[Fsfe-ie] DRM letter (quick reply, deadline today)

Ciaran O'Riordan coriordan at compsoc.com
Wed Sep 15 17:56:43 CEST 2004

The deadline has actually been extended to the 20th of September, so nitpick
at your own pace.  Deadline extension mentioned here:

"Ciaran O'Riordan" <coriordan at compsoc.com> writes:
> The deadline is today, presumably close of business.  It's 17h49 here in
> Brussels, so a reply in the next hour would be best.  Can another committee
> member ok the sending of this asap (plus any fixes or improvements that come
> in the next hour)?
> Note: There's a gap in my knowledge about what exactly they take "DRM" to
> mean, but I don't think the gap is fundamental.
> Nitpicking allowed, spelling included.
> --------------------8<------------
> Dear recipient,
> Regarding DRM, Irish Free Software Organisation (IFSO) is concerned that
> recent EU Directives have given far too much power to content owners and
> distributors, and that our representatives are not able to understand the
> implications of these Directives at current pace at which they're being
> produced.
> Copyright law used to prohibit the public from certain acts without a
> license, non-prohibited acts were deemed "fair dealing".  With DRM
> restricted software system, the public can be blocked from making use of
> fair dealing, and the law protects the content owners ability to do this.
> In this way, DRM allows technology and to trump law.
> When only one company is permitted to make software that is authorised to
> display a work, DRM can also be used to secure legal monopoly status.  A
> false, cartel-like competition may exist within the oligarchy of technology
> Mega Companies (few or none of which are European), but real competition -
> the sort that benefits consumers and new entrants to the market - will not
> exist.
> The added coplexity of getting permission for what used to be fair dealing
> will also slow commerce and technical progress.  Adding legal encumbrances
> to product development in the EU will push more jobs toward the low cost
> economies.  Some DRM advocates say that legal protection of DRM is required
> to prevent widespread crime, but DRM systems can already be implemented
> without legal protection.  Legal protection allows companies to shift the
> responsibility and cost of enforcement from themselves to the national
> authorities.
> The market dangers of legal protection for DRM may not be visable today
> since DRM restricted content and software systems are not yet ubiquitous,
> but as books, communication, education, and communication transition to
> digital form, a complex entanglement of law and technology will be hard to
> undo.
> In the recent batch of technology related Directives, IFSO has been
> repeatedly disappointed with the bias toward aiding the wealthy corporations
> at the expense of European consumers and enterprises.  Even when our MEPs or
> Council members push for an amendment at our request, the final wording of
> the amendent is usually altered so that it looks similar but it's effect is
> null.  Given that the vast majority of the wealthy companies recieving the
> aid are not European, and given that many MEPs have expressed sympathy and a
> lack of understanding of the real world implications of the directives, IFSO
> requests the legislative procedure for technical Directives be audited to
> find where the wealthy companies are gaining almost complete control, and
> where European consumers and enterprises of all sizes could have more input
> to produce balanced, productive Directives.
> Yours very sincerely,
> Blah
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Ciarán O'Riordan
Free Software in Ireland: http://ifso.ie

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