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Encryption Security Your Rights Online

How Important Is Protecting Streaming Media? 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the mo'-content-mo'-problems dept.
spaj writes "In the ongoing battle with the MPAA and RIAA, there seems to be an ongoing argument about who is to blame. If you leave a $20 bill on the sidewalk, can you report it stolen when someone takes it? Of course you can, but will you be taken seriously by the authorities? When my car was broken into, I was told by the responding police officer that I might have prevented it by keeping my seats and visible areas clear of junk that would entice criminals. So, who is at fault when it comes to users abusing their right to capture streaming media for personal use? According to Applian.com's Legal FAQ, the RIAA will not come after you if you make a recording for your own personal use. I have often been torn on this issue, and I am looking for input. Adobe recently released a new format of their widely used streaming protocol, RTMP, that includes 128-bit encryption (RTMPE). I can only interpret this as an attempt to prevent capturing of the streaming media content for personal use. However, Applian has already circumvented the RTMPE protection, and you can read about it on Adobe's forums, where some users seem quite dissatisfied that their content is not protected enough by Adobe's technology. I think the main question boils down to: Who is to blame? Can you blame Adobe for not making a better encryption? Or do you blame Applian for bypassing such security features? Or do you blame the authors of stolen content for leaving the security of their material in somebody else's hands?"
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How Important Is Protecting Streaming Media?

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  • Or do you blame the authors of stolen content for leaving the security of their material in somebody else's hands

    Yeah, that one, because although content authors are probably not experts on digital security, they can all roll their own protection and rely on security thought who-the-hell-would-have-thought-of-implementing- something-as-dumb-as-that (for the first few weeks anyway).
    • Re:The last one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:01AM (#24625491) Homepage Journal
      security thought who-the-hell-would-have-thought-of-implementing- something-as-dumb-as-that

      Any DRM scheme falls under this heading. If I can play it on my computer (or another electronic device), I can copy it.

      OK, well, I probably can't, but there are lots of smart guys on Slashdot who could. ;)
      • Re:The last one (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @10:49AM (#24626267) Journal

        Ultimately that is what the recording industry wants to stop. In order to stop it they would have to have all recording devices regulated, and under that scheme the big boys would once more be the gatekeepers to mass media.

        You did look at MS's "trusted" computing platforms? Who do you think is going to be trusted? Who do you think is not?

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Right, because us geeks have absolutely no way whatsoever to tamper with hardware.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dgatwood (11270)

            Heh. Exactly.

            DRM is an exercise in futility. Protecting streaming media is exactly as important as protecting radio broadcasts, i.e. not at all. Completely unimportant. It's a waste of time and money that could be better spent making higher quality programming. It does nothing to prevent people who are determined to capture the audio program, and no matter what they change in the DRM tech, it cannot prevent it).

            Unfortunately, it does do lots of harm in other areas; it causes unavoidable compatibility p

          • Right, because us geeks have absolutely no way whatsoever to tamper with hardware.

            According to the DMCA, we don't.

            • by mpeskett (1221084)
              According to copyright law, we can't make unauthorised copies of media... how well is that one working out?

              It may get put into the law books, but that doesn't make it enforceable - in reality, if it's in my house then I can tamper with it to my heart's content (unless it has some way to notice tampering and call the police on me, up until the point where I disable that function)

              At the moment, any media that can be seen can be captured, because we control the computer. If they try to control the computer the
      • Indeed, that is the larger problem, and the one which makes me laugh at this.

        Let me direct you to a small scam which claims to "encrypt" your HTML: HTML Protector. [html-protector.com] You know, this actually used to be hard... These clowns just wrap everything in big "unencode" calls, and run some Javascript before the page is loaded to try to block "unauthorized" access. Surprise, surprise, they block Firefox -- Firebug made this trivial to crack.

        Anyone will sell you a product which claims to "protect" your content from being

        • Whoops. That should be:

          These clowns just wrap everything in big "unescape" calls...

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Trivial to break. Thirty-four lines of Perl to do it right, though I'm sure somebody could write something much simpler using "map" that would also work with reasonable probability.

            #!/usr/bin/perl

            $/ = undef;

            my $string = <STDIN>;
            my @parts = split(/(<script.*?>|<\/script>)/, $string);

            my $inScript = 0; my $skip = 0;
            foreach my $part (@parts) {
            if ($part =~ /<script/) { $inScript = 1; $lastscript = $part;}
            elsif ($part =~ /<\/script/) { $inScript = 0; if (!$skip) { print $part; }}

            • Well, I only needed the last one. I actually did it with wget, Firebug, and JQuery.

            • by dgatwood (11270)

              To avoid a DMCA violation, the unescape function is left as an exercise for the reader. Hint: the hex function converts hex to base-10 integers, and printf can be used to convert numerical ASCII values into the corresponding characters....

              Two minor mistakes. To avoid losing the initial prior to a block of actual JavaScript, you need to insert this line:

              if ($1 eq "eval") { print $lastscript; }

              after:

              if ($part =~ s/^.*(eval|hp_d00)\(unescape\(["']//s) {

              Also, while this is only a prob

              • by dgatwood (11270)

                D'oh. To avoid losing the initial <script language="javascript">....

                Forgot to do the &lt; thing in that sentence. :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Blackknight (25168)

        It's not difficult at all, fire up Audacity and set the recording source to "What U Hear", hit record.

  • Nobody is to blame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:16AM (#24625045) Homepage

    Why does this drone on and on about assigning blame.

    This just isn't sensible because DRM can't work ever. It's just not mathematically possible.

    Right, now you can go back to trying to stop people "stealing" images off web pages with crappy bits of javascript. Good luck.

    • DRM doesn't have to be perfect to work, and if you'd read the thread you'd see that the guy who is complaining recognises this fact. He doesn't care if it's merely difficult to extract the stream. He cares that it can apparently be done using easy, cheap, off the shelf tools that require no expertise. Key quote:

      Keep in mind that there are other companies that are using protections that are being more successful. For example, iTunes videos are truly encrypted by DRM technologies that no one (with the excepti

      • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:28AM (#24625077)

        if i can't bypass DRM on something i want without a lot of work, i'll just go to (choose one of virtually infinite methods of sharing files here).

        It only takes one break in the chain for the pirates to get hold of it, so all it takes is one compromise of the DRM at any point in the chain, and nobody else has to bother with it.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Exactly. As long as they continue to ship CDs and DVDs, it doesn't matter what kind of protection they place on BluRay, streaming video, or other downloaded content. There will always be the option for people to just rip from the easily broken formats. That being said, I could see a point about 10 years down the road when they get rid of the easy to break formats. But I think if they make things too restrictive, then people will just stop buying it.
      • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:29AM (#24625081) Homepage

        There is no strong or weak DRM. At some point the data is decrypted, and at that point you extract it. End of story.

        It just takes one person to make it into a "cheap off the shelf tool that requires no expertise", and there will always be at least one programmer out there scratching their own itch.

        • by Tuoqui (1091447) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:03AM (#24625323) Journal

          There is no defense against an intelligent hacker with a soldering iron.

        • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:23AM (#24625379) Homepage Journal

          There is no strong or weak DRM. At some point the data is decrypted, and at that point you extract it. End of story.

          Imagine a CPU that can apply AES encryption to sensitive blocks of RAM. In that case, you'd have to tap the CPU's L2 cache (not likely without expensive tools) to extract anything decrypted.

          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:00AM (#24625487) Journal

            You can have a completely secure chain from the music store to your speakers, but as soon as it gets to your speaker wires it's in a form where someone can record it.

            Back in the '90s, CDs came with an early form of DRM. Each CD had two flags, a copy and a copyright flag. You were allowed to make digital copies of copyrighted CDs, but not copies of copies of copyrighted CDs. I recall reading a review of a CD recorder which enforced this. It had a single cable connecting the two drives together. If the copy and copyright flags were both set, it would flip a DAC and an ADC into the circuit (one at each end). Even back then, the resolution on these was sufficiently high that in listening tests no one could tell the difference between an analogue and a digital copy of the music.

            • by The Snowman (116231) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:46AM (#24625657) Homepage

              You can have a completely secure chain from the music store to your speakers, but as soon as it gets to your speaker wires it's in a form where someone can record it.

              Remember the old analog copy protection for VHS? The VCR would mess with the blank space between frames, which TVs ignored, but another VCR would gag on it and you would get a garbled signal. It would be unable to sync the frames. Without any encryption or anything sophisticated the manufacturers were able to stop VHS copying (at least until people found a way around it). Remember, this was the "last mile" so to speak, the last part of the chain going to the output device.

              I think the whole idea is silly. I would leave the whole chain wide open, and rather than spend money on ineffective copy protection, I would invest in more, better movies; better television shows (I canceled digital cable partially due to time, partially due to the shitty quality of 95% of what is on it); and making customers happy. By providing customers with DVRs (which most cable companies do) that have features customers want, by providing high definition movies on demand for a reasonable price, customers will be more likely to spend money with the cable company (and to the content providers by proxy) and less effort on copyright infringement because they will be less motivated. I for one am willing to pay for these services if the cost is reasonable, even if I could get the same thing for free.

              As for music, I think the middlemen (e.g. iTunes) are moving in the right direction by selling albums and songs in digital format with or without DRM (preferably without). If I can get a song for free via file sharing or spend a dollar to get a good quality version and "do the right thing," I will spend the dollar.

              • by mitgib (1156957)

                I think the whole idea is silly. I would leave the whole chain wide open, and rather than spend money on ineffective copy protection, I would invest in more, better movies; better television shows (I canceled digital cable partially due to time, partially due to the shitty quality of 95% of what is on it); and making customers happy. By providing customers with DVRs (which most cable companies do) that have features customers want, by providing high definition movies on demand for a reasonable price, customers will be more likely to spend money with the cable company (and to the content providers by proxy) and less effort on copyright infringement because they will be less motivated. I for one am willing to pay for these services if the cost is reasonable, even if I could get the same thing for free.

                I agree with a lot of what you are saying. But I think just blurting out produce better content will produce higher earnings is only ringing true with those of us willing to pay for content, which is intelligent, thoughtful human beings, i.e. the minority of humans. Most art that sparks thought and discussion is unwelcome to the masses of the global population as uninteresting, but what they do want is this new genre of reality. What is real about a group of people doing unreal tasks in unimaginable loca

            • by tepples (727027)

              You can have a completely secure chain from the music store to your speakers, but as soon as it gets to your speaker wires it's in a form where someone can record it.

              You're talking about the analog hole. An author can plug the analog hole by making his work interactive, as I explained in another comment [slashdot.org].

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nurb432 (527695)

              And once they control all recording equipment ( not today, but someday is their goal ) what will you record it with?

          • If its encrypted, then it has to be decrypted to be viewed.
            There is the flaw.

            If your sending it to the video card to be decrypted there then you can just pull it from the video memory.
            Also the keys need to be stored unencrypted somewhere.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ardle (523599)

              If its encrypted, then it has to be decrypted to be viewed. There is the flaw.

              The solution is to put the decryption chip behind the optic nerve.

              • by mpeskett (1221084)
                Then we'll put the capture device behind the decryption chip.

                What? You don't have room for all that in your skull? Pfft, small-headed surrender monkey.
          • by Eivind (15695)

            Nope. Because the decrypted content needs to go somewhere for it to be useful, no ?

            If it's sound it has to ultimately go to the soundcard, then to the speakers. Speaker-coils don't understand AES, they need raw, uncoded, plain signals, free for anyone to tap.

            If it's pictures, similar logic applies; they eventually need to get to the graphics-card, and on to the screen. Screens -can- accept encrypted input, but they too need to ultimately decode the signal before they're in a position to DISPLAY it.

          • by Ucklak (755284)

            If I can eventually see it, it's broken.

            I've never paid to see the Mona Lisa or Sistine Chapel yet I know what they look like.
            This whole DRM or protected media is an antiquated idea about protecting the venue.

            If you want to see the alligator lady, you go the the barkers tent at the local circus, pay your 50 cents and you get to see it; at least that's how it was 100 years ago.

            Content is much easier to share today and authors need to come to grips with that.
            If content is worth a value for the observer, the o

      • by DerWulf (782458)
        Anyone who knows anything about encryption should be aware that encryption can never serve as copy protection in this context. You want to show the user your video so at some point so you have to decrypt. PCs are a wide open architecture so there is bound to be someplace where a program can siphon of the decrypted content. Once this such a program is written and made public it is going to be "an easy to use tool". Unless you control the hardware and have a very restrictive operating system "content protecti
      • But if it's true that encrypted video streams can be dumped using an easy to use tool then the guy has a point. Adobe aren't doing as well as some other companies are.

        And we should be glad.

        Do you know why iTunes does a better job?

        It's not because iTunes has better or stronger encryption. (Remember, it has to be able to run this encryption on an iPod, and it drains battery life as it is.)

        It's not because iTunes is smarter or trickier about how it hides its keys. (Remember, they have to hit RAM at some point, barring full TCPM, which iTunes doesn't require.)

        It's certainly not because people care more about ripping things from YouTube than from iTunes.

        It's much simpler:

        App

      • Key quote:

        ... For example, iTunes videos are truly encrypted by DRM technologies that no one (with the exception of tunebite which again is a screen recorder software, not an actual decrypter or catcher) except the most skillful hackers can bypass...

        That's a load of crap. Apple's FairPlay DRM has been successfully cracked. Requiem 1.7.3, which is available through Freenet and various torrents, will strip the DRM from purchased music and videos, leaving the video and audio streams completely intact. It even continued to work with the most recent iTunes 7.7.1 update.

        It's also the easiest DRM stripping utility I've ever used; it certainly doesn't take an expert to use it. Just drag and drop the offending files onto RequiemDroplet.app, wait for it to fi

    • by Maelwryth (982896) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:25AM (#24625229)

      DRM may not work, but that's just the band aid. The problem the content providers really face is that we all grew up. When we were children, if we found a $20 bill on the sidewalk, we would have handed it in. We believed in doing the right thing. As we grew up, we watched our heroes (eg; the people we looked up to) throw away their ideals in the name of pragmatism. We watched wars, and death, and crime, and no one seemed to be punished for doing "bad" things.

      The problem that content providers face is that we don't care anymore. Times have changed. We have watched them rake in money for thirty years, and now they want to give us toys, make us pay for them, and then take them back. That isn't going to work. We don't value them that much, and if we feel a small twinge of guilt at keeping it, then that is oh so easily justified by the way in which we have been treated.

      How's that for a hypothesis?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I like how you equate growing up to becoming a selfish, cynical bastard. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • by DerWulf (782458)
        I personally think that people returning a lost bill are a little stupid. Just consider the logistics of the thing. How can the person that has lost it prove it's his? Would he even consider going to the police? Would the police officer even file it properly or just send you on your way and pocket the 20? Anyways, you have a clear case of "everything was so much better in the old days". World War Two anyone? Soviet Russia? Vietnam and Korea? Nixon in drag? Watergate? If you just became jaded in the last few
      • As we grew up, we watched our heroes (eg; the people we looked up to) throw away their ideals in the name of pragmatism. We watched wars, and death, and crime, and no one seemed to be punished for doing "bad" things.

        And when you grow up a little bit more, you'll realize that just because someone doesn't "seem" to be punished for doing bad things that it doesn't mean they aren't. When people realize that their soul/spirit/conscience/karma suffers from doing "bad" things, and take steps to stop doing those ba

      • by mpe (36238)
        The problem that content providers face is that we don't care anymore. Times have changed. We have watched them rake in money for thirty years

        It's rather longer than 30 years and these same companies are continuing to rake in money. Maybe just not quite as much. But compared with many other industries they are doing very well.

        and now they want to give us toys, make us pay for them, and then take them back. That isn't going to work.

        It isn't going to for for the simple reason that it's generally underst
        • Unless it is clearly stated that this is a loan, rental, lease, etc at the outset.

          Which is exactly where the *AA is dragging us. I mean, if they actually let us keep the stuff we pay for, then they have to keep coming up with new stuff to make sure we keep paying them.

          The real problem is not piracy, it is that the artists have found a way to bypass them and deliver directly to us.

      • I think we can go further than this. The underlying philosophy of DRM and the DMCA is that of 'self help,' something that previous generations would have called vigilantism. The law is so messed up, the theory goes, that when I don't like someone - a thief, a customer, whoever - I should just go right ahead and shoot them. Of course, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: when, as a customer, I see my supplier going, 'f*** you, I'm going to lock you out of this thing that you bought because, le

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Strake (982081)

      Exactly. Cryptography is a method of ensuring, among other things, that a message sent from one party to another cannot be read by an attacker. However, in the case of DRM, the recipient and attacker are the same person; therefore, DRM is essentially a trivial case of cryptography, which is basically equivalent to sending the data in the clear, if somewhat more inconvenient for the movie viewer or music listener.

    • Imagine the most tech-ignorant person you can imagine asking "is it encrypted so people can't copy it".

      Now imagine people trying to answer that question without saying "no".

      See the problem?

      Will it go away? Of course not.

  • by six025 (714064) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:21AM (#24625057)

    Sound waves cannot be encrypted - where there is a will, there is a way. Certain people will always take pleasure from using whatever means necessary to make copies of music, or almost any art for that matter. Digital systems just make it more convenient and therefore it occurs on a massive scale.

    Setting up a microphone and recording the output from the speakers might be the last resort and the lowest quality, but people will go to these lengths if it is the only way they can get something for nothing / they are not supposed to / what other people have or even because they like the technical challenge of getting the best recording they can using the tools and techniques they possess.

    • Sound waves cannot be encrypted - where there is a will, there is a way.

      What happens when the work that makes the sound waves is interactive [wikipedia.org]? In that case, the instructions to make the sound wave don't ever need to leave the player. Capturing the sound wave just captures one playing of the work, and replaying that over and over can get boring.

    • by thermian (1267986)

      New Microsoft One Time Pad(tm) for WMA!

    • by Danathar (267989)

      And neither can light.

      If they try end to end encryption somebody will invent a "hood" to put over the front of an HDTV to capture it, and within a couple of generations of development I'd bet the resulting copy will look great.

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:31AM (#24625085) Homepage Journal

    If you send a video stream to someone, they'll be able to record it. The VCR proved that once -- do these authors think digital media will be any different? Or should be any different?

    Adobe isn't at fault for "not making a better encryption". It's not possible. You have to send someone the key if you want them to watch the video, and once they have the key, they can decrypt it for any other purpose. No amount of programming can evade that basic logic.

    Applian isn't at fault for making a program that decrypts the stream, either. They're the VCR manufacturer of this era, making a tool that people can use to time-shift videos. What's wrong with that?

  • You Blame Adobe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsmith-mac (639075) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:42AM (#24625121)
    Idealism of liberal copyrights aside, if Adobe is selling a product that is intended to keep people from copying your wares, and it is in fact it's not stopping them, then it's pretty clear who is at fault. It's a faulty product, the blame lies with Adobe. Of course if they had any brains they'd know that what they want to do is impossible, but since they're selling the product, it needs to work as advertised.
    • To be fair though, when was the last time you heard of a company that makes flawless products that always work as advertised? If you think the quality of Adobe's product is substandard, then don't buy it. But I wouldn't blame them for people futilely wanting to encrypt their content. They're a business trying to fill a market need.

      In fact, hasn't every DRM scheme been cracked at some point?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by quetwo (1203948)
        The only one that I've been told that hasn't been cracked is Motorola's motoQAM MPEG encryption used by their Set Top Boxes. Of course, they make people go through background checks just to get sales calls about the encryptor (DAC 6000).
        • by Mr2001 (90979)

          In other words, they're relying on security through obscurity. All you'd need to do to crack it is bribe someone who has passed their background check to give you one of the chips for analysis.

  • by EdIII (1114411) *

    Who is to blame? Can you blame Adobe for not making a better encryption? Or do you blame Applian for bypassing such security features? Or do you blame the authors of stolen content for leaving the security of their material in somebody else's hands?

    If your Adobe you make a shitty lock that anybody in the world can bypass and then you get the FBI to your dirty work for you by trying to make the guy disappear when he comes to your country to show just how shitty the lock is. So Applian is just asking to wake

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smoker2 (750216)

      Of COURSE content authors have to put trust in somebody else.

      The key word there is "trust".
      Basically, you have on one hand some people trying to extract as much money out of their "creation" as possible for the least cost. And on the other hand you have somebody that says they can help you do that, for a price.
      There is no honour amongst thieves.
      OK, maybe thieves is a bit strong, but the music industry isn't exactly "a fair days work for a fair days pay" is it. There is no DRM at live concerts, but that's too much like hard work, they want to record a song, let someon

    • Not to say I support the sometimes attorney-heavy decisions they made about PDF, but "better protection" isn't possible in the context you're talking about - if you can see it you can save it.

      RTMP has had an SSL option for a long time. RTMPE is supposed to be faster and work better through some firewalls. But either way it's real, legitimate job is to protect all that content from a middleman. If your computer is compromised, or YOU really want the data, and encrypted transport doesn't matter; you'll get

  • The media companies are not content with the amount of profits they are making and even if they could stop piracy, it would cost them a huge amount of money to do so. Consequently, an easier way of making more profits is to make the honest buyers pay more, and a good way of making them pay more is to enforce a rental model on them.

    So they go to the software companies to create the mechanisms that allow the creation of DRM (="Media with a built in time bomb) delivery mechanisms and of course it's great for A

  • RTMPE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:07AM (#24625191)

    After searching around, it looks like RTMPE is nothing more than a transmission encryption that prevents a stream from being intercepted by a "middle man", analogous to wifi encryptions that prevent others from capturing your wifi network packets. If my understanding is correct, then this doesn't actually have anything to do with "stolen" content, right?

    • I think you are right in that it's just a transmission encryption but I think the idea is to use it as another link in the DRM chain (the other being access control via SWF hashing ).
    • by mikael (484)

      The most common way of intercepting data traffic on a single computer system is to create a dummy API layer that replaces one or more of the API's in use (sockets, OpenGL). For the function calls that you are uninterested in, you just call the real API. For the functions that you are interested in, you log the parameters sent and data received.

      Encrypting the data at a higher level is one way of trying to defeat this, but then you just replace the API layer that does the encrypting/decrypting.

  • by blowdart (31458) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:08AM (#24625193) Homepage

    7 years ago now I worked for a streaming media company in the UK who did pretty much all the promotional streaming for the labels. We'd put pre-release music on-line weeks before it was due for release; and, if the customer wanted it, made it available for download as well. All the tracks were free but DRMed to switch off on the day the record was released. Sometimes you'd have to enter some marketing details (although there was always an opt-out checkbox and we'd never pass details on if that was ticked).

    One thing sticks in my mind. At the time Microsoft had just released the ability to DRM live streams and a particular heavy metal band wanted to play a charity concert with the proceeds going to a UK charity for a kids charity, I believe because one of them had a child afflicted by illness the charity was raise funds for. It was a small concert, tickets sold out partly because they have a huge following and partly because they were cheap, £5 if memory serves. The band knew there was a large audience for it; so they paid us (and we didn't take a profit on it) to stream the concert live. We discussed it with them and DRMed the live stream and made an archive of it available for a month afterwards. All at no cost to the viewer, not even marketing information, although at the end the band spoke about the charity for 5 minutes. When the month was up the band were going to release a DVD of the concert for sale; with all profit going to the charity. The DVD was pretty cheap too, I think around £8.50 including shipping.

    The month expired and the streams were taken down, and the DRM kicked in (because stream rippers ripped the DRM as well *grin*). For the next month the band's official band bulletin board was filled with fans complaining that the streams they had ripped no-longer worked. It was pointed out the DVD was available, it was all for charity, and they'd had it free for a month, but no, lots of whining and sulking and demands that it should be free for ever.

    Now you may argue that DRM is bad; and in a lot of cases I'd agree with you; but when it protects something that was free so after a while charities can make some money; well then frankly you can't complain and you're nothing but a freeloader.

    Still annoys me now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:10AM (#24625339)

      It doesn't matter for which higher and noble purpose DRM is used, people just don't like it. People want their computer to do what they tell it to do and not what some company wants. I want to be in control of what software runs on my computer, because it's my computer and I bought it from my money. That's the whole point.

      DRM is like a brainchip that prevents you from doing certain things. You wouldn't like that, would you? Why should you accept something like that on your computer then?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by blowdart (31458)

        Oh and that's fine; when you pay for it. I don't like DRM on games because when I'm working away from home I don't want to have to bring the darned DVDs with me. However when you're getting something for free then the restrictions placed on you shouldn't be complained about as much as some of the "fans" did. And of course it's their computer; but then they didn't have to watch, or use Windows Media player. The site hosting it and the band were very upfront about it; there was even a "warning" that the strea

        • by Mr2001 (90979)

          The site hosting it and the band were very upfront about it; there was even a "warning" that the streams were protected and ripping them wouldn't do any good; but there's always someone out there who believes they deserve something for nothing

          But they were getting something for nothing! If you decide to give out free video streams to everyone who asks for one, you've already conceded that you don't care about "protecting" your content: giving it away for free is the opposite of protecting it. You then have no leg to stand on if you want to complain that people are decrypting it.

          Remember, the original purpose of the VCR was to record TV signals that people were already receiving for free. The studios didn't like that very much, but thankfully the

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      Sounds like something a virus writer would do... How'd you do it? Buffer Overflows and logic bombs?

    • by houghi (78078) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @11:40AM (#24626657)

      Why should DRM be looked at differently when it is a charity? Wether it is Sony, Greenpeace, EFF or my goldfish who needs an operation is irrelevant.

      They downloaded it so it is theirs. Just like I download a song from wherever. The fact that one asks money for it and the other doesn't does not matter. It is then not up to you to deactivate it, even if it was announced for whatever reason. Not because the time has expired, not because I don't have the right software anymore.

      Freeloaders? Most likely yes and that is the same identical argument the RIAA and others are making.

      This is not about wether the DMA is right or wrong. It is about the fact that there is no difference. What you are saying with in a lot of cases I'd agree with you; but when is actualy: I agree, exept when it affects me (Or something I believe in).

      • by Kjella (173770)

        It is then not up to you to deactivate it, even if it was announced for whatever reason. Not because the time has expired,

        That attitude is what'll be the death of copyright. It's the self-proclaimed right to rip off any subscription service, to copy all the movies you get from Netflix, the right to rip off every "30 day trial" shareware and so on. Because you once had it on your machine, it's your godgiven right to keep it even though it was announced and agreed upon that these would only temporary be at your disposal. Imagine that in the real world, if you leased a car for a month and when the company wanted it back you said

        • by houghi (78078)

          That attitude is what'll be the death of copyright.

          You say it as if that would be a bad thing.

        • The issue isn't whether or not someone has the right to keep "rented" bits, the issue is wether or not someone who doesn't own your computer has the right to any control over your computer. The desire of copyright holders to enforce their copyrights and licenses and people's control over their own computers is conflicting. If preserving the later means the death of copyright, as you put it, then I'm all for copyright dying as quickly as possible. And I say this as a copyright holder. I'll take a world witho

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by spire3661 (1038968)
          The market is forcing a price check reality on these services. Why is it ok for a corporation to bend the law to control the market, but not the consumer? This is simple economics in action and morality ( as used in this particular discussion) is simply a tool used by those in control. Corporations have no morality, full stop.
  • by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:16AM (#24625207)

    The only person who's ever to blame is the one who's doing something illegal such as violating the content owner's copyright.

    The person designing the security is generally trying to do the best that they can to balance security against annoyance of said security of customers, knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before that security is broken.

    You can't blame the person breaking the security either as they may only being doing so to enable fair use rights that were taken away by the security. Likewise, anyone who uses the security remove technique could only be doing so for fair use reasons. Fair use may seem sketchy when talking about streamed video online, but if you want to use parts of the video to form a rebuttal video to the points or opinions expressed in the original video I believe making a copy of the stream would fall within fair use. Also I believe it's considered fair use to use any video if providing commentary on segments of the video.

    You really can't necessarily blame the content creator either. In some cases they're not even responsible for their works being available somewhere on the internet. Someone violating their copyright may have uploaded it to a video streaming site. Is lack of security on a video streaming site the fault of a movie creator if someone rips the movie from DVD and uploads it to a website?

    Blame copyright violations on the people who actually commit them.

    • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:19AM (#24625359)

      The person designing the security is generally trying to do the best that they can to balance security against annoyance of said security of customers, knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before that security is broken.

      The users of DRM (i.e., content providers) use DRM to minimize the effective rights of the content consumer. Ever since the specs for the DVD were first developed (if not before), DRM stopped being about preventing people from making additional copies of something, and started merely pretending to be about that, while actually being about limiting the ways in which legitimate customers can use legitimately purchased content. Region Coding and User Operation Prohibitions (that's where your DVD player forbids you from skipping the FBI warning and sometimes even ads because the content provider said so) are not and have never been about piracy prevention, yet they are an integral part of the DRM that exists on DVDs. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD kept these "features", indicating that the content industry is still playing the same tune.

      The creators of DRM, on the other hand, are selling a product to the content providers, and therefore they feel a motivation to create a system that doesn't "balance" security against annoyance, but rather one that provides the content providers with as many options as possible for limiting the content consumer's effective rights.

      The content providers win, the DRM creators win, and (because DRM ultimately doesn't work) folks who pirate media win, while legitimate consumers lose. There's nothing balanced about that.

    • If you are going to scream into the ether, for whatever reason, then I should be able to record it for my own personal use.

  • Does linux have a DRM converter for Flash?

  • I am going to write "The US Constitution for Dummies" as part of that series. However, I doubt that anyone will every buy it. Hell, on the Tonight Show, all the people they interviewed on the street a few weeks ago didn't even know who was the US VP.

  • Its not so much a case of someone leaving a £20 note on the pavement as it is a case of handing someone a book to read, then expecting that they can't remember the plot afterwards.

  • by pla (258480) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:36AM (#24625265) Journal
    Who is to blame?

    Why do we always need someone to blame? All the sides involved have their own valid way of seeing the situation...

    The content creator wants to "protect" their work; The end user wants to keep a copy for a variety of reasons. The container/transport producer gets paid by the content producer (usually); and the crackers don't actually count as a separate group, they just reflect knowledgeable end-users who have the power to make sure they can keep a copy.

    Who in that chain do we call "wrong" for what they do? The creator we can perhaps call "overprotective", thinking that once the baby grows up and leaves home they can still tell it what to do. The middlemen perhaps should perhaps advise their customers better, but at the end of the day they need to eat too. The end users should of course reimburse the creators for the content, but I would consider "free" the least of the reasons to have a local copy.


    Or looking at it from a slightly different angle... At every step, the situation boils down to pure self-interest. And put bluntly, I value my interests above yours - just as you value your own interests above mine.
  • IANAL.

    > In the ongoing battle with the MPAA and RIAA, there seems to be an ongoing argument about who is
    > to blame.

    Questions of blame are is boring, but there are a few points I wanted to address.

    > When my car was broken into, I was told by the responding police officer that I might have
    > prevented it by keeping my seats and visible areas clear of junk that would entice criminals.

    True, but not relevant to the issue of blame. Unlike the $20 bill example, in which -no- precautions were taken, in t

  • Recording live streams... Wasn't there something called the Betamax Decision [wikipedia.org] that had something to do with that? Oh, wait, the Broadcast Flag really went and fucked that up.
  • car theft fault? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Laebshade (643478) <laebshade@gmail.com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:10AM (#24625523)

    When my car was broken into, I was told by the responding police officer that I might have prevented it by keeping my seats and visible areas clear of junk that would entice criminals. So, who is at fault

    If you'd listen to the police, you'd realize they're giving you preventive measures you can take to lower the chance your car will be stolen. They're not blaming you, just trying to educate. You could've put a million dollars on the front seat, doors locked, and something stole it, the thief would still be at fault, but you would definitely be the laughing stock of the police station.

  • by smchris (464899) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:15AM (#24625551)

    I've got one that relates to the RIAA. I had my storage locker broken into with literally _every_ box (a lot -- think Rubik's Cube with U Haul boxes) opened and ransacked in '06**, but since I could not think of even ONE THING in the whole mess that was _missing_, the police couldn't think of what crime to pursue. So when a file is copied, what is _missing_?

    ** an entirely different discussion in paranoia in the year of our Lord Dubya, but I digress

  • Eerily relevant is todays EFF Article [eff.org] pointing out that the Free Ad-Supported music sites imeem.com [imeem.com] and lala.com [lala.com] both stream unenctrypted mp3s with the blessing of the record business. Indeed it was revealed that Warner Brothers Music invested millions of dollars in both of these (although their imeem investment looks a whole lot better). There are some speed bumps to filling your iPod with the music that fans have uploaded to imeem, but it's only sufficient to keep the honest people honest.
  • In school I learned a few basic things.
    1. If you snitch on someone, you'll get your ass kicked & you learn not to snitch anymore
    2. If someone bullies you out of your lunch money you kick their ass as best as you can and they learn not to mess with you and move on to someone else
    3. If you steal the batteries out of the teachers assisted speaking device because you think it's funny & get caught your dad will kick your ass and you learn not to steal

    From these 3 simple things I learned in elementry school y

  • by m2bord (781676) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @09:17AM (#24625759) Homepage Journal

    Okay...let's look at this. Yesterday in my office, we had a conversation about a quaint method of distributin media that I had forgotten about....the public library.

    The idea that a popular piece of media, in this case a book, has more than 300 readers or people on a waiting list to read a book indicates to me 300 lost sales for the book publisher. However, this notion of media distribution has long been supported by federal laws.

    So we as a community need to ask, do the makes of music, movies, other media, work more than authors? Why are their works more protected than a lowly book that gets passed around like a drunken cheerleader with the publisher's blessing? There is only one answer that can satify this...greed.

    Is this greed that has enveloped the movie and music industries likely to destroy this nation's information distribution system? Is the library a leak in the profit margins for book manufacturers? Do humans have an obligation to share information without profit for the continued growth of knowledge?

    I think this was the original thinking behind the Open Source movement. People have tools, like computers, and need to be able to use additional tools, like software, to better ourselves. I believe that the same is true for media.

    So guys...does DRM deny access to materials and put profit before the betterment of the species? (in the long term) And no, I am not saying things like an Ashley Simpson or Coldplay album can be used to help the human species evolve. Those items are best used for Olympic sports like target shooting.

    • The idea that a popular piece of media, in this case a book, has more than 300 readers or people on a waiting list to read a book indicates to me 300 lost sales for the book publisher.

      I suspect a lot of those 300 would not read the book at all if not for the library. And that some of those readers actually went out and payed a bookstore for a copy.

      I think it is likely a negligible difference is sales.

      • by m2bord (781676)

        I think that's a legimate argument. It similar to the one that I've made for years regarding what I considered the trumped up stats the RIAA and MPAA and software companies toss out to say "this is how much piracy is hurting us"

        I think in many cases, if something were not available in some free format, as many as 60% of end-users of a media would never own it. But that's just me speculating.

        Ain't it sad though...?

  • Every dollar spent on DRM is wasted. I don't know how to be more blunt than that.

  • The car analogy is interesting since some of us have convertables. We -can't- secure our cars, anyone could take something from our car. (Or worse, leave something in our car if they need to dump something illegal fast.)

    But the courts and insurances have an answer -- lock our doors. It's a clear demonstration of our intent to secure the car, even if it's of no practical value. Other than giving us full protection on our insurance policies, that is. :-)

    Ditto tents, at least in Colorado. Tent flap open,

  • I don't think "blame" is really the right word to use here, but since you did use it, and I can't think of a better one off the top of my head, I would say that the largest part of the "blame" goes to the content owner who somehow believes that they can somehow share their work without, er ...sharing it. If the end user has the ability to play a recording once, then they have the ability to play it a thousand times. There is no middle ground. If you can't accept that, you shouldn't be selling content.

    Bey

  • >When my car was broken into, I was told by the responding police officer that I might have prevented it
    >by keeping my seats and visible areas clear of junk
    Isn't this an insurance requirement in the US? AFAIK it's a standard insurance requirement in the UK, at least for when stuff is stolen /from/ your car. If the item wasn't locked in the trunk or in the glovebox then your insurance won't pay out.

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