About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

03 March 2006

The Big DRM Mistake?

In his column, Scott Granneman calls DRM a mistake; mainly because of its many current shortcomings and also because of the restrictions posed by DRM to consumers. In my opinion, that is not the big mistake about DRM - the mistake is how badly DRM has essentially been marketed, including its vilification in the GPL 3 draft.

Fundamentally, DRM is a about persistent access control - it is a term for a set of technologies that allow for data to be protected beyond the file system of the original machine. Thus, for example, the read/write/execute access control on most *nix file systems will not only be applicable to the original machine but to all machines. DRM is not perfect yet - that is the reason it is still an active research area; but a claim like "it will never be perfect" should not be a reason to investigate and prove that such a claim is false.

And most of the problems with DRM is not about technological failure - but a failure of communication and bad marketing. Granted The SONY-BMG saga was about technological failure - because fundamentally it was bad technology. But it was also about a miscommunication - customers should be told that they are buying a DRM enabled CD. Similarly, my criticisms on Vodafonelive (which I made to the INDICARE Workshop in Budapest this year, and in a law paper I co-wrote with Thomas Bechle last year) are based on the failure of Vodafone to make the consumer aware.

And fundamentally - many of the fair use issues are not a matter of given right. Just because a traditional CD allows me to give to a friend should not imply that any future format will allow me the same freedoms. Fundamentally, DRM enabled CDs are not the same thing as non DRM enabled CDs and should be labeled as such. It is like selling a German book sealed in an English cover without warning that the contents are in German. It is a case of bad trade practices and bad communication - and if consumers don't like the restrictions, they shouldn't buy it, but they need to be given the choice.

At the end of the day I believe that DRM does have a place - it can be used to protect sensitive data that needs to be highly regulated - for example, your health records. trying to advocate the DRM should not be researched because of possible misuse is just plain wrong.

Movie: The Matador

Ok, Pierce Brosman is known as an ok actor - great as a James Bond or a jewel/art thief but not really someone who can really play a totally of the wall character. His portal in the Matador is, as a reviewer on IMDB put it, "coming out party for Pierce Brosnan the actor".

The story is about a hitman, Julien Noble (or as he describes himself, a facilitator) and his life with no connections to people or places and his meeting with a small time businessman trying to make the deal of his life. It is a comedy, but the humor is very twisted - not really dark - but not exactly the normal mushy romantic comedy stuff. And the movie is not very politically correct either - after all it is a movie about a hitman.

Highly enjoyable, and although I doubt Pierce Brosman will win the Oscar - it is a definitely a well deserved nomination. Oh, just as an example of how politically incorrect and twisted the humor can be; just have a look at the quotes page on IMDB.

Movie: Walk the Line

For the most part, I do not really like country music ... except when it comes to Johnny Cash ... I even own an album of his! To be honest, I first heard Johnny Cash when Barney Simon played a number of songs after his death ... and I was intrigued, because it was not like anything I had heard before. I also like his song "Satisfied Mind" on the Kill Bill soundtrack.

The movie, now known for its number of awards (or nominations) is the story of his life before he married his second wife June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). Like Ray last year, it was a celebration of a musician's life and how the artist overcomes their various obstacles. Like Ray, a large part of the film is devoted to substance abuse, and how Johnny Cash overcomes his "pills" and "alcohol" addiction and takes control of his life once again.

The acting performances are really outstanding in this movie and convincing. It is well worth watching and maybe you will also go buy a Johnny Cash album, just to hear Folsom Prison Blue ...

Movie: Derailed

This is not a movie I would normally go to watch - seemingly a romantic comedy/thriller starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston. At its core, it is a story about an affair, followed by blackmail, and then how Clive Owen's character comes to deal with the blackmail. It was very predictable to be honest - I have just read too many real news stories with a similar plotline (to start off with anyway). But, it was well acted, had good character development and was, as my flatmate would put it, a good effort. Nothing spectacular, but a good effort.