Thanks for the typically nice complete narrative. It is always welcome because you tell the truth.

That said, I think you have conflated several aspects on DRM that need separation. As DRM was setting in there were several separate arguments. I have a slightly more nuanced view of these separate arguments. I think we get a better result than simply condemning DRM.

1. Open Source DRM Code Requirement. I and others, notably David Touretzky at CMU, argued that Open Source should be required (not the private keys obviously). So everybody can see everything you are doing. The same Felony could come to those whose open source claim is not ALL the open source aside from keys themselves. And the open source should allow free commercial licensing. Period. Furthermore there are details on those keys that you can imagine and I won't get into because the goal there is to lets DRM become interoperable very quickly. The Gov't should also negate any copyright that applies to the open source code.

2. Whether DRM itself should have the anti-circumvention clause with the draconian penalty. That is arguable. I would have vastly preferred that the anti-circumvention clause would tie only to existing copyright law. So the beneficiary is explicitly the copyright owner or beneficial copyright share owner AND the penalties are exactly copyright penalties, not DRM circumvention penalties. I do think there was a point to the DRM because the proof was that no DRM led to IP industry destruction, that was observed.

3. Copyright Law is a joke. I do not have a fraction of your audience but I have argued that in keeping with the intent of the Constitution, IP protection should be time-limited in proportion to the commercial effort of the product involved. Mickey Mouse laws are in fact morally, ethically, and even logically, corrupt and corrupting. Some things should get a year protection others 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, etc. No renewals. Excepting on death of original copyright owner, expiration. This is the same original owner who can reclaim his copyright after, I think it is 30 or something years in the existing law. Patents the same way. Copyright registration should be required for any copyright to be enforced (all digital, and fees paid for number of bytes being stored for the claimed number of years). No time resets allowed. The requirement for copyright notice comes back (despite the UN objections). And something like the Internet Court of Lies (;-> ) to decide copyright infringement ... not a judge who holds up two pieces of paper and says one is the same (or different) than the other. The government not the copyright holder should have the burden of timely prosecution. Copyright and Patent law should be merged into one advanced copyright law. (The difference between books and weaving machines is zero in the modern world of computing and communications).

I do think without a threat of penalty there are plenty of sociopaths and psychopaths out there who will steal things without a shred of remorse and lie about it. The estimate, which I think is about right is 10-20% of the population of people who were so mistreated as children they became sociopaths or worse. Although there is a quick test for them, which should be similarly taxed heavily on the first amendment side, as a violation of responsible speech under assumed IP responsibility to truth I.e., minimizing social error-noise as part of "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Again could provide quick effective blind, but publicly monitorable, justice. i.e., copyrighted material needs truth testing. We do this with patents, sort of.

Note the terms "progress of SCIENCE and USEFUL arts".

Cory, what you have done to date are progressive useful arts with some nice science thrown in. You should expect some protection that doesn't slow down your production of new things.

So I am not black and white on damning DRM technology.


Carnegie Mellon University since 1979 — Cognitive Science, AI, Machine Learning, one of the founding Directors of the Robotics Institute.

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Robert Thibadeau

Robert Thibadeau

Carnegie Mellon University since 1979 — Cognitive Science, AI, Machine Learning, one of the founding Directors of the Robotics Institute.