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Old 11-09-2012, 03:48 PM   #256
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A more likely scenario is this: Mary uses a computer but isn't technically inclined when it comes to fixing issues with it. When she has a problem, she has her grandson John or her nephew Bill fix it. Or that nice boy Andy that lives next door who's good with computers. After all, he was probably the one who helped her with her new gadget in the first place. Suddenly Mary's watermarked ebook collection is on the internet.
I do not only advocate the freedom to do whatever we want with our media (including owning it for real). I also advocate responsibility for users. If Bill cannot be trusted, Mary should not trust him. If she does, she has a responsibility in the illegal distribution of her file, along with Bill. Of course, when she receives a note from the police she could remember about Bill, and Bill could find out that what he did is not so fun after all. So maybe Bill can be trusted ;-)

Is this unnecessarily harsh to Mary? i don't think so. If her neighbor gave to her the keys to his house, and she left them where Bill can take them an rob the neigbor, Mary has a responsibility in the robbing.

That said, the monstrous punishments that media companies now ask for "pirates" would be useless in presence of a system that actually allows identification of the source of illegally distributed files. If misbehaviour is really punished, most of the times, there's no need for "exemplary punishments" to scare people: a reasonable fine should suffice.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:53 PM   #257
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Moreover, the level of technical ability needed to strip DRM from an MP3 file or ebook and upload it on a torrent site is pretty low.
For both reasons, I see as pretty unlikely that this kind of people will turn into expert hackers and will turn to doing something clearly criminal such as breaking into other people's PCs and stealing files.
Right now, it's easy to strip DRM, but your idea is to implement a system where it is difficult to remove identifying information, and thus dissuade people from uploading their own files.

If such a scheme worked, it would change things, and make it more worthwhile to write a virus that grabbed other people's media. Note that viruses aren't necessarily difficult to write. About 10 years ago, I saw a virus writing kit that made creating a virus literally a point-and-click operation.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:58 PM   #258
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If such a scheme worked, it would change things, and make it more worthwhile to write a virus that grabbed other people's media.
Worthwhile for whom? Why? Uploaders do not make a profit from that.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:04 PM   #259
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Worthwhile for whom? Why? Uploaders do not make a profit from that.
Uploaders currently don't make a profit, but it's apparently worth the effort to them. If the torrent sites can't get populated the way they currently are, people will probably look for new ways to do it. I've suggested one way, there are probably others.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:12 PM   #260
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Uploaders currently don't make a profit, but it's apparently worth the effort to them.
It's worth the effort because it's quick. Because it's easy. Because the risk is essentially nil. This is why uploading files is something like a sport for some people, or so it seems to me.

If you have to write and debug efficient malicious code and perform criminal actions to get the files to upload, it seems unlikely to me that many people will continue doing that for "fun"...
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:19 PM   #261
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It's worth the effort because it's quick. Because it's easy. Because the risk is essentially nil. This is why uploading files is something like a sport for some people, or so it seems to me.

If you have to write and debug efficient malicious code and perform criminal actions to get the files to upload, it seems unlikely to me that many people will continue doing that for "fun"...
It doesn't have to be efficient, and many people consider writing software to be fun. People wrote viruses for "fun" for years (though I believe nowadays many viruses are written by criminal organisations for profit). Of course, it doesn't have to be for fun. Apparently there are massive collections of ebooks on the torrent sites ("every book by author X"). If they were no longer available for free, there might be a profit in selling them cheap. After all, people currently sell illegal copies of software, why not do the same with ebooks?
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:27 PM   #262
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If Bill cannot be trusted, Mary should not trust him. If she does, she has a responsibility in the illegal distribution of her file, along with Bill.
If you are operating from the position of "trust no one" then you and I will never find common ground. Mary can't tell a pirate by looking at them, and neither can you or I. The most rampant file-sharer I know of is an otherwise perfectly normal human being that happens to think it's okay to share digital content. I would trust him with my life, but not with my ebooks, but it took months of knowing him to find out that about him when a relevant conversation came up. Most people don't have those conversations - it doesn't come up. Most people don't think about piracy at all, let alone question whether a given person might be a pirate.

I'm interested in hearing the part of your plan that specifies what content providers (or someone, anyway) will be required to do to educate people like Mary about piracy and how to keep their purchases from being stolen. Surely that is in there somewhere, yes? Because otherwise you're holding people responsible for not knowing things they weren't given the opportunity to know.

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It's worth the effort because it's quick. Because it's easy. Because the risk is essentially nil. This is why uploading files is something like a sport for some people, or so it seems to me.

If you have to write and debug efficient malicious code and perform criminal actions to get the files to upload, it seems unlikely to me that many people will continue doing that for "fun"...
There are some brilliant minds out there who do these things because they can. Rather than back down from it, they will rise to the occasion for the challenge of doing so. There is a thrill in getting around a given system. The current uploaders don't have to be the ones to do it, they merely need to take advantage of the work of the coders that will.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:33 PM   #263
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Is this unnecessarily harsh to Mary? i don't think so. If her neighbor gave to her the keys to his house, and she left them where Bill can take them an rob the neigbor, Mary has a responsibility in the robbing.
No she doesn't. She's an innocent bystander.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #264
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If they were no longer available for free, there might be a profit in selling them cheap. After all, people currently sell illegal copies of software, why not do the same with ebooks?
How would the "customers" of such hypothetical media thieves pay for their "products"? With their credit cards?
Moreover, that the casual "media pirates" of today will become smart hackers and successful criminal entrepreneurs just because they have difficulties getting media files to upload does make little sense, in my view.

On a side note: I don't understand the point you are trying to make. I am trying to explore (with the help of the MobileRead community) the possibility of devising a "social DRM" system that: (i) lets people be the owners (not the licensees) of their media files; (ii) makes illegal distribution of files more difficult.

Are you saying that this is a bad thing? Why?
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:14 PM   #265
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I'm interested in hearing the part of your plan that specifies what content providers (or someone, anyway) will be required to do to educate people like Mary about piracy and how to keep their purchases from being stolen. Surely that is in there somewhere, yes? Because otherwise you're holding people responsible for not knowing things they weren't given the opportunity to know.
Good point. (Except that I haven't any "plan", of course: only the curiosity to explore alternatives to the current, malfunctioning and unfair, DRM systems).

As the digital part of people's lives becomes more and more important, we need to get educated about how to manage it without harming ourselves and other people. Maybe part of this could be taught in schools, but mostly education in civil behaviour comes from one's own family (and society in general).
In particular, we have to learn that our (and other people's) data are "valuables", and that we have to treat them as such. Just as I don't leave the door of my home open, I don't give to people I don't fully trust read permissions on data that are important to me or to others. It's easy and quick to do.
If I give my PC to some technician or acquaintance to be fixed, I can protect my media library with a password, or temporarily move it elsewhere, so that there will be nothing to "steal". Would you give a piece of your furniture to a repairman without removing from it the keys and documents you keep in the drawer?

You are right: it's a problem of education. But it's general, not related to DRM or media or piracy.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:20 PM   #266
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How would the "customers" of such hypothetical media thieves pay for their "products"? With their credit cards?
Presumably the same way they currently pay for pirated software. I don't claim to be an expert on this, but I know it happens. HarryT has complained about people selling illegal copies of his software.

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Moreover, that the casual "media pirates" of today will become smart hackers and successful criminal entrepreneurs just because they have difficulties getting media files to upload does make little sense, in my view.
I didn't say the casual pirates of today would be the ones to write viruses. I'm saying that someone could write such a virus, and if there's no other way to get their media for free, they'd have a motive to do so. Whether the motive would be enough to persuade them to do it, I have no idea.

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On a side note: I don't understand the point you are trying to make. I am trying to explore (with the help of the MobileRead community) the possibility of devising a "social DRM" system that: (i) lets people be the owners (not the licensees) of their media files; (ii) makes illegal distribution of files more difficult.

Are you saying that this is a bad thing? Why?
It's a nice idea, but I think it's flawed. If you want to explore the possibility, you have to explore potential flaws as well as benefits. My fear with your idea is that it would have unintended negative consequences.

(Note: I probably won't be able to reply again until after the weekend, so don't be surprised if I go quiet for the next few days)
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:24 PM   #267
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(Note: I probably won't be able to reply again until after the weekend, so don't be surprised if I go quiet for the next few days)
Bye, and thanks for the discussion!
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:51 PM   #268
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Removing DRM is prohibited by the Terms of Service (so if you are caught doing that the media provider can act against you, for instance by closing your account) and -somewhere at least- illegal, so by stripping DRM you are violating the law. I want a solution that does not require breaking laws or licenses, and that works for everyone.
By making it an additional crime to be stolen FROM.

... Last month, I was robbed. Someone grabbed my purse and ran with it. That included my ereader. (I'm going a bit buggy reading on a computer screen.) Under your system, I'd be liable for prosecution if those books get uploaded somewhere.

I did report the crime to the police. I did not give them a list of books. I don't have one. There were a couple hundred ebooks on the device. Some people, in similar situations, would not report the theft to the police... if someone stole my ereader from my backpack, it might be days or weeks before I noticed it.

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Of course, if you can strip identification information from a file you get back to today's situation where -after DRM removal- the file bears no identifier. My basic assumption is that it is possible to devise systems for embedding identification information in a file that make removing such information a bit of a hassle.
It is not. If they could attach information to files easily, they would. They'd be doing that alongside the current DRM, so they could track the source of shared files.

The fact is: if the file is editable by the user, *any* metadata attached to it is removable. Add user info, and the DRM-stripping programs will be expanded to remove those details. It's possible to add identifying info--invisible watermarks--to non-DRM'd books, but that means running code at the time of sale or download, with personalized user info... there's expense in setting up such a system, and probably OS compatibility issues. Such options won't be available for small companies.

Large ones, as we've seen, will insist on all the restrictions they can legally shove into an ebook, and possibly a few more that may get challenged in court.

Additional hassles: the law change you're suggesting is only going to work in one country. If the original buyer's not in that jurisdiction, the law will be irrelevant.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:09 PM   #269
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Not sure where all this education could come from. People don't read manuals. They don't read user agreements. Laws and regulations can be enacted, but you cannot make people do anything - even if it is in their own best interests - if they refuse to listen. This covers every facet of modern life.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:34 AM   #270
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A more likely scenario is this: Mary uses a computer but isn't technically inclined when it comes to fixing issues with it. When she has a problem, she has her grandson John or her nephew Bill fix it. Or that nice boy Andy that lives next door who's good with computers. After all, he was probably the one who helped her with her new gadget in the first place. Suddenly Mary's watermarked ebook collection is on the internet.

I used to do tech support in a retirement community. I lived in that community for over a year. The DRM scheme you propose brings this very scenario to mind every time I think about it.
Mostly off topic, but somewhat related, I have never understood why My Documents isn't encrypted with a distinct password. It's analogous to having a safe inside a bank. When the bank is closed, there is sufficient protection, but when it opens, anyone can come in and walk around -- fill his pockets with lollipops and ink pens -- but the money is kept in a safe that requires a second level of access. Someone who is working on or has stolen a PC would not likely be able to get to tax returns and other sensitive documents if they were stored in an encrypted container.

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