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UCB Researchers Critique DRM, Compulsory Licensing 158

Posted by timothy
from the problem-is-compulsion dept.
An anonymous reader writes " In this paper, Berkeley researchers critique a host of cockamamie DRM schemes, and they also question the compulsory licensing approach recently being promoted by the EFF. They get into some of the practical details about compulsory licensing that no one else seems to be talking about like technical feasibility, incentives to cheat, monitoring for compliance, efficiency of collection and distribution of funds, privacy, fair use, feasibility of legal enforcement... Anyway, it's worth a read and is a useful contribution to the debate, whatever side you're on. "
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UCB Researchers Critique DRM, Compulsory Licensing

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  • YRO? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You have no rights online!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:01PM (#6439038)
    ...worked well for 30+ years.

    UNIX File Permissions.
  • by banal avenger (585337) on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:07PM (#6439063)
    All DRM is inherently unbeneficial. Systems such as Pallidum only collude the issue by pertorting to offer benefits to the end user. Want to protect your files? Run PGP. Want to prevent other people from reading them? Don't give them to people you don't trust. It's simple.

    As for the RIAA, I strongly disagree with their methods and their tactics. But, in the end, they are protecting the companies who fund them. And quests such as not buying CDs in order to protest the RIAA only result in more justification for the RIAA to encourage cracking down.

    In my opinion, the only legitimate option that the RIAA is pursuing is litigation. Litigation is where the Copywrite battle is fought, and it should have remained in the first place.
    • the way the RIAA is going now is nothing but a complete circle jerk. "we want more of our money, so lets spend money, attack these people who give out our music for free, thus putting us deeper in debt (legal costs), and then, we'll continue to sell our CD's at $15-$25USD, although our brand new techology will stop them from stealing, since the CD's won't work in half of the cd players on the market..ha ha ha ha"
      MY thoughts....no way they are going to stop people from getting music for free. Encode everyth
    • All DRM is inherently unbeneficial. Systems such as Pallidum only collude the issue by pertorting to offer benefits to the end user. Want to protect your files? Run PGP.

      Yeah, if you want an extremely clunky solution that relies on the user specifically encrypting and decrypting files he wants to protect, but still be able to use once in a while. While you're at it, why don't you run a firewall by having every incoming or outgoing packet pop up on the screen with "yes" and "no" buttons?

      I prefer code so
      • Ever heard of PGPDisk (part of the PGP suite)?

        Encrypts a file which then mounts as a drive letter when decrypted. Pretty handy! All my sensitive files goes in there (mounts as drive s:\ ) and it stays mounted until I unmounted.
    • by randyest (589159) on Monday July 14, 2003 @09:00PM (#6439357) Homepage
      More importantly, it just doesn't work. My favorite part of the paper:

      No proposed technical protection measures are strong enough to sustain a determined attack. Only in combination with models where the incentives to circumvent are limited, can technical solutions succeed.

      So, I read that to say that if you don't allow for reasonable legal alternatives (like, say, charging less than $20 for one decent song amidst some filler and/or providing some handy online distribution system), nothing you can do technically to prevent copying will work in the long run. Of course, that leaves legal recourse (as we've seen from the RIAA lately), but the fine article also addresses the (in)feasibility of that option.

      Of course, I'm guessing the *AA will read it more along the lines of: we've gotta use the opposite approach by providing an incentive to NOT circumvent: (1) try to convince everyone that file sharing is the moral equivalent of eating the baby you just molested, (2) utilize ridiculous and broken copy protection schemes that hassle the honest-end users, thereby creating a peer-pressure factor, and (3) emit a constant barrage of shotgun-style lawsuits to maintain a nice atmosphere of fear.

      I dunno why these nice smart folks bothered to make this fine paper. For some of us they are preaching to the choir, for others their words fall on deaf ears.
      • I dunno why these nice smart folks bothered to make this fine paper.

        3 words: publish or perish

        It's how you get a job in academia and it's how you keep it. But, it IS interesting... often the results of research seem really obvious - but someone had to take the time to put it in such a way.
    • The only mistake the RIAA made was not using strong-encryption on cds in the 1st place. How do you think all those songs got onto napster, etc. in the 1st place. It's because there was no DRM and people have proven they can't be trusted. Sure DRM can be cracked, but if it prevents 90% of piracy, that less lost revenue than before.
      • Hmmm. Maybe you're just a troll, maybe you really don't understand... just in case: DRM doesn't prevent 90% of piracy because it only takes one smart person to figure out how to crack it. Once that's done they can write a computer program that allows any idiot to replicate the feat. Also, strong encryption takes computing horsepower. Do you know what that would mean for devices like CD players? Yeah, they'd all be sporting a ton of processing power above and beyond their mission critical audio format decode
    • "All DRM is inherently unbeneficial"

      Amen ... it adds another layer of bs on top of all the other bs. What is the benefit to the consumer?

      There are places that could use that level of protection I am sure. But lem them choose for themselves!

      DRM is nothing more vender lockin on a grand scale. Be it software or a distribution channel.

      All this talk of DRM and IP are giving me heart burn. I remember when people in the "computer biz" and "software game" wanted to be better then then the common 1900's busin
    • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Monday July 14, 2003 @09:40PM (#6439527) Homepage
      I don't actively boycott them, rather I just actively look for good metal that isn't affiliated with them. Century Media is clean according to the RIAA Radar. They've got lot's of good stuff like Novembre, The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, Lullacry, Strapping Young Lad, Sentenced, Moonspell and some others. If you're into non-metal goth stuff, Projekt seems to be RIAA-clean too.
    • by blowdart (31458) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:08AM (#6440151) Homepage
      All DRM is inherently unbeneficial

      Bullshit. Perhaps you mean to say DRM is unbeneficial in its current form to consumers? Even then bullshit.

      DRM has benefits right now, ask Apple, they seem to be making a few million dollar benefits out of a system which includes a form of DRM.

      Want to stop users running as root or deleting your files on a shared system? That's a form of DRM, which has benefits?

      Want to stop recruitment agencies chopping your CV into pieces, editing it around and submitting it for jobs for which you are unsuited and wasting your time? Produce your CV as a PDF which stops that. There's a benefit for you.

      Want to produce a game for the PS/2, the XBox or any other console? Want to make sure that people buy it and you actually make some money from your effort? DRM again, woah, profit as a benefit? How unlike slashdot.

      Just because something annoys you does not make it unbenefical to everyone, nor does making blanket statements of your political beliefs as fact provide any benefit to an arguement.

      • by swv3752 (187722) <swv3752.hotmail@com> on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @08:00AM (#6441623) Homepage Journal
        All DRM is unbeneficial to the consumer. It limits our rights as citizens. Sure, it protects content rights holders, but they already have number of protections that we have ceded to them.

        DRM should have the name- Digital Restrictions Management. I do not want further restriction on my stuff. The Doomsday project in England would be completely dead instead of resurected if DRM had been in place then.

        We let DRM happen and we are going to forget the past.
        • Um. Not all DRM is unbeneficial to the consumer. My mail server has digital rights management set up; it prevents anyone not on my internal network from sending e-mail to the world. This is a good thing for me, since it means that my machine is not abused for other people's e-mail, and a good thing for you, since it prevents my machine being used for spam.

          Compulsory DRM may or may not be a bad thing, and I would agree that many of the schemes being thrown around are not good, but not all DRM is bad.

        • Really? Will you think DRM is unbeneficial when it's used by your doctor to protect your medical records from unauthorized viewing and distribution? I think you are making the classic mistake of confusing technology and policy. This is the same mistake the music companies are making w.r.t. P2P.
        • The american market is not just made up of consumers, you need producers too. Producers attract consumers by offering something of value to them, in this case entertainment. Consumers in turn need to offer something of value to the producers. We offer them assurances that they will be paid for the use of their work (if anyone uses it). This is good old economics.
          If DRM can be implemented that will give added benefits to the producer without taking much away from the consumer, so that a net benefit has b
    • But, in the end, they are protecting the companies who fund them. And quests such as not buying CDs in order to protest the RIAA only result in more justification for the RIAA to encourage cracking down.

      If people don't buy CD's long enough, the companies funding the RIAA shall go bankrupt and noone is left to fund the RIAA. Then the RIAA shall no longer have money to buy politicians and laws.

      • If people don't buy CD's long enough, the companies funding the RIAA shall go bankrupt and noone is left to fund the RIAA. Then the RIAA shall no longer have money to buy politicians and laws.

        I don't think this is correct. Some of the companies funding the RIAA make money from other sources so won't go bankrupt if CD sales go down.

    • And quests such as not buying CDs in order to protest the RIAA only result in more justification for the RIAA to encourage cracking down.

      Not necessarily. If you buy CDs from independent artists instead, the word will get around and the message that it isn't that people object to buying music, it's just that we won't buy it from scum.

      Shifting our buying will give the music industry and the politicians the message we want to send. You are right that simply refusing to buy won't do it, this gives the labels

  • Because I refuse to use proprietry file formats. So, I shall refrain from passing uninformed comment on this senseless drivel. Please don't let that stop anyone else though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ahem. the pdf format has been made publicly available by adobe, and open source viewers are available. like xpdf.

      moderators, troll this luser.
    • by Dr. Photo (640363) on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:24PM (#6439150) Journal
      This pdf was apparently generated by pdftex [tug.org],
      which is GPL'd.

      So you probably won't go to GNU/Hell for reading it, in your friendly local xpdf or konqueror or whatnot.
    • PDF is an open format. There are Open Source apps that'll vie PDF no matter which OS you use.

      Google is your friend, I don't know which OS you run.

  • by CrazyJoel (146417)
    The Upright Citizens Brigade [uprightcitizens.org]?

    That makes sense.

    I'll laugh at you before you laugh at me because your pennies have been in my ass!

  • "no one else seems to be talking about like technical feasibility"

    like totally man

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:17PM (#6439112)
    Dude, this thing is like 5 and a half pages before the bibliography, and all of that is actually well-considered and thought out, which means it takes a long time to read. As an average slashdotter, being asked to read the article before trying to express my ill-thought-out-opinions seems unreasonable. That involves actual thinking and effort. Couldn't you give us, like, a sound bite in the story blurb next time that we could misinterpret and fight about? Has Microsoft said anything stupid on this subject lately?
    • i read a couple pages of it, but eh...i dunno..It's not as though i'm bad at reading..i just don't like reading something with so many lengthy words. It's bloated. It's good, yes, wish i could write that well, but damn bloated.

      That and i'm reading it at work, and I'm tired of looking at PDF's, since my job revolves around opening them, looking at them, exporting them.
  • doesnt matter your belief
  • Yes, (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    but is that UCB full speed or high speed?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:31PM (#6439205)

    As someone who hates that disgusting Adobe PDF format (why people can't publish in HTML after all this is the web right ?) here is the text of the pdf..

    A Framework for Evaluating Digital Rights Management Proposals
    Rachna Dhamija
    UC Berkeley, SIMS
    rachna@ sims. berkeley. edu

    Fredrik Wallenberg
    UC Berkeley, SIMS
    fredrik@ sims. berkeley. edu

    Abstract
    In this paper, we analyze the strengths and weaknesses
    of the various solutions to compensate intellectual property
    rights holders. Specifically we look at digital rights manage-ment
    (DRM) based systems, extensions to DRM to support
    fair uses, monitor-and-charge schemes, compulsory licens-ing
    schemes and alternative business models.
    Our main contribution is to provide a framework from
    which current and future proposals may be evaluated. In
    order to realistically evaluate any compensation scheme, we
    suggest that the following questions are important to ask:

    Is the proposal technically feasible? What are the incentives to circumvent legal and techni-cal protections for all parties in the transaction?

    What is the burden of monitoring for compliance in the system, and on which parties does this burden fall?
    What is the efficiency of the collection and distribution of funds from consumers to rights holders?
    What are the impacts on user privacy and fair use? What is the feasibility of legal enforcement, both do-mestically and internationally?

    1. Introduction
    Over the last few years the debate over protection, or lack
    thereof, of copyrighted works has flourished. Proposals on
    how to reimburse the creators of these works range from
    strict proprietary encryption locks to new business mod-els
    that rely on revenue streams from ancillary products.
    Each new proposal points out the shortcomings of previ-ous
    schemes and highlights the benefits of its own solution.
    However, no consistent framework exists for analyzing the
    different solutions.
    In this paper, we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of
    the various solutions. Specifically, we look at DRM based
    systems, extensions to DRM to support fair uses, monitor-and-
    charge schemes, compulsory licensing schemes and al-ternative
    business models. From this comparison, we extract
    important dimensions such as technical feasibility, incen-tives
    to cheat, burden of monitoring, privacy, and the feasi-

    bility of legal enforcement. Our main contribution is to pro-vide
    a framework from which current and future proposal
    may be evaluated.

    Digital Information as a "Public Good" Economists
    sometimes refer to certain goods as public. This does not
    imply that they are in the public domain as defined by intel-lectual
    property law. Rather, a public good is a product or
    service that has two properties. First, it is non-rival, which
    simply means that consumption by one person doesn't limit
    consumption of the next. Second, it is non-excludable, im-plying
    that once the product exists, the benefit cannot be
    limited to those that have paid for it.
    Ideas and information captured in physical media tradi-tionally
    fall into some middle ground. While the informa-tion
    itself certainly has the characteristics of a public good,
    the physical media that it is tied to is rival and exclud-able.
    This gives rise to business models involving the sale
    of physical artifacts whose only value is the embedded in-formation
    such as books, CDs and DVDs. These business
    models have taken a serious blow with the introduction of
    information in digital form combined with communications
    media such as the Internet. The question at hand is whether
    or not it is possible to devise a scheme under which money
    can be transferred from those consuming information goods
    to the providers of the same.
    We use the characteristics of a public good to distinguish
    between the following classes of proposals to compensate
    intellectual property rights holders:
    • As someone who hates that disgusting Adobe PDF format (why people can't publish in HTML after all this is the web right ?) here is the text of the pdf.

      WTF? PDF is a format that renders the same regardless of the program used to view it, and can be generated by open-source linux software. HTML is a format that is viewed differently depending on the program and settings used, especially since the majority of people use IE (not exactly standards compliant). Moreover, PDF files can be easily saved and vie

      • WTF? PDF is a format that renders the same regardless of the program used to view it, and can be generated by open-source linux software. HTML is a format that is viewed differently depending on the program and settings used, especially since the majority of people use IE (not exactly standards compliant).... etc

        THat's all very well and fine if the layout of one's document was important. But... this is a research paper for crissakes... there is NO need for pixel-perfect rendering. HTML is just fine.
        • To put it bluntly: yes, there is a need for pixel-perfect rendering in a research paper, just like there's a need for pixel-perfect rendering in books, magazines, or any other published material.

          What do you think a chart, or a graph, or a table is? Just an arbitrary collection of pixels?

          Good spatial organization is an important part of presenting scientific and/or research data accurately and aesthetically.

          Would you really trust the published results of years of research to, say, a non-portable CSS/HTML
          • Are you a troll, or what?

            Good spatial organization is an important part of presenting scientific and/or research data accurately and aesthetically.

            This is what HTML was ORIGINALLY designed for.

            Would you really trust the published results of years of research to, say, a non-portable CSS/HTML document, and hope for the best when your peers around the world try to print it?

            Cosidering that html is the widest used cross-platform document format, I wonder if your dictionary contains the same definition of "

            • HTML was never "originally" designed for pixel-perfect accuracy, standardized "look", or standardized spatial relationships. Why do you think absolute positioning via CSS and XML extensions exist these days? Because HTML works so damn well for that sort of thing?

              What happens when you resize a browser window? What happens when you resize a PDF or PS reader window? In a browser, the document's layout changes drastically. In a PDF or PS reader, it doesn't.

              The original design intention was for easy marku
              • You're wrong. Just accept that and move on.

                You're a asshole, just accept that and move on. :)

                I re-read my post, however, and realized that my first point came out totally incorrect. I was saying that HTML was originally designed for providing a cross-platform way to publish scientific and academic documents that could be read on any machine. That was its original purpose, and the world wide web is just a big bastard child of that purpose.

                I could go into detail, but you're too much a asshole to be wort

      • And since most people use IE, they can view mhtml which stores the images in the html code and is often smaller than PDF. KTHX you have been informed.
    • Guess they should have used DRM to protect their article from being cut and pasted into slashdot.
    • Thanks for the work of creating a text version of the document for those that don't like PDFs. We've made an HTML version available (see separate post). As to why PDF (and why two columns)? Conference submission requirements... it could have been worse, they seemed to prefer Word documents ;-)
  • Well, So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamatlas (597477) on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:34PM (#6439218) Homepage
    Yes, current and as yet forseable DRM systems are of laughable or at best questionable quality and even legality (consumers do have have rights to purchased material)But....

    The bathwater should be carefully checked to make sure no baby is contained therein before throwing it out. DRM often being overly restrictive, easily bypassed, or otherwise inneficient does not mean that there should not be some _Rasonable_ system in place that prevents misuse, and only mis-use. In the slashdot crowd-- and I find myself, as part of it, falling victim to this at times-- DRM is often spoken of in a context of its being inherently bad and undesireable. Truthfully, and effective and fair DRM system just might be what is truly needed.

    Interesting comments wanted; trolls need not reply

    • Re:Well, So What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RickHunter (103108) on Monday July 14, 2003 @09:32PM (#6439490)

      Yeah, but to be fair, it has to respect the entire letter of the law. Not just "you can't copy/modify this, its mine", but everything. From (mostly theoretical, these days) copyright expiry to provisions made for fair use exceptions and changing legislation.

      DRM as often spoken of is useless at best and harmful at worst. There might be some gems hidden there, but I doubt that allowing Holywood and Microsoft to follow through with their Evil Scheme of the Month is going to bring them to the surface.

    • Re:Well, So What? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drwav (577314) on Monday July 14, 2003 @10:19PM (#6439693)
      DRM often being overly restrictive, easily bypassed, or otherwise inneficient does not mean that there should not be some _Rasonable_ system in place that prevents misuse, and only mis-use.

      I would like to point you to this article [slashdot.org] and follow up by submitting that what you ask is either not possible or so impractical that we should not waste our energies on such a project.

      To summarize the article, it basically states that because of the complexities of society, only humans should be allowed to decide the implication of the law in a case by case basis. Such decisions are not for the cold logic of a computer unless a sophisticated AI is created for DRM, which is the impractical part I was referring to earlier.

      The key word in the article is "leeway", something that machines are completely incapable of.

      Look at it this way, do you really want your computer telling you what you can and can't do? Now you can say that this is important for security and to prevent damage to the machine (e.g. Don't allow other users to access the machine, don't allow users to delete system files), but those are simply bad analogies and I encourage you to avoid them since they will only hinder this discussion.
      • what you ask is either not possible or so impractical that we should not waste our energies on such a project.

        You could be right- though I'd say "Not now does not mean not ever." As a programmer and (side business) artist, should I make something independant of salaried work, I would like the 800 lb. gorilla that redistributes to have some protection in place. As for a reasonable method of doing so, This is slashdot- why does what I what I want have to be possible?

        Look at it this way, do you really want

    • I must agree with this.
      Consumers have rights, yes, but copyright owners do too. With a functional DRM in place both interrests can be served. It would even allow smalltime publishers to get bigger at the expense of the "evil giant companies", because publishing costs could go down dramatically.

      I think that DRM is something we'll going to have to live with from some point on, no use fighting it. It will serve a purpose.

      (funny to hear people (on slashdot and in other places) slamming the music industry's "o
    • DRMS get quite a bad reputation inhere which is certainly understandable. of course, noone likes to pay for things, but fact is that this is how our society works.

      but i think it would be wrong to condemn DRMS; sure, DRMS cause legal problems mainly relating to fair usage, but those problems should put in relation to the advantages DRM bring about. it is clear that private end users primarily see DRMS as a tool which makes them eventually pay more, but from a (more important?!) business perspective, DRMS a

    • Truthfully, and effective and fair DRM system just might be what is truly needed.

      You now have the moral duty to suggest how such a system would behave.
      The problems are pointed in the article and in previous posts:
      • no computer system, short of AI, will ever get the "fair" part right (exceptions, changing legislation, potential for loophole abuse...)
      • effective DRM is a moving target, as has been repeatedly proven. Probably the only way to achieve it is by tuning the incentives in such a way that, a
  • ok so thanks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    it's a good idea to point out the flaws early, so it can be fixed rather than if they do a massive deployment of shitty tech.

    Companies are serious about DRM. It's not going away.
    • No, it's better to keep your mouth shut about any flaws, so that they do a massive deployment of shitty tech, and then it'll be too late to go back.

      Much like the easily-broken CSS scheme on DVDs; the DVD-CCA can't just say, "okay everyone, we need to change the format because CSS has been cracked. Please toss out all your DVD players and discs, and replace them with our new DVD+ standard. Yes, it'll be expensive for you, but that's too bad."

      If you couldn't buy a car without a padlock on the hood, "for y
  • As if.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wfberg (24378) on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:42PM (#6439248)

    they also question the compulsory licensing approach recently being promoted by the EFF. They get into some of the practical details about compulsory licensing that no one else seems to be talking about like technical feasibility, incentives to cheat, monitoring for compliance, efficiency of collection and distribution of funds, privacy, fair use, feasibility of legal enforcement...

    As if these problems magically do not exist with voluntary licensing. I'm quite sure the EFF never claimed a compulsory licensing scheme would be perfect. It's a least bad kind of thing.
    • Re:As if.. (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by geekee (591277)
      "I'm quite sure the EFF never claimed a compulsory licensing scheme would be perfect. It's a least bad kind of thing."

      Compulsory licensing is socialism. I'll take DRM over it any day of the week. I'd rather not be able to look at certain memory locations in my computer for data that Im not supposed to have free access to anyway (except for fair use purposes, which can be accomodated) than not be able to write a song and sell it at a price of my choosing.
      • Re:As if.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TephX (54484) on Monday July 14, 2003 @10:06PM (#6439649) Homepage
        Compulsory licensing is socialism.

        Intellectual property is fascism.

        Now, I'm sure we both realize that the previous statement was roughly meaningless and designed only to incite emotion. The point is that yours is the same. Copyright is a legal construct in the first place. It does not exist independent of the government's creating it.

        But moreover, I don't see how it is socialism in any case. Socialism implies that the means of production are owned by the government. Umm, in this case I guess that would mean that the content producers were owned by the government? Or their equipment, perhaps? Nope, none of this is making any sense.

        I'll take DRM over it any day of the week. I'd rather not be able to look at certain memory locations in my computer for data that Im not supposed to have free access to anyway (except for fair use purposes, which can be accomodated) than not be able to write a song and sell it at a price of my choosing.

        Well, you've made it quite clear what your opinion is, but you haven't really given any reason for anyone else to accept it. My point of view is that compulsory licensing has at least this benefit: it stops the "arms race" between file sharers / traders / copyright infringers (however you want to look at it) and the RIAA / MPAA. While I think the technological aspect of this "arms race" may actually produce technologies which are interesting and useful in their own respects, the legal "arms race" is much more troubling, as very questionable law is being enacted at the request of the side that evidently donates more money to political campaigns.

        Compulsory licensing does mean that you can't "write a song and sell it at a price of [your] choosing", but the way I look at it, you didn't have a right to do that anyway. You currently have the ability, yes, but that ability is only justified (in the USA, by the Constitution) to be granted to you to "promote the progress of science and useful arts".

        And yes, I realize you were probably just trying to get a rise out of me and the many Slashdotters who think as I do, but the point is that there are real, legitimate issues here. Most people accept copyright law because it's what they're used to, but the fact is that when you look carefully, the foundations for it--especially in its present form--are pretty shaky.

        One interesting point raised by the linked-to article, which you did not address, is that in a compulsory-licensing system, the producers have an incentive to try to fake the system. That honestly hadn't occurred to me. I think this can be solved, say by having rankings signed with a public-key system, and I think the solution would be simpler and less Draconian in implementation than trying to get DRM on everything, but it is worth thinking about.

        • Re:As if.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by evbergen (31483)
          I think there's an alternative to DRM, compulsory licensing or the tip jar, neither of which is particularly attractive.

          I think it's possible to keep a free market. Not for released information-only products, but for non-released products. A scheme where popular artists earn more, where expensive productions remain possible, but without having to put any restrictions on use or redistribution of the material once it's published.

          How, you say?

          The starting point is that you can only demand a certain sum of m
          • The starting point is that you can only demand a certain sum of money before you publish.

            I've thought about this type of system myself before. First off, you have to realize that under any even halfway sane copyright system, something like this can be implemented in userspace by means of a contract. (In a system with compulsory licensing, I'm asuming that you'd be allowed to waive your cut of the take; if not, you could always donate it to your favorite charity.) People could use this system right no

            • Thanks for your feedback.

              First off, you have to realize that under any even halfway sane copyright system, something like this can be implemented in userspace by means of a contract. [...] People could use this system right now; they don't because content producers know they can get a sweeter deal because of the abilities copyright currently affords them.

              I don't think the current deal is so sweet. Look at how many artist detest the recording industry, but have no choice but to hope they'll create a smas
              • I don't think the current deal is so sweet. Look at how many artist detest the recording industry, but have no choice but to hope they'll create a smash hit and make some money too. And if the arms race between the file sharing public and the media cartels + governments (it's a powerful combination, I know) is ultimately won by the former (and I'm about 50% sure it will), then artists will be forced to look at alternatives to copyright.

                I think the deal definitely is sweet, otherwise no one would use it,

          • As interesting of an idea as this is, I suspect it suffers from a few fatal flaws. First, people are not going to pay money in exchange for the possibility that they may get an album in a year. What happens if the band breaks up or the drummer spontaneously combusts? This means that the auction has to take place after the album has already been completed and the production money spent. Of course, one of the main reasons artists want a major record contract is so that they can get paid up-front to financ
            • I don't think it's that bad. A bank or record company runs the same risk of bands breaking up and drummers going up in flames. As a financial institution, they want to run that risk because successes will compensate. The audience wants to run the risk because they like the music. And if it doesn't like the music enough, then apparently the price/quality ratio wasn't quite right.

              You may need to earn a better reputation by giving live concerts (making money at the same time) and providing more samples. That
        • Socialism is a system whereby the rights of an individual are placed second to the rights of the collective. In this case the collective is the music listening public and the individual is the author. Yes, in anarchy, a person could steal your music, but they could steal your car as well. The US constitution protects you from both types of threats. Any system where the govt, controls pricing will be corrupt since pricing is completely artificial and now it's who you know in the govt that counts, not how goo
          • Socialism is a system whereby the rights of an individual are placed second to the rights of the collective.

            It is one such type of system, yes, but not all systems meeting this description are socialism. From m-w.com:

            1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
            2. a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society
      • For the slashdotters new to the concept, astroturf is phony grass roots political speech / action, like when a corporate PR firm hires a bunch of people to make homemade picket signs to protest some new piece of legislation in progress they don't like.

        Compulsory licensing is socialism.

        If it wasn't for compulsory broadcast licensing, the RIAA, either as the people paying the PR firm that signs your paychecks, or the people whose propaganda you're mindlessly parroting would not have a multibillion dollar r

  • (un)Fair (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joq (63625) on Monday July 14, 2003 @08:50PM (#6439280) Homepage Journal
    No proposed technical protection measures are strong enough to sustain a determined attack. Only in combination with models where the incentives to circumvent are limited, can technical solutions succeed.

    Odd how companies are spending so many resources in hopes that they'll score a home run. What I find strange is, that when other technologies which where hip where introduced (eg. cassettes, vhs tapes, etc), I don't recall the same effort as the 400lb gorillas running around with an attache of lawyer goons. Why not just go back to the basics and protest against those technologies, they're still being used... Odd...

    What is the feasibility of legal enforcement, both domestically and internationally? It is easy for researchers and market actors to forget that a solution that requires significant government intervention and enforcement is inherently bound to the confines of country boundaries and international treaties.

    Comments such as these rather scare me into thinking that at some point companies will come together and force their own private hell with a one world order rule on the net. Sure it would be a difficult task, but money talks, and I'm sure if the top ten companies in every country got together and lobbied for something like this, they might actually get it going.


    What are the impacts on user privacy and fair use?
    Privacy concerns frequently run counter to desires for economic efficiency. Therefore, any proposed solutions must acknowledge that there is a trade-off to be made. Fair use is important on its social merits alone, however, a broader adoption of fair and private uses will also serve to reduce user incentives to circumvent.


    Situations such as these make some purposely circumvent policies and rules. Especially when they're (rules and policies) shoved down someone's throat.

    • Re:(un)Fair (Score:5, Interesting)

      by poptones (653660) on Monday July 14, 2003 @09:41PM (#6439529) Journal
      Odd how companies are spending so many resources in hopes that they'll score a home run. What I find strange is, that when other technologies which where hip where introduced (eg. cassettes, vhs tapes, etc), I don't recall the same effort as the 400lb gorillas running around with an attache of lawyer goons.

      You don't recall that because you weren't a radio station in the 70's and 80's being sued by the RIAA for playing whole sides of LPs instead of talking over single tracks. You weren't Philips, trying to grow your new compact cassette format while the RIAA tried to get it banned in the US market.

      The reason it's different now is purely because of the technology. Unlike those other battles - over physical technologies like the LP, the compact cassette, the reel to reel, DAT, Elcassette and so forth - or with established businesses that could be held economically accountable for breach of contract - this time the RIAA is forced to deal with a technology that is available to everyone and travels at the speed of light. This battle is purely a game of whack-a-mole, which the old order can never hope to win.

      Compulsory licensing is a copout. It's also inevitable. My guess is the EFF is just hoping this "olive branch" will help them to build a dialougue with the industry. That could help build credibility for the EFF in established circles, but I suspect it still may be too early to play this card without alienating the hard liners (like myself). The music industry may be on the ropes, but it has a very long way to fall and I don't want to see anyone catch them before they hit the mat.

      (BTW I was going to link you to a story about the RIAA and the LP, but trying to connect to RIAA.ORG returns me http://"""....""""" - it would appear they are, yet again, succumbing to a DNS attack...)

  • by geekotourist (80163) on Monday July 14, 2003 @09:18PM (#6439434) Journal
    If you read the EFF's File-Sharing campaign site [eff.org] you'll see that they list and link to multiple ways that could be used to pay artists. Of these, only one is written by an EFF-related person, although Brad Templeton is not a staff member. His proposal- microrefunds [templetons.com]- doesn't require DRM.

    Other EFF board members include John Perry Barlow [eff.org] [also associated w/the Grateful Dead] and John Gilmore [toad.com], neither of whom would endorse systems that require DRM. Beyond that, the EFF's general vibe of promoting online privacy and the right to anonymity would make the EFF incompatible with DRM systems.

    I think that this bad meme (that the EFF wants C.L.) got into Slashdot a few months ago when an article covered the talk an EFF staff member gave on compulsory licencing. Talking about it or listing it as one method of compensating artists != endorsing it, but that confusion was made.

    • by SiliconEntity (448450) on Monday July 14, 2003 @11:06PM (#6439890)
      the EFF's general vibe of promoting online privacy and the right to anonymity would make the EFF incompatible with DRM systems

      Compulsory licensing is not DRM, so your comment doesn't make sense. Compulsory licensing means that license holders (the "evil" record companies) are compelled to license their material - and compensated for it, of course. It is basically what makes radio possible.

      How it would work in P2P is that there would be some measure of which songs are being shared, a sort of Nielsen Ratings for P2P. Then the license holders for those songs would get paid in proportion to how popular they were.

      What would fund them? Possibly the good old modem tax, or some similar measure that charges people who do a lot of file sharing more than people who do less. Read this article by EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann [dailyprincetonian.com] to hear it from the horse's mouth.

      You are totally off base in thinking that the EFF does not support compulsory licensing. They have been pushing that "solution" for quite a while now.

      Personally, I think it is a terrible idea, and I'm glad to see someone has finally given it a good public roasting. Hopefully the concept will die a quiet death and the EFF can get back to protecting people's privacy instead of forcing them to pay a modem tax and putting the government in charge of paying artists.
      • by geekotourist (80163) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @03:07AM (#6440690) Journal
        From their main campaign page [eff.org]:

        "...The problem is that there is no adequate system in place that allows music lovers access to their favorite music while compensating artists and copyright holders. It's time to start addressing this problem head on. In the past, we've used a system called "compulsory licensing" to reconcile copyright law with the benefits of new technologies like cable television and webcasting. This approach has drawbacks, but it's certainly better than the direction that the recording industry is taking us today.

        Many innovative payment models have been proposed (with or without a compulsory license), and we have highlighted some of them here,..." (emphasis added)

        Fred's April article (which according to the EFF "explores a possible alternative": this doesn't read like strong support by the EFF to me) is talking about how to compensate artists. Fred writes that there are many ways to compensate them, of which one could be compulsory licensing, and that one way to do c.l. is ISP fees. Again, this doesn't read like a policy endorsement but instead an exploration of alternatives: ISP fees/modem taxes are a subset of a subset of ways to compensate artists. And talking about it != endorsing it.

  • by vnv (650942) on Monday July 14, 2003 @09:59PM (#6439618)
    The customer is sitting here in the middle of a great struggle. The music industry is trying their best to come up with a one-sided application of police technology, laws, and law enforcement to squeeze more money out people they think are cheating them by sharing music with others.

    First of all, let us observe that it is very rare that hitting your customers with a massive hammer (filing lawsuits against them and treating them as criminals) ends up helping your business. And it's quite uncommon if you make someone's life a living hell (with Microsoft style Palladium DRM) that they are going to buy more product from you, much less have any positive opinion of you.

    Secondly, let us look at what is really going on with music today, not what the music industry likes to say is going on.

    1. Most people like music.

    2. Most people buy music.

    3. There is an amazing amout of music available on many labels from many geographic regions.

    4. There is no easy way to a consumer to listen via radio to all the music that is available.

    Today for radio we have:

    - very little variety left in big radio

    - in the US, big corporations dominate most of radio, further reducing choice and variety

    - very hard to find little radio stations

    - very few internet radio stations

    - internet radio is hard to find

    - internet radio is hard to use for many

    - radio stations of any sort cost money to run

    - commercial radio has many ads, reducing the desire of someone to listen for very long

    5. Outside of radio, the ability to listen to music before purchase in a commercial environment is even more limited. Some few music stores offer listening stations, but many times the equipment is broken or dirty.

    6. In reality, most people listen to much of the music they end up purchasing via their friends. In fact, many friendships are made because people have common tastes in music.

    7. The music industry's method of retailing is incredibly anti-customer and does not respect local laws and customs (try before buy, returns).

    Imagine you have a product that sells wrapped in a tough plastic wrapper with an additional sticky plastic security wrapper and often all that itself inside a hard plastic shell. This product obviously cannot be inspected. Whatever is inside the wrapper is unknown to the consumer.

    Now let's say you want to come up with a successful way of selling your wrappy product in stores and you come up with the following strategy:

    a. You don't sell your product uninformly in all stores so the consumer has to guess what store your product is available in.

    b. You don't provide a way for consumers to check if your product is in a local store.

    c. You always charge your customer full price, often over list price, if they buy it in a local store.

    d. You don't let your customer have any way to try (or even inspect) their merchandise before purchase.

    e. You don't allow your customer to return the merchandise if they don't like it. Or even if you do allow returns, it is for a fraction of the purchase price.

    8. The music industry has made very little effort to revamp their sales system.

    a. There are few record stores with vast libraries of music that you can listen to via your own headphones or speakers.

    b. There is usually no volume discount.

    c. There are almost never special deals on the music you want -- only the music the retailer wants to move/dump/promote.

    d. Most music stores have hours that are incompatible with work. As more people have to work longer hours, music stores should take this into account.

    e. Many music stores are hostile to customers that spend a long time there.

    f. Most music stores do not offer comforts such as nice chairs, coffee, or things to eat.

    9. The existing online music stores all require that you register to

    • First of all, let us observe that it is very rare that hitting your customers with a massive hammer (filing lawsuits against them and treating them as criminals) ends up helping your business.

      Hey, it's working for SCO, you insensitive clod!

      yours litigiously,
      Darl McBride
      • Dear Darl,

        We've been over this many times. Just because something is working in your head, doesn't mean it's working in the real world.

        If you want to be able to clearly see the consequences of your actions in the real world, you must take your medicine.

        Please take your medicine, Darl! These crazy lawsuits and criminal charges are not a healthy way to ask for attention.

        Sincerely,
        Your Shrink
    • While I agree with most of your post, I'd like to add a comment to this one point:
      internet radio is hard to find

      One neat feature of iTunes is its radio menu. Click on the "Radio" label and you get a list of hundreds of internet radio stations, grouped by genre. iTunes lists the station's name, a blurb about the kind of music it plays, and its bandwidth. Just click on the station and voila, it's streaming through the iTunes interface.

      It's thanks to this feature of iTunes that I've discovered a lot of sma
  • I wouldn't trust any research done by the Upright Citizen's Brigade [uprightcitizens.org]. This stuff isn't nearly as entertaining as their other works, anyway...
  • by jefu (53450) on Monday July 14, 2003 @10:31PM (#6439758) Homepage Journal
    The linked article was pretty good (though I agree with the poster who would prefer it not be in pdf, a format that I find seriously hard to read - especially with two column layouts).

    It really comes down to how much it will cost to do DRM and the cost of getting around it. The costs are not just monetary - but may include a complex tradeoff of penalties and benefits in many areas - including culture, the legal system, personal privacy, fundamental human rights and so on.

    Since corporations and hence their hired thugs in government don't much care about things like human rights, personal privacy or culture (realisticly, things are not set up to encourage them to do so, so why would we expect it), they will always make their decisions on the basis of corporate self interest - which is usually short term profit these days.

    There is almost certainly a place for DRM on some level - it encourages and rewards creative artists of all sorts (though the best artists seem to do their thing anyway). The problem is that as soon as we allow any serious IP protections (as DRM or whatever), there's no control on what the people who want to make profits can do with it.

    I worked for a company whose game plan was to sell a product for less than $100 - the product was in large part IP of one sort or another. Once the marketers got hold of it, the price was inflated to the $1500 range. Not because it was worth that - but they thought they could charge that much and get away with it. I had figured out how to do a cheap DRM scheme that would be just hard enough to break to make it cheaper to just buy the product (at the $100 mark). Shortly thereafter I left the company - with the DRM scheme still unimplemented.

    That kind of thinking "We can get away with charging that much" is pervasive. But its also problematic - just by charging that kind of inflated price, the marketers are providing higher motivation for people to find ways around paying the prices. Monopolistic practices (even in the small - one company holds the contract for the current top musical sensation) tend to exacerbate the problem. Now they want to impose DRM - worse yet they want to do it with the government's legal system - which means that they get the benefits (ability to raise prices, impose conditions...) but everyone else gets to pay the price.

    If there were no serious DRM, but downloading a permanent copy of a song cost (say) a dime, there'd be no incentive to break DRM - and most people (I suspect) would go along with it and its not hard to believe that the music industry would be the better and with smaller distribution costs, the artists would probably be better off. But when we allow and legally support DRM it is both an incentive to the industry to charge as much as it can, and an incentive to consumers to find ways to break it.

    Worse yet, we now have corporations that seem to have determined that they are owed a certain amount of money every year - and who are willing to pass laws to ensure that they get it. Essentially they want to tax us to ensure that their incomes stay where they'd like them to be.

    Given all this, I see no reasonable alternative but to ban DRM completely - but I suspect the corporations will have their own way and we'll end up spending $10 to listen to a single song three or four times. The interesting thing is going to be the underground that springs up to counter them - who knows what that will result in? I do quite love the law of unintended consequences.

  • by autopr0n (534291)
    Is it just me or is reading a two-column, page-by-page layout PDF on the web a huge pain in the ass? Why did they chose this formatting? Ugh.
    • Digital Reader Management... they want to annoy users to the maximum possible so people just assume they wrote a decent paper on the topic without actually reading the whole thing to check.
    • It is simply the required format for the conference. An HTML version is now available as well (see separate post).
    • That's the standard "academic" publication format, at least in the field of computer science. It looks just like any other university-produced research publication I've ever seen...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's a mirror here [ulta.com] that you can check out in case this gets slashdotted.
  • In response to those that (for good reasons) do not like PDF files we made a quick and dirty conversion into HTML. The HTML version is avalable here [berkeley.edu].
  • Why don't we just cut the shit and agree to be impregnated by a hairy ape, last name Wadd, with a genetically altered genome with the following genetic content which is sponsored in part by the RIAA and MPAA...

    Here's what's included with the DNA which is actually RNA but hey you don't need no stinkin' virus protection...but if you do Symantec has a new cyberoranistic based anti-virii protection available in subscription form with no pop-ups...

    Ok the list

    Chromosomes with anti-hackable, DRM enhanced, 128 b
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @04:27AM (#6440881) Homepage

    Make the [MP|RI]AA sell non-discriminatory licenses for content that's already out there, rather than allowing them to throttle the channels of distribution. That's in the spirit of copyright law, because the intent of copyright law is to put content into the public domain... pause, think... and the mechanism for doing it is to reward rights owners. So by having Joe Public distribute the content, then reward the rights owner, everybody wins, right?

    Well, sure, but there's a tiny problem. It's that nobody remembers that. The publishers have a vested interest in not remembering it. In fact, they've paid huge sums of money to Congress to forget it. The DMCA, and DMCA case law explicitely refutes it. The "exclusive rights" have become paramount, trumping the intent to make the content available.

    So, you make the [MP|RI]AA license content. Fine. Does that mean they have to make it available without DRM? Nope. Does it mean that you get the right to break the DRM to use it? Well, technically, if you can do it yourself without obtaining or making available a tool to do it, so, de facto, no. DMCA case law has already made this clear. Congress said that it's not legal to obtain tools even for use on content that you licensed, and the courts have (astonishingly) upheld that.

    So what good does licensing do, when you can only get crippleware content, and devices that will play crippleware content, and when you can't legally obtain tools that let you uncripple it?

    I applaud the EFF's intent, but defeating rampant DRM is a pre-requisite to any shake up in licensing, not an afterthought.

  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2 AT earthshod DOT co DOT uk> on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @05:57AM (#6441091)
    I've said this often enough that I'm competing with RMS for trotting out tired old lines, but it never stopped him, so I'll say it again:

    ANY ATTEMPT TO COPY-PROTECT MUSIC IS FATALLY FLAWED.

    First, you can hijack /dev/dsp simply by hacking the module which implements it.

    Secondly, even if you can't hijack /dev/dsp, you can still grab the data being sent to the sound card over the bus {ISA, PCI or USB}. You can buy prototyping kits from specialist electronics suppliers with some of the hardware ready made {basically a PCB to fit the slot with some TTL or a gate array for address decoding and the rest composed of breadboard-style copper strips}. The source for the sound card driver will give you all you need to know about how to interpret the data as it comes through. You can then repackage it how you like - wav, mp3 or ogg vorbis.

    Thirdly, even if you can't grab the data from the bus, you can grab the analogue signal coming out of the jack socket on the back of the sound card and convert that back to digital. You will have to do some filtering and, to avoid creating artefacts, it will have to be done in the analogue domain. Processing through analogue also should destroy any inaudible "watermarking".

    Fourthly, even if someone has permanently soldered a steel-armoured cable feeding a pair of headphones directly to the sound card, which has been potted in several layers of chemically-different resins with sharp springy bits that will fly out and cut you to ribbons if you try to interfere with it, you can still point a mic at each of the headphones and get a signal that way. This is the least pretty option, but nothing can ever make it go away.

    The success of any analogue ripping scheme is dependent upon the equipment used and widely-available consumer tat is possibly going to pollute the filesharing market with inferior copies of songs. This may well be what the RIAA wants - effectively, in terms of reproduction quality, a return to the tape days. On the other hand, there will always be a group of people who are fastidious about quality, and all the necessary equipment already exists. So who knows? Maybed we'll see a new elite audiophile network. The only thing I don't like is the word "audiophile", which sounds too much like the sort of thing News of the World readers might not like.

    The RIAA's methods are never going to work because they are trying to achieve a fundamental impossibility along the lines of perpetual motion or lead-into-gold. Either they will realise they have to give up, or they will kill themselves with the effort. What the RIAA should ask themselves is this: if photocopiers, scanners and printers are so cheap and readily available, then why do people buy newspapers and magazines instead of just making photocopies of them or scanning them and uploading them onto the internet?
    • Re:DRM is flawed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JamesP (688957)
      Next thing, RIAA will implant a DRM chip in our brains, so the signal is decoded there and injected there directly into your hearing part of the brain... But still, you could hack that... The best thing about DMCA is since you can't break the encriptin, the methods will became ever more simpler (i.e. simpler than rot13... maybe rot1) making it easy to break...
  • by Second_Derivative (257815) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @09:38AM (#6442586)
    I dunno why I'm posting this seeing as I've missed the "prime time" for this story as it were, but arguing that DRM is inherently evil is a bit like arguing that DSL inherently sucks because your IP is dynamic and you pay by the megabyte (ok I have an enlightened provider where neither is true but then I'm a Brit) -- just because the current implementation is greedy doesn't mean the idea itself is useless.

    I see a future that works along these sorts of lines: Firstly, record companies will be a lot smaller and less wealthy. This is of course the real reason why they oppose internet distribution but I think we all realise that however hard they fight this will eventually be the case. Secondly, I see them providing a two-level service from their website. A modest, flat subscription fee lets you download your favourite music from their own well connected server network, in whatever format (OGG, FLAC, MP3, AAC...) you want, capped at, say, 1GB of downloads per month. I've got a dedicated server where I get 200GB for $100/mo, so a $10/mo subscription fee would cut them a handsome profit of about $9.50, by that pricing scale. These files would be encrypted.

    The second layer service is free to all comers; no email address required, no ad profiling information, just a username and password registration. This level doesn't supply any music, just keys for each song. You go on Kazaa or whatever, download whatever form is available (keys are issued on a per-song basis, not per-encoding), then decrypt it with a key that your player acquires by means of a web service API.

    This depends on copyright law being made more sane; specifically, that it is illegal to redistribute copyrighted content FOR PROFIT. Also, the other big problem is that most of the record companies' revenue comes from teenagers, and you have to be over 18 to have a credit card and hence participate in transactions over the internet (I'm not quite 18 yet and I can attest that running said dedicated server is a real pain in the ass at present). Though if it's a subscription service I suppose they could get their parents to pay for it, the important thing is this has to be straightforward and easy to pay for above all else.

    Given this scenario though, I think that artists and labels could continue to turn quite a handsome profit. People resent being bullied and ripped off, so music companies probably are losing out on a lot of revenue to the filesharing networks at the moment. However, stack these two options against each other. What would you rather have; an unreliable, hard to use filesharing network with its associated boat load of scumware? Or a clean ad-free page where you can download an entire album in just the format you like it at the click of a button and at maximum speed? Heck I'd pay more than $10/mo for that. I still buy CDs because I like stuff in 64kbit OGG (I'm not an audiophile and I can cram an immense amount of stuff onto my 128MB P800 mobile phone at that bitrate)

    Or, if you do want to download something off Kazaa, then the act of getting a song key tells the record company that someone is listening to this song, and that will help them reimburse the artists accordingly. Yes of course this DRM can be broken, and yes some people will break it by stream hijacking or whatever but then _there is no point in doing so anymore_. The downloader contacts a record company server to get the key and by doing so they establish that this is the correct file, that it is of good quality and that the artist benefits from their download, and the recording company can build a good profile of just who's popular at the moment, and maybe the media player can discreetly ask where you got the file from so they can see which distribution channels work best. Go up to a friend of yours, tell them about this great new band you just heard and give them a crypted disk of some of their best tracks. Legal and beneficial to all, same spirit as the open source systems everyone's so enamoured of over here.

    And, if you acknowledge that pe
  • User: What happen ?
    Error message: Somebody set up us the DRM
    Clippy: We get signal
    Captain: What !
    Clippy: Main screen turn on
    User: It's You !!
    RIAA: How are you gentlemen !!
    RIAA: All your right are belong to us
    RIAA: You are on the way to destruction
    User: What you say !!
    RIAA: You have no chance to survive make your time
    RIAA: HA HA HA HA ....
    User: Take off every 'zig'
    User: You know what you doing
    User: Move 'zig'
    User: For great justice

    I just couldn't help myself...
  • The paper ignores the fact that, at least in the U.S., there is no such thing as Intellectual Property -- except for a very limited form granted under Patent Law.

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough For Love"

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