(Via Darryl VanDorp's randomthoughts)The freedom to tinker and lawful fair use is at the heart of why DRM s*cks. I can't see how Mr. Valenti can justify the fact that it's illegal for me to run a program to view a DVD on Linux which I've lawfully rented.

From Real Dialogue: The Tech interviews Jack Valenti :


TT: Indeed, but are you doing that when you rent a movie from Blockbuster and you watch it at home? ... I run Linux on my computer. There’s no product I can buy that’s licensed to watch [DVDs]. If I go to Blockbuster and rent a movie and watch it, am I a bad person? Is that bad?

JV: No, you’re not a bad person. But you don’t have any right.

TT: But I rented the movie. Why should it be illegal?

JV: Well then, you have to get a machine that’s licensed to show it.

TT: Here’s one of these machines; it’s just not licensed.

[Winstein shows Valenti his six-line “qrpff” DVD descrambler.]

TT: If you type that in, it’ll let you watch movies.

JV: You designed this?

TT: Yes.

JV: Un-f*cking-believable.

TT: So the question is, if I just want to watch a movie--I rent it from Blockbuster--is that bad?

JV: No, that’s not bad.

TT: Then why should it be illegal?

Rich Taylor, MPAA public affairs: It’s not. ... You could put it in a DVD player, you could play it on any computer licensed for it.

JV: There’s lots of machines you can play it on.

TT: None under Linux. There’s no licensed player under Linux.

JV: But you’re trying to set your own standards.

TT: No, you said four years ago that people under Linux should use one of these licensed players that would be available soon. They’re still not available -- it’s been four years.

JV: Well why aren’t they available? I don’t know, because I don’t make Linux machines.

Let me put it in my simple terms. If you take something that doesn’t belong to you, that’s wrong. Number two, if you design your own machine, you can’t fuss at people, because you’re one of just a few. How many Linux users are there?

TT: About two million.

JV: Well, I can’t believe there’s not any -- there must be a reason for... Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question -- I don’t know the answer to that... Well, you’re telling me a lot of things I don’t know.

TT: Okay. Well, how can we have this dialogue?

JV: Well, we’re having it right now. I want to try to find out the point you make on why are there no Linux licensed players. There must be a reason -- there has to be a reason. I don’t know.

[Rich Taylor, a spokesman for the MPAA, later pointed to one company, Intervideo, that has a license to sell GNU/Linux DVD software, although the company does not actually sell a product that Linux users can purchase. Linux users who want to watch DVDs should “perhaps buy a DVD player instead,” Taylor said, or “write to Intervideo and others, encourage them that they’re the market,” he said. Will Linux users ever be able to view DVDs on their computers without breaking the law? “I’m sure that day is not far away,” Taylor said.

A spokesman for Intervideo, Andy Marken, said the company’s product is only for embedded systems and that Intervideo has no plans to release a software player for end users.]