Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's 2012, why haven't you figured out yet that DRM can't work?

Techs around the world are cheerfully amused at McAffee's latest attempt to control the distribution of photos on the internet.

Basically, they came up with an application where the idea is that you can share photos only with certain people, and they will not be able to share them with anyone else.

I know, I know, you're saying "but I can take a picture of my computer monitor with my cell camera".  And of course you're right.  This is why McAffee is such a crappy software company.  They don't seem to understand this.

In the linked blog, the non-techie writer managed to overcome it slightly more elegantly with...a Firefox screenshot plugin.

Rocket science.

Yeah, don't put a photo on the internet if you don't want it on the internet forever.  Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.  They are idiots.

Seriously.  I try not to use that kind of language here often because it's inflammatory.  It just happens to be literally true.  To think that you can control the sharing of photos, video, audio, or any other information in the internet is simply idiotic.

And this is the problem with Digital Rights Management.  The whole notion that you can hand someone the keys to a lock but keep them from being able to open it at will is absurd.

This is nothing to do with your opinion on piracy or fair use or whatever.  This is a simple fact, a law of physics, the way reality works.  The only it can work is to keep you from seeing it at all (encryption without giving you the key).  But if you want one person to be able to unlock it and view the content, that person by definition will have the option of sharing it, due to the laws of nature.  You can only depend on that person being too stupid to figure out how to do it.

And as much as one might rail against stupid people, do you really think you can outsmart everyone in the world?

I didn't think so.

But at least you know it.  McAffee doesn't.  Aren't they supposed to be an internet company or something?  Facebook should know better too.  Not to mention the MPAA, RIAA, etc. etc.  How many decades of failure have to go by before you accept the truth?

And what's really sad is this exact same strategy has been tried again and again and again since the earliest days of the internet.  What are these guys, twelve years old?

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