Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More on DRM and Other Issues of Importance

Image this; You sit down with your family in front of your brand new 50+" High definition tv with 7.1 Surround; sound and all the trimmings to watch a Blu-ray movie you borrowed from a friend. You played the movie in your brand new Blu-ray HD DVD player the hooked up to the Internet via your wireless connection which for your wi-fi network for the computers. This give you extra features not on the player itself,,, or so you thought.

A week latter you receive a summons to the Piracy Court in your area, Apparently the movie your borrowed from your friend was a copy and not the original, and the DVD player realized this and played it anyways and then "phoned Home"

The above scenario is make believe right now.However,the hardware is available now to do exactly that or something very similar to it. Once a device is put a network theres no end to what can be done even in the background, if the program is in the rom chip it can run in the background and the owner never know its even there until its too late. By then everything that they've done with that device is no longer their own personal business, it now part of a giant profile either a general profile or a specific profile based directly on them by name, or other qualifying data.
There are other issues here beside just devices spying on us.The ramifications of this are frighting.

Other issues that have come up in the last few years include music, and of course HD and the DRM in General. The music industry has pretty much given up on drming their mp3s. Theres has been a huge backlash against the perceived enemy's, in the form of the RIAA, and the MPAA and other media distribution bodies, . Over the last several years there has been a huge drop in CD sales, this is blamed in large part on music sales though on-line retailers such as I-Tunes ect. along with everyones old scapegoat piracy . yes there is piracy however I don't believe its the only reason the sales have gone down. Maybe most of the music isn't all that great in the first place and people don't want it. All that aside, two artist tried something very different last year, they got shed of their contract with the big studios and independently publish their cd. the big twist is was they didn't price their cd,
RadioHead released their album "IN Rainbows" was released Oct 10, on their site and anyone could down the entire album and pay what they wanted for the album. They also had the option of pre-ordering it and also a special box set with a vinyl version and other items. Although they wouldn't release exact figures, all indications are that they did very well, and the best part is they got all the money not most of it going to middlemen. Here are couple of link to story's about the Radiohead ablum;



Earlier this year Nine Inch Nails followed Radiohead by releasing their album free and offering better quality versions for fees. They said that so far they have earned 1.6 million on their free album. See Link;


While theses two example prove that people will pay even if they don't have to most artist are not in a position to do something like that. But it dose prove the concept of people paying the artist directly without the middle man, AKA the record companies. When people know the artist is getting all the money they're more willing to pay more.

There are other venues that also lend themselves to artist self-producing their works, such as publishing. Do a quick Google search and you will find thousands of places that will publish your book. Some are places that will publish your book for a price, while other are real publishing houses that actively look for talent and will publish your book. The biggest boom is the idea of on-demand publishing, there are many places where they only actually print and bind a copy of the book after it has been sold, the idea being theres no no huge inventory of books sitting around wasting paper and taking up space, they only print exactly what they need.

Which bring us to a another new concept that has been getting widespread attention, Creative Commons licenses.


The idea of Creative Commons Licenses is that you can decide what kinds of rights that you want give your work.

Here are several ways in which you can copy write your material,

1. Others can copy my personal videos, edit if they like or even distribute them on their own sites but should not sell the videos.
2. Others can copy photos from my Flickr Gallery, use them on blogs but they are not allowed to edit or manipulate the photos.
3. Other are allowed to take my images and even manipulate them using Photoshop but they should license their new creations under identical terms.
4. Others can take my music albums and distribute them on their own sites but they should neither modify the contents nor make any money out of my music.

This lets you have a say in what ways your work can be used. The Creative Commons Licenses can be used with anything from music to art, to books published online. This is a idea which is catching on all over the world, One look at the Creative Commons website shows that they developed it to work in many languages and countries.

There are a myriad of other issues to be dealt with over the next several years. Among them; the idea of Net Neutrality, the idea of keeping the Internet a even level playing Field for everyone regardless of how get on line or what speeds they're going be 56k or a T1 line, One the we everyone is equal, President Bush as access to the exact sites and information as I have or anyone Else on at the time, I could be shopping at the same on line store as Bill Gates and never even know it, and we're both equal as far as the web is concerned.Except that Bill Gates can spend WAY more then me..
Theres also the recent auctioning off of spectrum by the FCC. One round of Auctions has ended. The 700MHz bandwidth is the bandwidth that analog tv uses to broadcast you tv signal from your local broadcasters to you. With the coming transition to digital in February 2009, that bandwidth is now freed up for other uses. The FCC has had a auction to licences the bandwidth to various providers, who can then use it to either add or upgrade their services to the consumer.Among the winners were big players likeVerizon, and AT&T won most of the licences and blocks .

Here are two links;

This is the FCC site with the Auction Summary;


Here is another story on the results,;


For more reading do a search on 700MHZ auction Results. The eventually outcome of this and the future auctions for other bandwidths will not be known for quite some time, However, consumers should be aware and keep informed of whats happening in the wireless space as well as in cyberspace.
Its very important for consumers to not take what their fed by the mass advertising and other media outlets at face value . They need to question and do research and find out exactly what going on behind the sences and try to understand how it will affect their rights asa consumer and as a citizen. To to this end I offer the following links to places and peaple who are trying to protect our freedoms as we know them now;

Public Knowledge.org

Below are a listing of all the links at the bottom of the Public Knowledge.org front page. Please take your time and go through them, I think you'll find some interesting reading.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Round One of the DRM War......

Round One
Of the DRM War
Has Started....

As any one who has read my blog over the last several months know I have very definite ideas about the upcoming digital transition, and more importantly issues surrounding it, i.e. DRM and the consumers right to play what they want when, and on what they want. The first salvo of the DRM war against High Definition media owners vrs the consumers was fired earlier this year when a hacker was able to find the AACS Code the encrypted the title and locked the High Definition Disc. This was posted and eventually made its way to the Digg.com website, where it was posted. Digg.com soon received a cease and Desist order requesting they take down the code and any post related to it. However, there was a revolt and very soon after it was remover it was put back up in many different forms by thousands of readers, The folks at Digg finely relented and let the post stay up.

The bigger picture is that while the Media companies and studios will try to limit how consumers use their media, forcing people to find workarounds to to what they've always done before, which was well with the preview of "Fair Use" I have seen reports of some rather nasty ideas floated using hardware embedded
software that "phones home" and alerts the powers that be what your doing if your playing a DVD that not quite legit they will know and may do anything from shutting down the machine either later next time you try to play that disc, or right then and there, or filling a report to someone who can make your life miserable for months after.

it was just brought to my attention that Direct tv, has put a 24hour cap on letting folk view a per per view movie, that include items you've started watching and haven't finished, once the 24 hrs was up it disappeared, and if you want to see it again you have to pay again. Heres the link;


The encryption code used in Blu-ray HD DVD is called AACS code its a encryption used for content distribution and digital rights management for dvd, I foresee other uses for it, none of them good..

Here are two Links to information about AACS Code;


Also related to the AACS Code the page detailing the crack to the DRM on the HD DVDS:


Heres a link to the DIGG Story about their taking down the code and putting it back up again.


Also heres a link to a page on the HBO Site I found this morning;
This explain their position on recording show off their networks;


I don't think most people realize how their rights as consumers are being slowly eroded and what we have taken for granted as rights granted to us back in the 1970's with the advent of VCRS , and a supreme courts decision that vcrs did not violate copyrights or tv produces as long as the tapes were made for personal use. its called "Fair Use" What is needed for people to call and email and write their local congress people and let them know they are against DRM and crippling DRM in particular.As far I'm concerned that fair use law extends to CD's DVD, HD DVDs and any other media, as long as I make copies for my own personal use they have no right to limit my ability to record or archive any media.