As Through Windows, Darkly


Cory Doctorow is less than thrilled at reports that the next edition of Windows is going to contain DRM-friendly technology that, among other things, may make it impossible to play movies on older monitors. In addition to preventing unauthorized copying, says he, the new Windows will likely burden content maniuplation that should fall under the protection of "fair use" exceptions:

Fair use and other public rights in copyright hinge on factors that can't be modelled in software. For example, people engaged in parody have a lot more flexibility in terms of how they use copyrighted works than people who are engaged in satire. The difference between parody and satire is pretty fine—it's the kind of thing courts rule on, not the kind of thing that you get a computer to detect.

DRM apologists claim that DRM can be used to model the preponderance of fair uses, but this is completely untrue. Fair use almost always hinges on intention—there isn't any software that is capable of reading a user's mind and determining intention.