back to article Don't listen to the doomsayers – DRM is headed for the historical dustbin, says Doctorow

In 2015, writer and activist Cory Doctorow told the DEF CON hacking conference that he was rejoining the EFF on a new campaign to eliminate digital rights management regulations by 2025. The campaign got off to an interesting start. Legal cases against the rights of farmers to repair their own tractors are being fought by John …

  1. uncommon_sense

    Another sales talk from one of the worlds worst authors...

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Can't understand why his book is on sale on Kobo store, protected by AdobeDRM...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Maybe because that's an outlet where his publisher sells books? And where his readers like to buy books?

        1. SotarrTheWizard
          FAIL

          I know plenty of authors. . . .

          . . . who specify "No DRM" on their ebooks, and the vendors comply. Hell, every single Baen ebook is DRM-free, and that's an entire publishing house. . .

  2. DropBear
    Meh

    "eliminate digital rights management regulations by 2025."

    Yes, and we could have fusion power by teatime tomorrow. Or, you know, we might not. Chances are, that's the last you'll hear of both those deadlines.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Here's to hoping Britain does become a major anti-DRM supplier.

    But I very much doubt it will happen. There is too much media and research academia in Britain. They will not remain quiet and will continue to wave the DRM flag.

    1. JimC

      Re: Here's to hoping Britain does become a major anti-DRM supplier.

      I can see no reason why Britain would want to. the UK is a big exporter of intellectual property, and I don't think we have as big a lobby in the opposite direction as the US has with the bizarre unholy alliance between the megacorporations who want to abolish creators rights so they don't have to pay anything for the material they sell advertising with, and the doctrinaire political anti copyright types (useful idiots?) who give the mega businesses greed a veneer of public interest. DRM in its current form is a pretty poor way of reducing piracy, but even a 20% improvement is probably worth having.

      1. streaky
        Alert

        Re: Here's to hoping Britain does become a major anti-DRM supplier.

        DRM in its current form is a pretty poor way of reducing piracy, but even a 20% improvement is probably worth having.

        Cost-benefit? "probably worth" would depend on cost versus putting minor obstacles in front of people who would never subscribe anyway. Most people who engage in this stuff won't suddenly buy your most expensive package - and that's where the logic falls over.

        The real question is if DRM doesn't exist what percentage of current subscribers would you lose and how pervasive would piracy be. I don't know and that's probably what scares them; what will we lose versus what will we gain.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Here's to hoping Britain does become a major anti-DRM supplier.

      Fat chance if the likes of SKY have their way. They want to lock down football even more than it is. No more using EU laws to circumvent SKY's monopolistic pricing. Everything will be DRM'd to the nth degree if they had their way. BT will go along with then just because.

      The likes of SKY and VM etc would have us pay monthly even for Freeview/FreeSat.

      Pay montlhy means a DRM stream is coming your way.

      I wish it was not like this. I won't pay a penny to BT, VM or SKY. If my FreeSat signal somehow becomes encrypted then I'll just stop watching TV all together and that means not paying the TV License.

      The big picture is (according to Murdoch etc) is that nothing, even the air that we breathe is free. Pay, pay, pay and pay again. That's what they want to impose on us.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

        Ask pro football players to play for free, instead for millions. Football won't need any DRM then. There's a lot of free football you can watch around. If you like to watch a business built upon billions, unluckily someone has to pay for it...

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

          @AC

          Ask pro football players to play for free thousands, instead for millions.

          If you like to watch a business built upon billions millions, someone has to pay for less for it...

          The never ending arms race of the TV rights deals mean we the consumer gets screwed for more everytime - keep it affordable

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

            Who has to keep it affordable? Fans. As long as there are million of idiots who live just to watch a football match and worship other idiots just because they can kick a ball, the clever ones exploit them to make millions or billions, and of course are going to protect their business. As long as they know there's demand, and piracy is a kind of demand, they know they will make billions as long as they can make people pay. Also, as soon as people find a way to not pay, their teams will be doomed and go bankrupt, while players will go elsewhere, even billionaires are not so stupid to pour money into a black hole, if they have no return.

            It's an ugly system? Sure, but fans make it work.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Unhappy

              Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

              "The never ending arms race of the TV rights deals mean we the consumer gets screwed for more everytime - keep it affordable"

              This is a problem with all major professional sports. Ticket/concession/parking costs at sporting events keep going up, until a family day-at-the-game is an actual investment, and now that same dynamic is slowly spreading to media.

          2. bleedinglibertarian

            Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

            football is gay.

            1. Paranoid android

              Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

              Is it Jewish too?

            2. Kiwi

              Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

              football is gay.

              Sounds like the words of a rugby fan. You know, rugby, the sport where both teams cuddle together and certain players on each team stick their head's between the butt's of other players on the team. A game where the way to stop another man in his tracks is to throw your arms around him..

              Remind me again which is the "gay" one?

        2. Kiwi

          Re: "They want to lock down football even more than it is."

          Ask pro football players to play for free, instead for millions. Football won't need any DRM then.

          We used to get a lot of club football, and cricket, and volleyball, and thugby and so on shown in NZ for free. Then Sky and what is now taken by Vodafone realised they could charge money for this. So we don't get the same stuff, and it certainly isn't for free.

          Don't imagine for a moment that this means the clubs get any extra money, and the players still play for enjoyment. They might get uniforms with the sponsors logos liberally splashed all over them, but that's it.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        What is a monopoly? Sky or the Premier League/UEFA/FIFA, etc.?

        You complain about Sky, but the Premier League and other sport leagues are true monopolies. Why do you blame Sky only? Of course if it has to buy sport shows from a monopoly at high prices, it has to sell them at high prices as well, and, still, you can live without watching them, or you can go at the stadium - where they will still rip you off because the whole business is built to exploit fans.

        It's the sport monopolies that create an artificial scarcity of broadcasts, to increase the prices. So, together Sky, blame all those leagues executives, soccer team owners, players... just remember that running such show is not cheap.

  4. a_yank_lurker

    DRM vs Property Rights

    DRM has a fundamental problem with property rights which is being highlighted by issues like John Deere tractors. At some point IP rights of the owner must be addressed. In the case of a tractor or car, the owner should have the right to repair it using anyone they want. This would imply that the code required can be updated easily by the owner if necessary with possibility of archival copies being available. The current IP laws ignore the rights of the final owner in order to squeeze a couple more out of the poor the sods.

    1. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: DRM vs Property Rights

      DRM sadly is more about managing the right of the rights holder rather than the purchaser.

      Under DRM you do not own the "Digital" bit at all it is just licensed to you. I should be able to do anything I want with it short of making a copy and selling i

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: DRM vs Property Rights

        Just like windows and MSOrifice then?

        1. Graybyrd
          Windows

          Re: DRM vs Property Rights

          Just like windows and MSOrifice then?

          It seems that (in the case of software DRM -- licensing & subscription models) that the end user, you & me, are in the 'go get fecked' category. Where we're really forced to pay is at the garage, the parts supplier, and at the local city or county offices (council, in your case) who simply pass along whatever extortionate costs imposed by extortionate demands & restrictions ... to US. We pay. I most especially resent the monopoly costs imposed on our governing bodies, whose reps don't give a rat's ass about the costs as long as they themselves don't pay them. We taxpayer chumps pay them, and we never have a voice in the matter.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DRM vs Property Rights

        Which I view as fraud, because it is not a fair value for value trade, so I seek to bypass it as much as possible.

    2. GrapeBunch

      Re: DRM vs Property Rights

      "Kick a person when she or he is down" seems the byword of both big government and big business. If the crucial process of life is "be eaten", for economic life it is "be kicked".

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: DRM vs Property Rights

      Just, with autonomous car arriving, I'm a bit worried about anybody modifying their software... without a full test before they are allowed on the road.

      Anyway, we have different issues: DRM as a way to hinder illegal copies, and DRM as a way to hinder reverse engineering and modifications. They should be considered separately.

      And still, there is still a difference between reverse engineering for studying the system (i.e. look for vulnerabilities) and modification in a safe environment (or where only the owner risk any dangerous effect), and modifications to systems which may become dangerous for others.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DRM vs Property Rights

        In a truly lawful, honest world, a copy of anything on/in another person's owned property is none of anyone else's business unless stolen from private property, including a person's body. Once something is sold by the original owner, it is then the buyers business alone, nobody else's; a product licence is a corruption of a loan, rent of property or service charge, only parasitic rentiers, other thieves or fools say otherwise!

        e.g.

        A copy of a media recording or software should be sold, not "licensed", just like a spade.

        An Anti-Virus "license" should correctly be called a service charge, for providing new definitions and software for a defined period.

      2. Kiwi
        Boffin

        Re: DRM vs Property Rights

        Just, with autonomous car arriving, I'm a bit worried about anybody modifying their software... without a full test before they are allowed on the road.

        There's a way that could be handled. Under NZ law we have the ability to modify our vehicles but certain modifications must be checked and passed by a qualified inspector before the vehicle can be used on the road. Each time the vehicle gets a Warrant of Fitness (every 6 months for older/modified vehicles, annually for x years for newer ones) the certification and modifications get checked.

        I assume most other countries have regular safety checks for vehicles?

        With software, it could be done on a checksum basis. The inspectors plug in to the computer and read a checksum of the code. Or even have a mandatory display on the car ie if you want to modify the software you have to have this fitted so the checksum can be displayed. If it doesn't match the manufacturers or certified checksum (or some other type of check) then the software must be (re)certified before the vehicle is allowed on the road.

        In NZ if a modified vehicle is found on the roads without appropriate certification, it is "pink stickered" (just that, a large pink sticker front and back) and ordered off the road until it is properly checked. Removing the sticker comes with at least $650 fines and potential for jail time as well IIRC (I guess on a second or subsequent offence). Make the penalties big enough for running modified but uncertified software, and you'll quickly remove most stupid enough to try it (that said, lots of people illegally modify vehicles and drive them till caught - maybe some modules have a hard-coded system where they run only for so long after a mod until they stop UNLESS they have something done by a qualified tester, but I think the former would be better as the latter again leaves room for DRM-iness and protectionism on the part of the manufacturer)

    4. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: DRM vs Property Rights

      There is no easy way out of that pickle. As you say, problems are fundamental. Mostly caused by applying property rights to something that does not behave as property. Oh, yes, one would probably like to have a property that can be sold infinite number of times without actually losing ownership, but that happens only in a realm of fairy tales. Or in a realm of IP law.

      Funny thing about John Deere, though. As farmers are quite fed up with their antics, there is a growing trend in the US (of all places) - farmers are buying several cheap'n'cheerful tractors instead and hire some farm workers who can maintain those on the spot. For example, they are buying lots of refurbished MTZ tractors from Belarus via intermediaries in US and EU. Also they're hiring numbers of farm workers from Ukraine who are not afraid of hard work and know MTZ/Belarus tractors well.

      That's karma for you. Or a free market in action.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "free market in action"

        Overseas workers paid peanuts - Indian software developers and Ukraine farm workers? Beware, one day your job too could be at risk...

      2. Kiwi
        Boffin

        Re: DRM vs Property Rights

        farmers are buying several cheap'n'cheerful tractors instead and hire some farm workers who can maintain those on the spot.

        That was par for the course when I were a lad. Farmers generally didn't own new toys, and even when they did it was more common that they a) knew what they were doing (or someone nearby did) and b) fixed them on the spot. After all, if a few ton of tractor breaks down and can't move under it's own power, you're probably NOT going to get a big enough truck to carry it in to pick it up. Farm tracks, farm gates and most of all paddocks simply aren't up to the required weight loads/turning space. A lot of tractors were quite open and easy to work on just for this sort of reason, and could be run without any electrical systems whatsoever (mechanical fuel pumps, and of course diesel works without spark plugs, just from the compression pressures in the engine).

        I started learning about engines on farms, starting with chainsaws and bikes and moving up to some truly massive machines. I still sometimes shudder at the tonnage I was allowed to drive before my 13th birthday, and a couple of near misses, and what could've happened if those misses weren't. Even a baby1 tractor would give you a nice excuse for some new French Doors if you hit a concrete wall with it!

        1By "baby" I mean the good ol Massey Fergusson 35, weighing in at a mere 3,000-6,000 pounds. Surprisingly still a lot around in the late 80's and early 90's when I was playing with them.

    5. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Holmes

      Re: DRM vs Property Rights

      This is what makes DRM fundamentally unlawful and anti-natural-law, the same for all commercial IP too, because tangible stuff matters a lot more that anything intangible; it is only the r-type, locust, rentier hijack of government which has caused these unlawful abominations to persist and grow.

      As for the book, it looks like it contains r-type ideas including 'genders' (fake sexes) and their deluded dream of infinite resources, which is impossible in our finite universe, and the main reason why civilisations collapse because these locusts crash them into the resources limits!

  5. goldcd

    Convenience is the enemy of intrusive DRM.

    And DRM gives us 'stuff' that we'd never get without it.

    I'd like to think that the goal will be 'balance'

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Convenience is the enemy of intrusive DRM.

      There are some DRM schemes that work so well that the user doesn't even notice them. Steam comes to mind - DRM, user identification for policing multiplayer games, recommendations and download market all seamlessly integrated.

      I do note that all major Steam games can also be torrented though, so obviously it's not an entirely effective DRM system.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Convenience is the enemy of intrusive DRM.

        "all major Steam games can also be torrented though, so obviously it's not an entirely effective DRM system"

        There is no need for unbreakable DRM so long as the legal offering is good value for money (i.e. just works on any platform you realistically want, in the region you live, prices is OK). Keep the majority paying for the legal version and you as a business will do just fine and few will try hear to break it or share them, piss them off and you will find the torrents become the majority method.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DRM isn't going away

    One of the things you need for security is to insure that software updates come from who they say they come from. That requires DRM on the updates.

    The problem isn't DRM, or even DRM to protect to intellectual property rights like keeping you from making a perfect digital copy of the latest Star Wars movie. The problem is that if you give corporations a club to take advantage of their customers, some will do so. Almost anyone would agree that if you buy a $400K tractor you should have the right to repair it yourself and not be tied to John Deere for service for life.

    If for no other reason than it prevents them from deciding to stop fixing them after 20 years to force you to buy a new one, even though tractors traditionally have far longer service lives than that. Not to mention what happens if John Deere goes bankrupt, and they are bought out by a patent troll who discards everything else including the support network.

    If John Deere used DRM but allowed owners to bypass it (maybe only once it is fully paid for, if it is financed) I don't think most people would have much of a problem with it. There are some who treat DRM like a religious issue and think any use of it is bad, but Doctorow is living in some drug-induced utopian dreamworld if he thinks DRM will ever disappear.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: DRM isn't going away

      "That requires DRM on the updates."

      NO, it doesn't.

      there are better methods than DRM available for protecting the validity of an update, through the 'OpenSSL' library and certificates, etc..

      DRM just makes it illegal to reverse engineer things and do simulated break-ins and other kinds of analysis on the security. That will *NOT* stop evil hackers from doing it. It just makes it hard for security auditors and regular people, particularly those who live under the jurisdiction of such laws. Elsewhere on the planet, nobody gives a rat's ass.

      A law does NOT protect anyone/anything unless people are WILLING to OBEY that law.

      you could apply the same *kind* of thinking to gun control laws, and then look at Chicago and Venezuela (spelling correction, tiny font on input screen makes it hard to read while I type). Yeah, how good is it working for THEM???

      DRM is just plain stupid. I noticed that the word "feel" was used to describe how it got there, i.e. the content creators "feel" etc.. No *WONDER* it's so *BLANKED* up!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DRM isn't going away

        Certificates used to enforce whether or not software can be installed is DRM. If the boot loader prevents you from installing firmware that isn't properly signed, that's DRM. Control is being enforced on the hardware by the manufacturer than the user cannot override, which is the very definition of DRM. If you think "well that's not really DRM unless it is used for stuff like region controlled DVDs or making you go to John Deere to get your tractor fixed" you're trying to restrict the term to mean only uses you consider "evil", but DRM is DRM whether used for good (security) or bad (extorting more money out of consumers)

        If the OEM provides a supported way to replace the bootloader with one that doesn't enforce the certificate check then I'd agree that's not really DRM, but it is also no longer secure because malware could use the same technique. Even if it required physical access like changing a jumper or doing a magic sequence at cold boot which malware could not replicate, it still wouldn't protect you against attack from someone who can get access to your hardware like feds and spouses.

        If the OEM does NOT provide a supported way to replace the bootloader, but there are bugs that allow doing so (i.e. 'jailbreak' like on iOS) then it is DRM. Whether that's a bad kind of DRM depends on one's point of view - i.e. whether you care more about maximizing hardware freedom or security.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: DRM isn't going away

      "That requires DRM on the updates."

      No, it requires package/binary/driver/tarball/$FILE_TYPE signing.

      That is not DRM but a measure of certainty. DRM is a measure of control.

      In (my shady memory of) the words of some original DeCSS author, CSS was never copy protection-- it was playback protection. IIUC it was designed so that the region codes on DVD players could force you to buy a "local" copy of the film at the "local" price and only after it was released "locally". CSS was garbage for any other purpose. Also, IIUC, a bit-for-bit copy of the disc would cheerfully keep on playing from a DVD-R because everything was in place and seemed legit. As a form of copy protection, it was a bad joke.

      That's probably why they started social engineering tactics, using the originally desired playback protection features to force viewers to sit through an unskippable propaganda bit about how evil copying was.

    3. Kiwi

      Re: DRM isn't going away

      One of the things you need for security is to insure that software updates come from who they say they come from. That requires DRM on the updates.

      Funny, I don't remember seeing any DRM on apt. Yet my Linux boxen update without problems whenever I wish them to (and when there are updates to be added).

      Pretty sure Firefox is DRM-free but that can update itself on Windows (on Linux I stick to the repo).

      So no, updates don't need DRM. Certification, yes, not DRM.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Correction

    It's not "digital rights management", it's "digital restrictions management"

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Correction

      Someone's else rights may mean also restrictions for you. The very concept of 'rights' implies restrictions if an act violates a right.

      1. Infernoz Bronze badge

        Re: Correction

        Property Rights only make sense for physical private property and information kept private, it is blatant fraud for anything which is from sold product or anything left in public.

  8. jemmyww

    John Deere are taking a big risk and I'm surprised they've stuck to their guns on the issue. They could have tried to find a position that wouldn't cause a push for legislation because either way that goes they'd appear to lose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They could treat the software as a freebie that comes with the great, big, stupid tractor. When I buy a computer or a car, there is already software loaded, and if I don't like that I can install some new software. The updates are typically free for the version of OS, so it works out well. Yes, you can install new software in a car. They sell update chips for that, junior. And I've had updates performed while doing other maintenance, without an extra charge for the update itself. At least a few year back this was the case.

      Anyway, like other's have mentioned these tractors are not road vehicles, and they have a limited need for software, and most of that is a fancy control panel that can be replaced with some knobs. There is going to be little else that is truly a special mechanical feature that requires specialized software to operate; think complicated mechanical grabbers, or perhaps some specialized fuel/exhaust features, and also the computer controls on the engine, etc. What would happen if someone else came along and replaced the entire control panel with a rPi3 and gave it the same features for $100 instead of whatever ridiculous price John Deere charges for such contrivances? It's not so far fetched. Trying to wrap a monopoly around a shitty display is going to end in tears. My advice to the John Deere's of the world; give away the software for the hardware product you are selling as a value add, and that's it. Don't treat it as some kind of stupid lock-in, or someone will unlock the panel, and you'll be shit-out-of-luck, me old son. "but we paid so much money for the development of the software package!" Bullshit, you covered that cost a thousand times over in the overall, overpriced, tractor retail price. And let me guess if those software developers became instant millionaires and moved to tropical islands on the hefty reward they got from JD? I'll guess, no. Nice try though. This is how C-level cretins and the marketing wonks think. Nothing else, other than ripping off the farmers, can help them "grow the biz" for the stock market, which is their true customer.

      1. Hugh McIntyre

        One of the complaints in the linked articles is that John Deere does not provide access to troubleshooting diagnostics. ("The EDL is the required interface which allows the Service Advisor laptop to actually communicate with the tractor controllers").

        Perhaps what's needed is the same rule as cars, since all cars are required to come with OBD-II access and at least most of the trouble codes can be read with consumer-accessible OBD tools? Seems easy to extend the same OBD rule to other vehicles such as tractors?

        In terms of John Deere they probably don't want their competitors using the same software in competing products. For example if John Deere spends a lot of cash developing some traction control software to make a tractor work better, they don't want a cheapskate competitor copying this. Even being able to see the software without copying may let competitors know what to do. Much of this was also possible in the past with mechanical reverse engineering, but probably not as easily.

        It does seem though that updated sale-of-goods laws or OBD regulations may be needed to make sure people can reasonably diagnose products they have bought, either themselves or a requirement to provide service access to reasonably 3rd party repair shops at commercially reasonable prices, subject to not just copying the full software.

  9. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Turning [Britain] into a playground of corrupt elites

    He clearly needs to read more history.

  10. handleoclast
    Thumb Down

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Doctorow wants no DRM on tractors. Or cars.

    I can sympathise, to a degree. Pay big bucks for something, you don't want to be tied to a monopoly when it needs fixing. If you are then that monopoly can push prices to insane levels because there is no competition.

    But then I think it through. When a mechanical part breaks or needs repairs or servicing, you can go to a qualified mechanic, or you can go to a back-street mechanic, or you can do it yourself. But most of us do not have the machine tools to manufacture new parts or do anything but trivial repair/replacement. Software is different. Open it up and any fucktard can mess with it.

    Somebody tinkers with the mechanical bits in his engine to give his car more oomph and the engine blows up: that's sad for him and a good laugh for us. Somebody tinkers with the software to remove the speed limiter that is there only so the manufacturer can charge for an "upgrade" (yes, this really happens, at least in commercial vehicles, and it's on a par with Windows 10 home edition having everything that the business edition does but registry keys disable the business edition stuff) and it also buggers up the steering and the brakes under certain conditions: that's fucking dangerous.

    So while I hate the idea of businesses using DRM to create a monopoly, I really hate the idea of the average fucktard being able to hook up his smartphone to his car, run a dodgy app, and play with stuff beyond his comprehension. That's because I know one fucktard who wanted to bypass the speed limiter on the commercial vehicle he drives. His boss would be happy for him to do it because the boss wants faster vehicles but without paying for the upgrade. This fucktard has, in the past, had mismatched wheels on his car. Not mismatched tyres, mismatched wheels. The odd one out wasn't very secure either. He got done for it. Drove to court to pay his fine in that same vehicle with mismatched wheels. He often has at least one bald tyre. I really, really, really don't want anybody like him having the ability to tinker with his car's software.

    Tractors are another matter as they spend most of their time off-road. Somebody damages his printer without DRM by using a dodgy cartridge, that's hilarious. Cars are dangerous.

    1. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      Property is property or it is isn't, you can't have it both ways. An owner should never be prevented from using _their_ property as they wish by manufacturers , who at most should provide over-ridable stops with warnings that some changes maybe unwise, invalidate the warranty, dangerous or violate lawful authority rules, like mains voltage shock warnings on mains powered equipment

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: This is interesting...

      Doctorow and Orlowski have very differing view points, but that is good for a news site like this. Last thing I want it to be fed opinion from only one side (like more tabloid papers, Fox "news", Russia Today, etc)

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)
      Happy

      Re: This is interesting...

      Indeed.

      He has never forgiven me for comparing his prose to the Postscript programming language: "write-only".

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/14/blooker_prize/

      And this, my favourite:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/30/quotes_of_the_year_2010/?page=5

      (Second one down).

      Occasionally in life you meet people who are so lacking in self awareness, that trolling them becomes redundant, and Cory Doctorow is one of them.

    3. Kiwi

      Re: This is interesting...@Symon

      I had a quick look at the linked page.

      I'm not sure that would qualify as "unbiased factual reporting". The author sure seems to have a dislike of AO and wastes no chance to comment on that (well, back in '06 when the page was written anyway).

      (Should probably mention I neither like nor dislike AO. Have found some of his articles OK in the past, and some I've cringed at as well. Or seethed at... )

  12. tom dial Silver badge

    For copyrighted material DRM is not the problem. Under copyright laws, an author or assignee is granted a monopoly over production and distribution of a work for the duration of the copyright. There is no legitimate reason they should not use whatever technical means there may be to protect that right. Moreover, there is no really good reason that the government, having awarded the right, should not further protect the DRM with laws that criminalize evasion of the DRM protections.

    Those authors and assignees certainly had input, but are not wholly responsible for the fact that copyright extends for 70 years beyond the creator's lifetime and for anonymous or hired works for 95 to 120 years. They are, no doubt, quite happy to take advantage of that. Yet It is that duration that is the real problem. Copyright duration once fell within somewhat reasonable bounds, and there would be far less reason to whine about it, or about the DRM, if that still were so.

    The great majority of works probably exhaust their practical capability to generate revenue in no more than three to five years, and the original period of 14 years with an optional 14 year extension should be enough for an owner to collect whatever can be in almost all cases.

    1. Alistair
      Coat

      Ummm. Tom D.

      Have you looked at the recycled crap hellyweird is pumping out lately? They want the 120 years of protection so that they can recycle crap at *least* 4 or 6 times.

      1. Stevie

        Re: the recycled crap hellyweird is pumping out

        I look forward to a renaissance of British Film in the post-Brexit world then.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      "14 years" is the Godwin of copyright discussions.

      The Law states that:

      "As a discussion about copyright on a technology site expands, the probability of someone posting that '14 years should be enough' approaches 100 per cent".

      We do office sweepstakes on it occasionally. You win today.

  13. Snow Wombat
    Facepalm

    yeah except

    He is CONSTANTLY wrong about this stuff.

  14. sebt
    Thumb Up

    Before I left the UK my friends from Poland and Hungary and Turkey were like, "Don't think this isn't going to happen in the UK, this is not a disease of underdeveloped countries or countries that don't have democratic fundamentals."

    Exactly what I've been thinking for years. After a while living in Hungary I got a more and more sinister feeling that whatever Orbán was doing, the UK Tories weren't far behind - they just didn't have Orbán's audacity. Give 'em time, I thought - and sure enough, here we are in another Nonsensistan fuelled by half-witted binary nationalism.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nonsensistan fuelled by half-witted binary nationalism.

    "Nonsensistan fuelled by half-witted binary nationalism."

    Absolutely.

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