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[P]
The Decline of Our Nation and the Pinnacle of Our Arrogance

By LaNMaN2000 in Op-Ed
Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 11:07:38 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

The US was founded to guarantee freedom and democracy to its citizens and to ensure that they would not be subject to the tyranny of a foreign power. For generations, Americans have devoted their lives to the service of our country and to the belief that their efforts would help liberate others around the world and ensure that all future Americans could be confident that their individual liberties would be protected. However, instead of clinging to the ideals that define our national identity, we continue to turn our back on the principles that made our nation great.


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As a teenager, I am often asked why I, and those of my age, have so little respect for our nation's laws. But, how can we respect laws passed by corrupt politicians, enforced by brutal and racist police forces, and upheld in courts where wealth and fame are "get out of jail free" cards. Our freedom is the most vulnerable, as tens of special interest groups urge the government to "protect us" from ourselves by threatening us with incarceration should we dare make decisions that are socially appropriate for people who are just a few years older than we are. We are old enough to experience and understand the hypocrisy and corruption that pervades our government, but we are young enough to hope, against all odds, that it could be different.

Over 1.8 million Americans are currently in prison, and most will be permanently disenfranchised if they are ever released. We place a higher percentage of our population in prison than any country in the world except for Russia. While supporters of this policy are quick to point out that violent crime rates have declined in the past 5 years, I find the fact that the rate with which new people are being incarcerated has increased exponentially, even as the violent crime rate has dropped, to be the most disturbing statistic of all. Not surprisingly, this is a direct result of the escalating "war on drugs." According to the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, it is estimated that over 87.7 million Americans have used illicit drugs at least once. Any of these people were subject to being convicted of a felony that causes them to be immediately disenfranchised and some could have faced prison terms longer than perpetrators of violent crimes like assault and rape. However, numerous special interest groups have a vested interest in increasing the incarceration rate, such as prison construction contractors seeking to fill their coffers and law enforcement lobbyists seeking to expand local police forces. More importantly, the war on drugs has desensitized us to the incarceration of peaceful, productive Americans for "crimes" without victims, and devalued the concept of freedom for millions of Americans.

The most disturbing example of non-destructive behavior being rendered illicit are the criminal provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA is the product of years of entertainment industry lobbying and, among other things: removes the requirement that copyright holders prove that they suffered actual damages to file claims against copyright violators, bans even formerly legitimate reverse engineering (such as that which spawned Compaq corporation and is vital to ensure interoperability), and establishes both civil AND criminal penalties for the distribution of software that circumvents copyright protection. Though the DMCA is most famous for its use, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to claim damages against Napster despite indirect evidence that Napster actually increased CD sales, its anti-circumvention clause is its most nefarious. Already, a group of Princeton University researchers were threatened with legal action if they were to publish or present a paper debunking a copy-protected music format endorsed by the RIAA. The researchers exposed the flaws inherent in the copy-protection scheme and wanted to present their findings at a legitimate academic conference, but were forced to cancel in response to threats of legal action. However, criminal action had never been taken against a person who developed a device that circumvents copy protection before, until two weeks ago.

Dmitri Sklyarov, a PhD student and employee of the Russian software company ElcomSoft, traveled to the United States to give a presentation about the weakness of Adobe's eBook copy-protection software at a popular security conference. He determined that the program, for which Adobe was charging $3,000/license, utilized a set of vulnerable security technologies. Consequently, he developed a product for ElcomSoft that demonstrated these weaknesses. Rather than acknowledge the fatal flaw in their expensive software and do their licensees the service of repairing it, Adobe began an elaborate campaign against ElcomSoft for daring to expose their ineptitude. In response to Adobe's threats, the companies that ElcomSoft relied on to provide them with web hosting and merchant account service terminated their respective agreements and forced ElcomSoft to find alternative sources for these vital services. Furthermore, ElcomSoft began limiting distribution of its software. However, this was not sufficient for Adobe, who saw Dmitry's arrival on U.S. soil as an opportunity to make an example of him and ElcomSoft.

As Dmitry left the conference after his speech, and was on his way to board an airplane back to Russia and his family, two FBI agents arrested him for violating the criminal component of the DMCA. They were acting in response to Adobe's desire to press charges based upon information compiled by Adobe employees and sent to the FBI. For the crime of exposing an enormous flaw in a poorly designed piece of software and sharing his discovery in the U.S., he has been languishing in prison for over a week and faces up to 5 years in prison, if convicted. Adobe had him arrested for distributing his copy-protection circumvention software despite the fact that the copyright for that software was owned by ElcomSoft, a Russian company that exists outside U.S. jurisdiction. Furthermore, he was arrested while standing next to the President of ElcomSoft. Adobe and the FBI were making in abundantly clear that they were merely looking to make an example out of someone - anyone - and discourage the fair evaluation of copy-protection technologies by trained professionals. (Note: Though the media has labeled Dmitry and ElcomSoft as rogue "hackers," the fact that the FBI, itself, is one of 20 person ElcomSoft's top customers is indicative of its professionalism)

So, while I write this, an innocent Russian student is being held in a federal prison for exposing a major design flaw in an American company's poorly designed product, releasing a product that demonstrates this flaw, and presenting his results in an academic setting. Even if one could ignore his unjust suffering, and the irony of a Russian citizen being imprisoned in the U.S. for giving a speech, it will be impossible to ignore the chilling effect that this law will have on the domestic computer industry. As if to add insult to injury, the Senate has indicated its explicit support for such prosecutions and is set to approve an increase in the FBI's budget to facilitate more prosecutions for violations of the DMCA. During the civil trial against 2600 magazine for distributing DeCSS, another program that circumvents copy-protection, David Touretzky, a Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science professor, remarked: "[I have] very serious concerns about the future of computer science and my ability to function as a computer scientist." Already, Alan Cox, a prominent European Computer Scientist, has declined to appear at an American academic conference because of the DMCA. Unless the DMCA is repealed or reformed, people will continue to suffer needlessly and innovation in the industry that fueled 8 years of American economic expansion will be stifled.

I'm not writing this not to ask you to write your representatives in Congress; the voices of a few hundred concerned citizens will undoubtedly be drowned out, unless they are expressed on the same paper as the many millions of dollars that proponents of these draconian policies have funneled into Washington D.C. I am also not encouraging you to challenge Robert Mueller's appointment to head the FBI, even though he is currently the U.S. Attorney responsible for continuing to hold Dmitry in spite of the fact that Adobe has recently indicated that they no longer wish to see Dmitry prosecuted. Though I have a personal distaste for our current president and have criticized some of his past cabinet nominees, I genuinely believe that we must move beyond partisan bickering and unite to renew our commitment to freedom. We need to call upon people of all political affiliations and stand united against those special interests that limit our freedom and poison our democracy.

We must make it clear that we, as a nation, are committed to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic." We must phase out the self-destructive war-on-drugs and repeal the draconian Digital Millenium Copyright Act. But, with equal fervor, we must reform campaign finance laws to ensure that elected leaders serve our nation with honor and integrity, and stop curtailing our freedoms to appease corporate and special interest contributors. The cold war is long over, and the biggest threat to the Americans today come not in the form of ICBMs or Osama Bin Laden, it comes from the enemies within that seek to exert undue influence on politicians to curtail the freedoms we take for granted.

I hope that we may once again return to the ideals that our nation was founded on and begin to appreciate the importance of protecting our freedom against all those who would take it away from us.

Lenny Grover
lgrover2k@yahoo.com

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Poll
What should happen to the DMCA?
o Nothing; it is a fair and appropriate addendum to outdated copyright codes. 4%
o The criminal penalties should be removed, but the rest of the law should remain unchanged. 0%
o Major revisions need to be made to the copyright codes; the law must respect fair use. 30%
o The law should be repealed, but a new addendum to the copyright act must be passed, to deal with the existence of digital media. 22%
o The DMCA should be repealed and only copyright laws that predate it should apply to digital media. 40%

Votes: 110
Results | Other Polls

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The Decline of Our Nation and the Pinnacle of Our Arrogance | 156 comments (142 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
the most urgent issue? (4.33 / 15) (#2)
by Daemosthenes on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 07:43:11 PM EST

Well, to be frank, this kind of talk seems rather dissapointing to me. Yes, I agree that it was wrong to imprison Dmitry, and I am wholeheartedly behind the repealing of the DMCA. However, the stipulation that the only things we need to worry about in our country are domestic issues is quite absurd

Even today, wars rage on between developing nations, countries spend 20 to 30 percent of their national budget on weapons, and thousands are dying daily of AIDS in Africa. The United States cannot and must not relinquish its focus from these matters. Whether we like it or not, our country has an obligation to concern ourselves with the rest of the world and to prevent further travesties (Rwanda, Bosnia, East Timor, Eritrea & Ethiopia) from occuring.

To believe that the most urgent issues are the ones which only affect you (DMCA, freedom of use, etc.) while so many more pressing issues continue to exist throughout the world -- that, sir, I cannot reconcile with.

It's not our problem. (2.11 / 9) (#42)
by MattW net on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 09:45:15 AM EST

It's the other country's problems - THEY choose to fight the wars, THEY chose to spread AIDS, and I don't care about them.

[ Parent ]
Pick one (2.40 / 5) (#87)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:33:19 PM EST

On the one hand, people are pissed if the US intervenes. On the other, they're pissed if the US doesn't intervene. Let me put this succinctly:

Those dying of aids in Africa asked for it. Do they deserve it? Who cares; the point is that they are dying through direct action of their own while *knowing* it would kill them. The generation dying now had full knowledge of the ramifications of their actions *yet do it anyway*. Sorry, can't help them.

I lived in Rwanda. They hate each other. Both sides. Every so often, roles reverse and the side currently in power loses power, with a subsequent bloodbath for the other side. This is the way things work. I very much doubt it's horridly different anywhere else. However, US intervention isn't likely to do much other than get US soldiers killed. This is a local problem and should be solved locally.

And, to suggest that it is any of the US' business how much countries spend on weapons is totally and completely insane. The US does not now and never should attempt to regulate what other countries spend in their own defense. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see some countries spend more, such as Japan and Germany, if the idiotic restrictions on their defensive systems were removed and the US no longer had to guarantee their defense. Perhaps the EU would find more interesting things to do with its time than condemn the US if it had to bear the brunt of NATO defense spending and actually had to bother dealing with every little piss-pot dictator they're so fond of decrying.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
check your facts (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by Daemosthenes on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:53:44 PM EST

And, to suggest that it is any of the US' business how much countries spend on weapons is totally and completely insane. The US does not now and never should attempt to regulate what other countries spend in their own defense. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see some countries spend more, such as Japan and Germany, if the idiotic restrictions on their defensive systems were removed and the US no longer had to guarantee their defense. Perhaps the EU would find more interesting things to do with its time than condemn the US if it had to bear the brunt of NATO defense spending and actually had to bother dealing with every little piss-pot dictator they're so fond of decrying.
Hmm...where to begin? First of all, the point about Germany and Japan is completely inaccurate. Both Germany and Japan currently spend about 1% of their budget on national defense. That part is correct. However, this is self-imposed by the two nations; they could be spending more on defense if they wanted to, but they're having too much fun making scads of money off of bending their entire budget towards trade and economic success.

As for the bit about the EU...In most UN peacekeeping missions, European states are the first to send in troops to take care of peacekeeping missions. In Bosnia, for example, Britain and France were the first to put down a "Rapid Reactionary Force" to help establish stability. I wont deny that the US plays a vast role in International stability and peacekeeping, but to conjecture that Europe does nothing would be foolish in the extreme.

As for the part about the US intervening, I do agree with you that the US always recieves a mixed welcome wherever it goes. That's why I would say that the US must not directly intervene; instead it must retain it's position in the UN, mediating and resolving disputes by cooperating with the UN, a multi-lateral international organisation. This gets rid of many of the "we hate US" arguments, as the UN is (mostly) recognized as a nuetral body and forum for international problems.

Those dying of aids in Africa asked for it. Do they deserve it? Who cares; the point is that they are dying through direct action of their own while *knowing* it would kill them. The generation dying now had full knowledge of the ramifications of their actions *yet do it anyway*. Sorry, can't help them.
What? So, when you go out in a rainstorm and get the flu, would you be happy to be refused treatment because you knew there was a possibility of getting sick? Loss of human lives on this scale cannot continue. On another note, we just can't afford it; who knows how many future Einsteins, Mozarts, or Hawkings have died due to the aids epidemic? It's really a world-changing matter that we (hopefully through the UN and it's various sub-committees) must deal with promptly.

-
[ Parent ]
Ok... (3.20 / 5) (#93)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 05:47:50 PM EST

Hmm...where to begin? First of all, the point about Germany and Japan is completely inaccurate. Both Germany and Japan currently spend about 1% of their budget on national defense. That part is correct. However, this is self-imposed by the two nations; they could be spending more on defense if they wanted to, but they're having too much fun making scads of money off of bending their entire budget towards trade and economic success.

Exactly so. It is self-imposed due to rewritten constitutions mandated by treaties at the end of WWII. It's time to quit doing that.

As for the bit about the EU...In most UN peacekeeping missions, European states are the first to send in troops to take care of peacekeeping missions. In Bosnia, for example, Britain and France were the first to put down a "Rapid Reactionary Force" to help establish stability. I wont deny that the US plays a vast role in International stability and peacekeeping, but to conjecture that Europe does nothing would be foolish in the extreme.

Infantry is cheap. What did that 'rapid reactionary force' actually do? For the record, I opposed US action in Bosnia vehemenently. However, the US had some 600 aircraft and an entire carrier task force engaged in that particular fracas, not to mention most of a division worth of mixed-bag helicopter and infantry support and a couple of JSTARs. Anyway, none of that stuff is cheap, and the operational costs of that particular thing were rather high. When you consider the supply logistics, the basing operations for 600 aircraft, and the cost of tasking an entire carrier task force, the EU troops engaged amounted to a pittance. Not to say that the US couldn't have done it more cheaply; the fact is that it shouldn't have done it at all.

The saddest thing is that the US had to pull that carrier task force off of Iraq, where the US is currently pulling most of the weight in keeping Saddam from getting an airforce. Where are the EU moralists?

As for the part about the US intervening, I do agree with you that the US always recieves a mixed welcome wherever it goes. That's why I would say that the US must not directly intervene; instead it must retain it's position in the UN, mediating and resolving disputes by cooperating with the UN, a multi-lateral international organisation. This gets rid of many of the "we hate US" arguments, as the UN is (mostly) recognized as a nuetral body and forum for international problems.

No, the US should not intervene, period. The only time the US should speak up is when it is in the direct interest of the US or its people to act. Then and only then does the US have moral imperative to step on others. The US isn't anybody's daddy nor is it the grand ole police force for the entire friggin world. It's a sovereign nation that has gotten way too much power unto itself, IMO. It needs to quit lest it become bullyish.

What? So, when you go out in a rainstorm and get the flu, would you be happy to be refused treatment because you knew there was a possibility of getting sick? Loss of human lives on this scale cannot continue. On another note, we just can't afford it; who knows how many future Einsteins, Mozarts, or Hawkings have died due to the aids epidemic? It's really a world-changing matter that we (hopefully through the UN and it's various sub-committees) must deal with promptly.

Going out into a rainstorm has never been proven statistically likely to give you the flu. Oddly enough, you are far more likely to get it by being in proximity to the flu bug. Having your immune system reduced by constant exposure, bad diet, and lack of sleep will increase the chances of that bug taking root. However, screwing someone with AIDS puts a pretty high chance of you getting AIDS. Living in a highly promiscuous society, as is most of Africa, renders the statistical chances of getting AIDS close to unity. Western nations have taken steps to curb AIDS, such as the encouragement of condoms, which has caused AIDS incidences in Western nations to remain rather low compared to Africa, which steadfastly refuses to take such steps.

Another consideration: despite the fact that compost gardening has been known to the West for hundreds of years, Rwandans, by and large, refuse to implement it. The gains from that alone would significantly offset their deforrestation problems, but they won't do it. If they won't do something as ameliorative as compost gardening, why do I care what happens to them? They are unwilling to help themselves; let them die.

The argument that 'Einsteins, Mozarts or Hawkings' might be missed by letting thousands of Africans die is disingenuous. There have not been any. You notice that Einstein, Mozart, and Hawking are all white. The vast majority of advances in recent history have been made by caucasians, asians, and Jews, in no particular order. Very few have been made by Africans, although a significant number have been made by former Africans living in other countries. South Africa, Kenya, and North Africa excepted, of course.

The reason is three-fold. One, our culture does not value the cultural products of Africa. In other words, nobody cares if someone makes particularly clever African tribal music. Two, the culture of Africa actively discourages innovation in many ways. In other words, there is no incentive in most of Africa's quasi-socialist governments to do anything better than the minimum required by the World Bank to keep the aid flowing in. Any unorthodoxed methods are generally severly punished. The West intervening has had a lot to do with this. Three, Africa has no infrastructure for dealing with a Hawking, and, to a lesser extent, an Einstein. Survival is the watchword, and the ability to subsistence farm simply does not require genius; it actively precludes it, as geniuses tend to bore easily with farming. Until Aftica has a vital infrastructure, Hawking and Einstein would not be of any use to them.

Anyway, as to whether it is acceptable to allow thousands (millions?) of Africans to die from AIDS, I would posit that it is perhaps a good thing. The continent is heavily over-populated. There's nothing we can do about that without changing their culture, which would also fix the AIDS problem. However, every time the West steps in to fix Africa, or anywhere else, it screws it up a little bit more. Africa needs to solve African problems in an African way or they will *never* learn independance. Learning to be dependant on the West for survival makes them the two year olds of the world. Make them grow up; make them face a plague of their own making. The West grew and learned from the black plague; where were the Africans to help?

Who helps the helpers? When the US faces natural disasters, do you see Africans, or, for that matter, Europeans getting together care packages and shipping it here? Do you see an appropriation in the UN for US economic recovery? Do you see other nations calling for solidarity for the US? No, they laugh. See, US has trouble, too. See, US losing ground; EU will gain as a result. However, when some schmuck overseas gets a burr up his butt to overthrow peaceful operations in his country and his civillians let him, the US *must* respond. When disaster hits, the US *must* send aid. It's just sickening.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

Overpopulation (5.00 / 1) (#147)
by greenrd on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 04:09:25 PM EST

If Africa is overpopulated, the Netherlands is insanely overpopulated. Yet the Netherlands is a net exporter of grain.

Just look at a population density map sometime. You'll see that Africa is quite sparsely populated.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Of course (none / 0) (#148)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 04:16:01 PM EST

Compared to Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, nobody seems overpopulated, but these places use modern farming methods, which produce far more food with far less environmental impact than does subsistance farming, which is why Africa is starving.

I guess I should have said 'overpopulated for their farming methods'.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Foreign aid by the USA is far less... (none / 0) (#149)
by Enby on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 06:01:57 PM EST

Apparently, most of us in the USA have a wildly-incorrect notion of what proportion of our GNP (or tax revenue) goes to foreign aid. It is much less than most people think, possibly something like a few dollars per person per year, if that.

When it comes to the numbers, and when comparing with other nations, the USA is very stingy.

I'm deeply disappointed with the way things are going, on the whole.

[ Parent ]

Foreign aid and drug companies. (none / 0) (#151)
by gromm on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 04:53:42 PM EST

The American government giving Africans money to pay for AIDS drugs patented by American drug companies who charge exorbitant amounts of money for said drugs, is kind of like borrowing money from Peter to pay Paul, is it not? They don't need your money. They need to be able to manufacture these drugs themselves at bargain-basement prices, but American drug comanies go loco every time someone tries to infringe on their precious patents.

Some things should not have a monetary value. Life-saving drugs and culture are two of these things.
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]
Questions: (3.54 / 11) (#3)
by elenchos on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 08:24:52 PM EST

If his goal was to reveal flaws in the security of Adobe's product, what is the purpose behind offering this cracking tool for sale in the US? Is selling a product like ElcomSoft's the usual way of reporting security bugs?

This is kind of different than those who say Dmitry's goal was to help Russians make backup copies. Which is it? And again, if he wanted to help Russians make backup copies, why was he trying to sell it to Americans?

I heard this is what he was arrested for. But you say he was actually arrested for making a speech. Is that a fact?

And isn't Sklyarov the copyright holder of this cracking tool, and that is why they arrested him as the one offering it for sale? And in any case, if your employer pays you to break the law and you do it, does that let you off the hook? I can see how ElcomSoft and its officers should also face charges, but I don't see how "my boss told me to do it" gets Sklyarov out of hot water.

You include a lot of ancillary issues here, like imprisonment rates and drug laws. Do you consider Sklyarov to be taking part in direct action and civil disobedience here? Should we all violate laws that we see are unjust? Should we take steps to destroy the value of the property of corportations that undermine democracy and write laws that serve their profits alone, but harm the people as a whole?

The part about Dmity getting arrested "on his way to board an airplane back to Russia and his family" was a nice touch. You should have really laid it on thick and said, "his devoted, loving family, and Tiny Tim too!"

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland

Answers (4.16 / 6) (#9)
by aonifer on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 09:09:53 PM EST

If his goal was to reveal flaws in the security of Adobe's product, what is the purpose behind offering this cracking tool for sale in the US?

It wasn't offered for sale in the US. It was offered for sale through the internet. I don't know whether they allowed Americans to buy it, but I suspect you don't, either.

Should we all violate laws that we see are unjust?

It's not clear that he violated any law, but I don't see anything morally wrong with violating an unjust law, as long as you accept the consequences.

Should we take steps to destroy the value of the property of corportations that undermine democracy and write laws that serve their profits alone, but harm the people as a whole?

Sklyarov's program does not destroy the value of corporate property. All it does is allow the user to create a pdf of the e-book. If the user takes the non-trivial step of distributing copies of that file, then the corporation's property is devalued. Sklyarov's program does not destroy the value of an e-book any more than a lock pick devalues a person's house. At any rate, value is in the eyes of the buyer. I find more value in an e-book that doesn't require me to ask the corporation's permission every single time I want to read it on a different computer, or that allows me to (God forbid) print out a few pages to read in bed.

[ Parent ]

Is that fact even in dispute? (3.80 / 5) (#14)
by elenchos on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 10:19:12 PM EST

Here's what the complaint against him says:
b. Adobe purchased the program through Elcomsoft through a U.S. based company that Elcomsoft was using as a means of collection a $99 fee for purchase and usage of the unlocking key. Nathanson and Spano told me that this company was Register Now! (www.regnow.com) Dept # 1170-75, PO Box 1816 Issaquah, Washington 98027, 1-877-353-7297. Register Now! collected the $99 fee that pays for the unlocking key. Thereafter, Elcomsoft, after receiving verification from Register Now!, electronically sent the unlocking key registration code from Elcomsoft to the purchaser (Adobe) in San Jose, California, in the Northern District of California. Spano provided documents to me reflecting the transaction and showing that the unlocking key was purchased by Adobe on June 26, 2001.
Is anybody denying this? Say what you will, they were out to make money.

And as far as what this cracking tool does, which is more profitable: eBooks that you can easily copy, or eBooks that can't be copied? Would you invest in a company that thought it could make money selling books with no copy protection? That would be a recipe for another dot bomb, if you ask me.

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland
[ Parent ]

You're an idiot (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by nurf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:34:18 PM EST

Why are you so sure copy protection is needed?

Look at http://www.baen.com/library .

I am not associated with them, it's just a real world example of how you can be wrong. I've spent a lot of money with this bunch, and purely because it benefits me to do so.

Copy protection makes the default assumption I am a thief, along with the majority of other people out there. I won't tell you what I think of that opinion in polite company.



[ Parent ]
That is my favorite subject line. (1.33 / 6) (#86)
by elenchos on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:30:15 PM EST

What better way of showing everyone what kind of people I'm dealing with? And now, the reply you deserve:
Why are you so sure copy protection is needed?
Is it because are me so sure copy protection is needed that you came to me?
Look at http://www.baen.com/library .
Why do you say look at http www baen com library?
I am not associated with them, it's just a real world example of how you can be wrong.
Does it bother you that I can be wrong?
I've spent a lot of money with this bunch, and purely because it benefits me to do so.
When did you first know that it benefits you to do so?
Copy protection makes the default assumption I am a thief, along with the majority of other people out there.
Earlier you said are me so sure copy protection is needed?
I won't tell you what I think of that opinion in polite company.
Is the fact that opinion in polite company the real reason?

Have a nice day.

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland
[ Parent ]

*nod* (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by nurf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:01:41 PM EST

Very Funny.

Now perhaps have a look at the link I provided, and think about what is written there. Then, say whatever you like to me. I've provided my counter example, and hopefully you will be enlightened. No more absolute statements about copy protection and making money.

Funny, that subject line wouldn't have bugged me at all. It's an opinion based on what you said. I thought it was slightly funny, and certainly made it clear where I stood. If it makes you feel better, pretend the subject is "I disagree with one of your statements", and try answering again.

Prove me wrong, and I'll give credit where it is due.

Of course, you could just pipe stuff to Eliza and thus avoid having to reply.

Well, seeing as we are engaged in productive dialogue, lets deal a bit more with your original posting:

Yes. Elcomsoft were out to make money - something they are entitled to do.

What I find interesting is that a person was arrested for the acts of a corporate entity.

Dmitry did two things: (1) Write code and (2) talk about Adobe's code.

Elcomsoft sold code at least partially written by Dmitry. Dmitry didn't sell anything.

The FBI may wail about the selling of the code, but they should only be able to take Dmitry to task for talking at the conference. Understandably, they don't want to do this, because that would make it blatantly obvious that we are looking at a law with a chilling effect on protected speech.

And to answer your question, books that are easily copyable by definition reach more people. If more people read your books, then more people know about you. If more people know about you and your books are good, more people will want your books. If more people want your work, you should be able to find a way to make them want to pay for it. Yes, there will be a higher percentage of unpaid-for works out there, but the remainder will be cut from a much larger pie. I pointed you at a site that gives away copyable ebooks as a way of making money.

As a consumer, I have no interest in something that insists on telling me how I'm allowed to use it. I see more value in the copyable book. I'll pay more money for it.

Looking forward to an eloquent and well thought-out reply.



[ Parent ]
Fair use says you can sell cracking tools? (3.50 / 2) (#96)
by elenchos on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:38:01 PM EST

That's a new one. I've heard that it says you can copy the IP that you buy, but you are certainly breaking some new ground with this idea that copy protection is just an earnings opportunity for crackers. Fair Use is like magic isn't it? It can do anything you want it to do! Whee!

As a business model, selling cracking tools is certainly a lot more viable than trying to sell IP that your customers may freely copy and distribute at virtually no cost. The theory is that the publicity from free content will somehow come back and benefit the copyright holders. I've heard of it. We all have: that's what Napster says, isn't it? It is by far the most popular business model of the dot bombs that took so many foolish venture capitalists' money in the last couple years.

Personally, while I like open source software, I'm not going to be investing anything in a company that gives away Free Beer until someone demonstrates that it is profitable.

I know you like it. The consumer loves all that free stuff. I like Fair Use too, when it benefits me. But I'm not ready do villify those who cling to the reasonable idea that people will not pay money for something that they can get for free. The market value of much of the IP produced today is based on scarcity, and I think the owners have the right to protect their property.

Your alternative model is phrased entirely in the future tense: it is prediction of how you think it is supposed to work out. It is a nice-sounding dream and I hope it's true. But it is not yet a proven fact, and it is deceptive to pretened it is.

As far as Dmitry goes, he certainly violated the DMCA. That they didn't arrest the others who also violated it is a mystery, but their not getting arrested doesn't make him innocent. Prosecutors frequently choose to only go after a high-profile target, because they don't always have the resources to charge everyone they could charge. But I don't know why they didn't arrest the others; they certainly could have. Do you want them to?

Calling him a noble scholar is a lie, as is trying to claim he only wanted to warn the unsuspecting public about bad encryption, or that he wanted to help blind people read eBooks. Please. He did it for money. That is one of the things that most annoys me here: this thoroughly dishonest attempt to make Sklyvarov into something he is not. At least stick to the facts and build your case on something solid, and not some imaginary hero named Dmitry.

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland
[ Parent ]

I don't think AEBPR was ever for-sale. (4.80 / 5) (#12)
by Trepalium on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 09:28:34 PM EST

Elcomsoft does sell a number of password recovery software products, but this is one I think they only made available for free, but intentionally crippled it so that mass-copies of copyrighted works couldn't be made easily. According to the README.TXT that comes with the program, the program will only decrypt the first 25% of the file, but a full version is available to editors and reviewers. Based on this, I don't think the goal of AEBPR's distribution in the US was to make money, but to legitimately show those who would publish material in Adobe E-Book format that it was dangerous.

The question is how can the United States hold a Russian citizen for questionable "crimes" that they never committed on US soil, that the concerned parties don't want to see prosecuted. Adobe's behaviour in this entire matter has been disgusting. They have repeatedly denied that this weakness exists in their product, despite elcomsoft coming up with a new version each time Adobe tweaks their program to be incompatible with it, without fixing the core encryption problem. Then they get the cops arrest Dmitry, then decide to publically state they don't wish to see the case go to court, while no doubt hoping that the criminal case won't be dropped by prosecutors. All the while, the media paints Dmitry as an evil, devious hacker to be hated and dispised by 'normal' citizens, and Adobe as the saint that is being hurt by this evil hacker, and still not seeking to press charges.

[ Parent ]

You can't be serious.... (4.20 / 10) (#16)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 11:12:33 PM EST

If his goal was to reveal flaws in the security of Adobe's product, what is the purpose behind offering this cracking tool for sale in the US? Is selling a product like ElcomSoft's the usual way of reporting security bugs?

He wrote a product that was used to provide people with the rights that they should have due to Fair Use which the American DMCA has attempted to outlaw. Even then he wrote the program in Russia where the DMCA is not law.

I heard this is what he was arrested for. But you say he was actually arrested for making a speech. Is that a fact

That's just stupid. Did the government go around arresting Microsoft developers when it was declared an illegal monopoly? No, they decided to punish the company as a whole. If the government had an issue withhis company's product then it should have targetted the company.

Should we all violate laws that we see are unjust?

Many people, including some of America's founding fathers, believe and have believed the answer to this question is Yes.

The fact of the matter is that the DMCA has not only made it illegal to excercise your rights granted under the doctrine of fair use but even more sinisterly it has made it illegal to talk about shitty encryption. Imagine what this means if SDMI had actually been implemented instead of being derailed because of the works of the Princeton professors or if eBooks became extremely popular and still used Adobe's encryption. Wholesale copying would ensue because the fundamental encrption technologies were relatively easy to crack.

Other have also pondered the ramification of the DMCA to National security. If companies can sell any sort of chicken-shit encryption to the government without fear that people will call them on it, well you don't have to guess where that will lead.

[ Parent ]
Someone really needs to straighten this out. (3.71 / 7) (#18)
by elenchos on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:23:19 AM EST

You probably don't really want to hear my opinion about whether or not anyone from Microsoft should go to prison.

Leaving that aside, lets look again at the complaint:

The demo version of AEBPR allowed to convert only first 10% of the book content. To protect unauthorized distribution of eBooks on the piracy market, we have set the "border" price for this program - $99, which is much more than an average eBook cost (most eBooks are being sold from $10 to $30, and there are a lot free ones).
That was on the Elcomsoft web site.

What the hell was their goal? To save the world from bad encryption? To allow Russians to make backup copies? Or to sell cracking tools to Americans? They say their price of $99 somehow prevents piracy. It sounds to me like exactly the right price to ask from a pirate. Although one wonders why the pirates wouln't just steal a copy of AEBPR...

I would say if you disagree with the DMCA, fine. But Dmitry Sklyvarov doesn't really fit into any heroic mold, and you ought not to be trying to make him fit.

Why didn't they arrest the whole company, or at least as many of them as they could get? Good question.

Why did they arrest Sklyvarov? Well, let's take a look:

Conclusion

20. Based on the foregoing, I believe Dmitry Sklyarov, employee of Elcomsoft and the individual listed on the Elcomsoft software products as the copyright holder of the program sold and produced by Elcomsoft, known as the Advanced eBook Processor, has willfully and for financial gain imported, offered to the public, provided, and otherwise trafficked in a technology, product, service, and device that is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumvention a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under Title 17, namely books distributed in a form readable by the Adobe eBook Reader, in violation of Title 17, United States Code, Section 1201(b)(1)(A) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

And perhaps because his speech at DefCon made him the perfect example. Prosecutors do frequently just choose a few high-profile cases out of all that they could prosecute, for the purpose of deterring violators. Even the Justice Department doesn't have an unlimited budget, and maybe they didn't think they could afford to go after an entire company's officers. Maybe they thought just going after Dmitry would make their point.

I don't know.

I agree that civil disobedience is a valid option, and that there are times when direct action is the best way to make your point. This can include the destruction of private property.

My argument is simply this: AEBPR does destroy private property. The value of Adobe's products is destroyed by this crack, and distributing it is just as much a kind of non-violent (no harm to people) act as vandalizing a Nike Town. And if you believe that violating the law and destroying property is morally acceptable in this case, then you should at least entertain the possibilty that it is justifiable in other cases as well.

Dmitry could have protested the DMCA and Adobe's bad copy protection peacefully, just as a protestor may meekly stay within an officially approved protest zone, waving his sign in the air for no one to see. But that alone doesn't work. Direct action does.

I just want everyone supporting Dmitry to admit that.

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland
[ Parent ]

There are no heroes (4.37 / 8) (#21)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:57:27 AM EST

I would say if you disagree with the DMCA, fine. But Dmitry Sklyvarov doesn't really fit into any heroic mold, and you ought not to be trying to make him fit.

I've never called him a hero but the fact that he is languishing in jail for presenting a paper on how he cracked Adobe's feeble encryption in a country where doing so is legal due to the overreaching powers of the DMCA is not a good thing. Quite frankly there is very little difference between what he did a Consumer Reports' article on various burglar alarm systems and how easily they could be circumvented.

My argument is simply this: AEBPR does destroy private property. The value of Adobe's products is destroyed by this crack, and distributing it is just as much a kind of non-violent (no harm to people) act as vandalizing a Nike Town.

Adobe's bottom line is definitely hurt and even worse this has probably made some publishers even more wary about releasing eBook versions of their books. I still believe this is preferable to the loss of Fair Use rights that the DMCA is trying to force upon all of us as well as the fact that people were paying Adobe over $3,000 a pop for what was effectively ROT13++

And if you believe that violating the law and destroying property is morally acceptable in this case, then you should at least entertain the possibilty that it is justifiable in other cases as well.

Nothing is black and white. Do I think breaking the law during and freeing slaves in the South n the 19th century was morally acceptable, Yes. Do I think bombing abortion clinics or torching buildings over some environmental cause is morally acceptable, No. Everything in between is judged on a case-by-case basis.

[ Parent ]
Destruction of private property (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by kmon on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 12:55:31 AM EST

My argument is simply this: AEBPR does destroy private property.

So do cars. So do guns. So does bug spray. So do alot of things when used in a matter inconsistent with their labeling. This, in itself, cannot be a reason to make something illegal.
ad hoc, ad hominem, ad infinitum!
[ Parent ]
return to ideals (4.20 / 5) (#4)
by strlen on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 08:26:15 PM EST

i like your rant and generally agree with it. the problem, however, is that we never lived by those ideals. we had slaves for longer then other countries did, our women were disenfranchised longer then women in other countries, our blacks were disenfranchised for longer then many other minorities world-wide. and we've pretty much destroyed all the aboriginals, i believe canadians did better (although australians i believe did just as bad as US-Americans) look to the future for freedom, not the past.

the DMCA is just a response to a new idea. all kinds of new ideas received similar responses. whenever there was technology, there was some sort of authoritarian response to it. for instance, when automobiles first appeared many states had laws where an automobile would have to follow a man with red flags in front of the car (kind of defeats the purposes of a car).



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
tone it down a little (4.14 / 14) (#5)
by OOG THE CAVEMAN on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 08:31:14 PM EST

Seems to be all over the place here: you start out with the ever so original angry teenager complaining about how fascist and evil and bad the U.S. is, and then you abruptly shift toward a short rant on anti-drug policies followed by a long one on the DMCA. The setups a bit grandiose and bombastic for something that is essentially a pissed off diatribe against the DMCA, tossed in with a couple of news item buzzwords to add some relevance. I'd probably spend more time rebutting this, but the Simpsons is on and currently distracting my attentions.

I hope you have some past residency in other countries or at least a fairly good background studying foreign governments (good ol comp government AP) before you start denouncing the U.S. as a fascist bastion of tyranny. Granted, there are some things we could work on, but you definitely don't see people dragged out and killed for being political dissenters or other heavy abuses of freedom. I'm glad you had the sense to refrain from partisan bashing but I think your portrayal of injustice in the U.S. is heavily exaggerated. Corruption occurs, but it is not nearly as bad as the patron-client relations that occur in some of the thrid world countries; and when discovered, corruption is usually punished. Calling the police brutal and racist is simply absurd. The fact is, a disproportionate amount of crime (including the drug war which so hate) occurs in poor black areas of cities, which translates to a disporportionate number of blacks being arrested. Cops certainly aren't out to get black people and to assume so based solely on statistics isnt telling the whole story.

Anyway, I think this article would be a lot better if it got to the point more quickly and wasn't so swelled up and full of buzzwords (our nation is being FASCIST and OPPRESSING innocent MARTYRS with DRACONIAN policies that reflect their BRUTAL ARROGANCE). If I wanted to hear an overblown rebel without a clue spouting diatribes id buy an Anti-Flag cd. Lighten up on the dogma a little and let your argument stand on its own merit. It's hard not to dismiss your article as ranting propaganda when you drown out everything in generalized, cliched rhetoric.
OOG BREAK HEAD WITH OPEN SOURCE CD!!!
Out-in-street-dragging (2.12 / 8) (#6)
by caine on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 08:48:08 PM EST

"Granted, there are some things we could work on, but you definitely don't see people dragged out and killed for being political dissenters or other heavy abuses of freedom."

Nah, they get dragged inside and electrocuted instead. Oh, so much more subtle. Makes it a lot easier for the cleaning crews too.

--

[ Parent ]

Any evidence? (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by error 404 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:39:05 PM EST

I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that there have been any executions in the USA in recent times where the political opinions of the victim were a significant factor, with the single possible (and then only from a very extreme perspective) exception of McVeigh.

As far as I can tell, while you might get executed for being the wrong color, or for the crime of not hiring an expensive enough lawyer, you almost certainly won't get executed for your ideas. Mainly because we don't care much about ideas here.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Twofolded (none / 0) (#83)
by caine on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:18:31 PM EST

Well, the most obvious is of course, that the justice system in USA is closely intertwined with political boundaries. If nothing else, the last election showed that beyond a doubt. Since compared to many other countries, your laws are rather few and flexible, the court system relies on the jury, the judge, and in extension the higher courts to make the decisions. And because they are populated with highly political people, their judgement will at least partly be heavily biased with what their parties main line is.

Secondly it wasn't so much why people got executed, as much as they did, which in my opinion is a rather big flaw when it comes to a democracy. Wrongly jailed persons can always be freed later, but wrongly executed people are hard to bring back. And there have been people who have innocently executed.

--

[ Parent ]

I agree (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by error 404 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 05:23:06 PM EST

any execution at all is a bad thing. Some things are very simple. One of them is that killing people is bad and you shouldn't do it unless you really have to. A sense of "closure" or "justice" doesn't count as "really have to". At best, those fall into the "I want to" category.

Still, the contrast was between situations where people are killed for their ideas and the current US situation. And while there are lots of things wrong, there are some things that are right, one of which is that getting killed for what you beleive is quite unlikely here. Which is a bit remarkable, considering, as you rightly point out, how partisan the judicial system is.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

so because other countries are worse.. (2.75 / 4) (#13)
by jdtux on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 09:59:04 PM EST

.. we shouldn't try to make things better here in north america? I'm hoping that that's not what you meant....

[ Parent ]
what i meant (4.66 / 3) (#19)
by OOG THE CAVEMAN on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:28:53 AM EST

Annoyed Reactionary Mode aside, my problem with the piece is that the author is being absurdly melodramatic without a good knowledge of what he's talking about. In spite of all the bitching everyone (myself included) does about the state of things and quality of life in the U.S.A., things are working pretty well. Still very far from perfect, but at least I'm glad that being blown up by armed mercenaries or being locked up and murdered for saying something bad about the president are not things I have to worry about. Comparatively, the U.S. has easily one of the most fair and balanced governmental systems in the world. Of course, I still think lots of improvments are needed, but I'm getting sick of this "WE NEED A REVOLUTION" crap coming from the teenage riot faction. U.S. history has shown a lot of successful movements working through the combination of civil disobedience and time. Angry and hollow ranting at a faceless target doesn't do anything except get a bunch of people to yell at each other. Besides, as rebelcool pointed out in his post, if our most urgent problem is a (new and relatively untested) law which the large majority of the population doesn't know or care about save techies with NIMS, then perhaps our country isn't in that bad shape.
OOG BREAK HEAD WITH OPEN SOURCE CD!!!
[ Parent ]
the teenage riot faction (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:51:36 AM EST

Remember our teenage years? The "teenage riot faction" exists in every generation. Our older relatives listened to the Beatles and called for revolution. We listened to punk rock and called for revolution. The sad thing about the modern teens is that they are listening to... punk rock. I listen to the stuff on radio and to the non-radio alternative stuff (oh, how I miss WHFS) that teens listen to and I think it's ok. I'm 36 and I like most of the modern music. That's scary. Where's the music that the older crowd, such as myself, hates? Why don't teens listen to music that causes me to scream "Turn that noise down!!!" the way my parents did. How can they call for revolution while listening to the same music styles we did?

Hmm, I see an op-ed rant in here somewhere, have to think about that.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

the Library of Congress will make it all better (4.23 / 13) (#7)
by momocrome on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 08:54:48 PM EST

I have the sneaking suspicion that most folks bitching about the DMCA have not read it. There are numerous 'escape clauses' and 'loopholes' that will work in your 'warez loving' favor, have no fear! I will include my favorite section here:
Chapter 12, Subparagraph C of the DMCA

During the 2-year period described in subparagraph (A), and during each succeeding 3-year period, the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, who shall consult with the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce and report and comment on his or her views in making such recommendation, shall make the determination in a rulemaking proceeding on the record for purposes of subparagraph (B) of whether persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by the prohibition under subparagraph (A) in their ability to make noninfringing uses under this title of a particular class of copyrighted works. In conducting such rulemaking, the Librarian shall examine--

``(i) the availability for use of copyrighted works;

``(ii) the availability for use of works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes;

``(iii) the impact that the prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures applied to copyrighted works has on criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research;

``(iv) the effect of circumvention of technological measures on the market for or value of copyrighted works; and

``(v) such other factors as the Librarian considers appropriate.

As you can see, the impact of this legislation is the concern of the Library of Congress, and as a Library, they are sure to keep the rights and needs of the book borrowing population in mind. Furthermore, they are not your typical porkbarrel payola politicians looking to court the favor of Corporate Checkbooks. Instead, the LoC is peopled by mellow scholars and other academics well versed in the history of Liberty.

I hope to make it big someday. Whether as a musician(not likely), Writer(closer) or TV/Hollywood mogul(working on it), I don't want to see control of my hard work relinquished to angry kids that want free entertainment. I don't want to go hungry because nobody rents my movies or buys my book because it is on teh Intarnet. I don't want to give it away for free. Tell me a better way to secure my rights as an artist and I will gladly embrace it, but until then I have to disagree with your position altogether.

Paranthetically, you use the term 'Get out of Jail Free' as a sort of condemnation of priveledged wealth taking advantage of the Legal System in your first paragraph. I wonder if you realize that the phrase was coined in the game Monopoly, a savage, scathing satire produced in the 1930's to make the same point you are trying at. I realize the phrase has been incorporated into the American Lexicon, but I hope you realize these injustices have been plagueing us for a lot longer than the past 5 years.

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History

Unfortunately... (5.00 / 6) (#26)
by jqpang on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:45:47 AM EST

... the Library of Congress has already announced what those "exceptions" to the circumvention clause are, and those excemptions have been in effect since October 28, 2000 and will not be updated until October 28, 2003. They are:

1. Compilations consisting of lists of websites blocked by filtering software applications; and

2. Literary works, including computer programs and databases, protected by access control mechanisms that fail to permit access because of malfunction, damage or obsolescence.

(You can obtain the document here: http://www.loc.gov/copyright/1201/anticirc.html)

These two provisions clearly do not undo any of the research and scholarly limitations that universities and librarians feared the DMCA would incur. In fact, they were thoroughly dissappointed by the LoC's interpretation. And as demonstrated by the threat against Dr. Felton earlier this year, with just cause.

However I do agree that too many people have too many ill-formed ideas about what the DMCA says or doesn't say. The clauses that are important are not long; they'll take you a couple minutes to read through. Look it up on Google.

Also a useful read is the affidavit for Sklyarov's arrest, which should clear up what he is really being charged for (it's not the speech at DefCon).

[ Parent ]

Hm, interesting (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:52:04 AM EST

Literary works, including computer programs and databases, protected by access control mechanisms that fail to permit access because of malfunction, damage or obsolescence.
This is interesting -- under this, a DVD movie could easily be considered a "Literary Work." I wonder if one coule argue for the obsolesence of the CSS encryption -- after all, much better encryption methods do, in fact, exist.

Probably wouldn't work, but I'd be interested to see someone try it.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

obsolesence (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:41:35 AM EST

Obsolesence, in this context, means "unsupported by the manufacturer".

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
But DVD is unsupported on my PC (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by simon farnz on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 10:15:28 AM EST

It would be interesting to hear the legal arguments for and against treating DVD encryption as obsolesent in this context, as legal DVD playback is unsupported on my system (I have an RPC-1 DVD drive connected to a PC running Linux). Any lawyers care to take this one up?
--
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]
It's supported (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 10:32:55 AM EST

by the manufacturer on authorized players. The problem is, of course, "authorized". But since it's supported, it's not obsolete.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
"Obsolete" (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 10:44:51 AM EST

Obsolesence, in this context, means "unsupported by the manufacturer".
Oh, of course -- but is does this context define the term? In my experience, legal details follow severely different rules than common perception. For instance, there was a case where a topless carhop (yes, that was the business) was ticketed for indecent exposure, but got off because the term was defined "anyone showing his sexual organs is guilty of indecent exposure". She was not a 'he', and the case was dismissed.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
smashing good rebuttal (3.00 / 3) (#82)
by momocrome on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:18:15 PM EST

You make a very strong case that the LoC is not doing enough to ease the restrictions for academic purposes. However, I feel I should point out that in the larger scheme of things, this is just a handful of academics griping that they are mildly irritated about slightly restrictive media use rules.

Any law or rule is going to have at least a handful of complaints aimed at it. That's the way it works. There is always someone who is just on the other side of being appeased. Law makers have known and dealt with this since the days of Hammurabi, maybe earlier! Your arguments are certainly no reason to scrap the entire work of legislation.

In the article you point to, there are a few complaints, but the LoC states that there is insufficient evidence that this is actually a problem. Give some examples of how this has actually adversely effected any legitimate user of this information, and we'll have something to discuss.

I personally know dozens of full time academics, from TA's to a tenured prof or two. I have discussed the DMCA with a few of them, in depth, in the course of normal conversation. We always end up discussing this in abstract terms, over potential losses of freedom. I have yet to discuss this with anyone in terms of specific limitations to their fair use.

Not to mention that if this does actually become a problem, a legitimate problem, the LoC will take that into consideration at the next review period. Meanwhile, I have complete confidence that education will continue unabated in our schools and universities with or without the easy access of the latest pop single or summer blockbuster for inclusion in the lesson plan.

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]

Re: smashing good rebuttal (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by jqpang on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 05:34:19 PM EST

Any law or rule is going to have at least a handful of complaints aimed at it. That's the way it works. There is always someone who is just on the other side of being appeased. Law makers have known and dealt with this since the days of Hammurabi, maybe earlier! Your arguments are certainly no reason to scrap the entire work of legislation.

I agree. I think most of the people who are calling for a repeal of the DMCA need to calm down a bit and think objectively. There's lots of stuff in the DMCA besides the anti-circumvention stuff. Right now, the only two clauses that some people seem to have some issue with are (1) the anti-circumvention clause (or the sub-section that details which actions are exempt from it) and (2) the isp "notify-and-remove" clause which requires service providers to remove copyrighted material when notified by the copyright holders (I think academics were actually more concerned about this caluse than the anti-circumvention one because it allows for "frivilous" notifications and the forced removal of legitimate material from university isps, such as research material, on a whim, whichout any court hearing or the like). Personally, I agree with Rep. Boucher; adding a line or two to the DMCA would appease most of those concerned without injuring it's original purpose one iota.

In the article you point to, there are a few complaints, but the LoC states that there is insufficient evidence that this is actually a problem. Give some examples of how this has actually adversely effected any legitimate user of this information, and we'll have something to discuss.

I personally know dozens of full time academics, from TA's to a tenured prof or two. I have discussed the DMCA with a few of them, in depth, in the course of normal conversation. We always end up discussing this in abstract terms, over potential losses of freedom. I have yet to discuss this with anyone in terms of specific limitations to their fair use.

Part of the problem is that the DMCA hadn't gone into effect yet when the LoC made those recommendations. So they couldn't have known about things like this case or the one about Dr. Felton. They would have to have talked about it in only abstract terms because there was nothing concrete to talk about yet.

Not to mention that if this does actually become a problem, a legitimate problem, the LoC will take that into consideration at the next review period. Meanwhile, I have complete confidence that education will continue unabated in our schools and universities with or without the easy access of the latest pop single or summer blockbuster for inclusion in the lesson plan.

That's true. But three years is a long time, especially in the IT industry/research community. What "academics" fear is that these few cases in the short term will have a "chilling effect" on cryptographic research in general -- that is, even though they themselves may seem insignificant, they will discourage others from participating in research, peer review, etc. and generally diminish the quality (and quantity) of work produced. What if one of these ridicuously simple encryption techniques becomes a standard before three years are up? (how long did it take something like DES to become commonly used) This is exactly what the RIAA wanted to do with SMDI. They didn't care that someone broke it; since they already spent the money to set it up, they wanted to deploy it. Is it helping or hurting the actual copyright holders by deploying shoddy technology that is enforced by fear of litigation only? Even if we were to say that, fine, you can protect it by suing people, and say, that were effective, then what happens in three years when the LoC says no more, research must continue?

But this is just some half-assed attempt to protect digital music. What happens when one of these schemes is used to protect consumer information? Other private info online? The American Association of Publishers said something to the effect of "well you wouldn't be complaining if Sklyarov made a tool to crack some thing that protected your privacy" but I think it's just the opposite. Certainly if he was actively distributing the crack underground and encouraging people to use it, then yes, that'd be bad. But the DMCA prevents him from even discussing his findings in an academic setting (see Felton); I want to know if some company I'm submitting my private information to has shoddy security, just as I'm sure eBook publishers would like to know if Adobe's protections suck and music distrubutors would like to know if SMDI was easliy cracked. It's not just harming fair use in the long run, it hurts the copyright holders who trust the technological protection measures as well.

Anyway, just because we may be "just a handful of academics griping" doesn't mean we need to shut up and stop protesting and writing letters. One of the central goals of American democracy is to prevent the tyranny of the majority; minorities should have their concerns adressed as well.

[ Parent ]

them make me want to (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:48:18 PM EST

Then make me want to support you. Don't try to threaten me with imprisonment or huge fines under the DMCA or other such nonsense. If I like your work I will be interested in it, if I become a fan I will buy it. To be a fan, I have to like you. If you threaten me, I will not like you.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Just the tip of the iceburg (4.10 / 10) (#8)
by baptiste on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 08:58:35 PM EST

The knee jerk reaction to a post like this is often "Well, the youth of the world are always disenfranchised from their parents and the authroity structure" While it has held true for some time, I believe that the youth of today are in a FAR different position today then any previous generation.

When I was a teenager in the 80's, I considered myself well informed on the days events. I read the newspaper almost daily and TIME magazine weekly - often before my parents got ahold of it. But with kids today its a WHOLE new ballgame. They're more connected than we ever were. News travels in a nanosecond and I expect more of them stay current than previous generations.

What's amazing is this guy, before he got off on the DMCA stuff, was right on:

We are old enough to experience and understand the hypocrisy and corruption that pervades our government, but we are young enough to hope, against all odds, that it could be different.

Sure the 60's and 70's were about fighting the machine and the gov't. But then it was mostly kids in college. Now it seems kids younger and younger are getting clued in on how bad things really are because its so much easier for them to find out.

Kids are always rebellious, but in this case I'm really concerned that they will grow into adulthood with a cynical attitude that makes our's pale by comparison. How will they ever be motivated to try and change the world when they know the game is fixed at such a young age? It seems like the naivety of youth is quickly disappearing and we are raising kids who by the time they turn 18, have a view of the world usually reserved for senior citizens :)

I also worry about the message we are sending our kids. As America isolates herself from the rest of the world, what will our kids think? When the top news story for months is about some missing bimbo intern and her affair with a Congressman, what type of message does that send?

Have we as a society developed such a short term view of the world that we risk the long term futures of our children? I'm not just talking about tax cuts now causing large defecits later. I'm talking about a world where the US is no longer the righteous superpower it once was but instead is viewed as an out of town bully who only cares about his well being at the expense of the rest of society - sending that kind of message to our children is a scary proposition and could have wide rangign affects in how they carry themselves as adults.

Of course what really impresses me about kids today is the way they react to the issues of the day. They often seem to have things figured out a heck of a lot faster than the adults do. I've almost laughed at the comical attempts of the gov't trying to shutdown the Ecstacy trade and watched as the kids calmly explained why targetting clubs wouldn't work and how it made things more dangerous. Same goes for the environment and all.

I shudder to think what will happen with the kids of the Internet generation when they reach adulthood - will they attempt to change the corruption or be so disgusted and beaten down by it that they just accept it as a fate accompli?

Only time will tell. great post Lenny!
--
Top Substitutions For 'Under God' In The Pledge Of Allegiance

the elder youth (none / 0) (#25)
by h2odragon on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:40:17 AM EST

we are raising kids who by the time they turn 18, have a view of the world usually reserved for senior citizens

Oh, lord no, anything but that. What if they were to begin to VOTE?

...Burn the polls, ye sons of freedom...

[ Parent ]

Cute... :) (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by baptiste on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:51:32 AM EST

Yeah I guess I should have explained that better - my point was as we grow older our view of the 'system' tends to be more jaded by the 'fix' of the system but its a gradular process. Having kids achieve voting age with many already so jaded could be very interesting.

But in no way (I know you were joking) was I advocating not voting - far from it. I was more concerned about kids NOT voting because they're already so disillusioned with the system in place.
--
Top Substitutions For 'Under God' In The Pledge Of Allegiance
[ Parent ]

indeed (none / 0) (#50)
by h2odragon on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 11:07:43 AM EST

i agree with your point there; and think its quite well made. I just couldn't pass up such an excellent setup for a smartass crack. :)

[ Parent ]
Wow, right on! (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by Dissention on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:29:07 PM EST

I really doubt any former generation of teens has had as much knowledge of how and why they were being disenfranchised as we do.

We know exactly why curfew laws, drug enforcement, and zero tolerance are being used in this country. We also know, however, exactly why NONE of these laws are effective and are actually counter-productive.

Damn, and of yesterday I lost my right to really gripe about this, I am now a legal adult and am only a few years from becomming part of the problem.

[ Parent ]
The Economist on Legalization... (4.36 / 11) (#11)
by Anatta on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 09:28:32 PM EST

Just in case any of you missed it, that stodgy UK magazine The Economist has a wonderful series of articles on the drug war, and why it needs to end. They have lots of history and factual information which I found fascinating. Sadly, due to the whole "make money" trend, in a few weeks I'm sure it will become "premium content" and you'll have to pay for it. So check it out now!


My Music

I think the drug laws will be changed (3.00 / 4) (#77)
by yesterdays children on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:38:15 PM EST

I think Bush is about to decriminalize lots of drugs. After all, Bushes two daughters are party monsters. Surely he'll do it for the children.

[ Parent ]
Say what? (4.12 / 8) (#15)
by garbanzo on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 10:35:51 PM EST

For generations, Americans have devoted their lives to the service of our country and to the belief that their efforts would help liberate others around the world and ensure that all future Americans could be confident that their individual liberties would be protected.

My emphasis in the preceding quotation. Hey, what kind of crack does your history teacher smoke? The idea that American democracy is some sort of worldwide right is pretty late-breaking news in historical terms. It only got any sort of traction in this country in the post WWII period, mainly as a sort of bloody shirt for the anti-communism effort. Judging from K5 posts from abroad, it has yet to get much traction Over Thar.

Now that communism has less traction with the rest of the world, we can resume our regularly scheduled program: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Add a clause in there about obliterating obstacles between us and happiness and you've got a deal memo, baby. This country is about making money and keeping as much of it out of the king's hands as is reasonable. Ask a well educated Mexican teenager to describe US behavior in the 19th century. All our civil war heroes got to practice on them before they did unto each other. Ask a well-educated Filipino teenager about our stay with them in the early 20th century.

In short, the RIAA is more American than apple pie.

This is quite a nice little rant, I gave it +1 because I like fireworks and I'm hoping for some. I know, I'm snide and bitter and jaded and too fucking old. That's okay. It is the right of the younger to rant at the elder as though they are idiots who understand nothing. It is the right of the elders to be snide, jaded, and also to say I told you so.

This all just sounds a little too much like: "I want my MTV." MTV just turned 20 years old. One more year and it will be old enough to drink. Legally.

Before anyone slaps some ugly sticker on me like "shill for RIAA" let me just say that if you will just be cool for a moment, this too shall pass. The only thing more pathetic than their law is their encryption. Short answer to DMCA is: you can't beat crackers. And crackers don't give a fuck about papers or conferences or academic freedom. Longer answer: it means about .05 gnat farts to the American software business. Yes, really. Thank you for playing. Next contestant, please.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

Ask that same Phillipino teenager... (4.66 / 3) (#27)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:52:21 AM EST

to ask their grandparents how much better life was under Spanish rule, before the Americans took over.

I dare venture to say, that the average Phillipino's life was more oppressed under the Spaniards.

IIRC, our primary beef was with the Moro tribesmen, who were devout Muslims. Their resistance to both the Spanish and the Americans was so zealous, that it prompted the U.S. Army to develop the M1911 .45 caliber pistol. The previously used .38 caliber pieces displayed little stopping power versus the motivated and chemically enhanced Moros.

In the major cities though, the Phillipino way of life was better under the U.S., compared to occupation by the Spanish and later the Japanese.

Phillipino men who volunteered to join the U.S. military were offered U.S. citizenship as a reward for a job well done. Many took this offer and migrated to the U.S. in the post-war years.

Hardly the behavior of an oppressed people.

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
A little OT here, but (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by garbanzo on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 10:46:31 AM EST

Point I was trying to make (perhaps poorly) is that the U.S. has been about property rights first and other freedoms second. It started as a property rights struggle (e.g. taxation without representation) and it remains one (taxation and entitlements and big gov are still hot-buttons)

Meaning that the RIAA and the DMCA are closer to American core values than Napster and its ilk. I don't think Americans are ready to nationalize intellectual property, which is basically what musical performances amount to.

Historically, the U.S. has had some ugly episodes of not following the golden rule. Various military adventures in Mexico. The "white man's burden" and colonialist behavior in the Philippines, Central America, and Cuba.

Being less oppressive than the Spanish is not exactly a merit badge. I do notice that the current Filipinos were only too happy to decline to continue our base leases rather more recently than the invention of the .45. Sometimes being better is not the same as being good enough.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
American Revolution (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:38:37 PM EST

Although there was the rallying cry of "No Taxation Without Representation," the American Revolution wasn't particularly about taxation. Instead, it was about control. The British Parliament tried a variety of means to exert control over the American colonies. This mainly showed itself through taxes. The taxes were just a form of control. The colonists rebelled against that control. If you'll remember, the Revolutionary War started because the British were trying to take away colonists' guns (Battles of Lexington and Concord); the British wanted to control the colonists ability to resist. It's a mistake to think the US was founded on the idea of fighting taxes because it wasn't.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Control of... (none / 0) (#79)
by garbanzo on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:56:12 PM EST

...property? I agree with your points, but mine remains that the core values of the U.S., then and now, are focused on liberty as expressed in property rights. The other rights build from that basic set of rights. I think the reason the British wanted the colonist guns was that the colonists were on the edge of revolt due to taxation, seizures, boarding soldiers, etc.

I'm being a little bit pedantic here, because I'm not in complete agreement with most of my countrymen about the importance of property. Some things are more important.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
Causes (none / 0) (#99)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:25:33 PM EST

Property rights were definately important to the colonists. However, the reason the colonists were on the verge of revolt was more centered around the Intolerable Acts (the dissolution of the legislatures, closing of Boston Harbor, quartering of soldiers in colonist's houses, etc.). These were the actions that pushed the colonists over from protesting (if in a somewhat violent form) to actual revolt. It was these political freedoms that broke the camels back so to speak. The focus on property rights is a more modern view of the revolution.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Not condoning U.S. servicemember behavior... (none / 0) (#74)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:22:47 PM EST

of the recent past. That is motivated the Phillipinos to expell the U.S. military forces.
However, it is folly to compare that particular set of behaviors against those based upon modern morals.

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Better now than ever before. (4.22 / 9) (#17)
by rebelcool on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 11:34:06 PM EST

Racism in police (and in general) is a problem. But at least today we don't have lynchings anymore. Or politicans who will openly call for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever"

At least today we arent sending kids off to war to die (those who didnt choose to go off anyways)

Let me tell you something about the DMCA and so on: Nobody cares. The only people who care are the techies on slashdot, k5 and the like. I'll be generous and say that in america currently, there are 10 million people who care about it. The number is probably far lower.

It's an insignificant minority of people who really give a damn about it, because it doesnt affect most people's daily lives directly.

Now, i'm not saying its hopeless and that you shouldnt protest - you should. But dont think that writing congress and small groups of nerds with pickets are going to acheive a whole hell of a lot. The NAACP had the same problem earlier last century.

The way to battle the DMCA is in court. This is how you get things onto the public consciousness. And its the only way a very small minority can have its day of constitutional judgement. It will take organization, wits and yes kids - people in jail. Yelling about it wont work. The protest marches of Martin Luther King and the like were only successful after some staggering court decisions - rosa parks, brown vs. board of education and the like. Take it to court.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

First they came for the Jews (1.50 / 8) (#20)
by Elendale on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:57:13 AM EST

But i wasn't a Jew, so i didn't speak up. Then they came for the blacks- but i was white, so i let it pass. Then they came for they gays, but i was straight and didn't care. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up.
-A survivor of World War 2, paraphrased due to my poor memory.

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Ahh yes (3.25 / 8) (#23)
by Elendale on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:29:37 AM EST

I've found the actual quote, why the hell do i trust these things to memory anyway? I suck at remembering them... Here we go:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

-Pastor Martin Niemöller
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Speak Out (1.50 / 2) (#54)
by pixel on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:14:38 PM EST

That is a great quote, but..

you have the power to speak out for yourself. Do so, and do not rely on the graciousness of others to do so for you. Self-reliance is the mantra of the Americas.
- eric - people see the world not as it is, but as they are.
[ Parent ]
Speak out take II (none / 0) (#67)
by Ressev on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:59:20 PM EST

Well, you apparently do not understand the context of the quote. Those who did speak out meet with various deaths, usually in concentration camps. Detriech Bonnhoffer (sp?) was a Pastor in Germany prior to and during WWII who spoke out against Hitler very openly and was very critical of the church's compliance with him. He died in a concentration camp. Fact is: speak out when you can speak out lest there are no more voices but your own to speak out - streangth in numbers.
"Even a wise man can learn from a fool."
"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." - Mark Twain
[ Parent ]
yes, and not just for yourself (4.33 / 3) (#68)
by bluebomber on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:04:10 PM EST

The point is that you shouldn't just watch out for yourself, you should speak out for others. Because when they come for you, by definition, you can't speak out!

The easiest way (and this is how the Nazis worked), in general, to win a war is to divide and conquer. If you have to fight a war against several different enemies, make sure they aren't going to cooperate with one another. If you make all of your enemies afraid to support one another, you will win.

In the US, politicians and bureaucrats (hereinafter "emperors") use this principle to protect their empires. When you hear an emperor saying "Emperor X wants to lower your Social Security benefits," he is pitting old people against other taxpayers. This then tends to make the old people hate anything else Emperor X has to say (at least until such time Emperor X appeases that population again). Only it doesn't just work on the elderly: "Emperor Y wants to destroy the rainforest," "Emperor Z wants to tax you out of your home," "Emperor Q wants a drug dealer to move in next door", "Emperor M wants to send your job to Mexico/China/pick-a-country".

Try walking into a kindergarten class, giving each child a candy bar, and then telling each child that the kid next to him wants to steal his candy bar. Stand back. Observe.

And so we have dozens of camps that are warring with each other instead of against the empire, each fighting for their own little serfdom. And, of course, the emperors are happy to perpetuate (and fund!) this system as long as they continue to have money and power.
-bluebomber
[ Parent ]

Also (3.00 / 1) (#112)
by Elendale on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 11:30:49 PM EST

The way these things start is by taking out the minority groups first. "First they came for the gun nuts, then they came for the l33t d00ds, then the real Hackers, who next?" would, perhaps, be an appropriate modernization. Thankfully, we're not throwing people in gas chambers because of their lineage- but if we wait until people start dying it will be too late already. Another appropriate quote:
"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance"
-Tomas Jefferson
And that doesn't mean watching out for yourself, it means watching out for liberty.

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
No lynchings? (3.66 / 3) (#31)
by pallex on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:55:38 AM EST

What do you call the systematic judicial killing of poor/black people then? Or are you suggesting that they are all guilty? Or are you saying that killing one of the humans who are not guilty is not a lynching? Or is it just the fact that they arent hanged, but instead are shot/gassed/electrocuted?
Which is it?


[ Parent ]
lynchings (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by rebelcool on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 11:47:09 AM EST

by lynchings of course im referring to the literal lynching. A mob of white men hanging a black man from something, such as a tree.

At least society has progressed to the point that justice is dispensed only the legal means agreed to by the majority (read: democracy in action). Of course it doesnt always happen, but it does most of the time.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Mandate, my ass! (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by pallex on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:08:57 PM EST

(apologies to Gil Scot Heron).

"A mob of white men hanging a black man from something, such as a tree."

Yeah, now we cut the tree down, turn it into a chair, sit the guy on it, and then kill him. Far more civilized.

Majority? Well, we know all about that!

[ Parent ]
Different problems, different solutions (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by error 404 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:41:47 PM EST

Yeah, either way the guy ends up dead. But the difference still matters.

You can't stop a lynching by legislative act, and you can't stop an execution by calling the cops.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Lynchings (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:32:12 PM EST

First of all, given that they're judicial killings, they aren't lynchings. Lynchings are extrajudicial killings. Executions are judicial. Simple as that.

As far as to more poor/black people on death row, there is a correlation between poverty and crime. There is also a correlation between being a minority and being poor (the median incomes for whites is about $45000/year and for blacks about $25000/year). Therefore it would seem to imply that more poor people and therefore minorities would be on death row.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Also, (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by pallex on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:55:06 PM EST

theres a connection between how much money you have, and the quality of defence you`re likely to have. Theres a connection between the colour of your skin and the way in which you are perceived by a judge/jury.

As to whether its a judicial killing or not, thats just down to how much faith you have in any given legal system. Presumably some Jews in Germany in the 30`s and 40`s were tried before they were murdered - does that count as a lynching? How about Turkish/Chinese people signing declarations of involvement with crimes after being tortured? Are they convicted criminals, or the victims of state sponsored lynchings?

In the end, there`s little difference. An innocent guy is dead, whether hes killed by a man, or a man with a badge.


"Justice, though, is at best one of those words that makes us look away or turn up our coat collars, and justice-without-mercy must easily be the bleakest, coldest combination of words in the language." J.D.Salinger.


[ Parent ]
Lynching (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:09:49 PM EST

You misunderstand the concept of lynching. A lynching cannot be state sponsored. It cannot be judicial. If it is, it's not a lynching. It may not be good (as per your examples) but it's not a lynching. A lynching is defined as an extrajudicial killing. From Merriam-Webster:
lynch - to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal sanction
The key words there are "without legal sanction." This means that it cannot be government sponsored in anyway.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

But the effects may be far-reaching (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by error 404 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:24:52 PM EST

The DMCA has the potential to turn the US into a technological backwater, with economic consequences that affect everyone.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Oh please.. (3.11 / 9) (#22)
by stuartf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:03:07 AM EST

So, while I write this, an innocent Russian student is being held in a federal prison for exposing a major design flaw in an American company's poorly designed product, releasing a product that demonstrates this flaw, and presenting his results in an academic setting

An academic setting? For christ's sake, it was for sale. That's not academic where I come from.

Read it again, Sam... (2.50 / 2) (#24)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:36:32 AM EST

"presenting his results in an academic setting"

As I understand the facts to this story, the software was not being sold at the seminar, but a few copies may have been given out.

Perhaps you were a little eager to criticize the author?

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Correction (none / 0) (#32)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:42:40 AM EST

No copies of the software were for sale at the seminar, but Dmitry's software is commercially available -- and he does make money from it.

Perhaps you were a little quick to criticize the poster? :P

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Why didn't they nab the company owner? (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by error 404 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:20:29 PM EST

If it was about selling the offending tool, why didn't they arrest the guy who was selling it? He was right there.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
He wrote some of the code... (none / 0) (#73)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:17:50 PM EST

He *may* have written most of the code.

However, here in the U.S., we hold corporate *officers* responsible when the corporation commits a criminal act.

As error 404 points out below, why wasn't the Boss man also arrested and charged? He was present with Dmitry...

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
I didn't say I agreed with the action (none / 0) (#152)
by RadiantMatrix on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:57:43 AM EST

I realize the action against Dmitry is still horribly insane -- but I am rather tired of people criticising Dmitry's arrest based on the flawed idea that he was arrested for giving away ideas. He wasn't -- he was arrested (wrongly) for being part of an organization that sells circumvention software.

The arrest is outrageous because Dmitry committed no crime on US soil -- he was not arrested for championing digital rights or free software.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

A little eager - I don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by stuartf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:09:09 PM EST

As I understand the facts to this story, the software was not being sold at the seminar, but a few copies may have been given out.

The software was available for purchase over the web. That is not an academic setting. He is also the copyright holder, not the company, it's easier to target an individual than a company.

If he wanted to be legal, he should have published the algorithm, and not sold the code that actually de-protected the files.

[ Parent ]

Don't say that too loud! (5.00 / 3) (#52)
by kostya on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:07:54 PM EST

I posted an earlier comment and many others have said the same thing. It is not a popular view point.

Many see this kind of comment as just trolling. But I find it ironic that it is fact. Everyone wants to make this out as a fight for free speech. And if this guy was an innocent researcher like the SMDI publishers, maybe it would be such a case. But it isn't.

Too many rabid individuals who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves do not want to hear your point. They are on the bandwagon. They are going somewhere. Facts are irrelevant.

The fact is that this guy presented a paper on how easily eBook security (or lack thereof) can be circumvented. This fact is very popular with our humble crusaders.

Another fact is that our brillant Russian programmer, new poster child for the War Against Evil Corporations, took this knowledge and sold it as a product. That is a fact that our crusaders are not too wild about or are just ignorant of or they dismiss it as irrelevant.

Everyone wants to make this guy out to be some poor programmer who got jailed for being too smart. The reality is that this guy is some poor, smart programmer who got jailed for blatantly breaking the law and trying to profit from it.

Granted, him being Russian and this being a US-based case makes the case for Adobe very poor. So this isn't open and shut, and he will probably go free. But the guy isn't some lily white researcher who is getting nailed for publishing work. He's the equivalent of a guy who figured out how to descramble cable TV programming and then started a cottage industry off of selling the little descrambler. Sure, he's a smart guy, but that doesn't make him a Free Speech Saint.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
It's not black & white (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by ghjm on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:45:45 PM EST

How many copies can he possibly have sold? Assume he made a few thousand or even tens of thousands. How does that compare to the grant proposal behind a big academic paper? Professors have to eat just like anyone else, they've just developed a different vocabulary to describe the process. If a professor at Stanford wrote an academic paper on Adobe's encryption and was victimized, would he (she) be in the right where Dmitri is in the wrong? What if the Stanford professor made ten times more money than Dmitri doing the same thing, just in the form of a university grant instead of a "commercial" sale?

-Graham

[ Parent ]
A question in a shade of grey (4.00 / 2) (#103)
by stuartf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:50:44 PM EST

So as long as he didn't make much money, that makes it OK? By selling the work, they lost all claim to being an academic work.

[ Parent ]
You're missing my point. (none / 0) (#130)
by ghjm on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:30:18 PM EST

By selling the work, they lost all claim to being an academic work.

Nonsense. Research is not considered less "academic" because it is done with or without a grant proposal. The presence, absence or degree of commercial interest does not fundamentally affect the morality of the situation.

[ Parent ]

You're missing mine (none / 0) (#135)
by stuartf on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 05:58:41 PM EST

Nonsense. Research is not considered less "academic" because it is done with or without a grant proposal. The presence, absence or degree of commercial interest does not fundamentally affect the morality of the situation.

This is not a grant - it is a company making money, no more, no less. It is in no way an "academic" work at all - it is a piece of commercial software. The fact that he gave a presentation after they had been selling it makes it no less commercial.

[ Parent ]

It's not what you do, but how you do it (none / 0) (#131)
by kostya on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 04:26:20 PM EST

If a researcher published a paper about the failures of industry to implement content-control in the form of an academic paper and then published the poor encryption used, that would be different than making a product that was a turn-key kit for copying copyrighted materials that you then sell to the average joe consumer.

I'm not saying that he isn't "doing" the same thing (at its essence, i.e. the research and "science"), but then neither would the courts--it's how he did what he did. By profiting commercially (and there is a difference), he put himself in a whole world of hurt.

Think of it this way: if a researcher proved how bad Adobe's encryption was and then the university sold a toolkit called "FreeBook", the university would also be in a world of hurt. But university's don't generally do things that way.

Let's use me for example: I write software and hate all this patent crap, so why not! To be even more fair, let's take Microsoft, because I think they are crooks!

  • I give a speech on how Windows XP activation can be circumvented. Microsoft has me arrested and charges me with damages. I claim I am just publishing academic research on new trends in the software industry. I might survive with the clothes on my back, but I would probably lose my house and all my nice gadgets.
  • I give a speech on how Windows XP activation can be circumvented. Listed in the credits are my personal bio info which also mentions that I own the company SuperCool that sells the turn-key program that circumvents XP activation for $15.99. Microsoft has me arrested and charges me with damages. I claim I am just publishing academic research on new trends in the software industry. Microsoft counters that I am just a criminal profiting on defrauding them, and they point to my little business endeavor as proof. I am probably going to jail, and I will only see my wife in a little grey room for an hour at a time.
Dimitry was pretty dumb, IMO. I have no issues with him selling the software. But coming to the US and giving the speech was a gamble. Even if he hadn't sold software for that express purpose, he would have probably been arrested. But now, he will probably only get out on jurisdiction issues. If he had been a US citizen, he would have been screwed.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Nonsense! (none / 0) (#132)
by ghjm on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 05:08:26 PM EST

The DMCA makes it criminal to circumvent a mechanism for protecting content. There is no requirement to make money. Your academic publishing a paper would be just as guilty as Dmitry.

This has nothing to do with morality or what you think should be allowed or prohibited. What matters is the law we actually passed, which is unbelievably draconian.

-Graham

[ Parent ]
"Researcher" vs. "Pirate" (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by kostya on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 07:15:39 PM EST

This has nothing to do with morality or what you think should be allowed or prohibited.

Listen, if you want to crusade about the DMCA, that's dandy. My point has, and still is, that Dimitry's case is not as cut-n-dried as the anti-DMCA crowd makes it out to be. Sure, the DMCA sucks and should be repealed--but Dimitry's case will not help that happen. If anything, he will give the DMCA supporters what they were looking for in the first place. When he profited in a clear and plain manner off a product made to circumvent the encryption, he placed himself in a tough place. Whether that is morally right or ethically fair isn't really of consequence--in court or in the realm of PR.

And about the DMCA: there's a good chance that even without the it, he could have been jailed due to the commercial aspects of his case. For example, if you published information on how to build a cable-descrambler pre-DMCA, you were fairly safe; however, if you sold said device, you were in hot-water.

The point being (nonsense or not) by using it as a commercial vehicle, he has made his case much, much harder for himself. By benefiting in a clear, commercial way from the circumvention of the eBook encryption, he will have a tough time standing on freedom of speech. Whether that is moral or prohibited is besides the point: he made a grave error in judgement.

Note: I am not in favor of the DMCA. I do believe that Dimitry should be set free if the case is based on him giving a speech at Def Con. But I do not believe this is an exemplary case to build anit-DMCA movements on. If they do prosecute, you can bet his commercial endeavors will be a cornerstone of the case.

I think that if we fail to understand the nuances of his case, when compared to cases relying solely on free-speech, we are going to get screwed by the DMCA supporters. Dimitry is exactly what they wrote the DMCA for: people who profit from exposing their stupidity. When it was only researchers and hobbyists (people not making a business from reverse engineering), the DMCA supporters were in trouble. How do you look like anything but a schmuck when you jail a 16 year old for trying to get the DVD he paid for to play on his home-brewed system? How do you appear as anything but the Gestapo when you threaten researchers you invited to examine your SDMI scheme when they actually find the errors you supposedly wanted them to find?

You don't--you look like a schmuck and a nazi when you jail innocent "researchers" like that. OTOH, if you actually prosecute a real, live "pirate", a subverter of all that is capitalistic and good, well, now you can build a PR campaign and look like the guardian of the US GNP.

You can see that, right?

It's not about whether the DMCA is wrong (it is); it's about Dimitry and his case and what it gives the DMCA supporters.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
US Jurisdiction (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:28:16 PM EST

The jurisdictional matters of this case are very misunderstood. The reason the US can claim jurisdiction over this case is that the sale of the goods can be seen to take place in the US. This is because they used a US based company to process the sales. This means that the sale took place in the US (as well as Russia). This means that the sale comes under US law. And that includes the DMCA. This is not applying US laws to the rest of the world but simply to US sales. Basically, ElcomSoft didn't understand their international law well enough and Sklyarov paid the price.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission

Ohh yeah (3.00 / 9) (#59)
by kaatunut on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:41:01 PM EST

I don't have much to say about the rant (OK, so I didn't read it; frankly I'm getting sick of the countless free [someone who did something of questionable legality but absolutely cool] rants), but I just have to comment on this:

The US was founded to guarantee freedom and democracy to its citizens and to ensure that they would not be subject to the tyranny of a foreign power. For generations, Americans have devoted their lives to the service of our country and to the belief that their efforts would help liberate others around the world and ensure that all future Americans could be confident that their individual liberties would be protected.

Never before have I understood the cries of US-centrism and USian arrogance before now. That paragraph is just... incredible. I suppose you believe Europe is already going to EU, also known as 'bastard child of Nazi-germany and USSR', and only thing stopping us from sliding into Orwellian nightmare is US's continued vigilance? Yes, I realize you didn't even mention other countries than US directly, but it sure gave me the impression you believed US was the land of free and the brave.

To loosely paraphrase a politician who visited US for a year, his comment when he came back was "They worship individual freedoms too much". Then he proceeded to criticize the laws you worship like fundie a bible. No doubt that sounds pretty fascist to you and only reinforces your idea that we're oppressed by evil government so bad we don't even realize it, but really, I see little in my country that really needs changing. Nothing worth writing lengthy table-pounding rants about. Funny, isn't it. Is it the size of country which invites passing insane laws, or is it in intrinsic to the land of the free?

P.S. Yes, I'm not completely serious.


--
there's hole up in the sky from where the angels fall to sire children that grow up too tall, there's hole down in the ground where all the dead men go down purgatory's highways that gun their souls

The reason for our arrogance (1.25 / 4) (#75)
by yesterdays children on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:30:28 PM EST

We, the greatest country in the world, the USA, the whuppers of all asses (except Canada, Vietnam and North Korea), have simply not seen how bad the government can get. We've always had a fairly normal government, after all, we only conquered our landmass by slaughtering the indigenous a few hundred years ago.

Sure we've had our little unsightly glitches, but for certain periods of our existance, we've been a pretty decent country to most of our citizens (surely all the white ones).

Invented the means to destroy the earth? MERE NITTPICKING! Rampant discrimination based on race? NOBODY'S PERFECT!!! Infatuation with capital punishment? EVERYBODY DESERVES A HOBBY!!!!!!@@@@@@@ Slight aversion to recreational drug use? WE NEED OUR CAPITALIST MACHINE RUNNING AT PEAK EFFICIENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lets face it buddy! We're the greatest! The USA ROCKS!!!!!!! (That said, I'd like to retire to the Netherlands some day. They seem to have all the fun.)

[ Parent ]

Freedoms? (2.50 / 2) (#84)
by John Miles on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:22:00 PM EST

"They worship individual freedoms too much"

What other kind is there?

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Are you serious? (3.00 / 4) (#104)
by ghjm on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:55:53 PM EST

Individual freedom is the freedom to starve to death, on your own terms, without let or hindrance by any nation or government. The other kind is social freedom, or in other words, the freedom not to starve to death at all. There are many people in the world who place higher value on certain social freedoms, such as food, shelter, adequate medical care, clean water and a decent education.

Individual freedoms, like speech, religion and drug use, are generally debated by those who take basic social freedoms for granted. What use is freedom of speech when you lack clean water?

-Graham

[ Parent ]
"freedom" (3.00 / 1) (#122)
by John Miles on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:11:58 PM EST

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]
*sigh* (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by ghjm on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 12:32:05 AM EST

It means exactly what I think it does. From dictionary.com:
free·dom (frdm) n. 1. The condition of being free of restraints. 2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression. 3. Political independence. 4. Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific action; civil liberty: freedom of assembly. 4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want. 5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon. 6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom. 7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels. 8. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities. 9. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city. 10. A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference: "the seductive freedoms and excesses of the picaresque form" (John W. Aldridge).
I am using definition #5 when I speak of "social freedom."

You know, I wasn't even really advocating socialism. I was just trying to define a term. I think I defined it quite clearly, yet I'm modded down for it. Are moderators just voting for whether they agree with a comment now? Or is there something wrong with my writing style that's not apparent to me?

[ Parent ]

I can only.... (3.00 / 1) (#114)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 04:02:14 AM EST

....quote the late, great Bill Hicks on his interpretation of freedom as defined by Corporate America.

"YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS WE TELL YOU! YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS WE TELL YOU"

That, my friend, you will find is the only freedom you truly have if you even peel back one layer of the thick skin you guys developed.

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

I half-agree (2.00 / 3) (#107)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:58:07 PM EST

That paragraph was completely moronic, as was most of the article.

But your European Elitism is far more annoying than any American banging his chest.

We'll see how wonderful & civilized Europe is when your massive, bloated welfare state bueracracy collapses upon itself and EU will be nothing more than a bad joke.

Until about fifty years ago, "civilized" Europeans kills tens of millions in one of the longest and most barbaric periods of warfare in the history of human civilization. You guys on the other side of the Atlantic are no better than Americans, you are just not as suburbanized as us.

[ Parent ]
Elitism?! (4.00 / 2) (#111)
by kaatunut on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 10:12:49 PM EST

If my post looked like "European elitism" to you, them I'm ready to believe I misinterpreted his article. Not once did I say, or mean to imply, that Europe is in any way better place than any hellhole. I was simply amazed by his opening paragraph and tried to use clumsy sarcasm to understate my point. Guess I failed.


--
there's hole up in the sky from where the angels fall to sire children that grow up too tall, there's hole down in the ground where all the dead men go down purgatory's highways that gun their souls
[ Parent ]

Frankly... (2.62 / 8) (#61)
by jd on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:09:30 PM EST

I don't see what there is about the US that is considered worth preserving. Freedoms? Ummm, you don't have any. Really, you never did. The Supreme Court ruled a long time ago that the Constitution was discretionary. It applies to whomever the judge decides it does.

Rights? Nope, you don't really have those, either. There are jails in America, designed to hold those awaiting trial, where they are in open-air tents in 100+ degrees temperatures, no air conditioning, where they are routinely chained together, and where food has more mould than content. Oh, and the locals =LOVE= it. It proves that the authorities are tough on crime.

Then, there's this bit on "we, the people". George Bush stated, in Europe, that the Death Penalty was right and proper, because "America is a Democracy, and America wants the Death Penalty". Excuse me, but America is mostly rock, snow, vegetation and a bit of water. If you mean the -people- of America, then show me the referendum. Show me the actual ballot taken, as of George Bush's (questionable) election, that approved it.

It's not "We the People", it's "We, the Politicians". Sure, there -might- be a majority in favour of the Death Penalty in the US. But until the votes are in, GWB had no business speaking for the nation in that way. He may be the elected leader, he may have a powerful title, but he has NO bloody business telling Americans how they are to feel.

And that's what it comes down to. He believes he knows. If he didn't, and believed it mattered, he'd ask. And if it doesn't matter, then it is NOT a democratic issue. Democracy is about what the people think, not what some politician in some guilded office thinks we should think.

The bottom line is this. The pilgrims came to America and founded =THEIR= civilization on freedom. Well, freedom within the bounds of their religious beliefs, and the bounds of what was necessary to survive, but a freedom of sorts, nonetheless.

This freedom vanished with the pilgrims. It did not exist at the time of the Revolutionary Wars, nor did it exist afterwards.

Does this mean that America is Bad? Not really, it's no worse than any other country, and no worse than any other political system. The arrogance needs to go, though. And the attitude of abuse definitely needs to be changed. Beyond that, what's the big deal?

WRONG (4.00 / 4) (#80)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:09:36 PM EST

The constitution is binding. It is what the judges interpret. You're going to have to quote chapter and verse on this one.

Then comes the statement about tents in 100 degree weather. Quote chapter and verse on this one.

And, whether Europeans like it or not, the majority of the US *does* support the death penalty. Bush was quite within his purview to so say.

Anyway, since the 'attitude of abuse' is largely predicated on European ideas of criminal's rights, it doesn't follow that it needs to go. In the US, criminals tend to enjoy greater rights pre-trial and less rights post-trial than in the European systems, by and large. We like it better that way.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Not as wrong as you think (2.25 / 4) (#85)
by stinkwrinkle on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:29:44 PM EST

The constitution is binding. It is what the judges interpret. You're going to have to quote chapter and verse on this one.

I assume you're asking for proof? Consider the overruling of state medical marijuana initiatives in light of the Tenth Amendment.

Then comes the statement about tents in 100 degree weather. Quote chapter and verse on this one.

Check your favorite search engine for "Tent City", Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona, courtesy of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

[ Parent ]
You mean this? (4.00 / 4) (#88)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:44:04 PM EST

Never happened. Sorry.

As to the question of the tenth amendment, which reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.", compared to medical marijuana, here, you'll find that it wasn't a question of constitutionality at all. The laws restricting the use of certain substances are not on trial; the question ruled on was whether medical marijuana met the 'currently accepted use' clause in current law, not whether the laws themeselves are unconstitutional in the face of the tenth amendment.

The Supreme Court is in the habit of answering exactly that question which is placed before it. Right now, the state of Colorado is gearing up to fight the question on more general ninth and tenth amendment grounds, but until such a decision is rendered, one can assume that the tenth amendment holds.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

Actually it did (3.50 / 2) (#102)
by Golden Spray on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:47:59 PM EST

This seems to be a bio of him. Read down a few paragraphs and it says that he started the largest tent city for criminals, 1200 people apparently. As for the conditions, this is not the best link to use, it is from the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office.



GS

[ Parent ]
Still wrong, though (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 09:18:04 PM EST

That link only refers to those *convicted*. The propagandist at the head of this quote insists that it was designed to hold 'those awaiting trial'.

Here is a more cogent discussion of the situation. It seems that tent camps aren't the majority of Arizona's problems.

Anyway, in the interest of fairness, this isn't a federal prison so is not technically the US, but rather the state of Arizona. However, as time progresses and Maricopa county continues to flout orders from both the state of Arizona and the US federal court system, someone is bound to take a stripe or two out of them.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

Sorry (4.00 / 3) (#106)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:48:00 PM EST

Unfortunately, most americans, especially those who serve as judges feel that marijuana is a harmful and dangerous substance.

Since the Federal government is obliged to regulate interstate commerce (US Constitution, Article I, Section 8) it may deem it contraband and ban it's sale and use.

While I agree with you and the people of California that marijuana should be legal, many people don't. And until these people change their minds, the political will to legalize pot or other drugs will not exist.

[ Parent ]
Not the only one (none / 0) (#119)
by jd on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 10:26:37 AM EST

There's a similar scheme in South Florida, only it includes those awaiting trial, plus ye olde Black & White striped uniforms, pink socks, and other psychological weapons.

[ Parent ]
Frankly, you have no clue. (3.66 / 3) (#105)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:41:27 PM EST

Get your facts straight.

The people have overwhelmingly spoken out in favor of the death penalty in the last 20 years. For example, the death penalty was put before the voters or the legislature from 1985 to 1997. The voters approved it four times and the legislature 12. Then-governor Cuomo's veto was the only thing blocking it.

Your view of the Pilgrims obviously came from a 2nd grade social studies textbook. The Pilgrims were one of the most extreme Calvinist sects in the 1600's. (Today they would probaly be called a cult.) Anyone (white or native) who did not share their extreme beliefs was subject to persecution at their hands.

Ever wonder why Rhode Island exists? The founder of Rhode Island held beliefs that the leadership of the Providence colony found to be blasphemous. His wife and children were burned at the stake, and he was exiled. A few of his followers came with him, and Rhode Island was born.

President Bush has every right to tell the American people how he thinks they should feel, just as you have the right to spout your uninformed and skewed beliefs.

It sounds to me like you think that the problem with Freedom of Speech & Assembly, and freedom in general, is that people who you don't agree with can exercise it too. (Much like the pilgrims)

[ Parent ]
Slight correction (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by localroger on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 10:15:18 AM EST

While Roger Williams was run out of Massachussetts in the dead of winter for his religious beliefs, his wife and children were not harmed and later joined him.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Response (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by Merk00 on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:48:54 AM EST

> I don't see what there is about the US that is > considered worth preserving. Freedoms? Ummm,
> you don't have any. Really, you never did. The > Supreme Court ruled a long time ago that the
> Constitution was discretionary. It applies to
> whomever the judge decides it does.

Actually, freedoms apply to everyone in the jurisdiction of the US (that includes aliens, legal or illegal). Unfortunately there are sometimes border-line cases where judges have to make a decision as to whether or not a certain part of the Constitution conflicts with a governmental action. In fact, the application of freedoms have expanded over the course of the history of the US. Did you know that the Supreme Court never ruled in favor of the first amendment before the founding of the ACLU (approximately 1915 I believe)? They've done so numerous times since then. Did you know people were tried for reading the free-speech clause of state constitutions during the various labor-employer disputes during the late 1800's/early 1900's? Did you know that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states until the passage of the 14th amendment after the Civil War? The application of freedoms has been expanding, not contracting, over time. Freedoms apply to everyone.

> Rights? Nope, you don't really have those,
> either. There are jails in America, designed to > hold those awaiting trial, where they are in
> open-air tents in 100+ degrees temperatures, no > air conditioning, where they are routinely
> chained together, and where food has more mould > than content. Oh, and the locals =LOVE= it. It > proves that the authorities are tough on crime.

Not sure what the difference between what you define as rights and what you define as freedoms are, so see above. As to the "Tent City" as seen via CNN at http://www.cnn.com/US/9907/27/tough.sheriff/ that is for convicted felons only. It is not a place people are held before a bail hearing or when they cannot meet bail or bail is refused. It is for convicted criminals only. Also, if you look at the CNN article, you'll see that the state has been sued repeatedly (and lost) for federal violations. One law suit was by the US DOJ. What? Does this mean the American legal system works? It protects inmates who have been treated unfairly?

> Then, there's this bit on "we, the people".
> George Bush stated, in Europe, that the Death
> Penalty was right and proper, because "America > is a Democracy, and America wants the Death
> Penalty". Excuse me, but America is mostly
> rock, snow, vegetation and a bit of water. If
> you mean the -people- of America, then show me > the referendum. Show me the actual ballot
> taken, as of George Bush's (questionable)
> election, that approved it.

America is actually a representative democracy (or republic). This means that the people (that'd be "we") hire (that'd be an election) others (that'd be the politicians) to run the country for us. That means that the politicans act in the name of the people. Given that George W Bush is the only representative of all the people of the United States, that means he gets to speak on behalf of all the people. It also doesn't hurt that there have been many polls showing an overall support of the death penalty by Americans.

> It's not "We the People", it's "We, the
> Politicians". Sure, there -might- be a majority > in favour of the Death Penalty in the US. But
> until the votes are in, GWB had no business
> speaking for the nation in that way. He may be > the elected leader, he may have a powerful
> title, but he has NO bloody business telling
> Americans how they are to feel.

Actually, it's GWB's job to speak for America. Given that he is the President of the United States, it is his job to speak on behalf of America to foreign countries. He's not telling Americans how to feel. He's telling foreign countries how the government of America feels. And the votes were in, GWB won the election. Hence he gets to speak for America. Don't like what he says? Vote for someone else in the next election.

> And that's what it comes down to. He believes
> he knows. If he didn't, and believed it
> mattered, he'd ask. And if it doesn't matter, > then it is NOT a democratic issue. Democracy is > about what the people think, not what some
> politician in some guilded office thinks we
> should think.

It does matter and he knows that. But he doesn't have to ask. We don't elect people so that they can repeatedly ask the people what to do. They're supposed to figure it out on their own. If the US was supposed to be run as a direct democracy (where the people are always asked what to do), it'd be a direct democracy. GWB is allowed to decide these things because he was elected to his position.

> The bottom line is this. The pilgrims came to
> America and founded =THEIR= civilization on
> freedom. Well, freedom within the bounds of
> their religious beliefs, and the bounds of what > was necessary to survive, but a freedom of
> sorts, nonetheless.

The pilgrims were highly intollerant people. They did not tolerate other religions and were very strict in their religious practices. There is more freedom today than in the time of the pilgrims. And you should probably realize that the first surviving English settlement in the Americas was at Jamestown, Virginia and not at Plymouth, Massachusetts. And the colonists in Jamestown were after growing tobacco and not freedom either.

> This freedom vanished with the pilgrims. It did > not exist at the time of the Revolutionary
> Wars, nor did it exist afterwards.

The Revolutionary War was about regaining all the lost freedom from the English government. So I guess it didn't exist but it did afterwards.

> Does this mean that America is Bad? Not really, > it's no worse than any other country, and no
> worse than any other political system. The
> arrogance needs to go, though. And the attitude > of abuse definitely needs to be changed. Beyond > that, what's the big deal?
America is most definately not perfect. Far from that. However, I would hold it's one of the better governments in the world. And beyond that, I think it's one of the few governments that has a history of being a good government. More importantly, it's one of the few governments to admit when it made mistakes.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Well well well (2.00 / 1) (#127)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:11:25 PM EST

Actually, it's GWB's job to speak for America. Given that he is the President of the United States, it is his job to speak on behalf of America to foreign countries. He's not telling Americans how to feel. He's telling foreign countries how the government of America feels.

This is so not true that it is not even funny. GWB is at odds with the majority of the nation on so many things, such as drug law, education, pollution, etc., that it is not even funny. Perhaps you should look at the bigger picture before you say crap like that.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
President's Responsibility (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by Merk00 on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:26:45 PM EST

This is so not true that it is not even funny. GWB is at odds with the majority of the nation on so many things, such as drug law, education, pollution, etc., that it is not even funny. Perhaps you should look at the bigger picture before you say crap like that.
I think you misunderstand. I'm not saying that most Americans agree with what GWB says. However, he is the head of state for the United States of America and it is his job to represent the United States to foreign countries (regarding the quote of GWB in Europe). It also his job to propose national programs as he sees fit. It is not his job to follow what the American people want. Should he? To an extent. The reason that the US is a representative democracy and not a direct democracy is that the Founding Father's were afraid of a tyranny of the majority. They expected the elected officials to vote with their conscience and not with what the electorate wants. So basically, GWB is doing his job. Criticize him for the content of his message, not for delivering it.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Well then (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:47:27 PM EST

Perhaps he should stress our support for decriminalization of marijuana.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Marijuana (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by Merk00 on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 08:50:47 AM EST

I don't believe the majority of Americans support the decriminalization of marijuana. If they did, there would be mroe political parties supporting it. Plus, he has no need to represent what the American people want. He can support whatever he chooses. It's up to the American people to choose whether or not to support him.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

drug laws vs. DMCA (2.33 / 6) (#69)
by Rainy on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:09:22 PM EST

Compare how many people are in jail for each of these and *then* say which is more disturbing. Millions of pot-smoking Sklyarovs!
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Apathy, Anger and the American Way (4.00 / 9) (#71)
by jprismon on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:43:58 PM EST

Guess what, you live in a Republic. That means that you can do something about this other then whine.Your point wanders, and your thesis needs a little help. I appreciate your enthusiasm, don't ever loose it. Study politics, and History, and the rest will come along. We live in a world where amazing changes have come along, yet the Constitition still is a model documents, and the system still works, given time and concerned people. The only thing that threats America is Apathy.

DMCA is a bad law. But it is also a first draft, and the Supreme Court has not even seen it yet. Focus on getting there, adn then complain.

You wrote: I'm not writing this not to ask you to write your representatives in Congress; the voices of a few hundred concerned citizens will undoubtedly be drowned out, unless they are expressed on the same paper as the many millions of dollars that proponents of these draconian policies have funneled into Washington D.C. I am also not encouraging you to challenge Robert Mueller's appointment to head the FBI, even though he is currently the U.S. Attorney responsible for continuing to hold Dmitry in spite of the fact that Adobe has recently indicated that they no longer wish to see Dmitry prosecuted. Though I have a personal distaste for our current president and have criticized some of his past cabinet nominees, I genuinely believe that we must move beyond partisan bickering and unite to renew our commitment to freedom. We need to call upon people of all political affiliations and stand united against those special interests that limit our freedom and poison our democracy.

People should write their representatives in Congress. Period. Change takes time, but the American system is designed for debate. Robert Muller is not in power at the FBI (in fact, law forbids him to act as a director until approved, so if you are going to blame anyone, blame the Clinton hold-over.

jd wrote: I don't see what there is about the US that is considered worth preserving. Freedoms? Ummm, you don't have any. Really, you never did. The Supreme Court ruled a long time ago that the Constitution was discretionary. It applies to whomever the judge decides it does.

Umm... Try again. The constitution itself is never discretionary. Period. (cite me any other reference). Parts of the Bill of Rights can be suspended during times of war, but that has only happened twice in American History (Civil War and WWII). The constitution itself (sans admendements) can never be superceeded, even with Martial Law.

Show me the actual ballot taken, as of George Bush's (questionable) election, that approved it.

America is a republic, not a democracy. Should you wish to ignore this fact, the majority of american in consistant polling support it. Finally, no one, not even the democrats, are contesting the election any more. Deal

It's not "We the People", it's "We, the Politicians". Sure, there -might- be a majority in favour of the Death Penalty in the US. But until the votes are in, GWB had no business speaking for the nation in that way. He may be the elected leader, he may have a powerful title, but he has NO bloody business telling Americans how they are to feel.

Actually, I would remind the author again, that America is a Republic, not a democracy. He does have the right to make such statements in a broad context, in fact, that is his job. The president exists as a symbolic check against the Legistlative, which is where the real power is.

This freedom vanished with the pilgrims. It did not exist at the time of the Revolutionary Wars, nor did it exist afterwards.

BS.

The "Rights" that Americans have were established by the constitution and the bill of rights after the revolutionary war. Please go read a history book, and stop trolling.

kaatunet wrote: To loosely paraphrase a politician who visited US for a year, his comment when he came back was "They worship individual freedoms too much". Then he proceeded to criticize the laws you worship like fundie a bible. No doubt that sounds pretty fascist to you and only reinforces your idea that we're oppressed by evil government so bad we don't even realize it, but really, I see little in my country that really needs changing. Nothing worth writing lengthy table-pounding rants about. Funny, isn't it. Is it the size of country which invites passing insane laws, or is it in intrinsic to the land of the free?

Your gov't it probibly pretty cool right now. But I defy anyone to name a place that they would rather live at in 1780. America took Looke, Voltaire, Franklin, et all, and applied them. We might be high on our "individual freedoms" but the critical ones, Life, Liberty and the persuit of happyness, as well as the bill of rights are important. Don't believe me? Ask the Faulon Gong. (badly mispelled I am sure).

rebelcool wrote:

The way to battle the DMCA is in court. This is how you get things onto the public consciousness. And its the only way a very small minority can have its day of constitutional judgement. It will take organization, wits and yes kids - people in jail. Yelling about it wont work. The protest marches of Martin Luther King and the like were only successful after some staggering court decisions - rosa parks, brown vs. board of education and the like. Take it to court

YES! That's it exactly! The fact is that the constitution is an amazingly dynamic document (compare the size of the US Constitution with the British Common Law and the French Constitution). The only way reforms will stick is when the Supreme Court makes it stick.

It is therefore critical that (imho) people with a very strict constitutionalist (anything not explictly permitted is denied) be appointed to the bench.

Grabanzo wrote:

My emphasis in the preceding quotation. Hey, what kind of crack does your history teacher smoke? The idea that American democracy is some sort of worldwide right is pretty late-breaking news in historical terms. It only got any sort of traction in this country in the post WWII period, mainly as a sort of bloody shirt for the anti-communism effort. Judging from K5 posts from abroad, it has yet to get much traction Over Thar.

Umm. Try again, I suggest McCoullagh's book on Adams, and the original Federalist papers. Also look at the description of America as the "Great Experement" not only by the American's during 1800-1900, but by the entire world.

Bapisti wrote:

Kids are always rebellious, but in this case I'm really concerned that they will grow into adulthood with a cynical attitude that makes our's pale by comparison. How will they ever be motivated to try and change the world when they know the game is fixed at such a young age? It seems like the naivety of youth is quickly disappearing and we are raising kids who by the time they turn 18, have a view of the world usually reserved for senior citizens :)

News for the dis-infranchised. This government is now run by the people who protested it in the 1970's. What has happened? It's even worse then it was.

OOG Wrote:

I hope you have some past residency in other countries or at least a fairly good background studying foreign governments (good ol comp government AP) before you start denouncing the U.S. as a fascist bastion of tyranny. Granted, there are some things we could work on, but you definitely don't see people dragged out and killed for being political dissenters or other heavy abuses of freedom. I'm glad you had the sense to refrain from partisan bashing but I think your portrayal of injustice in the U.S. is heavily exaggerated. Corruption occurs, but it is not nearly as bad as the patron-client relations that occur in some of the thrid world countries; and when discovered, corruption is usually punished. Calling the police brutal and racist is simply absurd. The fact is, a disproportionate amount of crime (including the drug war which so hate) occurs in poor black areas of cities, which translates to a disporportionate number of blacks being arrested. Cops certainly aren't out to get black people and to assume so based solely on statistics isnt telling the whole story. Anyway, I think this article would be a lot better if it got to the point more quickly and wasn't so swelled up and full of buzzwords (our nation is being FASCIST and OPPRESSING innocent MARTYRS with DRACONIAN policies that reflect their BRUTAL ARROGANCE). If I wanted to hear an overblown rebel without a clue spouting diatribes id buy an Anti-Flag cd. Lighten up on the dogma a little and let your argument stand on its own merit. It's hard not to dismiss your article as ranting propaganda when you drown out everything in generalized, cliched rhetoric. OOG BREAK HEAD WITH OPEN SOURCE CD!!!

Thank you. Could not have said it better myself. strlen wrote:

i like your rant and generally agree with it. the problem, however, is that we never lived by those ideals. we had slaves for longer then other countries did, our women were disenfranchised longer then women in other countries, our blacks were disenfranchised for longer then many other minorities world-wide. and we've pretty much destroyed all the aboriginals, i believe canadians did better (although australians i believe did just as bad as US-Americans) look to the future for freedom, not the past.

Umm. Do people just not read anymore? There was still a very active slade trade when America's civil war occured. Everyone but the most southern states had already rejected slavery. America's suffrage movement also was similar. OTOH, America was the first country to grant voting to non-land owners, former slaves, non-aristocracy, etc.

the DMCA is just a response to a new idea. all kinds of new ideas received similar responses. whenever there was technology, there was some sort of authoritarian response to it. for instance, when automobiles first appeared many states had laws where an automobile would have to follow a man with red flags in front of the car (kind of defeats the purposes of a car).

the DMCA is just a response to a new idea. all kinds of new ideas received similar responses. whenever there was technology, there was some sort of authoritarian response to it. for instance, when automobiles first appeared many states had laws where an automobile would have to follow a man with red flags in front of the car (kind of defeats the purposes of a car).

Well spoken.

Partial Response (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by Merk00 on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:25:21 AM EST

strlen wrote: i like your rant and generally agree with it. the problem, however, is that we never lived by those ideals. we had slaves for longer then other countries did, our women were disenfranchised longer then women in other countries, our blacks were disenfranchised for longer then many other minorities world-wide. and we've pretty much destroyed all the aboriginals, i believe canadians did better (although australians i believe did just as bad as US-Americans) look to the future for freedom, not the past. Umm. Do people just not read anymore? There was still a very active slade trade when America's civil war occured. Everyone but the most southern states had already rejected slavery. America's suffrage movement also was similar. OTOH, America was the first country to grant voting to non-land owners, former slaves, non-aristocracy, etc.
The slave trade had been banned by most western countries (including the US; it was included in the Constitution) by the the time of the Civil War. There was, however, smuggling of slaves into the US. The reason that slavery prolonged as long as it did was because there was an economic incentive for slavery in the US as opposed to Europe. It was easy to get rid of in Europe because there was not a significant industry built around slavery. In the US South there was. Interestingly enough the US happens to be one of the few countries willing to fight for the freedom of slaves. And as for being one of the last countries (I assume you mean western nations as some countries, such as Sudan, still practice slavery to this day) to free slaves, it happened at about the same time as Russia.

The reason the US was the first country to grant the vote to non-landholders was because just about everyone owned land. There was such a large amount of property in the US that there was no reason to discriminate based on land-owned because everybody did.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Amen! (none / 0) (#155)
by nowin on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 10:45:21 PM EST

"You wrote: I'm not writing this not to ask you to write your representatives in Congress; the voices of a few hundred concerned citizens will undoubtedly be drowned out, unless they are expressed on the same paper as the many millions of dollars that proponents of these draconian policies have funneled into Washington D.C. I am also not encouraging you to challenge Robert Mueller's appointment to head the FBI, even though he is currently the U.S. Attorney responsible for continuing to hold Dmitry in spite of the fact that Adobe has recently indicated that they no longer wish to see Dmitry prosecuted. Though I have a personal distaste for our current president and have criticized some of his past cabinet nominees, I genuinely believe that we must move beyond partisan bickering and unite to renew our commitment to freedom. We need to call upon people of all political affiliations and stand united against those special interests that limit our freedom and poison our democracy.

People should write their representatives in Congress."

Try starting a Letter writing campaign. A few hundred actual letters from actual voters DOES get politicians listening.

A few thousand e-mails or whineing on a bullitan board generally does not get the same response.

Giving up is only a good answer if you really don't care.

Dan

[ Parent ]
Campaign finance (3.75 / 4) (#72)
by dennis on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:02:57 PM EST

but we are young enough to hope, against all odds, that it could be different

Hey, I'm in my mid-thirties, and I have the same hopes you do.

with equal fervor, we must reform campaign finance laws

Might want to think about this a bit, if you're talking about the McCain bill, which lets "legitimate" news organizations, almost all of which are owned by large corporations, speak as freely as they want, while grass-roots nonprofits are muzzled ninety days before any election. As George Will put it, just because Microsoft owns MSNBC, does that mean they should have a privileged voice?

Whatever happened to 'Fair Use'? (3.60 / 5) (#81)
by Orion Blastar on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:10:29 PM EST

There used to be a way that you could copy copyrighted material or at least part of copyrighted material. It was called 'Fair Use' and if your intent was Parody, Educational, etc you had the right to copy it.

Somewhere down the road we lost this right when everything became copy protected via sotware security. The act of copying data is not a crime if it falls under 'Fair Use'. Or at least it used to not be a crime. Has anything changed?

Now it seems like the message is no copying at all, no way to get around the anti-copy technology even for 'Fair Use'. If you do, you get busted and go to jail. You want a backup of something? Buy two copies of it! You cannot even make a backup copy without the Copyright Police knocking down your door. :(
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***

Duh (1.00 / 1) (#98)
by ghjm on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:47:28 PM EST

What changed? The U.S. Congress passed the DMCA! Where have you been?

[ Parent ]
Questions about Fair Use and the DMCA (4.00 / 2) (#101)
by Golden Spray on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:36:28 PM EST

So does the DMCA actually change people's fair use rights or does it just make it almost impossible to exercise those rights when the content owners decide to use "protection"?

Is fair use a right or simply a limitation on copyright holders ability to enforce their rights? That is to say, I keep seeing people discussing fair use as if it is a protected right like free speech. However, it seems like it is actually a limitation on copyrights. For example the MPAA cannot sue for copyright enfringement if an except from a film is shown in an educational setting, however they don't need to make sure this possible. Is this correct?



GS

[ Parent ]
Fair Use and copy protection (none / 0) (#118)
by Orion Blastar on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:56:21 AM EST

The thing is, with copy protection, you cannot use the media or even part of the media for "Fair Use" in anything without breaking the copy protection. If I understand correctly, breaking the copy protection would violate the law.

Did the DMCA do away with 'Fair Use' then? Anyone know?
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#125)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:34:33 PM EST

Indeed it did. It was a clever way to essentially do away with fair use.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
essentially? (none / 0) (#143)
by Golden Spray on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:30:08 AM EST

It was a clever way to essentially do away with fair use.

Essentially is different from actually. What I was trying to ask was; Is fair use actually, legally, changed by the DMCA?

I understand that if making fair use of a copy protected work requires circumventing the protection then the circumvention is illegal, however is the fair use?



GS

[ Parent ]
Rights (none / 0) (#134)
by rehan on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 05:24:05 PM EST

I'm not an american, but I believe that listing of rights in the Bill of Rights is not meant to imply that those are the only rights that citizens have. I think there's a phrase in the document itself to that effect?

Stay Frosty and Alert


[ Parent ]
And that phrase... (none / 0) (#136)
by nstenz on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 06:23:14 PM EST

...has been systematically ignored for years and years now, along with that other one that says any rights not expressly granted to the government go to the states. Welcome to the land of opportunity, where we elect people who make new laws that go against the ideals the country was founded on. As many people like to say- perhaps another revolution will come along some day, and we'll start all over again.

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#144)
by Golden Spray on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:43:58 AM EST

I was not thinking about the Bill of Rights. I was just wondering about how strongly protected "fair use" is. If it is a "right" then any action by a copyright holder to deny someone their right is probably illegal, or unconstitutional or whatever. However if it is simply a limitation, then its up to the content owner to decide if they want to make it easy for people to make fair use of the product.

In the second case, it would seem to fall to the consumer to decide if they are willing to buy copyrighted works from (and thus support) someone who is unwilling to allow fair use of their product.



GS

[ Parent ]
Fact (3.81 / 11) (#90)
by bitspotter on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:59:16 PM EST

Adobe had him arrested for distributing his copy-protection circumvention software despite the fact that the copyright for that software was owned by ElcomSoft, a Russian company that exists outside U.S. jurisdiction.

From the affidavit filed in court by the FBI agent responsible for the investigation and arrest:

"A review of the opening screen on the Elcomsoft software purchased showed that a person named Dmitry Sklyarov is identified as being the copyright holder of the Elcomsoft program. "

Upon hearing this assertion, I refused to read the remainder of the article. Is it too much to expect a front page article to have it's facts straight?

Additionally, while I'm at it:

"Adobe purchased the program through Elcomsoft through a U.S. based company that Elcomsoft was using as a means of collection a $99 fee for purchase and usage of the unlocking key. Nathanson and Spano told me that this company was Register Now! (http://cryptome.org/www.regnow.com)"

While there's definitely a case that ElComSoft's website was outside of US jurisdiction, making this case an iffy, edgy international law case, the fact was that ElComSoft or Skylarov had contracted with Register Now!, an American company, to sell unlock codes to American users, for American currency.

Being the copyright holder, Skylarov is ultimately responsible.

Make no mistake. The case is very strong. Skylarov is guilty of the charges of "trafficking". If it were as simple as that, though, Adobe's release recommendation would have been enough to set him free. Instead, Skylarov and ElComSoft decided to SELL the software. The fact that the DMCA violation was made for purposes of financial gain is what boosted this case from a civil case to a criminal one, and is, by itself, the reason why the prosecution can continue.

If there's one thing our corporate masters hate worse than somebody giving away their stuff for free, it's people giving away their stuff FOR PROFIT. That said, there's still a case to be made for Judicial review of the DMCA's constitutionality.

Correcting your "fact" (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by Jizzbug on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 12:43:03 PM EST

Since you didn't finish reading the article because of what you percieved as ignorance, I'm not going to finish reading your post based on what I see as ignorance. You need to get your facts straight when correcting other people's facts. The Advanced eBook Processor versions 1.x were copyrighted by both ElcomSoft /and/ Dmitry Sklyarov. The Advanced eBook Processor versions 2.x are only copyrighted by ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. The actual copyright statement is "AEBPR 2.x (c) 2001 ElcomSoft Co. Ltd."

As a side note, I was actually at Dmitry's talk in Las Vegas at DEFCON 9. It was really cool (although his accent was horrendous).

Dmitry's program was written to give fair-use back to the consumer, and that's the only way Dmitry would discuss the use of AEBPR during his talk. You have to understand the way Adobe's eBooks work in order to understand why AEBPR is necessary. Do you think it's fair having to buy a copy of a book for each computer or device you want to read it on? Adobe's eBook Reader provided no mechanism for backing up your books in case of hard disk failure, or moving the books to a new computer you'd just bought, or even taking the book on the road on a palmtop device. AEBPR was meant to provide you with those abilities. It wasn't meant for warez kiddies to distribute copies (although warez kiddies are certainly using it in that capacity, but then again, how many of them /actually/ read?).

AEBPR does two things. Firstly, it makes a fool out of Adobe. Secondly, it allows you to fully utilize the books you've purchased.

What Dmitry did was only illegal by some stupid new law, it should /not/ in reality be illegal.

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.
 -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

[ Parent ]
OK (none / 0) (#139)
by bitspotter on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 07:19:05 PM EST

"The Advanced eBook Processor versions 1.x were copyrighted by both ElcomSoft /and/ Dmitry Sklyarov. The Advanced eBook Processor versions 2.x are only copyrighted by ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. "

Your refinement is appreciated. Still, a joint copyright on a previous version (I don't see any version numbers on the affidavit) should be sufficient to justify the arrest and the prosecution.

Of course it shouldn't be illegal. I was commenting on the technical points of the case, not on whether the law was dumb. hehe - that should be obvious. :)

[ Parent ]

Is this even relevant? (none / 0) (#140)
by jqpang on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:30:51 PM EST

The DMCA prohibits "trafficking" or "manufacturing, importing, or offering to the public, or providing" of a circumvention device... I don't think it excplicitly names "authoring" or being the "owner" of a circumvention device an offense.

However, whether or not Dmitry is the copyright holder, I think the affidavit was simply using that information to prove that the product was "marketed by ... another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure... etc." (emphasis mine) I think that is the relevance here. Though it still doesn't answer why the CEO of the company wasn't arrested also; afterall, he was the actual one doing the distribution (or at least Elcomsoft as a "whole").

Remember that the MPAA used the DMCA primarily to go after all the sites linking to decss because they were responsible for "trafficking" it.

[ Parent ]

Wait a minute (none / 0) (#142)
by stuartf on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:45:18 PM EST

AEBPR does two things. Firstly, it makes a fool out of Adobe.

Which could have quite easily been done without releasing the software, or perhaps without selling the software.

Secondly, it allows you to fully utilize the books you've purchased

But surely when you bought the e-Book, by paying for it, you agreed to the terms of using it?

Second question, is it possible to make a backup copy (your fair use) without removing the password protection? Or do you always have to use it on the same machine.

[ Parent ]

Uh...? (none / 0) (#133)
by Mr Obsidian on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 05:22:22 PM EST

Unless I am horribly uninformed, I do believe that Adobe was behind the FBI. (As in the FBI doesn't go after after abscure software cases like this without a big corporation complaining about how the world is so unfair to big corportations).

Mr.O
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
[ Parent ]
right (none / 0) (#137)
by bitspotter on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 07:09:31 PM EST

Oh, exactly. And then the EFF made them go kicking and screaming over bad press, leaving the FBI with the prosecution. How convenient.

[ Parent ]
Panties in a wad ? (2.14 / 7) (#100)
by dnos on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:34:20 PM EST

Heh. Ok, a person was imprisoned for breaking a law and we (the US) are now a corrupt, dictating country? BLEH. I think you exaggerated a little... :P

I agree that the DMCA isn't really a 'fair' law, but it (or something similar) needs to be there. Since you seem to know everything about government, why don't you try to create a similar law that is fair to the consumer while still maintaining a safe market so "evil, hideous, and corrupt corporations and businesses" can sell their goods without fear (or at least not as much) of someone raping them. "We the people" includes everybody (even the evil corporations you speak of), not just the warez puppies or the hackers....its hard to be fair to everyone on things like this, but since you know so much about liberty and all, maybe you can accomplish it.

"We the People" does *not* include corpo (4.00 / 4) (#110)
by Pihkal on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 10:04:52 PM EST

I wish to take issue with the following quote:

"We the people" includes everybody (even the evil corporations you speak of)

To state the obvious, this is not true, and more, this sort of assumption has allowed corporations to achieve the incredibly unfair and unaccountable power they have today. Corporations are legal fictions, created by charter, and should not have the same rights as human beings because they are obviously not human. You would not allow your car to decide where you were going today, so why should a corporation

Astonishingly enough, however, the courts have said otherwise, and that a corporation is, for all legal purposes, a person. The particular case is Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. This case granted a corporation all the rights of a living, breathing human. Instead of being legal phantoms whose existence was tolerated for the public good, as they were before, corporations were suddenly granted equality to people. But corporations were not now the equal of humans; they were in fact much more powerful. Due to their vast financial resources, corporations could defend and exploit their "rights" far more than any individual.

Before Santa Clara, corporations had a very precarious existence. They were originally created to encourage exploitation of the British colonies by granting the owners "limited liability" - i.e., if your company went under, you were not "personally responsible" for paying back the debts. The American settlers at the time rightly feared the corporations and their power as exploitative agents of the crown. (Boston Tea Party, anyone?) The Revolutionary War was as much a reaction to British corporations as to the British royalty. For the century after the Revolutionary War, Americans were very suspicious of corporations and controlled them carefully. In 1832, Andrew Jackson refused to extend the charter of the Second Bank of the United States, which was widely hated for fraud at the time.

Unfortunately, nobody alive today knows what it is like to have a corporation dismantled for abusing the public trust. And so, corporations act with impunity, heedless of greater concerns than money, pausing only to make sure the fines are smaller than the finances. We lack even the power to force corporations to behave. We are put in the position of defending our opposition to them, rather than them being in the position of justifying their continued existence. How much harm will we allow corporations to do, before we again question their right to exist?! How long will we be second-class citizens in our own country?!



"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
Corporations (4.33 / 3) (#120)
by Merk00 on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:55:26 AM EST

Oddly enough corporations are made up of people and are owned by people. Therefore they do have some rights. However, this is only in relation to the government. For the purpose of regulating commerce, the government can do whatever it likes. Giving rights to a company simply places restrictions on what the government can do, not what people can do.

The idea that companies have more resources to defend their rights and that therefore they should have none is plainly and obviously stupid. It'd be the same idea that we should get rid of the rich's rights because they have more money to hire lawyers. It's a ridiculous concept.

An analogy between a car and a corporation is a horendous one and I don't feel the need to respond to it.

As far as the liquidation of companies goes, there's a very good reason for it: it's extremely bad for the public. Why is that? Because it tends to wreck the economy. It reduces jobs and that's not particularly good for anyone.

As far as the Boston Tea Party goes, the Boston Tea Party was protesting not only the Tea Tax but also the monopoly granted by the British Government to the British East India Company. There was no protest against the British East India Company itself. Instead, it was against the British government. Corporations weren't a factor in the Revolution at all. As far as the Second Bank of the United States goes, the issue was more with a national bank than it was about corporations walking all-over-people. There was no issue of fraud but instead an issue of control of the money supply.

Question the right of corporations to exist? The same entities that allow for expansion of the economy? The same entity that allows for people to have jobs? Corporations, as much as people, should not be liable to be destroyed at the whim of the government; or even worse, the whim of the majority.

Now, are there violations of the law by Corporations? Yes, of course. How should they be handle? Under the law. There is no need to destroy them. They can be punished just as a person can.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Except that Corporations (2.00 / 1) (#123)
by Orion Blastar on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:24:28 PM EST

cannot be put into jail, executed, or deported.

Corps can be split up into smaller corps, people cannot be split up into smaller people.

There are differences in the law between people and corps.
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]

Companies (3.50 / 2) (#126)
by Merk00 on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:53:56 PM EST

Corporations can be executed. It would be called desolving them and happens only extremely rarely (usually to companies in violation of RICO statutes).

Companies may not be able to be put in jail, but their officers and directors can be. Take a look at the Anti-Trust provision in the US Code. They provide criminal penalities for those who engage in anti-competitive practices (so Bill Gates could be sent to jail).

Deportation isn't something we use to punish citizens of the US. It can be used against premanent residents and other non-citizens but companies can also be banned from doing business in the US (look at DeBeers).

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

The basic differences in our assumptions (3.00 / 1) (#146)
by Pihkal on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:54:52 PM EST

A few things:

I did not say that corporations should have no rights. That is something you insinuated. To be more clear, I am saying that corporations should not in practice, have more rights, or even the same rights as we do. Corporations are made up of people; so what? The key problem is that corporate "rights" and powers are divorced from human responsibilities. No corporate executive has EVER faced the death penalty for dumping cancerous chemicals into the water supply. No oil CEO has EVER been brought before a jury for assisting in the slaughter of natives protesting the destruction of their home land. If any single human being tried this, they would be put on trial in front of a criminal court, but because these actions are carried out in the guise of a corporation, the actual people who made the decisions

Now onto the single greatest flaw:

As far as the liquidation of companies goes, there's a very good reason for it: it's extremely bad for the public. Why is that? Because it tends to wreck the economy. It reduces jobs and that's not particularly good for anyone.
This statement reveals the fundamental problem in American thought today - the assumption that the well-being of the economy trumps all other considerations, including human rights, equal treatment under the law, environmental concerns, job safety, etc. We are constantly told by corporations that these concerns are subordinate. Well, they aren't. The majority of citizens arguing for fair treatment are not against the economy, per se. They just recognize that the extreme "economy is all" mentality only benefits the economic heads at the expense of the people at the bottom.

You suggest that corporate violations of the law be handled through the law. What you have to consider, though, is how much true power corporations have in legal matters. Because of the vast economic resources at their control, corporations (or rather, the eceonomic elite at their heads) have more influence in making laws to begin with than ordinary citizens (campaign contributions), have a greater ability to legally harass critics and evade punishments (teams and teams of lawyers), secure preferential treatment in the form of corporate welfare, etc. The list goes on and on. Corporations are practically extra-legal entities now, and this is why it is so difficult to bring them to heel.

NB: The car bit was something I tried to cut out (because it was weak) and must have screwed up. Mea culpa.



"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
You forgot to mention... (1.50 / 2) (#124)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:31:00 PM EST

...The shit-fit that the US government would throw if this happened to a citizen of the US or a member of the military.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
According to the DMCA .. (none / 0) (#141)
by gbd on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:43:02 PM EST

.. I can't watch a DVD that I legally own on a computer that I legally own unless I use an operating system or a piece of software that the MPAA happens to approve of.

What where you saying about liberty?

You know, a lot of people forget that tens of thousands of brave and innocent young kids paid the ultimate price in order to guarantee our freedom. The DMCA and those who support it are collectively urinating on the graves of bona fide heroes, people who would be turning in said graves if they were to see the levels of freedom that we have surrendered to the government and to the lobbyists of multinational corporations.

Do you ever have free Saturdays or Sundays? If you do, I would (seriously) suggest that you volunteer some time working at a veterans' hospital. Maybe then you would understand that freedom does not come without a price, and that those who would so willingly throw those freedoms away are the mortal enemies of everything that this country is supposed to stand for.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Help me Jebus (2.60 / 15) (#108)
by gridwerk on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 09:16:19 PM EST

Fuck how does this shit get posted.. Front page no less. You forgot to add a $ to an "s", Like Maybe in U.$.A. and I am sure there are a couple more catch phrases you forgot when trying to show how oppresive we are as a nation. Maybe next time compare stuff to the inqusition or the Salem Witch Trials.

Let me guess... (1.66 / 6) (#115)
by darthaggie on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:25:16 AM EST

You're: under 18, you don't pay taxes and you think that Hillary's Health Care Takeover was a good idea?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
A little light filking... (3.50 / 2) (#145)
by chipuni on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:52:22 AM EST

Hacker, your free speech has been bound,
I said, hacker, libraries are going down,
I said, hacker, your rights won't stick around,
We all need to watch vigilantly.

Hacker, there's a need to research
I said, hacker, if security's worth
What it's costing, but the white hats will see
You can't try it on Adobe.

Don't you dare play with the D-M-C-A.
Don't you dare play with the D-M-C-A.

You'd better not show that security fails,
Or you'll hang out in U.S. jails.

Don't you dare play with the D-M-C-A.
Don't you dare play with the D-M-C-A.

You've heard it be said -- Info wants to be free,
But you can't do cryptography...


don't know they have it so good (none / 0) (#154)
by shokk on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 10:26:06 PM EST

I tend to find that people that make comments about how bad it is in the States have never been to another country to see exactly how bad "bad" can be. You'll gain a whole new perspective and see that, from 30,000 feet up, the little shift in freedom you are talking about is nothing compared to the misery that populates our globe.

This is not to say that we should not be vigilant. But I don't think things are anywhere near as bad as they once were not so long ago in this young country of ours.


"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."
The Decline of Our Nation and the Pinnacle of Our Arrogance | 156 comments (142 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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