Defcon 16. Wow. That's a long time. My first Defcon was 2. This means that
I've been attending for 15 years. Dear God, that makes me feel old.
This year's con was good in some ways but not so great in others. I felt
that the talks were a bit hit or miss. Friends have told me that the only
reason that they still attend is to see friends that they would not
otherwise be able to see. I'm starting to feel the same way.
There are five tracks and it's difficult to get from one to the other. The
outlines of the talks don't provide good insight on the material that will
really be presented. In the program, the talk outlines weren't listed in
any order. This made it difficult to figure out was was going to be
presented. There were a couple talks that I just plain walked out on. Then
I had to hike it to another presentation room to find a more interesting
I'm not sure what the total attendance was this year but last year there
were at least six thousand. It just feels, actually it is, too much. I'm
not the type of person that enjoys being around a lot of people so it is
very tiring after awhile.
I've posted a few photos on my flickr page. Go view them
if you like. You should look at Foofus dressed as Zed from the movie
posted at: 04:13 | path: /Cons/DefCon/DC16 | permanent link to this entry
Defcon 16 Presentation DRM
An issue that I had this year centered around the presentations
provided on the CD. I guess they have been locking the PDFs to prevent
copying from them for a couple years now. A type of DRM. I am putting
together a little presentation for work about this years con. (they paid
my way so I figure I owe them that). I found that I couldn't copy and
paste from the PDFs on the CD. It really surprised me that Defcon would be
using DRM on their presentations. Speakers and attendees have be railing
against DRM for years. At Defcon 9 Dmitry Sklyarov was jailed for
distributing a tool that broke Adobe eBook DRM.
The issue was brought up on the Defcon forums. I
guess DRM is just standard operating procedure now. I'm the only one that
has ever noticed or brought it up as an issue.
Here is the response from Nikita:
To officially answer this question.... for the past several years Dead
Addict, Black Beetle and myself have been locking the presentations on CD.
This has been protocol on the past several Defcon CD's mastered by myself
and any updated materials on the website. This has never been a reported
issue or complaint before. The information is still readable, viewable and
printable in high resolution as well. ONLY the Cut & Paste rights have
been disallowed. In order to change this going forward the speakers would
have to consent to making their presentations "unlocked". Time does move
forward and so does the ability to unlock these PDF's via software, etc. I
do realize this, however please respect the wishes of the speakers who
have requested their presentations be locked to disable cut & paste. If
this is an issue that greatly frustrates and agonizes the community please
understand it is not our intention nor the speakers. If DT wishes, we may
go with "unlocked" presentations for next year so long as we have received
the authors consent. However this may also mean that we do not get
speakers consent and therefore the results will be inconsistent. As of
now, this years content will remain "locked" to disable cut & paste as
many speakers appreciate the gesture and have not consented otherwise.
Just because no one has ever noticed or made an issue of DRM on the
presentation materials doesn't mean that it is acceptable or right.
The presentations are only partially broken? (everything except copy)
I guess I should feel greatful.
They know that PDF DRM can be broken. Then why do they use it if it
doesn't really prevent copying? They must also know that breaking DRM
violates the DMCA. It doesn't matter how lame the DRM is.
I'm asked to respect the author's rights. If I did not intend to
respect the author's rights I would have just busted the DRM and used
it however I want and not made it a topic of discussion. Are they implying
that they don't trust me? Do they have distain for their own community?
This reminds me of physical locks. Many locks can be picked easily and
quickly or circumvented. All locks do is keep honest people honest. News
Flash: Criminals tend to break the law. I'm sure they won't mind
breaking some lame DRM.
They say they will consider unlocking the presentations if they get
author consent. Why don't they err on the side of openness? Why don't they
only lock the presentation if the author asks?
They say that many speakers appreciate the gesture of imposing DRM.
First, it is only a gesture since we know that PDF DRM can be broken.
Second, maybe some speakers would not appreciate DRM on their
presentations. (I wouldn't)
DRM doesn't change the author's rights to their material. They are fully
protected under copyright law. DRM doesn't change the right to fair use.
What is the purpose of using DRM on the presentations? What message is
I've gotten very little response, positive or negative, about this. I
think this is a bigger deal than what many may perceive. If this had
happened back at Defcon 9, I can assure you there would have been an
all out riot. Defcon supports EFF, a fighter of DRM and supporter
of fair use. Now, it's no big deal that DRM is being placed on the con
presentations. What the hell happened? I feel like an old hippy that's
the last one that cares. "Fight the power, man!" Has the hacker community
become this complacent? Has Defcon become this corporate?
"Defcon® Inc. puts DRM on its presentations because it is
posted at: 03:50 | path: /Cons/DefCon/DC16 | permanent link to this entry