The National Post on DRM

The National Post runs a brief masthead editorial today on the Sony debacle and the recording industry's use of digital rights management.  The editorial is further evidence that this story remains in the public eye nearly four weeks after it first broke.  The key quote (unfortunately the full editorial is behind a paywall – I will never understand why papers restrict access their editorials, which are designed to influence):

"The real scandal of DRM software is that it allows companies to play a law enforcement role that is not rightfully theirs. By meting out punishment for prospective copying crimes, record labels are stepping over the line meant to separate the private sphere from government. They are not just protecting their precious commodities – they are pronouncing sentence (in this case, an infected computer) on those who would take them. That is a job that should be left to judges."

This analysis should obviously extend beyond just using DRM to usurp the role of the judiciary. Since DRM is used to limit privacy and eliminate fair dealing/use rights, the technology should not be permitted to usurp the law itself.  It will be useful to remind the Post of this editorial when copyright reform returns as it suggests support for statutory limitations on the use of DRM.


  1. Dwight Williams says:

    Not just the judges’ role usurped…
    …but that of the police services as well. Investigation and arrest is supposed to be their purview alone, as confirmation of evidence during trial and sentencing is the judges. Or so my understanding of law goes at the moment. If I’m in error, I look forward to being corrected on this point.

  2. Murray Dineen says:

    Professor, Department of Music, U. Ottaw
    I’m not certain if the letter of the law extends to cover irony, but Sony is, to my knowledge, still selling blank recordable media quite suitable for the kind of copyright infringement DRM is meant to prevent. This seems roughly equivalent to the police department selling pot seeds.

  3. Ned Ulbricht says:

    The EFF complaint alleges that the MediaMax software installs despite action by the end-user indicating a refusal to accept the terms of the EULA. (Complaint paras. 20,22).

    The real scandal of Canada’s reaction to Sony’s conduct is that if some random hacker were alleged to have done this, he would have been led away in handcuffs by now.

  4. What I would like to know is why hasn’t the government of Canada gone after Sony (as Texas/Califonia/Italy/ & I think the UK has)?

    As an IT manager I am furious that I now have to worry about users playing music CDs that may open huge security holes in the network. Thank you Sony!

  5. good
    Really very good.Thank you.