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[P]
Further Analysis of the Draft SSSCA

By hillct in Op-Ed
Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:24:43 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Declan McCullagh was one of the first to report on the proposed Security Systems Standards and Certification Act in a Wired News Article published before the September 11th attacks. Much of the below was written at that time but the issues raised by the SSSCA paled in comparison to that tragedy so this was shelved. Since then a number of articles have been written about this proposed legislation and many trade groups have spoken out on one side or the other however very few of the articles and statements have placed proper emphasis on some of its most outrageous and legally as well as economically untenable provisions.


One of the major effects of this draft legislation - written by Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina - is to create artificial barriers to entry into the computer hardware market and the technology markets as a whole. The draft states that the standards for certified security technologies - those which the legislation would require be implemented in all interactive digital devices - would be identified by a Federal Advisory Committee (composed of content owners and developers of interactive digital devices) or if such a committee was unable to agree on standard security technologies for use as Certified Technologies by the act, technologies will be selected through a process led by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The issue here is not that aspect of the process, but the fact that the proceedings of this committee are exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act - the sunshine law that allows for public oversight and media reporting on the proceedings of federal advisory committees. There are few causes for granting such exemption, such as in cases of national security. It is unclear either from the draft or other reporting on it, what reasoning there is for granting the exemption in this case.

After identification of technologies for certification, federal antitrust exemptions will be granted to companies who hold patents on the chosen technologies. The monopolies created by a federal requirement to include certain security technologies within all interactive electronic devices, are limited only by the vary vague statement in the draft legislation "The secretary shall certify only those conforming technologies that are available for licensing on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms". It stops short of saying that this technology must be freely available. As such, the patent owners of the selected security technologies will wield an entirely inappropriate and dangerous influence over the nature and direction of digital technologies development. The federal government has spent over $35 million in the antitrust case against Microsoft so far; do we really need to create new monopolies with government protections?

This has the net effect of raising artificial barriers to market entry for hardware manufacturers. This is at the vary least, bad economic policy which will serve to stifle technological advancement and adoption of new technical standards within the United States -where new technologies may be in use throughout the world for years before they are modified to conform to this legislation and would be found to be illegal to sell or possess within the United States until such modifications are made.

The United States will be relegated to the position of a second-class player in technical industries covered by this legislation that's supposed purpose is to preserve free markets through the protection of intellectual property rights.

This legislation will have the exact opposite effect than was originally intended by the creation of patent, copyright and other intellectual property protections. There was an interesting (although not vary detailed) article on the history of intellectual property rights that appeared on MSNBC.com a while back. It describes how the framers of the constitution intended to foster creative and innovative development in technology and the arts. The intent is to provide a limited monopoly over a short period of time to technological innovators and artists, such that they can derive benefit from their work as a motivation to pursue such work and contribute to the arts and technical/scientific discovery.

Both the SSSCA and the DMCA seemingly fail to serve these noble purposes. In Federalist 43 James Madison described the intent of the framers of the constitution, with respect to patent and copyright. He proposes a power to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing, for a limited time, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. Jefferson found the creation of a monopoly for even a limited term, extremely disturbing - and is seems with good cause.

Both the SSSCA and the DMCA seek to extend the limited inducement Madison intended, into a inviolate semi-permanent property right. Most notably, while both pieces of legislation make it a federal crime to remove security measures from copyrighted works, neither makes provisions for works where their protections are scheduled to soon expire. Consider in the future, where protected works are distributed only under the terms of these pieces of legislation, and no un-encrypted copies exist at the time these works are schedules to be released into the public domain. There are no provisions that insure that these works will transition from their encrypted protected state into the public domain. The importance of this point lies in the fact that copyright was not intended by the founding fathers to be a property right. Instead it is intended as a limited inducement to innovate, and as such, there must be provisions for at the end of that term, to allow the material at issue to pass into the public domain.

Jefferson expressed this position in several letters to Madison, but eventually Madison assuaged his fears by suggesting in his letter of October 17, 1788:
With regard to monopolies they are justly classed among the greatest nuisances in Government. But is it clear that as encouragements to literary works and ingenious discoveries, they are not too valuable to be wholly renounced? Would it not suffice to reserve in all cases a right to the Public to abolish the privilege at a price to be specified in the grant of it? Is there not also infinitely less danger of this abuse in our Governments, than in most others? Monopolies are sacrifices of the many to the few. Where the power is in the few it is natural for them to sacrifice the many to their own partialities and corruptions. Where the power, as with us, is in the many not in the few, the danger cannot be very great that the few will be thus favored. It is much more to be dreaded that the few will be unnecessarily sacrificed to the many.
Madison thought very highly of the ability of the people to discern right and wrong without the need of penultimate definitions being established in a bill of rights, and had great confidence in the power of the many; so much so that he felt it necessary to interfere with market forces by establishing the protections of patent and copyright.

Neither Madison nor Jefferson spoke of copyright being a property right, but rather a protection afforded for the express purpose of nurturing the sciences and the creative arts. To now suggest that the small inducement Madison proposed should be extended to the point where it serves to concentrate power to the degree that is likely here, would be seen by the founding fathers to be reprehensible and completely counter to the spirit of the constitution's patent and copyright clause.

Perhaps the sweeping nature of the SSSCA is its weakness. It imposes market/economic penalties on the technology industry which makes it unacceptable not only to potential users of content covered by the legislation but also negatively impacts large corporations with the resources needed to prevent it's passage. Since the draft of this legislation was made public numerous technology industry groups (not all representing users) have spoken out against the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act, including the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, U.S. Association for Computing Machinery and numerous consumer electronics OEMs.

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Poll
Copyright should be a _________
o limited term monopoly 72%
o indefinate term property right 1%
o enforced through software tech (vs. legal means) 3%
o enforced through hardware tech (vs. legal means) 0%
o enforced only through legal action (non-technical) 22%

Votes: 59
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Security Systems Standards and Certification Act
o Wired News Article
o Sen. Fritz Hollings
o National Telecommunications and Information Administration
o history of intellectual property rights
o Federalist 43
o letter of October 17, 1788
o Electronic Frontiers Foundation
o U.S. Association for Computing Machinery
o Also by hillct


Display: Sort:
Further Analysis of the Draft SSSCA | 49 comments (45 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Vote: Abolished (3.00 / 5) (#4)
by Amorsen on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:51:01 AM EST

Copyright should be a-bolished.

A thought (none / 0) (#6)
by xriso on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:00:17 AM EST

If copyright were to be abolished, would we be seeing waaaay more dongles for software? I think so. Then again, it wouldn't be illegal to sell a dongle-cracked version or a dongle emulator.

I say all the software designers should just go with the Street Performer Protocol in the absense of copyright.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]

Street Performer Protocol (none / 0) (#9)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:40:43 AM EST

Yeah. Right. I think you'll find that contracted piece work is much more profitable.

Games development would become the domain of the hobbyist.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

I agree (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by pallex on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:57:04 AM EST

Musicians, authors, programmers, filmmakers, actors etc should all work for nothing. Its only fair.

[ Parent ]
Assumptions (none / 0) (#8)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:38:30 AM EST

Programmers don't need copyright to survive. I don't own the copyright on any of the code I right, and I still get paid for my time.

Actors don't need copyright to survive. Ever heard of the stage? You don't need to be on film to be an actor. Go see a play.

Musicians don't need copyright to survive. Live performances can cover the costs. They did before recording was invented.

Authors & Film makers, on the other hand, are another issue, but then, should the government really grantee your occupation be profitable?
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

OK, i`ll bite. (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by pallex on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:27:07 AM EST

I (co)wrote `Bubble and squeak` for the Amiga. It was written in house (so frankly i didnt care if it was pirated or not - although it was - all games are).

In your brave new copyright free world, how would this game be sold? How would the company it was written for recoup their investment (ie paying me, heating, insurance, packaging, blah blah blah) and make enough to...well, to do whatever they want with the money, given that it was their investment/risk?


[ Parent ]
I see a couple of options off the top of my head, (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:02:07 AM EST

  1. Something akin to the Street Performer Protocol, where enough people pay for the game before it's ever released, until you've recouped your costs.
  2. Hobbyists cranking out code in their spare time, thus not needing the game to be sold at all. Donations would be sufficient.
  3. Or my personal favourite, games are a luxury, and thus there's no particular reason to force them to be sold to begin with. If enough people want them, they'll end up getting created one way or another, whether by mass contract or whatever. Find a new job.


Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Damn right (none / 0) (#21)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:23:31 AM EST

Comercial interests are killing the games industry anyway. It shouldn't be an industry. Leave it to the hobbyists! :)
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
You have a point! (none / 0) (#23)
by pallex on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:52:21 AM EST

I used to enjoy writing demos, games etc...until i got a job doing it!

Most games now ARE shit. Its suffered from the `Hollywood effect` - 99% of films/games are just copies of other films/games from within the same genre.

[ Parent ]
pay them only for what they make (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by bobsquatch on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:24:16 AM EST

Musicians, authors, programmers, filmmakers, actors etc. are all producers of the first copy of a file (or something that can be converted into a file). (If it can't be converted into a file, then the file-distribution "problem" obviously doesn't apply.)

You don't need an artist or programmer to make the next N copies of that file. HTTP, FTP, etc. are all perfectly good producers of the next N copies. They certainly are better producers than most musicians are.

If artists want to be paid, perhaps they should stop pretending that a file is a physical good that's hard to replicate. It is not, and any rational agent would not trade a file on a per-copy basis as if it was. Well, they wouldn't, but for the legal/military framework that enforces this fiction.

Perhaps artists should start selling the only thing of value that they make: they should sell the first copy. A rich patron could pick up the entire tab (in return for the ability to set the artist's agenda), or mechanisms like the Street Performer Protocol could be used to spread the cost around to the artist's fans (or the programmer's userbase).

It'd certainly be better than trying to force people into buying what they know they can make themselves. Think of the efficiency gains in not having to employ content access control schemes, legal enforcement, and propaganda. Think of the efficiency gains in not duping your population!

(Think of the efficiency gains in going to sleep. It's 6:20AM here. Good night...)

[ Parent ]

A stunning business model! (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by pallex on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:34:07 AM EST

Ok. Read the reply i just posted. Then explain which branch of WH Smiths would be interested in stocking an amiga game at 50,000 or so.

Is the company the game was written for the `rich patron`, or should they in turn find a rich patron to sell the finished game to? How would it ultimately get sold to the consumer?

"mechanisms like the Street Performer Protocol could be used to spread the cost around to the artist's fans (or the programmer's userbase)."

I`ve not heard of this before. What is the connection between street performers and software publishers again?

"It'd certainly be better than trying to force people into buying what they know they can make themselves."

I`m not sure how many people can/could write a game in 68000 assembly language (or whatever), but i`d hazard a guess that it is perhaps a smaller number than the number of people who buy computer games. (However your argument is perfectly valid if applied to about 99% of the websites that have oozed their way through my browser window!).


[ Parent ]
Google is your friend. (3.00 / 3) (#18)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:05:57 AM EST

Had you spent one point two seconds with Google (Google is your friend), you would have come up with this.

Guess what? Not too long from now, copyright will be completely unenforceable anyway. So either find yourself a new profession, or figure out some way to make money doing it--that doesn't depend on a government-granted monopoly for *cough* "limited times."

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
`This` being... (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by pallex on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:01:43 PM EST

...a `page not found error`! (Still, its a Danish adr - a really nice country).

I`m not doing games anymore, and i couldnt really care less what happens to the industry, seeing as its long since stopped being interesting.

Copyright for stuff like games and films only has to last a few months. No money was made from Amiga stuff after it was out about 4-6 months.

"government-granted monopoly"

An interesting phrase. Given that this is the state providing protection for taxpayers that you are talking about, perhaps you are also against laws preventing people from stealing from shops? How about prostitutes? How dare they set the price they charge for their services! Or is there some subtle distinction between the two - a `might is right` attitude - if you CAN copy something cheaply, then it magically falls into the `its not fair if you arent allowed to copy it` category?



[ Parent ]
Strange. Works for me. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:08:43 PM EST

Even under lynx. Try again, maybe? Or Google's cached copy?

"government-granted monopoly"
Sorry, I'm simply quoting the people who created the law. I don't see what that has to do with "state protection" or anything of the sort.

Stealing from shops
If I steal a watermelon from your store, you no longer have a watermelon. Plain and simple. If I copy software that I already bought from you, I'm increasing the number of copies in the world, not moving them from your store to my stomach.

If I were to go into your store, buy a watermelon, and then plant the seeds and grow a million watermelons of my own [i.e. copy watermelons] and sell or give them away, that would certainly drive the price down and you might even go out of business! Does that mean there should be a copyright on watermelons?

Prostitutes
Prostitution is a service. However, if I buy a RealDoll, the company I buy it from is not entitled to set the price that I charge for my doll's "services".

Subtle Distinction
If the law is unenforceable, there is little reason for it to be a law, cf. prohibition. "Might is right" does actually have some credence in our government--as long as the majority of the people thinks that copyright is useful, it will remain a law. When they cease to think it's useful, it will no longer stay on the rulebooks.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
seed companies (none / 0) (#31)
by garlic on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:01:55 PM EST

Seed companies do have patents on certain seeds. I believe I read a story (linked from slashdot, you could search for seed there if searching is working again) about a Canadian farmer who was being sued by a seed corporation who had fields by his because they found some of their seed material in his field. His defense was that it blew onto his field, like normal pollen does.

this is one of those situations where you need to be careful to not give the patent owner too many rights.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Lots of people have mentioned this. (none / 0) (#36)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:43:11 PM EST

I've heard this brought up several times whenever I mention my copyright on "growing things". I can't figure out whether it's for or against my arguments, though--are patents on seeds so ridiculous that any fool can see they're inane, or do people think they're possibly viable?

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
neither for, not against, just mentioning it. (none / 0) (#45)
by garlic on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 02:06:27 PM EST

I just thought I ought to mention it. The main arguments against this sort of thing is the way the license is set up. Seeds are like digital media, in that you can make ~exact copies of them. So a lot of the crazy things that go into a seed liscence are going into digital media licenses, and vice versa.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

ok (none / 0) (#40)
by pallex on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:26:46 PM EST

First off - i`m not really too interested in American law, thank you very much! :)

I`ve always thought the `software theft = theft` argument is silly. Certainly when it comes to watermelons! "You cant copyright fish - they`re a natural resource" to quote a sample from a Negativland cd (who have written/recorded much on the subject of copyright).

But clearly there is a difference between growing another instance of a naturally evolving fruit, and copying a piece of work which someone has produced.

I think the issue of whether its easy to hide a pirate cd factory or not is irrelevant to the morality of it. Prohibition didnt fail because it wasnt implemented properly - it failed because it tried to stop something which many people want. (This is why it will fail with drugs, except perhaps opium - expect a LOT more heroin addict related crime (theft, mugging, burglary)as the price soars due to WTC related action in Afganistan).
So, in a sense, yes, it was unenforcable. But because people didnt want the law. There are some laws which exist already (in various countries) and which are unenforcable (if by that you mean `will never be 100% effective in stopping it`) but that doesnt mean the laws shouldnt be there. How hard is it to prove rape, for example? Or unfair dismissal at work due to racism? Many things come down to one persons word against another, unless there is concrete physical proof. The law is worth having around in the instances of such proof.

Many people would be affronted if you suggested that its ok to copy a book, or song, or whatever they created, if that act subtracted from its worth in the marketplace. The point of the law you (or the website) pointed out, was to enrich the publics life, if i remember correctly. How is making it hard for an artist to make a living from their work doing that? It doesnt help the public or the person copying the work. It is for this reason that i belive the majority of people DO find copyright useful, and this is why it will be around a while longer.

"However, if I buy a RealDoll, the company I buy it from is not entitled to set the price that I charge for my doll's "services""

I havent been to the site. But a company can choose to sell you something outright, or license it in some way, with restrictions. This is why (in the UK) there are limitations on what you can do commercially with something, where there are often no restrictions on what you do with it at home - such as cable tv subscriptions (restrictions against showing in pubs), or cds (which you cant play publicly, for money). Yes, these restrictions are generally to make the producers/manufacturers more money, but it seems likely to me that a rational person can see that prices for such things would have to rise if the producers/manufacturers lost the extra money they make from licensing public performances, and wanted to make the same amount of money from them.



[ Parent ]
Will This Also Be Like Prohibition? (none / 0) (#49)
by Girlcake on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 02:37:06 AM EST

...meaning, will it ultimately fail by force of the masses' desire to have free reign over their computer's content & devices? It would seem so . for example, with over 100,000,000+ (taken from download.com) people currently using file sharing software to download media (whether music, movies, books, software ect.) for personal or at best, short-range interpersonal use, it seems reasonable to think that the collective desire for this ability could counterweigh the SSSCA's attempts to impede it.

While it may become illegal for people to tamper with or disable the government approved babysitting devices...you can feel pretty sure that people will (& probably in clever enough ways to avoid detection).I have to assume that, since digital piracy, duplication & distribution is already illegal & punishable by large fines + prison and yet 1000's upon 1000's continue to do it, amplified regulatory measures will be met with equal socio-technological reactions; the clever people cracking software & hacking into yours & my computer(probably right now. ~please don't hurt me~) will most certainly write some "banditware" to take what people want by force & then escape, avoiding detection.
This knowledge will then most likely become readily available (as will enhanced use & distribution of high-grade consumer encryption, which i've heard the federal law enforcement is hoping also to avoid) thus continuing the constant and perhaps necessary tension between "good" tech & "evil" tech (the existence of both only making each stronger) without this isometry, American tech would surely stagnate.

Granted theft = theft, but alcohol = alcohol (and all the underage drinking [24% of all american consumption], date rape, bar fights, beaten children, beaten wives & the warm, fuzzy feelings) and that's what people wanted for better or worse, right or wrong. Eliot Ness couldn't stop it.

The issue of people's aversion to having creative works worth subtracted from the marketplace is interesting to me. It's not as black & white as it might seem, because at what point does an artist not benefit from international free distribution of their work? Not all artist's are already famous, and while the ones who aren't are the ones that need the sales more (not that rich people who have already succeeded don't deserve to continue making money, they certainly do!), just to keep their heads above water to create more of whatever they create, the system of free distribution can in fact add to sales (I can personally attest to this)
IF...
Artists would stop crying & create products worth buying rather than stealing! Hire a graphic designer, do something different, something exciting...make something that people want, make people want something! For example, I don't know what music you all listen to, but the band Tool, a fairly popular hard rock group makes their CDs & paraphernaila look awesome, i could easily download all of the songs from say, their new album, but the cover art is so unique & striking, I bought it. (i'm not going to explain what it looks like, check it out if you're interested, if you've seen it, you know what i mean) to compound this example, Tool put out an album about 6 months ago, their prior album was released in 1994 (prior to Napster, prior to MP3, prior to 56k modems) yet their new album has had dramatically greater commercial success (granted commercial success is an unpredictable beast) how could this be in these days of "plummeting record sales" I put my money (literally) on the product as a whole, not just the music.
And secondly, most(maybe not the video game industry) manufacturers really are at an advantage as far as creating a quality product that people will be compelled to buy, since most of the formats available online are of inferior or unstable quality (at least for now) I think of MP3's as advertising, if i'm interested in a subject, I check out text on the internet & then if my curiosity is piqued, i'll buy the book...etc,etc.

As far as honest-to-god piracy factories, i'm not sure if they are that popular in the US; but if you want to attack that problem, deal with Hong Kong...bootleg heaven. I would at least exhaust those types of options first before turning on your own citizens & subjecting them to another prohibition.

My personal feeling is that industries should adapt to technology, not legislatively brute-forcing people to obey arbitrary industry standards. The entertainment industry carrying the 'tech torch' into a "Brave New World" seems like actually deciding to put the cart before horse.



[ Parent ]

shareware? (none / 0) (#26)
by garlic on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:11:37 PM EST

What's the difference between the street performer protocal for software, and shareware software? Because as far as I know, shareware was a pretty crappy way to get paid for software.

Just like I don't pay anyone for the mp3s I get, I didn't pay for any of the shareware I got in the early 90s either.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

SPP (1.00 / 1) (#27)
by bobsquatch on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:14:05 PM EST

Should have posted a link. Here's one: The Street Performer Protocol.

In a nutshell: you get paid upfront, before you actually release the real file. You give people low-quality samples, like a .mp3 of the first minute of your 5-minute song, or a thumbnail of your image, to entice them to pitch in to the general fund. Once that fund reaches the target amount, you take your money and release the real, full-quality file.

And once you release the file, you bank your money and let the internet take care of duplicating and distributing your file -- because the internet can do it better than you can.

You even release the file in the highest-quality archival version available, because that file is part of the proof that your next file is worth chipping in for.

As for the criticism that fans don't know exactly what they're chipping in for: people don't know exactly what they're buying when they buy a CD, for the most part. They may know one or two singles on the album, they may know the artist's previous work, they may like the image on the jewel box... but unless they've found a friend with the CD (in which case they could just copy it), or unless they're shopping in a nifty store that lets them listen to the full CD before they buy, they hear the CD's full contents only after purchase. Funny, some people still buy CD's...

[ Parent ]

hmm. (none / 0) (#29)
by garlic on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:34:54 PM EST

This sounds similar to the experiment that Stephan King tried out with "The Plant", where he provided the first chapter online. You could download it without paying for it, but He was only going to write the second chapter if 75% of the people downloading it paid. I don't think it got past the 3rd chapter before he was unsatisfied with it.

It seems like it'd be a tough thing to get artists who are use to being paid a % per copy to instead have a straight fee per work, but it may work out ok. However, wouldn't most people's opinions be "if it is actually good, I can wait and get it for free, and if its bad, paying for it now won't get me anything anyway."

What happens with your money if the artist doesn't get enough to meet his minimum? Why pay at all if you can probably get the good stuff for free if you're patient?

I'm working my way through the link you gave now, so ignore any question that you think is suitably answered there.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

hmmm. (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by bobsquatch on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:58:13 PM EST

This sounds similar to the experiment that Stephan King tried out with "The Plant", where he provided the first chapter online. You could download it without paying for it, but He was only going to write the second chapter if 75% of the people downloading it paid. I don't think it got past the 3rd chapter before he was unsatisfied with it.
It's different in a crucial way: King released the full-quality goods, then asked for payment -- SPP releases a teaser, asks for payment, and releases the real deal only upon payment. I suspect that King would have had a better deal if he had released the first couple of chapters for free, and held back the rest of the book until he got a fixed sum of money.

Instead, he demanded a small amount of money for every chapter. Many 1$ donations instead of, say 1/5th as many 5$ donations created more hassle for the buyer; continually reminded the buyer that he was paying, magnifying the psychological impact of his payment out of proportion to the actual cash transferred; and added to the cost of actually dealing with all the little donations.

However, wouldn't most people's opinions be "if it is actually good, I can wait and get it for free, and if its bad, paying for it now won't get me anything anyway."
This is known as the "Free Rider Problem." If you're driving to Vegas anyway, it costs you nothing more to let me ride with you, so I shouldn't have to chip in for gas -- so the cheapskate argues.
What happens with your money if the artist doesn't get enough to meet his minimum? Why pay at all if you can probably get the good stuff for free if you're patient?
This is where the Free Rider strategy breaks down. The artist is under no obligation to release the file if he doesn't get his price. The funds are held in escrow until the price is met, or until a time limit runs out, or other pre-determined conditions are met (there's room for experimentation here). In the version of SPP I like best, the funds are returned to the fans that donated, minus a fee for processing & escrow service -- so the fans aren't risking much by giving to an artist that might not make his quota.

Why pay if the artist would free his stuff anyway? You'd have to be confident that he would reach his quota. I suspect that as the time limit approaches, free-riders would either jump on the bandwagon, or decide that the file isn't really worth it -- they'd put up or shut up, IOW. If the artist easily reaches his quota before the time limit (accompanied by cheering free-riders), the artist set his price too low. If the artist doesn't come anywhere near his quota, he set his price too high, and now has a choice of lowering his price, or taking his art and going home (perhaps to make something else, art or otherwise, that people would actually pay for).

I say "I suspect" here, mostly because AFAIK the SPP hasn't been really tried. I'd be fascinated if anybody actually gave it a go, so we could see some facts on the ground.

[ Parent ]

i really hate subject lines. (none / 0) (#34)
by garlic on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:43:49 PM EST

It's different in a crucial way: King released the full-quality goods, then asked for payment -- SPP releases a teaser, asks for payment, and releases the real deal only upon payment.

No, I don't think so. The SPP document I read spoke about doing this exact thing, release a chapter for preview, release the next chapter after you got your set amount of money. The big difference I see is that the SPP suggested set amounts of money where SK asked for a % of downloads of money. so he may have broken the payments down incorrectly as you say, but he basically tried to implement the SPP and it didn't to so hot for him. This doesn't show that it's necessarily bad, just that it didn't work with his specific setup.

I think SPP would greatly reduce the amount of money that artists got for their works. Just like those who watch PBS or listen to NPR and don't contribute, if its worth the price, it'll get paid, if its not worth the price it won't. Typically the amount of money asked for by the artist will be large enough that a single donor won't be effect the outcome if it gets released or not. Therefore, why be one of the gullible that gives money?

It may simply be my attitude, but I can't think of a single current proposed project that I'd pay for through SPP. I'm looking forward to LOTR movie, Star Wars, Stephan King's Dark Tower sequel, and music that strikes my liking.

I won't pay for the movies, because their release is so looked forward to that the price would be met. The same with anything by Stephan King. With music, any free tracks that strike my fancy, I'll take and I won't worry about the stuff that costs money.

I think the way consumers are setup now it just wouldn't work. I like to pay a set fee, and then get the product I'm paying for. ISPs and phone companies have seen this and have started charging straight fees for a set period of use, maybe with additional fees above this amount of use. People go for these, even if they would pay less if they paid per minute or per hour because we like flat rates. I don't see people really going for putting their money in an escrow account, especially if they are charged (no matter how minimallly) so that others can get what they paid for for free. People will wait for free stuff and take it, just like many took mp3s and didn't give the record companies anything in return.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Re: i really hate subject lines (so I'll cop out) (1.00 / 1) (#37)
by bobsquatch on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:54:41 PM EST

The SPP document I read spoke about doing this exact thing, release a chapter for preview, release the next chapter after you got your set amount of money.
Yep, King's experiment was close to SPP. There are a few differences in King's approach and SPP's, however.

King released a chapter, THEN asked for voluntary payment for that specific chapter, after the reader had already downloaded it. As you note, he wasn't asking for a set amount of money; he was asking for 75% of his readers to voluntarily chip in a buck. This is very close to selling individual chapters in the standard you-pay-for-the-copy-you-downloaded Intellectual Property Protocol. His innovation was making the next chapter's release dependent on the "sale" of the previous chapter, just like in a hard-copy serial novel model -- except that he wasn't even selling the chapters, he was just asking for donations. He didn't care how much money he made on them, either, AFAICR; he just wanted less than 25% freeloaders on his free download.

Of course, as you say, people aren't keen on the idea of voluntarily shelling out cash for something that they just downloaded "for free." That's silly, and that's why King's experiment failed: he told people that they were paying for the current free download, not for the next free download.

SPP doesn't ask you to pay for the thing you just downloaded for free. (It certainly doesn't ask for charitable contributions.) It demands payment for the file you haven't seen yet (and therefore can't copy yet). I think people are far more willing to pay up for something if it's the only way they're going to see it. Yes, it's "only" a psychological difference, but there's a mountain of evidence to show that in large groups, people are swayed by such differences in propaganda.

What he should have done was release the first couple of chapters for free, spread them far and wide, with no obligations whatsoever. That would have brought in more potential readers, specifically, the readers that were turned off by having to pay "for the first chapters."

Then, he should have set a price for the rest of the book. One-donation-per-person is much less hassle than one-donation-per-person-per-chapter; it's easier for both the fan and for the artist('s accountant). More to the point, the fan isn't asked to pay for text he already "owns"; he's asked specifically to pay for text he has yet to download.

(Yeah, you might have guessed that I'm not too keen on the SPP paper's suggestion of serializing SPP transactions. I'd much rather have one big SPP transaction per piece of art. Much less hassle.)

It may simply be my attitude, but I can't think of a single current proposed project that I'd pay for through SPP. I'm looking forward to LOTR movie, Star Wars, Stephan King's Dark Tower sequel, and music that strikes my liking. I won't pay for the movies, because their release is so looked forward to that the price would be met.
Their price wouldn't be easily met if it were high enough. The idea that you could get away with free riding assumes that the price set by the studios is low enough to be met without your contribution. That may happen in a few cases, but with experience they'll figure out what they can get away with charging for a movie.

Would you still refuse to consider shelling out for the LOTR movie if there were only 7 days left on the time limit, and it was a million or so short of it's cash goal? If the alternative was never getting to see the LOTR movie? I think we'd see a grassroots pledge-drive effort, driven by the fans, with intense scorn heaped on the cheapskates they personally know who haven't contributed anything.

PBS would have more contributors if viewers actually thought that PBS would sink without them. As it is, viewers "know" that their contributions are a drop in the bucket compared to government/corporate/richguy financing. Even if that's not actually true, the acknowledgments at the beginning of shows ("Brought to you by XYZ corp, FOOBAR corp, CPB, and incidentally by some people like you too...") reinforce this idea and influence people's behavior.

In contrast, any SPP transaction I would set up would have a public list of who contributed what, making it very easy to see exactly who's paying, and how much is needed to reach the goal. PBS fund drives always have somebody blathering on about how "your support is critical" or somesuch, and by now nobody believes them. Too much wolf. I'd rather see a web page showing exactly how much cash has been pledged, and how much is needed, and how much time is left.

I think the way consumers are setup now it just wouldn't work. I like to pay a set fee, and then get the product I'm paying for.
SPP acknowledges the fact that the first copy of a file is fundamentally different than the subsequent copies -- that digital information follows different rules than physical products. And, for that matter, SPP is all about paying a set fee for a product: the artist sets his set fee, and you get your product if it's met.
I don't see people really going for putting their money in an escrow account, especially if they are charged (no matter how minimallly)...
Well, they'd only be charged if the goal wasn't met. Actually, the artist could also offer to cover the escrow charges if the goal wasn't met; it's probably a matter best left to negotiation on individual projects. Some artists could afford to cover it, others could get insurance, and others might just want to minimize their risk. The escrow costs would be included in the target price of the work (just as suit overhead is included in the cost of CD's now).
so that others can get what they paid for for free.
Not quite. "So they can get what they paid for, and incidentally so can everybody else" is a more accurate phrase. I think that the chance to see the LOTR movie is more important than the chance that some cheapskate could also see the LOTR movie. What is he to me, if the alternative is me not seeing the LOTR movie? Would I really want to cut off my nose to spite my face?
People will wait for free stuff and take it...
But artists under SPP wouldn't give stuff for free (or, at least, not the good, high-quality stuff). Free-riders would have to be satisfied with the stuff that other people paid for, or be satisfied with only the promotional trailers and 10-kbit-per-second mp3's, or they'd actually have to chip in themselves.

And if people don't want to pay for art that they never get, well, where's the harm in that?

just like many took mp3s and didn't give the record companies anything in return.
Except that the record companies gave them the mp3's (or sold one dude a CD, same thing), and demanded money after the fact. That's the crucial difference between our current copyright scheme, and SPP.

[ Parent ]
Street Performer (none / 0) (#42)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 05:00:41 PM EST

Would you still refuse to consider shelling out for the LOTR movie if there were only 7 days left on the time limit, and it was a million or so short of it's cash goal? If the alternative was never getting to see the LOTR movie? I think we'd see a grassroots pledge-drive effort, driven by the fans, with intense scorn heaped on the cheapskates they personally know who haven't contributed anything.

While reading this, it occurs to me that I'd probably end up spending more under the SPP than I do now... I would happily donate $50 per movie to get LOTR made. Under the current system, I'll end up paying to see the movie (twice, perhaps) for a total of $17, and then about $25 for the DVD, for a total of $42. Of course, this would only apply to projects I was excited about, so I might end up paying less total... It would be a great economic experiment, if only it could be set up.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
If only it could be set up... (1.00 / 1) (#43)
by bobsquatch on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 06:01:03 PM EST

...if only it could be set up.
Actually, there's something very SPP-like going on at Goats: the comic strip, and it seems to be working out well. The cartoonist is asking for donations via paypal & amazon, and if he reaches a threshold, he does a special full-color sunday strip.

BTW: 5 posts! I guess this means that I'm an Official Street Performer Protocol Crank! (You down with OSPPC?)

[ Parent ]

copyright not needed (none / 0) (#28)
by MikeWarren on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:25:46 PM EST

Copyright (especially as currently implemented
in Canada and the US) is not needed in order
for artists to get paid for their time
working.
-- mike warren
[ Parent ]
What is it with these polls? (none / 0) (#10)
by pyramid termite on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:57:46 AM EST

An obviously common viewpoint, that copyright should be abolished, isn't one of the options. It's a lot like our political system ...
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
population (none / 0) (#32)
by garlic on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:05:43 PM EST

I don't think this view point is as common as you think it is. That may be why it's missing from the poll. My guess is that this view point is fairly uncommon, and held by less than half of people who go to places like kuro5hin or slashdot which itself is a small percentage of total population.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Patents should be abolished, copyright retained (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by TheophileEscargot on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:40:02 AM EST

IMHO, of course.

You patent an idea. "A way to check for spelling errors in my document!".

You copyright your expression of an idea "These 500 lines of code that check for spelling errors in the document!"

Patents stifle innovation, no-one can use someone else's good idea. Copyrights can encourage innovation: the work that you've done remains yours.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

Profits (3.80 / 5) (#11)
by richieb on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:21:52 AM EST

As long as we are passing laws to protect profits, why not make it illegal to sell cars that get more than 20 miles-per-gallon. After all the profits of the Oil companies have to be protected.

...richie
It is a good day to code.

This law is possibly the worst since Prohibition (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by pyramid termite on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:33:33 AM EST

Aside from being in many aspects unenforcable, it's going to hobble the computer industry for the benefit of the entertainment industry. Hmm, the Romans often hobbled their economy and bankrupted their government to give the masses bread and circuses, right about the same time barbarians started causing serious trouble for them.

Just as there are countries where software piracy is the rule, not the exception, and where web and FTP sites full of goodies last for quite some time without being shut down, there are going to be countries where non compliant hardware is going to be made. And software to crack things will be written everywhere and anywhere - does anyone know who any of the members of Zone or Paradox are, just to name a couple of the many groups out there? These people know how to hack things, and they know how to disguise themselves when they distribute them. How many pirate hackers have been busted compared to the total number?

This, in combination with Ashcroft's proposal to equate "hackers" with terrorists is going to create a government that will try to be repressive and fail, as the resources won't be allocated to truly enforce the law, and the people who are being targeted may decide that instead of doing it just for fun, or just to get some W^r3z, they'll do it to cripple the people that are trying to eliminate them. Let's face it - if we're going to be outlaws for using things like Linux or committing the internet equivalent of taping a song off the radio, some of us could decide to be hardcore outlaws. To paraphrase a worn out cliche - when knowledge is outlawed, only the outlaws will be knowledgable, but unlike guns or drugs, knowledge can be replicated with very little effort.

I also wonder about the sanity of the entertainment industry, anyway. They seem hell-bent on taking all their goods and letting Microsoft make sure they're secure. Uh-huh. Right. Digital Rights Management? Hell, Microsoft can't even write an OS that can manage its own file system and memory without sludging up or crashing when it's pushed. They can't even write a web server or an e-mail program that has the barest semblence of security.

I'm anti-government and anti-corporation, but even if I wasn't, I'd be worried. Isn't it scary that the people who supposedly run our businesses and our country are getting so seperated from reality and common sense?
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
I may be missing something but... (none / 0) (#35)
by jcolter on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:12:06 PM EST

On the whole, I agree with your article. I am not sure however, that there will be groups like Paradox that will be able to crack under these new conditions. This is hardware level security not modifying some assembler code.

I'm neither a software cracker nor a good coder by any means, but I was under the impression that a closed architecture would prevent most piracy (which is the point).

In addition, I wouldn't be surprised if through trade organizations like the WTO, the manufacture of insecure hardware will be effectively made illegal (in a commercially viable sense).



[ Parent ]
A controversial thought... (4.22 / 9) (#16)
by jd on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:57:11 AM EST

I disagree that this law is bad. I think it should come into effect, and that the entertainment & computing industries should supplant our elected representitives as a government.

Why?

Because the past few weeks have made me increasingly cynical. Madison may have had faith in the people, but I believe that faith was sorely misplaced.

I have known a few truly generous, truly caring, sincerely honest people. I don't pity them, because they do what they believe in, not for any "rewards", but because caring is what they do. I wish more people even -wanted- to be like that. Even had the slightest desire to be.

The problem is is that it IS only a few. And they tend to get the dangerous, high-risk, low-pay jobs, which doesn't exactly create circumstances in which those few are likely to increase in number. Worse, those who care, in the field of technology, are now classed as Terrorists, and may well become "legitamate targets" under various "justifiable homicide" laws. It would not be a big stretch.

On the other hand, the major MegaCorps have no morals, no compassion and no interest in Inferior Life-forms. Their interest is in money and control. There are tales of major film studios sending prostitutes to the rooms of major overseas actors and directors. It's certainly plausable. Makes them a great target for "discrete" blackmail by the studios. Or, if the actor is no longer wanted, just send a cop over, afterwards. The details of Hugh Grant's case is irrelevent, what matters is that he demonstrated just how deadly to a career and a marriage this stuff is.

Ok, so we have some studios and some companies who can (and do) make or break people, at whim, in the name of making money. You now give them a law, which (in effect) gives them control over the entire judicial system. Yes, I know the law's about patents & copyright, but that's merely the trigger condition. It's not the power itself. Jon Johansson found this out, the hard way, when his house was stormed and he was placed under intense interrogation for the better part of a day, over the mere allegation that he might have, in some way, broken a law in a country he wasn't even in.

The power is the ability to tell the courts how to think; what they can see and what they can't. THAT power, in essence, gives them control of the judges. A judge can only judge on the evidence presented, not on speculation of what else there might be. Ergo, if you can state that something is a Secret, protected by Federal Law, then you can decide the outcome, simply by banning the defence.

Once you've power over the courts, and power over society (through total control over technology and entertainment), you have power over the mood of people. People are sheep. You tell them to go somewhere, or think some way, they'll follow. That's not to say free will doesn't exist - it does, it's just rarely used. Anyway, once you control the mood of the nation, you can decide who is "popular" and who is not. The number of people who disagree (either because they're stuck-up bigots themselves, or because they think for themselves) won't be enough to make a difference.

In consequence, the tech & entertainment industries have the potential to "elect" the US Government. The Government will be nothing more than a puppet of the strongest corporate federation of the time. (Oh, wow! You think anyone would notice?)

Once you get to that point, there really isn't any turning back. America would become a Corporate State, in which freedom to think or speak does not exist. Unless it's at your cue, and you stick to your script.

So why do I think that this is the direction America should go? After all, it's the darkest, most despairing vision of the future that could possibly be surmised from the SSSCA.

Because this is the "freedom" that America has been craving. The freedom of the MegaCorp, not the freedom of the individual. "Government should not interfere with industry!" cried more than a few people, all through the Microsoft anti-trust trial, despite overwhelming evidence that Microsoft had destroyed any industry that wasn't it.

The rabid anti-socialism, the hatred of "welfare handouts", the venom directed at those who care - these are marks of a society that is ill. Shortly before (and after) her death, Mother Theresa was accused of organized crime, gun smuggling, ordering killings, yadda, yadda, yadda. As much as I try to see the other person's point of view, I just can't see Mother Theresa loading a donkey up with missile launchers.

The reality, I think, is much simpler. People like Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Muhatma Ghandi, and even Jesus Christ (whether you believe that he was a regular guy, son of God, or just a very good talker), pushed people into questioning the old assumptions, challanging the old ways, and thinking for themselves as to how to live. Note that they did NOT insist that the "old way" was evil, or that those who supported it were "out to get them". What they insisted on, and paid for with their lives, was that blind compliance AND blind hate are both blind, and that if you want to think for yourself, you have to start by thinking, rather than reacting.

Society, as it exists in America, will never listen to that kind of heresy. The polarity of the different sides is too extreme. The antipathy is too ingrown. Life in America is emotionally toxic, in many ways, but it's survivable. It's nowhere near rock-bottom. And until it is, attitudes won't change. People are slow to change. Give them room to stagnate, and they will. Only when the Corporate world, under the SSSCA, has destroyed civilization, will people find themselves forced to sink or swim. You can't make someone swim, but as pathetic and lazy as humanity is, there are more who will swim when they KNOW that sinking is the only other choice.

So what you are trying to say... (none / 0) (#47)
by vectro on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 12:58:54 AM EST

The worse things get, the better they are?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Vox populi? (4.83 / 6) (#19)
by jet_silver on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:12:00 AM EST

I wonder who's thinking abut the customer in this SSSCA proposal.

Let's look for a moment at what it would take to make this work. First, privileged parties agree on a bunch of -hardware- specs that will allow content management. Then hardware's rolled out that complies with the requirements. Finally content is made available that needs the content management hardware in order to be usable.

This is a lot like what is happening with digital television. There are advisory boards and standards bodies and the Government and an entire three ring circus with marching band and elephants involved in digital TV rollout. Funny thing, though, people ain't buying. The FCC is IIRC colluding with the broadcast industry to -phase out- the existing broadcast infrastructure by 2006, and they had better get moving with this plan if they expect it to work, but digital TV isn't exactly a ball of fire yet.

People didn't buy DivX. People didn't buy DAT. Minidisc is a washout. Ebooks are going nowhere. There was nothing compelling in any of these -for the customer-. They represent a withholding of what people want, a decrement in their rights, and guess what? People withhold their money in cases like that.

So I can't believe this bill supports the -two- things needed to put a fat and profitable stream of managed digital content into the hands of people who will do the paying for it: first, the distribution channel; second, the decoding method. It seems everyone expects content junkies will rush out to buy the management hardware (or new computers/phones/PDAs/whatever) in order to keep dosing themselves with what comes from Disney, Universal, et al.

But they ain't done it in the past, and the value proposition is -worse- for this model than it is for DivX, DAT, MD or ebooks. Hence the Federal Fid - make it a -requirement- that new hardware have the rights management stuff built in.

Can you imagine the chaos in the market? It took what, seven or eight years, from the time the WWW became a point-and-click phenomenon to today, when the PC market became commoditized. That represents a lot of hardware whose replacement isn't compelling, yet certainly qualifies as big-ticket stuff (cost on the order of a refrigerator).

Imagine a Congresscritter trying to sell its constituency the 'need' to throw away existing computers.

Poke holes in this argument, I really would like to know what I'm missing.
"What they really fear is machine-gunning politicians becoming a popular sport, like skate-boarding." -Nicolas Freeling

I don't disagree with your argument but... (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by hjw on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:28:15 PM EST

A few points.

DAT was a product that served a for recording high quality digital audio. It did quite well in this market. Must professional audio recording equipment is based around harddisk recording or DAT. DAT is considered by many to be superior to HD recording. DAT's are portable to boot. Minidiscs have moved into this market, but are considered an inferior alternative ( due to lossy compression ).

Oh the other hands, Minidiscs don't offer much value over cds, but for people who need to record good quality audio cheaply, they are invaluable. I use my minidisc a lot to record radio shows, parties and have done some samples of wildlife with it. Minidisc is a strong market, but is never going to have the type of sales figures as the CD industry has.

But I agree that techonogies won't automatically succeed just because the industry wants them too.

[ Parent ]
Agreed, with spin (none / 0) (#39)
by jet_silver on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:13:25 AM EST

DAT was a product that served a for recording high quality digital audio

Yup. IIRC the marketing was kind of hermaphroditic, though - poised to move into the consumer market but viable without it. To refine my point, it never moved into the consumer market because of SCMS. Studio DATs are awesome. I think that is what bugged people. If the 'copy protect' bit was set, you were out of luck making a copy -unless- you had the studio model. Seemed like a set-up, and people don't miss those.

Minidiscs have moved into this market, but are considered an inferior alternative ( due to lossy compression ).

And because you can't have your digital both ways. I don't remember whether digital -in- or digital -out- was missing, but one of them is.
"What they really fear is machine-gunning politicians becoming a popular sport, like skate-boarding." -Nicolas Freeling
[ Parent ]

digital MD recording (none / 0) (#48)
by hjw on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 05:20:16 AM EST

Digital out is missing on most minidiscs. The idea is to be able to record on the optical out of a CD unit into the MD but not off the MD again.

Basically, each MD to MD recording reduces the quality, so MDs are not very good as a distribution ( read piracy ) medium.


[ Parent ]
The very, very frightening part ... (4.25 / 4) (#20)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:12:32 AM EST

Certain parts of this bill are obviously not going to make it through Congress--they're obviously overbroad and ultimately evil. However, they're inevitably going to be changed ever-so-slightly to appear more palatable, especially compared to the old version. Believe you me, this will happen! And in some form or another, pass!

So if anyone has looked at this bill in any sort of depth, please post in reply two things: what parts of the bill are likely to be found "acceptable" and stay, and what arguments do we still have against those?

By the way, I was disappointed in this article. The first part seemed to go in this direction, but then "under the fold", so to speak, it quickly turned into a rant against copyright. And, unfortunately, not a very good rant nor a very applicable rant. So can somebody please post some true further analysis of the draft SSSCA?

thanks, Dlugar

Which parts of the bill will be unacceptable? (none / 0) (#38)
by grasshopper2 on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:32:10 PM EST

You mention some portion of the SSCA that is so extremely unacceptable that it will have to be modified if it has any hope of passing. To which sections of the bill are you refering?

I've been looking at this bill recenyly myself. If you can let me know what sections you expect to be modified, I'll be happy to help you develop arguments against the remaining (less offensive) sections.

As for the above article, It could have gone into a bit more detail, but I doubt a section by section analysis would be be of interest to most readers here. The historical context was quite interesting as well although you're right that it isn't an effective argument against copyright.

--RT

[ Parent ]
The bill, etc (none / 0) (#46)
by stewartj76 on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 10:07:15 PM EST

I posted this on SA, of all places. The bill is much shorter than the DMCA, so it doesn't take long to get a handle on what's what. Read it for yourself at cryptome.
SSSCA is Security Systems Standards and Certification Act and this is the first time I have heard of it. It seems to be banning all sale and manufacture of "any interactive digital device that does not include and utilize certified security technologies." Furthermore, it is illegal to "remove or alter any certified security technology in an interactive digital device; or transmit or make available to the public any copyrighted material or other protected content where the security measure associated with a certified security technology has been removed or altered ." It seems to be worded toward protection of cable and satellite broadcast services, but "any interactive digital device" would leave it available for use with the DMCA.
That's it in a nutshell. Honestly, read it yourself. It's only a couple paragraphs.

[ Parent ]
DCMA, SSSCA, US patent madness & money justice (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by Hurricane on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:37:19 PM EST

Hi, I'm a European that enjoy reading Kuro5hin, /. and other newssites. From my point of view it seems like the US is legislating itself out of business. The powerful properties of US business; freedom and innovation seems to go straight down the drain.



Examples

DCMA vs. Skylarov:
Most high-tech/geek non-US citizen would think twice about working in the US again, when you risk getting higher prison-terms than some murder or drug-offences in most EU countries and a possible fine equivalent to five years salary for tinkering with software?? What is US without the best IT brains? A 2nd. hand business-place..

SSSCA vs. Free software:
Everyone with some wits know free software is the business of the future. If free software is inconvenienced in US, Europe and others will take charge, and US will loose out. US techies will not participate in Free software projects scared of breaking some law that puts SWAT teams breaking down their doors.

US Patents vs. basic freedoms:
Not long ago a US based cancer-institute was sued & stopped in it's reseach by a company that has patented a brest-cancer gene! The scientists couldn't afford to go court, as it would take too much time & money. (How many future lives was lost due to this?) The US office seems to allow a patent on almost anything, in the name of business?! In reality it becomes a weapon to damage business competition, break a company financially and stifle development of competitive products.

US Justice:
Why do I know the inside and proceedings of an American court better than in my own country? I haven't even been to the US! For an outsider it really looks like American life is about suing your competition, your family, your friends, your neighbours, your pet!, your PC, your mother, your goldfish or perhaps your favourite TV-show for not playing in time..but..only if you have money. Plenty of it. Result: Smaller & innovative businesses without $100 mill. in the bank only survive on the benevolence of all-powerful big corporations. As they grow they get the choice between being swallowed or crushed legally.

Thanks heaven for socialism, putting a human hand into the fray of capitalist democracy. (In Europe that is..)



Mr. Hurricane


Euro-english (none / 0) (#44)
by Hurricane on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 09:12:30 PM EST

Sorry, it should be DMCA I guess.

Mr. H.

[ Parent ]
Further Analysis of the Draft SSSCA | 49 comments (45 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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