Suw Charman, as well as presenting for the Open Rights Group, also took phenomenally extensive notes
A few selected quotes, focused on the 'code as law' and 'missing leeway' aspects of DRM:
From my previous submission:
The second principle is the core one of jurisprudence - that due process is a requirement before punishment. I know the Prime Minister has defended devolving summary justice to police constables, but the DRM proponents want to devolve it to computers. The fine details of copyright law have been debated and redefined for centuries, yet the DRM advocates assert that the same computers you wouldn't trust to check your grammar can somehow substitute for the entire legal system in determining and enforcing copyright law.
Each computers' immanent ability to become any kind of machine and the copying of data that happens as part of this, leads the DRM advocates naturally to the point where they want to outlaw computers, or to take them over by stealth, using virus-like techniques.
The reductio ad absurdum of this is to privilege DRM implementers in law above the owners of the computers on which their software runs, without their effective consent. Sadly, this is exactly what is being demanded by the publishers' lobby.
Suw for ORG:
DRM over-enforces the law. It reaches beyond the copy restrictions enshrined in copyright law; restricts fair and legitimate uses of legally acquired materials; and sometimes revokes or reduces ‘rights’ after purchase. It destroys the balance between private interest and public good and damages the public shared culture in our libraries.
DRM limits consumer’s ability to enjoy legitimately purchased materials and punishes behaviour seen by the majority as normal. The industry’s pushes towards more restrictive legislation will serve to do nothing more than criminalise more people. Yet the lawsuits which will clog the courts will do nothing to change people’s behaviour, because they believe what they are doing is fair and reasonable.
Q: If the public understood that DRM was to manage piracy, maybe they’d understand, but they see it as restricting private use. How do you reconcile that?
A: Balance between what people perceive they are entitled to do, and what they actually are. In the past, rights holders have ignored some usage, because it didn’t harm them. But with digital technology, it is damaging, and a new contract needs to be reached with the consumer so they understand what they can and can’t do.
This explicitly states the 'we get to decide what the law is' problem of DRM enforcement.
Simon Wheeler (Beggars Banquet):
As one of the only content owners at this session, we’ve had several licences with insecure businesses and our physical businesses has grown. We choose not to copy protect our CDs, in that we are trying to build trust with the audience, and build loyalty, and in return they respect our rights. Instead of trying to lock things down, which we don’t believe is acceptable, we are trying to go down the third way of building that trust. Companies that do try to lock down music on to CD, and the Sony-BMG rootkit is the most notorious example, and we think they are hurting the business as a whole. We have an obligation to deliver music to our users and consumers, and if we don’t make it available to them they will get it any way possible.
There’s a wide range of opinions throughout the industry and sometimes what you’re hearing and seeing, the loudest voice, is not representative of the industry.
Q: What happens if DRM comes under attack from consumers?
A: We have a proprietary DRM system, we can set the rules, it’s very flexible. But it is fair to say that if we were in a position that we were not able to distribute content with DRM we would have no business.
Note who sets the rules (hint, it's not 300 years of common law precedent in copyright law).
Q: Problem for libraries, is they need to get access after the DRM has become obsolete, and after copyright expired. Could you see a method enabling that?
A: If you’re a library, you want a database of everything that’s ever been recorded and there’s no reason why that can’t be made available to the publc. I would object, however, if they had all our books and made them available in the clear to the public.
Call me old-fashioned, but I thought that was the definition of a library.
Q: Your DRM helps the customer behave legally?
A: Well there’s been some discussion that the consumers don’t understand what their legal rights are, and that there are accepted practices. Benefits of DRM is that it allow people to do what they are allowed to do and no more, so they don’t need to know what the law is.
Again, the assertion that a) copyright law has hard edges and b) that computers can enforce it. Remarkable.
Publishers Association, Periodical Publishers Association:
Q: You can see why noninteroperabilties would be a commercial benefit to some parts of the chain. Is the driving force going to be interoperability?
A: We share some views with the Open Rights Group. Suw highlighted the problems of some companies locking people into to some platforms, but then you made the point of what if the customer rejects this DRM by not buying. In a sense that is the solution. It’s proper that customers should be able to say ‘I don’t like this, I won’t buy it’. That’s a right that the customer has, and industry can create several business models and one will succeed.
We are committed to interoperability and the key is open standards. As an industry we’re opposed to allowing any one tech interest to become a gatekeeper, who can impose themselves between us and our customers.
Louise Ferguson(?) consumer:
As more consumers, and we’re not just consumers, we are citizens who create our own content. Offcom recognises that consumers are creators, but all the systems we see at the moment deny this fact, and any approach to future policy should accept that we are not just passive consumers of corporate content.
FIPR - Ross Anderson:
Someone remarked that the industries [? indies] are getting more power, and I suspect this is because the indies have higher internal rate of return, because they are smaller, and this is more in line with artist aspirations, and this lines up with the public, selling for more money with more rights given to the consumer, rather than cheaper with less rights that the majors do.
Q: What can we do with legislation?
A: Revisit the contract terms legislation, because people have to sign EULAs. Also, look at fruit of the poisoned tree clauses, e.g. clause 42 of the patent act. So you could have a rule saying that you lose your legal protection if your DRM abuses people’s rights.
That would be feasible under current framework.
Now that would be a good restraint on the enforcement over-reach discussed above.
More information on previous submissions at the ORG wiki.