Posted by: lordcorusa
on February 04, 2006 02:41 AM
Argh. When will the misunderstanding end? The sole purpose of any version of the GPL is to give every user (where user is defined as hardware owner or someone with authority to administer the hardware) complete rights over the software, except the right to restrict other users' rights. GPLv2 was written in 1991.
DRM is fundamentally designed to restrict a users' right to do some particular thing with their software. The concept of DRM came into existance sometime after 1991. A law passed in the United States in 1998 gives certain protections to DRM software, so that such software can be used to further restrict user's rights. Other nations are following suit in passing such laws.
Therefore, DRM is nothing more or less than a new method of restricting user's rights. When the GPL is revised, it must take into account all new methods of restricting users' rights, and that includes dealing with DRM in a way that ensures that users' rights kept inviolate.
DRM is no more a "use" of software than refusing to provide source code is. It is a method of restricting users' rights by controlling how they are allowed to run and modify the software. This draft of GPLv3 prevents the use of DRM for restricting users' rights, while still allowing developers to create software capable of encoding or decoding DRM-wrapped files. (The developers just are not allowed to put road blocks, legal or technical, to users modifying the software.)