I was going to write a post called 'Tyranny of the Storytellers' when I realised I had said it before in my first week of blogging
Too often the best storyteller for a particular audience can win out over someone who is constrained to telling the truth. A current example is the DRM debacle. Any competent engineer knows that the notion of locking up content from those who purchase it and view it on their own computers is technically impossible (setting aside the moral bankruptcy for a minute). The 'content owners' so much want this to be true that they are creating a market for snake-oil that appears to give them what they dream of. Which I suppose is poetic justice of a sort.
This was before I predicted class action lawsuits and criminal prosecutions against Audio CD DRM foolishness.
And so to this weeks iteration. Lloyd Shepherd said
let's face it: we're going to have to have some DRM. [...]it's clear that the people who make the consumer technology that ordinary people actually use - the Microsofts and Apples of the world - have already accepted and embraced this. The argument has already moved on.
why the hell does Apple, Microsoft and other Bigs using DRM mean that it's good or that it's "won" a damn thing? Hey, they sucked up to Hollywood for distribution of mass-media Hollywood-type crap. And they're going to screw it up, too. You'll go to Google for your CBS, Apple for your NBC and Microsoft for your ABC. The old sources will be distributed through a mess of incompatible systems, each isolated by their own DRM, and will flush their costly, inefficient and ossified old industry into the hell we've had on the Net with instant messaging for the duration.
Shelley returns with:
by saying that "all DRM is evil" and that only recourse we have is to keep the Internet completely free, and only with independents will we win and we will win, oh yes we will–this not only disregards the actuality of what’s happening now, it also disregards that at times, DRM can be helpful for those not as well versed in internet technologies.(much more in her comments).
Also Charles Eicher replied to my APIG submission.
His discussion of the Church-Turing thesis is one built on a rebuttal to the extended version of it put forth by Kurzweil and Wolfram to imply that the human brain and the universe are bound by universal computability. While these are fascinating ideas, I am talking about computers, and he concedes that "a computer is defined as a device that can run computer programs.", then handwaves about quantum computing, while misunderstanding that in order to view encrypted media, you need to decode it into a viewable form.
To this I respond "Eppur si muove" - emulation has been doing a fine job in preserving digital works, and will continue to do so, with Moore's law making it easier.
His 'DRM is fine in private contracts' argument would be reasonable were this what is being proposed, but it is not - the DMCA, Broadcast Flag and other proposed legislation privileges DRM with summary powers to limit fair use, and criminalise circumventing it. Many can and do reject DRM contracts, which is why DRM proponents resort to subterfuge and laws attempting to restore the kind of monopoly control of publication the Statute of Anne abolished.