[linux-elitists] defining DRM?

Ben Finney ben@benfinney.id.au
Thu Jan 20 17:42:51 PST 2005

On 20-Jan-2005, Don Marti wrote:
> I'm writing an article mentioning DRM, and trying to come up with a
> definition.  Originally, I thought of, "You know, DRM, it's like
> crypto, except evil instead of cool."

Happily embracing a bias, then? :-)

> I don't mind the expansion "Digital Rights Management" since you can
> encourage people to think (Digital Rights) Management, not Digital
> (Rights Management).  ("Expert sex change", anyone?)  Keep your
> management off my digital rights!

I prefer the "Digital Restrictions Management" expansion suggested by
the FSF, since it avoids the supposition that there are rights being
managed.  It focuses on the actual effect to the user: DRM introduces
(more) restrictions, and grants nothing.

> So here's my definition so far.  I'm sure it's full of holes.
> Digital Rights Management is any technology that selectively restricts
> and permits uses of a copy of a cultural work by the owner or
> authorized user of the copy.

    s/selectively restricts and permits/selectively restricts/

If the DRM system permits, it's effectively doing nothing.  The only
time the system actually does something, is when it restricts.

    s/work .*/work./

The DRM system interacts with, and selectively restricts, *every* user,
regardless of who they are.

 \       "A celebrity is one who is known by many people he is glad he |
  `\                               doesn't know."  -- Henry L. Mencken |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney <ben@benfinney.id.au>
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