Thursday, March 20, 2008

Taking The Fun Out Of Fun

[Greetings to Instapundit readers. There seems to be an awful lot of you. I bet you could get matching leather jackets and beat up the rest of the Internet if you wanted to.]

I read that Adobe is going to sell a method of applying Digital Rights Management to Flash video. For those of you to whom the previous sentence is Greek, Flash is a format for video that is pretty much everywhere on the web. YouTube videos are in Flash format.

The purpose of the DRM applied to Flash is to allow the content generator to encode the video so that the end user doesn't have to watch it solely as a streaming signal. You could download it and watch it later. The DRM part decides what you could do with it, and how long you would be able to view it, and so forth. I imagine that it will make it much more difficult to take video off the web, cut it to pieces, and make sweet, sweet, mashups out of it. I dabble in that sort of thing myself, and anything that makes it harder to do, or perhaps impossible, bums me out.

Because to tell the truth, the source material is all garbage. You can make it seem wry and funny, or poignant, or interesting. But the bits you assemble to do that are 99.9% barnyard nuggets. It's bad enough Yoko Ono or Prince or somebody sending an army of lawyers after you if you even reference them in passing. Now every damp fart on video will be locked down like a woman's prison on Brad Pitt visiting day.

Admit it, Hollywood: The amateurs are better at it than the professionals.

Red Alert from Capucha on Vimeo.


Dr. Mercury said...

Sorry, but this is a non-story. The article you linked to left out a whole bunch of stuff.

The Adobe DRM only works with the Adobe Media Player. It has nothing, whatsoever, to do with current web videos, nor will it.

In other words, if the person originally uses the Adobe DRM on the video, then the only people who will be able to watch it are those who've installed the Adobe player. The sites are certainly going to push the player, citing its many 'advanced' features (none of which were new from the list I saw), but it's still going to be a tough sell.

And, should companies like YouTube ever throw a DRM video at us, we'll be able to crack it, just like we cracked CSS, Macrovision, ARccOS, DRM7, and all the rest before it. So it's kind of a non-story whichever way you look at it.

Interesting site, though. I took the pass/fail Sippican Cottage Parenting Test, although I'm not sure how I did. My thought, upon watching the video, was that the mom should have stood further back to make it more challenging. So, I'd say she 'passed' when it comes to introducing her daughters to the wonders of fine cutlery, but 'failed' as a showman. I mean, the crowd didn't even applaud when both of her daughters survived!

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Doctor Mercury- You have a fun and interesting website yourself.

I'm not sure you're correct in all your particulars.

Because the Flash Media encryption platform is pretty expensive, $40k, it won't get into general use right away, but it's not going away, and will eventually become the defacto standard. It's only real competitiors will be Microsoft Silverlight and Apple Quicktime, which will have DRM of their own.Through the linked article:

"Content owners can use Flash Media Rights Management Server to encrypt FLV and F4V audio and video files downloaded and played locally and set policies for their access. Usage controls allow service providers to specify parameters for access. Dynamic rights management lets users change usage rights. Protection capabilities in Adobe Media Player help ensure content is not reused or remixed without consent, Adobe said."

YouTube is an unencrypted FLV paradise right now. That won't last.

You are right that all DRM gets cracked, but that immediately segregates the population into people who are savvy enough to do it and anonymous enough to display their mashup wares without getting sued, and everybody else. After all, if the stuff is DRM'd and you crack it, that's immediate proof that you weren't supposed to, and did it.

It's important that web-savvy users, confident in their anonymity and ambivalent about legalisms, never forget that the vast majority of web users aren't either.

Daryl said...

Dr. Mercury wrote: And, should companies like YouTube ever throw a DRM video at us, we'll be able to crack it, just like we cracked CSS, Macrovision, ARccOS, DRM7, and all the rest before it. So it's kind of a non-story whichever way you look at it.

No big deal? If you want to re-use copyrighted material, you're currently permitted if it's fair use. But once it's locked down by DRM, undoing that is a violation of the DMCA. Re-using that copyrighted video in a new web video is proof that broke the law. What was perfectly legal becomes a crime. That's a big difference.

Anonymous said...

I bet you could get matching leather jackets and beat up the rest of the Internet if you wanted to

That pretty much guarantees a return visit when I've got more time. Thanks for the info and the chuckle

SippicanCottage said...

Well, you're very welcome, anonymous, but the problem is: I was angling for a chortle, and apparently all I elicited was a chuckle. I do not believe I can live with the shame of it. I feel as though I must take my own life in a ritual fashion, the only honorable thing to do in a humor deficit situation.

Stand back. All I've got is a table saw and this might get messy.

Country Squire said...


Would you be happy to know that your comment truly elicited a “laugh out loud” from this leather jacket clad minion of Glenn?

Now, back away from the saw real slow like...

US Navy Wife said...

You got a chortle out of me. So, save the table saw! I hear they're hell to clean.

Another leather clad minion...

By the way, I visited your furniture store and am eying a spot in my house to turn into a place. Thanks for the inspiration. I'll be back.

SippicanCottage said...

Well, a chortle and a lol compel me to put away the Circular Saw Of Damocles.

Thank you to my new found friends: the Country Squire, who is a fine station wagon; and the nice lady who married the navy, which requires doing a lot of laundry, I imagine.

My father tried to get into the Navy but they wouldn't take him. A few months later the Army took him, no questions asked. Make of that what you will. Then he joined the Air Force, to fly over water and finally get his chance at a chance to be drowned like all the quality people. He's eighty six and still tells me the story of the Navy doctor and his stethoscope.

And you married one of those superheroes the Navy accepts? God bless him and you too.

PS: that table you mentioned is the best thing in the catalog, if I do say so myself.

US Navy Wife said...

Okay okay... I married a man who is in the Navy. (I had to read your comment twice before I understood where I went wrong. A witty one, you are.)

I'm so proud of my husband. He's an explosive detection dog handler, and an all-around great guy. Today was difficult, though. It was the first anniversary of the death of a young Marine who was in his command in Iraq. Survivor's guilt, I guess.

His hangover will be a doosie tomorrow.

SippicanCottage said...

Yes, it's true, I'm terrible with the kidding and joshing and so forth.

You know, I'm proud of your husband too, because I'm an American.

I hope the angel on his shoulder has good glasses and a pot of coffee to stay up late and look after him.