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Re: [affs-project] Re: [Fsfe-uk] APIG inital report

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [affs-project] Re: [Fsfe-uk] APIG inital report
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 11:46:58 +0000

Alex Hudson <address@hidden> [...]
> First bullet point was simple - as an example, the group were presented
> as the "open source" people, even though no-one there was presenting as
> such in any way, and made no representation to speak as such. That set
> the tone - the argument was presupposed to be one being made on a
> pro-sharing agenda.

It's tedious and a lot of people take a lot of flak for correcting
people, but I'm convinced it is necessary to correct people gently
when they trot out these incorrect assumptions, else you've lost
the argument almost before you start speaking.

> Second - questions we were asked centred around why we wanted to stop
> people using DRM. Fundamentally I think that's difficult/impossible to
> defend, it's a restriction on choice and the 'vote with your wallet'
> response is compelling.

It's a pretty easy one to defend IMO. DRM is a weak lock-out
propped up by legal protectionism. You can't "vote with your
wallet" because the only copy of these monopoly goods (and
copyright is a monopoly) is the DRM one in most cases. There
is no choice, no competition. I can't see how anyone can put
forward a "free market" argument for this protectionism with
a straight face.

It's even worse in the few cases where DRM is used to try to
wipe out an entire market section in one fell swoop, by making
devices which only play DRM-locked media, or refusing to
co-operate with standards for CD audio or DVB.

> In order to argue effectively against DRM, I think we really need to
> understand the premise for DRM. Basically, the APIG questions all boiled
> down to "How would <x creative industry> work without IP protection?" -

This is essentially a repeat of "how can a commons ever be
sustainable?" I think looking back to the enclosures shows
the sort of arguments which will be used, but the perverse
nature of digital reproduction (a limitless low-cost fountain
of perfect copies) means that the commons could easily
outperform a monopoly. I agree you probably don't want to
have that wider argument during a narrow DRM enquiry.

> [...] and shoot down the link between "IP rights" and
> "technological means of enforcement": [...]

Yes, those two things aren't directly linked and showing why
not may help to build a broader front against DRM protectionism.

MJ Ray - personal email, see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Work: http://www.ttllp.co.uk/  irc.oftc.net/slef  Jabber/SIP ask

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