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[Fsfe-uk] Re: APIG inital report

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: [Fsfe-uk] Re: APIG inital report
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 00:03:28 +0000

On Mon, 2006-02-20 at 11:46 +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> It's tedious and a lot of people take a lot of flak for correcting
> people, but I'm convinced it is necessary to correct people gently
> when they trot out these incorrect assumptions, else you've lost
> the argument almost before you start speaking.

Yeah. And, you know, I'm half-convinced they did it deliberately: these
guys threw soft or curve balls whenever they wanted, and it struck me
that this was an opening soft ball that they were looking for us to hit.

At the end of the day, it's an icebreaker - they're giving you a chance
to explain your position. And it wasn't taken. But - we were one of the
few non-professional lobbyists. 

> > Second - questions we were asked centred around why we wanted to stop
> > people using DRM. Fundamentally I think that's difficult/impossible to
> > defend,
> It's a pretty easy one to defend IMO. DRM is a weak lock-out
> propped up by legal protectionism. You can't "vote with your
> wallet" because the only copy of these monopoly goods (and
> copyright is a monopoly) is the DRM one in most cases. There
> is no choice, no competition.

Well, technically, that's not true. Being the sole distributor of a
particular artist doesn't put you in a monopoly position in anything
other than a colloquial sense. 

For that argument to work, you have to show that the presence of DRM is
anti-competitive or otherwise abusive of a market in a "real" (i.e.,
provable in court) sense. And I can't see how you can make that

Morally, of course, is a different matter - I think it is indefensible
to lock up culture like that. But legally, it's a different matter -
certainly under current law/treaties.

> I can't see how anyone can put forward a "free market" argument for 
> this protectionism with a straight face.

Because mandating against DRM is a restriction on the types of products
you can sell? E.g., could you tell a publisher it's ok to sell books,
but not encrypted e-books? To do that, you're arguing against the author
distributing & monetizing as they see fit, which is fairly obviously
anti-free market.

To the extent that I've thought about it, legislating against DRM seems
pretty similar to legislating against proprietary software. I'd be
interested to know if you thought there were differences.

> > In order to argue effectively against DRM, I think we really need to
> > understand the premise for DRM. Basically, the APIG questions all boiled
> > down to "How would <x creative industry> work without IP protection?" -
> This is essentially a repeat of "how can a commons ever be
> sustainable?"

Hm, not sure about that. Treating the output of a creative industry as a
commons is not a given - the right to share the work isn't an



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