[linux-elitists] defanging TCPA?

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Thu Feb 6 15:40:02 PST 2003

begin Seth David Schoen quotation of Thu, Feb 06, 2003 at 02:41:20PM -0800:

> For one thing, there's a difference between
> * recruiting people to actively join what is effectively a DRM boycott,
> * asking people "Are you willing to join a DRM boycott? [Yn] ",
> and
> * effectively tricking people into joining a DRM boycott in a way that
>   they won't notice.
> Is any of these close conceptually to what you were thinking of, or were
> you thinking of something else entirely?

I was thinking of somewhere between the two.  Instead of just asking
someone to join the DRM boycott, software can make it inconvenient
for the user not to participate in the boycott.  When you start
some programs, there could be a dialog box reading:

  Freedom and Security Warning from the Authors of FooWare

  This computer is vulnerable to a Digital Rights Management attack,
  which could take away your right to free speech.  While FooWare
  will function on vulnerable systems, we believe that in the
  long run you are doing yourself, and all freedom-loving people,
  irreparable harm by continuing to run a vulnerable computer.
  For more details see http://www.example.com/drm/

  FooWare can protect this computer from one type of attack by
  modifying the operating system on this computer.

  Please click OK to protect this computer and save Free Speech,
  or type "baa" below and click "No, don't protect this computer"
  to continue without protecting this computer.

Join the boycott and tweak your OS, and the dialog wouldn't come
up again.  Otherwise you get an animation of a tear rolling down
the Statue of Liberty's face before the program starts.  The dialog
could then come up more or less frequently depending on how strongly
the program's authors felt about the issue.

Naturally, if the program were Free Software, someone could release a
forked version without the dialog.  But the comments could politely
ask readers not to do so unless they made sure to de-DRM any TCPA
present by other means.

Don Marti                  Even if we don't get DMCA reform, loudly
http://zgp.org/~dmarti     demanding DMCA reform is going to get the
dmarti@zgp.org             injustice of the DMCA in front of the next
KG6INA                     jury.  Make noise.  It counts.

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