« The Journey of Man | Main | Modern Marriage »

Designed to Effectively Frustrate

This past Thursday I went to Northeastern to hear Tarleton Gillespie from
Cornell University give a talk entitled "Designed to Effectively Frustrate: Technical Copyright Protection and the Agency of Users". Below are my notes from the talk.

The politics of technology are coming to forefront in our society.
It is becoming common to find regulation through technology.
The growth of copyright has increase rapidly in the past 20-30 years.
This has been driven by a shift in the role of information.
As a result the principles of copyright have also shifted.
It is no longer a question of "use" but has become one of "access".
Technology is changing copyright enforcement from punishment (if you violate) to preemption (making violation impossible).
As such the key is designing to limit access.
DRM (Digital rights management) is already in DVDs, digital music, and digital broadcasts. May make its way into distance learning, inter-corporate communications, etc.
It used to be that copyright was enforced by "calling in the force of the law".
You can own expressions but not ideas.


DRM works because of encryption.
Now it is used to design technologies to act as chaperons (limit activities) and attach rules to the content.
In the future it might standardize encryption and rules and allow micro-payments.
This is a switch from "East coast code" to "West coast code" (law code vs. source code)
The big question is can technology regulate like a law?
What is being lost in the translation from the law code to the source code?

Key issue is around "fair use".
Difference between leak proof and curb high protection.
Industry is now considering the average user a threat.
The translation to technology is losing the meaning of the original copyright law.
Author's compensation, public access, and re-use. Idea was to allow the author to gain compensation for the effort to create the expression but then to allow the public to benefit, re-use, expand, continue to grow as a society through these contributions.
Cut-copy-paste is a breach in encryption, which is why technology is hampering "fair use".
Key players: technology, licenses, laws, markets, and norms. They are changing due to this shift in thinking.

Licenses demands designers of technologies to be chaperones.
EFF: security for owner vs. security against owner. [need better context for quote]
Some technologies invite the ability to tinker. Cars have a hood. While you might void your warranty, you still have the ability to tinker "fair use". Newer technologies prevent that.

Intellectual property versus physical property.
You usually have exclusive right to physical property (i.e. tract of land).
Laws provide recourse if you do things on that property that effect society (pollute, zoning, etc.)
Can't easily apply physical property laws to information
Science, culture, and democracy need input to function. Newer technologies are preventing information from flowing to help provide that input.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)



About