Terminally Incoherent

Utterly random, incoherent and disjointed rants and ramblings...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Open DRM Impossible

Last time when I was talking about the Open Media Commons crap, I did not realize what a huge stinking pile of bullshit they are trying to sell to us. If you think about it, Open DRM is actually an oxymoron! It is as ridiculous as dry water, hot ice!

Cory Doctorow makes a very good point at boingboing! What if I decide to modify the DRM software? It's Open Source, no? So I should be well within my rights to modify it to say... Allow me to copy the file without limitations?

Open Source and DRM are not compatible. Think about it - DMCA prohibits circumventing DRM, which in this case would entail modifying the code of your player/decryption software to remove undesirable restrictions. On the other hand Open Source encourages participation and modification of the code. In the end, we will end up with an open sourced set of DRM related algorithms, which will be illegal to touch or modify without permission because of DMCA. That in turn will likely violate GPL because prohibiting modification of the source code is not allowed under this license.

If you ever considered contributing to that project, please think it over! I would say it is a legal gamble. Any developer working on it will be very, very close to violating the DRM related DMCA provisions. They will also be likely to violate GPL if the software ends up with an end-to-end DMCA protection.

So I ask you, how is that supposed to work? It can't be open, and untouchable at the same time. Something has to give. And guess who has more money to spend on lawyers? If this would ever go to court, a media company would have a good chance winning a case against someone who modified the code to circumvent DRM because it was under GPL. It would be a very dangerous precedence, and it could bring the validity of GPL as a licensing scheme into question.

This project carries to many risks. It is tainted! Leave it alone people! Let it die.



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