Involuntary updates: a drama in an imaginary future Apple car

From law professor James "Public Domain" Boyle: a thrilling, chilling tale of life in an "ecosystem" when the company can arbitrarily "upgrade" the devices you depend on for llfe and limb, while they're hurtling down the road at 100mph. Read the rest

DRM in the projector booth - destroying the village to save it

From Melbourne's Astor Theatre, a harrowing tale of the way that the DRM on digital projectors -- intended to stop exhibitors from leaking high-quality videos onto the Internet -- can interfere with legitimate exhibition. Punishing the innocent to get at the guilty is never a good answer, morally or commercially. The most secure way to manage theatrical exhibition is to ban it altogether; the DRM scheme used by digital projectors comes pretty close to that "solution."

Unlike 35mm film prints that are tangible, come on spools, and run through a mechanical projector, DCPs are files that are ingested into the digital projector which is in many ways simply a very high-tech computer system. Because the physical file is ingested into a projector it can – if the cinema has enough space on its server – be kept there indefinitely and so, having created this situation themselves, the studios and distributors lock the files so that they can only be screened at the times scheduled, booked and paid for by the cinema. This means each DCP comes with what is called a KDM (Key Delivery Message). The KDM unlocks the content of the file and allows the cinema to play the film. It is time sensitive and often is only valid from around 10 minutes prior to the screening time and expiring as close to 5 minutes after the scheduled time. Aside from the obvious fact that this means screenings really do need to run according to scheduled time, it is also means the projectionist can’t test to see if the KDM works or that the quality of the film is right before show time.

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