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How will DRM affect system administrators?

I read the news about Linus and DRM. What does it mean for system administrators? Does it just affect developers?

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I believe that systems and network administrators will increasingly be held accountable for copyright violations. It is incumbent on administrators to set forth very clear site policies in defense of copyright and to demonstrate that the site has adequate measures in place to ensure that software licenses are held in compliance. Additionally, it will become increasingly necessary to demonstrate that a site does pursue software copyright infringement to the satisfaction of the copyright holder whose work has been infringed.

Properly used and managed, DRM facilities will thus help the administrator. Developers of open source software will be out of tune if they do not provide DRM management and compliance tools. Perhaps we should sooner expect commercial software providers to step up to the bar with these tools, but past experience would suggest that these are the last to adopt a positive disposition towards open source software.

So, it will be interesting to see who will take affirmative and who will take counter measures.

In any case, I believe Linus is spot on -- for him to limit any use of Linux would go counter to the very principles that drive it.

This was first published in May 2003

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