Sunday, March 1, 2009 7:00:49 PM
Is it absolete? Has it ever existed? Should we try harder to implement it?
Copyright. The word itself describes that one person, or one corporation has the right to copy material. This is anything from a fictional book to DVDs, from physics projects to jokes. Does anyone have the right to hold a copy of intellectual material secret? For that is the possibility with copyrights. A company may have in its employ, someone who discovers a way of making endless, non-polluting, free power. This will off course render the sheiks of the Middle East, the CEOs of oil corporations, and many others, broke within the timespan of possibly as little as a day. Say the corporation employing this bright individual has a written contact with this person saying that all research, all ideas and all results of that person belongs to the corporation. Does this corporation have the right to keep the discovery a secret? Under law, yes. But what about the moral right? Do they have the right to condemn all humanity to keep doing something that will ultimately be our downfall?
There are several examples of copy control gone awry. In 2005, the worst scandal yet came from Sony/BMG. They incorporated what is known as a root kit to some of their albums. This was a piece of software that, when the CD was inserted, installed a few lines in the Windows registry to allow the company to spy on the user of those CDs. If the user then tried to copy the CD, or any other CD released by Sony/BMG, this program would report that act to the corporation. But wait, a serious downfall in Sony/BMG`s plans: The program opened up the computers for malicious software such as trojans, worms and viruses. Fortunately, the scheme was discovered rather quickly. The possibility is that, if it had gone unnoticed for a long time, several companies would have been infected with malicious software due to the cracks the copy protection opened in computers. Bah, companies. Who cares what they lose? Then how about a hospital? Everywhere there is a computer with a CD-drive and someone wanting to listen to music, the possibility of opening the network to hackers in such a way exists. What if someone waiting for a lifesaving operation got deleted from the records? Sony/BMG could then be facing a criminal charge of possibly as high as Conspiracy To Commit Murder.
As I said, it was discovered quickly. As a result, Sony/BMG didn`t have to face such charges. While I find it pleasing that noone were killed because of this, I regret it all the same. Such blatant disregard for the sanctity of privacy and malicious intent would most like have caused a more rapid decrease, and eventually abolition, of copyrights.
But copyrights are needed to ensure that people will be creative, for without the copyrights, noone would care to do any intellectual work since they wouldn`t get paid for their effort. Who`s to say they wouldn`t get paid for their effort? The GNU/Public License or Open Source License doesn`t prohibit people from getting money. What that license states, is that once you have released the product, it`s open for everyone to copy and use and examine and amend as they see fit. But you are still able to get money. Every good idea starts somewhere. You have the right under ther GNU/Public License to mark the work as yours, and to receive donations for the work. A prime example of this, is the Ubuntu project. This is a project started to make Linux an everyday occurrence. This project doesn`t require of you that you pay anything. You are free to try the entire software package for as long as you like. If you like the software/OS in the package, they are more than happy to accept donations. They make money. A lot of money. Yet, they don`t charge you anything for the result, or the product. So, how do they do it? Well, they offer the best product available with as many functions as you care to want. They offer it for free. This gives the user the ability to become comfortable with the product in his or hers own time. Then, they can choose to donate money so the product doesn`t quit out on them. Tell me this isn`t a great plan.
Say you have a business-network with 15 computers and two servers. One file-server and one mail-server. To setup this network with Windows will cost a lot of money. First, you need to have two licences for Windows Server at about NOK 2.500,- each. Then you need to buy fifteen licences of XP to run on the workstations at about NOK 1.000,- each. Then you have to employ a system administrator with a diploma from Microsoft to install this network. The going rate of a Microsoft licensed system administrator by the hour I don`t know. But let me guess he will have to work for about a month to setup the network. That will probably cost you about NOK 30.000,- and after that you will have him over at least once every other month for a day or a week. Another 30.000,- a year. Then, you will have to upgrade the licenses for the network as the new Windows software releases and make absolete the system you already have. Another round of server licenses at about 2.500,- each, workstation licenses at about 1000,- each, and another visit for a couple of weeks from the system administrator. And this will repeat itself for ever.
Ok, let`s just add the first year: 5.000,- for the servers. 15.000,- for the workstations. 30.000,- for the system administrator`s time and work during setup. Another 30.000,- for the system administrator`s time and work to fix crashes during the year. That`s 80.000,- for the first year. And that`s not included all the hardware that can easily amount to about 1.000.000,- for a complete network, lost work-time due to system crashes. That`s a serious amount of money. Just the software.
What would that look like if you instead chose to use Linux? Server licenses: 0,- Workstation licenses: 0,- System administrator setup: 30.000,- System administrator maintenance: 5.000,-
That`s 45.000,- less in the first year. And it`s just the same when you wish to upgrade. You pay nothing for licenses. You pay for the system administrator. And those guys aren`t inexpensive whichever system you choose. Still, you have saved a lot of money. And not to forget the down-time of the system. Linux systems are less likely to crash than Windows systems. This also saves money, as you can continue your work faster and more consistently.
Now, why all the math and the comparison between two systems? Windows is a copyrighted system. If you reverse-engineer anything from Microsoft to try to make it better, you get sued. And Microsoft steals your idea. They will probably issue a statement (if discovered) saying that the malicious attack on Microsoft by the person sued, showed a weakness in the system that is now rectified through the excellent work of Microsoft`s engineers. In effect, Microsoft is a dictatorship.
Linux is an Open Source system. What this means, is that each and everyone has the right to look at the code of each of it`s programs and make it better as they see fit. Though there are some central bodies in the Linux world too, they don`t claim to be omniscient like Microsoft. They are not offended when their work is altered. They work for the best possible outcome. All that is required of the person doing the alteration is to include the name and any information the original developer wish displayed, along with the program. Easy. Efficient. Free of charge, economical and criminal.
Another way Linux is showing it`s strength is in precisely being a community. Whereas Microsoft is a large corporation that can afford to have a few thousands of product-testers and developers, they do not trust the user to work with them. A few thousands of product-testers and developers made to think in a certain way by the rules of the corporation will miss certain clues. Certain bugs. Certain security-breaches. Remember, there are literally billions of lines of Microsoft code out there. Ok. let`s say there are one billion lines of code, and Microsoft has ten thousand product-testers and developers. That means everyone of those will have to read and test 100.000 lines of code. Microsoft has many millions of costumers.
Just for the sake of later argument, let`s say they have 5 million costumers.
Now, let`s see about Linux. Linux is not a corporation. There are no central headquarters. There are no product-testers and developers on any payroll. Linux also has millions of costumers. Linux also has billions of lines of code. The difference is that each and every costumer is also a product tester and developer. If we employ the same math to Linux as we did Microsoft, saying there are a billion lines of code. We have 5 million costumers/product-testers/developers. Now, each of those will have to read 200 lines of code. See the difference?
I am ashamed to say I don`t use Linux for anything but to listen to a few CDs and typing what I want to say, and use Windows as the main system on my server which I currently use as a personal computer to communicate with the world. The fact of the matter is, I am a bit afraid. I know to a certain degree how Windows works. I know of some of its quirks and faults. I know how to do the things I currently want to do, in a Windows environment. I am not yet fully capable of doing that in a Linux environment.
But I have set a date for myself. September 1st, 2007 I will use nothing but Linux on my computers. The reason for this date is that I know I will get a brand new laptop for my birthday. This provides the safety net that is a system I know, while it gives me the opportunity to install and experiment with Linux on a more powerful computer than this seven year old laptop. The server. It`s still just a Pentium III, 1.26 Ghz with 1536 MB RAM and 200+ GB of drivespace, but it will be all that it can be when I install Ubuntu on it. And once I am comfortable using Ubuntu on that server, which I figure will take me about six months, the new laptop will get its installation of Ubuntu too. Taking the transition in steps, I hope to evade the danger of being unable to work on the computer because I don`t know the system and revert to an inferior system just because I know the system.
Back to copyrights. I have used what is, to me, the core example of how copyrights have become misinterpreted over the years since it first was made. Copyrights was not intended to hamper intellectual work, but to give an incentive to do intellectual work. People would see that they could be rewarded for doing this kind of things. Today, the copyrights are thwarted and mis-used by the large corporations. Today you face the possibility of making a home movie and not being able to copy it to give to friends and family. How? Well, I have just recently read this, but apparently if you use a DV-camera or MiniDiscs to record material, the hardware is made so that you cannot copy the material on it without a copyright license bought from the company that made the hardware. How did that come to be? You have to pay to copy something that is your intellectual material? This goes completely against the intention of copyrights. People were supposed to get paid to make intellectual material, not be forced to pay for what is their intellectual material. Sadly, that has come because of the large movie companies, record companies, software houses, and so on. They want to make sure that nothing can be used to copy their material. In the meantime they have made it more difficult to make intellectual material. They want to protect their investment, and that was the true intention of copyrights. Problem is, they have gone about it the wrong way. Instead of making better intellectual material the public wish to pay for, they have tried to make it impossible to copy the intellectual material.
I propose a merger of two methods: The Ubuntu way, and the corporate way. The Ubuntu way is to provide the content in many different ways. Ubuntu can be downloaded online, you can receive a CD with a version of it, or a DVD with several versions of it. Why would anyone want to wait maybe several weeks to receive a CD when they can download it online? In the case of Ubuntu, it`s free of charge no matter what. The only reason to wait for the CD or DVD is that it`s better-looking. It has that corporate press that burnt CDs and DVDs don`t have. Now let`s say Paramount, one of Hollywoods greatest movie companies went about it like this: They host a website containing the movies they have produced, available for download, or you can order a DVD with the movie and some extras that you simply can`t include in a data-file. (Please bear with me now, as I don`t remember if this movie comes from Paramount) Example: Citizen Kane. The file is available for download at $1.20 including the right to burn it to a DVD, complete with menus and subtitles. Or, you can order the DVD in a nice box with a corporate print on the DVD, and extras like a poster to hang on your wall of Orson Welles, the sleigh, or some other item, at $5 plus shipping. A lot of people would off course choose the online-download, but a lot of people would also choose the box with its fine print and extras. The companies would actually gain from this. They don`t need to make anywhere near as many DVD-copies of the movies, cutting severely into that cost. They wouldn`t have to ship 20 copies of the movie to a shop to get 15 of them in return, or sold off at a lower price after a while. If anyone has any idea on how to make this happen, please tell me. All I can think of, is to tell the companies about this. If enough of us consumers told them this was how we wanted it done, it wouldn`t be long before it was a reality.
As good as I think I have been in explaining this, I will include the article that set this train of thoughts into motion.
What's Wrong With Copy Protection
John Gilmore, 16 February 2001
Translations: English, Portuguese, Deutsch, Español, Italiano, Frances, Russian, Hebrew
Ron Rivest asked me, "I think it would be illuminating to hear your views on the differences between the Intel/IBM content-protection proposals and existing practices for content protection in the TV scrambling domain. The devil's advocate position against your position would be: if the customer is willing to buy extra, or special, hardware to allow him to view protected content, what is wrong with that?"
First, I call it copy protection rather than content protection, because "content" is such a meaningless word. What the technology actually does is to deter copying. Such technologies have a long history in computing, starting with the first microcomputers, minicomputers, and workstations. Except in very small niches, all such systems ultimately failed. Many failed because of active opposition from their buyers, who purchased alternative products that did not restrict copying.
There is nothing wrong with allowing people to optionally choose to buy copy-protection products that they like. What is wrong is when:
Competing products are driven off the market
What is wrong is when people who would like products that simply record bits, or audio, or video, without any copy protection, can't find any, because they have been driven off the market. By restrictive laws like the Audio Home Recording Act, which killed the DAT market. By "anti-circumvention" laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which EFF is now litigating. By Federal agency actions, like the FCC deciding a month ago that it will be illegal to offer citizens the capability to record HDTV programs, even if the citizens have the legal right to. By private agreements among major companies, such as SDMI and CPRM (that later end up being "submitted" as fait accompli to accredited standards committees, requiring an effort by the affected public to derail them). By private agreements behind the laws and standards, such as the unwritten agreement that DAT and MiniDisc recorders will treat analog inputs as if they contained copyrighted materials which the user has no rights in. (My recording of my brother's wedding is uncopyable, because my MiniDisc decks act as if I and my brother don't own the copyright on it.)
Pioneer New Media Technologies, who builds the recently announced recordable DVD drive for Apple, says "The major consumer applications for recordable DVD will be home movie editing and storage and digital photo storage". They carefully don't say "time-shifting TV programs, or recording streaming Internet videos", because the manufacturers and the distribution companies are in cahoots to make sure that that capability never reaches the market. Even though it's 100% legal to do so, under the Supreme Court's Betamax decision. Streambox built software that let people record RealVideo streams on their hard disks; they were sued by Real under the DMCA, and took it off the market. According to Nomura Securities, DVD Recorder sales will exceed VCR sales in 2004 or 2005, and also exceed DVD Player-only sales by 2005. (http://www.kipinet.com/tdb/1000/10tdb04.htm) So by 2010 or so, few consumers will have access to a recorder that will let them save a copy of a TV program, or time-shift one, or let the kids watch it in the back of the car. Is anyone commenting on that social paradigm shift? Do we think it's good or bad? Do we get any say about it at all?
Instead, consumers will have to pay movie/TV companies over and over for the privilege of time-shifting or space-shifting. Even if they have purchased the movie, and it's stored at home on their own equipment, and they have high bandwidth access to it from wherever they are. This concept is called "pay per use". It can't compete with "You have the right to record a copy of what you have the right to see". These companies can't eliminate that right legally, because it would violate too many of the fundamentals of our society, so they are restricting the technology so you can't exercise that right. In the process they are violating the fundamentals on which a stable and just society is based. But as long as society survives until after they're dead, they don't seem to care about its long-term stability.
Companies don't disclose copy-protection restrictions
What is wrong is when companies who make copy-protecting products don't disclose the restrictions to the consumers. Like Apple's recent happy-happy web pages on their new DVD-writing drive, announced this month (http://www.apple.com/idvd/). It's full of glowing info about how you can write DVDs based on your own DV movie recordings, etc. What it quietly neglects to say is that you can't use it to copy or time-shift or record any audio or video copyrighted by major companies. Even if you have the legal right to do so, the technology will prevent you. They don't say that you can't use it to mix and match video tracks from various artists, the way your CD burner will. It doesn't say that you can't copy-protect your own disks that it burns; that's a right the big manufacturers have reserved to themselves. They're not selling you a DVD-Authoring drive, which is for "professional use only". They're selling you a DVD-General drive, which cannot record the key-blocks needed to copy-protect your own recordings, nor can a DVD-General disc be used as a master to press your own DVDs in quantity. These distinctions are not even glossed over; they are simply ignored, not mentioned, invisible until after you buy the product.
It isn't just Apple who is misleading the consumer; it's epidemic. Sony portable mini-disc recorders only come with digital input jacks, never digital outputs. Sound checks in -- but only checks out in low-quality analog formats. Intel touts the wonders of their TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Architecture). You have to read between the lines to discover that it exists solely to spy on how you use your PC, so that any random third party across the Internet can decide whether to "trust" you -- the owner. TCPA isn't about reporting to you whether you can trust your own PC (e.g. whether it has a virus), it doesn't include that function. It exists to report to record companies about whether you have installed any software that lets you make copies of MP3s, or any free software to circumvent whatever feeble copy-protection system the record company uses. Intel is pushing HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) which is high speed hardware encryption that runs only on the cable between the computer and its CRT or LCD monitor. The only signal being encrypted is the one that the user is sitting there watching, so why is it encrypted? So that the user can't record what they can view! If the cable is tampered with, the video chip degrades the signal to "analog VCR quality".
Intel is also pushing SDMI and CPRM (Content Protection for Recordable Media) which would turn your own storage media (disk drives, flash ram, zip disks, etc) into co-conspirators with movie and record companies, to deny you (the owner of the computer and the media) the ability to store things on those media and get them back later. Instead some of the stored items would only come back with restrictions wired into the extraction software -- restrictions that are not under the control of the equipment owner, or of the law, but are matters of contract between the movie/record companies and the equipment/software makers. Such as, "you can't record copyrighted music on unencrypted media". If you try to record a song off the FM radio onto a CPRM audio recorder, it will refuse to record or play it, because it's watermarked but not encrypted. Even when recording your own brand-new original audio, the default settings for analog recordings are that they can never be copied, nor ever copied in higher fidelity than CD's, and that only one copy can be made even if copying is ever authorized (if the other restrictions are somehow bypassed). Intel and IBM don't tell you these things; you have to get to Page 11 of Exhibit B-1, "CPPM Compliance Rules for DVD-Audio" on page 45 of the 70-page "Interim CPRM/CPPM Adopters Agreement", available only after you fill out intrusive personal questions after following the link from http://www.dvdcca.org/4centity/. All Intel tells you that CPPM will "give consumers access to more music" http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/aw032300.htm). Lying to your customers to mislead them into buying your products is wrong.
Scientific research is unpublishable
What is wrong is when scientific researchers are unable to study the field or to publish their findings. Professor Ed Felten of Princeton studied the SDMI "watermarking" systems in some detail, as part of a public study deliberately permitted by the secretive SDMI committee, so they could determine whether the public could crack their chosen schemes. (SDMI would not allow EFF to join its deliberations, saying that we had no legitimate interest in the proceedings because we weren't a music company or a manufacturer. There are no consumer or civil rights representatives in the SDMI consortium.) Prof. Felten was in the New York Times last week, saying the SDMI people and Princeton's lawyers are now telling him that he can't release his promised details on what was wrong with these watermarking systems, because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It's OK to tell the SDMI companies how easy it is to break their scheme, but it isn't OK to tell the public or other scientific researchers.
Competition is prevented
What is wrong is when competitors are unable to build competing devices or software, vying for the favor of the consumers in the free market. Instead those devices are banned or threatened, and that software is censored and driven underground. Such as the open-source DeCSS and LiViD DVD player programs. Such as DVD players worldwide that can play American "Region 1" DVDs. EFF spent more than a million dollars last year in defending the publisher of a security magazine, and a Norwegian teenager, from movie industry attempts to have them censored and jailed, respectively, for publishing and writing competing software that lets DVDs be played or copied but does not follow the restrictive contracts that the movie studios imposed on most players. The movie studios spent $4 million on prosecuting the New York case alone. Few or no manufacturers are willing to put ordinary digital audio recorders on the market -- you see lots of MP3 players but where are the stereo MP3 recorders? They've been chilled into nonexistence by the threat of lawsuits. The ones that claim to record, record only "voice quality monaural".
Abuse of "copyright protection" rewards monopolies
What is wrong is when the controls that are enacted to protect the rights reserved under copyright are used for other purposes. Not to protect the existing rights, but to create new rights at the whim of the copyright holder. Movie companies insisted on a "region coding" system for DVDs, because they would make less money if DVD movies were actually tradeable worldwide under existing free-trade laws. (They couldn't charge high theatre ticket prices if the same movie was simultaneously available on DVDs, and they couldn't combine the ad campaigns of the theatres and the DVDs if they waited a long time between releasing it to theatres and releasing it to DVDs.) This system results in the situation where a consumer can buy a DVD player legally, buy a DVD legally, and put the two together, and the movie won't play. The user has every legal right to view the movie, but it won't play, because if it did, movie companies might make less money. Similar controls exist in DVDs to prevent people from fast-forwarding past the ads or those nonsensical "FBI Warnings".
Microsoft built some deliberately incompatible protocols into Windows 2000 so that competing Unix machines could not be used as DNS servers in some circumstances. Microsoft released a specification but only under an encrypted file format that claimed to require that readers agree not to use the information to compete with them. When someone decrypted the trivial encryption without agreeing to the terms, Microsoft threatened to use the DMCA to sue Slashdot, the popular free-software news web site, who published the results. (Luckily for us, Slashdot has a backbone and said "go ahead, we'll defend that suit" and Microsoft chickened out.) Copyright doesn't grant the right to prevent competition, or to restrict global trade -- but somehow the legislation that was enacted to protect copyrights is being used to do just those things.
Social policy is created without public input
What is wrong is when social policy is created in smoke-filled back rooms, between movie/record company executives and computer company executives, not by open public discussion, by legislatures, and by courts. The CPRM specification, for example, allows a distributor of a bag of bits (who has access to software with this capability) to decide that future recipients will not be permitted to make copies of that bag of bits. Or that two copies are permitted, but not three. This policy is not legally enforceable, it was not created by law. The law says something different. But the policy will be enforced by equipment built by all the major manufacturers, because they will be sued by the movie/record companies if they dare to build interoperating equipment that lets consumers make three copies, or copies limited only by their legal rights. Is it unexpected that such back-room policies end up favoring the parties who were in the room, at the expense of consumers and the public?
Copyright's balance of benefits is lost
What is wrong is when the balance between the rights of creators and the rights of freedom of speech and the press is lost. Any increase in the rights of creators is a decrease in the public's right of free speech and publication. Whenever copyrights are extended, the public domain shrinks. The right of criticism, the right to dispute someone else's rendition of the truth, is damaged. The First Amendment gives an almost absolute right to publish; the Copyright clause gives a limited right to prevent publication by others. Any expansion of the right to prevent publication diminishes the right to publish. For example, few works created after 1910 have entered the public domain, if their owners did not abandon their copyright, because as the years went by, the term of copyright kept getting extended. But the copy-rights created by technological restrictions are not even designed to end. There is nothing in the SDMI or CPRM spec that says, "After 2100 you will be permitted to copy the movies from 1910".
Beneficiaries are a tiny fraction of society
What is wrong is that a tiny tail of "copyright protection" is wagging the big dog of communications among humans. As Prof. Andy Odlyzko pointed out, http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/eworld.html, see "Content is not king" and "The history of communications and its implications for the Internet"), "The annual movie theater ticket sales in the U.S. are well under $10 billion. The telephone industry collects that much money every two weeks!" Distorting the law and the technology of human communication and computing, in order to protect the interests of copyright holders, makes the world poorer overall. Even if it didn't violate fundamental policies for the long-term stability of societies, it would be the wrong economic decision.
Society can truly eliminate scarcity, but not this way!
What is wrong is that we have invented the technology to eliminate scarcity, but we are deliberately throwing it away to benefit those who profit from scarcity. We now have the means to duplicate any kind of information that can be compactly represented in digital media. We can replicate it worldwide, to billions of people, for very low costs, affordable by individuals. We are working hard on technologies that will permit other sorts of resources to be duplicated this easily, including arbitrary physical objects ("nanotechnology"; see http://www.foresight.org). The progress of science, technology, and free markets have produced an end to many kinds of scarcity. A hundred years ago, more than 99% of Americans were still using outhouses, and one out of every ten children died in infancy. Now even the poorest Americans have cars, television, telephones, heat, clean water, sanitary sewers -- things that the richest millionaires of 1900 could not buy. These technologies promise an end to physical want in the near future.
We should be rejoicing in mutually creating a heaven on earth! Instead, those crabbed souls who make their living from perpetuating scarcity are sneaking around, convincing co-conspirators to chain our cheap duplication technology so that it won't make copies -- at least not of the kind of goods they want to sell us. This is the worst sort of economic protectionism -- beggaring your own society for the benefit of an inefficient local industry. The record and movie distribution companies are careful not to point this out to us, but that is what is happening.
If by 2030 we have invented a matter duplicator that's as cheap as copying a CD today, will we outlaw it and drive it underground? So that farmers can make a living keeping food expensive, so that furniture makers can make a living preventing people from having beds and chairs that would cost a dollar to duplicate, so that builders won't be reduced to poverty because a comfortable house can be duplicated for a few hundred dollars? Yes, such developments would cause economic dislocations for sure. But should we drive them underground and keep the world impoverished to save these peoples' jobs? And would they really stay underground, or would the natural advantages of the technology cause the "underground" to rapidly overtake the rest of society?
I think we should embrace the era of plenty and work out how to mutually live in it. I think we should work on understanding how people can make a living by creating new things and providing services, rather than by restricting the duplication of existing things. That's what I've personally spent ten years doing, founding a successful free software support company. That company, Cygnus Solutions, annually invests more than $10 million into writing software, giving it away freely, and letting anyone modify or duplicate it. It funds that by collecting more than $25 million from customers, who benefit from having that software exist and be reliable and widespread. The company is now part of Red Hat, Inc -- which also makes its living by empowering its customers without restricting the duplication of its work. It's no coincidence that the open source, free software, and Linux communities are among the first to become alarmed at copy protection. They are actively making their livings or hobbies out of eliminating scarcity and increasing freedom in the operating system and application software markets. They see the real improvement in the world that results -- and the ugly reactions of the monopolistic and oligopolistic forces that such efforts obsolete.
Converting the whole world to operate without scarcity is a huge task. Such a large economic shift would take decades to spread through the entire world economy, making billions of new winners and new losers. We will be extremely lucky if by 2030 we are prepared to end scarcity without massive social turmoil, including riots, civil unrest, and world war. If we are to find a peaceful path to an era of plenty, we should be starting HERE AND NOW, transforming the industries we have already eliminated scarcity in -- text, audio, and video. Companies that can't adjust should disappear and be replaced by those who can. As these whole industries learn how to exist and thrive without creating artificial scarcity, they will provide models and expertise for other industries, which will need to change when their own inefficient production is replaced by efficient duplication ten or fifteen years from now. Relying on copy-protection now would send us in exactly the wrong direction! Copy protection pretends that the law and some fancy footwork with industrial cartels can maintain our current economic structures, in the face of a hurricane of positive technological change that is picking them up and sending them whirling like so many autumn leaves.
This may be a longer discussion than you wanted, Ron, but as you can see, I think there are a lot of things wrong with how copy protection techologies are being foisted on an unsuspecting public. I'd like to hear from you a similar discussion. Being devil's advocate for a moment, why should self-interested companies be permitted to shift the balance of fundamental liberties, risking free expression, free markets, scientific progress, consumer rights, societal stability, and the end of physical and informational want? Because somebody might be able to steal a song? That seems a rather flimsy excuse. I await your response.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Copyright 2001 John Gilmore. Broken links updated in 2005.
This document is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This document is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this document; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.
Now, to end this tirade, I wish everyone to copy this blog, link to it, e-mail it to all they know, and everyone reading, please add to the end of this document e-mailadresses, post adresses, phone numbers to all the world`s movie companies, music companies, software houses and so on, and send them an e-mail, a letter, give them a call. Whatever. Just state your desire for the proposal I have made: Make movies, music, programs, any digital product available for online download at a low cost, and give us the option to purchase a corporate edition of the same movie if we should wish to obtain a more aesthetically pleasing copy of the product. If we stand united, we will prevail. It`s only through joint effort that we are able to change the world.
You may choose to draft your own e-mail or letter or place a phone call, or you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a pre-drafted copy to send via e-mail or the postal service.
To start off with this effort, I have included contact information for Paramount, United International Pictures, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 20th Century Fox, Microsoft, Apple and Sony/BMG in the United States.
Chairman and CEO Brad Grey
President Gail Berman
COO Frederick D. Huntsberry
5555 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
United International Pictures
Chairman and CEO Stewart Till
President and COO Andrew Cripps
Press Contact Katherine Willing, VP International Publicity
45 Beadon Road
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
This is an online comment site. Please copy and paste the file ..Letter to the providers of digital content.. into the comment box.
20th Century Fox
This is an online comment site. Please copy and paste the file ..Letter to the Providers of digtal content.. into the comment box.
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century House
31-32 Soho Square
London W1D 3AP
The Microsoft Corporation
The above e-mailadress is meant for developers. You also have to possibility to acces
Where you can choose your nearest Microsoft office.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
This is an online comment site. Please copy and paste the file ..Letter to the Providers of digtal content.. into the comment box.
As you can see, it's meant for developers.
This is an online comment site. Please copy and paste the file ..Letter to the Providers of digtal content.. into the comment box.
It also has info on how to contact them by phone and ordinary mail.
I also found these phone numbers
Sony/BMG Headquarters in New York City 213 833 8000
United States - Arista Records 646 840 5600
Columbia Records 212 833 8606
Epic Records 212 833 8870
J Records 646 840 5600
RCA Records 212 833 6200
Sony/BMG Corporate Press 212 833 5047
Sony/BMG Latin 305 695 3500
Sony/BMG Nashville 615 301 4300
Zomba Label Group 212 727 0016
International - Sony/BMG Asia 852 2863 1700
Sony/BMG Continental Europe 49 89 4136 9595
New Zealand/ South Africa 44 20 7384 7631