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The DMCA Is Just The Beginning 390

Posted by timothy
from the quick-while-they're-not-looking dept.
dr. greenthumb writes: "With the Sklyarov-case still fresh in memory, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) wants to rally up against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in order to preserve privacy and freedom of speech. The FTAA is currently negotiating agreements with several countries in the Western hemisphere concerning, among other issues, intellectual property rights. According to the EEF, the FTAA organization is considering treaty language that mandates nations pass anti-circumvention provisions similar to the DMCA, except the FTAA treaty grants even greater control to publishers than the DMCA."
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The DMCA Is Just The Beginning

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  • When you think about it, people are behind these corperations and they are screwing themseleves as well as us. I just don't understand why these people keep passing tougher and tougher laws. I suppose they must not obey them. This is all obvious I imagine, but it's a slow day. :)
    • Because they stand to benefit more form the persecution of freedom lovers, than to have those freedoms themselves.
    • What you have is the confusion created by imagined losses in the minds of accounting types.

      Take for example, a company that has 100 million dollars in sales in one year, with 20% of that as profit.

      What the accounting types do is say that because sales could have been 200 million in a year, but were not because the speculative losses due to possible piracy, there is a loss of 100 million dollars.

      Mind you this is purely speculative, undocumented, and paranoid.

      But what this does is encourage various companies and organizations to persue legal remedies in a vain attempt to recover imagined losses. It provides a convenient scape goat for having a shit product in the first place.

      That is why you have legal processes like this, and treaties that surrender the self rule of the member countries

      - - -
      Radio Free Nation [radiofreenation.com]
      is a general news site based on Slash Code
      "If You have a Story, We have a Soap Box"
      - - -

      • by vanguard (102038)
        In addition to my technical degrees, I also have an accounting degree. FWIW, accountants generally live and die by their own integrity. It's hammered into us in a big way during our training.

        They have no desire to trump up false claims because it would ruin their name. Their name is the most important asset that an accountant has. If I was asked to calculate how much we lost in sales I would probably poll a sample of the pirates (assuming that's possible) and ask them if they would have purchased the product if that was the only way they could have obtained it.

        Using that sample I would deduce the total amount of potential revenue lost to theft.

        I think the exaggerated claims you're referring to come from lawyers, not accountants. (On a side note: I started to doubt the entire accounting business now that pro forma financial statements are becoming the norm. However, that's unrelated to this topic.) PS Don't haze me for being off topic. I care about my Karma.
          • I would poll a sample of the pirates and ask them if they would have purchased the product if that was the only way they could have obtained it

          Whoa, a sudden attack of common sense. ;)

          I accept that accountants know their stuff, but it all depends on how you phrase the question, and how many qualifications and caveats you filter out as the figures travel from accountant to lobbyist.

          I have the old fashioned opinion that if I can't persuade you to buy my work on my terms (I'm an author), then I've already lost the sale, so I lose nothing else if you then copy it for nothing. I have a duty to provide what the market will accept, you don't have a duty to buy my work on my terms. But, as I said, that's quite an old fashioned view.

    • It is time for protest in the streets..

      A handful of people protesting for Dmitry managed
      to get this into CNN. It is time for more of
      the same.. I suggest Ben Franklin's Birthday
      as a day of protest (not sure when it is, anyone know?), as he as a politician who understood
      technology and its potential misuses (IP controls/patent bogosity..etc) and reminded us
      to fight against it.

      We also need a website (or a GNU political party
      or something), that lists out in plain english
      what these congress people are voting for and
      who is giving them the bribe money to do so (and
      link it from all over, so everyone knows what
      they are up to, and will call them on it).

      Corporate fascism is definately taking over, and
      I am starting to be not proud to be an American
      anymore.. we must take to the streets.. banners
      & protest.. its a whole civil rights movement,
      and it involves all of us to stop this
      corporate techno fascism before it goes any
      further...

      This is 1984.. in real life...

      It won't stop unless we get out there, and make
      it stop...

      [Re: Dmitry..sigh, the day that the US arrests
      someone for thoughtcrime... I thought I'd never
      see it in real life.. we should all stop being
      so naive]
      • More on this stream..

        Most of us on ./ understand information, how
        to use it, and disseminate it, widely, and
        very quickly..

        It is high time that we start to do this, before
        we lose ALL our rights. Make websites, link to
        them at the bottom of your pages. Get people
        in the streets..

        Re: writing to congressmen.. maybe it works but
        I am not sure.. because congress people only work
        for those people who pay them.. which means
        not us.. so we have to put fear in their
        hearts... take to the streets.. get in on the
        front page of every paper in the country..make
        them scared.. and they'll listen..

        Protests, a manifesto (citizen's rights in the
        IP age.. reasonable copyrights (ie. it expires
        in 10 years).. and a whole slew of other things.

        As well, we should keep protesting Adobe in
        spite of what they say now.. they put Dimtry
        in hock, so until he is free, protest them..
        make Adobe use the same power they used to
        get things like DCMA, to now get rid of it,
        or we dont stop..

        Thats the only way it will work, and only way
        they will listen. Give hell to politicians to
        take corporate bribes and pass laws that are
        so obviously against the interests of the
        people in the interest of corporate checks, and
        give hell to the companies that are paying
        those bribes..

        Imagine a world where the govt. and corporations
        (with the power of the laws they PAID for) can
        search your PC (or the one in your office),
        record everything, send the police to your house
        and jail you for IP crimes (oops, your son
        put a copy of IE on that old laptop, and the
        license server at Redmond caught that! $6000 fine), or speechcrime (Dmitry), or thoughtcrime
        (DeCss). This is what's coming people, unless
        you get out there and do something.

        It is war people.. wake up, or you will all
        be prisoners of this orwellian future..

        Organize yourselves (slashdot ed's?), get
        a platform/manifesto, call the press, and
        get out in the streets and make yourselves heard..
        put fear in a politician today and remind them
        that they had better answer to YOU.. or else..

        I plan to, I hope many of you will do so as well
        in your own cities/areas..
      • There have already been large protests against the FTAA. In Quebec City, Canada a few months ago they had a huge protest. There is a growing global anti-corporate movement. In case you haven't noticed, there has been a series of large protests over the past few years throughout the world against corporatization/capitalism/neoliberalism. The next big protest is S30 (September 30) against the IMF/World Bank in D.C. Some websites you might be interested in:

        http://www.stopftaa.org/
        http://www.citizen.org/pctrade/gattwto/gatthome. ht ml
        http://www.indymedia.org/
        http://www.zmag.org/ZNETTOPnoanimation.html
    • It's leadership (CEO, Board of Directors, etc.) which are pushing for these changes...

      They make MILLIONS/year, and with these extra restrictions, they stand to make MILLIONS more. At that point the $15 DVD, CD, Book is just noise. If they can double their income, what should they care about having to buy a few more items at $15 each...

      Do you need buy.com Coupons [garlanger.com] ?

      • Shhhh! You're making it sound like "freedom fighters" don't want to pay for things, almost like they want the unbridled right to pirate and copy to their hearts content! No no no...the official line is that they want "fair usage" rights to copy "their own" CDs. You see all they want is the right to make MP3 copies of all the CDs they themselves own, and copy games that they legally have copies of, and books that they have purchased. You almost make it sound like they want everything for free...nah that's not the freedom fighter goal...

    • "...people are behind these corperations and they are screwing themseleves as well as us.."

      SORRY! (really) but they aren't...

      one trivial example, i have numerous friends in the record industry with CD collections numbering in the thousands, how many have they paid for?

      from as few as 1 in 25 CD's to as many as 1 in 15 CD's so, obviously they benefit from their positions (at 15$/pop that's thousands of dollars)

      another less trivial example, i know a person who just was promoted to a very senior executive position at an entertainment company, they're making 7 figures,

      now, this person's large income is derived from the fact that a very large "information asymmetry" exists, this asymmetry in the case of books, television, films and music derives from the fact that a very small group of companies can act as a "market lockout" mechanism (we all remember that term, right?)....

      so, maybe you are a better singer than Robert Plant or Beck or Mariah Carey or a better screenplay writer than Robert Towne or Bill Goldman or Jerry Zucker or a better actor than Jack Nicholson or Helen Hunt or Alicia Silverstone or Freddie Prinze Jr -G-

      but without someone making the conscious decision to allow your talent to be exhibited, you'll be slinging pastrami at your local restaurant for the rest or your life.

      the number of available channels for exhibiting/promoting/distributing such materials are being increasingly owned/controlled by fewer and fewer companies (who themselves are positively Gibsonian in global reach, influence and control)

      the DMCA is just the latest of a spectrum of a wide variety of Intellectual Property laws that have been carved out by American Corporations (and European and Asian, with the E! Industry leading the pack in special interest IP legistlation w/o a close second, which would prob be Tech Companies)

      it is now a race between the "content controllers" and their proxies (the US Congress, the EU legislature, et al) and the technologists

      RIAA, DMCA, Napster and all the other battles going on now are just barely the opening skirmishes in what promises to be a long, long fight to allow the efficient use of digital technologies and to rationalize IP laws to reflect the new and oncoming distribution technologies...
      • Just like enclosure in the 19th century stole common land from the public and gave it to the rich, the DCMA and other new "intellectual property" laws are seeking to expand corporate property rights at the expense of 99% of the population.


        In the 19th century, small farmers and landless farmers were forced off their land and into the factories. Now, software patents and other IP nonsense is making it more and more difficult for independent programmers and small businesses. Since we can't afford enough lawyers to own the patents for the software we create, we will be left with less and less choices. And already we're working 10+ hours a day.


        It's time we stood up for ourselves and starting looking out for our own interests. It's time we started fighting back where we have the most power -- in our workplaces. As individuals, we can't change much, but at all the Microsofts, Adobes, AOLs, and IBMs, there are thousands of programmers that keep these companies running, that create the "intellectual property" these corporations value so highly. If we join together [iww.org], we can take back some of our power and turn things around.

    • by hillct (230132) on Monday August 20, 2001 @12:27AM (#2196090) Homepage Journal
      As time passes, it becomes more and more difficult to retain focus in addressing the Freedom of Speech and Privacy rights infringement of the DMCA [umich.edu], the WIPO [wipo.org] treaties [wipo.org] (which are an expansion of the Berne Convention Treaty [wipo.org]) and now the potential for indevidual national legislation in each of the countries of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) [ftaa-alca.org]. This newest development makes a consolidated stand against such over reaching legislation, substancially more difficult, and all but garentees the passage if DMCA-like legislation in countries other than the United States.

      It looks like a strategy of divide and conquer will work for content providers in their quest to get this sort of legislation passed in countries throughout the world. The already fragmented opposition to this legislation stands to be further fragmented by the requirement that their efforts be divided accross (in the case of the FTAA) the countries of the Americas in order that there be no discrepency between countries' approaches to Intellectual Property.

      I made this same argument with respect to the Open Source Community response to Craig Mundie and Microsoft with respect to the legitimacy of the GPL. There must be a focused response. The EFF has provided good leadership thus far, but in order to be an effective leader you must have followers. This is antithetical to the OSS mentality of independant developers (who seem to be the only ones focusing in this issue in any depth at the moment). This tendency, as evidenced by the response by some members of the community to the EFF request to discontinue protests in the Skylarov case durring negotiations with Adobe - where some members of the community basically told the EFF to stuff it and "You Can't Control Me". As a community, we need to realize that we need to follow leaders - not any leader, but those who have proven themselves - for our mutual benefit.

      Additionally, I think it's worth spending a moment considering why the issues around the DMCA and similar legislation have recieved so little coverage in the popular media. I know it sounds paranoid, but since the deregulation of the communications industry, (we all know) conglomorates have been allowed to emerge which represent both the news media and content owners. I would not presume to make accusations that the popular news media has interests other than informing the public, but it's disappointing that we havnen't seen these issues addressed in the popular media. Their lack of coverage, leaves us with the responsibility of making others aware of Intellectual Property issues. IP is a complex subject, even explaining limited aspects of it in a comprehensive way is difficult, but we must begin focusing our efforts in this area as well.

      --CTH

    • When you think about it, people are behind these corperations and they are screwing themseleves as well as us. I just don't understand why these people keep passing tougher and tougher laws.


      In reality, what you don't get is that those people are thoroughly whoring themselves in order to get a quick almighty buck, and are generally too stupid to see the long-term consequences.
  • by gloth (180149) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:26PM (#2195723)
    If an organization calls itself ??AA, it's gonna take away you freedom... MPAA, RIAA, FTAA... makes you wonder what comes next :-)
    • by aralin (107264) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:21PM (#2195912)
      If an organization calls itself ??AA, it's gonna take away you freedom... MPAA, RIAA, FTAA... makes you wonder what comes next :-)

      When you consider that AA stands for American Association in most cases, its very unfortunate that term 'American' is associated with anti-freedom efforts here.
  • Law upon law... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr.Spaz (468833) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:33PM (#2195747)
    Civil disobedience, anyone? This kind of legislation is equivalent to the police smashing down your door because you pop open the TV set you bought labeled "Do not open, refer to authorized service center" on the back. If they're going to sell it to me, there is no one on this Earth that can say what I can and cannot do with it. Oh, I know, they're only "leasing" you the software bits. Uh-huh. I'm all for action. If it gets bad enough, I say we resort to busting crackers out of jail and straight-out open resistance. You can't step on people with laws like this forever.
    • Re:Law upon law... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by metatruk (315048) on Monday August 20, 2001 @02:33AM (#2196321)
      I'm all for action. If it gets bad enough, I say we resort to busting crackers out of jail and straight-out open resistance.

      That would not be civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is simply the refusal to obey certain laws that are unjust, while being completely passive. The DMCA prohibits "Circumvention of copyright protection systems." [www.loc.gov8081] Henry David Thoreau didn't pay his taxes because he disagreed with the government's stance regarding the abolitionist cause and the Mexican War. Thoreau willfully went to jail for his act of protest. That is what civil disobedience is, Not using any force at all.

      So what can we do? Do what Henry David Thoreau did. If enough people do this, the laws would change.

      The problems are:

      Arrogance - Most people are not willing to go to jail for this.

      Ignorance - Most people aren't aware of the DMCA and how it affects everyone.

      Apathy - Most people figure that the DMCA doesn't really affect them, since they wouldn't try and circumvent copyright protection anyway.

      The solution is education. People need to get off their asses and educate their friends, neighbors, and colleagues about the problems [anti-dmca.org] with the DMCA, and what they need to do to help. [anti-dmca.org]

    • Just don't buy products from companies whose politics you can't stomach. That's all the "Civil Disobedience" you need. Pity the average man on the street will never understand why he shouldn't buy CDs and DVDs from the mainstream publishers.


      At least a garage band can burn a CD if they want to. How hard is it for a unlicensed movie house to burn a DVD that will play in the average player? With all the "Copy Protection" crap they're trying to jam down our throats, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before a garage band finds it similarly difficult to make a CD. And the RIAA's been going after anyone with an MP3 on their web page, whether it's actually infringing on a copyright or not. So your garage band could get its web page shut down for posting their MP3s on the web, because their ISP will shit itself and shut them down immediately as soon as they get that E-Mail from the RIAA lawyers. I've heard of several instances of this happening thus far; I'm surprised civil rights suits havn't been filed against the RIAA and the offending ISP...

    • Civil disobedience, anyone?

      Sure...

      If it gets bad enough, I say we resort to busting crackers out of jail and straight-out open resistance.

      Not such a good thing. There are LOTS of things to do first:

      • Educate the public. When most people hear the terms "Hacker" or even "Cracker", they think "People who break into computers to steal my money" or "People who break into computers to sabotage industry plans". I don't think that anyone who knows what Sklyarov did would want to see him in prison. Many people who just heard "he's a hacker" will support leaving him there.
      • This includes educating courts - as much as many of us hate lawyers, they *are* people, and I'm sure most will actually listen to reason
      • Complaining on /. and the likes won't help - people who care enough to read those sources already know what's going on. We need to get mainstream press to pick it up.
      • Vote. And not for a Microsoft-sponsored anti-freedom lobbyist like certain people controlling certain governments ATM


      Busting people out of jail may cure the symptoms, but won't help fixing the problems, acutally it'll make things worse (the public would perceive us as a threat, and therefore support stronger laws against "hackers").

      Ignoring laws that don't make sense (DMCA and friends) is one thing, breaking those that make sense is a totally different thing.
    • Civil disobedience, anyone? This kind of legislation is equivalent to the police smashing down your door because you pop open the TV set you bought labeled "Do not open, refer to authorized service center" on the back. If they're going to sell it to me, there is no one on this Earth that can say what I can and cannot do with it. Oh, I know, they're only "leasing" you the software bits. Uh-huh. I'm all for action. If it gets bad enough, I say we resort to busting crackers out of jail and straight-out open resistance. You can't step on people with laws like this forever.

      Good idea. We'll form an open source militia, with all our plans published on the internet so that they can be checked and revised by the community. We'll create a secret code for communicating our troop movements, but we'll publish the algorithms so that the enemy won't be denied "fair use" of our messages.

      Then we'll put together a public relations committee to help improve the image of hacking/cracking. Phase 1 will involve us throwing bricks through windows. Phase 2 will involve jailbreaks. Phase 3 will involve rioting and looting in major cities throughout the world. After all this, people can't help but see the validity of our social views.

      Then we'll all live happily ever after.

      Yeah.

    • Re:Law upon law... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by forgetmenot (467513)
      Sometimes the hardest thing to do is take a stand for something you believe in. Street protests are not enough. A previous poster mentioned we need learn to abandon our self-interests and to stand behind "leaders" such as the EFF. That's not enough either.

      If we truly want to affect change we must begin with ourselves. Break the habits! In this case it means making a firm resolution to NOT purchase, use, disseminate, or in any way involve oneself with the products/services created by the corporations who are the primary backers of legislation like the DMCA.

      Too many of us, myself included, bitch and moan about M$, the RIAA, MPAA, etc, etc.. but we still use M$ Products at home or work, we still buy CD's put out by RIAA artists, and we still pay to see movies/DVDs put out by MPAA companies.

      Corporations care about one thing: the bottom dollar. If we want change then that is where they need to be hurt. Protest - yes. Support the EFF - yes. BUT, also refuse to work with MS products (there are plenty of UNIX jobs out there, and you can always use Linux at home). Stop listing to music from RIAA artists (that means not buying, not giving or accepting as gifts, and even not "pirating" it), and stop seeing/renting/pruchasing movies put out MPAA companies. Don't even give these things away if you already have them. Garbage them altogether and if anyone asks for god's sake tell them why!

      Hopefully you will feel "discomfort" at losing the things you've taken for granted. Good. Discomfort creates awareness. Hopefully people close to you will notice and will ask giving you opportunity to explain and spread the word (don't preach though, action is the best example).

      As a last resort, we can all move en-masse to a derelict gun platform in the middle of the North Sea and create our own state. ;)
  • I fear that these type of laws and treaties will become more common in the next few years. The "content industry" is struggling to reclaim the territory they slowly lost over the years. Napster made it painfully obvious to them that the whole industry has been asleep at the wheel.

    Unfortunately, by blinding lashing out at the community we are just that much further from reaching a compromise between consumers and companies.
  • The DMCA is twisted! and wrong! Twisted and wrong!

    Dang, this means moving to canada will not make me safe.

    In fact, I might be stuck in another country that has no free speech, and no human rights, and a stricter DMCA.

    • Re:Canada (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikethegeek (257172) <blair@nosPam.NOwcmifm.comSPAM> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:45PM (#2195791) Homepage
      "In fact, I might be stuck in another country that has no free speech, and no human rights, and a stricter DMCA. "

      You might be more right than you know. The US Constitution will eventually cause the demise of the worst of the DMCA, that is, if an honest judge ever hears a case (not a MPAA shill like Kaplan). It hasn't happened yet, but it eventually will, as the fair use rights circumvention in the DMCA are contrary to years of Supreme Court precedent (such as the Betamax case).

      All it should take is a smart lawyer arguing that digital is no different than analog, the only difference is that the IP cartels are LYING about it being different so as to flout the Constitution in ways they were smacked down on in cases relating to analog technology. Judges may be clueless with regard to technology, but they are DEFINATELY not clueless if informed that a "fast one" is being pulled on them.

      However, those who live elsewhere may not have the advantage of having a Constitution written by men who loathed overreaching government more than any other founders.

      And, even here, I'm not completely confident that the Constitution will prevail, as we've suffered under regieme after regieme, both in the white house and in congress since 1933, who have ALL subverted the Constitution for their own personal and political gain.
      • Dream on. The American government is owned and run by corporate interests. The time is rapidly coming when "in the best of public interests" is an antique notion.

        At least Canada has a history of socialism, which makes it a bit more likely to look out for Joe Public. Not that it makes a *lot* of difference, what with the crooks in government.

        • "At least Canada has a history of socialism, which makes it a bit more likely to look out for Joe Public. Not that it makes a *lot* of difference, what with the crooks in government."

          This will be Canada's undoing as well. A socialistic government is already stealing from others to give away goodies to you. Where is the moral difference between using force of a gun to steal from someone, and using the force of government (also a gun) to steal from someone?

          A government powerful enough to give things to you also has the power to take away from you. I prefer a government, such as that under the US Constitution, that DENIES such power to the government. Unfortunately, the US Constitution has been given but bare lip service for many years now, and the DMCA is one result.

          Ergo, the MORE socialistic (ie, like Canada in your view) the US has become, the MORE authoritarian and powerful the government has become. Which, in turn, corrupts it and allows corps to buy what they want. Face it, the welfare state takes a lot of cash to run, corps have the cash to keep it running, and in turn, gets a disporportionate amount of leverage as a result.

          Shrink the government, make it live within the law (Constitution), and you will have less corruption.
          • Pshaw. Canada's socialized medical system is less expensive to run (ie. it costs less to deliver equivalent services) than America's private for-profit system. And any corporate taxation used to run that system is ultimately passed on down to the consumer, who always bears the brunt of business costs.

            Shrink the government, insist that it look after its public before it looks after businesses, and you'll have the world by the balls. Doesn't much matter if it's communist, libertarian, or capitalist in that case...

            Hmmm. I guess my point boils down to this: a government that doesn't look after its people isn't a government worth having.

            • Canada's socialized medical system is less expensive to run (ie. it costs less to deliver equivalent services) than America's private for-profit system

              I think a great deal depends on what you mean by "equivalent services," including access to high-tech tools and lack of waiting lists for major operations.

              As of 1990, for example, Canada has only 12 magnetic resonance imaging units, compared to more than 900 in the United States. There are 2.5 times as many CAT scanners in Seattle as in the entire province of British Columbia. Canada has only 11 open-heart surgery centers, compared to 783 in the United States. The United States has six times as many lithotripsy units as Canada.

              Of course, half of health care dollars in the US come from the US Government, so we're 50% socialized anyway...
              • Canada has about 10% of the population of the US. Still, you say, that means we should have 90 MRI machines, and 78 open-heart surgery centres to bring us up to US "standards". Guess what?

                Canadians actually have ACCESS to these resources! If I live in the US, it doesn't matter if there are 100 MRI machines in my city, because unless I am quite wealthy or have medical insurance I most likely can't afford the procedure! And if I do have insurance, HMO's have a history of denying "non-essential" diagnostic procedures or demanding the procedure be done at a certain location anyway.

                In Canada, MRI, or open-heart surgery, or a liver transplant, or arthroscopic knee surgery is FREE! Yes, folks, "free as in beer"! NO CHARGE TO YOU SIR, YOU'RE A CANADIAN! The question Americans should be asking is: if 50% of their healthcare is paid for by the government (ie. their taxes), WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE NOT HAVE ACCESS? Think about that one for a while.
              • my point boils down to this: a government that doesn't look after its people isn't a government worth having

              More: a government ostensibly of the people that actually views itself as being separate from the people isn't worth having.

              The USA already have a politican superclass, and in 2001, took an amazing step back towards having a hereditary monarchy. I guess what goes around comes around.


          • Where is the moral difference between using force of a gun to steal from someone, and using the force of government (also a gun) to steal from someone?

            A social contract, and a choice; either abide by the contract, or you're free to leave.
            • Re:Canada (Score:2, Insightful)

              Where is the moral difference between using force of a gun to steal from someone, and using the force of government (also a gun) to steal from someone?



              By this analogy, aren't you stealing from them by driving on THEIR roads? Using THEIR power lines?



              Governments ask money, but they repay this in services... infrastructure, education, health, law (yes, law is SUPPOSED to be a service to the people, to allow the protection of personal freedoms.. just this doesn't always happen). If they don't do this, there IS no government. They effectively don't exist.



              The difference between more socialist countries (Canada, Australia, UK - hell, just about everyone) and the US is that you pay more, but you're supposed to get more - say, full education, full health care (not necessarily the best health care, but adequate), unemployment benefits.



              Another ideological reason for socialist governments is the a government should be involved with all citizens - not in the totalitarian sort of way, but in a democratic way. The government does stuff for you, on a regular basis. If you don't like it, you can get involved and change it. Heck, we ARE the government, we picked these people. This link seems to have been lost in the US - the government is not representative of the people it rules.



              This post is about truth, beauty, freedom, and above all things, Karma.



      • Re:Canada (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mpe (36238)
        The US Constitution will eventually cause the demise of the worst of the DMCA, that is, if an honest judge ever hears a case (not a MPAA shill like Kaplan).

        The way things are going organised lobbying, both from megacorps and political interest groups may well be the demise of the US Constitution. The former tend to attack the IP clause, 1st, 4th & 5th ammendments, the latter tending to go more for the 10th and 14th
        Also all of these people are masters at making their motivation (be it prevention of "piracy" or protection of "minorities") appear completly reasonable.

        All it should take is a smart lawyer arguing that digital is no different than analog, the only difference is that the IP cartels are LYING about it being different so as to flout the Constitution in ways they were smacked down on in cases relating to analog technology. Judges may be clueless with regard to technology, but they are DEFINATELY not clueless if informed that a "fast one" is being pulled on them.

        Though they appear able to fool a lot more people than simply judges and lawyers. e.g. The USPO apparently taking the view that using a computer equates to innovation (even if the method involved predates Christ.) Let alone that the DMCA was apparently passed without even being read.

        However, those who live elsewhere may not have the advantage of having a Constitution written by men who loathed overreaching government more than any other founders

        However holding up any constitution as some kind of "holy document" rendres it worthless. The people who wrote the US constitution would probably have taken action at least 20 years ago (before things got to the point that sufficent action carried a high risk of civil war.)
  • First Seattle, then Quebec City. Boring. Protestors can't come up with any more interesting arguments.

    Even older news: Most of the industrialized world's leaders signed treates in 1996 [ic.gc.ca] (!) to enforce copyright law and property law. The FTAA has little to do with these treaties that were signed yonks ago.

    I wish the Jihad here would find a way to quash the myth that the open source movements are about taking property rights away. You are behaving exactly like they say you are and it isn't helping you any.

  • Correct Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by ReadParse (38517) <john@funnyUMLAUTcow.com minus punct> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:36PM (#2195758) Homepage
    The link should point to the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org], which is different that the Eisenhower Fellowships [eef.org].

    Cheers,
    RP
  • Times like this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Medieval_Gnome (250212) <medgno.medievalgnome@org> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:43PM (#2195781) Homepage
    It's times like this you just have to feel hopeless. We (meaning the good ol' US of A) have captured a Russian giving a speech showing that some 'industry quality' encryption was nothing more than a XOR with a constant byte, and passed laws that give harsher penalties to programmers than to some murderes! And the worst part is that nobody else seems to CARE!

    (And watch as I am moderated to -1 for this comment)
    • by blang (450736) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:38PM (#2195965)
      And the worst part is that nobody else seems to CARE!


      What did you expect? We're living in a democracy. It doesn't mean things will be OK, or even acceptable. It means that the country is (ideally) ruled by the majority of the people.
      So what we get is the dictatorship of the majority. Most people are stupid, so they deserve stupid laws. They even deserve a stupid president. Just too bad nobody recognizes the joke is on them.

      • We are *not* living in a democracy. If it was democratic, you'd have a voice in the matter. Did you hear anyone asking you if the DMCA is a good idea? Did you even have much of a foggiest notion that that P.O.S. legislation was coming down the pike?

        Hell, no.

        It's a republic: the most voice you get is to choose some lamer to "represent" your interests. Provided, of course, that your interests benefit him.
        • You got a point.


          But consider what'd happen if any of these issues had come up in a popular vote?


          If you let the people have a say, you would end up with free ice cream, maybe free beer, and no free speach.

            • If you let the people have a say, you would end up with free ice cream, maybe free beer, and no free speach.

            That's the same cynicism that's at the heart of the "benevolent dictatorship" attitude of modern government. We're too dumb to know what we want, so we need a politican class (hereditary, even) to rule over us.

            Frankly, I think we'd be better having referenda about everything. I do agree that in the short term, We, the People would screw up and hurt ourselves with our own greed (as we experience actual democracy for the first time since Athens) but, as with Athens, I reckon we'd get smart fairly quickly.

            It's got to be worth a try.

        • We are *not* living in a democracy. If it was democratic, you'd have a voice in the matter. Did you hear anyone asking you if the DMCA is a good idea?

          Yeah, someone did ask actually.

          Ever been to a voting booth? No, I didn't think so. Neither have most of the people posting all this crap "let's get up and do something!" rhetoric.

          You want to change the world? Then vote for the best man for the job. Anyone who doesn't vote loses their right to complain about what happens when so-and-so gets elected.

      • I wasn't asked to vote for this, the only democratic element in the US is elections. Then you have your oligarchy-element (congress) and your monarch-element (president).

        Fortunately, this isn't a goverment design problem as much as it is a soft-money, "government is the shadow cast by big business" type problem - which is true of all governments. We simply don't have enough protections or an acknowledged voice that let us seperate business from government.

        You're right, the majority does rule but only in elections, err in theory. Almost forgot about Mr. Bush and company.
      • So what we get is the dictatorship of the majority.

        Look, it's not as though jubilant throngs are filling the streets, demanding anti-circumvention laws. What's going on here is that most people are either unaware or indifferent, and there is a power vacuum -- where there is no popular interest, vested interests have full sway. The solution to this is not griping about democracy, but rather taking action to make your opinion known, and to educate others.

        The technology community (i.e. us) shares a lot of blame for the DMCA's passage. Discussion of technology issues in legislatures, courts, and media is confused and uninformed. And here we are, the people with the information that would inform this debate, and what do we do? Do we work to spread the word? Do we lobby our representatives? Do we provide simple, clear, explanations of the issues to the public? Do we work to communicate with non-technology people of all kinds, on their own terms, finding ways of educating and informing instead of simply looking down on their ignorance?

        Well, the EFF does some of this. Yay for them!

        But most of us just sit on our asses and tap away little flames about political philosophy for other members of our little geek ghetto to read. Great.

        This is not a tyranny of the majority; it's a tyranny of those who are capable of taking effective action over those who aren't. And whose fault is that?
    • "And the worst part is that nobody else seems to CARE! "

      I mentioned part of the Decss case and this new adobe one to my father who is very intelligent and aware of the situation. He told me time magazine said only crackers were going to jail and it was also backed up by the "new York times". Well aol-timewarner owns time magazine and the new york times itself got the term "hacker" and "cracker" mixed up. I explained decss is not used to copy movies but it just decrypts them and sends out the raw data for playing it. He replied "Well, pirating is huge and hollywood needs to protect its intellectual property from criminals and decss makes it very easy to steal via decryption. Even if someone just wants to legally watch a film, the technology can be abused so it should be outlawed. Its not like their isn't software available to watch them that usually comes with the dvd drive." I emailed my brother about the MPAA vs Decss and he also agreed with hollywood and my father.

      My point, is that most americans support this sadly enough because they do not understand programming and opening up something via reverse engineering. They also are senstive to evil hacker and crackers. Last but not least if they use windows then they have a dvd player so they don't understand what the fuss is about. If your a linux user then your rights are taken away. If you a windows user then the dmca does not effect you. You can try to make a case to the average person but since they don't hack or even understand why you need to reverse engineer something, they will likely think your a lunatic or a pirate who is having a fit.

    • Write a letter. Send an e-mail. THEN sit back and feel helpless. Do you know how communism came to Russia? Because a handfull of intellectuals did a good song and dance at a time when power was in flux. Do you know why it failed in the USSR? Because it was discredited in a time of political and economic flux.


      DON'T FEEL POWERLESS. Look at the hundreds here who care enough to say a word or two in protest here. Go to the link. Copy the address and sample letter. Spend fifteen minutes of your day, just fifteen minutes, adding your personal touch to the letter. Print it, stamp it, spend it. If you can't spare 20 minutes of your time saying this isn't right, then yes, our situation is hopeless. (I'm not assuming this is the case with you, Gnome, but so many let feelings of powerlessness stop them from taking action that could make a difference).


      Copy the link. E-mail it to your friends. Keep the word going. If we don't draw a line in the sand no one will.

  • Fascism is the only way to enforce IP laws. They must have control over what you see and what you download. In other words, the government is going to be spying on you big time, not a little bit like before. The FTAA is also a way for the have nations to economically dominate (i.e., enslave) the have-nots since most IP in the western world is owned by Europe and North America.

    There is no stopping it. They are armed to the teeth and they own the mass media. We're all shit out of luck. Goodbye liberty! I will miss you.
    • by mikethegeek (257172) <blair@nosPam.NOwcmifm.comSPAM> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:02PM (#2195852) Homepage
      " Fascism is the only way to enforce IP laws. They must have control over what you see and what you download. In other words, the government is going to be spying on you big time, not a little bit like before. The FTAA is also a way for the have nations to economically dominate (i.e., enslave) the have-nots since most IP in the western world is owned by Europe and North America."

      You make an excellent point. Fascism is on the rise worldwide, though most of the world has ALWAYS been non-free, elective republics being only a recent phenomenon largely condfined to the Western world. And even there, most of the West didn't become democratic until after World War II, only 50 years ago or so.

      History shows that most republics don't last more than 30 generations, the United States being in fact, the LONGEST lasting one. However, given the increasing despotic and authoritarian nature of the US government, I believe an argument can be made that we've already crossed the line into fascism. If we haven't crossed, we're percariously balanced on the edge.

      As I've stated before, I believe the US has been becoming less free since 1933, when our first "king" came in to power (FDR) and single handedly removed all Constitutional restraint on the federal government. All in the name of "empowering government to do more FOR you".

      Well, as you know, everything works both ways, a government that can do things FOR you, has equal power to do things TO you. Such as confiscate on average, about 50% of your income in various direct, indirect, and hidden taxes, so as to fund "bread and circuses" which both buys votes and keeps the majority cowed.
      Giving our government this awesome power is what corrupted it. Who else, but the wealthy and powerful would be able to "buy" the use of this power?

      The DMCA is many ways is the ultimate expression of such abuse, as it's complete narrow-special interest legislation, completely at odds with precedent, the Constitution, and morality. The kangaroo court nature of the 2600 trial exposed just how far the rot has gotten into other instutions. The corps have owned Congress and the White House for many years, but now they own the courts (judges come from lawfirms, who represent corps, who in turn pay obscene "speaking fees" to judges).

      Which is why the DMCA must be fought. Believe me, it's only the BEGINNING of where things are headed, not the end. But nothing will happen so long as the majority of Americans keep looking on the government as some kind of nanny, thus empowering the government to do more for them, which in turn empowers it to do more TO them.

      I'm not optimistic. The "bread and circuses" genie was let out of the bottle almost 70 years ago, and there is no sign of it being even checked, much less reversed. I find it ironic that the MOST evil of all states (Nazi Germany, the USSR, Communist China) are the ones who "take care of" their (obiedient) citizens with handouts stolen from the pockets of others. Somehow though, this gets distorted as "compassion".

      • You should be modded up to a +5. You've written one of the most cogent responses Slashdot has seen in eons.

      • As I've stated before, I believe the US has been becoming less free since 1933, when our first "king" came in to power (FDR) and single handedly removed all Constitutional restraint on the federal government. All in the name of "empowering government to do more FOR you".

        ALL Constitutional restraint? So you're actually claiming no private citizen has won a court case against the US government on Constitutional grounds? That the protective powers of the Constitution aren't invoked every day?

        so as to fund "bread and circuses" which both buys votes and keeps the majority cowed.

        Then leave. The United States doesn't have anti-emigration laws, you're free to go.
        • Re:FDR bashing (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rogerborg (306625)
            • FDR single handedly removed all Constitutional restraint on the federal government
            ALL Constitutional restraint? So you're actually claiming no private citizen has won a court case against the US government on Constitutional grounds? That the protective powers of the Constitution aren't invoked every day?

          And did you ever stop to question why there are so many cases that go to the Supremes on Constitutional grounds? It's because the Legislature and Executive have stopped viewing the Consitution as a guiding principle for their actions, but as the ultimate limitation on them. What FDR did was to say to the Judiciary "I'll pass any damn law I like, and you'll have to strike it down years later when it finally reaches you through the courts."

          Do you see the difference? Laws are passed that the Legislature and Executive know are unconsitutional (heck, ~50% of the Legislature, and the previous President and her husband are members of the American Bar Association), but they basically don't give a damn unless they're pretending to champion the Consitution for propaganda purposes.

          I used to make an effort to not be so cynical about politics, but then I took a good, hard look at what is actually going on, and realised that We, the People, have no say in deciding the laws that effect us. Laws are bought and sold at will, all wrapped up in the sanitised form of bribery known as "campaign contributions"

          Gaa, I give up. Read this [nara.gov] very short taster, and begin to get yourself a clue.

      • I mean, dude, were you smoking crack during your entire educational career? If anything, his interventionist policies and the nature of the structures he put in place would label him as more of a socialist. A "king"? Hardly. Just extremely popular, enough to win four consecutive elections. Last I checked, kings aren't elected.

        50% of your income? That's a suspiciously round number. Round numbers are usually that way because they came out of someone's ass.

        Typical libertarian/conservative bleating about the bad old government peeking into their lives and siphoning money from their pockets. Wake up and smell the representative democracy! The US government is astonishingly open and non-intrusive compared even to other Western democracies (c.f. surveillance in the UK, police powers in the UK such as not having the right to remain silent, encryption laws in France, etc.). WRT taxes, would you like to personally pay for your own mirror of the public goods and services you use, if it would mean paying no taxes? Have fun affording an army/navy/air force to protect you, or police and firemen and EMTs to save you, or several teachers for your kids, or a set of roads for you to drive on, or regulatory people to check the quality of the water you drink, the food you eat, or the meds you take. You get a lot for what you pay, if you'd bother to enumerate it rather than whinge about the cost. I'm proud to pay my taxes, because it means I am contributing to the welfare of my fellow citizens as well as my own via supporting society as a whole.

        Now, of course our society is far from perfect, and we have PLENTY of really, really fucking retarded laws. But I blame the corps for that, and all the other special interests that have warped our democratic processes with ca$h. The only way to fix these imbalances is to get involved with the system, or as was said (by whom I forget, politico from the early 20th iirc) "The only cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy."

        Yeah, I know this is only tangently related to the main topic, but I couldn't bear to see tripe like that get modded up without a response. Mod me down, mod me up, I care not because a) it's only karma, and b) I've got way more than enough karma to not worry about it ;-)
        • >The US government is astonishingly open and non-intrusive compared even to other Western democracies

          Really? Try telling it to Martin Luther King, and every other civil rights activist that Hoover harassed.

          Don't kid yourself, the US government breaks the law *routinely*, to further illegal purposes.

          -jcr
          • All societies have done things that were injustices against members of their populace at one time or another. Of course the US has a checkerd history in this regard. But like I said to another poster, rent and watch "In The Name Of The Father" sometime.
            Or read "The Power of One". The British have an even worse record than we do, and we usually consider them the nice-cute-little-people-with-the-funny-accents-acr oss-the-pond.

            Don't kid yourself, the US government breaks the law *routinely*, to further illegal purposes.

            That's a pretty strong statement. I'm sure that in the vast depth and breadth of things the US gov has done over time, yes, in later examination, some of those things would be wrong. But it's not like FBI agents are out there shooting up smack before the drive to work and shooting a few minorities on the way just for kicks.
          • 50% of your income? That's a suspiciously round number. Round numbers are usually that way because they came out of someone's ass

          And so, the actual figure would be...? What's that? You don't know? My, what a surprise.

          • police powers in the UK such as not having the right to remain silent

          Oh dear. You have the right to remain silent, but if you do not mention something which you later use in your defence, this fact may be noted to the court. This is the limitation of the law. Scary, huh? You may now return to your US-A-OK idyll.

          • I'm proud to pay my taxes

          And are you happy about contributing to the reputed $30 billion annual budget of the NSA (yes, that's pulled out of my ass, feel free to go ahead and find out how much they get and tell us), most of which is spent monitoring US citizens, because, shucks, it's just too darn hard to keep track of those slippery foreigners? Or is your civic duty as a good, loyal citizen, to pay up and smile your happy, docile smile?

          • And so, the actual figure would be...?

            depends on your income, as even the most cursory glance at a tax booklet would tell you

            You may now return to your US-A-OK idyll.


            Riiight. And any defense lawyer worth their salt would shot that prosecution tactic full of holes.
            Is our legal system infalliable? hell no. But it's a damn sight better than most others out there. Watch "In The Name Of The Father" sometime.

            WRT intelligence agencies and the military, yes, well, I wish all that money were being spent on something I consider more worthwhile like education or something. however, the essence of democracy is compromise, not "fuck off! out of my yard! I don't need anyone (but could you pleez not turn off my water?)!" which seems to be the core of most "I'm a libertarian goddamnit!" coder philosophy.

            Further, your allegations that the majority of the NSA's budget or their mission focus is devoted to domestic surveillance are pretty much just that. Worth about precisely jack over squat until you can dig up some proof.
            And while you're doing that consider that if you were in a place like the UK or France or (heaven forbid) the PRC, you wouldn't have something like the Freedom of Information Act on your side.

            happy, docile smile.

            I am proud to be a citizen, and I am proud when I can contribute to the society that I live in. Like a true sports fan who can honestly analyse his favorite team, a true patriot does not blindly give his loyalty to his country. It is our duty to look for problems in our society and fix them.
            Eternal vigilence and a desire to see your society be the best it can be, well, I don't think that in any way equates to docile.
        • > encryption laws in France.

          Hehe. It's always a source of wonder for me to realize how brainwashed and ignorant good American patriots can be.

          FYI, this whole hysteria about encryption laws in France is only due to the fact that France was 8 or 10 months late compared to the US in liberalizing its encryption rules. And this delay basically corresponds to the delay in the development of the Internet. Today the encryption rules are more liberal in France than in the US, and the French legal system about encryption is the most comprehensive in any developed country.

          It's not really your governement, by the way, which is intrusive. This childish pseudo-libertarian American mistrust against western democratic governments which have basically become harmless to their citizens, hides the real point: more and more preposterous, anti-freedom and "unAmerican" laws are passed because many industries pour billions (literally) into lobbying. Americans are strange people: they cherish the idea of freedom, but most of them never think about defending themselves against the enormous servitudes enforced by their form of capitalism (oh, I forgot, regulation is against freedom, right?).
  • Serfs UP! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dutchmaan (442553)
    Each new law seems to shave away another form of the consumer actually owning anything. What's next..building all our towns around the corporate castle so we can run inside if we're the target of a hostile takeover...

    Every year we move closer and closer to a true corporate feudalism... Funny thing is, we're very willing to give them the power to do it if they throw a free toaster or the equivalent our way...

    Can someone please unclick the "repeat button" on the history maker.... At the very least put it on shuffle!
      • building all our towns around the corporate castle so we can run inside if we're the target of a hostile takeover...

      I laughed at this, and then I remembered Kanata, Canada, home of the Nortel Collective and associated parasitic telcos. You're not far off the truth; the whole Ottowan suburb is one big telco housing estate. Every second billboard is a telco recruitment poster, the talk radio stations talk about nothing but telcos and the weather, heck, the dedicated Nortel Recruitment Centre is bigger than my office block. Lead the way, Canada. ;)

  • by qwerty123 (63677) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:59PM (#2195836) Journal
    The EFF is not opposed to the FTAA because they're trying to extend the DMCA. Instead is the JLA who have allied with MSFT in an attempt to subvert NASA into not using CDA so the RIAA falls because as we all know MSFT is trying to capture all 3 and 4 letter domains so they can patent all abbrivations of names. The is SWC signing out.
  • Ideas are unique in that I may freely share my ideas with you without diminishing my own knowledge. The digital age has made it so that many other media are also reproducible at neglible cost to the individual.

    By constrast, Intellectual Property Law serves the legitimate purpose of attempting to guarantee that the originator of an idea or creative work can earn income based on his creation without competing with others who grasp what it is he has done. Unfortunately quite often digital technology circumvents this process my allowing people free access to music, art, books, software, etc. without ever compensating the inventor.

    Ultimately fair use comes from the principal that people should be able to use portions of a work when doing so is not for financial gain and to do so does not cause a lost of income to the property rights holder. As long as people percieve that they are losing money, they are not going to be happy about technologies that allow for copying and sharing.

    This is something that the world will have to confront. I don't think the answer is to shut down the development and use of technology. Clearly when people are using technologies for illegal financial advantages, they can be targetted with existing law. The question is what to do with all the small time players who only "steal" a few MP3s or a little software?

    What I would like to see is a paradigm shift in how we think about digital information and creative works. A world where music, movies, software, etc. are entirely free and subsidized by the government could be a wonderful place to live. Of course with fewer or no economic incentives the produce these works, one might lose quality people who value the huge profits of today. Trnasitioning to such a world would be a hard sell and lengthy process. Perhaps if subscription services become the norm then we can progress until everyone pays a flat tax for "entertainment & software services".

    It could happen...
    • It could happen...

      Sweet. Then we can have edgy and innovative entertainment and software from the likes of phone companies, the USPS, and others who have zero incentive to innovate or compete, and possibly even a disincentive in that they may fall off the gravy train if they rock the boat.

      Thanks but no thanks. Count me out. I'd take to sucking corporate ass on a daily basis before having the government say what is good and not good in software and entertainment. Think back to the early nineties with the whole NEA thing, or Ed Meese and the pornography crusade before that. Just because we elect them doesn't mean they don't fsck up on a fairly regular basis (DMCA anyone?).
  • by idonotexist (450877) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:15PM (#2195902)
    A true free trade agreement is one for liberalization allowing for the free flow of goods. Certainly IP should be covered, but not to this extent. DMCA is anti-liberalization and hampers the development of technological advances.

    Given the importance of this issue, it seems having lobbying/communication is required in Latin American nations regarding this subject.

    How can this issue be communicated to those in Latin America with potential interest/influence of local governments? Has someone forward this information to Miguel de Iczara? I understand he has connections to the current administration in Mexico. Perhaps there are technological associations in Latin America who may be communicated this issue and rallied?

    Given the effect of the DMCA in the US, American citizens probably have little influence --- maybe those in Latin America can make a difference.

  • And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

    And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.


    -Revelation 13:16-17 (KJV)


    Not that many Slashdotters are the Bible reading type, but passages like these become scarier and scarier to me whenever I hear about these types of laws that put more control on the marketplaces being proposed world-wide. Seems like DMCA and similar laws being thrown about there could just be the beginning of total control over the consumers. Could we one day see laws that not only say HOW we can use our purchased goods, but also say WHO can purchase in the first place?


    The idea is scary, even if one doesn't believe in such scriptures.

    • "to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name"

      Kind of like ms passport with future nano-technology Without a monthly feee to microsoft you can not go shopping can not use the atm, etc. And to use passport you need to sign a draconian EULA claiming Bill Gates lord.

      hehe

      Anyway here is what the phrase in the book of Revelation 13 means. " ..he that had the mark, or the name of the best, or the number of his name." .(slightly offtopic)

      The number of his name refered to in the passage is 666. In ancient times numerology was huge and the early christians/Jews used the number 6 meaning man, and the number 7 meaning hevenly or godly. 7 was used alot for things like Jesus, god, and the holy spirit. 777 is the trinity in other words. 666 = man, man, man, meaning a false trinity. Their will be Satan as god, the anti-christ as his son, and an evil spirit to brainwash his followers. I don't think this is hollywood so don't worry but hollywood does represents greed, pride, selfshiness, sex, voilence, lust any sin representing man, etc. What is really scary is the part on the mark which may apply soon. The hand and head are great heatsources of power to provide nano-technology so expect embed nano-chips to be inside. Under the dmca and now this new upcoming trade law, the anti-christ can prosecute those who disable them or find out how they work in order to buy food. A sig of the end times is when society will become greedy and worship their creations (technology), and their achievements and I love this qoute "..there has never been a time like this.." being applied to the time when the anti-christ comes. Now can you name any other time where the world had great wealth, technology, communications, medicine, pride, etc ? Hmmm Anyway back to bashing the DMCA....

  • by Bonker (243350) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:45PM (#2195986)
    Kudos to the EFF for jumping on this and drawing negative publicity to it before it becomes as big a thorn in the collective side of the public as the DMCA. Of course, signed treaties are an order of magnitude harder to overcome than laws.

    BUT...

    Those who care have been fighting this sort of thing on an emergency basis. We have to shoot down ever single encroachment on our rights in response to those encroachments.

    Instead, why don't we do the same thing that those trying to take away our freedoms are doing and start sponsoring treaties or laws that protect those freedoms. Seriously, the EFF is in prime position to start this kind of lobbying! Let's just get a few legal hotshots to start authoring 'sponsored' legislation like the RIAA, MPA, and BSA have done. Let's start contacting other governments and get them to start thinking about treaties that protect public domain and fair use.

    The idea here is to fight fire with fire. Treaties can often 'trump' laws, but with the right treaty in place...

    C'mon, if I'm gonna pay a membership fee to the EFF, I'd like to see some of it used for proactive work like this.
      • I'm gonna pay a membership fee to the EFF, I'd like to see some of it used for proactive work like this

      I'd like them working towards having more declaratory judgements make, like Felton's DMCA suit. It should be cheaper than defending a case, and if the MP-/RI-/FT-AA want to step in with Friend of Court filings to block it, we get a fighting chance to grab the moral (and media) high ground, rather than starting from the propaganda losing position of being evil hackers threatening the Aye-merican way.

  • Arguments about free speech, liberty, fair usage will not make any impact on the CEOs of the major content providers. They do understand, and they laugh.

    These arguments won't have any impact on our Congress because for the most part, our elected officials lack the intellectual ability to comprehend them, and in any case, they can be considered employees of the content providers.

    What's left? Figuring out how to make the anti-democratic behavior of the content providers unprofitable by whatever means necessary.

    Economic boycott against targeted content providers would be a good start.

  • Since /.'s new lameness filter is, well, lame, and won't let me just post this list of email addresses, I'll post a link instead.

    Those of us in Canada should write concise, polite emails to these people [steenerson.com], outlining your objections to the expansion of draconian copyright legislation to our country.

    Make your voice heard, but do it in a civil way. Spam and mail bombs will not win people over to our side.

    • I'm drafting my letter as we speak.

      As an aside, since we tech types aren't unionized, what do you think about a strike? Like all the NB and BC nurses, Vancouver transit workers, etc?

      We geek tend to not speak our minds out loud (exchanging packets in meatspace), but can you imagine every single server and workstation in North America not working for month end? "Oops, they are doing a diagnostic/crashed and will have to be restored from tape/I didn't know what that button did."

      Wouldn't that draw the attention of the masses to what we feel are unjust and frankly, idiotic laws?

      Just a thought...

  • The DMCA is soooo silly.

    Of course, we have to fight it and the EFF is right. Also, folks like Aimster [aimster.com] are proving that the DMCA can just as effectively be used to defend piracy. They assume that the "software publishers" will necesarily be large corporations. Thankfully, subversives can also publish software and manipulate the BS that is the DMCA.

    Of course, folks like RMS might argue that this is so they can then pass new legislation to stop subversives from publishing software, as he describes in The Right to Read. [gnu.org] This is why it's still totally necesary to fight these restrictions to our rights. Still. The DMCA is sooooo silly.
  • I am pleased to see that the libertarian-minded slashdot readership has joined the other ideological groups already opposing the FTAA in its current form.

    Opposition to the FTAA is hardly a new thing. Many will remember the recent Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, where the FTAA was a major issue. There, a throng of protesters, estimated between 25,000 and 35,000 in number clashed with 6,000 riot police over the agreement.

    Trying to oppose something as big as the FTAA, however, can be less than a walk in the park. I was walking down a street in the Quebec City centre where a circle of demonstrators were sitting, making speeches and singing protest songs, just before they were hit by a volley of tear gas cannisters from riot police. Political repression ain't just an American phenomenon. America saw it in Seattle, but the rest of the free world is getting the benefit of the experience these days.

    Just how serious expressing ones political opinion can get these days became obvious to me as I watched the rubber-coated bullets fire and the tear gas fly. A Canadian Member of Parliament, Svend Robinson, who attended the protest, was shot with a rubber bullet, himself.

    For more info on where opposition to the FTAA began, see the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's report on police actions [cbc.ca] and main page on the summit [cbc.ca].

    • I am pleased to see that the libertarian-minded slashdot readership has joined the other ideological groups already opposing the FTAA in its current form.

      This move is clearly an EFF pander to the newfound popularity of anti-capitalist, anti-free-trade gtoups. The DMCA sucks, and I'm sure the "I'll argue gold standard all night" libertarians don't like the FTAA, but the truth is that the FTAA is one of the planks of freeing hemispheric trade, and overall is a good one for economic development of Latin America (why are all those democracies participating?)

      Copyright is not going away, but hopefully the DMCA will look a bit more reasonable after some court cases, but let's not join with the anti-capitalists that are trying to take us back to the last millenium.
  • by blang (450736) on Monday August 20, 2001 @01:44AM (#2196255)
    That many people are now robbed of their right to free speech may utlimately cause a renaissance for free speech. I've heard stories from Russia, how during the Breshjnev period, there were lots of underground theater groups. Profound books were written, criticizing the regime. Protest singers were among the most popular artists. There was this guy singing about the wolfs, running through the woods with the wolfs biting at his heels. The song was really about the regime.


    Because of the censorship, they had to hide their messages, using creative images and fables. The people knew instinctively that these messages were important and they craved them.


    Then Glasnost came about, and eventually the Iron Carpet came down. Suddenly the people were free. Starved of free speech, there was a short flurry of popular political activity, with large political meetings, marches and what not.


    Then things settled down, and one day they woke up. All this new stuff they had been denied all these years was now available. What a disappointment it must have been to them to discover that although the political messages in the western press might be of a different color, most of the stuff was ads, tabloid reporting on celebrities, porn, worthless fiction, stupid game shows, and soap operas. We fought all these years to hear the message from the other side, and all they have to tell us is "Drink Coca Cola?"


    If I was Russion, I'd drown myself in vodka, too.


    And what has this to do with the DMCA? Just the fact that it will force U.S citizens to be vigilant (break the DMCA laws) in order to have their free speech. By being in opposition to the ruling regime (the megacorps), U.S citizens can enjoy the excitement of getting their free speech, in spite of the regime. Now it's worth something. Hard to come by free speech is valuable. Gratis free speech is worthless.

      • By being in opposition to the ruling regime (the megacorps), U.S citizens can enjoy the excitement of getting their free speech, in spite of the regime. Now it's worth something. Hard to come by free speech is valuable. Gratis free speech is worthless

      Well said. Rights are what you demand and assert, not what you are granted.

    • Because of the censorship, they had to hide their messages, using creative images and fables. The people knew instinctively that these messages were important and they craved them.

      In Russia, it was hardly possible for the government to control the distribution of those messages. They might occassionally catch someone, but Russia is too big a country to control every citizen 24 hours a day.

      In the western world, we now have internet control legislation. European law enforcement tries to pressure the european comission into making it a requirement for ISPs to record all transmission and store them for something like 7 years. We also have camera surveillance. Today, there are ways to control every citizen most of the time.

      Then Glasnost came about

      Glasnost didn't just "come about." People died fighting the putschist tanks in Moscow when communist leaders revolted against Gorbatchov (sp?). The east german goverment had tanks ready during demonstrations to violently fight them down. Some demonstrations in eastern countries were oppressed violently.

      I'd rather fight the DMCA now, before people need to risk life and liberty waiting for Glasnost to come. Then again, people already risk life and liberty protesting against the goverments (take a look at what happened in Genoa just a few weeks ago).

  • by Caged (24585) on Monday August 20, 2001 @02:13AM (#2196297)
    The battle for control over the freedom of information and the right to use digital information with the same 'fair use' conventions as those of the analog versions is over. The corporations have already won, we havent even realised it yet.

    We, slashdot readers, are the minority of people who actually care about such issues. The average person, the majority of the population, does not care and has been dumbed down by years of propaganda. Joe Blow doesnt have time to care about the rights he has for using and watching his DVD, he just wants to be able to see them. The corporations behind such digital control acts have done their work well. They have consistently portrayed all those opposing such works as pirates seeking to rip off honest companies. They have been working behind the scences, lobbying governments to put in place laws and structures restricting copyright. Indeed, earlier laws introduced by the USA, has merely 'softened up' the public for subsequent ones.

    Any lobbying by the EFF or other freedom organisation will be portrayed in the media as the work of extremists and ignored as such. I have repeatedly written polite letters to members of parliment about important issues (I live in Australia, sigh) and I usually get a 'thank you for your interest' response.

    Now, the EU is issuing a Directive to other Eurpoean states to pass laws similar to the DMCA, while not binding, you can bet that the states will be pressured to comply. With millions of consumers living under such laws, the rest of the world will a)be subject to the rule of those laws (Skarlov (sp?)case in point) b)be pressured by the companies to introduce similar laws.

    Game Over!
    • Now, the EU is issuing a Directive to other European states to pass laws similar to the DMCA

      It received the final approval on April 9. The final version, with official translations was published on May 22.

      The timeframe for the implementation of the directive in all EU countries, is 18 months. In other words, 22nd December 2002.

      For background information check eurorights.org [eurorights.org]
  • In the beginning Freedom first arose amongst the Greeks, but she was not fully fledged and was young and naive. She eventually left the minds of Humankind until she gently entered the minds of some Knights in 1215, who then put the seeds of Democracy into written Law at Runnymede. However, she was not content with this and yearned for a place and a time when Humankind would be of Free thought and Will.

    Eventually, some bright scientific minds working in a large English colony on an Eastern Coast of a large land mass started to think up great and wonderful ideals, likes of which She had only ever dreamed of! Events took their stride and a land based upon the greatest of human Ideals became a reality: Thus the United States of America came into existence:

    With it she bought these values unto the Land:

    Freedom
    Justice
    And the Free Pursuit of Happiness

    She thought her job was done and so went off to Europe, where her work was even more hard. But after almost two hundred years she thought her job was done. Little did She know, for one so Old, that her job is never done. A new threat emerged after the great battle of the years 1939-1945 and the Cold War years of 1945-1991. Little did she know that what was made to protect the small person in his pursuit of Happiness would turn into something so perverted that it would threaten his very rightful right to Happiness and reward. And it came through a system She thought would suit the Freedom of the individual from exploitation; The Law. The DMCA as it became known, was bought forth by a Monopoly of studio's to help keep them in their lofty position, free to carve up the World into regions to maximise profit.

    She is always an eternal optimist and has to rely on others to know the Rules of Tyranny:

    "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
    - Frederick Douglass, civil rights activist, Aug. 4, 1857

    Any power that can be abused will be abused.
    - Tyranny Law #1

    Abuse always expands to fill the limits of resistance to it.
    - Tyranny Law #2

    If people don't resist the abuses to others, they will have no one to resist the abuses to themselves, and tyranny will prevail.
    - Tyranny Law #3"

    Are we to enter a new Dark Age?

    These are Churchill's words during the Battle of Britain:

    "if we can stand up to him [Hitler] all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age..."

    This new Dark Age maybe thus:

    " if we can stand up to them [DMCA et al] all the World may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age..."

    Protracted and extended by Ignorance of the populace, they will work their lives, but something will be missing. Real Freedom, of expression and of Thought. These were now being patented and protected through Software patents, how long till they patented expressions and thoughts? Or is this already so?

    Yet there is a Glimmer of hope, a hope small but visible. In small houses and apartments around the Western around people, men and women are worrying and thinking of things to do. Knowledge is there to be shared, to help Humankind ascend the mountain of Higher Being.

    StarTux
  • by IIH (33751) on Monday August 20, 2001 @05:04AM (#2196556)
    Free speech is alive and well in the US, but we have to be accurate about the meaning of free in this new coporation context. "Free speech" now means free as in "beer" not free as in "speech", which allows you to say anything that doesn't cost anything. As soon as what you say costs something, (i.e. affects someone's bottom line), it is no longer free speech, and will no longer be protected. As an aside, so long as you are over 21, you are free to drink alcohol, and this "allowance" is free as in speech, not free as in beer.

    Welcome to doublethink America, where because liberty has a price of eternal vigilance, it can no longer be regarded as free.

  • ...that the lobby groups know that the DMCA will be overturned eventually by the Supreme Court, so they are just trying to prop up their position by spreading the shit as far and as wide as they possibly can before that happens ?

  • Yeah, they told you to do it before and you didn't and we got the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Told you to do it again and you didn't and we got the DMCA. Write a freaking letter or at LEAST send an e-mail. For those who read the comments but not the article:


    Comments, to be received by the FTAA organization by August 20, should be submitted to:


    Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee
    Attn: FTAA Draft Text Release
    Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    1724 F. St., NW, Fifth Floor
    Washington DC 20508 USA


    Non-US writers should also send a copy to their own country's intellectual property government officials; list available at:
    http://www.sice.oas.org/int_prop/ip_dir.asp


    Sample Letter:
    This is just an example. It will be most effective if you send something similar but in your own words.


    Dear Ms. Blue, Trade Policy Staff Committee, and Negotiating Group on Intellectual Property Rights:


    I write to express my grave concern regarding the draft FTAA treaty's extreme intellectual property provisions.


    These measures, based on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) give far too much power to publishers, at the expense of indivdiuals' rights. The DMCA itself is already under legal challenge in the US, has gravely chilled scientists' and computer security researchers' freedom of expression around the world for fear of being prosecuted in the US, and resulted in the arrest of a Russian programmer. The FTAA provisions, which serve no one but American corporate copyright interests, are even more over-reaching than those of the DMCA.


    These provisions would require signatory nations to pass new DMCA-style laws that ban, with few or no exceptions, software and other tools that allow copy prevention technologies to be bypassed. This would violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and similar guarantees in other national constitutions and laws and in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since such tools are necessary to exercise lawful uses, including fair use, reverse engineering, computer security research and many others.


    I urge you to remove these controversial and anti-freedom provisions from the FTAA treaty language. The DMCA is already an international debacle. Its flaws - and worse - should not be exported and forced on other countries.


    Sincerely,
    [Your full name]
    [Your address]


    Non-US writers should mention their own country's constitution and/or laws protecting freedom of expression, of coruse.


    Copies may also be sent by e-mail to some key people in the FTAA process:
    kalvarez@ustr.gov (Kira Alvarez - Intellectual Property)
    walter_bastian@ita.doc.gov (Walter Bastian - E-Commerce)
    Non-US contacts available at:
    http://www.ftaa-alca.org/contacts/contpts.asp\


    No excuses! If you've got time to sit around responding to slashdot posts all day you've got time to write a letter defending your freedom.

  • Mexican copyright law was approved in 1996 has very specific entries like:
    "
    104. The copyright holder of a computing program has the right to authorize or forbid...

    V. Decompile, reverse engineering a computer program, or disassembly."

    112. Its forbiden to import, fabricate, distribute and use devices or services destinated to circumvent technical protections of computer programs, electromagnetic spectrum transmissions, telecommunication networks and programs of electronic devices as stated in the previous article" (Previous article is about 'Electronic programs that contain visual, sound, 3D or animation elements')
    "

    Thats sounds pretty much like DMCA. It seems that most media companies experimented first South of the border before lobbyig US Congress.

  • I just found out about this now. EFF says the deadline is the 20th, and tomorrow is, what the 21st?

    How am I to get a letter on this important issue to DC in the time required?

    /., this is stuff that matters, get it to us in a timely fashion so we can act on it!

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn

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