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Linux Journal: SDMI or not?

Sep 21, 2000, 01:17 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Don Marti)

[ Thanks to Don Marti for this link. ]

"There has never been a better time than today to be in a garage band. Music-sharing Net-freaks and digital rights management mongers have begun an epic battle to choose the replacement for the much-maligned 20th century record company system. Both sides offer musicians a direct, two-way conversation with fans. Both sides claim they can give more musicians a decent living, and make a wider variety of music available, than the current music industry does. Both sides are probably right."

"So, it's up to the independent musicians now. They can choose to work with the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), which purports to restrict copying music to guarantee payment from listeners, or they can choose to release SDMI-free music -- and trust the fans to be good and support them somehow."

"Hackers and Linux users are naturally suspicious of schemes like SDMI because we don't trust technology promoted by copyright holders to allow reasonable fair use of copyrighted material. In a recent lawsuit in New York, movie studios successfully used a US law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to suppress DVD-decryption software developed as part of a project to view DVD movies on Linux systems. Jon Johansen, who worked on the DVD-decoding software, is wary of SDMI too. In response to my letter to SDMI executive director Leonardo Chiariglione in which I said that I would not participate in SDMI's hacking challenge and asked others to do the same, Johansen wrote:"

"Yes, I couldn't agree more. Like the movie industry, the music industry is trying to obtain total control over how we use our legally purchased content. However, they fail to realize why their friends in the movie industry failed to do so using CSS. It wasn't because someone needed to "show off their skills", "make some money" or "help shape the future of the online digital movie community" which is what the hacksdmi.org website tempts its visitors with. CSS failed because it was designed to allow the movie industry to tell its customers how, where and when they are allowed to use their content. The Free Software community would not, and never will, stand by and see their rights being taken away. It is thus impossible for us to contribute to enhance the same technologies that are designed to take our rights away."

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