The Null Device

The war on copying

Hewlett-Packard declare war on copyright violation, commit to integrated policeware in all HP products. Perhaps they're hoping that this gets them the sort of legal protection from cheap, usable imports that Microsoft has; since MS have embraced "trusted computing", the Microsoft OS monopoly has gone from being a problem to being an essential part of global economic stability (in fact, it's only slightly far-fetched to believe that, if it crashes down and the world goes open-source, the powers that be will declare capitalism to be irrecoverably wounded and bring out the cobalt-tipped fireworks). Could HP be angling for legal restrictions on non-compliant computers to stem the flow of customers to cheaper no-brand Asian imports?

Meanwhile, new versions of Photoshop have filters that detect images of US currency and refuse to load them; this CPU-intensive operation is performed every time image information is imported from outside the application. However, honest, patriotic citizens won't mind their CPU cycles being used in this way, as we all must put in to fight terrorism; don't you agree, Citizen?

Apparently Paint Shop Pro does this too, or so I heard. Mind you, The GIMP doesn't, and even if it did, you could change the source code to bypass this check and compile it yourself. Though, if Adobe and the Paint Shop Pro people put this "feature" in because of government pressure, it's not unlikely that there will be attempts to criminalise the distribution of source code that could be compiled to make a non-compliant image processing application. (There are precedents, in the FCC Broadcast Flag amendment, which effectively outlaws entire classes of software-radio applications that could be used to access copyrighted HDTV content.)

There are 4 comments on "The war on copying":

Posted by: richard http://mechanicalcat.net/richard/log Fri Jan 9 22:26:48 2004

... or the US could move to a currency that's less easy to forge (they'd have to be one of the only countries with a currency of any value that still uses plain paper, right?)

I heard a rumour that a few years ago the US govt. planned to switch to plastic money with embedded anti-counterfeit devices like ours, but apparently the US test audiences were too confused by anything other than their paper greenback.

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Sat Jan 10 01:34:20 2004

Yes, PSP 8 does this as well.

As for the GIMP, I offer this quote from the MeFi discussion:

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/30610#609522 'One of the funniest things I ever saw was Eric Raymond standing in front of a room full of Mac developers and suggesting they use The GIMP instead of Photoshop. Everyone in the room laughed at him. Everyone. Then they took up a collection to buy him an iBook, so he could see what UI was really about. He later reported this as "they liked me so much, they bought me an iBook." Oblivious.'

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Sat Jan 10 01:35:25 2004

Yes, PSP 8 does this as well.

As for the GIMP, I offer this quote from the MeFi discussion:

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/30610#609522 'One of the funniest things I ever saw was Eric Raymond standing in front of a room full of Mac developers and suggesting they use The GIMP instead of Photoshop. Everyone in the room laughed at him. Everyone. Then they took up a collection to buy him an iBook, so he could see what UI was really about. He later reported this as "they liked me so much, they bought me an iBook." Oblivious.'

Posted by: kv http:// Sat Jan 10 04:14:36 2004

holy guacamole.

Want to say something? Do so here.

Post pseudonymously

Display name:
URL:(optional)
To prove that you are not a bot, please enter the text in the image into the field below it.

Your Comment:

Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.

Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.