A little news item here that I think is quite exciting and will hopefully open up a dialog on digital rights management:
Yesterday represented a tipping point in the whole issue of DRM and copy protection: Digg was overrun by angry users, over the censorship of a 16-digit hex code that cracks AACS HD-DVD copy protection.
Read the Wired stories linked to above for all the nitty gritty, but what is of particular interest is that Digg has now listened to its users and, against legal advice and in defiance of a cease and desist notice served to them last month, is no longer censoring posts containing the code. I’ll be interested to see if the AACS licensors pursue legal action, and whether Digg will hold firm in its promise (using phrases like “If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying,” they certainly seem to be steadfast).
Here’s the thing: according to the EFF, what Digg is doing is without a doubt illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is a can of worms that will finally be opened. We are on the event horizon now of a battle that’s been brewing for years and will dictate exactly what rights consumers have when it comes to the dissemination of intellectual property.
Just to be unequivocal on our stance here at ExG Films, here follows an official statement on the 09 F9 affair:
Exploding Goldfish Films is opposed to digital rights management, copy protection, and any other form of anti-user technology developed and disseminated with the intent of extorting end users. Such technology is monopolistic and illegal. As well, any supporting legislation (namely the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is equally illegal and has been written and enforced in bad faith.
We are also unequivocally opposed to piracy when it is financially detrimental to the content producer, but this is not an issue of piracy. This is an issue of free speech, and an issue of fair use. ‘Fair use’ are two words which must never be forgotten in this struggle. Should the MPAA and its various DRM licensing agencies have their way, you would have to buy multiple licenses of a film in order to play it on your computer, your DVD player, and your iPod. This is patently absurd. When you buy a DVD, as is the case when you buy a piece of software, what you are actually purchasing is not only the physical media on which the film is stored, but license to use that film privately as you see fit.
Exploding Goldfish Films will never produce content infected with DRM. Exploding Goldfish Films will continue to be outspoken against the DMCA, DRM, AACS, the legal abuses of the MPAA and RIAA, and other evil acronyms. Exploding Goldfish Films applauds Digg’s stance on censorship, and should the 09 F9 affair result in legal action, Exploding Goldfish Films expects you all to write feisty letters to your newspapers and congresspersons. Exploding Goldfish Films will even pay for the stamps.
So sayeth the inconsequential filmmaker.