France requires non-proprietary format for ebooks

xdrudis at xdrudis at
Fri Jan 30 13:18:49 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:13:54PM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> 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.

Correct, thanks for making it explicit.

> 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
> afterward.

Ok, I was just assuming it won't exist because nobody will write it
because it may not remain so. Anyway, one could theoretically write it
(if only to prove a point).

> > 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.

And that's why I said effectively free software, not just free
software. GPL 3 was written among other reasons to help ensure the
software freedom was effective, not merely rethorical in these cases.

> 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.

Yes, but possibly the content will not work in another device because
it won't be decryptable or whatever, so the software won't be useful.

> > 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 :-/

Merely being legal does not make something being produced or sold.
For me there is a difference between humans (judges, etc.) enforcing
law on other humans and devices enforcing law on humans. Or what
does a purchase mean when the seller still controls what the item sold
does after the sale, etc.

> 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.

By resolution you mean DRM should be outlawed or DRM circumvention
should be legal ?  I agree.

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