An Education on copy protection

Thanks to Paul Miller for the angry post about the idiocies of copy protection on Engadget.

In copy protection schemes, there are two factors to take into account. The first is the possibility that a film will get out in bit-perfect digital quality, available for download in perfect resolution on bittorrent. Anybody who is striving to attain this possibility at this point is an idiot. HDCP protection is now cracked (and Intel is threatening to sue those who use the crack!) Somebody, somehow, will have the ingenuity to get the video onto bittorrent, and from there it’s becoming more and more easy to crack it.

The second form of copy protection is where all efforts should be focused: making it difficult and clearly unapproved for the casual consumer to copy and share videos if they are not following fair use. Make it hard for consumers to email songs or copy over videos, but only if you can make sure they can use them on their own devices–and we are not there yet.

I won’t buy the Amazon Kindle or any movie I plan to watch more than once with all these gooey DRM’ey strings attached.



2 Comments to “An Education on copy protection”

  1. Your ol' buddy Matt 26 September 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Now, now, now… you’re one of those New York Apple fanboys now – both the most hardcore and the easiest targets out there. And whether you typed this post on your ipad, ipod, iphone or (i)macbook, there’s pretty much no question that you support the worst big-time offender out there in terms of DRM. And yes, i know, there’s theoretically a song on the itunes market that you can buy once and play anywhere, but it was Amazon, not Apple that made that happen, and Amazon sells the Kindle. And, just like for your ipod, if you don’t like the DRM that comes on the books you buy, you have other options. The reason that you haven’t bought an ereader yet, I’d bet, is because you don’t have a convincing use-case for one.

    Don’t like DRM? Switch to free software. Just wanted to give you a hard time from Costa Rica – my RSS feeds follow me *everywhere*!


  2. Mike 26 September 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Hey Matt,

    Thanks for the comment and I’m bummed to not have seen you in LA..but Costa Rica sounds awesome!

    I appreciate what you say and in some sense you are right, but I don’t think disagreeing with one thing someone does creates a moral imperative to boycott them – I weigh the usefulness of their products with how much I dislike their policies. So yes, I am guilty of imperfect morality.

    At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with complaining about a company’s practices. That’s the second choice a consumer has, and it often works. It’s important to do because at stake is not just our individual user experience but the future of technology – that’s what I think, at least.

    Incidentally, my next phone will be an Android and I am not buying the iPad or Kindle specifically for these reasons. If for some reason I had a really, really strong use for it (for example, developed back problems) then I’d get one.

    Much love

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