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Old 11-13-2012, 09:06 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by avantman42 View Post
BoldlyDubious seems to assume that the identification in the file can always be trusted, to the extent that it alone is sufficient evidence to provide proof for prosecution. That idea makes me very uncomfortable indeed.
No, I don't like that as well. But I like a lot less DRM schemes that prevent me from owning my files.

That said, according to my proposal putting fake but correct "social DRM" metadata in a media file would require:
1) ensuring that the file is one I actually bought;
2) ensuring that the purchase date in the metadata is the right one;
3) knowing what media vendor I bought the file from;
4) knowing my unique ID in those vendor's systems.
I can't see how someone who is not the CIA or someone very close to me can do that. And if one of my family wants to put me into trouble, they could do better than uploading my files via torrent...

On the contrary, for what I know the type of "identity proof" that media publishers try to convince everyone to accept for illegal uploaders is something like: "the upload came from an IP address that the wireless router of the accused person had at the time we presume the upload occurred".
This is much worse.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:13 AM   #302
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Why is there a difference between MikeB1972 giving someone his hammer and them doing something bad with it, and you giving someone your files and them doing something bad with them?
Because when I buy a hammer I don't sign a paper where I say that I will be responsible if someone I give my hammer to will do something illegal with it.
I am starting from the hypothesis that my proposal is accepted. In that case, to buy media you have to explicitly accept responsibility if one of the files you buy gets illegally uploaded, except in the cases I described.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:23 AM   #303
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
Because when I buy a hammer I don't sign a paper where I say that I will be responsible if someone I give my hammer to will do something illegal with it.
I am starting from the hypothesis that my proposal is accepted. In that case, to buy media you have to explicitly accept responsibility if one of the files you buy gets illegally uploaded, except in the cases I described.
I see the difference, but I'm far from convinced that what is gained is worth what is sacrificed. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:07 AM   #304
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No. I didn't say that (in the social DRM scheme I'm proposing) you buy the intellectual property of an ebook. You buy a copy of its contents stored on file, just as you would buy a copy of its contents stored on paper.
Then, you can do whatever you want with the file you bought, but you are responsible for what you do.
The intellectual property is the copyright.

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By the way, in this particular case the analogy with paper books holds. If I buy a paper book, scan it and publish its contents on a torrent site I *am* infringing someone else's intellectual property.
But that's exactly why it doesn't hold - you can lend out the physical object of the book, you can't copy the contents of the book. The file is like the contents. A file is not a physical object, it's part of the state of a physical object such as a hard drive.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:13 AM   #305
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I see the difference, but I'm far from convinced that what is gained is worth what is sacrificed. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.
I suppose so :-)
Anyway, many thanks for the interesting discussion!
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:16 AM   #306
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I suppose so :-)
Anyway, many thanks for the interesting discussion!
As much as I disagree with you, I'm pleased that we at least managed to keep it civilised
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:18 AM   #307
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The intellectual property is the copyright.
But that's exactly why it doesn't hold - you can lend out the physical object of the book, you can't copy the contents of the book. The file is like the contents. A file is not a physical object, it's part of the state of a physical object such as a hard drive.
I am not getting the point you're making.
According to my proposal, the "digital file" is just another representation of a work of art, such as a DVD or a book. So when you buy your own copy of the book you get a collection of 0s and 1s -on a physical support provided by the vendor or by yourself- that represent just that: a copy of the contents of the book. You don't get the right to publish the book as well.
...or are you saying that when you buy a DVD of Star Wars you become the owner of Lucasfilms' rights on the saga?!??
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:25 AM   #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
I am not getting the point you're making.
According to my proposal, the "digital file" is just another representation of a work of art, such as a DVD or a book. So when you buy your own copy of the book you get a collection of 0s and 1s -on a physical support provided by the vendor or by yourself- that represent just that: a copy of the contents of the book. You don't get the right to publish the book as well.
...or are you saying that when you buy a DVD of Star Wars you become the owner of Lucasfilms' rights on the saga?!??
But you seem to be proposing that you SHOULD get the right to publish the book. What is creating additional copies of the book and giving those copies to anyone you choose but your own little publishing business?
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:14 AM   #309
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
I am not getting the point you're making.
According to my proposal, the "digital file" is just another representation of a work of art, such as a DVD or a book. So when you buy your own copy of the book you get a collection of 0s and 1s -on a physical support provided by the vendor or by yourself- that represent just that: a copy of the contents of the book. You don't get the right to publish the book as well.
My point is that there's a fundamental difference between a file and a book (the object). It's not an object per se. It's certainly not a static object. Almost anything you do with a file involves some form of copying. To read it you need to copy parts of it into memory (and to the screen). Handling it often involves destroying/re-creating or moving the 0s and 1s that represent the file. So it's almost impossible to point to a series of bits and say "that, there is my copy of the file". OTOH you can point to a shelf where you've got a physical book or a DVD.

So you can't "own" a file in the way your can "own" a physical object. What you can do is make copies of it and move them around in various physical media. To do that you need to have the right to make those copies. This right is something you can own, we call it copyright. You can also exercise this right under license.

I think it's confusing to talk about comparison with a physical book when the things you want to have (the ability to lend, share etc) come as a consequence of the physical nature of the book combined with an inherent difficulty in copying. I can physically give you a book and thus lend it to you. I can't actually physically give you a file, I can only copy the representation of it on one physical media to another, or give you my physical media.

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...or are you saying that when you buy a DVD of Star Wars you become the owner of Lucasfilms' rights on the saga?!??
No I'm saying that in order to copy the contents of it around as a FILE I'd need those rights, be licensed under those rights or be operating under legal exceptions to those rights (fair use/fair dealing etc).
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:27 AM   #310
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I was told by several Amazon tech people that, after repairing my old Kindle 2 by installing a new motherboard, that the motherboard an the radio chip are a matched pair and that I therefore wouldn't be able to register my repaired Kindle. I then contacted the company that sold me the new motherboard who said that it was a matter of using an domestic 3G module with a domestic motherboard, and that you couldn't mix the domestic motherboard with the international 3G. Because they didn't have any international motherboards in stock they sent me a new 3G module for free.

Amazon wouldn't tell me that, though. They wanted me to buy a new device rather than repair an old one. I have since backed up all of my Amazon purchased books on Calibre, and plan to buy a lot more books from Google when I get my new Lenovo IdeaPad.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:33 AM   #311
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But you seem to be proposing that you SHOULD get the right to publish the book. What is creating additional copies of the book and giving those copies to anyone you choose but your own little publishing business?
No, why? If I give a copy of my media files to my family and close acquaintances FOR FREE, as allowed by my proposal for "social DRM", that's not publishing. On the other side, if I ask money for giving you a copy of a file I am doing something (reselling) that I have not bought the right to do, and the publisher can sue me... and it will sue me, considering that a pointer to me is embedded in the file.

What happens if I think I'm smart and I charge people to give them a copy of my files even if I don't know them very well personally? That very soon one or more of these people who paid for pirated media will upload it somewhere, (after all, it was alreadypirated!) and I will get caught and fined.
Even if I keep a list of the names of my "customers" and give this list to the police saying they're my friends, it's sufficient for them to deny being the illegal distributors to get away unscathed... while I get the fine nonetheless. And they will do that, because they are not my friends.
It doesn't seem a viable "business model" to me...
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:53 AM   #312
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My point is that there's a fundamental difference between a file and a book (the object). It's not an object per se.[...]
So you can't "own" a file in the way your can "own" a physical object. What you can do is make copies of it and move them around in various physical media. To do that you need to have the right to make those copies. This right is something you can own, we call it copyright.
Ok, so when I buy an ebook I get from the publisher the right to copy it as I wish, provided that I comply with the rules of my proposed social DRM scheme. I called this right "owning the file". I don't see this as a problem of my proposal, only as a choice of terminology. I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't word my proposal to withstand legal scrutiny. Here we are only discussing its content and feasibility (or not).

That said, in some countries at least there are examples of authorized copying (e.g., backing up your media collection). So this is not "new legal territory".

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
No, why? If I give a copy of my media files to my family and close acquaintances FOR FREE, as allowed by my proposal for "social DRM", that's not publishing. On the other side, if I ask money for giving you a copy of a file I am doing something (reselling) that I have not bought the right to do, and the publisher can sue me... and it will sue me, considering that a pointer to me is embedded in the file.
But what you desscibe (bolded) does currently constitute publishing, and would require re-defining all the terminology currently used for such things, or require that the purchaser also be given limited publishing rights. Profit has nothing to do with it.

This points to another issue (since we're not going to reach agreement on Mary culpability for Bill's actions) - defining acceptable limits of copying. Some families have 10 or more people all under the same roof. Others may have only a handful, but spread out across the globe. You can build rights for lending into your system, but how / where should the limits be?

As someone already touched on, ebooks are not the same as paper books. Much of the desire for additional "rights" comes from not understanding the difference. I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about Average Joe who doesn't get why he shouldn't be able to give the book to anyone who might want to read it, just like a paper book. It's not a paper book. Then you have the casual sharers who justify running their little sneakernet of ebooks, movies and music with the justification of "I could do it with books, DVDs and CDs" without acknowledging the issue that they are still enjoying the same materials and have no expectation that the copies will be returned to them when the person is finished with them.

While I agree that we need changes, I think that a lot of people who want changes are moving in the wrong direction because of the attachment to the concepts of physical media. Instead of aiming "with more rights come more responsibilities" at Mary, I think we should start looking at making publishers and content providers more responsible for the rights they already have.

For example, let's look at the Steam game platform. Ages ago a statement was made that, should there be a danger of going bye-bye, they would make sure people could still access their games. This has almost taken on urban legend status, because it's hard to find an original source to link, just references to it with no trackable source. However, this was never added to the ToS. My point is this - we can start by legally requiring that DRM systems have some sort of fallback plan. Games can have patches released to remove the server connection requirement. Ebooks, if not released from DRM, could have the licenses internally transferred to a system requiring local authentication only for a final download. Notices can be issued to let people know to download their content if they haven't yet.

Part of the problem is that the complaints I hear in real life are from people who want the convenience of, say, Amazon's system of storing their ebook purchases online and being able to read / sync on a plethora of devices, but they want to be able to do what they want with their ebooks. You can't have it both ways.

Lending books is important to my mom, so whenever the subject comes up, I tell her to stick with paper. I don't lend... anything, really, so that part isn't an issue for me. My concern is the future health of DRM systems - making sure I have access to my books. Yes, I have changed platforms, but I knew going in that formats / DRM could be a sticking point and acted accordingly. Which brings me to my next point - when someone purchases a Kindle / Nook / whathaveyou device or ebook for the first time, instead of a tiny link to a ToS that no one reads, an explanation of DRM and ecosystems and how they work (the features they add as well as the inherent restrictions thereof) should be presented. It doesn't have to be complicated or lengthy - that's what the ToS is for. My other suggested requirement is that DRM status be clearly listed on the product page of every single ebook.

You want people to be responsible - I get that, but publishers and ebook retailers need to be responsible, too, by making sure people can make educated buying decisions on the front end, and making sure that they are handling their systems in a responsible, forward-looking manner.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:58 PM   #314
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But what you desscibe (bolded) does currently constitute publishing, and would require re-defining all the terminology currently used for such things, or require that the purchaser also be given limited publishing rights. Profit has nothing to do with it.
So be it. There's nothing strange or heretic in granting limited publishing rights, if that's what the things I'm proposing must be called. We already have legal mechanisms like that in place today. Current license-based DRM systems are clearly not working (neither for publishers -who suffer piracy- nor for users -who get very limited rights). Moreover, these systems are doing a lot of damage to culture in general and to people's attitude towards legality (Average Joe and -apparently- Average Politician will probably realize that only in 15 or 20 years).
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This points to another issue [...]- defining acceptable limits of copying. Some families have 10 or more people all under the same roof. Others may have only a handful, but spread out across the globe. You can build rights for lending into your system, but how / where should the limits be?
This is easy to address. I didn't talk of families. According to my proposal, you can give copies of the files you purchase to how many people you want, but YOU are (jointly) responsible for the things that happen to your files afterwards. If you start giving a copy of your media to that fishy-looking second cousin of your acquired aunt, you can already start to save for the moment the fines will arrive... The system seems to me to be inherently self-limiting.
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My point is this - we can start by legally requiring that DRM systems have some sort of fallback plan.
In my opinion this is not sufficient. The only failsafe fallback plan is making consumers able to do their own backing up of their media, legally. Moreover, what happens if the media publisher folds is only part of the problem I wanted to address. The other part is that consumers are now suffering an extremely uneven balance of power against publishers, which the latter justify with a "fight against piracy" that is not even working.
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Part of the problem is that the complaints I hear in real life are from people who want the convenience of, say, Amazon's system of storing their ebook purchases online and being able to read / sync on a plethora of devices, but they want to be able to do what they want with their ebooks. You can't have it both ways.
Why can't you? In my opinion, provided that users are prepared to "pay" for such freedom with an assumption of responsibility (so they need to care about what happens to their media files) there are no technical reason nor unreasonable risks for the publisher in letting us "have it both ways".[/QUOTE]
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Originally Posted by CWatkinsNash View Post
when someone purchases a Kindle / Nook / whathaveyou device or ebook for the first time, instead of a tiny link to a ToS that no one reads, an explanation of DRM and ecosystems and how they work (the features they add as well as the inherent restrictions thereof) should be presented. It doesn't have to be complicated or lengthy - that's what the ToS is for. My other suggested requirement is that DRM status be clearly listed on the product page of every single ebook.
I fully agree.

In my view, the problem of controlling illegal distribution of files that can be infinitely copied without loss cannot be managed by enforcing ever-harsher punishments against a vanishingly low percentage of the illegal distributors.
It must be tackled in a distributed and social way, by ensuring that each media buyer will want to act in such a way that illegal distribution is prevented.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:42 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
Many countries have such a tax or levy, that doesn't mean that copying is legal.
No, and why did you fell you needed to point that out? I did not claim that implication.
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