[sword-devel] copyright issues

George Washington Dunlap III sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 29 May 2001 15:24:29 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 29 May 2001, Paul Gear wrote:
> The 'why not give the publisher the encryption key' approach is not that
> simple.  What do they do with that key once they have it?  Does the user
> just type it into the program?  What is to stop that user from sharing the
> key with all their friends?  It doesn't matter how many tricks you put in,
> the bottom line is that with free software, it's easier to "steal" texts.
> (It's still possible with proprietary software, just harder.)


I can give my friends the installation CD of proprietary software too.  I
could even post a raw CD image online.  What's the difference?

And as it's been pointed out before, I can write a script to download the
entire NIV and other assorted translations from bible.gospelcom.net.

So your intent, it seems to me, should be to keep the honest people
honest, rather than trying to keep any illegal activty from happening at
all.  As long as it's apparent to the user that sharing keys is as illegal
as sharing CDs, and as long as obtaining cleartext of an encrypted module
as technical as writing a script to d/l it from the net, I think you've
accomplished the goals which should be important to copyright holders.
Is that easy enough for a non-programmer to understand?

Perhaps this amount of obfuscation would be enough: to add a key download
interface to the sword libraries.  A funciton takes the following
arguments: hostname, port, full name, and serial or confirmation number.
It connects to the server, d/ls the key, and stores it in some obfuscated
way (say all keys in a single binary format file not easily perused or
modified with a text editor).  Sure, it *can* be hacked to extract the
key, but the average user isn't going to do so; and at any rate, it's
clear that you're doing something wrong.


 -George Dunlap

| dunlapg@umich.edu | http://www-personal.umich.edu/~dunlapg
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