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Old 11-17-2012, 01:00 PM   #376
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Why a criminal? I want you (and everyone else) to be treated like an adult, responsible person. About "being marked for life", this is what I wrote in my proposal:
When a buyer gets fined for illegal distribution at time Y, she/he cannot be fined again for illegal distribution of files she/he bought before time Y.
So you are not marked at all. You get one single fine, and that's it. Finished :-)
You just don't get it. You want people to be punished for ACTIONS OVER WHICH THEY HAVE NO CONTROL. The choice is either to NEVER let a file out of one's possession--which isn't necessarily possible even if one never willingly shares--or to open oneself to punishment and legal action.


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In this contex, "damage" is economic damage. The economic damage caused to publishers from illegal distribution of media is the reason why we are getting oppressed by silly (though hardly working) DRM schemes and -worst- because publishers are lobbying to get absurd (and dangerous for democracy) laws passed.
This is not silly at all.
What's silly is your proposal and you absolute unwillingness to see that there is NO BENEFIT to the consumer in this scheme, no matter how many words you expend.

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What?!? By your definition of blame, if anyone gets robbed it's always her/his own fault if that happened...
That is YOUR definition. That is the result of YOUR proposal. You say it's up to the owner of the file to take all necessary precautions or to face the consequences. How can you not recognize your own proposal?
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:10 PM   #377
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That is YOUR definition. That is the result of YOUR proposal. You say it's up to the owner of the file to take all necessary precautions or to face the consequences. How can you not recognize your own proposal?
What's funny to me is how there is no real protection should someone take reasonable and proper measures for protection and still have issues. He doesn't think of out lying cases. That's the same mentality that got people brought up on child porn charges a few years ago. Their computers were infected by a virus that made them part of a german botnet. People used that botnet to store child porn, and all evidence pointed to the infected computers and not to the perverts. It was only when several people had the same situation that any investigation was done into the computers that found that they were infected with the same virus. It was an unknown virus before hand, so AV software didn't detect it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:56 PM   #378
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What's funny to me is how there is no real protection should someone take reasonable and proper measures for protection and still have issues.
Another problem is that the people who actually upload the material to file-sharing sites get off scot-free, especially when they're a couple of steps removed from the original owner. How can they be traced? They really can't; all the onus is on the person who dutifully bought and paid for the book in the first place. The actual pirates don't even need to bother stripping the metadata since it doesn't lead to them.

And the owner has no defense whatsoever.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:09 PM   #379
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I don't have much time this morning, but I'll write a few notes before I dive into my weekend.
Have a good weekend, then :-) I'll try to do my homework here...
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The first damping mechanism is illegality (which can be a moral choice or a logical choice, but for most people the result is the same).
This exists also with my social DRM scheme, so it can be ignored when comparing it with the status quo.
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The second damping mechanism is that it takes effort, and the desire to figure it out.
Actually, the only one who has to do this effort is the original buyer of a media file. Everyone who subsequently gets the file, from whatever source, gets an already DRM-stripped file so has no work to do. Therefore this cannot be considered a distributed dampening mechanism, which is the only kind that can limit file diffusion in a world where infinite copies can be produced at negligible cost.
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The third dampening mechanism is the "I wasn't aware there was a problem" crowd - they read a book, move on to the next. For them, reading is a solitary venture, not a communal one, and sharing books never enters their mind.
This one, too, is a mechanism that is in place both with the current status quo and with my scheme. So it can be ignored when doing a comparison.
All in all, it still seems to me that my social DRM scheme is better (or, at the very least, certainly not worse) of the current license-based scheme in terms of reducing piracy; while it is vastly better in terms of consumer rights.
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My point was that any system MUST be attractive to publishers and retailers. That's why I keep bringing up the potential lost sales. If your focus is only on consumer rights (though a good thing, obviously) then the content providers won't play ball. Period.
You are absolutely right. I, too, think the same. This is why, notwithstanding the fact that my "social DRM" was not conceived with the aim of reducing piracy, I put some effort in trying to demonstrate that it will have this (side) effect all the same.
Another aspect that in my view publishers are overlooking is that the type of restrictive/punitive licensing systems that they forced upon their own customers had the side effect of creating a whole generation of people who think that publishers are their enemies and that it's good to fight (read: economically damage) them.
A new system based on respecting customers would do much to offset this situation. Moreover, happy customers buy more than disgruntled ones!
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It would take a whole lot of screw ups causing problems for a whole lot of people before it would really sink in, and call me crazy, but I don't think things should work that way. I just feel like you are both underestimating and overestimating human nature at the same time.
Maybe I'm doing just this. I don't know.
What I am pretty sure of is that current DRM systems based on licensing are not working in eradicating or substantially reducing piracy, though they work very well in ruining the experience of "buying" media for many people. Not considering the fact that switching from physical media to licensed digital media is creating (for the first time in history!) a situation where each new generation will NOT inherit the books and media of the previous one. This can't have positive effects.
In my view current DRM is not only bad. It's dangerous.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #380
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You just don't get it.
No, I get it. I just disagree with you.
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What's silly is your proposal and you absolute unwillingness to see that there is NO BENEFIT to the consumer in this scheme, no matter how many words you expend.
...except being able to enjoy your books and other media without having to break the law. Except being able to let your spouse and children read your books. Except being able to let them KEEP your books if you die. Except being able to share books with your friends. Except having the certainty that if your ebook vendor folds, your library can't vanish.
These are benefits to me.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:30 PM   #381
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What's funny to me is how there is no real protection should someone take reasonable and proper measures for protection and still have issues. He doesn't think of out lying cases. That's the same mentality that got people brought up on child porn charges a few years ago.
Maybe you're exaggerating a bit? In particular by comparing getting a fine of a few hundred dollars/euro to going to jail for child porn?

It's simple. In my proposal, if (notwithstanding all your precautions) someone steals your media files and uploads some of them, you risk getting a fine. ONE time. Then you can't be fined again. Not only for the file(s) that already appeared online, but also if any other media of yours that you bought up to the date of such appearance get uploaded later.

I'd say that this is not unnecessarily harsh. And maybe the money of the fine are well spent, if they let you find out that your PC has a backdoor that someone uses to access it. Next time they could steal your bank data, or your medical history, or...

Last edited by BoldlyDubious; 11-18-2012 at 02:47 AM. Reason: forgot word "hundred"!
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:40 PM   #382
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Another problem is that the people who actually upload the material to file-sharing sites get off scot-free, especially when they're a couple of steps removed from the original owner. How can they be traced? They really can't; all the onus is on the person who dutifully bought and paid for the book in the first place. The actual pirates don't even need to bother stripping the metadata since it doesn't lead to them.
And the owner has no defense whatsoever.
The defense of the owner, as in most other human activities, is to use her/his brain before doing things (in this case, before giving away files). Or, alternatively, to trust no one. Or also, to choose to rely on closed (Kindle-like) systems where security and administration are managed by the publisher/vendor and the file "owner" can't give away copies. Today, the only option is the third; I would like the first one to be available, too.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:00 PM   #383
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So how big is this theoretical fine?

Because if it is small enough, it would be a simple matter to pass the hate to "liberate" one copy of a book and put it on the torrents and there's nothing the publisher could do about it according to this system (one-time fine and it's over)? (Of course, a solicitation for funds would technically be an illegal conspiracy along the lines of the anti-organized crime laws, but let's play along for arguments' sake.)

If the fine is large enough to prevent that, then the punishment would be so severe as to discourage anyone from ever buying a file, not ulike people being sued by the MAFIAA/RIAA to the point of losing their homes and declaring bankruptcy.

I really dislike a proposal that requires everyone in the world to lock up their files like they were firearms with draconian penalties for being...well, not careless, but perhaps well-meaning but inept. Look at how many Windows computers are compromised around the world because people simply don't get the idea of having decent up-to-date anti-virus and firewall. And yet people are expected to ensure that no one else ever accesses their computers to ensure their ebooks and media aren't stolen? This really isn't practical.

Plus, imagine the fun some people would have with "Hey, I want to get revenge on this guy, let's set him up by seeding his media files on the web."

Plus people hacking into computers and stealing their files just for fun, because it can be done. I mean, that's been going on since day one in computing.

With file conversion, it would be trivially easy to take out the social watermarking -- convert from any format to plain text, problem solved.

With non-DRM files (as are suggested here), there's nothing that can prevent that.

Honestly, I would really like a simple solution -- becuase I just want to buy and download my books instead of having DRMd files that I will lose when the vendor goes bankrupt, as is happening with Fictionwise, as happened with Microsoft and WalMart's music files, as happened with Microsoft Reader.

Anyone who buys DRMd files is clearly not paying attention to history...sooner or later, you WILL get screwed.

I have a simple DRM solution -- sell DRM free files at a reasonable price, let people download their files and quit treating paying customers like criminals.

It works for the HumbleBundle, it can work for you.

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Old 11-17-2012, 06:40 PM   #384
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No, I get it. I just disagree with you.

...except being able to enjoy your books and other media without having to break the law. Except being able to let your spouse and children read your books. Except being able to let them KEEP your books if you die. Except being able to share books with your friends. Except having the certainty that if your ebook vendor folds, your library can't vanish.
These are benefits to me.
I get all these benefits by removing DRM, with the added benefit that I don't have to worry about defending myself against some criminal or civil charges boomeranging back on me at some future point. And I am not "breaking the law" when I remove DRM, and even if I were, it is not something that anyone is ever going to know about unless I go beyond my personal use of the files.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:03 PM   #385
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Another problem is that the people who actually upload the material to file-sharing sites get off scot-free, especially when they're a couple of steps removed from the original owner. How can they be traced? They really can't; all the onus is on the person who dutifully bought and paid for the book in the first place. The actual pirates don't even need to bother stripping the metadata since it doesn't lead to them.

And the owner has no defense whatsoever.
Sure the owner has a defence. It is easy to show that your computer has been hacked, if you haven't handed the file to anyone else. Such hacking always leaves a trace. If you did, well then the investigation continues down the line until they get to the uploader.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:31 PM   #386
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Sure the owner has a defence. It is easy to show that your computer has been hacked, if you haven't handed the file to anyone else. Such hacking always leaves a trace. If you did, well then the investigation continues down the line until they get to the uploader.
It's not necessary for the computer to have been hacked remotely. Lots of people might have access to your computer and/or your e-reader temporarily (repairman, neighbor, relative, etc.) and download your files to a flash drive. And maybe you did make a copy of a book for one person, and someone got access to that person's files. The number of people who would need to be investigated increases exponentially. Who's paying for all this investigation, what are the privacy rights of all the people in the chain, and is this really a wise allocation of resources?

It is both absurd and wasteful.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:38 PM   #387
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It's not necessary for the computer to have been hacked remotely. Lots of people might have access to your computer and/or your e-reader temporarily (repairman, neighbor, relative, etc.) and download your files to a flash drive. And maybe you did make a copy of a book for one person, and someone got access to that person's files. The number of people who would need to be investigated increases exponentially. Who's paying for all this investigation, what are the privacy rights of all the people in the chain, and is this really a wise allocation of resources?

It is both absurd and wasteful.
It is wasteful to go after any minor crime. The cost of the investigation always exceeds the value of the items. Shoplifting is a good example. But, for society as a whole, it is much more wasteful to just let such crimes go unchecked. It is the fear of getting caught that is the most important tool.

And, in the case you mentioned, you would tell the police the names of all those that had possible physical access to your PC.

I am also surprised that you leave strangers, like repairmen, unsupervised and all you worry about is that they copy files from your devices, which apparently are not even password-protected?

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:26 PM   #388
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It is wasteful to go after any minor crime. The cost of the investigation always exceeds the value of the items. Shoplifting is a good example. But, for society as a whole, it is much more wasteful to just let such crimes go unchecked. It is the fear of getting caught that is the most important tool.

And, in the case you mentioned, you would tell the police the names of all those that had possible physical access to your PC.

I am also surprised that you leave strangers, like repairmen, unsupervised and all you worry about is that they copy files from your devices, which apparently are not even password-protected?
Yeah, right. Let's pretend my name shows up on some file on an file-sharing site five years from now. I'm supposed to come up with a list of every person who was ever in my home or near my computer and e-reader in the last five years, and then the police should divert their attention and manpower from drug rings and murderers and terrorists and somehow investigate all those people and get search warrants to obtain from them the names of all the people who might have had access to their computer or e-reader in the last five years, and all the people who those people might have encountered ... And of course most likely this investigation would spread across state lines, so we'd have to get the FBI involved, and it could easily extend to many countries, so we'd need to get international authorities involved ...

It's absurd. Completely absurd.

And the point is that even if I protect my files, not everyone does. And those people who don't should NOT be held responsible for their failure to do so if those files are used nefariously by other people. It's just WRONG to blame the victim. How can you not see that?
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:38 AM   #389
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And the point is that even if I protect my files, not everyone does. And those people who don't should NOT be held responsible for their failure to do so if those files are used nefariously by other people. It's just WRONG to blame the victim. How can you not see that?
Of course it is wrong to blame the victims, it is not wrong to suspect the innocent if there is evidence they are not innocent. It is also true that, in spite of the fact that there is plenty of watermarked material out there nobody has been accused yet. Practical aspects are a different matter, the rights holders might very well be willing to financially support a number of investigations, in order to scare off potential offenders. Let us face it, when such an investigation leads back to someone, there is a 99% likelihood that someone in that household or one of his/her friends is the culprit. The other scenarios are possible, but the chances are remote (unless they are so crazy that they have no protection at all, no anti-virus, nothing. In that case prosecute the ones who sold them and setup the computer for gross negligence). So some inconveniences when there is clear evidence pointing at you should be acceptable. Especially when it is handled properly and your data showing up doesn't automatically mean you are guilty and the penalties are proportionate. A first instance might also just mean a warning. You are not guilty yet, but you do have to explain yourself. Happens to innocent people in almost every investigation.

And it is also not right to leave the real victims (the copyright holders) with no chance of protecting themselves.

Last edited by HansTWN; 11-18-2012 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:27 AM   #390
BoldlyDubious
what if...?
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Hello BillSmithBooks. Very good points... I'll try and address them.
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So how big is this theoretical fine?
Because if it is small enough, it would be a simple matter to pass the hate to "liberate" one copy of a book and put it on the torrents and there's nothing the publisher could do about it according to this system (one-time fine and it's over)? (Of course, a solicitation for funds would technically be an illegal conspiracy along the lines of the anti-organized crime laws, but let's play along for arguments' sake.)
If the fine is large enough to prevent that, then the punishment would be so severe as to discourage anyone from ever buying a file, not ulike people being sued by the MAFIAA/RIAA to the point of losing their homes and declaring bankruptcy.
This is a key issue. The fine should be large enough to hurt, but not so large as to terrorize people into adopting a "trust no one!" lifestyle. I am thinking along the lines of "30-50 times the price of the illegally uploaded file".
It's interesting that you use the word "liberate", because it seems to confirm what I think: that today's setup is perceived as so unfair that some people illegally distribute media to "fight" it. Well, with a fair copy-protection scheme (of which mine is only a tentative example) these people would stop.
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Originally Posted by BillSmithBooks View Post
I really dislike a proposal that requires everyone in the world to lock up their files like they were firearms with draconian penalties for being...well, not careless, but perhaps well-meaning but inept. Look at how many Windows computers are compromised around the world because people simply don't get the idea of having decent up-to-date anti-virus and firewall. And yet people are expected to ensure that no one else ever accesses their computers to ensure their ebooks and media aren't stolen? This really isn't practical.
Here it seems to me that you are exaggerating. Lock up like firearms? Do you call that having an antivirus and not telling your user password to people you don't know very well? And: do you consider getting a 300dollar/euro fine once in a lifetime a draconian penalty?
Moreover, you seem to think that for everyone of us there's an army of enemies who only waits a mistake of us to intrude into our computers and... stole our media? That's a bit far out, in my view. Yes, this definition is almost correct if you consider people who constantly try and get through our firewalls, but I don't think they are looking for books or music. And for what concerns people with physical access to our unlocked PCs, usually they are family or close friends.
So the risk of getting fined because a media file gets uploaded by someone who "stole" it from us are pretty low, in my view.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSmithBooks View Post
Plus, imagine the fun some people would have with "Hey, I want to get revenge on this guy, let's set him up by seeding his media files on the web."
Well, this only holds true if the people are your spouse or close friend or mother or son or anyone else so close to you that you trust them enough to let them access your personal files. These people could do much worse that get you fined (once) for illegal distribution of media... such as emptying your bank account, for instance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSmithBooks View Post
With file conversion, it would be trivially easy to take out the social watermarking -- convert from any format to plain text, problem solved. With non-DRM files (as are suggested here), there's nothing that can prevent that.
Correct. But plain text is a lower-quality representation of a book compared to the original file (say, in epub format). So, if the price of the "real thing" is reasonable (and this is another key issue in my view) people will go for it instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSmithBooks View Post
Honestly, I would really like a simple solution -- becuase I just want to buy and download my books instead of having DRMd files that I will lose when the vendor goes bankrupt, as is happening with Fictionwise, as happened with Microsoft and WalMart's music files, as happened with Microsoft Reader.
Anyone who buys DRMd files is clearly not paying attention to history...sooner or later, you WILL get screwed.
I have a simple DRM solution -- sell DRM free files at a reasonable price, let people download their files and quit treating paying customers like criminals.
It works for the HumbleBundle, it can work for you.
I completely agree with you. I, too, prefer this solution to my "social DRM" scheme. However, this is a solution that is around from day one, and no big publisher seems to be even considering it, due to the lack of protection against illegal distribution that it seems to offer (in my view protection is offered by people's own honesty, but evidently this is not sufficient to publishers).

My proposal tries to retain most of the advantages of a "no DRM whatsoever" scenario while offering protection to publishers. Maybe this can convince some of them?

Last edited by BoldlyDubious; 11-18-2012 at 02:55 AM.
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