Copyright turns us into technology idiots

Or do copyright enforcement technologies attract people who would be kooks anyway?

Obvious case in point: DRM.

Now this from Paul Hoffert, apparently associated with “Noank Media”, commenting on Rob Kaye’s blog:

The Noank counting system is unique. We count usage by ALL players. Players can be time-based, such as iTunes, Windows Media, open source, our own Noank player, or your own favorite. They can be Microsoft Word, Acrobat Reader, Photoshop, or any other application program. The Noank client reports consumption of all content within our catalog on Windows, Mac, Unix, or recent cell phone devices.

Rob’s response is too polite:

This is nothing but empty hand-waving, I’m sorry. If you were to hire me to implement this system, I would have to politely tell you that this is impossible. I could not code such a thing and I have over a decade of client application programming experience. Please do elaborate on how you’re going to do this. If you’ve solved this I assume that you’ve already filed for some patents, right? What are your patent application numbers? I’d like to look up these exciting details — this is got to be amazing stuff you’re working on!

To which Hoffert responds:

Our tracking system is operational now and we are scaling it for large numbers of users.

Uh huh.

Voluntary collective licensing may have a role to play but I’m afraid I’m going to have to completely write off “Noank Media” before they even have a website.

Copyright mania hass the side effect of reducing perpetual motion research, who knew?

Addendum 20061031: Lucas Gonze writes that collective licensing will never happen. I think I buy his argument:

Users and businesses are moving away from filesharing networks and to the web, where DMCA safe harbor allows many disputes to be resolved peacefully. User-created content has become a substantial part of the media ecosystem over the last few years, and it doesn’t need collective licensing to exist.

Update 20071126: Noank does have a website now and a how it works page that leaves out lots of details but is not implausible. When more details are available I hope to post a retraction. Hoffert’s language was just too easy to make fun of, and that urge turned me into a technology idiot!

2 Responses

  1. […] Copyright (DRM in particular) turns us into technology idots and makes us disingenuous too. Consider Leonardo Chiariglione’s reply (”A simple way to skin the DRM cat”) to Steve Jobs’ DRM bashing. […]

  2. […] turns even really smart technologists into disingenuous and even dangerous technology idiots (including me on occasion — the claims I dismissed in that last link, while overblown, may […]

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