[Fsfe-ie] TV talking about DRM

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at fsfe.org
Thu Apr 27 21:20:44 CEST 2006

"Shane M. Coughlan" <shane at shaneland.co.uk> writes:
> I've been asked to take part in the show, and will fly the Free Software
> flag.  If there is anything you want me to keep in mind while on the
> show, just email me.

DRM can be useful for computer users.  I could set up my kernel to only
execute signed binaries and then I could sign all my binaries and if/when a
virus modifies one of my binaries or installs a new binary, it won't run.

So it can be good, and that sort of DRM is allowed by GPLv3.

Explaining this sort of thing might not be practical, but if the other side
calls it a security measure, it's worth pointing out that we have no
objection to that use (so long as the user is in control - we do have a
problem if it's a user-control measure being masqueraded as "security").

DRM is about taking away computer users' right to make their computer do
what they choose.  It's about letting third parties control your computer.
This has terrible privacy and civil liberty issues for home users, it means
that IT staff in companies are giving away control of the company's software
infrastructure, and governments should never give away control of the system
which they use to process their citizen's data.

Further, DRM trumps law.  The law prohibits certain things to be done with
copyrighted works without permission.  One example is complete copying.  One
example of something that the law does not prohibit is quoting small
sections.  DRM can prevent these things and thus gives companies too much
power over the citizens.  It overrides the laws made by the democratic
process and is therefore undemocratic itself.

(You probably knew this, but I thought I'd offer my quick wording in case it
stimulates any better ideas.)

Ciarán O'Riordan __________________ \ http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3
http://ciaran.compsoc.com/ _________ \  GPLv3 and other work supported by
http://fsfe.org/fellows/ciaran/weblog \   Fellowship: http://www.fsfe.org

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