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  Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers? 
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Rusty Smith Aug 23, 2005, 02:46pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Hey Sander,

Any insight as to how the EU might react to this? Having just read TR Reid's book "The United States of Europe," I am well aware that the EU can significantly affect how U.S. companies behave. Is it possible that the EU might force the availability of alternate technology that enables fair use?

The other possibility is to raise the awareness of consumers to a level that any non-techie can understand - if literrally everyone in the U.S. rejected this technology by not purchasing the computers, Windows Vista, and the locked down content, would we be able to change the entertainment industry's heart?

- rusty

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John Ingram Aug 23, 2005, 04:02pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
What do you think all the mainstream media "dumbing down" is about? Making life easy for consumers and the public - or so that this sort of thing can be put into practice and stand a strong chance of success?

I have no doubt at all that this is the future of business/consumer relations for the final 30-50 years that is left of Western Civilization. (Seen the price of gas/petrol?).

And a much much bigger issue is the slow control of the internet for the benefit of big business at the expense of the individual consumer - without that what the OS and and hardware do or don't do won't matter.

Lawrence Heffernan Aug 23, 2005, 07:46pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
Western civilisation must evolve or die, just like anything else throughout history.

The only piece of advice I can offer on this is don't buy this crap. It won't be of any benefit to you. Why buy something you don't want. Answer - Don't

FingerMeElmo87 Aug 23, 2005, 08:51pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
LMAO. intel and micrsoft remind of cheddar bob. the character in 8-mile who shot himself in the leg with his own gun. sure micrsoft and intel have the tools to take over the entire personal computer industry but with this recent implemintation of this BULLSHI* that is DRM into the software of vista and the hardware of the pentium, they have just royally screwed themselves just like cheddar bob did. i do not know a single person in the world that does not have a single mp3 file on there hdd. once every one realizes what these idiots are up to Dell and every other computer manufacture will adopt AMD as there flagship cpu because these chips wont have the hardware side of the total DRM equation. either that or they're goning to invest there money in apple. either way the 2 most dominant sources in the computer industry has just has just dont the same dumba** thing that cheddar bob did; shot themselves in there own leg. lmao............Fu****g idiots.

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John Ingram Aug 23, 2005, 10:06pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
Sorry but "Once everybody realises" and any comments about how other corporations are going to put a spoke in the works just doesn't happen anymore. What mainstream media is going to take this onboard - so that "everybody realises"? And when do Coporations really fight each other anymore, to the benefit of the consumer?

I doubt that 1 in 50 people who download music know that UK purchasers of i-tunes and the like are paying 20-50% more than the rest of Europe, and Europe is paying 30-50% more than Americans.

People don't care anymore. If they did we'd have better TV, Radio, newspapers, food quality, lower drug prices, better employee rules, cleaner air, better schooling, etc, etc, etc We don't want to spend extra money to save the planet for our kids/grandkids, we don't want to know about oil running out. People won't care about this. That's why it will more likely happen than not. Corporations now control us. Not Governments. In fact big busines now controls our governments!

For example the question is not that audio CDs have come down in price in the last couple years, it's how we let record companies charge 50% more for CD over cassette when CD production costs were half that of the cassette cost, for nearly a decade. It's things like this that don't give me much hope.

Read any book on the end of any previous civilization and you'll see that apathy and celebrity are two of the last vestiges of a dying society. With regard this thread, apathy will rule.(Look elsewhere to prove the celebrity point.) No, hardly anyone will "realise". So a small group of us will get around it, and everyone else will go along. Intel and Microsoft know this and others will join in..

Chris Arthurs Aug 24, 2005, 06:25am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 24, 2005, 07:48am EDT

>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
I may be able to shed some light on the position of the EU; Last year I wrote to my MP (Member of Parliament) here in the UK.

I should note that the key point I believe I was making in my letter (based upon a New Scientist article) was homing in on the fact that UK copyright law includes a clause which states that after a period of time from publication (50 years, i believe), the material must enter the public domain as freely available media. I argued that it was unlikely that DRM technology would be encoded to "switch itself off" after such a time period.

Here are a couple of snippets of the correspondence. They are quite long, but i believe they are a worthwhile read:

21 dec 2004- a copy of a letter from my MP to the culture secretary:
"I have received the enclosed letter [regarding DRM] from my constituent. My initial reaction was to view this as a fairly esoteric matter but on closer inspection it is clear that there are huge implications behind Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology and its impact on copyright. Indeed it is clearly an issue that is likely to come up more and more in the future.

Can you tell me what view the Government have taken on this issue? Is this a matter the UK Government will be taking up with the EU commission? Alternatively will the United Kingdom Government move to strengthen consumers' future rights in this area?"

15 March 2005- most of a copy of a letter from the parliamentary under-secretary of state for science and innovation (responsible for copyright policy):
"Illegal copying and dissemination on the Internet of copyright material is a major problem for the creative industries and the Government fully supports the use of DRM measures by right owners to try to control this activity. DRM technology is a vital part of making the digital world work and recent changes to copyright law which further strengthened rights to control electronic communication of material also provided more comprehensive protection for the technology itself.

Legal protection for DRM measures associated with copyright works is provided in European Directive 2001/29/EC on copyright in the information society, which we implemented in 2003, but whether to use this technology is for right owners to determine. Right owners are of course generally free to issue their products in any form they wish and this includes incorporating DRM measures in them. I see no basic objection to this provided that consumers know what they are buying, but while it is reasonable for right owners to explore ways of protecting their material by new technology, I can appreciate Mr Arthurs' concerns about the potential impact of this on consumer's ability to use legally-acquired digital content. Those developing new DRM systems must be aware of the legitimate interests of users of copyright material and also constraints arising under other laws such as those relating to competition and rights to privacy.

The protection under copyright law for DRM technology, ie when this has been applied to copyright works, does take account of interests besides those of copyright owners. As part of this necessary balance, the legislation provides for the Government to act if users in areas such as the education, library and archive fields are prevented by such DRM measures from benefiting from exceptions to copyright in those areas. This ability to act also applies to exceptions for the benefit of visually impaired people.

In addition, the copyright Directive recognises that the relationship between DRMs and usersí interests may need further attention and requires the European Commission to publish a report on its operation. One aspect specifically referred to is the effect on users of copyright works of the application of technological protection measures by right owners and I understand that several organisations representing users and consumers have already put forward their views to the Commission or are intending to do so in the coming months. Moreover, my officials are continuing to discuss concerns raised by interests here in the UK with their counterparts from other Member States and the Commission in the Contact Committee established by the Directive. These discussions will also be taken into account in the Commissionís report on how the Directiveís provisions are functioning in national laws and whether any amendment of the Directive is needed.

One specific point which Mr Arthurs picks up from the New Scientist article is usersí access to works carrying DRM measures when these move into the public domain. We too would be concerned if the use of such technology were to act to prevent copying of works once copyright protection has expired but we think that it is very unlikely to be the case in practice that there will be no unprotected copies in existence. Moreover, only that technology acting to prevent or restrict infringements of copyright is protected so there will be no such protection against circumvention of DRM measures once the works to which they have been applied are in the public domain.

Returning to the importance that the Government attaches to DRM technology, we are currently facilitating work by the creative industries, the consumer electronics industry and other UK stakeholders on developing new business models for secure online trading of music, films and other copyright works. As well as acting to prevent unauthorised copying, DRM systems are also used to track copyright material in the online environment, control authorised use, and assist right owners in obtaining appropriate payments for the latter. They are, therefore, an essential factor in the success of the new Internet services. With the legal framework in place, it is now for industry to develop the systems and agree technical standards while taking proper account of valid concerns about interoperability and flexibility from a user standpoint, and also pricing of products. I understand that industryís intention is that DRM technology should prevent mass copying of protected works but should not preclude certain copying for personal use. Moreover, the security for right owners from the protection that the law gives to use DRM technology means that consumers can benefit from access to valuable content which otherwise would probably not have been made available over that distribution path."

In particular, I notice in the final paragraph above the understanding that DRM is to prevent mass copying and not "certain copying for personal use". Thoughts, anyone?

Yahoda Klaus Aug 24, 2005, 06:38am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
you guys got carried away with all that catastrophic visions... Western World is evolving - letting people from the East and South join and modify the system by their daily participation, maybe I am too optimistic but I think it works fine, except for some extremists on both sides...But let's get back to subject: As long as Microsoft's monopolistic position is not viewed as harmfull by the anitrust bodies nothing will happen in EU. European Antimonopoly Law defences idea of competition not mp3 files for free. To qualify as a monopolist a company need to have some 80% share of a market in terms of geographical market and in terms of product market. M$ is a monopoly but not on a product market - there is a whole bunch of Linux based OSes on one hand and other ways to obtain music. Antitrust bodies avoid too narrow definition of a product market so I presume there is no practical legal grounds on which they could block that.

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Lawrence Heffernan Aug 24, 2005, 07:44am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
This is a democracy, if the majority of people want illegal downloading, then we'll damn well have illegal downloading, or is democracy complete bollocks and the corporations really are in power.
We all know the answer

Chris Arthurs Aug 24, 2005, 07:47am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
Don't be silly. I'm sure the majority of people want free computers too, but you and I both know that that's never going to happen as it would destroy the computer industry and then nobody would have any computers at all.

John Ingram Aug 24, 2005, 09:20am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
As is so often the case, pc users such as those that would put a message in a forum on this site, are a very small minority that will know how and where to get any software that will probably get around DRM. We know how to use our CD writers. We know how to convert from .wav to mp3, etc.

The fact is the vast majority of pc owners/music buying customers do not know or care to know any of this. Even if a UK consumer knew that a legal download in the U.S was around 69c and that that same download was $1.00 in Europe and $1.25 in the UK they would not do anything about it beyond complaining over the water-cooler at work. As long as downloading is the easier thing to do for them, that's what they'll do.

There are so many examples of people paying more to save time (as in the increase in home delivery of food over the last couple of decades compared to home-cooking in order to watch 5 hours of TV a night rather than 4). Due to profit margins you only need about 25% of all music sales to be online and you will start seeing record stores closing. When you don't have a local record store, or just a department store with only the Top 20 or your nearest store is 10-20 miles away you will be a relatively captive customer. Microsoft, Intel and the Record Companies know this. It why gas and electric companies will give good discounts to get you online and paying by direct debit, because their costs go way down. When we are all doing this however, you watch the discounts decline and disappear. When we are all downloading our music and software you watch how a) the prices will increase and b) DRM 2 will be invoked.

A lot of what gets talked about in threads such as this will never disseminate to the masses. If Microsoft and Intel thought it did DRM would not have even been proposed in it's current state. The fact that it has show the confidence they have of getting this through. I am not sure we have the active consumer base that everyone seems to think we have. I think we have the most compliant consumer base we've had since the 40's. The freedoms given to Corporations vs the restrictions put on individuals over the last 20 years is very marked.

I think it's a fool's paradise to think there will be any "uprising" over DRM. There hasn't been any uprising over the increase in gas/petrol and the huge profits oil companies are announcing, and surely that's a much bigger part of people's life's? In areas of consumer power I am very pessimistic. When you look at our attitudes to recycling (Europe) or driving gas guzzling cars (USA) it's easy to see how little people really care about the future and how easy they buy into the marketing.

Lawrence Heffernan Aug 28, 2005, 08:07am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Where is the EU on this? And what about educating & organizing consumers?
Music downloading is a threat as it is another option, the monoliths a la RIAA simply have gotten accustomed to their dominance of the music industry, to the extent that prices are kept artificially high. They want to retain their status quo, rather then accept change they are doing everything in their power to prevent it. Shall we surrender our rights in the name of large coroprate profits?

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