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Old 11-15-2012, 09:51 AM   #344
BoldlyDubious
what if...?
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Posts: 209
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Device: paper & electrophoretic
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeB1972 View Post
If you can give the files to as many people as you want, then how can you be prosecuted for anything that happens to the file afterwards? obviously you simply need to say that you want everyone to have the file, there has to be a legally defined limit.
The fact that you retain a part of the responsibility if one of your media files gets illegally distributed (even if the distributor is the third cousin of a friend of the dentist of the person you originally gave a copy of the file) is the key point of my proposal. It's what makes the individual buyer care about preventing illegal distribution.
In exchange, the buyer gets the right to do with her/his media files a set of sensible things that are presently illegal/prohibited/unnecessarily complex, such as backing up, changing device or having spouses or close friends use them.

You can't set an a priori limit to the responsibility of the buyer, otherwise the mechanism doesn't work.
In fact my idea is that in presence of infinitely copiable files, the only mechanisms that can effectively control unauthorized diffusion are those that rely on "internal damping": the farthest the file goes from the original buyer, the lower the probability that it will be shared.
In my proposal, this damping exists because a buyer won't give the file to people who don't care about what happens to him enough to avoid sharing the file to others, and the number of such people is limited.

Conversely, the current DRM system lacks any damping, and thus is unstable. To give one of my files to someone I have to do a bit of work (to remove DRM), yes. But once I remove the DRM, I won't care anymore where my file actually goes and who gets it. So there's no mechanism that prevents my file from being passed and uploaded and copied and shared ad infinitum.

The obvious objection is: OK, but also in your "social DRM" scheme the buyer can (at least in theory) strip the embedded data from the file. So everything is the same, right? Wrong.
The situation is completely different because with current DRM schemes (which strongly limit what the buyer can do with the media files that she/he "buys" -actually, becomes a licensee of) the buyer has an incentive to strip the DRM! In fact, only by stripping DRM she/he can do with the file the things that she/he wants to do.
So the current system encourages people to strip DRM from their media. And, as I said, once this has been done there's nothing that really prevents the file from flooding the whole Internet. On the contrary, in my scheme for "social DRM", the buyer of a media file has no reasons whatsoever to strip the metadata from her/his file, because she/he is already free to do with it everything she/he needs. So why should she/he do that?
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