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UK Government Advised to Promote and Adopt DRM 304

Posted by michael
from the gigo dept.
aking137 writes "From ZDNet, the UK Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG) are recommending '...actively promoting the development and spread of global DRM-related standards' on the grounds that 'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'. Also in the article: 'The massive popularity of peer-to-peer networks also needs to be urgently addressed, the BSG said.'" The report (pdf) is online.
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UK Government Advised to Promote and Adopt DRM

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  • well alright then! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cakestick (323966) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:20AM (#6532237) Homepage
    oh yeah, that's the most pressing issue with broadband.. that people aren't interested in the ways they wish to exploit it. egads!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:21AM (#6532243)
    Where broadband has failed because there's no DRM, or is it more like Japan, or maybe Canada?

    Wait, maybe its like the US, where with DRM and the DMCA, broadband is failing.
  • Likely to falter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Havokmon (89874) <`moc.nomkovah' `ta' `kcir'> on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:22AM (#6532258) Homepage Journal
    'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

    Didn't anyone tell them porn and piracy are the main reasons for broadband?

    At least they left the good stuff ;)

  • HAR! Comedy Gold! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rorgg (673851) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:24AM (#6532272)
    'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

    Because the general populace HATES getting entertainment in a medium of their choice for free. What they REALLY want is a lot of constraints on using their entertainment purchases, and really aggressive copyright holders to sue them when they think they might have stepped out of line.

    Oh yeah, need DRM in there quick or this "internet" thing will never catch on.

  • Ah ha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dorward (129628) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:24AM (#6532273) Homepage Journal
    So making it harder for people to help themselves to media files over the Internet is supposed to encourage people to switch to broadband?
  • by onyxruby (118189) <> on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:24AM (#6532280)
    Let's use this same logic a century ago and compare it to the fledgling automobile boom.

    "The upcoming boom in automobiles is likely to fail unless we install governors on all cars to enforce speed limits."

    Reading this, does anyone else go, hunh?

  • by doctor_oktagon (157579) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:25AM (#6532286)
    It's a fair point to assume the more access to high-capacity connections then the easier it is to download large-volume copyrighted material.

    From this viewpoint I would argue the report is at least far-sighted. ... but I agree broadband in the UK has more pressing issues at the moment, like when are we all going to get access to it?
  • by peterpi (585134) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:25AM (#6532290)
    "'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'."

    The UK's broadband boom has been caused by digital piracy. Kazaa and the like are nearly the only reason anyone I know has got a broadband connection. The only other reason is online gaming, but everybody I know who plays games also downloads music and films.

  • by rmadmin (532701) <rmalek@[ ] ['hom' in gap]> on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:26AM (#6532293) Homepage
    'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

    I think what they are trying to say is:
    'We can't offord for people to actually use the bandwidth we sold them, you must get rid of bandwidth clogging mp3s and movies so we can survive selling 1mbit connectivity, even though we can't support all of our users actually using that 1mbit'

    ok thats kinda drawn out, but I think thats kinda what they are saying.
  • thats funny.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jtilak (596402) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:29AM (#6532325) Journal
    one of the main reasons for getting broadband is so you can download large files faster. large files like songs, movies, pr0n, warez...
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:37AM (#6532397) Homepage
    My bullcrap detector went off when I read this:

    "Digital Rights Management and micro-payments are becoming 'make or break' issues for the whole of the broadband value chain," said Antony Walker, chief executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, in a statement.

    The value of broadband isn't determined by which businesses deign to offer pay services requiring a high speed pipe. The value of broadband is based entirely on what the end user is willing to pay for a high-speed pipe to their house. I'm sick of these rat-bastard marketroids who keep trying to redefine the utility of internet connectivity based on their [TV/radio/other mass-media] mindset: "we talk, you listen (and buy)". Broadband is doomed unless they can sell stuff to us? Broadband is doomed unless they can force us to pay-per-[view/listen/read] for the media we "buy"? Broadband is doomed unless they get to keep our credit card number on file to make paying them [easy/automatic/mandatory]? Please...

  • by Havokmon (89874) <`moc.nomkovah' `ta' `kcir'> on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:41AM (#6532435) Homepage Journal
    I think what they are trying to say is: 'We can't offord for people to actually use the bandwidth we sold them, you must get rid of bandwidth clogging mp3s and movies so we can survive selling 1mbit connectivity, even though we can't support all of our users actually using that 1mbit'
    ok thats kinda drawn out, but I think thats kinda what they are saying.

    Interesting thought.. I took it more along the lines of:
    "Sure, we know we can't really control every detail of what goes over our lines, but it a lot of press makes us look like Pirates Cove. Let's cover our butts, and put the onus on the government to mandate a system that will make us look good without costing us a dime. The other industries can worry about implementing it."

    IMHO, it's the perfect plan.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:41AM (#6532436) Homepage
    no, the reason that most people have broadband is the simple fact that they don't want to wait for dialup to connect, they don't want to tie up the phone line, and they don't want to wait for their Flash enabled webpages to load.

    My father uses DSL because his online banking page took too long to load with dialup.
  • Exports (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lovebyte (81275) * <.lovebyte2000. .at.> on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:43AM (#6532457) Homepage
    Let us not forget that one of the UK industries that export the most is the music industry. Now you might understand the logic behind this report.
  • by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:44AM (#6532471)
    Water, electricity... bandwidth?

    Water and electricity are commonly billed on a usage basis -- you pay $X per gallon of water, you pay $Y per megawatt of electricity. This causes certain actions, such as conservation of water and electricity, which are beneficial as these are limited resources.

    Bandwidth is also a limited resource, and as it is being more and more dependent upon by business and government...

    If people were paying for bandwidth like they do for many other utilies, conservation of bandwidth would be achieved and much of this piracy would be limited. When Danny's father gets the internet bill for $200, Danny's P2P software is getting uninstalled. If Danny leaves all the lights on in the house, or leaves all the faucets running water all day every day, we can easily see that his water and electricity bills would skyrocket and he would pay for his usage, as well as shortening the supply of these two shared resources for others especially in times of limited resources.

    The days of flat-rate internet usage (should be) numbered. If I download a 650 MB ISO image of RedHat, or a 650 MB ISO of a pirated version of MS Office XP, it doesn't matter, similarly it doesn't matter if Danny is taking 30-minute showers or is just running the shower into the drain for 30 minutes.

    Maybe that's what the UK should be looking at instead of all this DRM nonsense. The primary reason people download music is because they can get it "for free" since they are already paying their flat rate for internet access. If it actually costs them (in terms of $Z per MB) perhaps they will think twice about both downloading and potentially more expensive uploading of these files.

    And maybe that will help some of these god-awful websites clean up their massively over-imaged websites.
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:47AM (#6532507) Journal
    companies can take over the world

    You know, I've come to wonder what issues people really honestly have with DRM.

    My primary reason for disliking it is really an engineering one -- it's really, really hard to do DRM, at least on plain ol' audio and video. I'd put it on the same level as antispam legislation -- I'm pretty sure that it isn't going to work, and there's a lot of irritating legislation that indirectly impacts me (like ability to grab information from ISPs by copyright holders...privacy issue that I'm sure will be abused in the long run) and money wasted on lawyers in the meantime.

    Most folks on Slashdot are the technorati. They were, in a much higher percentage than other groups, using MP3s and other forms of audio trading well before anyone else. They caught the "sweet spot", where they could pirate music without everyone doing it, so that those that pay subsidized the development of popular music. Piracy hadn't yet hit the point of moving music towards the public good dillemma (where nobody wants to pay for it because it's easier to pirate). Now, though, it's easy for anyone to download music, and the subsidization of the folks that used to download music from FTP servers isn't there.

    DRM as a concept isn't all that "neat feeling", but neither is copyright or other forms of IP. What is the actual, practical impact on you of DRM? In this case, Apple was unable to obtain non-US rights. To my way of thinking, that's a fairly minor issue for people. The biggest drawback is that a US citizen might become comfortable buying music in the US from Apple, then move, and not be able to use the route he has come to prefer.

    How about cost? To most teens, cost of music is a pretty legitimate issue. I don't really care much any more, now that I'm out in the work force -- the effort of getting an album in the format I want with the quality I want really isn't worth it. I go to work all day, and when I come home I'd rather just spend a little money and get the thing in full quality. So if DRM prevents piracy, it doesn't really impact me much.

    What about inability to trade music around? I guess this could be an issue for some (I know some people that lend CDs out left and right), but I don't. At least for me, this really doesn't affect me.

    What about limited-time ownership of music? This I *do* find unacceptable -- I won't buy music that expires. The point's kind of moot, though, since attempts to commercialize expiring music and video haven't really gone anywhere.

    What about inability to move from place to place with a music collection? Well, I'm biased -- I live in a first world nation so forms of region coding tend to screw me over by letting media companies charge me more. While I've never moved out of the US, I'd like the ability to do so, so I consider region coding sufficiently irritating that I would be happy to break 'em. Incidently, I don't believe I've yet seen a DRM lawsuit over violating region coding -- the media companies aren't willing to test it, and I suspect it might fall over in court.
  • by mikey_boy (125590) on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:54AM (#6532564)
    well, you don't know me but I have broadband purely for convenience. I never have to wait for a connection, and I can browse in a normal fashion (i.e. not having to only have one window at a time, that kinda thing). That and working from home is a helluva lot easier with a decent connection ...

    a lot of the people I know have similar reasons.
  • by AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:00PM (#6532610)
    "Bandwidth is also a limited resource," Is it? Last I heard masses of fiber were just sitting dark - if there is any scarcity then it is a completely artifical one.
  • Ah well (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:04PM (#6532639)
    And an echoed cry was heard around the countryside, "Will the last one leaving the island, please turn the lights out?"

    Speaking as a born and raised Englishman, I'm considering leaving this country as it increasingly goes down the pan. I was a fierce patriot once - but times have changed. I simply can't find a way to be proud of being British any more. I know I'm not alone in thinking that it may well be time to head back into old Europe - I have loads of friends in the process of emigrating.

    Maybe I'll look into moving to France...
  • Riiiiight (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ride-My-Rocket (96935) on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:04PM (#6532643) Homepage
    [The] UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy

    Actually, the more piracy there is, the more broadband is needed / utilized. There's absolutely no reason to combat piracy, where growing the broadband market is concerned.
  • by imadork (226897) on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:21PM (#6532806) Homepage
    Here's my beef with DRM -- it's trying to solve a social problem through technology. Whether or not thousands of people don't want to pay for their music, I do want to pay. What DRM really does is put restrictions on how I, as a paying customer, can use the media I bought. Restrictions that (by law) I can't circumvent, even if it's to use that piece of media in a lawful manner that the content owner just doesn't approve of, but can't prevent through normal copyright law.

    Meanwhile, since no DRM scheme is perfect, the people who don't feel the need to pay to stay in compliance with the law can just go on not paying. It harms the rights of the paying customer, while doing absolutely nothing to actually solve the piracy problem.

    Is the problem really the face that unencumered media is availalble? Or is it the fact that many people don't want to "pay their fair share"? The only way to solve the piracy problem is to make people honest again. DRM only takes away the freedoms of law-abiding citizens, and does nothing to make the dishonest people more honest.

  • by Bas_Wijnen (523957) on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:23PM (#6532838)

    The massive popularity of peer-to-peer networks also needs to be urgently addressed

    Yeah, because if people massively use peer-to-peer, then they probably want their representatives to put an end to that. Or perhaps they don't?

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:27PM (#6532891) Homepage
    You know, I've come to wonder what issues people really honestly have with DRM.

    Simply put, I want my computer to do what I tell it to do. Not what some faceless corporation wants it to do. My computer's purpose is to empower me, not to restrict me.

  • Bollocks! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mopatop (690958) on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:43PM (#6533063) Homepage
    This bedroom's conclusion is that these people are talking bollocks, as surely digital piracy is one of the single most attractive reasons for getting broadband in the first place!
  • My thoughts on DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs (309278) < minus poet> on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:45PM (#6533086) Homepage
    If I actually feel the need to manage MY digital rights, I will do it myself.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <> on Friday July 25, 2003 @12:47PM (#6533102) Homepage
    The primary one for me is that it's incompatible with Linux (and other free software). I don't want to use Windows just to play my music, but if I can play my DRM encoded music on Linux then clearly I can circumvent it.

    I don't have any real issues with enforcing payment for copyrighted works, although given the general brokenness of the current distribution model (I never did get that Chicane CD my family tried to get for Christmas) it'd make sense to try and come up with a model that's more compatible with it.

  • by tambo (310170) on Friday July 25, 2003 @01:31PM (#6533542)
    >You know, I've come to wonder what issues people really honestly have with DRM.

    I'll tell you.

    First, a recap: Technology has provided so many cool new uses of content: mixing/playlisting, archiving, porting to and playing on a wide range of devices (PDA, car stereo, notebook, etc.), sampling within fair-use rights, bundling to other forms of media (e.g., displaying lyrics synced to music), even having Winamp/WMP/whatever display graphics based on the audio spectrum. "Previewing content in non-crippled form before paying for it" as a very important right.

    But here's the problem, from the RIAA's perspective. A customer in 1990 bought a CD for $15 and listened to it on a crappy home CD player. A customer in 2003 buys the same CD for the same price and can do a lot more with it. But the RIAA does own the content, and they want to leverage that for their financial gain. This means getting paid for consumers' extra uses of their content.

    As a result, the RIAA wants to control (read: limit) consumers' rights to use their content. If you want to mix that DRM-protected track with others, pay them. If you want to use that track on another device, you'll have to re-purchase it. And while they're at it, why not get rid of that pesky used-music market, too? Your DRM rights are not transferable as are used CDs.

    Sounds great, if you're an RIAA executive. Sounds egregiously offensive, if you're a consumer.

    The clearest reason why we're offended is simple: The RIAA paid nothing to develop these technologies - we developed them, often despite the RIAA's resistance. They didn't fund Winamp's development of visual plug-ins; they didn't fund the tech industry's creation of MP3 players; they didn't fund CD-Rs that allow the creation of compilation CDs. We, the "technorati," spent long hours developing these legitimate uses of media for the public good. And now, the RIAA wants to seize it, and charge us for our own technical marvels.

    That's bogus.

    The war against "piracy" is a pretext. The RIAA's real goal is to move society toward a model where you have to pay them, over and over and over again, for using the same content in a variety of ways. It's our job to stop them.

    You want to know why we're against DRM? Here are two predictable visions of the near future:

    • The Future
      • Without DRM -or-
      • With DRM
    • Play on multiple devices
      • Transfer to portable media or over network -or-
      • Pay device-transference fee
    • Archive purchased music
      • Rip to MP3; save to hard drive, CD-R, DVD-R -or-
      • Not possible; must re-purchase
    • Mix with other tracks
      • Rip to MP3; create Winamp playlist or burn CD-R -or-
      • Pay fee (e.g., $2.99 + $0.50/track) for creation of DRM playlist
    • Sampling of music, screenshots of video for "fair use" purposes (reviews, parodies, incorporation into other works)
      • Use music editor or screen grabber -or-
      • Not permitted without expensive license
    • Streaming over the Internet
      • Shoutcast -or-
      • Not permitted outside of commercial-laden, content-controlled "authorized broadcasters"
    • Content-added uses (showing lyrics or graphics synced to music; making Dance Dance Revolution tracks based on music)
      • Application (Winamp, Stepmania) plus metadata (lyrics text, DDR step files) -or-
      • Buy enhanced versions of tracks with extra content added and approved by content producers
    • Sell purchased music to another user
      • Sell CD on eBay, used record shop, etc. -or-
      • Not permitted; DRM rights non-transferable
    • Preview content before purchase
      • Download; listen; purchase or delete -or-
      • Make decision to buy $15 CD based on 20-second snippet of music
    David Stein, Esq.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2003 @02:15PM (#6533976)
    3. (although it does include 2 as well) People who work from home and need remote access, run servers (of one type or another), and CS students...
  • Re:True - sort of (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2003 @03:07PM (#6534398)
    That is the same argument that DRM apologists make for why "we" need restrictions on broadcast HDTV. They claim that the content owners will never release any content in high-definition format without guarantees of copy restrictions.

    The achilles heel to this argument is that despite media ownership centralization, we still have somewhat of a free market for entertainment. Even if the big boys don't want to release content without restrictions there will be some company that sees the impasse as a market opportunity and will release their content without restrictions. It probably won't be this summer's blockbuster, nor even last summer's blockbuster, but it will be something and it will be available. At that point, this right-thinking company will start to make money, even if it isn't gobloads like the big boys think they are entitled to, it will be enough to establish the legitimacy of the market. As time passes, other small players will join in the fun until sooner or later the big boys either have to start playing ball, or risk becoming dinosaurs. This is the beauty of a truly free market - if there is demand, somebody will show up with a business plan to meet that demand and make some money while they are at it.

    So, no, you do have a choice not to comply - as long as you have the option to look beyond the next quarterly report. Wait it out. The demand is there, outside of any government meddling, the demand will eventually be met.
  • by vegetablespork (575101) <> on Friday July 25, 2003 @06:58PM (#6536518) Homepage
    DRM can never protect fair use better than its absence. Therefore, the only possible net effect is the reduction in the ability to make fair use of material. DRM is evil. DRM needs to be killed in the womb.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn