The whole TCPA/Palladium outlook is rather bleak and depressing to me. Makes me want to go out and buy a Krispy Kreme franchise instead of spending all my time sitting in front of computers. For those of you who somehow haven’t heard about TCPA and M$ Palladium, read this overview.
But, instead of making donuts or moving to Utah, we could take a positive look at this. It may just be the final straw required for a lot of people to abandon the Wintel monopoly. The majority of users are still a very pragmatic bunch that will follow current trends like lemmings, so I have no doubt that Palladium will get a majority of the market. The big question is how big will the alternative market be. The nice thing about TCPA/Palladium is that there will be a very clear separation. You are either running TCPA or you aren’t. The bigger the side that reject the TCPA gets, the more power we will have. If we are big enough and we show enough perserverance that content providers won’t be able to ignore use as a market, then we will have beaten the TCPA. And in this I see opportunity. Today there are countries that have rejected M$ technologies because they are weary of having an American corporation with so much control over their critical systems. If M$ and Intel go all out with TCPA/Palladium then I think many more countries will object because by its very nature TCPA introduces external control. These countries and people will be looking for alternatives and in most aspects there are already very viable technological alternatives. People just need the motivation to make the switch (I sound like an Apple commercial) and I think TCPA/Palladium will outrage enough people into this switch.
Speaking of Apple, one has to wonder where it fits in on this. I would very much like to say I was sure that Apple would be anti-TCPA and would be standing by our sides in our defiance against seemingly insurmountable odds. But with their past history of actions, specifically the way they presented their iDVD product where they failed to mention anywhere that it is not a full-featured DVD writer but rather a cripple-drive not capable of writing the key-blocks needed to make backup copies of dvds or even copy-protect your own works.
Building copy-protection and big-brother like monitoring into hardware. Forcing the masses to use it through existing monopolies. Stifling any sort of reverse engineering and innovation through legislation such as the DMCA. These all contribute to make sure that innovation will grind to a halt and existing large companies will be able to solidify their positions and ensure longterm earnings without worrying about some troublesome little company coming up with something cool and innovative that might serve to threaten their strangehold on their customers.
The motivation for this is clear with respect to the large companies involved. They have to do what it takes to ensure profits for their shareholders. The legislation that supports and encourages this view of the world is much more troublesome. What is the motivation behind this? That our society as a whole has reached its technological pinnacle? There is nothing else to be invented? So we legislate away innovation and focus on ensuring corporate profitability based on existing technologies and the few things various large corporations might choose to innovate that doesn’t threaten their existing earnings? And this is presumably done to ensure a good economy so people will have jobs and lead happy lives. That doesn’t really sound plausible, but if that isn’t the motivation, then the only real answer is that the legislation is not focused on improving our society in any way, the government is not working for the people, but rather is merely implementing parts of the overall corporate policies of the companies with the most legislative influence.