ANSI starts to publish standards that have been made into law, in insanely crappy form


What are these ‘read only files’ of which you speak? Can I store them alongside my supply of dehydrated water concentrate?

the portal has built in security features that prevent users from printing, downloading, or transferring any of the posted standards

That’s adorable.


The FileOpen client looks … interesting. Realtime DRM?

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See also: Lego robot that strips DRM off Kindle books, Boing Boing, Sep. 7, 2013.


It’s also been broken by Tetrachroma. DRM is less than useless.

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“Screenshots will be disabled”? Good luck with that.

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You’ve got to remember that the point of DRM today is not actually to directly protect anything. The point is to activate legal protections and open people up to prosecution.

That’s the whole point of the “digital lock” metaphor. When you walk by a locked shed, your first thought is not usually, “I can go by a $5 pair of bolt cutters and take everything in that shed!” It’s probably closer to “someone does not want me in there.” And and if you tried to get in despite that you would be tried for breaking and entering.

DRM throws up a lot of hassles for those who have to deal with it, but the really onerous problem is that we’ve created laws that allow Someone to keep their lock (and associated legal protections) on things they’ve already sold to us.


Also, with our without a lock, taking the things in the shed is already illegal. And with or without a lock copyright infringement is already illegal. As you indicate, the only effect is to make it more difficult to use what we already have legal access to.


Can we please stop using the word “insanely” as a superlative now?


Give me a break. Are you a judge? Only judges declare things to be illegal. Your speculation has as much weight as the million-$ CEO at ANSI who thinks he owns public property because he wants a lot of money. Take a few minutes to learn about the issues and you’ll see this is not nearly as cut-and-dried as you may think. There is a serious public policy issue at stake here. We deserve better than Judge Judy.


i wonder if the minerals removed from distilled water would constitute as dehydrated water…would at least be dehydrated tap water (if you add distilled water it goes back to tap water)

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Didn’t mean to land too hard on @AnthonyC. He might have been speaking in general terms, or perhaps he was speaking on the current instance. In any case, I took it personally.

The reason I care so much about this is the language I’m seeing by the Code People when it comes to describing their efforts to grant public access. Here, for example, are the minutes of the meeting (page 5, the section on “Incorporation by Reference”) of the International Electrotechnical Commission describing how ANSI is making “their” standards available that are required by the U.S. government:

All standards approved for access by the public will be watermarked prior to posting via the ANSI IBR Portal. Access will be in “read only” format and the user will be unable to print, copy or save the standard. All users will be required to sign an online End User License Agreement prior to accessing any standards. ANSI will utilize a reporting mechanism to monitor access and to track the number of copies downloaded.

That last sentence is the kicker! It appears to me, and perhaps I’m mistaken, that in order to read the laws, you have to pre-register, get a license, and then your reading habits will be reported upon.

When you look at the ANSI site that is the subject of this post, you’ll see that you’re required to preregister for a day pass, furnishing your name, name of your employer, your phone number, and other data. Then, if you’ve preinstalled their software on your computer, you are allowed these limited rights.

If you talk to the Code People, “access to justice” is a clause in their license agreement, not a fundamental underpinning of our democratic system.

My comment was meant to be specific to WhyBother’s post. I was emphasizing
that drm is not only useless but unnecessary for achieving its (publicly)
stated goals. It is absurd that anyone is expected to follow laws they
cannot read.

I thought I might have misread your note. Apologies. As the great Roseanne Roseannadanna once said (actually said many times), “Never mind!”

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