Ming the Mechanic:
Barlow on the dangers of DRM

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Barlow on the dangers of DRM2003-03-11 23:59
6 comments
by Flemming Funch

Interview with John Perry Barlow, cyber-rights activist, about the dangerous attempts of introducting Digital Rights Management. DRM is a euphemism for letting big corporations control everything about how you use media, even on your own computer, VCR, phone or whatever. It is being spearheaded by Microsoft, Intel, and the big media companies. Barlow speaks more intelligently and eloquently about these things than anybody I know. It is something that affects everybody, and isn't just a techie thing you don't have to pay attention to if you aren't a techie.
"There are three things at stake. The first is, extending a monopoly to a few large organizations about what people can or cannot know and express. This is really about the control of information and it has the potential to become over time a kind of private totalitarianism. That is not an exaggeration since it has already happened in the United States. The reason that the U.S. is behaving in the completely irrational and dangerous way that it is, is because we have erected private totalitarianism and are suffering a reality distortion field that is as dangerous as the one erupted in Germany in the 1930s. But not being driven by the government, but being driven by the media. Being driven by ourselves. I fear erecting a system which highly advantages a very few corporate channels for human intellectual exchange.

Secondly, I fear that Digital Rights Management today is Political Rights Management tomorrow. That embedding these kinds of technological controls into the very architecture of computing has the capacity to become a form of political control in the not so distant future. Because you're putting at a very basic level surveillance capacity, control over what information may or may not travel, and a whole range of things in the architecture that can be very easily used to suppress dissent.

Third, I am very afraid, that by wrapping a large amount of human knowledge up into bottles that can no longer be opened except at a price, much of it will be wrapped up in crypto bottles that in a very fairly short time cannot be opened even at a price. A huge amount of human creativity will simply be lost for future generations."
Go and support the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the most effecive organization working against this stuff.


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6 comments

13 Mar 2003 @ 15:27 by sharie : power to the people
Don't you think there will always be sub-cultures creating technology for the people? Do you think the corporate conglomerates will arrange for them to be out-lawed?

When I was young I never knew what "power to the people" meant. I didn't know CEO's were using the media to dictate our values, our spending, and subsequently our daily lives. I didn't know we were their slaves. Most people think this notion is ridiculous, but look in their cabinets and see what they're buying... a bunch of stuff they don't use, and brand name labels when they could get the same quality for half the price. We slave away our lives at work, only to turn around and hand our money right back to them buying consumer goods and paying exhorbitant interest rates for our homes and our education and those wonderful consumer goods. Where we live, go to school, and vacation, what we drive, and what we own is a reflection of how valuable we are, right? It's proof that we're worth more than the poor uneducated people, right? It's proof that we should be treated better, right? That's the message the media companies want us to believe because they get their money from corporate advertising. And they get their money from us. A lot of people see through this lunacy, this scam, but most people don't. That's precisely why the major media CEO's earn millions while the little guy barely scrapes by.  



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