Cryptography Lessons
Tracy r reed   |  

When will they learn?

Oh Nein Eff Nein

Oh nein eff nein For decades they have tried and for decades they have failed. You simply cannot completely secure a digital computer against its owner and prevent the owner from copying data in that computer and giving it to anyone they want. Not while preserving the basic freedoms which we enjoy such as freedom of speech.

The numbers depicted here are the secret code needed to decrypt the new high definition DVD's. The movie industry spent lots of time and money coming up with this silly scheme and truly brilliant hackers had it cracked in no time. And every time they do this there will be truly great people lining up to meet the challenge. I have never seen any industry repeatedly fail to learn from history for as long as these guys have.

I find myself agreeing more and more with the idea that DRM stands for "Digital Restrictions Management" and that DRM manages rights the same way jail manages freedom. Yet another reason why I have not bought a CD in years and I have never in my life bought a movie on DVD. The current system of copyright is totally corrupt and damaging to both our economy and our culture. We pay taxes to support the copyright system which is established by the Constitution of the United States of America to encourage creation of artistic works so that eventually these things fall into the public domain and we can all enjoy them. We do NOT have a copyright system so that artists get paid. That is only a means to an end. And until these things fall into the public domain we are entitled to Fair Use.

Copyright was originally set at 56 years. More than long enough for the artist to recoup his investment. The media companies are constantly extending copyright. It has been extended twice now, each time a bunch of content from the beginning of the movie entertainment age was about to fall into the public domain. Currently it is set at life of the author plus 95 years in the case of corporate created works such as Mickey Mouse. The copyright on Mickey Mouse will expire in 2061 unless they extend it again which seems quite possible. Walt Disney is long dead and gone. How is providing further protection encouraging him to create more artistic works?

But in addition to constantly expanding the term of copyright protection so that nothing falls into the public domain the movie and music industries are doing their best to remove our rights to Fair Use under the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. Section 107). The Digital Millenium Copyright act is only the most recent successful attempt at chipping away at our rights.

Information does want to be free. In the same sense that water wants to run downhill. Not so much as to anthropomorphize information as to state a basic tendency. Or to put it another way, you can't put the genie back in the bottle.