"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
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