[linux-elitists] Sklyarov/DMCA for the masses

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Fri Aug 3 12:10:31 PDT 2001


on Thu, Aug 02, 2001 at 05:57:39PM -0700, Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com) wrote:
> This is the response I composed on SAS-L.

OK, running into another cognitive block.  My strong sense is:  copy
prevention *is* encryption, merely an application of.  My good friend
John seems to be stuck on this point.  My responses interspersed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

    > > Karsten, it seems to me that your underlying problem is not so
    > > much with this Act, per se, but rather with the existence of
    > > 'copy protection technology' in the first place.
    >
    > Not entirely.  Encryption, specifically strong crypto, is an
    > unqualified good.  Without it, privacy in a digital, networked,
    > age is impossible.

    You seem to have moved the goalposts of this discussion.  Whilst I
    certainly agree with what you say, my comment was about 'copy
    protection technology', yet your response here (and so many others)
    talks about encryption used to achieve secrecy.

Not moving the goalposts, but leading the old horse onto the right
field.  Copy prevention, in an electronic context, *is* encryption, or
an application of it.  As I said above, without encryption, privacy (or
restricted access to data) is effectively impossible.  Privilege-based
access controls ultimately fail.  Only encryption of the data itself can
prevent its being read.

Copy prevention works based on two principles: 

  - Access control.  Without this, the product is effectively worthless.
    This means that the document doesn't open up except to those who
    have a key.

  - Output control.  Most programs will emit only restricted outputs,
    e.g.:  video (in the case of text) or analog audio (in the case of
    sound).  This means building the reader such that other forms of
    output are not enabled, and attempts to access them are generally
    foiled.

Again:  an application of crypto.  Two sides of the same coin.  No
wonder you're having problems grokking this.

    As you go on to say, these are two totally different issues.  More
    often than not (e.g. printed material), 'copy-protected' material
    (whether that protection be by law, technology, both, or whatever)
    is freely readable by the entire world, and hence totally
    non-secret;  the protection is against COPYING, not against reading.
    Conversely, if material is encrypted in a sufficiently secure
    fashion, then there is no reason to even think about copy-protecting
    it.

They're not different technologies.  They're different applications of
the same technology.  Copy prevention allows limited access to content.
Generally involving shared, multiple, or computed keys, rather than
single per-user keys (though implementations vary).  While graphic
output is generally part of the package, export to text is usually
obscured.

Copy prevention is crypto that's meant to be used on a larger scale, but
provide only a limited degree of access, to the cleartext.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thoughts?

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>            http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?               There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                 http://www.kuro5hin.org
   Free Dmitry!! Boycott Adobe!! Repeal the DMCA!!   http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                          http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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