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Letters to the World » 2001 » July » 09

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Letters to the World


What’s wrong with copy protection?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:54 pm

What’s wrong with copy protection? Quite a lot, according to John Gilmore of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. A rather interesting article, and I can only encourage you to read it. For instance, did you know that the FCC has prohibited manufacturers of recording devices from allowing end users to record HDTV broadcasts? With the FCC and technology companies in cahoots, the situation is becoming rather Big-Brother-esque. And the more I read about these issues, the more libertarian my own personal views become…

And while I’m on the subject of copy protection, I can’t resist mentioning Microsoft’s new Product Activation system– the controversial anti-piracy technology present in Office XP and the upcoming Windows XP. It’s not that I’m against Microsoft’s goal of combating software piracy, necessarily; rather, it’s that the whole system makes product installation quite difficult for millions of law-abiding end users because of the transgressions of considerably fewer casual software pirates, and that there are still many flaws in the product activation program itself. PC World magazine has written a reasonably objective article on the Product Activation controversy; I encourage everyone to read this too, heh.

Incidentally, according to the PC World article, Product Activation for those without Internet access entails "reading a 50-digit installation ID number on your screen to [a tech support] operator, who will read back a 42-digit number for you to type on the screen." Ack. Better hope D-Link gets to work on an XP-compatible driver for my Ethernet card. 🙂

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