The Digital Media Project  
Source L. Chiariglione
Title Response to Professor Felten’s Review No. 050510gauvin01

Response to Professor Felten’s Review
 

The first opening chapter of Lao Tzu’s Work entitled Tao Te Ching quoted by the Professor has been one of the most profound references in my life.  It is about the fact that the origin of all that exists, has existed and will exist can not be documented in human language.  Arriving to this conclusion both intellectually and integrally in ones persona is associated with a liberation from the mundane concerns of the physical world often referred to as “illumination”.  But this liberation also implies a release from the ensuing pseudo knowledge that which is rooted in false notions of permanence and independence.  Both TAO and Buddhism share this perception for which both opt for a life of “practice” with the end of attaining this freedom from fundamental ignorance.  In Buddhist philosophy it is said that illumination is sought for the benefit of all sentient beings in that such a life i.e. one that actually ends in liberation is the perfect example for those toiling in Samsara the realm of suffering and desire.

The only relevance all this has to DRM and DMP is the underlying notion that ultimately nothing is ours to give or take away, all has been given. Or as I like to say, “Anything I have to give I have received” all inclusive of my physical being.  Taking the text this way, I can hardly object to Prof. Felten’s fight against all manifestations of possession and references to rights to this and that, as ultimately in my heart I seek reaching liberation and truly living “anything I have to give I have received”.

The only problem with this, is that we live in a World where few practice such principles but on the contrary it is  a World where value is systematically taken from ordinary people through a perverse process whereby all are attributed rights in the noblest expression on paper but the occult truth of money and power allots the means to implement such rights in a fruitful fashion to only a very few.  This battle has been going on for a long time and it is a complex one at that given that often both sides of the struggle use the emotive plight of the many victims as a sort fuel to keep the schism well in place while filling the minds of the victims with all sorts of useless hopes and expectations that are doomed to end in broken, disillusioned and spent lives.

I ask the Professor if he shares such a view and if he is willing to do something about it and I would ask him if he agrees that it would be better for ALL to OWN and MANAGE what is considered to be original of them or should such be the prerogative of only those who have or have traditionally had the means to implement such noble and universal rights.  I would also ask him to consider that the DMP is agnostic to this as it neither gives nor takes away rights.  However  it  avoids in all that is possible that the means to access rights be particularly the prerogative of one or other player in the value chain.  Does the professor support this aim?

I now proceed  in the Professor’s words  to “dissect” his flippant review of the DMP.  No harm intended this might be painful but believe me it is all for the better.

A View from DMP World

[by Edward W. Felten, at 10:42 AM]

The "6th General Assembly of the Digital Media Project" recently released a set of documents "providing an Interoperable DRM Platform". I've written before about the self-contradictory nature of their goal (A Perfectly Compatible Form of Incompatibility). Now we get to see how they plan to achieve the goal. And I have to say, the documents are a real piece of work. I could blog for a month just dissecting them; but I won't subject you to that. Instead, just a small sample or two.

MG: Thanks for restraining yourself because on the basis of what you write below, it could certainly prove a colossal waste of everyone’s time!

The documents describe a world unlike the one we actually live in. They do this, mostly, by redefining words that we all understand,

MG: Obviously Prof. Felten lives on another planet because if there is one thing the world lacks, it is a common precise (sic) understanding of basic terms.

creating improved versions that are distinguished typographically by capitalization. (There is a whole document devoted to definitions.) When you enter DMP-World, you give up your rights;

MG: This is an absolutely false statement; DMP neither grants nor takes away peoples rights.

they are replaced by Rights.

MG: ditto.

And unlike ordinary rights, which you may possess simply by virtue of being a human being, Rights have to be Granted to you, and they can be Withdrawn by a Creator.

MG: Ditto, adding that those who have inalienable rights over something may perfectly grant others certain rights to that something under the conditions that are supported by law.  It appears that the Professor confuses the right to grant with the means to express the granting.

MG: DMP simply recognizes that from a legal stand point that there exist legally recognized rights over not only an original Work but also on an Instance of a Manifestation of that Work as well as commercial rights over Production’s of the Work, all of which require a means to express which is what the DMP provides nothing more nothing less.  Again , DMP says nothing about what Rights are expressed other than recognizing that we live in a world that supports the idea of Intellectual Property and that the scheme is rooted in “original” Works from which all other rights emanate.  It is for this reason that the DMP establishes a set of defined terms that covers the scope of rights that the DMP considers relevant. This process is open to anyone who wishes to participate and improve the definitions if need be.

Now, if  professor Felten has a problem with the existence of IPR in general, then he is barking up the wrong tree, instead he should be overthrowing the establishment that finances his institution that is based on ownership not only of ones own Intellectual Property but anybody else’s money can buy!  Right Professor!

In DMP-World, you can't buy devices; all you can get are Devices. You don't whistle a tune; you execute Functions on Governed Content. The goal of all of this is to achieve Trust: "a state where Users, Devices, or Content Data enable Users to execute Functions on Governed Content".

MG. This is gratuitous nonsense.

All of this is done with little if any reference to copyright law. There is plenty of talk about "protection" and "intellectual property" and, of course, Rights.

MG: Wrong again, the Creation Model is based on European Droit d’Auteur, which is structurally identical to copyright with the difference that not as much is up for sale, particularly anything that might falsely give the impression that for example Prof. Felten composed don Giovanni instead of Mozart.

But not much is said about the actual scope of copyright law or its correspondence to the structure of DMP-World.

MG: Absolutely false, the whole Value Chain Architecture is about the scope of the different rights as they are attributable to the commonly identifiable generic entities to which those rights are attributed. But in the  mind of the Professor he his probably struggling with how the world of rights habitually obfuscated by a tradition founded on swindling others through gratuitous complexity that only the rich and well to do can buy passage through appears so complicated, “How can anyone have nailed the issue with such simplicity” he must be asking. NO his instincts must be telling him, “ it must be complicated otherwise how could you feel so challenged?” Painful discovering that after all, your prestige isn’t backed by any substance.

Instead, DMP-World seems to redesign copyright from the ground up,

MG: Wrong again see above.

replacing it with something much broader, and yet at the same time much less precise. Copyright law, for example, explains with moderate precision which types of works it covers and which it doesn't cover.

MG: Again, it isn’t up to the DMP to determine what Works are covered by copyright law but it suffices that Works are covered.

In DMP-World, the system covers Works. What is a Work? Here's the explanation (from document 2, p. 13), which I swear I'm not making up:

MG: No he isn’t making this part up because he didn’t write it; the rest (less Lao Tzu’s text) is what he appears to be making up! As for the definition of Work it is defined, but obviously he didn’t read the documents because had he,  he would have quoted it. But maybe if he had, he wouldn’t have been able to rant on as he does because he would have to respond PRECISELY to the definition!

The first object identified and to which IP is attributed to in the Creation Model is Work.

MG: Correct, because if you have no Work you have no IPR, is the simplicity getting the better of you?

Work refers to the fruit of an effort undertaken by an individual or group of individuals that constitutes the logical construct that persists independently of the innumerable possible physical representations of that construct.

MG: What is precisely wrong here Prof.? Or do you prefer to avoid precision in case it might alert you to your own ignorance?

A Work on the one hand can be very concrete by being unequivocally identified through a large number of differing manifestations all of which are perceived as being of the Work yet it is also ephemeral in that proof of its existence requires the use of physically perceivable resources that are not of the Work. The Work is somewhat like an invisible hand that gives shape to a glove.

MG. Note that the simple explanation of why a Work being intangible in that it needs to be embodied is yet very concrete as evidenced by any large number of badly rendered hummings of - ta ta ta taaa-  ALL being unequivocally associated with Beethoven is missed and instead, all attention is drawn to a metaphor used at the very end in order to lead us all into his IRRELEVANT expose of TAO!

Work, it seems, it a lot like the Tao: both concrete and ephemeral, existing independently of physical manifestations, and knowable only through its tendency to give shape to the world. The Tao is even described, sometimes, using the hand/glove metaphor.

MG: So are baseball, dental hygiene and rectal examinations for that matter!

To aid your understanding, here is Lin Yutang's translation of the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching, which does seem oddly relevant to DMP-World:

MG: Again the professor misses the point, TAO is relevant to everything in the World and the World now contains DMP so it shouldn’t be odd at all, but perhaps he doesn’t really understand TAO but just likes displaying his pseudo understanding as a clever divergence of the real issues. Sounds like the rest of his gratuitous slandering of other peoples’ work.

The Tao the can be told of
Is not the Absolute Tao;
The Names that can be given
Are not Absolute Names.

The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
The Named is the Mother of All Things.

Therefore:
Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion
In order to see the Secret of Life;
Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
In order to see its manifest forms.

These two (the Secret and its manifestations)
Are (in their nature) the same;
They are given different names
When they become manifest.

They may both be called the Cosmic Mystery:
Reaching from the Mystery into the Deeper Mystery
Is the Gate to the Secret of All Life.

That should make things perfectly clear.

MG: The poem is very clear to me, but since the Professor is really saying nothing, it is absolutely unclear what the hell he is talking about.  So try again next time, for the moment I mark your response, shallow, disrespectful, unconstructive, frivolous, and biased. 

Prof. Felten gets an F on DMP and TAO!