In the continuation of Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, he explains the concept behind the digital lock through Doctorow’s First Law.

In the first title, “Anti-Circumvention Explained”,  he explains that the phrase is a law that is against getting around a digital lock. A digital lock is something that prevents an action that the user is trying to do. The DMCA states that it is illegal to hack into a movie with a digital lock and change it around. Doctorow states that anti-circumvention, “is a way of making up new copyright laws”. But this does not mean copyright protection.

The next two titles talk about whether or not digital locks are some sort of copyright protection. Unfortunately, as Doctorow explains it, no. Because of anti-circumvention, distributors which the creators give the products for them to promote are in control as soon as they put a digital lock on it. These distributors control the product and in doing so, forces the creator to do whatever they want as they have the product. The creator cannot take the product away and give it to another company. However, even if the creator thinks the product is safe, with a digital lock, they will have 5 problems:

  1. The audience can save the file while it’s decrypted by the player
  2. The audience can start to copy the file
  3. The audience can take your keys and make their own player
  4. The audience can tell other people to take your keys
  5. The audience can publish the keys

This means that once the distributor puts the product online, people can immediately start distributing it on other websites.

“Digital Locks Always Break”, states that Digital-Lock vendors only protect some parts of the file but leaves other parts exposed to hackers. This has lead to the Internet containing, “a copy of the movie, book, game or song you want”. This has been because of a method that was found out by a programmer called Muslix64. With this, the system of the file failed and everyone was able to use the file. For example, it only takes 3 minutes for a song with a digital lock to appear on a file-sharing service.

In conclusion, the digital lock is not for anyone but the company who is keeping the files. Even then, it does not protect the file, it is only a slight hiccup to the audience. I believe that digital locks are the nightmare that causes millions of problems for everyone except the audience. It is a nuisance for those who wish to get a free copy of the product but for the creator, the hard work that they put in into their product is lost.

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