DRM: You have the right to know what you're buying!

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Today, the EFF and a coalition of organizations and individuals asked the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to explore fair labeling rules that would require retailers to warn you when the products you buy come locked down by DRM ("Digital Rights Management" or "Digital Restrictions Management"). Read the rest

Copyright Office to FCC: Hollywood should be able to killswitch your TV

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20 years ago, Congress ordered the FCC to begin the process of allowing Americans to buy their pay TV boxes on the open market (rather than every American household spending hundreds of dollars a year renting a trailing-edge, ugly, energy-inefficient, badly designed box that is increasingly the locus of networked attacks that expose both the home LAN and the cameras and mics that are more and more likely to be integrated into TVs and decoder boxes) -- now, at last, the FCC is doing something about it. Read the rest

Australian media accessibility group raises red flag about DRM in web standards

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Media Access Australia is the only Australian nonprofit that advocates for making media accessible to people with disabilities -- and they're also a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an open standards body that disappointed its supporters when it bowed to the big entertainment and browser companies and agreed to make a DRM system for online video. Read the rest

Patent fighters attack the crown jewels of three of America's worst patent trolls

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Unified Patents raises money from companies that are the target of patent-trolling and then uses it to challenge the most widely used patents in each of its members' sectors: now it's going for the gold. Read the rest

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

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

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

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

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

How security and privacy pros can help save the web from legal threats over vulnerability disclosure

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I have a new op-ed in today's Privacy Tech, the in-house organ of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, about the risks to security and privacy from the World Wide Web Consortium's DRM project, and how privacy and security pros can help protect people who discover vulnerabilities in browsers from legal aggression. Read the rest

Oculus breaks promise, uses DRM to kill app that let you switch VR systems

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As recently as 5 months ago, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was promising his customers that they could play the software they bought from the Oculus store on "whatever they want," guaranteeing that the company wouldn't shut down apps that let customers move their purchased software to non-Oculus hardware. Read the rest

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