Cylons explain DRM


Z sez, "LonelyCylon15 (an ongoing YouTube project edited by ChurchHatesTucker) explains why DRM is a bad idea." Link (Thanks, Z!)

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  1. Yayy!!! Count me as one Laidback with the robots on this one! Decrypting things for no good reason is computationally irresponsible.

  2. It’s all just bits. That’s right.

    Will you be sending us your banking information now, Cory? It’s all just bits.

  3. The video is wonderful, even with its vagueness in its explanations. Specifically, it would have been nice if the first reason mentioned that “because it is our nature to copy data – and DRM aims to stop that – there will always be a way around it, because we need to function.”

  4. They could have gotten the voice a little closer.
    If you present Cylons you’d best sound like ’em.

  5. Brit, my banking bits are no easier to DRM than any other bits. That’s precisely WHY I won’t be sending you my bits. I’ll be keeping them a secret, right here.

    The thing about DRM is that it presumes that I can send you some bits and then keep you from knowing what they are and copying them. This isn’t a very plausible thing to believe.

  6. Hate to be hating but I have to agree with #5. Cylon voice is preset number 1 on every single software vocoder out there.

  7. LSK, yeah, I struggled with finding the proper balance.

    Strider & Smegoid, Larry doesn’t do presets.

  8. Despite the fact this is a different model of Cylon (obviously, it has a different voice chip DUH) the Cylon is down with our cause! Why because you can’t compute that way, literally. Miscommunication can result and well then babies die and mothers cry… and whole worlds get nuked.

  9. It won’t matter once they win. ‘Cause when the robots win, we’ll have to listen to techno. And techno isn’t worth protecting with DRM.

  10. Re: Cory #6
    Brit, my banking bits are no easier to DRM than any other bits.

    I guess I don’t follow what you’re saying.

    My complaint was that halfway through the video, he tries to reduce digital content to “special bits” that “should not be copied”, and says this is all wrong. Calling digitial media “special bits” – while showing a 24-bit number – attempts to confuse a simple binary sequence with complex digital media. To me, it’s a little bit like calling human beings, “just a configuration of atoms”; it’s overly reductionistic. The obvious purpose is to lead the listener down a particular pathway of thought. It’s absurd to think a 24-bit number can be controlled, so they try to get people thinking of digital media as a 24-bit number. (Similarly, if I could get people to think of human beings as just a particular configuration of atoms, then I could legitimize all kinds of crimes – murder, theft, etc – because we don’t think of crimes as crimes when they happens to “configurations of atoms”.) My point being: if you can get people to think a certain way (in both cases, an erroneously reductionistic way), then you can push forward a bunch of wrong ideas on top of it.

    In fact, if we take the Cylon’s argument seriously, then all copyright laws should be abolished, including Creative Commons because they are attempts to control “bits”, and therefore completely wrong. Yet, BoingBoing puts BBTV under a Creative Commons non-commercial/attribution license. Based on the cylon’s logic, who is BoingBoing to tell me what I can do with a bunch of bits? Who is BoingBoing to tell me that certain bits can’t be sold, or must be attributed to BoingBoing?

  11. Bits is bits, Brit. Everything else is a social fiction. You are free to subscribe to whichever one you like.

    It might be worth noting, though, that the numbers used in my vid aren’t that much smaller than the HD-DVD code (09 F9…) that caused such an uproar a while back.

  12. Brit – the Creative Commons license embraces the copyability of bits, it encourages copying and distributing; DRM schemes try to deny that copyability, the argument behind the video is that because at a deep and fundamental level copying bits is almost all that computers do, DRM is necessarily NEVER GOING TO WORK; the problems that it has now, it will always have – they are inherent.

    Come see the problems inherent in the system! Help, help, we’re being repressed!

    (I’m about one Monty Python reference away from being banned from the intertubes)

  13. I find it curious how often the youtube videos embedded in BoingBoing posts show “this video is no longer available” when clicked, even though going to their URL you can see that they’re clearly there and proceed to watch them from the youtube page.

    Is this just some muckup in Youtube’s service?

  14. Bits is bits, Brit. Everything else is a social fiction.

    Yeah, right. The idea that there should be a free-for-all on Petabytes of digital content is the fiction. Care to upload your diary to the internet, Church? Your social security number? It’s “just” bits.

    Your argument is also the reason I pointed out that Cory should give us his banking details – hey, bits are bits, right?

    It might be worth noting, though, that the numbers used in my vid aren’t that much smaller than the HD-DVD code (09 F9…) that caused such an uproar a while back.

    I’m unclear on your point. The important part was never the 09 F9… code. It was the massive amounts of data (in the Tera/Petabytes) that it was protecting. The point of your argument is that those Terabytes of data are somehow equivalent to a 24-bit code. A single DVD holds 4.6 Gigabytes of data, that’s upto 36,800,000,000 bits per DVD – compared to your 24 bits.

    the Creative Commons license embraces the copyability of bits, it encourages copying and distributing

    First of all, it’s inconsistent to claim that “bits are bits”, but now claim that the relevant issue is that it “encourages copying and distributing”. By stepping away from the conceptual argument (bits are bits) to a social-benefit argument (“encourages copying and distributing”), you’re not very far from the social-benefit argument for copyright (protecting copyright is essential to providing authors with legal protection for their works – laws which prevent theft of their works, and thereby the ability to make a profit from the fruit of their own labor).

    Either way, both arguments are a bust –

    If we remain with the original “bits are bits”, then BoingBoing has no special right or control over their BBTV content because they have no more right to those bits than anyone else on earth. They have no right to tell anyone not to charge money for it, and no right to tell people to attribute it to them. Under the “bits are bits” belief, creative commons are, at best, a suggestion with no possible legal standing whatsoever.

    The argument that Creative Commons “encourages copying and distributing” is also wrong. Non-commercial/attribution limits what you can do with those bits. How does preventing third-parties from making money off of someone’s digital content encourage copying and distributing? It’s still out there for free even if some company makes money off it. The money-making incentive encourages them to market it. (Take, for example, the street vendors in many third world countries, selling pirated copies of expensive software for a few dollars. Would they sell it if they couldn’t make a few bucks?) So, how does non-commercial creative commons “encourage copying and distributing”? I think the answer is clear: it doesn’t. It harms it. However, we all feel insulted by the idea of some freeloading third-party pirating someone else’s work and making money off it. (But, why should you feel insulted – bits are bits, right?) Of course, once you acknowledge that it is insulting, you’ve just shot down your own argument about bits being “just” bits.

    DRM schemes try to deny that copyability

    I didn’t say anything about DRM. I talked about the absurdity of the idea that all people have a right to free access to all digital media (which is the argument in the middle of the video).

    the argument behind the video is that because at a deep and fundamental level copying bits is almost all that computers do

    What does that have to do with anything? Cars burn gas, does that mean I can siphon gas from your gas tank for my car? The argument relies on mental games.

  15. I see your problem now. You think that because I link to something on Boing Boing, I agree with every single possible word, and every interpretation of every single possible word, in it.

    I don’t.

    There, that was easy.

  16. Wow, an alliance with the cylons is less than two weeks old and they’re already doing PSAs?

  17. Brit, the point is that using technological means to attempt to enforce a social norm is bad engineering.

    If you want to argue about what those norms are or should be, I’m game, but it’s a separate discussion. You can be a copyright maximalist and still recognize that DRM is inherently problematic.

  18. Airpillo said:

    I find it curious how often the youtube videos embedded in BoingBoing posts show “this video is no longer available” when clicked, even though going to their URL you can see that they’re clearly there and proceed to watch them from the youtube page.

    I actually stopped to read the comments on this post in order to say exactly the same thing.

  19. Airpillo & others: It’s a YouTube thing, as far as I can tell. It happens to me all the time, and not just on BoingBoing.

  20. Lol, I like it….and I like the point that trying to operate a system to prevent copying on equipment that operates through the means of copying is sort of funny…..if I cover my hammer with a soft fluffy pad then it wont hurt if I hit you with it by mistake…..true, but what use then is the hammer?

    As for the discussion that follows the vid…..

    One point is that DRM is a bad idea from the perspective of technology and impact…that makes sense…the other point is that illegal copying is bad from the perspective of ownership and copyright…makes sense too…
    Sadly, because we live in a (western) world that only cares about how best to make us spend our money (and only cares about us at all if we have some to spend), and then wants to make sure that we spend as much as possible this year (and more next year…(AMEN!))…quick and dirty (technology) solutions that we can implement now are always the preferred route…it would take a lot longer to change society to teach children the meaning of responsibility…especially as a greater understanding of responsibility would likely mean nasty demographic and marketing issues (no longer one big herd of “individuals”) …

    So, clearly, (cause we cant possibly achieve this change in time for next years EBITDA, OIBITDA BRUHAHA), what we need, therefore, is more laws, and more punishment for the evildoing folks that break them!!!! Yaay!!!

    (I am anonymously here and then I am anonymously gone…if you really want to know who posted this, then you should work for the government…..if you do, dont you feel great to have the power)

  21. “Lol, I like it….and I like the point that trying to operate a system to prevent copying on equipment that operates through the means of copying is sort of funny…..if I cover my hammer with a soft fluffy pad then it wont hurt if I hit you with it by mistake…..true, but what use then is the hammer?”

    I am so going to steal those bits…

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