Reply All: #90 Matt Lieber Goes to Dinner
March 2, 2017 11:23 AM - Subscribe

This week, one man has been warning the world about an impending disaster for years, but no one will listen. Also, Alex makes a dumb decision.
posted by radioamy (7 comments total)
 
So where's the gofundme to get Alex a 1Password subscription?
posted by juliapangolin at 1:38 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


For real Juliapangolin! I was (internally) shouting password manager at that point.

The episode also left me wondering if there are any browser out there who won't adopt this DRM "black box." I'd actually be willing to switch and lose some convenience.
posted by CMcG at 2:31 PM on March 2


I read both Cory Doctorow's linked letter and Tim Berners-Lee's statement. Both of them made a lot of sense, and I don't see why we can't have EME and get rid of the abusive enforcement of the DMCA. Laws and technology work at different speeds and so the interface between them is usually screwed up. Tim Berners-Lee referenced Kind Canute, and we have to accept that DRM is a thing. Berners-Lee seems to be advocating for DRM in-browser for reasonable reasons. It seems to me like legal abuse of DRM is a separate issue, and one that can only be tackled through legal avenues, not technical ones. But lawmakers have trouble changing laws, even ones that are really messed up, and there's no guarantee that in trying to fix something they won't end up making it ten times worse.
posted by rikschell at 8:19 AM on March 3


I don't see why we can't have EME and get rid of the abusive enforcement of the DMCA.

Yeah, that was my takeaway also - the code that they were talking about putting into every browser to protect DRM wasn't the problem, the problem was that nobody could look in and see the code.

And yeah, trying to explain why you should open source your lock (which yes, should totally happen!) is going to be hard to explain to 'internet is a series of tubes' congressmen.

I did inwardly sigh when I heard this was a Doctorow story, but I also didn't find the technicalities of this so incredibly boring that it would be difficult to explain to a general audience. Maybe a couple of metaphors and movie references, but I feel like I've had to explain similar things to people at my workplace and had it generally work all right.

I'm awaiting in horror for the next chapter of the Alexhack.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:29 AM on March 3


I'm glad they added some links to the show page, they weren't there when I created the FanFare post. I had done some cursory searching but I wasn't sure what was relevant or not to the current situation. I agree that there seem to be some potential compromises that would allow EME without a black box.

I also can't wait for the follow-up about Alex's phone. I've been watching his twitter and wondering which posts are PJ's doing and which are legit.
posted by radioamy at 2:37 PM on March 4


It was nice to hear Cory's voice, he's a good choice to speak. But to the discussion here: the danger of a proprietary black box inside the browser is only one of the problems with EME. The larger problem is DRM itself.

Every previous DRM system in existence has overextended to fuck up the user experience in important ways. How do I make a fair use three second snippet of an EME video? Can I take a screenshot of my computer while an EME video is on screen? Can I use my audio routing software while playing EME? Can I use Chromecast to mirror my computer to my TV while playing EME video? Can I have HDMI out to a non-secure device? Etc etc.

The DMCA / black box argument is a good one. But DRM in general is bad for users.
posted by Nelson at 9:24 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


So youtube / netflix are going to run DRM'd videos i guess. But, what about all the other "content sharing" websites? Will they have to pay google to license the technology? Will chrome / firefox "phone home" to figure out if the streaming media on www.watchmovies.co.xp.nz is in their database of protected bits and bytes?

On the one hand, the internet has gotten more control over file sharing. Which, ok i guess. I'm rich enough now, if I really want something I can pay for it. But on the other hand.... social media sites have gotten more control over downloading my own god damned content. You can't download your instagram photos. There's a lot you can't do. I've been thinking more and more about setting up a domain for my own, and pushing content from that to instagram, just so I still maintain ownership.
posted by rebent at 5:32 AM on March 9


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