Feeds

Copy protection hard drive plan nixes free software – RMS

Marginalised or compromised

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Richard Stallman says that plans to put content control into industry standard hardware pose a threat to the adoption of free software.

Proposals have been made to add CPRM (Content Protection for Removable Media) into the ATA hard disk specification, we reported on Wednesday. CPRM originates from the the 4C Entity and licensing is administered by License Management International, LLC, which also administers the CSS license.

"This resembles CSS and e-Books: it is another plan to impose additional power over people who use published information, on behalf of those who hope to control the power," he writes in emails to The Register.

"This plan seems to pose a threat to free operating systems. We will surely not be authorized in the US to implement free software to access any of the centrally-controlled data. So a free GNU/Linux system won't be able to do it."

"If users accept the domination of centrally-controlled data, free software faces two dangers, each worse than the other: that users will reject GNU/Linux because it doesn't support the central control over access to these data, or that they will reject free versions of GNU/Linux for versions "enhanced" with proprietary software that support it. Either outcome will be a grave loss for our freedom."

"We must hope that some countries refuse to pass laws to prohibit free software such as DeCSS, so that some part of the world can publish the software that will keep freedom alive, underground, in the rest of the world."

Stallman also highlights the term "copy protection". "The word 'protection' ... tries to disguise obstructionism and rampant power as an attempt to keep a program or book or song safe from harm. It is a propaganda word."

Indeed: it's a euphemism as incongruous as down-sizing or friendly fire. As an alternative, we quite like "copy control". But if you have snappier suggestions, we'd like to hear them. ®

Related Stories

Stealth plan puts copy protection into every hard drive
Linux lead slams 'pay per read' disk drive plan

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.