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More about Sun’s DReaM

Sun’s DRM plans are in the news again. A quick overview:

  • During the last couple of weeks, Sun has released the DReaM source code and related specs. Note that the dev space mentions “Updates to VLC for DreaMCAS Client”. I suppose they’re talking about the VLC player.

  • On March 21, Sun has organized an Open Media Commons workshop – interestingly, its press release features a quote by Lawrence Lessig:

    “In a world where DRM has become ubiquitous, we need to ensure that the ecology for creativity is bolstered, not stifled, by technology. We applaud Sun’s efforts to rally the community around the development of open-source, royalty-free DRM standards that support “fair use” and that don’t block the development of Creative Commons ideals.”

  • Two days later, Lessig posted this on his blog:

    [S]ome confuse praise for better DRM with praise for DRM. So let me be as clear as possible here (though saying the same thing I’ve always said): We should be building a DRM-free world. […] But just as one can hate the Sonny Bono Act, but think, if there’s a Sonny Bono Act, there should also be a Public Domain Enhancement Act, so too can one hate DRM, but think that if there’s DRM, it should be at least as Sun is saying it should be.

    I still don’t understand how an Open Source DRM can possibly work – posted a comment about that on Lessig’s blog.

  • And apparently, I’m not alone – from a comment on a related Slashdot article:

    As a separate issue, how would an Open Source DRM system work? If I’m able to decrypt a file once, I’m able to save it in an unencumbered format. It’s fundamentally different than encryption; PGP, for example, isn’t designed to prevent you from posting every email you get to a web page. Current schemes assume that the recipient of the keys can be trusted to use them for only the intended purpose. This seems to be based on an assumption that a hacker can’t see the code or key (because they’re using a microcontroller that has a hardware Code Protect feature), that a network protocol can’t be emulated (for cases where a key must be retrieved from a server), or that it’s too much of a pain to bother (presumably what Windows Media and Fairplay must do). These are all essentially security through obscurity, and I don’t see how that can work in an Open Source environment.

  • Also: a Wired article with a silly title, Reasons to Love Open-Source DRM, featuring an even sillier quote/statement:

    As [Tom] Jacobs [= project lead of the Open Media Commons] pointed out to me, it was once necessary to code web pages for multiple browsers, before standards were put in place that allowed them to be coded only once. If Sun’s DReaM comes true, the same could happen for protected music.

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  1. Perhaps the only good DRM is easily circumventable DRM. ^_^ You know, as long as it’s not a copyright protection mechanism that’s illegal to circumvent in the US. :P

    » Carlos Ovalle on April 11th, 2006 at 20:39