Saturday, May 03, 2014

Problem solving and copyright

The idea that perfect digital copying removed the ability to effectively protect information from copying has fascinated me for years as I wonder who came up with this notion. It just never made sense to me that the two things went together and my suspicion has always been that some people simply want it to be true.

Of course I could be wrong. But I have a little problem solving exercise to toss into the mix.

My recent idea I call IDDI for In-Data Dynamic Identification can easily be used in a scenario that I think is compelling.

So imagine an IDDI system is in place when you download a photo or a movie. If you know of it, you may even see imprinted on the photo identifying information about YOU which the server dynamically added when you requested the photo (but not necessarily as it may be invisible). So that photo is in that way unique to you. Someone else at the same webpage downloading the same photo would have one with IDDI about THAT person instead.

If you just keep it for yourself, no worries. But let's say you share and you're a BIG sharer. That photo zips around the world, but is copyrighted. The copyright owner eventually notices and imprinted on the photo is your identifying information which leads directly back to YOU.

Yup, now that identifying information leads back to you and maybe even tells them the day and hour when you downloaded that photo. No denial possible.

Now, let's say you try to remove it. If you miss ANYTHING when prosecutors come to get you, they can show attempts to remove that IDDI as prima facie evidence of intent to commit a crime.

Even knowing that is possible could greatly limit the possibility that a regular person would even try to share that photo or movie, as the same scenario can apply to a movie.

How many people do you think will still routinely share copyrighted material without the owner's permssion with that scenario hanging over their heads?

Now then, if you thought problem solving could not find a way to limit digital copying because digital allows perfect copying I think IDDI can be a warning to you. I also have another idea I call DMESE which can also be used to let people make personal copies which inhibits illegal sharing by self-encrypting the copy.

To me these are nice ideas in that they don't negatively impact end users like myself which would not necessarily give an unfair advantage to some major corporation or government.

And if people want you copying then that would be ok, but it could be the creative person's choice once again, where if you violated that trust and tried to share anyway technology could tell that tale.

Oh yeah, so why would some people push the idea that perfect digital copies removed the ability to inhibit illegal copying?

My guess is that the idea was sexy to them. There isn't any logical reason to connect the two things, but for someone who wishes it to be true logic may not matter. And how many people out there are smart enough to question them?

James Harris
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