Defective by Design

Flash Protest News: Andrew Becherer rocked today!

Submitted by Henri Poole on Wed, 2006-05-24 00:09

Andrew Becherer, one of the freedom fighters who attended the Microsoft action today posted a great comment on slashdot:

I am proud to say that I participated in today's FSF event.

I believe the combination of Digital Rights Management technology and the Trusted Computing initiative are the single greatest threat to a free software desktop. I believe the danger is not just that we will be pushed into a desktop ghetto where we will not be allowed to enjoy the newest movies and music.

RMS' Right to Read [gnu.org] might seem far out for most folks I believe he is point on. DRM will tie media to an user or possibly an user and a specific machine. DRM will allow corporations to gather unprecedented amounts of information about us. If we are not vigilant we are headed into an Orwellian dystopia where all of our digital habits are carefully monitored and controlled.

The really interesting thing is that it WILL NOT STOP PIRACY! As long as we enjoy books and movies with our eyes and music with our ears there will be an analog hole and there will be piracy. DRM is not about stopping piracy it is about destroying competition. Competition from small developers, competition from start ups and competition from free software...

For almost the whole of human history culture has been shared. Imagine if Shakespeare had been controlled by DRM and copyright law so that no was able to sample his plays. What would modern literature be like. I imagine it would be worse. We stand at a moment in history where we have an unprecedented ability to create and share. Do we want to hand the keys of our shared culture to those least likely to allow us to use it in meaningful ways?

I agree with those who say the problem are the laws such as the DMCA and as well as perpetual copyright. These things should be overturned. However it is my opinion that a motivated group of individuals could raise awareness within the public to create a backlash and prevent a DRM nightmare from fully forming.

If I did not stand up at this moment in time and let the world know that DRM is wrong I would be complicit in the effort of corporations to steal our shared culture.

Do I believe that I can stop the DRM juggernaut of Microsoft/Apple/Intel/Etc? I don't know but I don't believe I can just let it happen.

One note on RMS, you may not agree with him but he serves an extremely important role in both the free software and open source movements. He is the logical extreme of freedom while others serve as the logical extreme of pragmatism. He helps define the spectrum of opinion on all issues related to software freedom and for that (and more) I appreciate him. If we did not have him and the FSF we would not be where we are today.

Read more from Andrew on his blog.

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