Saturday, September 1, 2007

Friday evening blabber on content/IP/DRM/free-the-data

We had a pretty interesting chat on IRC, which I will include here.


<dalien> 'cos if you think of the content model of SL, and then compare to DRM... DRM looks almost like a heaven
<ckrinke> Dalien: Can you expand on "medieval" a tiny bit so I can understand?
<dalien> "no transfer, no mod, no copy"
<ckrinke> Gotit
<danx0r> dalien: I have some serious out-of-box thinking about content 'protection'
<Loki_Clif> umm i have alot of people that make stuff for my holodeck
<dalien> Loki_Clif: whoa. that is cool :) how open they are to "release" the stuff ?
<dalien> btw - all - i was thinking of an easy attribution for content creators - put their names / websites
into item descriptions ?
<dalien> they would get the publicity, we would get the library ? at least at the first glance, i think it
could be a win-win
<ckrinke> Cool, Loki. We are in need of designer to create some basic library and inventory items. Nothing
too extensive. To begin with, along the lines of something similar to the grass huts,stairs and
ground textures in the LL library. And I mean only vaguely similar, no copies.
<danx0r> dalien: excellent thought.
<Loki_Clif> but is there a master server that it needs to be in
<Loki_Clif> or do i just add them to my db
<danx0r> dalien, think about this. What if each item had a serial# as well as content creator tag?
<danx0r> it could be a hashed private key thing that could only be created by the legitimate owner
<danx0r> and sims could _voluntarily_ decide to help content owners police pirates who willfully copy content
without permissions
<dalien> Loki_Clif: I was thinking of several ways
<dalien> 1) everyone stores them on their servers, and just puts the URLs, say, into wiki on opensim
<dalien> 2) everyone stores them on their servers, and tags them with "opensimlibrary" on - so at
any point in time one can query what is there.
<dalien> 3) we make something centralised - but not sure i lice centralized solution
<danx0r> dalien: no, it should be distributed. But it should be possible to check on the provenance of a
piece of content
<danx0r> who created it, even rights to use it. I know this sounds just a teeny-weeny bit like DRM, but...
<dalien> hmm wait... serial number...
<danx0r> in an open environment, strict DRM obviously cannot work. However, if a group of popular virtual
locations agrees to give people a hard time who refuse to respect IP rights, what's wrong with
<dalien> if i copy the item i copy the serial number ?
<danx0r> ahh, but there could be a way to query whether a serial number belongs to a certain individual
<danx0r> what I'm hinting at is *voluntary* DRM-style IP protection
<dalien> danx0r: then even easier - have a database of signed LLUUIDs ?
<dalien> every content creator who wants to track his stuff
<dalien> ought to maintain the database.
<danx0r> right
<dalien> where he would sign the UUIDs of the items he/she gives out
<Loki_Clif> you know what we need
<danx0r> exactly. Put the onus on them. But what is their recourse if they identify someone they claim has
stolen something?
<dalien> with the name of the avatar - signed by the creator's key.
<danx0r> of course!
<Loki_Clif> is a Master sim that people can build in and the db then can be given out in the builds
<danx0r> now I know not everyone loves for-sale IP -- but it's been a driving force behind SL
<dalien> danx0r: that would be at the discretion of the sim owners, i guess.
<Loki_Clif> and i cant even get my invantory to work right
<danx0r> dalien: right. But if a good number of popular places enforce it, the pirates end up relegated to
<dalien> danx0r: precisely. but i think thinking to eliminate the IP theft altogether is an illusion.
<danx0r> instead of draconian crap like the DMCA, RIAA & MPAA, you have "shame-based" protection
<dalien> the goal is to minimize it down to "acceptable noise"
<dalien> precisely.
<dalien> there is another aspect to it.
<dalien> pure economics.
<dalien> why pirating MP3 works ?
<danx0r> no I don't expect to eliminate it. I want to discourage it, and allow fair-minded individuals to
respect it and to be able to _show_ that they respect it
<dalien> because it is fast to download mp3.
<dalien> less painful than to buy it.
<danx0r> yes, but it is now pretty damn fast to download iTunes.
<danx0r> I get TV from iTunes when I can, because it's almost instant. When I can't find it, I bittorrent.
<dalien> true. i don't do either - i just record internet radio and relisten it, together with the commercials
<danx0r> half the time I paid for the channel that shows it anyway.
<dalien> on the other hand, for example movies (for me, not sure for others)
<danx0r> look, software is stealable, but ppl get paid. Music is easily pirated, but the limos keep rolling
to the Grammies.
<dalien> i am just too lazy to spend time looking for the stuff, then recording it, etc.
<dalien> but
<dalien> i do not buy it in the shop either
<danx0r> the key is to make stealing somewhat difficult, and socially unacceptable to most
<dalien> because 20 euros for the film is a ripoff.
<dalien> i just go to the cinema and enjoy it there.
<danx0r> absolutely. But wouldn't you pay say $2EU?
<dalien> absolutely!
<dalien> if the amount of money i have to pay to legally buy things
<dalien> is less than the amount of money i waste because of spending the time and effort on stealing things
<danx0r> well with netflix and iTunes (and even on-demand, credit where due) I can usually watch any movie I
want for <$4
<dalien> there is an economic disincentive for me to steal!
<danx0r> and get any song I want for $.99
<dalien> (.99 for a song is also a ripoff imho :)
<danx0r> so the key is to realize that economics *can* work in an open society
<dalien> if you think of movie for $4
<danx0r> dalien: ever been in a band?
<dalien> a song should be (in my book) 0.10
<dalien> danx0r: i play and compose, but for my own pleasure..
<danx0r> well it depends on how many you sell.
<dalien> danx0r: which again depends on how good you are :)
<danx0r> at $.10 per song, the only way to make money is to sell 10's of millions of songs
<danx0r> and that means you have to dumb down your music. I like $1 per song because independent artists can
concievably make a living with a small but dedicated audience
<danx0r> anyway, the price should be set by the market, not one-size-fits-all
<dalien> yup.
<dalien> even better.
<dalien> or donations.
<danx0r> right.
<dalien> indeed that will be smaller than $1 per song
<dalien> but
<dalien> with my GPL licensed primskirtbuilder and a tipjar
<danx0r> I would gladly pay $40 a CD for some artists who I want to succeed.
<dalien> i got around $20-30K linden over the course of a few months.
<dalien> just in tips.
<danx0r> that's great
<danx0r> but it would be nice to be able to set a price
<dalien> (indeed, I could have possibly gotten 20-30K USD if I sold it at draconian price at the shop :)
<danx0r> like the museums that say "suggested donation", and 98% of the people pay it
<dalien> ah, it could be even better
<danx0r> well let it be up to the content creator. If they price themselves out of the market, their bad
<dalien> although this thing i did not want to make it commercial anyway - as i did dedicate it to Vint, but
figured i would run a small experiment along :)
<danx0r> look there's no way to keep someone from slightly changing a dress, stripping the UID's and tags,
and selling it as a knockoff
<danx0r> THEY DO IT IN RL!!
<dalien> the people's free will can do miracles, i think.
<dalien> yes
<dalien> and also - you know the problem of SL ? it is a jungle
<dalien> content wise
<danx0r> but the fashion designers make money, because -- it's embarrasing to wear a knockoff if you're
supposed to be in the chic set
<dalien> you can pick up a freebie, move to the neighbouring sim, and sell it, and noone notices.
<danx0r> so my point is, even without perfect DRM and draconian police measures, we can create a playing
field where alot of what goes on in SL is still possible
<dalien> people do not know what is where.
<dalien> precisely my point too :)
<dalien> and the items would be copy/mod/transfer, maybe.
<danx0r> well the thing about virtual life is the zero expense of copying. But that's almost true in RL
these days
<danx0r> asian manufacturers can knock off almost any consumer product for peanuts
<danx0r> iPhones don't cost $600 to make
<dalien> precisey
<dalien> yet there is a queue to have them!
<dalien> (well, i am not in it, since iphone violates my rule of no more than 200 euro for a gadget :)
<danx0r> right, my point is within a year or two, something very iPhone-like will be available for $200
<danx0r> and there's not much Apple can do about it. They make their money on branding
<dalien> precisely
<dalien> and apple will have to come up with something new
<danx0r> same as M$ versus 'nix, Intel vs. AMD
<dalien> so - freedom like this does encourage constant innovation
<danx0r> right. So the same dynamics apply here: make piracy difficult, socially awkward
<dalien> rather than locking down the price and ripping the profits.
<danx0r> and make paying for stuff easy, pain-free
<dalien> yup
<danx0r> and allow the market to do its thing
<dalien> indeed :)
<danx0r> if someone charges so much that they are always getting pirated, they should think about their
<dalien> *nods*
<dalien> :)
<danx0r> cool
<danx0r> er, kewl


This conversation is a living proof that the "irresponsible geek coders" as labeled once by Prok, do pay attention and try to think on how to solve the problems of:

1) protecting the rights of content creators
2) stiffling of the innovation by the monopolies
3) improving the quality of the experience for a "consumer".

'nuff said. :)


vint falken said...

Yet the found solution was a bit simple? =D

'-danx0r- if someone charges so much that they are always getting pirated, they should think about their

Another label for 'permissions':
'can never be sold'

Which would make that the product, or a product it's put into can not be put for sale. (If course if they stick it into a vender... Aargh. Nvm. =d)

Dalien said...

Yes, more or less that is the idea. =)