Clay Shirky's The RIAA Succeeds Where the Cypherpunks Failed is worth reading.
The music industry's attempts to force digital data to behave like physical objects has had two profound effects, neither of them about music. The first is the progressive development of decentralized network models, loosely bundled together under the rubric of peer-to-peer. ... And the second effect, of course, is the long-predicted and oft-delayed spread of encryption.
The cypherpunks movement is a very powerful set of ideas. But they all slammed into the wall of consumer indifference. I think Clay overstates the case a bit, but I agree with him that the RIAA is driving crypto.

The other place that the RIAA is setting the cypherpunk vision in motion is their own DRM technologies. Watermarks, locked media, Palladium: it's like a cypherpunks wet dream. Only it's a nightmare: the cryptokeys are in the hands of just a few people.

  2003-12-21 18:20 Z