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

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Wed Sep 15 22:13:09 CEST 2004

Hash: SHA1

Wording is fine, more a general question:

Is what we are asking for sufficiently specific, or do we risk being  
dismissed as simply ranting against the status quo?

As a diligent student of "Yes Minister", it seems that vague wording is  
a gift to civil servants with their own agenda.  In part this text  
seems to be critical of this very fact, but with only vague  
recommendations as to how to address it, recommendations that can  
quickly be dismissed.

It seems that we should be illustrating specific remedies, such as the  
appointment of independent experts in the area to assess the  
implications and effects of these laws, along with convincing evidence  
that whomever they are using right now is clearly inadequate (probably  
civil servants).

We need to emphasise that this is a radical change to copyright law  
with far-reaching implications, and that it should be given the  
impartial expert review that it deserves, and which it does not  
currently enjoy.


On 15 Sep 2004, at 16:56, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:

> The deadline has actually been extended to the 20th of September, so  
> nitpick
> at your own pace.  Deadline extension mentioned here:
> http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/2005/all_about/ 
> digital_rights_man/text_en.htm
> "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
>> _______________________________________________
>> fsfe-ie at fsfeurope.org mailing list
>> List information: http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/fsfe-ie
>> Public archive: https://mail.fsfeurope.org/mailman/listinfo/fsfe-ie
> -- 
> Ciarán O'Riordan
> http://www.compsoc.com/~coriordan/
> Free Software in Ireland: http://ifso.ie
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