DRM down under

Source: DRM down under

The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) is Australia’s Federal Government-funded public broadcaster, and has responsibilities under the ABC Act 1983 to provide services to the Australian people.

The new ABC Shop has recently launched, with downloads of TV programs made available — but only to Windows users willing to install Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) software on their computers. Like the BBC iPlayer, and Channel Four’s “4OD”, ABC is using the Kontiki platform — Kontiki uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver the show to other people, so as well as locking you into its restrictions, ABC is using your computer, and your internet connection, to distribute programs.

ABC claims it has a commitment to “respecting legitimate rights to privacy and confidentiality”, yet it is well-known that DRM is vehemently anti-privacy, and forcing Australian citizens to install proprietary, secret software from foreign corporations does not seem a good way to uphold privacy of its viewers.

We do not object to ABC charging money to download programs, only to their use of DRM. DRM isn’t necessary for enabling sustainable production and distribution of media — you don’t have to look any further than our own guide to DRM-free living to see that plenty of artists and businesses are doing it.

Please contact ABC Online, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Telephone ACMA (toll free) on 1-800-22-6667 or write to them at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building, NSW 1230. If you’re sending any emails, please CC them to us as well at info@defectivebydesign.org.

Let the ABC know you’re writing to them from Defective by Design and that you don’t want these restrictions on programs you’ve downloaded!

Point out that the DRM:

  • locks out people who use free software. A public service should not require citizens to install software that takes away their freedom in order to access that service.
  • forces ABC, a public broadcast service, to become dependent on Kontiki and Microsoft — private, proprietary, secretive and profit-motivated corporations. These corporations, by turning off their DRM systems, can deny people access to the media permanently. This has already happened with Google Video, Major League Baseball, and others.
  • prevents citizens from making legitimate use of the media they’ve funded, such as taking clips for reviews and articles, or sharing interesting programs with friends.

Thanks to Andrew for bringing this to our attention. We try to keep up to date on as many things as we can, but we rely on readers and supporters to keep us informed and tip us off about things like this. Please keep sending tips and updates to info@defectivebydesign.org.

Peaks and troughs

I’ve been lacking the motivation to write something with substance, I think the main factor is that my friends returned to work last week and I’m not really keen to work in the public service anymore, at times I really enjoyed working in secondary schools but things are actually getting worse, they’ve introduced the orange card and I’m not sure whats happening with the pedagogical drivers license, hopefully teachers fully reject it.

I don’t want to turn this into a rant so here’s some thinking music. I set it to autostart because apparently Interactive, collaborative, immersive environments powered by hypermedia engines and artificially intelligent agents like my blog are the future. I thought our children were the future. You might like to know that the Semantic web is a pipedream but only if you own this patent, that actually looks like a step backwards. I remember the first time I tried to write an academic paper.

Anyway I’ll try to get my perirhinal cortex and other medial temporal structures to function properly. Hopefully caffeine will do the trick.


Download Ogg “Red Nebula : cent raisons – Les Yeux Fermés – partie II”
Check out the Album.

Edit: Autostart off

Teachers and Social Responsibility

There’s some really nice software for teaching game making as a way to teach young students programming and mathematics like Squeak which is also the programming environment that serves as Croquet’s foundation. My research is here. But there’s more.

Kay and Papert consider Croquet and Squeak just one part of the two parts necessary to help humanity. They hope that Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop effort, which they co-developed with him, will help distribute such learning, discovery, and communication software for youth around the world to use to supplement and improve the students’ own learning environments. In turn, they hope that these students’ discoveries and “powerful ideas” can be self-published by the same interconnected software to be made available to the rest of civilization.

Earlier today I discovered something that I never would have expected, its a very long story and I think its better to keep looking forward.

Bill Kerr joins the Free Software Foundation.

So kids, Happy Learning.

Eben Moglen: A message about the Free Software Foundation

From www.FSF.org:

Watch a video appeal from Eben Moglen, Board member and General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation, covering the Novell and Microsoft deal, GPLv3, the FSF’s campaign against DRM (DefectiveByDesign.org) and software patents. You can help us save bandwidth by downloading from Internet Archive and Coral Cache.

From the video:

Freedom is more precious than anything else we have and we need to protect it while we still can.

Codev2 and Eben Inspiration

Lawrence Lessig updated his book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace“. Download Codev2.

Recenlty we read Eben Moglens speech “Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture” and now lets check out his keynote address, titled “Software and Community in the Early 21st Century” presented at Plone Conference 2006 on October 25, 2006 in Seattle, WA. You can read the transcript by Geof Glass on his blog “Eben Moglen on Free Software and Social Justice“.

Heres a look at some of what he said.

We have brought forward now the possibility of distributing everything that every public education system uses freely everywhere to everyone: true universal public education for the first time.

You and I, and the people who came before us, have been rolling a very large rock uphill a very long time. We wanted freedom of knowledge in a world that didn’t give it, which burned people for their scientific or religious beliefs. We wanted democracy, by which we meant originally the rule of the many by the many, and the subjection of today’s rulers to the force of law. And we wanted a world in which distinctions among persons were based not on the color of skin, or even the content of character, but just the choices that people make in their own lives. We wanted the poor to have enough, and the rich to cease to suffer from the diseases of too much. We wanted a world in which everybody had a roof, and everybody had enough to eat, and all the children went to school. And we were told, always, that it was impossible.

In other words, the free world now produces technology whose ability to reorient power in the larger traditional economy is very great. We have magnets; we can move the iron filings around. We can also change the infrastructure of social life. That OLPC has every textbook on earth. That OLPC is a free MIT education. That OLPC is a hand-powered thick-net router. When you close the lid as a kid and put it in the shelf at night, the main CPU shuts down – but the 802.11 gear stays running all night long on the last few pulls of the string. And it routes packets all night long and it keeps the mesh. The village is a mesh when the kids have green or purple or orange boxes. And all you need’s a downspout somewhere, and the village is on the Net. And when the village is on the Net, everybody in the village is a producer of something: services, knowledge, culture, art, YouTube TV.

But a little more political consciousness about it and a more attempt to get other people to understand not just “what” but “why” would help a lot. Because people are getting used to the “what”.

“Oh yeah, Firefox, I use it all the time.”


“Why, cuz Internet…”

“No no no no no. Not why do you use it, why does it exist?”

“Oh I dunno, some people did it.”

That’s the moment, all right, that’s the moment, that’s the one where that annoying Stallman voice should enter the mind, okay. Free As In Freedom, Free As In Freedom, tell people it’s free as in freedom. Tell them that if you don’t tell them anything else. Because they need to know.

We’ve spent a long time hunting for freedom. Many of us lost our lives trying to get it more than once. We have sacrificed a great deal for generations, and the people who have sacrificed most we honor most when we can remember them. And some of them have been entirely forgotten. Some of us are likely to be forgotten too. And the sacrifices we make aren’t all going to go with monuments and honors. But they’re all going to contribute to the end. The end is a good end if we do it right. We have been looking for freedom for a very long time. The difference is, this time, we win.

Visit the Internet Archive to download the video/audio. You have to check this one out.

Freeing the Mind

Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture – Eben Moglen*

Free Thinking

I’ve been thinking about Libre Software and networked learning. I revisited a speech given by Eben Moglen back in 2003. It makes much more sense to read the whole speech but lets look at some of what he said.

The conversion to digital technology means that every work of utility or beauty, every computer program, every piece of music, every piece of visual or literary art, every piece of video, every useful piece of information–train schedule, university curriculum, map, chart–every piece of useful or beautiful information can be distributed to everybody at the same cost that it can be distributed to anybody. For the first time in human history, we face an economy in which the most important goods have zero marginal cost. And the transformation to digital methods of production and distribution therefore poses to the twenty-first century a fundamental moral problem. If I can provide to everyone all goods of intellectual value or beauty, for the same price that I can provide the first copy of those works to anyone, why is it ever moral to exclude anyone from anything? If you could feed everyone on earth at the cost of baking one loaf and pressing a button, what would be the moral case for charging more for bread than some people could afford to pay? This represents the difficulty at which we find ourselves straining at the opening of the twenty-first century.

Vast institutions are committed to the social philosophy that only exclusionary practices inevitably involving the large-scale continuance of unnecessary ignorance are essential to the production of useful information. Vast economic rents are being extracted from the world, and enormous numbers of people are going unfulfilled in intellectual and aesthetic needs that we can provide for. One inevitable consequence of the continuance of that approach is that people are forbidden to share.

When I began working as a computer programmer for pay, in the early 1970s, there was a goal. Software developers had a purpose. The purpose was embodied in a four-word phrase: “Write once, run everywhere.” It meant, develop software which can be made to run on all of the hardware that even then rather heterogeneously populated society. It was, from the point of view of venture-capital funded, profit-making, investor-owned industries, an impossible goal, never achieved. We did it. GNU, Linux, and all the other thousands of programs in the free software world, run, as Rita correctly said, on everything. From the palmtop, the cell phone, and the single-purpose appliance–like the digital camera and the personal video recorder–to the mainframe. There was one purpose to software engineering overall throughout my lifetime, and we did it. The best-funded monopoly in the history of the world does not even try.

Thus we observe the new political economy of software. If you have a network and you share, you can achieve the ethical goal of allowing everybody to understand, to improve, to find and fix bugs, to create better software, and to share information in a way that allows them to improve their technical skills. Free software is the single greatest technical library on earth. I say that because free software is the only field where a person can go from naiveté, to the state of the art, in everything that a particular field contains, solely by reading material that is universally available at no cost everywhere the network exists. That is the single, greatest intellectual capital development program in the world. The legal system that makes that possible, the GNU General Public License, with which I have some intimate experience, achieves the creation of a greater and more extensive knowledge exchange program than any other in the world, at no cost. When my colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to put their entire curriculum on the web–every course, every teaching material, every problem set, every examination–they were adopting the recognition that the principle of Western science, the principle of free software, and the principle of non-exclusion are the path of development for the twenty-first century, a proposition which has its capitalist echo in the behavior of IBM. But for a moment, I just want to concentrate your attention on the moral and political dimension of that activity.

This is the free software movement. I want to be very clear about that. The idea of “Open Source Software” is software that people can read, and I am for that. But it is important to understand that that inadequately describes what we were trying to do, or why. Dylan Thomas refers in “The Child’s Christmas in Wales” to the ideal Christmas present of the book that told everything about the wasp, except why. This is, from my point of view, the problem with the discussion about Open Source: it tells you everything, except why. I have now told you why.

For this reason, again I want to point out that the phrase “Open Source” does not capture what is really happening. What we are actually deciding is whether to free the network to be a network, or to control the network as a form of broadcasting–a form of proprietary distribution by a few favored individuals in which the remaining individuals are regarded as–the phrase is so familiar it rolls off the tongue without a second look–consumers. Meaning, non-producers, non-creators. We have become so accustomed to that model of that understanding of the human mind–that a few people create and the others consume–that we do not even recognize when we say it what it implies about the people in general. How anti-democratic our basic assumption is: there are some creators, and there are consumers. This is the moral question of the age. We mean to solve it. By freeing the technology that runs the network, we change the way the network operates as a connector of human minds. That’s the goal.

I hope find time to read the whole thing. The original image by by paul goyette AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved.

Its NOT free trade if there is an agreement

Australia is about to be turned into a prison colony again.

The $65,000 question: do you own an iPod?

Owning an iPod, camera phone or a DVD recorder might be enough to land you in jail or lumbered with a large fine under the Federal Government’s proposed new changes to the copyright laws, experts warn.

As you know I’m a big fan of Free Software, Free Knowledge and Free Culture and the word Free is used because the person is free, its not a matter of zero price so I’m disgusted about how corrupt politicians try to get away with making stupid laws but this one wont really hurt me, I hope this will push you to explore the free world because you can make authorized copies of all the works and won’t have to deal with this problem besides all that do you really enjoy being a consumer of all that watered down phony read only once crap.

Draconian Anti-Piracy Law Looms Over Australia

From Slashdot: “Draconian Anti-Piracy Law Looms Over Australia

ccozan writes to tell us of a law being rushed through the Australian legislature that would criminalize great swaths of the citizenry. The Internet Industry Association of Australia is posting warning scenarios spelling out how far-reaching this law would be. From the release: “A family who holds a birthday picnic in a place of public entertainment (for example, the grounds of a zoo) and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ in a manner that can be heard by others, risks an infringement notice carrying a fine of up to $1,320. If they make a video recording of the event, they risk a further fine for the possession of a device for the purpose of making an infringing copy of a song… The US Free Trade Agreement does not require Australia to go down this path, and neither US nor European law contain such far-reaching measures. We are at a total loss to understand how this policy has developed, who is behind it and why there is such haste in enacting it into law — with little if any public debate.”

Read more about these issues on lucychillis blog.