“...you could do the incredibly obvious and take a screenshot”
August 12, 2018 2:05 PM   Subscribe

 
yo dawg I heard you like blockchain
posted by duffell at 2:08 PM on August 12, 2018 [23 favorites]


What, no AI? Damn amateurs.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:08 PM on August 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


Next up, DRM for text files. As it stands you can just print them out and photocopy them. With the blockchain and some venture capital, we can close that loophole.
posted by sfenders at 2:13 PM on August 12, 2018 [12 favorites]


the best argument against DRM remains a moral one as far as I'm concerned. Without it, somebody who's comparatively poor can work with the same found material as somebody who's rich. Now, if you could come up with a way to allow everybody equal access to everything but then, once revenue starts getting accrued, those who actually created the raw stuff start to see a share of the action -- well, I'm all ears.
posted by philip-random at 2:14 PM on August 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


All these problems with blockchain can be solved with blockchain for your blockchained blockchain.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:39 PM on August 12, 2018 [25 favorites]


Is this something I would need a computer to understand?
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:14 PM on August 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


But what happens when I take a picture of a blockchain?

Oh and I can highly recommend David Gerard’s book on the noise that is blockchain
posted by fallingbadgers at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hellloooo PNG.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2018 [11 favorites]


Aside from DRM not being what I think of as ethical, there's also the thing where image sizes on the web are already a huge problem for the developing world and even for more mobile-dependent parts of the US population, and I can't figure out how they think tacking stuff like this on is going to actually be technologically feasible for every website that has image assets.
posted by Sequence at 3:25 PM on August 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


And, what about those of us with really damned slow connections? (According to Ookla, I am slower than 91% of the US). Just the basic blockchain transaction would murder me.
posted by Samizdata at 3:29 PM on August 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


I thought it was pretty ridiculous in general, but yeah, how, exactly do you process something like this? At what point? When the request to the server goes? Somehow tie in a session ID to have the session rights for viewers (without the right to download/copy - FUCK YOU I WOULD IF I COULD!)

And then yeah, throw in the processing time? At what point would this processing occur?

In some ways I can see this continuing the idea of proof of work for spam, where a small copy incurs a small cost but the more you do the higher the processing cost. Though I dont' think Blockcchain works that way. It would be... "fair" in the sense that like - the larger the distribution goes (and thus potential for non-fair use expands - so too does the cost).

It's an interesting technical challenge, but I'm veering closer to Teddy K's views of technology these days (no worries, not *that* close - I *am* typing on here, after all, am I not LOL).
posted by symbioid at 3:54 PM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Given the failure of JPEG 2000, in no small part due to patent encumbrance, I'm not sure there's much point in a second effort to extend an existing image format for trivial gain when the touted benefits are to be found in the middle of a minefield.
posted by ardgedee at 4:25 PM on August 12, 2018 [9 favorites]


Only if we can call it “gay-pej” instead of “jay-peg”
posted by nikaspark at 4:37 PM on August 12, 2018 [10 favorites]


I would've thought the future of DRM is in surveillance: they need to record the fact that you viewed content rather than actively prevent you from doing so. Hence, something blockchain-like would make sense to me as a way to distribute hashes or other content signatures.

Later on they can centrally reconcile the surveillance data with whether or not they think you were authorized to view/execute a particular bit of content at a particular date and time: if a quorum of the IoT nodes in your immediate vicinity record the event and judge you to have committed copyvio-thoughtcrime, they ding your social credit score or pull your heart plug or whatever.
posted by XMLicious at 4:47 PM on August 12, 2018 [16 favorites]


EthicalOS Checklist

Risk Zone 1: How could someone use this tech to undermine trust in established institutions? It's another channel to get DRM into, for example, people's web browsers. The proprietary closed-source additions this entails should help undermine trust in that software, the open web, and the JPEG Committee.

Risk Zone 2: Is there potential for toxic materials like conspiracy theories and propaganda? Image macros used in the promulgation of such material can perhaps benefit from the veneer of legitimacy that a secure proof of authorship might provide, should the standard become trusted and recognized.

Risk Zone 3: What new differences will there be between the “haves” and “have-nots” of this technology? Many people have net connections that can barely handle the obese web pages we already put up with. Imagine if half the images, and all the ads, required a blockchain transaction to boot. Bitcoin can barely keep up with a handful of enthusiasts trading illegal drugs, financial instruments, and semi-anonymous web hosting. The possibilities are endless.

Risk Zone 4: Are your algorithms transparent? We'll hope so, but see above about expanding the presence of proprietary black-box software required for DRM on a general-purpose computing device. There may also be business opportunities for machine-learning based exploitation of whatever vast quantities of data could end up on the blockchain.

Risk Zone 5: How might a government utilize this technology to increase its capacity to surveil or otherwise infringe upon the rights of its citizens? Once the basic technology is in place, the standard should quickly become flexible enough, if it is not already, to record to the immutable blockchain a list, for example, of everyone who has viewed a particular subversive meme, no matter through which channels it was shared.

Risk Zone 6: Do your users have the right and ability to access the data you have collected about them? Yes! That's the beauty of it. Everyone does, it's on the blockchain. Fixed in place forever, un-modifiable, viewable by everyone, or at least everyone who eventually gets access to the private keys of a publisher, in which case end-user access is up to them.

Risk Zone 7: Does your technology do anything your users don't know about, or would be surprised to find out about? It doesn't do anything else!

This thing ticks all the boxes, let's do it!
posted by sfenders at 5:18 PM on August 12, 2018 [17 favorites]


The one thing I like about the blockchain is my complete faith in its ultimate failure to do any of the things its proponents promise it will do.
posted by signal at 5:45 PM on August 12, 2018 [16 favorites]


Also, blockchain + DRM + iot is just a perfect storm of bad internet tech.
posted by signal at 5:46 PM on August 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


The XML Core Working Group disbanded because they figured their work was done. (hint, hint)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:52 PM on August 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


In the story I've Got the Music in Me by Charlie Jane Anders, the regime enforces copyright law on mental infringers, i.e. those who think of a tune thereby making a unauthorized "mental copy". The solution? Internet of Implanted Things.
posted by runcifex at 6:34 PM on August 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Why is the head of the RIAA's technology unit not a person who understands why DRM doesn't work for things that people have to perceive with their regular old meat-based senses? He's the head of the technology unit! Is the RIAA really that toxic to technical folks that they can't even hire someone with like a 101 grasp of this fairly simple technological concept? I mean, call me, RIAA, I'll sort you out for a modest retainer.
posted by axiom at 8:12 PM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


I keep thinking that in 5 years' time all the blockchain JPGs will be unopenable by regular consumer devices because the ledgers will be so big that only very powerful computers will be able to open them. How powerful?

I speak of none but the computer that is to come after me...
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:27 PM on August 12, 2018 [11 favorites]


Why is the head of the RIAA's technology unit not a person who understands why DRM doesn't work for things that people have to perceive with their regular old meat-based senses? He's the head of the technology unit! 1

Well gee, he's head of the technology unit, not the people unit. The effect on people isn't his concern. He's determined it's a technology, and he's very excited about it, though not as much as The basilisk program currently being worked on by Dr. Berryman, which would guarantee complete image securit. The technology is his department; for the effect on people, you would need...one moment...sorry, they dont appear to have appointed a head to that department.
posted by happyroach at 10:56 PM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


bons mots from /r/buttcoin:

If they're going to add DRM to JPEG, I think it'll be best if they go with a badly designed system that doesn't work. That's my favourite type of DRM system.

............................

Finally, a use case for blockchain!

Read their white paper. I think it actually has a negative amount of actual technical information.

posted by sebastienbailard at 11:42 PM on August 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


a Bitcoin-related TV action thriller called Children of Satoshi

oh my goodness
posted by Berreggnog at 12:10 AM on August 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


That TV show proposal is worth an FPP, methinks. Can someone else make it, though? I gotta go polish my guillotine so it’s ready to make comments.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:18 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


FTA: Unfortunately, this list of generic claims of “blockchain”‘s surprisingly wide applicability is not substantiated.

A pullquote from whatever new nonsense whitepaper or press release or interview, followed by this statement, could be the entire content of like 99% of articles about blockchain.
posted by solotoro at 4:53 AM on August 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Of course screenshots will be made illegal, as enforced by a Windows 10 forced upgrade.
posted by M-x shell at 6:03 AM on August 13, 2018


Hellloooo PNG

But seriously, if the JPEG people implemented this, why wouldn't literally everyone in the world who works with computer graphics just switch to PNG, or some other format that arranges pixels all nice and pretty in the same way as JPEG, but without all the bullshit?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:25 AM on August 13, 2018


PNG is optimised for discrete colours, whereas JPEG is optimised (as the name suggests) for photographs and similar images where the colours are a continuous function. JPEG uses lossy compression which works well with photographs, though often shows ringing artifacts (i.e., pixel noise) near sharp edges if you use it to compress, say, images of text or geometric drawings, which PNG handles better. The flipside of this is that compressing a photo with PNG will be horribly inefficient, and barely smaller than the uncompressed RGB data, as, unlike JPEG, it has no efficient shorthand for a collection of pixels whose hues/luminance values vary slightly.
posted by acb at 7:39 AM on August 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


But what's to stop someone from coming up with their own nearly identical (yet legally dissimilar) compression scheme called, I dunno, SCHMAYPEG, and then just releasing that for free to anybody who wants to do JPEGs that aren't kneecapped by DRM? The JPEG people don't own the math.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:54 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


The same people who would stop someone from using the old, pre-DRM JPEG format. It's not going away, after all, and there's no licence to revoke.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on August 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


called, I dunno, SCHMAYPEG

What, you mean the existing JPEG standard that won't disappear if this new travesty is published and that people will just keep using instead of the blockchain idiocy?
posted by suetanvil at 9:01 AM on August 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


> But what's to stop someone from coming up with their own nearly identical (yet legally dissimilar) compression scheme called, I dunno, SCHMAYPEG, and then just releasing that for free to anybody who wants to do JPEGs that aren't kneecapped by DRM?

You don't have to clone the file format and release a lookalike. The core JPEG file format is unencumbered and free by pretty nearly every meaning of the word.* So go ahead and continue using JPEGs, because the rest of the world will, too.

*(One must, as always, ignore the patent trolls who make claims of ownership only after a technology has become sufficiently broadly implemented. These are distinct from the patent holders who work to stake ownership in technologies while they are still in development.)
posted by ardgedee at 9:04 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Of course, it's not whether the W3C disowns the old JPEG format that matters. If a new JPEG format with DRM is brought in, and Safari, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla adopt it (as they have adopted the EME DRM protocol), it's only a matter of time before sites stop serving images in non-DRMed formats, because Legal tells them that they need to protect their IP and such. First it'll be commercial sites like stock photos and porn that lock their images down, then news sites will lock theirs down under pressure from picture licensing agencies, then the likes of Tumblr/Wix/Squarespace will propagate the technology to their site-building platforms, For Their Users' Convenience. So it doesn't matter if the old JPEG format is still around if only a few Stallmanite hairshirters who host their own websites on their own Linux boxes will use it.
posted by acb at 9:19 AM on August 13, 2018


Given the failure of JPEG 2000, in no small part due to patent encumbrance, I'm not sure there's much point in a second effort to extend an existing image format for trivial gain when the touted benefits are to be found in the middle of a minefield.
Seconding this. If anything is going to replace JPEG at this point, HEIF seems like the one to bet on.

It's not to say that it's perfect -- very very far from it. It's also patent-encumbered, but it's also closely tied to the (upcoming) HVEC/H.265 video standard, which will likely be licensed and implemented by a wide variety of software/browser/OS/hardware vendors.

Licensing JPEG 2000 was a tough sell, because JPEG is "good enough" for most applications. Video, on the other hand, is far more demanding, and I suspect that most vendors will be eager to license HVEC (and by extension, HEIF).
posted by schmod at 9:58 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


HEIF seems like the one to bet on

AVIF and BPG seem better for users which means that yes, if any of them gain traction it will probably be HEIF.
posted by Bangaioh at 10:24 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


"HEIF seems like the one to bet on

AVIF and BPG seem better for users which means that yes, if any of them gain traction it will probably be HEIF."

I feel like the main factor in what catches on will be the ability to easily say it. Heif is pronounceable at least, though it sounds kind of like someone saying "gif" with a really forced haughty accent of some kind -- or perhaps a gutteral kind of H sound to make it sound like a fake foreign accent way to pronounce gif.

Avif is kind of pronouncable, but it sounds kind of like someone mumbling "a gif."

BPG is trash. Beepeegee. Naw, hate that.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:20 PM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


HEIF is the future because it's the default file format for iPhones going forward. It's also a much more modern file format than JPEG, so that's all to the good. Somebody needs to bring image compression into this millenium, it might as well be Apple.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:18 PM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, it's obviously pronounced "hiff." The "e" is silent. Obviously.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:20 PM on August 13, 2018


Now instead of "giff" vs. "jiff" we get to have "highf" vs "hiff." Which is probably the real reason the format will dominate - gives the internet something to have arguments on Twitter about. Eventually the Chinese will sell US corporations social scoring software that determines if you're a good or bad vassal based on your giff/jiff, laurel/yanny, blue/gold, hiff/highf opinions.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:05 PM on August 13, 2018


Surely, in the fine tradition of Scuzzy, it's heave?
posted by Mitheral at 8:35 PM on August 13, 2018


HEIF is the future

Perhaps it's pronounced "Hef", and the format will be used exclusively to trade grainy scans of old Playboy centerfolds.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:24 AM on August 14, 2018


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