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[ba-unrev-talk] Fwd: The MS DRM Patent and Freedom to Speak and Think

Forwarded with only one comment from me: this topic requires further 
Jack    (01)

>X-Sender: fheyligh@pop.vub.ac.be
>Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 14:52:41 +0100
>To: gbrain@listserv.vub.ac.be (Global Brain Discussion)
>From: Francis Heylighen <fheyligh@vub.ac.be>
>Subject: Fwd: The MS DRM Patent and Freedom to Speak and Think
>Sender: owner-gbrain@listserv.vub.ac.be
>Reply-To: gbrain@listserv.vub.ac.be
>>Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 23:08:13 -0500
>>From: Seth Johnson <seth.johnson@RealMeasures.dyndns.org>
>>Organization: Real Measures
>>X-Accept-Language: en
>>To: <PCP@vub.ac.be>
>>Subject: The MS DRM Patent and Freedom to Speak and Think
>>X-MDaemon-Deliver-To: PCP@vub.ac.be
>>X-Return-Path: seth.johnson@realmeasures.dyndns.org
>>Sender: seth.johnson@realmeasures.dyndns.org
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>>Status: RO
>>In his November 6 essay "You're Free to Think,"
>>Dave Winer comments that whatever else happens in the
>>ongoing, increasing trend towards policing of the public's
>>right to use information and information technology, we are
>>still left with the freedom to *think* for ourselves.  He
>>seemed to me to be offering this comment as a bare source of
>>solace against the government's increasing intent to control
>>the prospects of communications technology.
>>Microsoft's favorable treatment of late caused him to wonder
>>what kind of deal Bill Gates must have worked out with the
>>Bush Administration.  He wondered what Microsoft might have
>>given the government in return for the highly favorable
>>terms of the settlement that's currently on the table in the
>>court proceedings against the company, for monopoly
>>practices in the operating systems arena.
>>He commented specifically on the current ramifications of
>>Microsoft's increasing position of power in the operating
>>systems market:
>>>  Now, they have to get people to upgrade to
>>>  Windows XP -- that's the final step, the one that
>>>  fully turns over the keys to the Internet to them,
>>>  because after XP they can upgrade at will, routing
>>>  through Microsoft-owned servers, altering content,
>>>  and channeling communication through government
>>>  servers. After XP they fully own electronic
>>>  communication media, given the consent decree,
>>>  assuming it's approved by the court.
>>Now, it has just come to light that Microsoft has been
>>awarded a software "patent" for a "Digital Rights
>>Management" operating system.
>>This development shows us exactly where we stand now.
>>Microsoft doesn't have to offer anything to the government;
>>it has only to hold possession of a patent covering the
>>"DRM" elements of its latest OS, thereby providing an almost
>>absolutely assured trajectory toward establishing the terms
>>by which the public's ability to communicate digital
>>information will be controlled.
>>Please see the message I am posting below, from the CYBERIA
>>email list, which quotes from the patent.
>>The real kicker is right here:
>>>  The digital rights management operating system
>>>  also limits the functions the user can perform on the
>>>  rights-managed data and the trusted application, and
>>>  can provide a trusted clock used in place of the
>>>  standard computer clock.
>>The ability to use information freely is now going to be
>>policed at the most intricate level, in the name of
>>exclusive rights and to the detriment of the most
>>fundamental Constitutional principles of our society.
>>Whereas the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution assures
>>that every American citizen has the full right to freedom of
>>speech, we see here the ultimate legislative and technical
>>trappings by which the public will be demarcated as mere
>>information consumers.
>>Facts and ideas are not contraband and may never be
>>copyrighted or otherwise constrained under the terms of
>>intellectual "property," whether they are bound up in an
>>expressive work or not; and the computer is a *logic* device
>>that now sits on nearly every citizen's desktop -- it is
>>*not* a consumer appliance.  From both the standpoints of
>>speech and thought, so-called digital "rights management" is
>>a utterly desolate *dead end.*
>>Whether we speak of the constituent pieces of expressive
>>works, or the nature of the computer itself, so-called
>>digital "rights management" marks the beginning of a grand
>>rollback of the means by which the promise of our
>>participation in and advancement of civil society have
>>lately been greatly augmented.
>>Rather than facing the simple, plain truth that the power
>>given in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to grant (or
>>deny) to authors and inventors "exclusive right" to their
>>works, was intended to cover products that do not
>>intrinsically bind up the very means of communication and of
>>our participation in civil society, we instead are
>>experiencing a social condition wherein monopoly interests
>>exploit the fluidity of logical products to evade the very
>>terms of antitrust law and to assure that the public's
>>ordinary rights do not gain purchase against their
>>interests.  Antitrust law is all about competition in a
>>particular product, but software is as amorphous in its
>>possibilities as our own vaunted power to think.  Thus
>>Microsoft easily maintains it is not in the browser market,
>>competing with Netscape; it is, rather, in the market for
>>"innovative operating systems."
>>We are now seeing just how "innovative" that operating
>>system can really be.
>>If we do not confront the ludicrousness of the idea of
>>holding a patent of this nature, and the outrageousness of
>>our courts' failure to confront the truth about what holding
>>market power in the field of informatin products really
>>means, we will soon be free to speak and think -- only so
>>long as we don't use our computers to do it.
>>Thus, in the name of exclusive rights, Microsoft is serving
>>old world publishing interests, acting by means of legal
>>fictions to assure that citizens who seek to further the
>>prospects of information technology, will be inexorably
>>locked into the role of information consumers, blocked from
>>exercising their own tools in full accordance with the
>>rights that our Constitution supposedly guards.
>>We are *all* information producers, whether we manifest this
>>as a routine, inalienable part of the ordinary rights we
>>exercise in our everyday lives, or whether we engage
>>ourselves in the present, increasingly desperate and furtive
>>struggle to guard commercial interests by restricting the
>>use of information delivered in digital form.
>>We have always been information producers, and we must not
>>accede to the interests of those who do not regard the
>>public at large as full and equal citizens, but rather as
>>mere consumers.
>>Seth Johnson
>>Committee for Independent Technology
>>December 14, 2001
>>Information Producers Initiative:
>>>  -------- Original Message --------
>>>  Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 23:18:08 -0800
>>>  From: John Young <jya@PIPELINE.COM>
>>>  Microsoft's patent for a Digital Rights Management
>>>  Operating System was awarded yesterday:
>>>    http://cryptome.org/ms-drm-os.htm
>>>  Abstract
>>>  A digital rights management operating system protects
>>>  rights-managed data, such as downloaded content, from
>>>  access by untrusted programs while the data is loaded
>>>  into memory or on a page file as a result of the
>>>  execution of a trusted application that accesses the
>>>  memory. To protect the rights-managed data resident in
>>>  memory, the digital rights management operating system
>>>  refuses to load an untrusted program into memory while
>>>  the trusted application is executing or removes the
>>>  data from memory before loading the untrusted program.
>>>  If the untrusted program executes at the operating
>>>  system level, such as a debugger, the digital rights
>>>  management operating system renounces a trusted identity
>>>  created for it by the computer processor when the
>>>  computer was booted.  To protect the rights-managed data
>>>  on the page file, the digital rights management
>>>  operating system prohibits raw access to the page file,
>>>  or erases the data from the page file before allowing
>>>  such access.  Alternatively, the digital rights
>>>  management operating system can encrypt the
>>>  rights-managed data prior to writing it to the page
>>>  file.  The digital rights management operating system
>>>  also limits the functions the user can perform on the
>>>  rights-managed data and the trusted application, and
>>  > can provide a trusted clock used in place of the
>>>  standard computer clock.
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>Francis Heylighen
>co-director Center "Leo Apostel"
>Free University of Brussels
>http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/HEYL.html    (02)