The motion picture and television industries have seemingly declared global war on copyright infringement. This is understandable, of course, most of us want the creators of works to be able to enjoy their rights and profit from their efforts. But in the enduring battle for stricter restrictions on usage, the rights to create technology that's potentially infringing is caught in the crossfire. Cory Doctorow argues that these battles have little to do with the real intent of copyright and stresses that open source developers have a real stake in the outcome of this battle.
European mandates such as the Digital Video Broadcasting organization's Content Protection & Copy Management are similar to the American broadcast flag but possibly more draconian in scope. Doctorow argues that digital rights management (DRM) is based on the notion that you can design a safe "so strong you can leave it in the robber's living room" and that DRM technologies treat users as attackers. According to Doctorow, DRM does little to protect copyright and is not a contract, as some might argue. At stake, he believes, is the open source community's ability to write software, understand and improve technology, and disrupt markets with new and better way to create or distribute creative works.
An active question and answer period follows Cory's talk.
Cory Doctorow is European affairs coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a member-supported nonprofit group that works to uphold civil liberties values in technology law, policy, and standards. He represents EFF’s interests at various standards bodies and consortia, and at the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization. Doctorow is also a prolific writer who appears on the mastheads at Wired, Make, and Popular Science magazines, and whose science fiction novels have won the Campbell and Locus Awards and been nominated for the Nebula Award. His short story collection, “A Place So Foreign and Eight More” won Canada’s Sunburst Award for best sf book last year. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog, Boing Boing and his personal webpage is at craphound.com. Born in Canada, he now lives in London, England.
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