France requires non-proprietary format for ebooks

Ben Finney ben+freesoftware at
Fri Jan 30 01:13:54 UTC 2015

xdrudis at writes:

> Possibly redundant here but there is no possible working DRM in
> effectively free software, because the goal of DRM is to remove some
> freedoms from the user.

The freedom of the software that implements DRM is a matter of what
freedoms the recipient has. There is no contradiction between “you have
these freedoms in this work” and “this work implements DRM”. So the DRM
can work just fine in free software.

What I think you're implying is that DRM cannot be expected to *remain*
in such software, because the recipients have explicit license to do so;
and then the DRM-free derivative will spread, again by the explicit
license recipients have to do so.

But be clear: the original, DRM-enabled work is free software and the
DRM works fine. That is, after all, what allows the chain of events

> I think the closest is some tivo-like scheme in which the software
> would be free but unrunable when modified.

Yes, that's an obvious example of free software implementing DRM.

There is *other* software on the device — the firmware, if I understand
correctly – which refuses to run modified versions of the free software.

So the recipient remains free to modify the software (and, if they
choose, cease its implementation of DRM), but the *device* as a whole is
not free because it then refuses to run the modified software.

> It's not something we still don't have, it's something that can't
> happen because requirements are contradictory. Software freedom
> requires the ability to decode and copy the content, as part of
> freedom 0, and DRM needs to prevent it. Free software needs control to
> be granted to the user and DRM needs control granted to the rights
> holder.

Merely being contradictory doesn't stop these requirements from being
enforcible by law :-/

What is needed is not just a declaration that there is a contradiction,
but a *resolution* of that contradiction to give recipients explicit
freedom to exercise their rights under the law.

 \       “What I resent is that the range of your vision should be the |
  `\                                 limit of my action.” —Henry James |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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