Friday, May 16, 2014

There needs to be a balance! DRM is not the way towards that goal.

This message was sent by me today to Mozilla's CTO in response to the recent announcement of Mozilla's strategy to implement DRM technologies in their popular Firefox web browser. Please read below my opinions on that topic and consider writting to Andreas Gal with your opinions as well. You can read more about the issue at the FSF website.

Andreas Gal, (Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering at Mozilla)

When copyright law is concerned, we must remember that there must be a balance between the rights of copyright owners and the benefits to society at large.
There are certain uses of a copyrighted work that its copyright holders are allowed to inhibit society from doing based on their interests. That's OK. There are other uses, though, that society can enjoy without the need for explicit authorization from the copyright holder. That's for a reason: Copyright law is not absolute. There are necessarily limits to its scope and thus there are limits to copyright holders power.

DRM mechanisms are algorithmic implementations of the copyright holders intentions. Given that the copyright holders tipically do not want society at large to enjoy the work in any way that is different from what is encoded into the implemented DRM algorithms of their choice, then it is clear that such restrictions can only be enforced effectively by implementing DRM as proprietary software, so that the users have no way of getting rid of the imposed restrictions. Such restrictions apply forcefully even when not supported by the law. Actually, the trend to use criptography to strengthen such restrictions demonstrate how hard copyright holders are willing to impose powers they do not fully possess according to copyright law. As said before, copyright law (and the power it gives to copyright holders) is not abolute. Even when society needs to benefit from a copyrighted work in a way that would be considered perfectly legal according to the copyright scope limitations prescribed in law, DRM still inflexibly blocks such legitimate attempts of enjoying the work.

As pointed out by Lawrence Lessig: "Code is Law". For this reason, we must reject DRM technologies, as it disrespects the rights of the computer users. That is... DRM-encumbered works sistematically disrespect the rights of society at large to legally enjoy such works in ways prescribed by copyright law.

Please. For the sake of respect for the users of Mozilla products, please reconsider Mozilla's stance on this matter.

Felipe Sanches
software freedom activist & developer
São Paulo, Brazil

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:56 AM

    Obrigado pela mensagem. Pessoas como você são extremamente importantes.