Copy protection, also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM), is a term applied to any technique used to prevent unauthorized copying of any work in any medium which would otherwise be relatively easy to copy. It is most commonly applied to digital media such as CDs and DVDs, but is also used in some proprietary file formats to prevent access to the work on unauthorized machines. It may aso be applied to measures such as "watermarking" of digital images, which does not prevent copying but makes the image unusable for resale purposes.
Content protection is only slightly different from "copy protection" in that it also prevents unauthorized access to the work in question, preventing the work from being played even if one has already obtained a complete and accurate copy.
Copy protection is almost never applied to traditional/analog media such as books, paintings, or vinyl records, partly because these media are already laborious to copy and expensive to reproduce in a form which appears similar to the original, and partly because analog copy-protection is difficult to implement. The chief use of copy-protection in the analog world is printed money, certificates of authenticity, bank checks, credit cards, and other such items (is there a word or phrase which encompasses all those?).
Copy protection is controversial because (1) the techniques most commonly used are imprecise and tend to have effects far beyond their intent, (2) the most precise techniques require a centralized authority to excercise control over certain aspects of the user's computer, which many people are unwilling to cede, and (3) the same companies which are trying to enact and enforce excessive copy protection measures are usually the same ones taking draconian measures to punish anyone found to be doing unauthorized copying; the taint from these latter actions has rubbed off on the former.
- 2004-02-01 Free Legal Downloads for $6/month: a model for subsidized music distribution similar to the EFF's proposal
- Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing by the Electronic Frontier Foundation
- My main thought about this is that the sort of people who would be likely to "volunteer" for this sort of system would also be more jazzed about it if they knew that the revenues were being divided in proportion to the popularity of each work among those subscribing to this scheme, rather than in proportion to each work's general popularity. To this end, a large fraction of such volunteers might be willing to install software which either automatically tracks what music they are playing (much as many software players will automatically announce artist and track in chat rooms) or allows manual entry of tracks (especially if some kind of rating system is included). Dividing revenues according to mass popularity seems to me like a bad idea, though possibly better than what we have now (but that's not saying much). --Woozle 16:13, 25 March 2007 (EDT)
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- DigitalConsumer.org: "Protecting fair-use rights in the digital world"
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: "Defending Freedom in the Digital World"
- Defective by Design: anti-DRM project of the Free Software Foundation
- An Introduction to Copyfighting: some more recent copy-protection history
- Standards vs. DRM
- Trusted Computing FAQ: "Trusted Computing" is a much more comprehensive implementation of DRM than anything seen so far, with some very worrisome possible consequences.
- 2007-06-06 Why DRM won't ever work by Jeremy Allison
- 2007-02-06 Thoughts on Music by Steve Jobs
- 2007-02-06 Apple would "switch to selling only DRM-free music" if labels agree by Nate Anderson: further discussion
- 2007-02-08 RIAA to Jobs: Thanks for the offer to license FairPlay: apparently the RIAA misinterpreted Jobs's letter
- 2006-12-26 Looking for a Win/Win Solution to the War Between "Premium Content" and Digital Freedom
- 2006-10-18 Davy Jones' lawsuit (Adapted from Software Trespassing by David Deutsch)
- 2006-07-06 Readers answer the Bully Software Alliance And Microsoft flat out lies about proof of software legality, by James E. Gaskin
- 2006-06-26 Business Software Alliance: Outright liars or just truth-challenged? by James E. Gaskin
- 2006-06 The Software Protection Racket part 1 and part 2 by James E. Gaskin
- 2006-01-23 DRM is a complete lie: article by Charlie Demerjian in The Inquirer
- 2006-01-10 DRM by David Byrne: "Happy New Year. Don’t Buy CDs from the Big 5."
- this is probably related to the 2005 Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal
- 2005-09-22 And they call this an information society: blog post with interesting reactions
- Copy Protection Robs The Future by Dan Bricklin
- p2pnet talks to Michael Geist
- 2007-05-11 Company targets Apple, Microsoft and others for not using enough DRM: basically, MRT is trying to use the DMCA to extort other companies into buying their product/service
- 2007-03-13 American Studios' Secret Plan to Lock Down European TV Devices
- 2007-02-01 Holland mulls creation of P2P paradise in which DRM would be illegal and all artists would be paid by distribution of an internet access tax – not unlike the scheme which placed a tax on "blank music CDs" to compensate for supposedly lost sales from music-copying, which could be evaluated a lot better if there were any transparency at all in the distribution system; as it is, we have no idea who is getting paid how much for what. Holland's scheme is not inherently flawed, but definitely needs to prevent this from happening again in their implementation (as well as addressing several other issues).
- 2006-12-14 Bill Gates: Don't buy DRM music, rip CDs instead: even Bill Gates realizes DRM is broken; why doesn't his company?
- 2006-03-21 France moves forward with law challenging Apple (slashdot): under the proposed law, "it would no longer be illegal to crack (copy protection) ... if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another."
- 2006-03-06 Oh Boy – The Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006
- 2006-02-24 Early HDTV adopters screwed by HD-disc rules (slashdot)
- 2006-02-23 Yahoo exec: Labels should sell music without DRM ymusicblog slashdot
- 2006-02-16 RIAA Says Ripping CDs to Your iPod is NOT Fair Use
- 2006-02-13 The Great HDCP Fiasco: HDCP-encrypted content (e.g. Blu-ray) will only work on pre-built machines from certain manufacturers, because free software projects won't be able to afford the license
- 2005-11-01 Sony DRM Hacks Your PC
- For eventual article on music piracy / file sharing / whatever you want to call it:
- DVD "region encoding" may be against the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade article 2.2