An Open Letter to the Canadian Government on Bill C-32
Original Link: http://infinityos.net/node/47
This proposal is an alternative to the "digital locking" measures in Bill C-32 (http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5080/125/). It is intended to preserve the right of fair use while preventing unauthorized republication of the work of artists.
The only way to extend copyright to embrace the distributed nature of the Internet is to extend the "web of trust" to cover media. The "web of trust" would merely be an extension of copyright, restricting publication *not* use and access. This would be an open and distributed way to prevent unauthorized republication of content.
The problem is that copyright in its current state doesn't extend well to the Internet, as anyone has access to the means of publishing content. There is no way of preventing unauthorized publication of digital content without utilizing encryption. However, both the means of encryption and the means of access should be an open public good.
Within the "web of trust", you would buy a key to the content, not the content itself. You would also be able to resell this key, transferring your rights to use and access the content to another person. It would be within in the rights of the consumer to break the web of trust if, and only if, the key has been lost or rendered non-functional and they wish to access the content. Consumers would always have the right of fair use. Under no circumstances, however, would consumers have the right to redistribute their key, as this would result in the republication of the content.
The effects of this "web of trust" would be very similar to the clause you see in books where you can not sell a book without its cover. This stipulation does not effect end users but it does force *publishers* and *vendors* to obtain permission to republish the content.
Media can never be free. Because if media was free, there would be no economic incentive to produce it. Media, however, *can* be made open. And there is every economic incentive for media to be made open.
In depth technical specifics are available here:
PS I am the maintainer of a Linux distribution called infinityOS. infinityOS was created due to a belief that the software used to make, distribute, and enjoy your media should be completely free (as in freedom) and open. It was this belief that lead me to come up with this digital content authentication system.
Let's get my letter blogged, Digged, and Slashdotted. The digital locking provisions need to be killed and I think this proposal is the way to kill it.
Make sure you write your MP.
Eh. The MPs have little power. I e-mailed this to all of the people on this page: http://copyright.michaelgeist.ca/copyright-take-action
I'll be following up my e-mails with handwritten letters later this week.
I've received a response from my MP (he's looking into my proposal) and my letter is going to be published in my local paper tommorrow.
Even leaving aside implementation issues, I don't understand what you're even proposing. The whole point of a "web of trust" system is that it describes distributed trust relationships rather than the fiat of a central authority. Under a web of trust system, what stops someone from extending trust to his favorite uploaders at The Pirate Bay?
Aside from that, I doubt that the media industry would be interested in your proposal even if you could come up with a feasible implementation. There are strong signs that they want to restrict private use and resale. They've been building toward a legal and technological regime under which they can decide exactly how much freedom they want to sell you. It's not an accident that they've spent years pushing hard for these anticircumvention treaties/laws as well as things like the Protected Media Path, AACS, HDCP, and so on.
The technology would work and be presented as exactly the same as iTunes, Xbox Live, NetFlix and similar services. The only difference is that the technology used would be free and open.
It will be based on PGP keys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy
There could also be strict fines for publishing a key or content that is know, to have been encrypted.
I'm targetting public broadcasters at first. Most content produced by CBC and the BBC is funded by tax payers, so it will likely be free if you live in their broadcasting areas.
It would be trivial as well to add a system where you have to pay a "license fee" to get access to the content outside of its original broadcasting area.
My confusion isn't with the technology, it's with how you expect to apply it. For starters, what exactly do you mean by "publishing", and how/where does your system interact with that process? Can you write a use case for a hypothetical publisher?