Category — Open Source
Below is a Youtube video of Eben Moglen's keynote speech at the 2006 Plone conference in Seattle (Oct 25-27). Professor Mogeln is a professor of law and history of law at Columbia University, serves pro bono as General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation, and is the Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center.
Dale's Comment: Listening to this was my first introduction to Professor Moglen's ideas. I don't exactly know what to make of this speech. With the flair of an elequoent Baptist preacher he advocates on behalf of the free software movement. The speech has many interesting and compelling points.
But, my goodness, this substance of his speech seems to be, Open Source – all good, Closed Source – all bad, all the time. To my mind there is a place for both. Contrary to the underlying sentiment of this talk, I believe capitalism and software-for-profit is critical to global development and advancement. Open Source software is also, obviously, very beneficial to the world. Both have their place and importance.
Perhaps I haven't had enough exposure to Professor Mogeln yet. But while interesting, I found his talk, effectively dissing closed source software and its creators, eerily discomforting.
Free Software Foundation spokesperson Peter Brown has told ZDNet U.K. that sometime in June, after the second draft of the GPLv3 is released, it will hire a professional campaigner to campaigning for the end of DRM. The campaign will be three-pronged to build awareness among developers, consumers and device manufactures.
Sun’s DReaM Project Architectural Overview
Sun has worked with Creative Commons to create an open-source, patent-free, royalty-free DRM scheme endorsed by Lawrence Lessig as the lesser of possible DRM evils. DReaM content players/readers would be certified by an independent standards body. DReaM supports fair use by including the means for copyright works to be duplicated for educational purposes, parody, criticism, etc. However, Sun’s ‘fair use’ mechanism is optional for rights holders.
Dale’s Comment: I am tentatively optimistic about this proposed standard. As regular readers know, my primary concerns with existing DRM schemes are their proprietary nature combined with DMCA-facilitated restrictions on users’ fair use/fair dealing rights.
As Sun is the originator of java, Sun seems well-placed to be the purveyor of a universal, open-source and fair DRM scheme. And, of course, any open-source standard can be scrutinized by the vast open-source community to guard against problems such as the one caused by Sony’s recent root-kit debacle.
This particular scheme tackles the prickly issue of content owners being locked into a particular player/reader or format (eg: Apple’s oxymoronic ‘Fairplay’ scheme). Sun’s proposed open-source DReaM scheme tackles this problem by using a certification process whereby player/reader manufactures can certify their music, video, e-book, video games, etc. player/reader.
Another issue this scheme goes some way to alleviating is the issue of “fair use”. The obvious concern is that Sun’s “fair use” paradigm is currently “optional”. This should be mandatory.
Such a standard may pass muster with France’s proposed new DRM bill. But, it seems at odds with the proposed DRM-free GPL3. If DReaM can ultimately provide a scheme whereby the purchasers of content can: (i) play/access their content on any certified device; (ii) sell, give-away, transfer or otherwise alienate their content; (iii) re-encode their content indefinitely so that their legally purchased content is playable on all future certified devices (ie: not held hostage to the state of the art at the time of purchase); and (iv) otherwise fairly use their purchased content in accordance with evolving fair use/fair dealing standards/jurisprudence; I would heartily endorse such a DReaM scheme. Will the DReaM scheme evolve in such a way that it becomes a DReaM come true? I wouldn’t bank on it!
Categories: Open Source
Text of GPLv3 Draft
Linus Torvalds could see using the proposed GPL 3 license for Linux, but he thinks it would be very hard to do in practice and he still has concerns about the Complete Corresponding Source Code section.
Text of GPLv3 Draft
Provisions against digital rights management in a draft update to the General Public License could undermine computer security, Linus Torvalds said this week in e-mails reflecting the Linux leader’s pragmatic philosophy.
Text of GPLv3 Draft
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) on Monday released a draft version of its new GNU General Public License (GPL) Version 3 software license designed to address two increasingly important issues in the software industry: software patents and digital rights management (DRM).