From: Chuck Murcko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Dec 27 2000 - 08:42:52 PST
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X-Digest: Risks Digest 21.17
From: John Gilmore <email@example.com>
Subject: IBM and Intel push copy protection into ordinary disk drives
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 13:16:03 -0800
[From firstname.lastname@example.org; Source:
Stealth plan puts copy protection into every hard drive
*The Register* has broken a story of the latest tragedy of copyright
in the computer industry. Intel and IBM have invented and are pushing a
change to the standard spec for PC hard drives that would make each one
enforce "copy protection" on the data stored on the hard drive. You
wouldn't be able to copy data from your own hard drive to another drive,
back it up, without permission from some third party. Every drive would
have a unique ID and unique keys, and would encrypt the data it stores
-- not to protect YOU, the drive's owner, but to protect unnamed third parties AGAINST you.
The same guy who leads the DVD Copy Control Association is heading the organization that licenses this new technology -- John Hoy. He's a front-man for the movie and record companies, and a leading figure in the California DVD lawsuit. These people are lunatics, who would destroy the future of free expression and technological development, so they could sit in easy chairs at the top of the smoking ruins and light their cigars off 'em.
The folks at Intel and IBM who are letting themselves be led by the nose are even crazier. They've piled fortunes on fortunes by building machines that are better and better at copying and communicating WHATEVER collections of raw bits their customers desire to copy. Now for some completely unfathomable reason, they're actively destroying that working business model. Instead they're building in circuitry that gives third parties enforceable veto power over which bits their customers can send where. (This disk drive stuff is just the tip of the iceberg; they're doing the same thing with LCD monitors, flash memory, digital cable interfaces, BIOSes, and the OS. Next week we'll probably hear of some new industry-wide copy protection spec, perhaps for network interface cards or DRAMs.) I don't know whether the movie moguls are holding compromising photos of Intel and IBM executives over their heads, or whether they have simply lost their minds. The only way they can succeed in imposing this on the buyers in the computer market is if those buyers have no honest vendors to turn to. Or if those buyers honestly don't know what they are being sold.
So spread the word. No copy protection should exist ANYWHERE in generic computer hardware! It's up to the BUYER to determine what to use their product for. It's not up to the vendors of generic hardware, and certainly not up to a record company that's shadily influencing those vendors in back-room meetings. Demand a policy declaration from your vendor that they will build only open hardware, not covertly controlled hardware. Use your purchasing dollars to enforce that policy.
Our business should go to the honest vendors, who'll sell you a drive and an OS and a motherboard and a CPU and a monitor that YOU, the buyer, can determine what is a valid use of. Don't send your money to Intel or IBM or Sony. Give your money to the vendors who'll sell you a product that YOU control.
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