The ethics of streaming

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libredrs

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I'm attempting to formulate an opinion re: the ethics of radio and video streaming via web browser or dedicated device in lieu of over-the-air broadcasts or in-person theater viewing. I'm not attempting to rationalize anything in particular, but interested in opinions from the community. My scenarios below could very well be oversimplified and complications should probably be introduced.

Radio:
Many radio stations broadcast live and archived shows online for those of us who are out of reach of over-the-air (antenna) broadcasts. Assuming that free software can be and is used to listen to a show, what are the ethical dilemmas vs. listening over-the-air? Note that there could be issues with scripts (presumably some non-free) that enable a free web browser to play an audio stream.

TV and film:
Using a device such as Apple TV is obviously unethical due to the use of frequently-updated proprietary software and DRM. Assuming that the device is only used to view pre-recorded content, how is viewing a TV show via an internet-connected device different from viewing over-the-air (antenna) or cable TV broadcast? How is viewing a streamed film (or a film on DVD/Blue-Ray) different from in-person theater viewing? Are all viewing methods unethical?

Thanks.

jxself
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Don't forget that the radio broadcasts, TV and movies are themselves probably nonfree too. That's more a free culture issue than a free software one but there's a whole discussion that could be had there.

"Using a device such as Apple TV is obviously unethical due to the use of frequently-updated proprietary software and DRM. Assuming that the device is only used to view pre-recorded content..."

This last piece seems to be dismissing something. The software in the Apple TV is proprietary so for the sake of your freedoms the Apple TV should still be rejected regardless of what "only" tasks are being done.

For your various questions I propose to evaluate them with the question: Are these various devices running software? Is the software free or not? That should guide the decision about their acceptability. For example:

"Note that there could be issues with scripts (presumably some non-free) that enable a free web browser to play an audio stream."

I assume you're referring to JavaScript. If the website requires nonfree, nontrivial JavaScript and has serious failures with JavaScript disabled, such that one can't determine the URL of the music stream to give to a free program to play, such as say VLC, then that obviously makes it not OK.

"how is viewing a TV show via an internet-connected device different from viewing over-the-air (antenna) or cable TV broadcast"

Are these various devices running software? Is the software free or not? That should guide the decision about their acceptability.

"How is viewing a streamed film (or a film on DVD/Blue-Ray) different from in-person theater viewing? Are all viewing methods unethical?"

The streaming software is likely nonfree, in order to enforce DRM. We have free software to break the DRM on DVD so as long as you can break the DRM on the DVD that seems fine. There is currently no free software to break the DRM on blu-ray though. So that brings one back to nonfree software which is obviously not OK.

Sitting in a movie theater in and of itself should not require running any software. We can imagine that the theater might run nonfree software, either in their point of sale system to sell tickets or as part of the projection system or perhaps in other ways but you're not responsible for that software and it would have no impact on you. The same free culture issues rise up though, and using money to prop up "permission culture."

Magic Banana

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Using a device such as Apple TV is obviously unethical due to the use of frequently-updated proprietary software and DRM.

Apple is here unethical, by denying the essential freedoms of its users. Those users are not unethical. They are victims.

libredrs

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"The streaming software is likely nonfree, in order to enforce DRM. We have free software to break the DRM on DVD so as long as you can break the DRM on the DVD that seems fine. There is currently no free software to break the DRM on blu-ray though. So that brings one back to nonfree software which is obviously not OK."

The same should then apply to a cable TV box, a device running proprietary software updated from afar by the cable company. Assuming that's the case, then a stand-alone TV (effectively a circuit) showning over-the-air digital broadcasts would be the only acceptable option for broadcast TV viewing. Although, presumably the TV station is operating using non-free software (see below).

"Sitting in a movie theater in and of itself should not require running any software. We can imagine that the theater might run nonfree software, either in their point of sale system to sell tickets or as part of the projection system or perhaps in other ways but you're not responsible for that software and it would have no impact on you. The same free culture issues rise up though, and using money to prop up "permission culture.""

This is where I run into difficulty and why I initially posed my questions. I'm not sure that I can separate running non-free software on a device in my possession (though not under my control) from paying someone to operate such a device (e.g., a digital projection system) on my behalf. I feel like that's a bit of cop-out.

That said, I guess I could (in theory) have the same difficulty with medical devices and other computer-driven devices operating on my behalf. I'm not saying I won't allow myself to benefit (and/or be used) by them, but I find it to be an ethical dilemma.

Where do we draw the line for devices running non-free software, but that we obviously (must) rely upon? Cars? ATMs? Mass transit?

Majin Buu
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"This is where I run into difficulty and why I initially posed my questions. I'm not sure that I can separate running non-free software on a device in my possession (though not under my control) from paying someone to operate such a device (e.g., a digital projection system) on my behalf. I feel like that's a bit of cop-out. "

The injustice in this case is that the non-free software developer purposefully restricts freedoms you normally would have if the software was free, like modifying the streaming software to behave like you want. The digital projection system is of common usage so you shouldn't have control over it as it was your machine.

In the case of the software running in other people's machine, I think you're referring to giving money for someone to run non-free software that affects you. But their decision to use proprietary software affects them directly and you only indirectly, whereas you deserve control over your own machine. Anyway, this is an interesting discussion.

libredrs

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"In the case of the software running in other people's machine, I think you're referring to giving money for someone to run non-free software that affects you. But their decision to use proprietary software affects them directly and you only indirectly, whereas you deserve control over your own machine. Anyway, this is an interesting discussion."

During my daily walk, I modified my concern to any agent running non-free software to provide a service from which I benefit. The payment aspect doesn't matter.

lanun
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During my daily stroll, I modified my decision to reduce my dependency on non-free software, and decided to give up computing altogether.

Now I am living a peaceful life in my cave, picking berries and barking trees, and I just send smoke signals to andyprough whenever I feel like posting here. He is free to repost or not, according to what his high personal ethical standards tell him to do. Given the amount of non-free software on which the internet relies on, I might soon quit that last unethical habit too.

andyprough
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I received a smoke signal message from lanun this morning:

>"forgot to stock up on toilet paper before I began my new cave-life. And I'm running low on beer and chips. Please send reinforcements."

lanun
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Clearly my smoke signal messenger has been tampered with: I was asking if you had any news from these lost ancient scrolls, from Archimedes' cousin Coccinus the Cook, about beverage brewing and vegetable slicing in Dorian Greek. Surely they knew how to do all that without a single bit of non-free software, although it must have required a bunch of people to help.

Feel free to send the beer and chips anytime, though, I accept most non-monetary gifts. I have become root-total but I could use some alcohol as fuel for my lamp, I think.

andyprough
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>"Surely they knew how to do all that without a single bit of non-free software, although it must have required a bunch of people to help."

They thought they did, but they used the "Dust®" programming language which had trademark restrictions that conflicted with software freedom #2. Ultimately, all the programs they wrote were considered "fruit of the poisonous tree" due to the trademark restrictions, and a judge ordered that all of Archimedes' assets had to be sold in order to satisfy a trademark violation judgment against him.

jxself
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"The same should then apply to a cable TV box"

Indeed! That's consistent with the criteria I described: "For your various questions I propose to evaluate them with the question: Are these various devices running software? Is the software free or not? That should guide the decision about their acceptability."

"I feel like that's a bit of cop-out."

Potentially, depending on the circumstances, but it also provides real boundaries without taking on the evaluation of the entire "chain" so to speak and then not being able to do anything because of not knowing if there is or is not free software or proprietary software involved 3 or 4 or 5 levels removed from you. Everyone's going to have to make that decision somewhere, somehow and no matter to what number of levels removed it's taken, it will probably always be possible to take it one more level than that to bring up another software freedom problem. "I heard from nephew of the cousin of the stepsister of a friend of the secretary to the chief accountant that the company that makes the equipment that's used to produce the rubber gasket seal that eventually ends up in the movie projector uses nonfree software to schedule employee breaks...." :) Where to draw the line without having to, reductio ad absurdum, take on the responsibility for the computational activities of the entire planet? Of course, you don't have to answer that but being able to set up real boundaries, like "this is about what software you run", is one way to answer that whole thing without having to first have a conversation with everyone that you want to interact with to do some job what software they're running. Like: It's no longer possible to work with your bank, even in person, because they run nonfree software on the computers used by the tellers in the office. Or now you can no longer purchase certain produce items from the local store because the farmer uses a tractor from John Deere, which has nonfree software in it (I just randomly picked them out because they've been in the news lately about the Right To Repair.) Or worse: Neither of these will tell you what's used so you have no idea if it's free or not. There are definite benefits to having real limits. :)

andyprough
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>"Like: It's no longer possible to work with your bank, even in person, because they run nonfree software on the computers used by the tellers in the office. Or now you can no longer purchase certain produce items from the local store because the farmer uses a tractor from John Deere, which has nonfree software in it"

And yet, ideally a person wouldn't have to use the oppressive and privacy-invading banking system, and ideally a person would be living a sustainable lifestyle in which they grow their own food to eat or to use as barter with neighbors who are also growing food by hand.

Possibly free software could be seen as part of what would be approaching a generally sustainable and ethical lifestyle for a person. As opposed to a lifestyle of consumerism, in which personal ethics takes a back seat to convenience.

Lef
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Oh, and here I thought we were going to talk about the CO2 emissions from video streaming.

"Watching online videos accounts for the biggest chunk of the world's internet traffic – 60% – and generates 300m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, which is roughly 1% of global emissions, according to French think tank, The Shift Project."

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think

> This is where I run into difficulty and why I initially posed my questions. I'm not sure that I can separate running non-free software on a device in my possession (though not under my control) from paying someone to operate such a device (e.g., a digital projection system) on my behalf. I feel like that's a bit of cop-out.

Stallmanism would answer you are not paying someone to operate non-free software, you are paying to watch a video, that someone uses non-free software to deliver it to you is not your fault. At worst however you would be supporting some hollywood business that hates your freedom, like Disney or the like.

I don't know what country you are from, in America most grocery stores (and most businesses) use non-free software to run their operations. When you buy a banana, and the cashier runs non-free software on their cash register are you paying them to use non-free software? When you go to the hospital and they access your medical records on Windows XP are you paying them to use Windows XP? Let's go to extreme, if you buy something that was shipped via airplaine, the pilots use non-free software to run the plane. There's no end to the line of reasoning 'but someone gave it to me using non-free software' in our current state of affairs.

You may respond 'ok, so if I pay someone to use Windows for me, then that would be ok?' The answer is no. Remember in the other examples you are buying a banana, but they use non-free software to deliver it to you. You want the banana, not the cash register's software. About movies, you want the video, not the projector software.

Magic Banana

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Let's go to extreme, if you buy something that was shipped via airplaine, the pilots use non-free software to run the plane.

You can go more extreme than that: see the last paragraph of https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations/Book_I/Chapter_1

andyprough
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Shouldn't watch movies or TV shows regardless of how you access them, because they are usually filled with propaganda, designed to make you think and act in certain ways (especially in regards to being a "good and compliant consumer").

Radio shows and popular songs often aren't much better. And aything promoting itself as "news" is pretty much always pushing a hidden and harmful agenda.

However there's a great deal to be said for podcasts and videos from independent content creators that give DIY instructions or that question status quo thinking and push the listener to think for themselves. Nearly all of these are available for download with wget or youtube-dl or some similar simple CLI solution. Many can also be followed by RSS feed through newsboat or a similar RSS feed reader.

There's very little content in this day and age worth streaming through a web browser. Anything that can't be downloaded with simple CLI tools is questionable - what agenda is the content creator pushing that would require the use of DRM or non-free js to access it?

libredrs

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I'm fortunate in that the radio stations to which I listen regularly are freeform/independent/non-commercial with internet streams that don't require non-free or restrictive components to play. I can usually pick-up one with an actual radio.

libredrs

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"Apple is here unethical, by denying the essential freedoms of its users. Those users are not unethical. They are victims."

Point taken.

It would unethical for me to use a device such as Apple TV.

andyprough
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>"It would unethical for me to use a device such as Apple TV."

That would kind of depend on your own sense of ethics. There probably isn't anything inherently unethical about using a service that you know to have unethical practices, when using it in a way that you aren't contributing to the injury of anyone else. But if using it violates your own sense of ethics, that's where the personal ethical dilemma would come into play, I would think.

Now, if Apple were using Uyghur slave labor to make their AppleTV's, then it could be automatically personally unethical for you. Or if they were harming the environment by their use of rare earth metals that are obtained through harmful mining practices. Something like that.

[Note - I'm not a professional ethicist, and I may quite possibly have no idea what I'm talking about in this area. Take my postings on this thread with a big grain of salt.]

libredrs

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....

libredrs

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Thanks everyone for your responses.

As I mentioned in my original post, I'm not trying to rationalize anything in particular. I have actual control of a subset of software-driven devices in my household and the best I can do is work to liberate or decommission them. The wider, non-free world is something we have to live with.

SkedarKing
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Even if copyright/patents/trademarks couldn't use DRM, I still think the amount of time copyright lasts, is utterly insane.

20 was the original time I recall when the idea of copyright was first formed, I think it should have remained that way. That being said, since its not that way...

If it is anyway connected to anything that uses electricity, I think it is insane to follow such utterly stupid logic, like:

Respect copyright and dont do any infringement. To me, that sounds like utter BS, that they expect people to do that. Looking at nintendos copyright policies,
For example:
Owning it legally
downloading it off the internet when said software is no longer being supported aka, abandonware
What hardware you use it
Reverse Engineering
How long their license lasts
downloading it off the internet
Removing their DRM whether legally or illegally
Their surveillance
their insecurity
the insane prices they charge
their beliefs as a whole in general regarding copyright

All this stuff that nintendo believes, are complete and utter BS.

That being said, there are many corporations and even companies like this.

It is a given, that they abuse their power in these ways,

however in some countries, *cough USA *cough

As well as countries worse than this,

Sometimes they steal other people's unpatented or noncopyrighted ideas, such as how there used to be this medical red rice that was unpatented in the united states of america... guess what big pharma did?

They somehow were able to patent it, now most places in usa have to go through them to get access to it.

This is a perfect example, of arrogance and abuse of power.

Honestly, they should have been locked up for even trying to patent something that grows in nature naturally.

Of course this is not the only way, my point being...

corporations have way too much power. Although, I think its more than just money that want, because there is a certain point, where no more amount of money can satisfy anyone.

However, I do think it is 100% an ego trip and a way for them to push their narrative down everyone's throats.

But yeah, as for the original topic, stream or download whenever for whatever, especially in countries where its not against the law.

These egomaniacs need to take the hint, that the majority of the world hates them and doesn't need them.

andyprough
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>"such as how there used to be this medical red rice that was unpatented in the united states of america... "

Interesting, I did not know about this. Red yeast rice - used for over a thousand years in China. Reduces cholesterol and blood pressure, effective against various heart ailments.

Wow. I'm sure that the Antichrist (Bill Gates) must somehow be involved in restricting access to this medical miracle. Along with his boss, Cthulhu.

SkedarKing
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To be honest, as bad as Bill Gates is, I think he is one of many if he is one.

That being said, I honestly would be surprised if Bill Gates was a part of that, he isn't exactly known for being into big pharma, unless someone has any info that proves me wrong.

But yeah, patents on food and electronics are pure evil, given their potential for harm.

andyprough
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>"I honestly would be surprised if Bill Gates was a part of that, he isn't exactly known for being into big pharma, unless someone has any info that proves me wrong."

Oh, goodness, you could not be more wrong, my friend. Mr. Gates is the global vaccination king, forcing 3rd world countries to pay through the nose for vaccines that benefit his big pharma buddies.***

***[Allegedly...]

lanun
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> he isn't exactly known for being into big pharma

Clearly this was a blatant attempt to kill us all by means of atrocious abdominal pain. I think it might have succeeded if the topic was not involving such criminal schemes funded mostly by taxpayers from various regions.

Next we will learn that senator Cruz isn't exactly known for being into big oil and gaz and pushing for Europe to freeze or buy methane from his big fracking buddies, under the guise of "European Energy Security and Diversification".

SkedarKing
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Hmm, and here I thought they were more focused on screwing up freedom in hardware and software markets.

I guess, its surprising to me that he finds both time and interest enough to screw up other things...

Smh...

Well, I feel like I was being dumb yesterday...

Ah well...

libredrs

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Don't sweat it.

Considering the insidious influence of corporate entities and their 'foundations' it's difficult to keep track of it all.

SkedarKing
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It also helps, that I lived relatively under a rock for most things till like maybe 8 years ago?

Yeah...

After that, I started to get out of my shell, as well as proprietary software and at first I was furious when I learned about the pat riot act...

Actually, it should be called the Make America Fascist Idiots Act

This I say, because imagine any country that changes to a complete dictatorship with a very evil and intelligent group who are all devoted to making life miserable and profitting off of their workers and civilians...

If only people stopped throwing around that bs phrase, you should have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide...

I have a strong feeling this came directly from someone like Hitler or Stalin or someone as bad.

Aye...

Either way, the more I learn, the less I understand about how people justify any DRM.

Anywho, I will mostly leave it at that, except to say, I was very insulted when I learned people from the past decided stuff like this without realizing, it may piss off future generations.

The sad part? They don't care probably... well... some of them.

Its kind of like how, you can put pictures of your kids on the internet even when they are beyond 18, even on all these horrible proprietary services... that really should be against the law, the moment they turn 18.

Unless they are dumb enough to say they don't care and don't change their minds in the future.

The list is endless, but yeah I really would like to see the architects of this horrible idea put in prison for life... and everyone who gets in the way, should face some similar punishment.. unless they neutral to this situation.

Although, this is at the moment... wishful thinking. Someday? idk... its going to be like digging out of a subterranean hole with just one person up top slowly digging an exit to below: Aka, the jpeg I attached... only probably each time the tool is used, a year passes in this case.

The ironic part? The people who actually need to be spied on, are the people who have the most power currently...

Btw I would say that includes people with lots of wealth also btw. Like if your a millionaire or higher.

I am very glad though, Europe has some decent laws compared to the five eyes at least...

72379-Lemmings.jpg
andermetalsh
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Lemmings is propietary, you may like Pingus :D.

Open Source Game Clones:

https://osgameclones.com/

libredrs

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I don't know about Gates and big pharma, but I ran across this story (from a different source I can't now find) a while ago:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/03/02/toxic-agriculture-and-the-gates-foundation/

which includes a description of Gates Foundation influence re: seed patents and monopolies.

Also:
http://techrights.org/2009/10/19/gmo-patent-investments/

SkedarKing
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Refer to comment 25, of this thread or if you want just click this link... up to you.

https://trisquel.info/en/forum/ethics-streaming#comment-164748

I was skeptical more because I thought he was more bent on making everything electrical do mass surveillance...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised he likes causing lots of trouble beyond that...

Legimet
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lanun
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https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/02/10/documents-expose-pharma-effort-kill-africas-covid-vaccine-project

"To push for the termination of this lifesaving project in order to protect the interests of pharmaceutical companies is shameful," said one advocate.

I think 'criminal' would be more accurate.

libredrs

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Freewheeling use of the nonsense term 'intellectual property' in that article.

Corporate criminals rarely face justice. This is the way.

lanun
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> Freewheeling

Agreed. Nonsense term highlighted, so we know how much of the article we can read without being bothered by quotations from corporate newspeak:

spooky.png
libredrs

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andermetalsh
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On media, Archive.org has an Affero License on the web itself,
and the mirrored Jamendo albums are under a CC license, at least NC and SA:

https://archive.org/details/jamendo-albums?noscript=true

My ~/mus directory as a reference:

b_shake/
celtic.moods/
gritando_en_silencio/
j.t.bruce/
monster.cybrog/
peergynt.lobogris/
revolution_void/
the.peach.tree/
tryad.listen/
tunguska.electronic.music.society/

EDIT: Archive.org URL changed so it loads with no JS.