Originally Posted by DiapDealer
But it's not
the same thing that you do with your paper books. Unless you're in the habit of poofing brand new copies of your paper books into existence to loan to friends, that is.
That ability would have saved me quite a bit of money over time :-)
...more to the point: yes, you are right... but it doesn't matter. Let me explain.
The fact that you can copy a digital file and have two identical things instead of the single one you started with is exactly the reason why current DRM systems don't work.
With digital media, poofing is possible
Current DRM is based on the idea of making poofing difficult. However this kind of limiting mechanism works only if it makes poofing utterly impossible. In practice eluding DRM is feasible, so some poofing occurs. Then, some of the new media poofed into existence will be used to poof other copies, and so on and so on. Given that no effect limiting the number of copies that get poofed (the thing that I called "damping mechanism") is in place, the overall number of copies that get spread around tends to be, on the long run, very large. This is an inherently explosive system, and any reduction in the number of "first-generation" copies will only slow down the explosion a bit, not prevent it.
My proposal changes this by making the system strongly damped. The owner of a file can poof how many copies she/he wants, to give them to people. However, the number of people who get copies is limited by the fact that the file owner only gives copies to people that she/he can be sure will not give the file to others, because otherwise she/he will risk getting fined. The file owner, in other terms, will give the file only to people who care about her/him enough to avoid further sharing. And such people, precisely because they care, will really
avoid sharing the file they received with other people. So the file will not
However, black sheep and social misunderstanding exist.
What happens (with my "social DRM") if Brad gets a copy of file X from Anne, the owner, but "cheats" and gives a copy to Charlie even if Anne doesn't want that? Does the system explode into exponential poofing of new files? I think not.
Maybe Charlie cares about Anne, so will not share X further because that would risk damaging her. But even if Charlie doesn't care at all about Anne
, there's another reason for Charlie not to share the file. In fact Charlie probably cares about Brad. We know that Brad feels so close to Charlie to disobey his friend Anne and risk damaging her just to give Charlie a copy of X. So it's likely that Charlie is somewhat close to Brad, in turn. Therefore when Brad says to Charlie "Please, don't share X with anyone else. I had to disobey Ann to give it to you. If you share X, it may happen some day that Ann gets fined, and I don't want her to be damaged. Moreover, if that happens Ann may discover that I cheated on her by giving you a copy of X, and I don't want that to happen as well. So please don't share the file!", Charlie will experience a strong social pressure to avoid sharing the file.
At every passage of the file from a person to another one, a strong local
pressure exists which tends to stop further sharing. Such pressure does NOT decrease as we go farther from the original buyer of the file, because is due to the local social ties linking the person who gives the file and the person who gets it.
If after all Charlie disobeys to Brad and gives the file to Donna, Donna will be worried about letting down Charlie just as much (on average) as Charlie was worried about letting down Brad.
All in all, in my social DRM system distributed social links between people act as an effective damping mechanism that tends to stop the diffusion of files at every passage, and the number of copies does not explode.
I hope to have made myself clear!