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    I don’t like DRM, but I don’t like this extremely dramatic doomsayer tone about DRM either. We’ve had DRM in general purpose computers for what feels like ages now, and nothing truly apocalyptic has happened. General purpose computing still exists. You still run free software. Millions of people still get their movies from The Pirate Bay. YouTube/Twitch/etc have not even considered using DRM to force people to watch ads together with the content. (They’re not even fighting youtube_dl really.) No one has tried to use EME for non-video content.

    [Firefox adding EME support] did absolutely nothing to stop them from being steamrolled by Chrome’s growing popularity

    uhh, how can we know that? We don’t exactly have an alternate reality where Firefox said no. We don’t know how many users would’ve quit Firefox specifically because it didn’t play Netflix.

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      Adding EME to Firefox made more content publishers choose to enable EME since all (major) browsers supported it. Had Firefox not supported it, that decision would not have been so easy…

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        NetFlix would not have backed down. They couldn’t, because they were competing for studio contracts with systems that relied on native apps (like iTunes, and their own offering on Android and iOS), systems that relied on plug-ins (like their browser-based player used to), and systems that relied on dedicated hardware (Blu-Ray, cable TV packages, and PlayStation). They could not possibly negotiate for a DRM-free contract when all of their competitors had DRM.

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          My comment was specifically not about Netflix, but about smaller players… specifically tax payer paid for public TV in a least one country in Europe where that’s a thing. There was a brief and happy time between Flash, later Silverlight and EME where you could just point your browser to the site and watch the videos, even live TV! No plugin, no DRM. Of course as soon as EME became available, it was enabled. Hello infinite spinner not loading the video! :)

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          And the pressure on Firefox would not have been there, had the W3C not betrayed web users.

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            True. probably, maybe. The W3C is corrupt. See e.g. https://ar.al/notes/we-didnt-lose-control-it-was-stolen/, or the story about EFF’s withdrawal from W3C at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/09/open-letter-w3c-director-ceo-team-and-membership.

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        I agree that DRM does not technically prevent copyright violations, but then again, it was never intended to, and treating its proponents as if they were too dumb stupid to know this is deeply misguided if you’re trying to make a persuasive argument. DRM is and always was an economic tool to make violating copyright law more expensive, particularly in concert with the increased availability of reasonably priced alternatives.

        Too, at least in North America, you never owned your “content” – we have always been purchasing a non-exclusive license with various terms attached. Like this or not, it is not a recent invention of Big Content.

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          Saying DRM isn’t so bad, as it just enforces the legal restrictions consumers are already bound to is just wrong. DRM is preventing you from exercising your rights, e.g. fair use in the USA or the right to a private copy (.de wiki) in parts of the EU.

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            I’m not arguing for DRM – I’m just trying to explain why the OP’s stance (media people are too dumb to understand what we techies do) is getting the issue precisely backwards.

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            Being able to purchase something for 100$ to break HDCP and make it ripe for digital copying really throws a monkey wrench into that argument tho.

            How can it be an economic tool to make things more expensive when it’s incredibly cheap to defeat with a hardware device?

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              Because there are zero people, to a first approximation, who are going to try and defeat HDCP. Yes, it only takes one person to do this and seed a torrent; but it’s not a binary win/lose – the harder things are to do, the more attractive the .99c download or $15/mo subscription becomes.

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            GNU/Stallman said it very well:

            1. DRM is an example of an antifeature – a feature that removes possibilities from the user.
            2. There is no room for antifeatures in free software, as any user is free to modify it to their liking, use it that way, and distribute those improvements.

            Collabora clearly knew the implication (that DRM is unenforceable in free software): As they pointed out, anyone could break the DRM by inserting a lie in the information chain that they implemented part of.

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              A very well-written article. I especially liked the positive twist at the end. All counter-arguments listed in this comments section are pragmatic, which is the opposite of what both the article and the free software movement as a whole are grounded in – an idealism without which free software neither would or could exist at all.

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                Collabora does a lot of good open-source work, and that costs money. If they can get a big fistful of cash for implementing an optional feature such as HDCP then I’m not too concerned.

                Is DRM a good thing? No, of course not. But as he says: it’s totally ineffective. It’s never been an obstacle for me, so it’s pretty low on my “to worry about” list.

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                  HDCP isn’t an optional feature if its presence means the proliferation of media that’s only viewable through video HDCP.

                  DRM is totally ineffective when it comes to preventing the media from being distributed illegally, but it necessarily involves limiting a user’s control over their own computer.

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                  I have seen projectors that would only accept HDCP contents and nothing else. Great that I now got a fighting chance to make those work with my laptop;-)

                  The only problem I see is that Weston is a reference implementation only. I wonder whether other compositors that are actually used (e.g. the one in KDE or Gnome) will actually pick up this feature? I guess it is way easier to implement now that the infrastructure is in place for Weston.

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                    I think that’s something completely different. I’d return that projector or just not use it, as it’s clearly broken.

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                    Many people are discussing paying $100 to defeat HDCP.

                    However, it seems like you can pay $15 to defeat HDCP. Confer: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Bypassing-HDCP/

                    So, what is the $100 device? Does it do something other than act as a splitter?

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                      The linked one is a capture device. HDMI goes in, UAC goes out.