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Re: Separate trusted computing designs

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: Separate trusted computing designs
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 08:52:17 -0400

On Thu, 2006-08-31 at 13:35 +0200, Michal Suchanek wrote:
> DRM and TPM systems differ in that thay technologically prevent you
> from doing somethig, even if the law changed, the enforcement
> mechanism was configured incorrectly in the first place, etc.

Thinking about DRM in the context of law is challenging, and I agree
that use of DRM to enforce law is very problematic. The critical issue
is that law can change without the consent of the parties.

In contrast to law, the terms of a contract are the terms of the
contract. These do not change except by mutual consent. If changed by
mutual consent, the embedding of the terms in the DRM system can also be
changed. If the embedding in the DRM system does not accurately reflect
the prevailing terms of the contract, the court system exists to allow
either party to enforce the terms. In the case of DRM, a court case of
this type is likely to be a "class action", which is a very expensive
thing to lose if you are the defender. Of course, the courts are not
perfect. My point here is that there exist checks and balances within
the legal system that help both parties enforce their contracts.

DRM does not change the space of legally permissable contract terms.
What it changes is the cost of enforcement and compliance. This, in
turn, changes the space of *practically* feasible contract terms.


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