How to Fight DRM

Posted by Herschel_Cohen on Mar 27, 2006 9:25 AM EDT
LXer.com; By Herschel Cohen
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DRM is some language must be translated into what it really is: misappropriation of private properties not belonging to the perpetrator. Simply stated as theft from individuals. Nonetheless, the process is well along. If you are searching for a method to express your displeasure, this opinion piece might have some suggestions that meet your needs. Or it just might arouse your anger sufficiently to devise your own methods to defeat this robbery.

Introduction

Basics:

The Reader:

Below are just a series of potential actions that a committed individual might take with varying amount risks of exposure, i.e. from nearly none to high in the fight against DRM. However, for those seeking universal acclaim with recognition such endeavors would seem to reward, you will find nothing here to meet your criteria. The forces arrayed in opposition are too strong for an obvious, simple victory recipe. Indeed, one of my reasons for going through this exercise is to solicit advice on how my personal plan of action might be made more effective. To those where these words strikes an inner chord, read on - you are committed to nothing until you act.

The Enemy:

Recognize those forces arrayed against you are both more massive, better funded and seem to speak in a louder voice. Do not despair, for many that is their day job. Moreover, do not be overly impressed by the "Tut, tut" crowd, they are just the apologists at work. Take it as a given that corporate interests own the media. Furthermore, many of the governmental policies sought show a coincidence of interests between our representatives and the largest richest corporate entities. Unless it is near election time or the politicians are on their never ending quests for campaign funds and/or perks making an impression here is difficult, however, not impossible. Then there are the cheap shills, astroturfers and such like scoundrels adding to the noise - pay them little heed. Sound and Fury indicating very little, really.

The Result:

Supposedly DRM stands for no more that Digital Rights Management. Effectively, however, you will not truly own the device (player/computer) or the inserted media that you purchased. Despite your belief that you are entitled in observing / interacting / or simply learning from an item you have exchanged funds to obtain. That option will not longer be valid once both the laws and the hardware are altered. While you continue to pay, perhaps even at a higher rate the choice of how they are used is no longer yours. Essentially the concept of Fair Use is revoked. Moreover, to assure that the "Owner" retains theirs (Rights), yours are lessened markedly to the point you even lose control of your property and perhaps your creations. That is all due to the higher regard now given to perceived Corporate properties over an individual's freedom.

The Start

Heart of This Matter:

Never accept the verbatim messages of those too deeply interested in the altered outcome or of their lackeys. Instead seek enlightenment by looking at issues completely differently. In this altered environment new perspective and understandings are possible. For example: reverse the order, add the implicit though neglected missing words. Then, what do you see? Simple: MMRRoDC - or Massively Mismanaged Restricted Rights on Digital Content. Just reversing the ordering of the message and reading between the lines insight into the true intent is clearly seen. That's the beginning: retain the real meaning and be swayed neither by the propaganda nor the voices telling you they know better.

Going on the Offensive

If the foregoing has aroused your ire enough to contemplates some sort of counter action I have suggestions. Indeed, even for the most circumspect individual there are actions that can be taken with nearly no risk. For example, almost without exception no matter how great your desire to avoid confrontation or any verbal combat or the need on your part to utter threats. Just mouth the secret words above mumbling just below the volume required for understanding the words. At the proper sites, if noticed it could spread disquiet among the ranks of the forces of the coming darkness. Nonetheless, with this mildest of activities, which can be immediately denied upon the first sign of confrontation a message is sent. Moreover, there are increasing active options in methods and manner to express your opposition. I will attempt to list a few and even to solicit your advice on how I can most effectively pursue my own line of attack. If this sounds interesting, read on.

Attack Modes For

Recessive Types:

If you are uncomfortable with confrontations of any sort, you can rebel just by thinking and simple refusal to accept the lies being feed to you. You can begin to fight back by whenever hearing just the term "DRM", think and mutter its real meaning. That it is essentially theft of your rights and properties. Better yet: repeat the MMRRoDC content language. If confronted, smile sweetly and say, "Oh, nothing really", which will fluster the integrator or presenter. With that bit of wisdom in hand you are likely never to buy their products. Your role is simply to spread the sense of disquiet amongst the purveyors of misinformation.

Passive Aggressive Types:

Let say you are a more vocal type, but still rather not push it into a real confrontation stage. Imagine the same venue listening to b.s. shate upon you by illuminary that claim to introduce you the new reality of corporate ownership and why you must welcome such change. Instead follow the advice given the more circumspect above, but in your case make the mutterings understandable by those in nearby seatings. When asked make the position clear but avoid a shouting match. When confronted by purported Fox News types with anteni and ominous bulges all in the wrong places, know it is the secret service that has forgotten that was their last assignment cover. Hence, with an excess of pleasantries make your voluntary exit waving to the assembled onlookers.

If upon exit you are besieged by media types make no effort to enlighten them or to be so ignorant to assume such an interview would be allowed to inform the passive viewership of TV News. You options are to smile mutely, smile with a "No Comment" or a big smile with an unceasing string of vile vulgarities directed at both the reporters and their employers (not suggested if you happen to work for the parent company or its subsidiaries - sorry) where none may be used or they would face FCC fines. In every case, do only what you are most comfortable and brings the least repercussions.

Local Activist Types:

For those who are by nature a bit more aggressive and who may be comfortable with a potential confrontational situation, particularly when it's in a familiar, local setting several options are available for direct action. One need not be a passive listener who rebels on contact, since there are methods to exert an impact upon the debate directly. However, local newspapers where even these small entities are not likely to be a friendly medium to present your message even in a letter to the editor. The better approach for writers would be to ferret out local news letters of special interest groups where you have some indication that their contents are read.

For the even more vocal types, a bit of warning: make it fact based presented without hysteria despite the dire consequences should the forces of evil win. Or as the once esteemed leader put it the evil doers like him and his ilk (see irritated a significant fraction of the audience - better let them fill in the blanks). You can begin by researching real incidents such as the Apple batteries - shorter use durations, Sony - defective root kit installed without permission giving control to third parties by design (Sony) and by error to break ins. If you wish to throw in the political argument cite the very "conservative" Cato Institute study. This study has a Strong Critique of DMCA and within the document DRM, which was described as flawed and breakable with poor performance characteristics. Moreover, it, the study, argued for user rights.

Now you must determine from your personality type and the sort of audience you prefer where you would be most effective. If you are seeking more immediate responses stick to the adults even using the local business groups or social groups where the business types converge. Do not assume that a priori they will side with the giants. Veterans groups, church groups are all possible, however, for those trying to plant the seed deep in a subversive manner addressing students in public schools are prime audiences. Do not mistake this for the expectation of receiving rapt attention, since your message must be measured but insidious. For example, asking if they would essentially prefer the regimentation endemic in most schools applied to their free time activities by the same unthinking bureaucratic personalities. Then clearly equate that to DRM taking hold.

Wish I could do something like that, but I am the shy, retiring type recluse with a lousy voice. Just does not seem an appropriate match for my skill set.

National Activist Types:

Above all else stay away from the media TV or Print they are part of the problem with many playing a subsidiary role to the large parent companies that have part of the forces pushing these abhorrent measures. Stay out of their sight they will only distort your message and attempt to make you appear as either a fool or knave preferably both while giving true, unquestioned support to just such types that push their interests.

Well how do you get an audience, well blog if you have a site, write an a guest blogger, write for sites preferably not technical ones that are watched by the clones and drones that then do everything in their power to drown you out. Move to unexpected sites and repeat but change the presentation with stress placed where you expect the better result. My advice is not to look back nor waste your time attempting to defend yourself against an organized pillory. You might if you can combine with an associate where each comes to the aid of the other, so it does not appear to be a one person effort. Remember these are paid flunkies that excel at berating those superior to themselves [Look up tadelste comments on Digg and see how consistent his diggs are to his contributions.]

At very minimum you will gain a recognizable name.

Now for Something Completely Different

Perhaps you have reached this point where none of the above fulfills your special strengths, vision or propensity for the method of action you prefer. Same here. Let me explain why I intend to take a differing approach and outline how I intend to do it. Feel free to use anything I describe, however, be careful to use your own experiences and your own vernacular when making your protest. If its not true to yourself, that message will leak out invariably.

Pressure Points:

It is my sense that the drive for DRM is driven both by greed (desire for more, assured cash) and the desire for control. The former group has concluded that the latter is required to gain the former goal. It is this group that is potentially amenable to logical argument if they can be convinced their drive for control obviates that chances for cash flow they might alter their view. Those desiring control for control sake are not easily dissuaded by anything other than threats of extreme financial or bodily harm. For those lacking in self control, I explicitly do NOT recommend the latter. It essentially as criminal as the legal criminals you are attempting to block.

Therefore my intention is to write a series of emails / letters to the heads of media companies that are pushing DRM and to explain why their actions have already begun to suffer a perhaps unrecognized financial cost. These letters must be targeted, their content should be factual and breast beating threats need not be voiced. Moreover, if you are addicted to these products and cannot withstand the enticements they offer your silence would be appreciated.

Unique Experience

Other Approaches:

In my case, I would not threaten the purveyors of digital music discs, since my tastes are not aligned to where there efforts are placed. Moreover, neither did I nor do I now play music while using my computer. Hence, any statement I might make would be an insincere posturing with probable nil to negative effect. The situation was not, however, the same regarding purchase and watching of DVDs. For several years recently, my primarily watching of movies was using my prime computer to play films that were running off of Linux. My behaviour has altered, hence, they no longer make the excess sales they had previously when I would purchase titles found at Warehouse stores having two titles, where I knew of only one previously. Other cases buying titles I thought I or my son would have an interest and then not watching. And finally the package premium sets where I have one of a series I liked where the wrapper is not yet even broken. In my disgust, watching the attempts to confiscate my property and the assumption that I must be a thief that must be tightly controlled if not jailed has alter my buying habits. While I am only a single person, I have the influence that I might convince a few related people and friends to follow a similar course. That is my intention, that is my course and it will be pursued.

The Method:

The above is a thumbnail sketch of the outline of a letter / email I will be sending first to Sony. I would appreciate receiving advice on the most probable location that someone might at least read the text and pass it up the chain. Furthermore, it is my intention to publish the letter here and seek the advice of the LXer readers on its form. And, later, in general terms, describe what- if any response was engendered.

Conclusions:

What I would like all readers to keep in mind, if DRM is imposed it is nothing more than: Theft of an Individual's Concrete and Intellectual Properties Rights. At minimum - resist. If incensed - act.

Will be back fairly soon with a prospective letter outlining my complaints to Sony. See you then?

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DRM: Demoncrats, Repugnacans, & Managerats joel 0 1,243 Mar 27, 2006 8:14 PM

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