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May 2, 2005
I Can't Believe It's Not Cory
Linspire CEO/perrenial troublemaker Michael Robertson takes a turn banging the DRM slowly* -- that is, explaining why people should reject products hobbled by Digital Restrictions Management. Robertson's description of Microsoft's attempt to sell DRM to consumers is darkly amusing; while Seth Schoen compares your computer to a car and argues for "owner override," Microsoft evidently describes itself as the "black box flight recorder" on your airplane. Uhm, yeah. It's a black box, all right.
It's the ultimate marketing challenge to explain to the world that turning over more control to Microsoft is an improvement that computer users should desire and pay money for. Microsoft has floated a series of hyper-technical sounding initiatives like Palladium and Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), each time explaining why it's a good thing for Microsoft to decide what software users should use. Earlier this week, Bill Gates talked about how it was like a "black box flight recorder," a not-so-subtle reference to 9/11 designed to tug on emotions. I leave it to others to comment on whether Microsoft has the security track record to decide what software is secure enough for me to be running. I'm more interested in the liberty and cost issues.
* For the origin of "banging the DRM slowly," check out the title of Cory's book at BoringBoring
Update: Related reading via Furdlog via CoCo blog -- an SSRN paper on the implications of DRM for privacy and free expression: "Focusing on two central features of digital rights management - their surveillance function and their ability to unbundle copyrights into discrete and custom-made products - the authors conclude that a promulgation of the current use of digital rights management has the potential to seriously undermine our fundamental public commitments to personal privacy and freedom of expression."
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