Sunday, June 20, 2004

Incredibly interesting speech for Microsoft about DRM. It's terribly long, some pices are copied below:

"we begin to realize what I think of as Schneier's Law: 'any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can't think of how to break it.' This means that the only experimental methodology for discovering if you've made mistakes in your cipher is to tell all the smart people you can about it and ask them to think of ways to break it. Without this critical step, you'll eventually end up living in a fool's paradise, where your attacker has broken your cipher ages ago and is quietly decrypting all her intercepts of your messages, snickering at you."

"In DRM, the attacker is *also the recipient*. It's not Alice and
Bob and Carol, it's just Alice and Bob. Alice sells Bob a DVD.
She sells Bob a DVD player. The DVD has a movie on it -- say,
Pirates of the Caribbean -- and it's enciphered with an algorithm
called CSS -- Content Scrambling System. The DVD player has a CSS un-scrambler."

"It's a bad business. DVD is a format where the guy who makes the
records gets to design the record players. Ask yourself: how much
innovation has there been over the past decade of DVD players?
They've gotten cheaper and smaller, but where are the weird and
amazing new markets for DVD that were opened up by the VCR?"

Jack Valenti, the mouthpiece for the motion-picture industry,
told Congress in 1982 that the VCR was to the American film
industry "as the Boston Strangler is to a woman home alone."

But the Supreme Court ruled against Hollywood in 1984, when it
determined that any device capable of a substantial
non-infringing use was legal. In other words, "We don't buy this
Boston Strangler business: if your business model can't survive
the emergence of this general-purpose tool, it's time to get
another business-model or go broke."

At the heyday of Napster, record
execs used to show up at conferences and tell everyone that
Napster was doomed because no one wanted lossily compressed MP3s with no liner notes and truncated files and misspelled metadata.

Today we hear ebook publishers tell each other and anyone who'll
listen that the barrier to ebooks is screen resolution. It's
bollocks, and so is the whole sermonette about how nice a book
looks on your bookcase and how nice it smells and how easy it is
to slip into the tub. These are obvious and untrue things, like
the idea that radio will catch on once they figure out how to
sell you hotdogs during the intermission, or that movies will
really hit their stride when we can figure out how to bring the
actors out for an encore when the film's run out. Or that what
the Protestant Reformation really needs is Luther Bibles with
facsimile illumination in the margin and a rent-a-priest to read
aloud from your personal Word of God.

Sony didn't make a Betamax that only played the movies that
Hollywood was willing to permit -- Hollywood asked them to do it,
they proposed an early, analog broadcast flag that VCRs could
hunt for and respond to by disabling recording. Sony ignored them
and made the product they thought their customers wanted.

When Mako Analysis issued their report last month advising phone
companies to stop supporting Symbian phones, they were just
writing the latest installment in this story. Mako says that
phones like my P900, which can play MP3s as ringtones, are bad
for the cellphone economy, because it'll put the extortionate
ringtone sellers out of business. What Mako is saying is that
just because you bought the CD doesn't mean that you should
expect to have the ability to listen to it on your MP3 player,
and just because it plays on your MP3 player is no reason to
expect it to run as a ringtone. I wonder how they feel about
alarm clocks that will play a CD to wake you up in the morning?
Is that strangling the nascent "alarm tone" market?

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