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Author Topic: Bitcoin DRM behind price increase?  (Read 5375 times)
genjix
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January 07, 2012, 09:34:46 AM
 #21

This is not like a bucket with holes, but a bucket without a bottom half. This is the stupidest DRM scheme I've ever heard...
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kokjo
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January 07, 2012, 09:36:16 AM
 #22

DRM does not work people! please read up on the trusted clients.
you could sped all the bitcoin to yourself, and still play the game

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January 07, 2012, 05:19:27 PM
 #23

It may not work, but since signing the 1996 WIPO "Copyright" and "Performances an Phonographs" treaties, as well as the 2010 "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement", goverments have been under pressure to make circumventing Effective Technological Measures illegal. Note: I have to update that document because the wording of the WIPO treaties can be interpreted in such a way that author are *not* allowed to re-write copyright law at will.

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Mike Hearn
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January 08, 2012, 02:00:36 PM
 #24

omg, my personal "bitcoin developer of 2011"-award-winner likes DRM. O-M-G.

maybe you wanna watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg
even if you cant agree, he is an enjoyable speaker even though he always says gemeral instead of general  Grin

Heh. I said I was interested in it, not "like" it, actually.

Reading forums on the internet you'd be forgiven for thinking any company that deploys DRM is run by idiots. As nearly all retail software companies do this, either the majority of software companies are run by idiots, or you don't get the full story by reading web forums.

The point of DRM is loss minimization. Many products lose value rapidly with time. Take high-end video games. Nearly all sales are in the first month or two after release. Hardly anyone buys games that were released a year ago. Therefore if your copy protection scheme is cracked four months after release, the drop in sales that results is from "trivial" to "trivial". If it happens the day of release, the drop in sales will be quite significant. Games companies deploy DRM knowing it will be cracked eventually, but hoping it will take long enough that by the time the crack becomes available, most people who care have either bought the game or moved on.

There are in fact quite a few examples in the industry of cases where this happened - working cracks for well implemented DRMs were eventually released, but by that time the games company had moved on to better things and no longer cared very much. That's why they continue to do it. Of course there are also examples of poorly implemented protections that were cracked immediately. I believe the UbiSoft internet DRM is a bizarre example of something poorly implemented that nonetheless took quite a while to be fully cracked (partially working cracks were available before, but you won't get a good gaming experience that way). Games companies have lots of statistics on this, they aren't irrational decisions.

The same dynamic applies to optical-disc movie releases. The BluRay protection system has had times when it worked well and times when it worked poorly. Currently it works poorly - there are only a handful of people in the world who are able to break BD+ but they do so reliably within a few days of a new release.

I think people under-estimate how effective some of these systems can be when they're built properly, because so many copy protection systems are built poorly - often by people who don't care about the end results (the tech companies don't make content and often benefit from cheap pirated content to play on their players). In cases where incentives are correctly aligned the results can be more useful: piracy rates on consoles are much lower than on the PC, despite Sonys schoolboy ECDSA implementation error.
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January 08, 2012, 03:26:47 PM
 #25

i dont think the companies that deploy drm are run by idiots and i understand their motivation. i just think they shouldnt be allowed to deploy it at all.

any software that stops the layman from making backup copies, running software when some verification server is down or any other intentional mechanism that might lead to unpredictable unusability of the product should not be allowed to be sold at all. software that installs spyware, rootkits or anything else that interferes with the normal behavior of the customers computer should be punishable to the same extend as spreading any other malware. meaning jailtime.

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January 08, 2012, 04:47:28 PM
 #26

So you're against two consenting parties being able to form a contract, enforced by software that they both agree on ahead of time? That sounds rather anti-capitalist to me.

DRM is just a form of electronically enforced contract. If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't buy the software/music/movie/whatever.

I think what you're afraid of is that if there's no electronic mechanisms to allow the seller to increase their trust in the buyer, they won't sell to you at all. This is the mess that some countries have got into with credit cards. Fraud rates are too high and there's no way to do irreversible payments, so sellers simply refuse to sell if they suspect you might be connecting from such a place. Bitcoin solves this by making it easier for contractual trust to be established electronically. Bitcoin isn't perfect and double spends are possible. If you lose your keys, you're hosed, and so on. DRM is a bit like that - it's an imperfect and inflexible enforcement of contracts that are too low value or too international to be enforced by the courts.

Incidentally, not all DRM prevents creating backups. If you look at how the DVDFab team "cracked" Cinavia, it is by using the BluRay built-in support for creating backup copies of movies, ie it's not a crack at all. And it's common for high-end audio software to use hardware dongles, so you can back up the software itself as long as you don't lose the dongle.
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January 08, 2012, 05:59:24 PM
 #27

So you're against two consenting parties being able to form a contract, enforced by software that they both agree on ahead of time? That sounds rather anti-capitalist to me.

DRM is just a form of electronically enforced contract. If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't buy the software/music/movie/whatever.

I think what you're afraid of is that if there's no electronic mechanisms to allow the seller to increase their trust in the buyer, they won't sell to you at all. This is the mess that some countries have got into with credit cards. Fraud rates are too high and there's no way to do irreversible payments, so sellers simply refuse to sell if they suspect you might be connecting from such a place. Bitcoin solves this by making it easier for contractual trust to be established electronically. Bitcoin isn't perfect and double spends are possible. If you lose your keys, you're hosed, and so on. DRM is a bit like that - it's an imperfect and inflexible enforcement of contracts that are too low value or too international to be enforced by the courts.

Incidentally, not all DRM prevents creating backups. If you look at how the DVDFab team "cracked" Cinavia, it is by using the BluRay built-in support for creating backup copies of movies, ie it's not a crack at all. And it's common for high-end audio software to use hardware dongles, so you can back up the software itself as long as you don't lose the dongle.

Ah, the contortions that companies go through when trying to sell information as if it was a widget.
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fornit
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January 08, 2012, 07:03:54 PM
 #28

So you're against two consenting parties being able to form a contract, enforced by software that they both agree on ahead of time? That sounds rather anti-capitalist to me.

DRM is just a form of electronically enforced contract. If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't buy the software/music/movie/whatever.

yes, i am. mostly because there isnt much consent involved. most people dont understand the software, the drm, the license agreements, nor do they understand if they are even legal under their jurisdiction.

but aside from that i think the whole system is fucked up by design. right now we create an artificial scarcity denying millions and millions of poor people access to all kinds of software and entertainment products to allow companies to earn money. as a secondary effect, we also accept decreased quality of the products.
so if thats the kind of damage it takes - just in a single industry - to maintain capitalism i am definitely an anti-capitalist. its not about ideology. the system clearly does not produce acceptable results, so dumb it.
that does not mean i have the perfect solution how to distribute money to the producers without selling the product. but at least we should look for one. instead we create another dreadful protection mechanism that doesnt work after another and then create laws to protect it and then laws to protect those laws.

Quote
I think what you're afraid of is that if there's no electronic mechanisms to allow the seller to increase their trust in the buyer, they won't sell to you at all. This is the mess that some countries have got into with credit cards. Fraud rates are too high and there's no way to do irreversible payments, so sellers simply refuse to sell if they suspect you might be connecting from such a place. Bitcoin solves this by making it easier for contractual trust to be established electronically. Bitcoin isn't perfect and double spends are possible. If you lose your keys, you're hosed, and so on. DRM is a bit like that - it's an imperfect and inflexible enforcement of contracts that are too low value or too international to be enforced by the courts.

see, from my point of view its an imperfect and inflexible solution to a problem, that is a) unsolvable and b) artificially created. all to make products that are reproduceable without cost work in a society that measures value in scarcity.
its basically the same with patents. the system does not work and it cannot work.
and it will only get worse because the transition from a world in which resources and production capabilities represent value to one in which ideas and designs do is still in its infancy.

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January 08, 2012, 07:11:01 PM
 #29

Serious DRM done right
http://youtu.be/e91q5BtlxK0

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Mike Hearn
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January 08, 2012, 08:52:36 PM
 #30

Well, there you go, your point of view is not any different to thousands of other anti-DRM campaigners. It boils down to "I don't know how things should work, it just shouldn't be like this". It's not a very useful position to take.

We have systems like DRM and their support laws because nobody has figured out that theoretical alternative despite decades of trying. The closest I've seen is assurance contracts (kickstarter style), which is why there's a description of how to do it low-trust style on the Contracts page.

Unfortunately the few examples of large, well established names trying this technique out all resulted in failure (Steven King etc). I'm not convinced you can make the kind of movie or video game that breaks records today via assurance contracts. And as that's the only viable alternative suggested, I think copyright is going to be around in some form for quite a while.

fornit
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January 08, 2012, 10:51:24 PM
 #31

Quote
Well, there you go, your point of view is not any different to thousands of other anti-DRM campaigners. It boils down to "I don't know how things should work, it just shouldn't be like this". It's not a very useful position to take.

my favorite model right now is that of a culture flatrate along with a voting system. you pay a culture tax and get a limited number of votes you can distribute across all artists/developers or groups of them and they get paid from that tax. i would prefer nonlinear system that allows artists with a limited number of fans to survive and superstars to get moderately rich.
technologically thats quite possible. of course thats a system you cannot try locally, even nationwide is tough.
btw calling me a campaigner is not really accurate in my opinion. i have no ideological attachement of any kind. i just see a system that is clearly failing and i dont see anybody really willing to even try and fix it. 95% of the people with actual power are in the "there is no alternative"-religion and their favorite improvement of something totally fubar is "more of the same" which, in this case, means stricter laws.

Quote
We have systems like DRM and their support laws because nobody has figured out that theoretical alternative despite decades of trying. The closest I've seen is assurance contracts (kickstarter style), which is why there's a description of how to do it low-trust style on the Contracts page.

Unfortunately the few examples of large, well established names trying this technique out all resulted in failure (Steven King etc). I'm not convinced you can make the kind of movie or video game that breaks records today via assurance contracts. And as that's the only viable alternative suggested, I think copyright is going to be around in some form for quite a while.

i dont think the problem can be solved without legal changes. you cant have two solutions at the same time. thats why i agree copyright will be around for a while. nobody will dare to try anything else. or want to. after all, governments are mostly in the business of getting elected. solving long term problems with long term solutions isnt really their field of duty.

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January 09, 2012, 02:19:38 AM
 #32

HOAX

sorry, but such a DRM would just be so dumb. I want a quote to see whom to laugh at Wink

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January 09, 2012, 02:43:19 AM
 #33

I highly doubt that anyone would do such a copy protection measure. It took me about 30 seconds to figure a way to defeat the protection. My Solution would be simple:

a) switch bitcoin to testnet mode. Doesnt hurt anyone to lose a testnet coin
b) create an isolated blockchain fork at a block that is like 5000 or something, however in a range where difficulty is really low so you can actually mine a block. if the game is looking for a minimum block to work, the zeitgeist exploit could be used to defy it anyways
c) if that kind of system is going live, it will probably have to rely on 0/unconf transactions, since it can take more than an hour for a block to happen, and gamers are impatient. If this is the case, people could simply install a copy of bitcoin in their local network, backup their wallet, disconnect the internet and let the game send the coin. Only the other bitcoin in your local network would know about, so after shutting both instances down people could reinstate their backups and the coin wouldnt have been spent.
d) if the video game company would check for the 0/unconf, transactions can still be made in a way that they will never confirm. examples for this would be to manually create a transaction consisting of 1000 0.0001 BTC inputs sent without fees. And even if that was defeated, such a transaction could serve as an input for the game payment.

So no, I dont think any game publisher would use BTC for DRM. It's just not made for that.
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January 09, 2012, 07:43:08 AM
 #34

Reading forums on the internet you'd be forgiven for thinking any company that deploys DRM is run by idiots. As nearly all retail software companies do this, either the majority of software companies are run by idiots, or you don't get the full story by reading web forums.

The point of DRM is loss minimization. Many products lose value rapidly with time. Take high-end video games. Nearly all sales are in the first month or two after release. Hardly anyone buys games that were released a year ago. Therefore if your copy protection scheme is cracked four months after release, the drop in sales that results is from "trivial" to "trivial". If it happens the day of release, the drop in sales will be quite significant. Games companies deploy DRM knowing it will be cracked eventually, but hoping it will take long enough that by the time the crack becomes available, most people who care have either bought the game or moved on.

I don't run Microsoft Windows. If I have any chance of running the program, it has to avoid undocumented features and quirks. That means no DRM. Requiring a constant heartbeat to the authentication server is not an acceptable alternative.

I have given up on buying commercial proprietary, boxed software. The DRM is rarely if ever explained on the box anyway. I decided against buying a copy of Quake 4, despite ID software's reputation for supporting GNU/Linux and later releasing the source code because: the box said "May not work with SCSI CD-ROMs". That was code for "DRM desiged to detect drive cloning software is included."

Ubisoft's "Prince of Persia: Sands Of Time" was at one point announced to be DRM free (on the forums), despite the box saying otherwise. After the person in charge got some (undisclosed) results he didn't like, DRM was somehow put back in. I suspect it was always present and the assumption was only "pirates" would notice the DRM.

Even if I was running Microsoft Windows, I would not be able to play "AAA" games on a computer used for banking or work (or bitcoin) purposes. The DRM prevents installation as a limited user because it needs to install a "rootkit." Even the newer ones that allow you to play as a limited user, still require you to install the DRM as an Administrative user. As a result, the whole machine is "Tainted" and can be considered a "game console." AAA games also tend to require relatively recent hardware as well, so are unlikely to run well in a virtual machine (assuming they don't detect that condition and refuse to run on principle).

TL;DR: Yes, I think the majority of people in charge of software companies are idiots. I did not even get to the conspiracy theories like: "The true puropose of DRM is to shut down the second-hand market." The practice of using complicated, limited authentication codes makes the process of backing up a machine extremely difficult. Steam gets around that by saying: "you can install as many copies as you want... as long as you play at most 1 at a time." Steam still shuts down the second-hand market by not letting you transfer your games to other users. It also makes it difficult for multiple users share a game serially as well, with the focus on "achievements."

Edit: at a previous workplace, the label printing software used a dongle that I suspect corrupted the printouts; and according to the documentation, limited the print speed to "Standard Parallel Port" (Instead of EPP or ECP) speeds. Never did get permission to install a second port to test my theory.
TL;DR: Dongles are even worse.

Edit2: Why is it hard to find old versions of so many games? Though to be honest, I did not yet follow through on my promise to buy a copy of (DRM-free) Duke-3D (DOS version) when I learned that Duke Nukem Forver would employ DRM. My latest computer is MIPS based (asside: I no longer trust Intel due to their continued support of DRM) and I don't yet have DOSbox running with acceptable performance Tongue
DRM likely would prevent such emulation in 15 years' time from working anyway. That is, the games become some kind of software-as-a-service, rather than a work of art that can be studied for the ages.


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January 09, 2012, 07:53:39 AM
 #35

I consider the idea of Bitcoin-based DRM to be a total hoax.

The whole point of Bitcoin is decentralization.  DRM is easily administered centrally and doesn't benefit from anything Bitcoin has to offer in any way.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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January 09, 2012, 12:56:58 PM
 #36

So you're against two consenting parties being able to form a contract, enforced by software that they both agree on ahead of time? That sounds rather anti-capitalist to me.

DRM is just a form of electronically enforced contract. If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't buy the software/music/movie/whatever.
Except they're not exactly consenting parties and they don't exactly agree on the contract - one party unilaterally offers a contract whose terms are hidden in cryptic fine print if they're even mentioned at all. In fact, the media companies are obviously aware that people wouldn't be willing to buy their products if the conditions were more obvious. How many ads have you seen encouraging customers to "buy" a particular product with DRM? Now how many have you seen encouraging them to "enter a contract to access, subject to technical and legal restrictions on what hardware may be used to access" one? The media companies rely on the fact that consumers think of it as just buying a copy of something, much like they would a book, in order to avoid scaring customers away.

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January 09, 2012, 01:12:01 PM
 #37

I already broke the DRM.

1. Edit binary.
2. Put YOUR bitcoin address in there.
3. Huh?
4. Profit!

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January 09, 2012, 03:23:39 PM
 #38

Epic
That would really stop piracy.
Buy ORIGINAL game, edit binary, get BITCOINS
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February 04, 2012, 07:11:25 PM
 #39

Seems like an unnecessarily complex solution. Preventing piracy for interactive content, such as games, is trivial.  All you need is a mandatory always-on connection to an authentication server.  Large game companies have already been doing this for a while (see Steam).  Gamers hated it initially, but they've come to accept that games are essentially services and not products like they used to be 10 years ago.    

Still, it's nice to see non-traditional and unexpected uses for Bitcoin starting to pop up.  I hope this convinces the "Bitcoin needs acceptance by brick-and-mortar merchants or else it's doomed" crowd to change their mind.

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February 05, 2012, 03:27:26 AM
 #40

So you're against two consenting parties being able to form a contract, enforced by software that they both agree on ahead of time? That sounds rather anti-capitalist to me.
I'm counting down the days for Mass Effect 3. I'm checking out the website at http://masseffect.bioware.com/. Where's the contract stating the terms of the DRM that will be included in the game? Or do I have to wait until I break the seal on the box and void any chance of returning it to find out what the contract DRM is?

Ok, maybe I need to pre-order it then. Surely then they'll specify the terms of the contract so I can agree to them...go to gamestop.com...add pre-order to cart...click checkout...enter my credit card info...Hmm. Where again was that contract I agreed to?

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