[Python-Dev] Support for Encrypted Zip as python scripts

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Tue Aug 25 07:10:15 CEST 2009

Bugbee, Larry writes:

 > My original post was intended to increase the awareness in those
 > thinking encrypted ZIP files will 1) be easy, 2) afford the
 > protection they desire, and 3) not lead others into a sense of
 > false security.

All good points, but note that (even without the DMCA) at least in the
U.S. copyright law provides for *criminal* penalties for willful
infringement.  If you needed to type in a password to copy, you can't
argue "I didn't know this was private property", just as crossing a
fence is stronger evidence of criminal trespass than ignoring "Posted"
signs.  For patents, the password prompt could notice of patent
protection, with similar effect of strengthening penalties for
infringing.  So even weak encryption strengthens the available legal

That is not sufficient reason to consider putting encrypted zips or
anything similar into the stdlib.  It's relevant to users' decisions
should such features become available, that's all.

 > I still say it would be *nice* if there was some way to protect IP.

-1.  Intellectual assets *can* give benefits with zero further costs
of production and almost negligible costs of distribution.  But IP,
like any other property that requires a temporary transfer of
possession to give economic benefit (eg, rental cars), is going to
involve substantial transaction cost for consumers (search for the
product, license negotiation[1]), as well as the usual excess burden of

The current state where only legal protection is feasible is arguably
a good compromise.  Since it involves substantial costs of enforcement
borne by the rightsholder, it's only going to be invoked where the
total social benefit (net consumer value plus vendor profit) is large
enough to swamp the small transaction costs.

I think that Python should spend zero effort on implementing technical
means of IP protection.  Any side effects of privacy protection
devices should be more than enough to serve.


[1]  Not necessarily bargaining, but also including studying the terms
of take it or leave it offers, etc.

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