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A New Way of Combatting the DMCA

By enry in Internet
Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:38:54 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

This is an approach to trying to take care of the DMCA without resorting to boycotts, allowing you to feed your dirty pleaseure of actually watching DVDs or listening to CDs while still doing the right thing(tm).

Sponsor: rusty
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...because it's waiting for your ad. So why are you still reading this? Come on, get going. Read the story, and then get an ad. Alright stop it. I'm not going to say anything else. Now you're just being silly. STOP LOOKING AT ME! I'm done!
comments (24)
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The Problem

The MPAA, RIAA, and closed source software houses have their customers over a barrel. For many of us, going to the movies, buying or renting a DVD, getting a CD from your favorite band, or buying a computer game is a way of getting a source of entertaiment. Unfortunately, purchasing these products gives companies the ammunition they use to pass laws such as the DMCA. These companies can then use these laws to beat us (the consumers) over the head. Why do we let them continue? What can we, as consumers, do to keep our money from being used against us?

The Solution

A possible solution is something you can do every day, starting right now. Every DVD you buy, every game you purchase, every visit to a movie theater, every CD you buy, add $5 to the cost. In many cases, this amounts to between 10% (a $50 game) to 50% ($9.99 DVD) of the cost of the item you purchases. Given the way prices work, the original price from the manufacturer is about 50% of the price you pay, so a $50 game is sold initially for about $25. Once you pay licenses, royalties, production, etc. there probably is not much left over that goes to lobbyists or legal. Thus, you are giving a larger amount of money to defeat these laws than you are "giving" to get them enacted.

What do you do with that $5? Donate it to the organization of your choice. Currently, the Electronic Frontier Foundataionis in the forefront of these kinds of issues, but you can choose whomever you like.

What good will your $5 do? Simply put, the EFF needs money. Money to pay for lawyers, money to educate people why these laws are wrong, money to defend those accused of crimes that violate the first amendment of the US Constitution. Since it is effectively increasing the cost of DVDs, CDs, etc., it will also make you think twice about your entertainment choices and maybe even save you money over the long run.

Okay, I have $5. Now what? Save it up. Make a notation somewhere. At the end of the month, end of the quarter, whenever, add up the notations and send the appropriate amount of money to the organization of your choice. In many cases, the money you send is tax-deductible (consult your accontant blah blah)


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This idea:
o Sucks 33%
o Sounds good 39%
o Sounds so good I'll do it! 27%

Votes: 48
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o companies
o companies [2]
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o Electronic Frontier Foundataion
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A New Way of Combatting the DMCA | 27 comments (20 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Specifics (3.50 / 16) (#1)
by NightRain on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:43:53 PM EST

Exactly what will the EFF do with the money? Is there a plan setup by them to specifically combat the DMCA, or are we to give money in the hope that they will do something about it? It'd be a good idea if there was something solid behind this, an actual plan of attack, a class action or something that people would be helping to fund. But while it's effectively a case of donating to a charity, it'll achieve very little.

Don't vote, it only encourages them!

Hush you (2.81 / 11) (#2)
by qpt on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:47:28 PM EST

The EFF will heal the world's ills. The EFF will make everything alright. The EFF will kiss your tears away and tuck you into sleep at night.

How dare you question the EFF?

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

I disagree (3.50 / 6) (#4)
by enry on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:52:00 PM EST

I'm not sure if the EFF has a lobbying organization. One that would be more effective than 500 people e-mailing hate mail to their representatives. This would be an ideal situation, where 10 years down the road, politicians are looking for the "geek vote" via the EFF....

In any event, the more money the EFF has, the better equipped they are in the future to defend people like Dmitry or 2600 who wind up on the wrong end of the law (don't know if the EFF is defending Dmitry, but it sounds like something they would do). Going to court against the RIAA is going to be a long process as well. Not all lawyers work pro bono.

[ Parent ]

Making people care (3.50 / 4) (#5)
by NightRain on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:28:58 PM EST

...the more money the EFF has, the better equipped they are in the future to defend people like Dmitry or 2600 who wind up on the wrong end of the law

Which is all very good for you and the 6 other people in the world that care enough to donate to the EFF as a charity. My point being is that it's a pipedream that enough people will do this. Give them a specific goal though, an actual plan to be followed that people can support and rally behind, such as repealing the DMCA, and suddenly people who feel strongly about the DMCA, but less strongly about 'rights' as a whole will be inclined to throw their money in.

Don't vote, it only encourages them!

[ Parent ]
A 1? (2.55 / 9) (#7)
by NightRain on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:11:23 PM EST

Get real. FFS people, rate the comment on it's merit, not on whether you agree with it or not. See, this comment is worth rating low, it has little merit in and of itself, and is mainly spewing angry irrelevancies. But my previous post was no such thing. Please rate it accordingly.

Don't vote, it only encourages them!

[ Parent ]
Bye (2.42 / 7) (#10)
by NightRain on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 04:06:02 AM EST

Goodbye k5. It was nice knowing you. But pathetic idiots rating my comments low just to spite me have pissed me off one to many times. It was fun while it lasted.

Don't vote, it only encourages them!

[ Parent ]
Reading Ratings (3.20 / 5) (#11)
by Yanna on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 07:28:38 AM EST

Leave K5 if you feel up to it, but before you do so, please be aware of the fact that comment ratings should be read this way:

5/1 means that one user gave you a five (the highest possible rating) and not that five users gave you a one (the lowest possible rating).

In your case, you got a five.

Now, feel free to leave if you please, but acknowledge the fact that nothing unfair was done to you.

I hope that freezes your'(sic) and Yanna's smiles into grinning super power morons for eternity. mami
[ Parent ]

Really? (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by NightRain on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 06:07:13 PM EST

Thanks for the insight. I am pissed off because I got rated 1 for what was a perfectly valid comment. Then when I complained about it, someone else came along and rated the very same comment 1. And that was enough to piss me off enough to leave.

Don't vote, it only encourages them!

[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (3.75 / 4) (#13)
by CaptainZornchugger on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:08:37 AM EST

That goodbye comment was mediocre, at best. It would have been much more entertaining if you had included some choice words about the community you were leaving, perhaps some thinly-veiled insults, some misinformation to get replies or something. As it was, I just didn't feel any passion. I just can't bring myself to relate. The 'pathetic idiots' comment was a nice start, and the meaningless of leaving because of a comment rating could have studies devoted to it. But the passion just wasn't there.

All in all, I give your goodbye performance a three out five. Try to do better the next time you leave a site.

--CZ, who has taken it upon himself to begin critiqueing goodbye rants

Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
Got Self-confidence? (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by Lord13 on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:24:27 AM EST

I still don't understand why people get hot-n-bothered by moderation. Is you life really so much worse because someone rated your comment with a 1? Is the rejection so debilitating that you must turn your back and leave K5 forever and ever? Get over it and grow a set.

Growing half a tree, water it everyday.
[ Parent ]
Don't feel too bad... (none / 0) (#23)
by zek93 on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 07:28:02 PM EST

One of the people who gave you a '1' was the known ratings abuser Eloquence, who has admitted to giving low ratings based on disagreement, no matter how well written and non-inflammatory the comment is. Every once in a while (like now) I see him acting up and log in to give him a couple dozen '1' ratings. Usually I'm just an anonymous hero.

[ Parent ]
Ignore bad raters (none / 0) (#27)
by yesterdays children on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 02:53:07 PM EST

The rating given for honest opinion should never be given a one. But k5 advocates this. Its a flaw in the system, unless k5 actively advocates a biased readership (which seems to be the case). While its all neat to have a herd mentality and just feel good posts, real conversation happens when you have a diverse readership ready to slug it out over real issues. Thats probably not the intent here at k5, I think the admins really prefer a substitute for saturday morning cartoons ;-)

[ Parent ]
Answers: What the EFF is doing. (5.00 / 3) (#17)
by mcherm on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:31:03 AM EST

Exactly what will the EFF do with the money? Is there a plan setup by them to specifically combat the DMCA, or are we to give money in the hope that they will do something about it? It'd be a good idea if there was something solid behind this, an actual plan of attack, a class action or something that people would be helping to fund.
Excellent question. (Hey... those of you voting this down... why? Seems to me like a really good question to be asking!)

So let me try to answer it. Yes, the EFF is activly trying to do something about the DMCA, and they haven't defeated it yet, they are probably spearheading the movement most likely to succeed.

Specific case: Universal v. Reimerdes
Here the EFF took legal action to defend 2600 magazine when it was attacked for publishing DeCSS.

Specific case: Felten v. RIAA
Here the EFF is actively trying to get certain provisions of the DMCA overturned in the courts, using a case which hilights like no other the degree to which free speech rights are harmed. They are defending a Princeton professor who was prevented from presenting scientific research by the threat of suit under the DMCA. In my opinion, no legal case anywhere has a greater chance of success at overturning the DMCA.

Specific case: The arrest of Dmitry Sklarov
Here the EFF has already successfully negotiated with Adobe and succeeded in obtaining a reversal of their position. This makes the legal case against Dmitry much less tennable. They are continuing by negotiating with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. And they are taking advantage of the case for a certain amount of congressional lobying (but, in my opinion, should be doing much more of that).

Does that answer your question?

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]

I'm with you here... (3.25 / 8) (#3)
by maynard on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:48:50 PM EST

I donate $50.00 a year to the EFF, though I don't give $5.00 per media purchase. I don't think this is going to work, however. It's a good idea in spirit, many think it's a good cause, but I think few would be willing to actually follow through. It's just human nature.

Still, I support calling for donations to EFF; they're a worthy cause.


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Charities who spend money soliciting donations (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by hillct on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 10:38:45 PM EST

The EFF as well as other charitable and lobying organiations who are active in issues relating to Privacy, IP, Copyright and other issues of interest to technically inclined people (read: Geeks), don't seem to have much of a fund raiding infastructure. While it's admirable that these organizations spend their time on issues relating to their core mission, rather than spending exhorbinant abounts of time on fund raising, perhaps these organizations should take a few lessons from the playbook of such organizations as the NRA when it comes to fund raising. You may or may not agree with the politics of the National Rifle Association, but you have to admit that they have an oiled and highly efficient fund raising machine. While it's useful for indeviduals to call for donations, it's important that charities have at least some basic fund raising mechanism. Perhaps the EFF should practice enlightened self-interest before we can expect it to save the world from the DMCA.


--Got Lists? | Top 31 Signs Your Spouse Is A Spy
The other alternative (1.00 / 1) (#20)
by kafka on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 05:38:04 PM EST

Here's a letter I sent to Rusty and Malda today. -K Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 07:57:24 -0700 (PDT) Subject: DMCA Protest page To: malda@slashdot.org, rusty@kuro5hin.org

The technical community has expressed displeasure at the DMCA since it was passed in October 1998. Displeasure alone, whether collective or individual will not repeal the DMCA.

It is time for a civilized protest. I suggest we spend this month in thinking up of a way to protest the DMCA. The protest will have to be conducted at personal, professional, and social levels.

Personal protest includes refraining from the "content experience". Professional protest includes refraining from using products and services of a blacklisted corporation. And making people in your social circle aware of the DMCA.

Let me know if its possible to create a DMCA protest page. This protestpage will enable readers to sign up for the protest. And recommend that their friends and family also join the protest. When sufficient users have signed up and we have an estimate of the protests effectiveness, the backers of the DMCA will see the light.

The page will include the following pledge-

Until the DMCA is repealed I pledge not to:

-buy/rent DVD or VHS

-watch movies in any format. Not even at the theaters if they're released by studios that are MPAA members

-buy DVD players

-buy/listen to music released by RIAA, not on CDs, not on radio, not on television, not downloaded. Not in any form.

-watch television shows whose producers are members of MPAA

In addition we must:

-Blacklist corporations, such as Adobe, that use DMCA as a threat. Do not use their products, do not recommend their products.

-Keep a running total of the cost of movies/cd you would have bought had it not been for DMCA.

-Donate movies/cds you currently own to the public library. A little content goes a long way.

-Avoid reviewing movies on websites such as Slashdot and Kuroshin.

Its not a big sacrifice to make. I personally follow all the things outlined in this letter. I would like others to join me.

In any case, I'd like to hear from you guys. I would be disappointed if nothing came out of this letter. I'd hate to go to /. or K5 tomorrow and read about another victim of the DMCA.


Nice idea, but... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by enry on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:37:05 PM EST

I don't think protests will really do the job. I have two reasons:

1) I'm not sure enough people will sign up for this to make an impact. Deciding to cut off most sources of entertainment is a very hard thing to do. I'll admit it, I like DVDs and CDs.

2) If enough people *do* start doing this to make an impact, the RIAA can easily pass off the losses as being attributed to effects of Napster, Gnutella, etc. instead of the real reason. This can easily bring on even more legislation to "protect IP rights".

The idea I outlined allows you to circumvent this by still "allowing" you to buy forms of entertainment you like.

[ Parent ]

I like enry's too (none / 0) (#26)
by yesterdays children on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 02:46:49 PM EST

Irregardless of my ambiguous feelings about the DMCA, RIAA, WHATEVER-A, one thing is clear, the EFF is on the side of your rights. I'm going to start giving. Maybe this is the real message. A strong organization for individual rights is a good thing. I don't even have to mind the DMCA much to see the good in this organization.

One fear I've had pointed out to me is the freedom for me to publish. Interesting slant, given how little I care about other folks' IP. Maybe if more content producers would participate here this whole issue would be seen in a new light.

[ Parent ]

Donations to EFF (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by rlanger on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 05:49:41 PM EST

For those of you who work for larger corporations who provide incentives to donate to the United Way, those donations can be directly routed to certain tax deductable organizations.

See http://www.gnu.org/help/donate.html for information on how to send the money to FSF/GNU.

I don't know the specifics of the EFF's legal tax status, but I would assume that you use the same method to sent your donation to the EFF.

Feel-Good and Worthless (1.00 / 1) (#25)
by Waldo on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 11:06:48 PM EST

This is a happy-fuzzy idea that will net at least $12 for the EFF. Possibly less. But I'm sure we all feel real good about ourselves now.

A New Way of Combatting the DMCA | 27 comments (20 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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