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Re: Copyright enforcement through crypto
Yesyes, you're preaching to the choir. I want information to be free
It just occurred to me that by tying the decryption to a time server
and sending both the timebased key and a complete algorithm to
a general purpose engine that you might get something somewhat effective.
To give an example:
12 years ago I worked in a computer store that sold Atari computers.
I learned to program on my Atari 400, cassete, Basic, assembly, etc.
I used to have fun 'breaking' the copy protection on game floppies.
There were some sophisticated methods that a number of companies used,
but I could eventually disassemble and follow the code and patch it.
(Blue Max was the hardest I cracked: 5 stage load, several
multi-sector-with-same-number-same-track protections, and executing
code merged from two such sectors).
The one disk that I couldn't crack (and I still have it) was the ABC
Basic compiler. The compiler was compiled with itself. Since the
assembly was just a general purpose engine, I had to follow the
p-code/tokenized Basic all over the place. I could never keep track
of it long enough to solve it.
If an algorithm is only good for a perticular copy of a document and
only for a short time, the theoretical possibility of cracking it
I want to explore what aspects can be solved and what can't.
Obviously you can always take a picture of the screen, possibly
capture data in the window/operating system, etc. But, with
a modifed X, unmodified OS, etc., how close can you get.
> >I'd like to explore the technical problems of enforcing copyright
> >restrictions through encryption and custom viewing software.
> This job is pretty much unsolvable in the long run, because you have
> to give all your secrets (algorithms and keys) to your "enemy". You
> can slow him down a bit, but eventually he'll reverse engineer the
> system -- especially if it runs on general purpose computer hardware.
Unless each document uses it's own key and randomly selected
algorithm(s) and needs online access.
> It may be difficult, but it only needs to be done once because the
> results can be quickly and widely disseminated in the underground.
> Even without breaking the system per se, legitimate users will figure
> out ways to copy its decrypted output and give it to their friends.
Of course, that's always a problem, unless things are priced per use
so that it's more attractive to pay.
> >Obviously, the goal would be to get really good copyright material on
> >the net, like first run movies, when we have the bandwidth.
> Why is this necessary? Many cable TV systems already carry
> considerable amounts of copyright material despite having very weak
> scrambling systems. Even a strong system such as Videocipher II+,
Of course, I didn't say it was necessary... Just musing how effective
it would be.
> What the photocopy machine started and the VCR moved into high gear,
> the computer and the network will probably finish. As John Perry
> Barlow puts it, "Copyright is dead". It's not a matter of whether
> copyright is morally right or wrong. It is simply going to become
> utterly unenforceable -- like it or not. Instead of trying to patch it
> we should find workable alternatives to replace its role in
> compensating authors for their efforts.
Come on guys, I don't post that much, but you need to crank up your
Devil's Advocate detectors. Geesh, doesn't anyone like a good
argument anymore? :-()
Stephen D. Williams Local Internet Gateway Co.; SDW Systems 510 503-9227APager
LIG dev./sales Internet: [email protected] In Bay Area Aug94-Feb95!!!
OO R&D Source Dist. By Horse: 2464 Rosina Dr., Miamisburg, OH 45342-6430
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I speak for LIGCo., CCI, myself, and no one else, regardless of
where it is convenient to post from or thru.