Following on the previous story on Sony digital rights management, Sony has announced it will stop making CDs using this DRM technology, after the first virus that uses Sony’s copy-protection software to hide had been discovered. At a public event yesterday, Stewart Baker, the assistant secretary for policy at the Department for Homeland Security made pointed comments evidently aimed at Sony: “”It’s very important to remember that it’s your intellectual property — it’s not your computer,” as he discussed the implications for the security of technology infrastructure. Given the Bush administration’s tendency up until now to support sometimes even the heavier tactics of the entertainment industry , this is encouraging.
In 1421 the government of Florence gave the first patent to Filippo Brunelleschi for inventing a way of bring goods up the unnavigable river Arno to the city. He asked for and was given the right for three years to burn any competitor’s ship that used his innovation. I think we’re finally realizing that potentially destroying the computers of your customers is not valid, even less than burning ships of competitors. This event has been an important turning point in perception of how digital rights management is used and intellectual property enforced.