Lawrence Lessig/blog/2002/09/12/0143

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Ernie accuses me of optimism because of a piece in the Red Herring. In that piece, I argue that obsession about antitrust issues blinds us to other (also important) network and policy issues. And one in particular was how different DRM systems affect the network differently. Some, the argument goes, better support the end-to-end architecture that the network originally valued, and it would be easier to assure that token systems did so than copy protection systems. (Copyfight as usual puts it better than I.) Does that make me an optimist? Wouldn't that be nice. But no: I am not arguing there's less reason to worry about antitrust; nor arguing that DRM is a good thing; only arguing that we need constantly to think about how different technologies affect the policy of the net. Remember Mitch's insight over a decade ago: Architecture is politics.

Comments (3)

September 13, 2002 5:31 PM - the head lemur - Alan Herrell

The software guys are in a panic for no good reason. While it can be said and is currently thought that copyright covers the code and with a limited copyright length that we get to peek and laugh or rip them off, especially if we get to shorten the copyright to say 10 years, there isn't a lot of software that was built 10 years ago still generating income.

The argument can be made that upgrades and the name staying the same such as Windows and Frontier are viable products, but in reality are derivitive works and therefore are new works.

Copyright if used at all as a software protection mechanism has a fatal defect as the government backed out on their part of the deal when they stopped requiring a deposit and a registration fee.

Intellectual property and copyright get confused as copyright requires an 'expression' whether ink on paper or bits on disk or pixels on a screen.

Digital Rights are exactly what we give them.

Gate erection on the web has been a dismal failure. DVD was cracked by a couple of young people who just wanted to watch movies on a Linux box. Napster and it's successors demonstrate that sharing is more powerful than repression and exclusivity, whether by format, or playback.

Be on the lookout for the return of the Vinyl Record playable in factory sealed units.

September 13, 2002 9:02 PM - Seth Finkelstein

I've written an analysis, it's at
DRM and object control vs network control

There's a good

summary of everything at copyright

September 13, 2002 9:05 PM - Seth Finkelstein

Hmm, that didn't work. Let's try again:

My analysis: DRM and object control vs network control

Summary of everything, at copyfight