Nina Paley on DRM (Digital Restrictions Management)

Nina Paley is against DRM, and encourages everyone to oppose it. Even so-called “streaming DRM” is just another way for corporations to control your data.

I respectfully submit a typical comment:

“Its not a download or purchase , its “Free Streaming” . From my Roku box to my tv why should you or I care if it has drm.”

This is a perfect example of the kind of illiteracy mentioned above. “…we’re talking about a stream, which by definition is not saved on your computer”. This commenter and others have bought the industry’s definition of “stream”, even though there’s nothing inherent in streaming that prevents saving. I can’t blame them; until last week, I didn’t think about what “streaming” meant either.

Here’s another typical comment:

“You’re obviously making a symbolic stand here. That’s fine. But please at least be honest about that instead of claiming that Netflix streaming is “breaking” my home electronics. My computer and my Xbox work just fine and my rights have not been violated in any tangible or meaningful way.”

If data is sent to your computer, and yet your computer won’t let you save that data, than an important function of your computer has been interfered with. Who does your computer work for, anyway, you or them? It’s not just a hypothetical breakage, either. For example, if you wanted to divide the same incoming stream to two different computers in your house, similarly to how a “Y” pipe would do with water, Netflix DRM will prevent that. Normally, your computer could do that just fine, but not when it’s broken.

If the quibble is with the word “broken,” we can use the less-inflammatory word “disabled,” although people are eager to forget that “disabling” a computer means “breaking it in increments.”

She also refers people to

5 thoughts on “Nina Paley on DRM (Digital Restrictions Management)

  1. sbt42 June 15, 2012 at 13:05

    My personal take on these ‘streaming’ services is that it’s clearly different from purchasing a DVD or downloading software to one’s machine. If anything, it’s more similar to watching television back in the day, with the added new technology of picking where and when you want to watch the show. In other words, you’re not paying for the movie; you’re paying for access to their service, which broadcasts the programming upon your request.

    Taken in this light: her second point doesn’t really stand; the playback device works as intended, and I think she simply misunderstands the nature of netflix. Of course, one could blame netflix for misrepresenting itself as a ‘rental’ service, when in actuality it’s a ‘broadcasting’ service.

    • Francois Tremblay June 15, 2012 at 16:06

      I’m not sure how what you’re saying contradicts what she said. Of course it’s meant to be like that. All DRM schemes or disabling schemes are used on purpose.

      • sbt42 June 18, 2012 at 05:52

        My point is that she’s calling netflix a rental service and criticizing it as such, while it is in fact a broadcasting service. Customers rent the DVDs, while they stream the broadcasts. There’s no disabling of a computer or its functions involved. In my view they are two completely different services.

        Again, I don’t use netflix at all (as I don’t have regular Internet access and I borrow all the DVDs I would want to watch). My perspective on this may be a bit skewed because I’m a non-user. But coming from someone on the outside, not involved with the industry or service whatsoever, I’d say she either misunderstands or was misled regarding the streaming video service of netflix.

        • Francois Tremblay June 18, 2012 at 11:07

          We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that, because I don’t really see the point in arguing this.

  2. sbt42 June 18, 2012 at 12:19

    Yeah, it’s more like I have a question for her, not you.

Comments are closed.

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