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View Poll Results: Should companies focus on building sales or reducing piracy?
More sales are what counts; don't waste effort fighting piracy. 85 97.70%
Stop piracy first; we can't allow it to go unchecked. 2 2.30%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-22-2008, 10:06 AM   #61
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I have no idea how to answer this poll...

This is a fascinating poll, and one I cannot decide how to answer. In part, this is because I feel that, quite unintentionally, it suffers (in my view) from the Fallacy of Many Questions: it presupposes both that sales will increase if piracy isn't fought, and that anti-piracy techniques (legal and technical) are either present or not present (one might even argue that it presupposes that piracy is occuring!).

First off, I believe that a content creator has rights over their content and should be able to say what can be done with it. Without at least some action against piracy, does the content creator have any rights left? And if they don't, would they still create? (Money may not be the only motiviation -- think how you would feel if you created the most amazing song ever, and it was used to promote a political party you truly despise.)

I also believe most people are honest. Or at least are as honest as they know, and feel is justified. As has been said, at fair price they'll pay for content. However, taking a copy of something electronically is much less likely to be seen as dishonest. After all, its not like you are removing something physical, are you? I sometimes lend books to friends and neighbours. On more than one occasion, they have liked the author so much that rather than wait for me to perhaps get and finish the most recent book, they've gone out and bought it. If we have an electronic book which can be copied easily and trivially, what might happen?

On the other hand, assuming people are dishonest and forcing them to use complex systems that limit what they see as their "common law rights" can just generate the motivation to break DRM. It feels that too many DRM schemes have been designed by copyright lawyers let loose in a sweet shop--they've asked for everything they can possibly think of to constrain rights. At this point, I should mention that in my opinion some shops are trying to redress the balance somewhat, and should be supported in their efforts.

So I guess the question should be, how much effort (both technical and legal) should be put into fighting piracy?

I think this will be very much a sliding scale, in all dimensions. From a technical perspective I imagine this varying between nothing, through the occasional social conscience reminder "pop-up" all the way up to complex prevention systems that tightly constrain what you can read content on. In other words, their is no one answer.

So I think I agree with Lemurion's conclusion at the start, that it should be tailorable, but disagree in that I don't believe that that necessarily means completely ignoring piracy.
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:27 AM   #62
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There are a lot more pre-supposes than just those ones, Lazyscot. And that, to me, is the whole problem with DRM. For example, eBookwise has a secure format that pre-supposes you will never buy another machine again! Each file is hard-linked to the device on which it it is purchased, and cannnot be read elsewhere. So if your machine gets lost, stolen or broken, and you buy another one--EVEN FROM THEM--you can't read your legally purchased content on it. I think it is absolutely criminal that they charge full price for such things. They should charge $1-2 and call it a rental, but a sale, to me, says I own it and can do what I like with it. I only bought one title from them before I figured out the scam, and if I ever do come across that title in a pirated form (not that I look for pirated stuff, but if I ever do come across it) I would feel fully justified in downloading it so I could still read my legally purchased book.

Or how about the computer program 'shareware' schemes of old, where the program has parts locked unless you send a cheque to Bill Smith at 3434 Jones Street in Chicago? Years later, someone might download this program (nothing dies on the internet) and Bill Smith may have moved on, so you have no way to unlock the program. Or how about the Google Movies system where it pings the server every time you watch---pre-supposing that years from now, this server will still be running so you can watch your bought and paid for merchandise?

It's absolutely ridiculous. I have only ever found two DRM schemes I can live with: the public library, where the book (which you have borrowed, not bought) is set to expire after the loan period is up, and the eReader one where there is no limit on download amounts or to how many devices, but your credit card number is imprinted into the file and is needed to unlock it the first time you read. That is fair to me. If I want to share the file, it doesn't stop me, but I wouldn't want to because then I would have to share my credit card number too Non-intrusive, no ads, does not affect the useability of the file at all, but it does deter sharing...
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:28 AM   #63
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Actually, it's more like Capitalism: Taking effort to ensure that every product out there is bought and paid for...
...more than once.
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:33 AM   #64
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Actually, I would say it is more like Corporate Facisim. They will let you buy the product, but then they are going to tell you how you use it.

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Old 10-22-2008, 10:40 AM   #65
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I think the most important point to keep in mind is that no DRM scheme is undefeatable. Most of them in fact have been defeated, and the others haven't (I believe) only because not enough people have taken a crack at it. Ultimately, most of these tools are so available, that they won't even stop casual piracy.

In a sense it is annoying; many of the tools used for format shifting actually have DRM stripping built into them. I don't like DRM, but I am not going to buy DRM'd books, nor download pirated ones. But because I might need software that can strip DRM, people might assume that I do.

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Old 10-22-2008, 11:50 AM   #66
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DRM is nothing like true communism - but it is much like the behavior of many governments which have self-identified as communist.
You're right, I'm sorry wrong choice of words.
Maybe intentionally communism was meant to share the wealth with all; but the result always ends up being a state where there is no democracy (that is, if you have anything against the current regime).
And communism sounds good like it was intended, but deeper in the roots you see many communistic nations, where the state has everything to say, and the commoner is just being controlled.
It's like they tell you what studies to do, what to believe, what to later become for profession; I mean... Maybe communism was a wrong word, dictatorship would be better.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:25 PM   #67
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Actually, I would say it is more like Corporate Facisim. They will let you buy the product, but then they are going to tell you how you use it.
Well, if you think about it, that is very common. You can pay to see cable TV, but you cannot rebroadcast a program, share it with other households, nor charge people to come to your house to see it.

You can buy a car, but you are restricted to traffic laws and speed limits.

You can buy Windows software, but you cannot copy it and sell it to someone else.

Most people understand these implicit rules as a requirement of owning that product, and if they are happy with the product, they accept (most of) those requirements. Call that "corporate fascism" if you will, but the fact is that it is not anything out-of-the-ordinary, and no reason to attack e-books, say, unless you plan to unilaterally attack the whole capitalist system.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:28 PM   #68
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You're right, I'm sorry wrong choice of words.
Maybe intentionally communism was meant to share the wealth with all; but the result always ends up being a state where there is no democracy (that is, if you have anything against the current regime).
And communism sounds good like it was intended, but deeper in the roots you see many communistic nations, where the state has everything to say, and the commoner is just being controlled.
It's like they tell you what studies to do, what to believe, what to later become for profession; I mean... Maybe communism was a wrong word, dictatorship would be better.
Unfortunately, this can be said of many governments, and not all of them are communist nor are they dictatorships...

But as this is slightly off-topic, let's get back to Profit or Prevention.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:14 PM   #69
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Well, if you think about it, that is very common. You can pay to see cable TV, but you cannot rebroadcast a program, share it with other households, nor charge people to come to your house to see it.

You can buy a car, but you are restricted to traffic laws and speed limits.

You can buy Windows software, but you cannot copy it and sell it to someone else.

Most people understand these implicit rules as a requirement of owning that product, and if they are happy with the product, they accept (most of) those requirements. Call that "corporate fascism" if you will, but the fact is that it is not anything out-of-the-ordinary, and no reason to attack e-books, say, unless you plan to unilaterally attack the whole capitalist system.
Actually Steve, your examples are not examples of Corporate Fascism but rather are examples of the applications of laws (Well, with a limited exception of windows which I will get to).

Traffic Laws are set by the government. Ford, GM and Toyota have no stake at all in how you use their cars as long as you buy from them. I can buy a Toyota Camry and take it to the drag strip; it might void my warranty but Toyota isn't going to do anything to stop me.

Corporations might post warnings about how you cannot rebroadcast their Television program, but ultimately, they don't stop you from making fair use of the product (though they have tried, the courts have stopped them).

Again, Windows limitation about selling copies of your copy to others, is just them defending their copyright. Now, where it does start becoming Corporate Fascism is how they tell you how many computers it can be installed upon.

Now, DRM takes things a step further. Copyright law represents the fact that the author of a work does not have unconditional ownership of it. Indeed, it is based on the notion that that the natural state of information is in the public domain. Copyright is ultimately the granting, by the state, of a limited license to the author in order to encourage the author to place his creative work into the public domain. This license allows the author to place certain conditions on the use of their work (such as no duplication of the work for profit), but it is a limited. For example, if someone buys a novel, the author cannot tell them they are only allowed to read it once, or that they cannot lend or sell their copy to another person. DRM is an attempt by publishers and other media producers to extend the bounds of this license in such a way that they can indeed tell someone they can only read a book once or lend a movie to a friend. Thats why I consider it corporate fascism.

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Old 10-22-2008, 01:37 PM   #70
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Corporations might post warnings about how you cannot rebroadcast their Television program, but ultimately, they don't stop you from making fair use of the product (though they have tried, the courts have stopped them).
That's because "fair use" is outside of their rights as sellers to control. It doesn't negate my original point: They have rules (no reselling, etc) that you are expected to obey, and can be prosecuted for disobeying.

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Now, DRM takes things a step further... DRM is an attempt by publishers and other media producers to extend the bounds of this license in such a way that they can indeed tell someone they can only read a book once or lend a movie to a friend. Thats why I consider it corporate fascism.
Your point is good... but ultimately it is their right as a seller to set those rules as a condition of buying their product. You are not forced to buy the product, however... if you don't like the rules, you can walk away without suffering punishment. So maybe it isn't that "fascist" after all.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:45 PM   #71
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Steve,
With respect, they don't have the right to set arbitrary conditions. Thats my point. There are certain conditions they can set and certain ones they can't (For example, a CD seller cannot tell a buyer that they cannot convert the contents of said CD for personal use). DRM is currently being used by media producers to try and use technology to accomplish what they can't accomplish via the law.

Lets look at it from another perspective. We all know copyrights are suppose to expire (whether they ever will or not in today's political climate is another story). If someone ever were to invent the perfect DRM scheme (not possible, but for the sake of the argument, lets assume it is), corporations could use it to ensure that no work ever entered the public domain ever again. Particularly since circumventing DRM, even to make fair use of a product is itself considered a crime.

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Old 10-22-2008, 02:01 PM   #72
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Steve,
With respect, they don't have the right to set arbitrary conditions. Thats my point. There are certain conditions they can set and certain ones they can't (For example, a CD seller cannot tell a buyer that they cannot convert the contents of said CD for personal use). DRM is currently being used by media producers to try and use technology to accomplish what they can't accomplish via the law.
So far, every attempt to circumvent "fair use" laws has been shot down in court. As I said, corporations cannot circumvent fair use... but they do (unfortunately) have the right to set arbitrary restrictions that are within their legal purview. And it is up to consumers to respond with our wallets (in that case, by closing them).

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Lets look at it from another perspective. We all know copyrights are suppose to expire (whether they ever will or not in today's political climate is another story). If someone ever were to invent the perfect DRM scheme (not possible, but for the sake of the argument, lets assume it is), corporations could use it to ensure that no work ever entered the public domain ever again. Particularly since circumventing DRM, even to make fair use of a product is itself considered a crime.
How? A document in public domain can be accessed by anyone with access to public records, and new copies can be made. We don't need to over-react to the problem, it's certainly slippery enough as-is. We're discussing importance of protection vs profit, not ultimate fascist information-control.
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Old 10-22-2008, 02:02 PM   #73
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Your point is good... but ultimately it is their right as a seller to set those rules as a condition of buying their product. You are not forced to buy the product, however... if you don't like the rules, you can walk away without suffering punishment
This is the kind of pseudo-free market thinking that actually reduces to the "ones with the big guns, money, power have the right to do whatever they want" that is to my mind a big part of quite a few problems.

There is such a thing as the interest of the public around and disregarding it in whatever cause is dangerous.

I have just read Eric Flint latest essay about these topics:

"The Problem is Legal Scarcity, not Illegal Greed"

link below, and then seeing this kind of absolutist, "my way or the highway" position just seems so self-defeating as Mr. Flint points out there

http://baens-universe.com/articles/T..._Illegal_Greed
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Old 10-22-2008, 02:22 PM   #74
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How? A document in public domain can be accessed by anyone with access to public records, and new copies can be made. We don't need to over-react to the problem, it's certainly slippery enough as-is. We're discussing importance of protection vs profit, not ultimate fascist information-control.
Simple, circumventing DRM is a crime in and of itself. If all new media is DRM'd. then even though it legally enters the public domain, no clear text copies of the media might exist. Since any sort of conversion of the product to a clear text (even via typing it manually) is circumventing DRM, then, if everyone obeys the laws, the work though legally in the public domain can never actually be released.

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Old 10-22-2008, 02:55 PM   #75
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This is the kind of pseudo-free market thinking that actually reduces to the "ones with the big guns, money, power have the right to do whatever they want" that is to my mind a big part of quite a few problems.
It's only a problem when the public knuckles under and buys things against their better judgment. When they buy, the "big guns" have them right where they want them. It's the public's job to say "NO," and make businesses understand what they will and will not accept, and to back that up with purchases (and, in the political arena, with votes). Whining to businesses to "give you a break" is a waste of time, when there is a clear mechanism to getting what you want: ACT.

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There is such a thing as the interest of the public around and disregarding it in whatever cause is dangerous.
We're talking about entertainment, here... not revolution. But either way, it is up to the public to make clear what they want. Commerce has (at least) two participants: The seller's job is simply to make a profit, the best way they can; and the buyer's job is to get what they want, but not be ripped off in the process. The buyers have to uphold their end of the exchange, which means sometimes exercising the right to NOT BUY, and in banding together to get community or government support of their desires, or businesses will not have any reason or need to change.

Edit: Just read the Flint essay. His comments don't really address the subject of the thread, but they do make clear that businesses that get too draconian about selling their wares aren't doing themselves any favors. He maintains (as I do) the power is really in the people's hands.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 10-22-2008 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Flint essay
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