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How to Explain DRM to Your Dad

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Misc

My friend John was trying to think of a way to explain the problem with digital rights management to his dad and friend of ours who don't see what's wrong with it. He compiled a list of examples of DRM-related problems to help people understand what the big deal is with DRM.

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"1. I want to watch an Egyptian movie for my Middle Eastern studies class. But it is region coded not to play on my DVD player, in an effort to stop piracy. Now I have to hack my DVD player and break the law to get it to play. The movie isn't released in the U.S. This is the only version that was ever published. Since it isn't published in the US, and it's for academic purposes, I can rip it make copies for my classmates. That's fair use. But since I have to break the DRM to copy it -- I've broken the law anyway.

"2. My mom bought a phone that was a "music player" from Verizon. The manufacturer (LG) created a great phone to play all sorts of music. Verizon crippled the phone to only play music bought from the Verizon music store. If I hack my mom's phone, that she bought legally, to play music that she legally owns because she bought it on CD, I could be breaking the law my modifying a DRM scheme.

"3. In the Comcast situation

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