[d at DCC] TPM and PCs

Russell McOrmond russell at flora.ca
Sat Jun 5 14:42:23 EDT 2010

On 10-06-05 10:53 AM, Bob Smits wrote:
>> Do you know off-hand if any of these could be used to allow
>> the CSS decryption needed for DVD playback on Linux?
>> I've seen reports online that DVD + Linux is a goner with C-32.
> You always have the fluendo option, which sells you legal codecs, and has a
> legal DVD player available.

   This is why I don't mention "Linux", but owner chosen and owner 
controlled software.  Saying "Linux" has no meaning given some of the 
most locked-down devices in the word (TIVO, etc) have a Linux kernel 
under the hood.

   As to whether independent software is allowed to be interoperable 
with locked media, it looks clear to me that the answer is no. 
Circumventing a technical measure in one piece of software to make it 
interoperable with another piece of software is covered (41.12 
Interoperability of computer programs), but circumventing a technical 
measure applied to content to make it interoperable with software is not.

   Remember that in common DRM systems  (Apple FairPlay, Windows Media 
DRM, Amazon Kindle, etc) there are technical measures applied to content 
(so that it is only interoperable with "authorized" devices within the 
platform family), and technical measures applied to hardware/software 
such that it is robust from tampering (IE: protects third parties from 
the owner of the device).   The interoperability exemption focuses on 
software, not content.

   So, music copyright is more tilted in favour of the interests of 
technology companies (DRM providers) than software copyright is.  Kinda 
funny if you think about it, although given how much this will harm 
independent creators I'm not laughing.

   I think this section needs amendment to actually allow format 
shifting, as intended by the government.  Most of the non-technical 
folks I have spoken to that want legal protection for TPM say they also 
want interoperable TPMs (IE: non-wet water).  It would be quite 
appropriate IMHO to use their lack of technical understanding in our 
favour for once, and get consensus on expanding the interoperability 

   The effect?  It would mean that "membership required" sites would 
have their "access control" protected, but vertically-integrated media 
distribution platforms (Puretracks, iTunes, etc) would not have that 
vertical integration (AKA: anti-competitive tied selling) protected.

   It is anti-interoperability locks on content, and non-owner locks on 
devices that concern me the most.  And there are modifications that 
could be made to the bill to fix these problems, and they will likely 
not be objected to by that majority in the debate who have adequate 
technical knowledge to have a clue about what we are proposing.

   This is also why whether the rules encoded in a DRM system are of no 
interest to me.  Whether the rules are draconian or extremely liberal, 
obey copyright or not, the harm is caused by the existence of technical 
measures which limit interoperability and limit the rights of technology 

Side-note for anyone reading who haven't analysed real-world DRM systems 
yet:   Any special "rules" (how long file can be accessed, how many 
copies can be made, etc, etc) are authored in the software running on 
this hardware.  The only influence a non-software copyright holder has is:

   a) In choosing which DRM systems to authorise their content to be 
distributed via  (Remember: They are effectively authorising a platform 
to have access, not authorising audiences to access.  From a business 
model/legal relationship point of view a Blu-ray Disc is closer to the 
the theatre than it was to standards-based VHS delivery.)

   b) In setting flags that are stored as metadata along with their content.

   Whether the DRM system honours or ignores the metadata set by the 
content copyright holder is determined by the software author. I haven't 
seen anything in this bill, or anything beyond existing contract law 
that gives the copyright holder any standing in what rules/limites are 
actually enforced by a DRM system.  In other words, what the copyright 
holder wants is largely irrelevant in a DRM system, and it is 
traditional copyright (free of technical measures) which copyright 
holders will continue to primarily rely on.

   Whether they enforce their license agreements against DRM providers 
has yet to be seen.  Copyright holders will need to get past the 
"Dishonest Relationship Misinformation" aspect and realise who the 
infringer is, and sue the right person (Hint: its not the audience).

BTW: if anyone has comments to my http://billc32.ca/rwm-clause page, 
then please let me know.  I wanted to have something published which can 
hopefully spark conversation.  I find only with having multiple people 
bouncing around ideas can we all make sense of what is written.

  Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
  Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
  rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition!

  "The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
   manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or
   portable media player from my cold dead hands!"

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