EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA's DRM provisions

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the "Digital Rights Management" provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices. Read the rest

Modern Farmer on how the DMCA takes away farmers' rights over their tractors

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In spring, 2015, American farmers started to spread the word that John Deere claimed that a notorious copyright law gave the company exclusive dominion over repairs to Deere farm-equipment, making it a felony (punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense) to fix your own tractor. Read the rest

For 90 years, lightbulbs were designed to burn out. Now that's coming to LED bulbs.

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In 1924, representatives of the world's leading lightbulb manufacturers formed Phoebus, a cartel that fixed the average life of an incandescent bulb at 1,000 hours, ensuring that people would have to regularly buy bulbs and keep the manufacturers in business. Read the rest

Sign a book of congratulations for America's new Librarian of Congress

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John from Everylibrary writes, "Please join EveryLibrary in sending congratulations to Dr. Carla Hayden, our new Librarian of Congress, by signing below with your personal comment or reflection of congratulations along with your name. We will take all the signatures and comments made by midnight on Tuesday, July 20th and create a commemorative book for Dr. Hayden. We'll send the book, along with a nice bouquet from all of us, to her this week." Read the rest

Security researchers: the W3C's DRM needs to be thoroughly audited

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Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), part of a DRM system that's being standardized at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), marks the first instance in which a W3C standard will fall under laws like the DMCA, which let companies threaten security researchers with criminal and civil liability just for disclosing the defects in these products. Read the rest

As browsers decline in relevance, they're becoming DRM timebombs

My op-ed in today's issue of The Tech, MIT's leading newspaper, describes how browser vendors and the W3C, a standards body that's housed at MIT, are collaborating to make DRM part of the core standards for future browsers, and how their unwillingness to take even the most minimal steps to protect academics and innovators from the DMCA will put the MIT community in the crosshairs of corporate lawyers and government prosecutors. Read the rest

Tenant farmers: how "smart" agricultural equipment siphons off farmers' crop and soil data

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The agricultural sector is increasingly a data-driven business, where the "internet of farming" holds out the promise of highly optimized plowing, fertilizing, sowing, pest-management and harvesting -- a development that is supercharging the worst practices of the ag-business monopolies that have been squeezing farmers for most of a century. Read the rest

ANSI board member thinks we should all pay for sex (and also pay to read the law)

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We've long chronicled the adventures of rogue archivist Carl Malamud, who is being sued all over the world for publishing standards that have been incorporated into the law, on the basis that laws must be freely accessible and republishable in order to be legitimate (an iron-clad principle stretching all the way back to the Magna Carta). Read the rest

Spotify threatens to report Apple to competition regulators over App Store rejection

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Apple has rejected Spotify's latest app for inclusion in the Ios App Store, citing its rules against app vendors processing their own payments; Apple requires software vendors to pay to use Apple's own payment processor -- which collects hefty commissions -- in their apps. Read the rest

I'm profiled in the Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine

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The monthly Report on Business magazine in the Canadian national paper The Globe and Mail profiled my work on DRM reform, as well as my science fiction writing and my work on Boing Boing. Read the rest

How to protect the future web from its founders' own frailty

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Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, and my talk was about how the people who founded the web with the idea of having an open, decentralized system ended up building a system that is increasingly monopolized by a few companies -- and how we can prevent the same things from happening next time.

Oculus quietly drops DRM from its VR systems

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In May, Facebook division Oculus broke its longstanding promise not to use DRM to limit its customers' choices, deploying a system that prevented Oculus customers from porting the software they'd purchased to run on non-Oculus hardware. Read the rest

Google's version of the W3C's video DRM has been cracked

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Since 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been working with the major browser companies, Netflix, the MPAA, and a few other stakeholders to standardize "Encrypted Media Extensions" (EME), which attempts to control web users' behavior by adding code to browsers that refuses to obey user instructions where they conflict with the instructions sent by video services. Read the rest

Phones without headphone jacks are phones with DRM for audio

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Nilay Patel's magnificent rant about Apple's rumored announcement that future phones won't have headphone jacks starts with the main event: "1. Digital audio means DRM audio." Read the rest

Video: Guarding the Decentralized Web from its founders' human frailty

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Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, speaking about how the people who are building a new kind of decentralized web can guard against their own future moments of weakness and prevent themselves from rationalizing away the kinds of compromises that led to the centralization of today's web. Read the rest

W3C DRM working group chairman vetoes work on protecting security researchers and competition

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For a year or so, I've been working with the EFF to get the World Wide Web Consortium to take steps to protect security researchers and new market-entrants who run up against the DRM standard they're incorporating into HTML5, the next version of the key web standard. Read the rest

Intel x86s hide another CPU that can take over your machine (you can't audit it)

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Recent Intel x86 processors implement a secret, powerful control mechanism that runs on a separate chip that no one is allowed to audit or examine. When these are eventually compromised, they'll expose all affected systems to nearly unkillable, undetectable rootkit attacks. I've made it my mission to open up this system and make free, open replacements, before it's too late.

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