: every time I hear of the latest attempt on the part of these companies to criminalize their customers, it makes me want to spit.)

    • Support civil liberties organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and CDT that are working to protect our rights. As you'll see in the PayBITS block at the end of this article, I plan to donate all the proceeds from this article to the EFF to help do my part.

    <http://www.eff.org/ [eff.org]>

    • Between 19-Nov-02 and 18-Dec-02, write to the Library of Congress with any evidence you can provide on whether non-infringing uses of certain types of copyrighted materials are likely to be adversely affected by the DMCA's anti-circumvention mechanisms. To get an idea of what they're looking for, I highly recommend reading Dan Bricklin's Copy Protection Robs the Future essay, in which he talks about his efforts to post an original copy of VisiCalc, the ground-breaking spreadsheet program he created.

    <http://www.copyright.gov/1201/comment_forms/ [copyright.gov]>
    <http://www.bricklin.com/robfuture.htm [bricklin.com]>

    • Express your concerns to your elected representatives whenever appropriate. EFF maintains an action center that makes it extremely easy to write your appropriate representatives. While you're at it, you might ask how it is that an entire industry is allowed to create a restrictive technology like CSS, require highly limiting contracts, and influence legislation (the DMCA). One of the industry witnesses in the Corley case testified that this three-pronged approach was exactly what the movie studios aimed at creating. Ironically, given that the end goal is a trusted system, this sounds a whole lot like the legal definition of a trust, which is a combination of corporations for the purpose of reducing competition and controlling prices throughout an industry.

    <http://action.eff.org/ [eff.org]>

    I have to admit, I'm worried that none of this will be enough. The Content Cartel has the aura of celebrity on their side - they're protecting the rock stars and movie stars who sit at the pinnacle of today's society. They're the cool kids, whereas the people who campaign for civil liberties are often considered dull and overly earnest. My main ray of hope is that the reason most of the software industry voluntarily gave up copy protection technologies - primarily that consumers hated copy protection - will rise again, but unless we speak out now, all of our content may be locked up in a trusted system protected by the DMCA.

  • what about us PC users?

    PC, Apple, SPARC, Alpha, whatever...

    Creations are creations..

    and the DMCA must be abolished!!
  • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110@[ ].edu.au ['anu' in gap]> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:49AM (#4706074) Journal
    bah! It's not about bad for Apple users. It's bad for everyone.

    What I find funny is how the author thinks that because Apple doesn't have a DMCA-capable OS, that is going to miss out on the "next big thing". I don't know about everyone else, but I am actively encouraged by Apple's stance. Yes, "don't steal music", but no, don't fsck users simply to placate the gorillas in the MPAA and RIAA. Until a system comes along that lets people who have legitimately bought CDs to "rip mix burn", Apple are firmly on the side of the users. Unlike the MPAA and RIAA, they give a shit about their customers.

    Anyway, as a result of MS's stance, I look forward to the article about "how the DMCA is bad for windows users".

    Also, now is as good a time as any - get your ass over to the Copyright Office [copyright.gov] and let them know how the DMCA has legitimately infringed on your fair use rights. They've just opened up to submissions: "The purpose of this rulemaking proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention"

    -- james
    • by Didion Sprague (615213) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @12:17PM (#4706993)
      The problem with missing out on the "next big thing" is that, well, if you're not into music or film, there's no reason to worry about missing the "next big thing."

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea of the DMCA-capable OS to provide a secure "bed" for media? And if you're really not doing too much with "media" on your computer -- on whatever platform you have -- then what's the big deal?

      I'm wring a novel. I could give a shit about whether or not I have a DMCA-capable OS. And when I want music, I have my Ipod. Yeah, I ripped my stuff into the Ipod, but they're my CDs, and I did the ripping. What's the big deal? And what does this have to with my DMCA-incapable OS?

      Nothing.

      Microsoft looks to be pursuing "media on the pc" in all its guts and glory. They've invested their billions into developing a secure infrastructure so that Hillary and Jack can rest easy at night. Problem with this is that if I'm a user who doesn't use the "media" options on a PC much -- if at all -- then these DMCA-capable OS have nothing to offer me because I'm not breaking any laws. I'm simply writing my papers, writing my novel, writing my short stories. I read email, browse websites, and grab whatever porn I need to get myself excited with I'm sad.

      What I need is a box that lets me word process, balance my checkbook, and ignite my rocks when the rocks need igniting. None of this -- even the dumb porn -- has anything to do with Hillary or Jack or the RIAA or the MPAA.

      And for god sake, I don't need to spend $199 every year for a new operating system just so Hillary and Jack can be assured by the pinhead suits at Microsofts that if I try to rip a fucking Justin Timberlake CD, I'll get all sorts of errors and skips and I'll be forced to chuck out more money for another CD.

      Well, fuck Jack, fuck Hilary, and fuck Justin Timerberlake. I will not purchase new CDs -- ever. Ever again. And if I buy a CD -- and I just bought the new collection by Chris Whitley -- I'm gonna buy it used and on ebay. Sure, it's already been bought once, but I'll be goddamned if I'm gonna buy another CD when I *know* I can the damn thing for five bucks used -- and I know that the money I spend to buy it used, won't be paying for Valenti to go out and golf with my congressperson.

      Here's a news flash to Microsoft. Your next big thing is not my next big thing. I got a housefull of deadtree books -- thousands of 'em -- and when I want a goddamn big thing I sit down, grab one off the shelf, and read the latest from Cormac McCarthy or dig up my ratty copy of 'Nostromo' or find that kickass new translation of the 'Iliad' that sounds like something Quentin Tarantino might have translated.

      My goddamn big things don't have to do with cutesy boy-bands or stupid movies. If I want to see a movie, I'll go and see a movie. I'll actually get away from my computer, drive in my car, and pay my six bucks or whatever I need to pay to see Eminem do his thing or Johnny Knoxville and Wee Man do there's. I don't need a goddamn DMCA-capable OS to do this, and while I abhor the idea of giving Valenti any more cash to line his pockets, I *do* like movies, and I'm not gonna let the aged Valenti put a kink in my fucking lifestyle.

      So take your goddamn "big things" and stuff 'em. I don't need 'em, don't want 'em. I'll figure them out for myself, thank you.

      Is this flame-bait? Off-topic? I dunno. Mods have a way of not liking much of what I say when I say it like this.

      Whatever.

      • I'm wring a novel. I could give a shit about whether or not I have a DMCA-capable OS. And when I want music, I have my Ipod. Yeah, I ripped my stuff into the Ipod, but they're my CDs, and I did the ripping. What's the big deal? And what does this have to with my DMCA-incapable OS?

        The "Big Deal," as I understand it, is that the Content Cartel will team with DMCA-capable OSes so that CDs and DVDs won't be able to even play on DMCA-incapable OSes like MacOS, Linux, BSD. How pissed will you be when you put down $18 for a CD, get home and not be able to run it on your computer?

        Or, maybe you'll be able to play it on MacOS, but some hardware encryption between the CD and the CD Drive disallows you from ripping the track to your iPod?

        I, for one, would find that extremely disappointing.
    • Also, now is as good a time as any - get your ass over to the Copyright Office [copyright.gov] and let them know how the DMCA has legitimately infringed on your fair use rights

      I just went there with the full intention of submitting. The problem is that I don't have time to wade through their fairly obtuse, 36K Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies [copyright.gov] document so that my submission must follow the "format detailed in the notice of inquiry". Specifically, I wasn't able to determine what the proposed class or classes of copyrighted work(s) to be exempted were, nor whether they met the requirements laid out in the scope of term "class of works" [copyright.gov]. Briefly, the term "class of works" means:

      The Register found that the statutory language required that the Librarian identify a ``class of works'' primarily based upon attributes of the works themselves, and not by reference to some external criteria such as the intended use or the users of the works. The phrase ``class of works'' connotes that the shared, common attributes of the ``class'' relate to the nature of authorship in the ``works.'' Thus a ``class of works'' was intended to be a ``narrow and focused subset of the the broad categories of works of authorship * * * identified in section 102.'' Commerce Comm. Report, at 38. The starting point for a proposed exemption of a particular class of works must be the section 102 categories of authorship: literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works.
      Is the CD collection I habitually store in MPEG and/or OGG format a "musical work" or a "sound recording"? Can I just pick one? I don't know.

      Worse than that, I don't know if I can submit comments at all. If I understand their requirements for argument(s) in support of the exemption proposed [copyright.gov], I'm not sure I can say that adding lame, easily circumvented copy proctection to CDs is enough to allow me to ask for an exemption. Here's what they say I need to tell them:

      In the last rulemaking the Register determined that the burden of proof is on the proponent of an exemption to come forward with evidence supporting an exemption for a particular class of works. Therefore, the initial comment period in this rulemaking specifically seeks the identification of this information from proponents of exemptions. First, the commenter should identify the particular class of works that is being proposed as an exemption, followed by a summary of the argument for the exemption. The commenter should then specify the facts and evidence providing a basis for this exemption and any legal arguments in support of the exemption. Finally, the commenter may include in the comment any additional information or documentation which supports the commenter's position.
      First of all, they'll say that the work is available on cassette and I can copy from that (a comparision between DVD and VHS is buried in that doc). Second, can I quantify adverse effects the lack of an exemption has caused or provide legal arguments in favor of an exemption? I don't know. Do I already have a legal right to use-shift or time-shift copyrighted works I've purchased? Search me; I'm not a lawyer. Do I need to know this before I research arguments towards an exemption? Good question.

      I'm glad you mentioned the submission form, and I hope enough people with more free time on their hands than me can put together enough arguments that the DMCA ia reviewed and exemptions are provided. I'd just like to point out to people that it's not as easy as filling in a web form with "I need to be able to make my Eminmem MP3s..." They want people to say things like "If the only way to access the complete works of Charlie Parker are via DMCA-restricted means, then we need an examption" and then show them, in a way detailed enough for a government employee to understand, why that is the case.

      -B

    • What I find funny is how the author thinks that because Apple doesn't have a DMCA-capable OS, that is going to miss out on the "next big thing".

      I read him a little different than you did, it's not the next big thing, it's survival he's worried about. He has realized is that Apple as a creative platform is doomed if the "Content Cartel" has it's way. He understands that everyone loses when content can not be coppied because it perishes and we are all that much poorer in the future. He also tells us the currently proposed means of achieving the goal of copy protection also furthers goals of entrenched content providers by limiting the number of new entrants through propriatory formats, patents and the DCMA's anti-circumvention clause. What he's put together from all of those broad, bad for everyone laws and methods, is very specific bad news for a company like Apple who's market has primarily been the artisians that create in the first place. He has realized that Apple is getting put on the outside of the "copy enabled" world because Apple represents too large a source of likely competition to the Cartel.

      It's hypocritical of Apple to wake up now after so many years of feeding the cartel that will eradicate them. For years Apple has been more expensive than other computer platforms because, in part, they were paying licensing fees for the privalidge of creating works of art in propriatory formats. The time to object was long ago when the deviding lines were made between those who could create and those who could not. By pushing its own patents and copyrights, Apple has strengthened the had that now threatens to crush it.

      The obvious solution the author overlooked is free software and formats. He does not even mention them as he wallows in the "artist must be paid" logic that inevitably favors the cartel. From the Rosetta stone to VisiCalc, the authors were paid to create. The conditions the authors worked under were determined by the society they lived in. If we seek to screw others and think it's right to do so, we can expect to be screwed. When we seek to exclude, we create the conditions of our own exclusion.

  • by paiute (550198) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:51AM (#4706093)
    To paraphrase a certain barefoot fasting Indian fellow, a few hundred DMCAmen cannot rule one hundred million users who do not wish to cooperate.
  • by jerrytcow (66962) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:55AM (#4706125) Homepage
    There's a thread [fatwallet.com] on fatwallet.com discussing how both walmart and target used DMCA to force the site to remove information about upcoming sales.

    There were two threads discussing next week's black friday (day after thanksgiving) sales at walmart [fatwallet.com] and target [fatwallet.com]. Since these sales haven't been advertised yet, apparently the companies thought discussing them violated the DMCA.

  • by af_robot (553885) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:56AM (#4706139)
    Smoking is bad for Apple Users too!
  • OT: related links (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    did any one notice the first text link in the "related links" box that usually contains information important to the story?

    not this one. it's a link for an advertisement, but quite well hidden right in there with the cotent.

    sneaky slashdot. very sneaky. are we going to see these text ads inserted in the middle of our story submissions or comments soon? keywording story topcis are we?
    • That's weird. Slashdot, you should stop doing that immediately, it can't be worth it. That is not a related link, and lying about that hurts your street cred, which has to be more valuable than the pathetic payment you'd get for a tiny text link like that. Think longterm, don't even go there. Make a similar slashbox and call it 'related ads' or something. Better yet, use that geek snottiness that gave you the term 'anonymous cowards' and come up with a snobby name for the ad box- do that, and you'll be making it COOL by making fun of it, which is worth more to the advertiser.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:13AM (#4706283)
    Accurate reporting requires looking at all the facts. To get the complete story, we need to look at the whole picture, not just Apple users. In order to promote a more informed discussion, I'm posting the comprehensive data showing the DMCA's impact on the users of a wide variety of systems:

    • Apple users (Mac): bad
    • Apple ][ users: poor
    • PC users (386): average
    • PC users (Pentium): bad
    • Amiga users: fair
    • Sun users: poor
    • C-64 users: good
    • VAX users: bad
    • PC users (8086): bad
    • PC users (286): poor
    • Alpha users: poor
    • SGI users: undetermined
    • PDP-11 users: bad
    • AS-400 users: not applicable
    • S/390 users: poor
    • PC-jr users: excellent
    • DEC Rainbow users: average
    • PC users (486): not available
    • Sinclair ZX80 users: nil
    • Osbourne users: marginal
    • Cray users: average
    • Apollo users: bad
    • Next users: poor
    • TRS-80 users: very good
    • Data Genereal users: to be determined
    • Amdahl users: 'ERROR 43: invalid row requ..'
    • Unisys users: unknown

    As you can see, the actual results are all over the map. Focusing only on Apple users gives you a biased view of the issue.

  • Skewed Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KalenDarrie (320019)
    This article is not too much about Apple users in specific. It tackles the whole issue of the DMCA and makes a mention of how it might effect Apple in particular which doesn't take up all that much space.

    Read the source folks. ;)
  • or we'll have stoned teenagers saying "uuuuh yeaaaaah D uuh DMCA is uuuh bad and uuh stuff so buy an uuuh mac and uuuuuuuuh"
  • Mirror (Score:3, Informative)

    by Door-opening Fascist (534466) <skylar@cs.earlham.edu> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:44AM (#4706644) Homepage
    I've got mirrors up here [earlham.edu] and here [wisc.edu]. The former site has a bit more bandwidth, but they both will work.
  • by sterno (16320) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:45AM (#4706661) Homepage
    The problem that we face is that the politicians know full well that no election is going to hinge on their stance on copyright law. Copyright isn't abortion or terrorism, or social security. It's not an issue that's going to get significant groups of swing voters out to the polling places.

    Knowing this, they happily accept money from the cartels, because money does help win elections. Outside of their own internal ethics on the matter, what possible reason would a politican have to ever go against the copyright cartels on legislation?

    Right now there is a bill being put before congress to take some of the nastiness out of the DMCA. Is this going to get passed? No. It's a noble effort, and I applaud it, but the copyright cartel likes things the way they are and will write nice checks to make sure that it stays that way.

    We have two hopes for salvaging copyright going forward. The first is that finally the general public will realize what's happening and make this an issue. This likelyhood seems small because most people see copyright as a really minor issue in the grand scheme of things (and they may very well be right on that matter).

    The second hope is that this can be battled on constitutional grounds in the courts, but this seems a dim hope too. I have my fingers crossed about the Eldridge case, but beyond that, fighting in the courts becomes a very defensive situation. We end up with copyright law that's not AS bad, but we don't end up with something that's actually good.
    • Yes, and... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rodentia (102779) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @01:01PM (#4707372)
      From the article:

      As an aside, another effect of the CSS contracts is also to move the entire issue from the world of copyright law, where there is at least some presumption of needing to benefit the public, into the world of contract law, which doesn't give a damn about the public good. If this continues to the logical extreme, the concept of copyright, and unauthorized access to any content, could be locked up forever in simple contracts that lie underneath a trusted system's technologies, all backed up by the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions.

      This is not an aside, this is the point of the exercise. If you imagine the cartel is not thinking on this level you didn't have your wheaties this morning.
    • Given that half of all Americans don't vote, and the Homeland Security Bill with all the pork barrel attached is likely to pass, I don't think most people even care about their rights. The latest /. poll showed a pitiful minority tried to contact anybody about the CSEA. I don't have much hope that the general public will voice their "outrage" to anyone who can do something about it. While not a scientific poll, if only 6% of readers who are generally tech savvy respond to these issues, that isn't exactly flooding the inboxes of politicians. The general public's response would be even worse.

      The hypocrisy is staggering. All the people who post comments on /. about how horrible the DMCA is could have taken 10 minutes to send a note to their Senators and Representatives. Multiple times. Respond to their letters in response to you (even if it is a form letter). It's highly unlikely your Senators and Reps are reading slashdot to keep up to date on your views.

      Look, if you are a tech person, it's your responsibility to do something to stand up for technology issues. It's not the responsibility of your neighbor who thinks you are a criminal if you refer to yourself as a "hacker".

  • What a silly and redundant premise - I think everyone opposed to the DMCA is fully aware of the fact it's bad for everyone, not just Apple users..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what if Apple hardware/software doesn't support DRM? This can possible increase sales for Apple.

    Right now everyone is using PCs because they have good performance and they're cheap. But if all PCs have DRM/Palladium/etc. and you don't want that, where will you go? Apple (and Sun, Alpha if still around).

    It becomes a choice of losing your rights, or going to another hardware platform. I for one wouldn't mind have a PowerPC (overpriced though they are). Of course you could simply have a PC but run an OS (Linux, *BSD?) that doesn't support all that DRM crud and live outside of the "controlled" world. Which I, for one, wouldn't mind doing.

    Email, web, Ogg Vorbis and StarOffice (LaTeX for me). What else do you really need? (Well maybe "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" (now under FreeBSD!).)

    • The point Adam Engst is alluding to in the article is not just that, yes, the DMCA is bad for Apple users like it is every other consumer, but that it's especially bad for Apple users given Apple's pro-consumer stance on the issue. If the Mac platform doesn't have strict & intrinsic DRM features like those of MS Palladium, the large labels & studios aren't likely to be comfortable supporting the platform (eg. the recent Movielink issue [slashdot.org])

      It's not hard to see how non-mainstream platforms (Linux & *BSD are in the same boat with MacOS here) will be increasingly marginalized as viable consumer choices once you can no longer play any new CDs (already happening [wired.com]) DVDs (coming [cnn.com]) or other new content on them.

      Apple has taken the popular stance of leaving it up to the consumer to use digital content legally (see Apple Stands Firm Agaist Cartel [siliconvalley.com]). This might increase sales for them somewhat amongst DMCA-conscious purists on Slashdot, but how many normal consumers would purchase a 'digital hub' that cannot read any of their digital content? If the Content Cartel gets their way, Apple will have no choice but to eventually adopt DMCA-compliant DRM schemes à la Palladium or go quietly into the long night.
  • There are some things that just capture the imagination and reading the article was the link to Apple's Think Different [apple.com] page, was one of them. For those of you not wanting to click, here is the text:

    --
    Here's to the crazy ones.

    The misfits.

    The rebels.

    The troublemakers.

    The round pegs in the square holes.

    The ones who see things differently.

    They're not fond of rules.

    And they have no respect for the status quo.

    You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,

    disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.

    About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.

    Because they change things.

    They invent. They imagine. They heal.

    They explore. They create. They inspire.

    They push the human race forward.

    Maybe they have to be crazy.

    How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
    Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
    Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

    We make tools for these kinds of people.

    While some see them as the crazy ones,
    we see genius.

    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world, are the ones who do.
    --

    Just beautiful . Now, if the rest of the industry could share in this, it would be great.
    • Yeah but.

      Thats marketing drivel. Aside from the some cool things Apple does (like this maybe, Apple is a huge ass company that does the same evil shit other huge ass companies do.

      Look at all the websites they have harrassed.

      And here is a lil bit of irony since you brought up "Think Different". Didnt they use the Dalai Lama as one of the images?

      How many parts of an Apple computer are made in China. I count quite a few of the lil plastic widgets coming from China.

      A lot of labor in China comes from Gulags, prisons. And many of the laborers are Tibetans, monks or nuns, that have been imprisoned for being a buddhist.

      Or maybe your widgets were made by Tienamen square organziers (tho most of those folks were probably killed).

      Isnt it ironic that Apples "Think Different" ad would really sum up what went down in China those days.

      I am not saying dont buy your computer cos it has stuff from China in it. You'd be hard pressed to find much *not* from China these days. What I am saying is dont believe the market banter. Apple is not cool, no way no how, no matter how much they hide behind images of cool creative revolutionary people. They paid someone to come up with that idea. Shitloads of money.

      Remember the words of Gil Scott Heron: The revolution will not be televised.

      In this case: Advertised.
      • Yeah, but bottom line: they could as easily have paid someone to market "We'll keep you safe from the scarey crazy people!".

        If you're gonna play the game at all, that's when it becomes interesting to see HOW you play it.

        That campaign of theirs is good. It's effective despite having a strange premise that's hard to 'sell' to Joe Sixpack, and to the extent that people 'buy' it, it STRENGTHENS popular support for PEOPLE LIKE US. Would you rather they did TV ads with iMacs producing guns and blowing away scarey hackers?

        Can you picture Dubya Bush running campaigns that say 'here's to the rebels, that's the kind of people who wrote the Constitution and fought to liberate this great country of ours'?

        Take advantage of the useful spin you DO get, rather than griping about its source and sincerity. It's like politics- you gotta have some idealism but if you don't have any pragmatism as well, you're hosed.

        Here's to Apple, which is still able to 'sell' the concept of freedom. May they always continue to do so.

  • DMCA's Power (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bucktug (306690)
    The power of the DMCA comes from the artists/media creation people. Once the work is created the people that create it want the money that comes from doing a major piece of work. The only people that can get them this cash are the major media conglomerates and their distribution outlets. So once the creative person gives their project to the media con-gloms, the natural thing for the media company to do is protect their investment.
    The answer falls into two catagories:
    Create a substancial work and distribute it through your own channels. Create your own media network. Go out and create the PR channels. If you decide to go this route please do yourself a favor, keep your day job.
    The second solution is more managable by us geeks. We don't put up with it. Who works at Best Buy? Who is the company computer guy that gets all of the computer questions? Who comes up with the technology that the rest of us try to illegally circumvent? Geeks. It is us. All we need to do is explain to consumers that DVD2 with super-CSS is a bad thing.
    Then point them to the EFF and any of the anti-DMCA web sites.
    In the movie "A Bugs Life" we were taught that a bunch of ants can destroy even the toughest bugs, no matter how tough they are.

    --Chris Turvey
  • and other OS makers for not hurting thier users with this DRM crap that MS and other companies are peddling. Apple may not have a huge market share, but what they do with there's seems to be working quite well for it's users.
  • Guns dont kill people, People kill people.

    But People dont violate copyrights. Computers violate copyrights.
  • The article's big point, I thought, was that the "content" world is going private by putting everything under restrictive license. That means copyright isn't the main problem. If you sign off on a license (even shrinkwrap), and you redistribute, reverse engineer, or even publish benchmarks, the industry has a right to come after you for contract violation in civil court. Copyright & DMCA haven't got much to do with that.

    So the pessimistic view is that the cabal of media companies, PC makers, and Microsoft are working toward this tightly closed platform (palladium anyone?) that is impervious to hackers or anyone who hasn't bought in. The same might apply to office suites, etc. In other words, you're lucky if your hardware will run anything other than what MS/RIAA/MPA have pre-certified. Presto, your PC is a PlayStation.

    Have a nice day...

  • Look, I've got an iBook and an iPod. To get the music files in the iPod, I use iTunes. Simply insert the CD, click on import, and after this I plug the iPod into the iBook - that's it. But the problem comes up, if I buy a CD with copy protection. Sometimes I just can't read the CD on my Mac, so I can't use it on my iPod, it's a bummer (or worse...) Since Apple want's to make the Mac the Digital Hub, it would hurt their strategy, if you can no longer use the Mac for all your digital devices. The way the ideas of the DMCA should be made reality according to the MPAA and RIAA, just isn't compatible with the concept of Apple. They want to give the customer a tool, which is easy to use, which makes working fun - but the MPAA und RIAA don't understand this. It's always the same old story. Users want a simple system, that works and has benefits against it's predecessor. That's want the CD offered, that's what the DVD offered. Now if you look at Digital Content with this insane copy protections, you get less, than you got with CD and DVD. So it won't work. Period.
  • by BiOFH (267622) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @02:37PM (#4708538)
    It's an on-going wake-up call for ALL users. Hell, ESPECIALLY PC users who tend [as an aggregate] to be complacent and fall into that "I gots mah room and three squahs a day, massah, I bes fine" and let M$ roll right over them.

    Yes, current trends and schemes are bad for Apple users in that Apple has been railing against the methods championed by DMCA supporters. But it's bad for everyone [in its current state]. PC users are "OK" because M$ will strip them of any rights right under their noses and lock them into whatever scheme they get paid the most to support.

    Wake up EVERYone. Not just Apple users.
  • by Big Mark (575945) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @02:48PM (#4708661)
    "Copyright law is only tolerated because it is not applied to the majority of minor offenders"

    I can't for the life of me remember where this quote came from, but it's true. If they start going after every kid with some mp3s of his favourite band instead of concentrating on those with 50GB music, film, pr0n ;-) caches you will start getting sob stories appearing of how Junior was thrown in the cells and fined several grand merely because he couldn't wait to listen to the new -->insert band here<-- album.

    It's a shame that it will take things like that to initiate the public backlash, but rest assured, it will happen.

    We can only hope that it starts before it's too late.

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