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Alan Cox Files Patent For DRM 281

Posted by kdawson
from the counter-troll dept.
booooh writes "Alan Cox has filed a patent for DRM (Digital Rights Management). From the filing: 'A rights management system monitors and controls use of a computer program to prevent use that is not in compliance with acceptable terms.' According to the patent pledge of Cox's employer Red Hat, they will not license this technology if the patent is granted. And it can probably be applied to the DRM that is in Vista. This forum has a few more details.
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Alan Cox Files Patent For DRM

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  • Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noamsml (868075) <noamsml&gmail,com> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:45AM (#17612252) Homepage
    Either the patent system will be proven rotten, or DRM will be halted! It's a win-win!
  • Hope this works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2 AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:46AM (#17612256) Homepage
    It might be something that reduces the threat of DRM completely making our computers useless.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kurtmckee (870398) <contactme@kurtmckee.org> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:52AM (#17612296) Homepage
    I think both of your outcomes hinge on the assumption that the patent is granted. Besides, do we really need anymore proof that the patent system is seriously b0rked?
  • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@NosPaM.cornell.edu> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:55AM (#17612308) Homepage
    "Either the patent system will be proven rotten, or DRM will be halted! It's a win-win!"

    Or the patent system will work and the patent won't be granted (prior art).
    Or the patent system will work and the patent will be granted because it is narrow in scope (only covers a specific type of DRM) which won't hurt DRM in general because no one implements it in the patented way. (If they do, prior art kills the patent)
  • The Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:56AM (#17612318)
    Its like the one ring being destroyed in Mt. Doom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:07AM (#17612370)
    Two possible outcomes: The patent is granted or it's not. If the patent is not granted, which is very likely because there is a ton of prior art, then this just paints the Open Source crowd as leeches who need to latch on to someone else's inventions to get anything done. It's not like many people don't think that anyway. If the patent is granted then this obviously shows that the patent system is flawed, but rest assured that the issue will then be solved before courts in no time, which "proves" that there are checks and balances, so everything can continue as usual. Either way it will be proven that the patent system actually works, because a patent troll has been defeated, and on top of that it will be shown that the people who most adamantly argue against patents a) don't refrain from trying to use the system to their advantage (double standard) and b) file patents for other people's inventions, which we all know is STEALING (or intellectual theft or somesuch).
  • by cgenman (325138) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:14AM (#17612420) Homepage
    How, exactly, has prior art been stopping patents from being granted?
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:20AM (#17612476) Homepage
    But with totally obnoxious terms. Red Hat could enact some kind of fee whenever DRM-protected content is played, essentially turning the whole DRM world into pay-per-view. And then there would be the price increases, linked to the average price of cable TV. I even have a name for it: Digital Rights Restriction -- Genuine Annoyance Edition. It that's too long to fit in a banner ad, they could just call it "Revenue Assurance".

    The key is not to make money, it is to drive home the high cost of DRM, making the downside totally obvious to all. Remember, no matter how ridiculous the terms might be, it really won't be any worse than the copyright industry will do all by themselves in a few years. But instead of using the salami-slice method, the all-at-once/in-your-face method forces everyone to confront the issue here and now.

    I think the DRM patent is a really nifty strategy, and presented here on Martin Luther King day, no less!
  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:24AM (#17612514) Homepage
    That's a patent for a DRM-enable operating system.

    Seems Alan is trying to patent a subpart of DRM which will render it useless if it cannot be used.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arivanov (12034) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:29AM (#17612552) Homepage
    Neither.

    Read the patent application.

    It is actually an interesting take on the licensing paradigm. Most licensing programs either start denying you access which leads to loss of data if this happens in the middle of an operation. Alternatively, they kill your program altogether which is again loss of data. Alternatively they check for licensing only when the program starts. In the days of software suspend and 200+ days of uptimes neither one of these is a good idea.

    What redhat is patenting is a three pronged approach - OS suspend, component suspend or application suspend when a license violation is encountered. The first one is obvious, the second one and third one are non-obvious until one consideres RedHat aquisition of Jboss. These actually make a lot of sense in a Jboss application.

    Overall, I am not surprised that RedHat has no intention of licensing this commercially. If they provide the relevant support, this will give a Jboss based commercial application considerable advantage over BEA and Websphere.
  • Re:FrostWire (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:35AM (#17612572)
    LimeWire to warez is like AOL to newsgroups [wikipedia.org] ("newsgroups" is something that us "grammer enligthned" used to enjoy before your shitty Web 2.0 bullshit and iPop iMusic).
  • Whatever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:37AM (#17612588)
    A patent is only useful if you have the money to defend the patent in court. Same with a trademark or copyright. Without lots of cash a patent is an empty threat.
  • MS & SCO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnRDJ (712762) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:42AM (#17612640)
    Even if this is invalid, look how much of a fuss SCO and MS have created with BS IP claims. I'm sure if Mr. Cox has paid attention, he can make a few heads turn. Or at least provide us with some amusement.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rujholla (823296) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:52AM (#17612736)
    or Microsoft finds the patent officer who is considering the patent and pays them 10 Million under the table to deny the patent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:54AM (#17612754)
    Most on /. thought Novell was a fine upstanding company until recently.
    Indeed, there's no such thing as a "fine upstanding company", and that applies to RedHat, IBM and Google as well. They're all mindless corporations and anyone who believes otherwise is incredibly naive. When a corporation appears "good" it only means they have a great PR department. In reality they are neither good nor evil, they're just mindless and calculating.
  • Flamebait?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheesey (70139) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:55AM (#17612764)
    Flamebait? "The threat of DRM completely making our computers useless" is not a contraversial statement. Even if you really like DRM, you can probably think of some examples where it has been taken too far: think Sony rootkits, Starforce CDROM damage, and Jon Johansen and Dimitri Skylarov being arrested for hacking their own computers.

    Read up on TCPA immediately. Consider how much of the design of Vista has been aimed at preventing access to high-quality copies of information protected by DRM. Should the film industry really have been allowed to design an operating system?
  • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel&hotmail,com> on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:28AM (#17613108) Homepage Journal
    The current attack vectors on cryptographic based "DRM" schemes are (1) accidental key leakage, (2) the key exchange system or (3) the fact that the data must be eventually decoded.

    Note that (3) is what makes DRM systems very dumb. It also follows that the Operating System must get involved in order to so hide the data.

    If the Operating System allows a debugger to run AT THE SAME TIME as the "DRM", its attackable. If the OS allows "unsigned" drivers to run, its attackable.

    The OS (for example, Vista) will (eventually) not allow unsigned drivers. It must also "kick out" or "suspend" all non-DRM (unsigned) software when DRM content is played.

    This behaviour falls into Mr. Coxs patent.

    Now, if (Vista) doesn't implement the scheme, it remains vulnerable. So, the problem must be solved another way.

    My suggestion then is to ALSO patent (or disallow) by widely publishing the idea that a hypervisor (VM supervisor) can be used for DRM control as well, and can also be used to suspend, terminate or otherwise control applications that could be used to attack DRM software.

    Got that? It's now published.
  • Re:FrostWire (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:43AM (#17613298)
    Wow, that was stupid.

    In the old days, we had CDs, which had no DRM.

    Then we had P2P, which had no DRM.

    Along came the iTMS, and we had DRM.

    And you picked the DRM choice? Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.
  • by x2A (858210) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:45AM (#17613328)
    Not if you unconditionally save state before checking DRM, so that it's already saved should it need to suspend.

  • Microsoft? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:38AM (#17613982) Homepage
    Microsoft? They're not huge DRM supporters by nature

    Say what? I have just three words for you.

    Windows Genuine Advantage.
  • Perfect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:36PM (#17614870) Homepage

    All Microsoft has to do to get around his patent is make it so that, once DRM breaks your computer, it stays broke. (Until you do something. Like, the infamous "format and reinstall".) (Which, BTW, you can only do once.)

    Exactly. It forces DRM to be nasty (unless you licence this patent) and therefore harder to shove down consumers' throats.

    Even if Red Hat licenses this patent out for an exorbitant amount of money (which it would have to be, considering DRM really hurts Red Hat's business), it will serve to fund the development of free alternatives to DRM-infested software.

  • Re:FrostWire (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:41PM (#17614964)

    Go fuck yourself, loser.

    Is this honestly the best troll you could come up with ? What is wrong with you people - don't you even try anymore ?

    Trolls aren't what they used to be. But then again, I guess being made into a twisted parody of nature enslaved to Morgoth by a second rate hobbyist fantasy author and be forced to remember your time as a relatively benign mythological being from Scandinavian folklore all your miserable existence would do that to you, I guess. And the movie trilogy, which makes mockery of both your original and Tolkien-corrupted nature, would certainly not help.

    See ? That's a troll. It combines trivia, imflammatory opinions, and a condescending tone with at least some creativity. That's how it's done. "Go fuck yourself, loser"... Bah.

    And moderators: The best comments are always, invariably, drawn out as responses to the worst trolls (sometimes the story itself). Slashdot needs quality trolls. A quality troll is one that hits where it hurts, and provokes people to answer in detail with eloquence and passion. It helps hone your own views to the razor's edge as only a worthy foe can. Without them, Slashdot would be nothing more than a bunch of people congratulating each other over their l33tn3s. "Go fuck yourself, loser" is not a good troll, it doesn't mentally challenge even the dimmest-witted steroid-using old boxer. So mod up good trolls, and mod down garbage like the post I answered to.

    Slashdot needs (+1, Troll) besides (-1, Troll).

  • Re:FrostWire (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mkw87 (860289) on Monday January 15, 2007 @01:51PM (#17616008)
    Slashdot needs (+1, Troll) besides (-1, Troll).

    I thought thats why we have +1 Insightful?



    I kid, I kid
  • DRM times (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kancept (737976) on Monday January 15, 2007 @02:05PM (#17616220) Homepage
    I gotta say it isn't so much DRM I dislike. I've been hit with DRM issues in one of my latest projects. Got around it easy enough. Not all files have are easy to get around though- think tech demos from companies or somesuch. My problem with DRM is the authentication part. How do we know in 5 years if the server the machine needs to contact is around to "allow" me to use what I have purchased. That's my issue. Machines move like formats. In 5 years I'd still like to listen to my music and my movies without fear that the companies who placed the DRM on their files is still around, let alone running servers to let you use what you have.
  • Re:FrostWire (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dfghjk (711126) on Monday January 15, 2007 @02:46PM (#17616810)
    "Stealing something requires a physical object or an idea that you then proceed to utilize commercially."

    That is absurd. Theft does not require a physical object nor does it require commercial use.
  • by FallLine (12211) * <fallline@operamai l . com> on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:48PM (#17623964)
    You know, the first part of your post might deserve a +5 informative because you happen to know of some website dealing with law
    Unlike the vast majority of people on slashdot (especially those whining loudest about patents), I actually have real knowledge and experience with them (though I would not hold myself out as a patent expert). I've filed several patents (for my own business and a previous employer) and my wife is a laywer & is admitted to the patent bar. I simply cited the website to end the silly debate.

    Some of us actually do bother to read the linked article (and sometimes even a few more articles on the same subject, if they exist).
    Your assertion was simply wrong so there was no reason for me to read through a bunch of sophomoric rants on slashdot. If you still think the "article" illustrated something relevant to this debate, then please tell us exactly what it was.

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