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MIT Student Grills Valenti on Fair Use 1162

Posted by timothy
from the un-something-believable dept.
kcsduke writes "Following a recent speech at MIT on Movies in the Digital Age (streaming audio available), MPAA front man Jack Valenti sat down for a revealing interview with The Tech, MIT's student newspaper. In this entertaining read, Keith J. Winstein grills Valenti on fair use and the right to play DVDs under GNU/Linux. My favorite part is when Winstein shows a dumbfounded Valenti a six-line DVD descrambler he's designed, to which Valenti responds with language inappropriate for the Slashdot homepage. Throughout the interview, Valenti demonstrates his ignorance and misunderstanding of fair use."
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MIT Student Grills Valenti on Fair Use

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  • Wasted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sweet cunny muffin (771671) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:38PM (#8998204)
    I'm surprised that they got him to be so open and reasonable to questions, but disappointed that they got some hot head amateur to do the interviewing. Showing off his own stuff with no rhetoric behind it isn't informative and doesn't get anything interesting from the interviewee.
  • by avalys (221114) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:39PM (#8998216)
    Winstein's exaggerating a little, though: I certainly would find it un-fucking-believable if someone developed six lines of Perl that perform all the work involved in decrypting the DVD, decompressing the MPEG, and displaying the movie onscreen (with audio).

    All qrpff does is remove the (relatively simple) CSS encryption. Saying "this'll let you watch movies" was a little disingenuous of Winstein.
  • by realmolo (574068) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:40PM (#8998227)
    Look, Valenti is a fucker. No doubt about that.

    But jumping on him because there's no licensed DVD player for Linux? How is that his fault?

    Yes, it sucks that to play DVDs, you have to buy a license. But...so?

    There are no licensed DVD players for Linux because no one wants to (or needs to, or would) pay for one. End of story.

    Jesus. Someone finally gets a chance to grill Valenti and they blow it.
  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:41PM (#8998238) Journal
    So the gist of this interview is some nerd stickin it to Valenti about there being no legal way to watch DVDs on Linux.

    Meanwhile, 6 or 7 articles before this one, was there not an article about Turbolinux shipping with a licensed DVD player, and WMP licenses?

    Oh, there's not a "Free as in gimme gimme i deserve it" DVD player for linux.

    Lies and horseshit won't help the 'cause'.
  • by thpdg (519053) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:42PM (#8998249) Journal
    I've always imagined that the rental/DVD system would reach the point that we could immediately rent or purchase the DVD (or current equivalent) of a movie, once we've seen it in the theater. Even to the extreme of taking it home with you on the way out of the lobby. (After paying the normal rental or purchase charge)
    Kind of like, "hey, I saw it in your theater, I proved my allegiance, now I want to watch it again without the return trip, or the x month wait to home release...please?" Anyone else given this a thought? Is that something we can ever see happen with guys like this, running the show?
  • Re:Wasted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:43PM (#8998273) Homepage Journal
    I think the intent (from the MPAA) was to give the "hot head amateur" a chance to make a fool of himself. Valenti is a very polished, very smooth character that knows how to argue and can be quite persuasive.

    The downside of this interview is that the kid fails to really achieve anything substantial, other than showing Valenti to be out-of-touch.

    The "bypass copy protection" law is directly contradictory to copyright and fair use laws. Valenti doesn't acknowledge that, which is frustrating. I understand his point, but it doesn't make him any less wrong.
  • Annoying attitude (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:44PM (#8998284)
    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    This is a disturbing quote, why should you restrict the life of hundred of thousands of people? Because multi-multi-millions are involved, I think not.
  • Good faith.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:44PM (#8998287)
    While I accept the need for the artists/producers to be rewarded, these guys better be careful. The fact is, they're not going to be able to keep the legal grip on things forever, the generations coming up are going to have MUCH different attitudes on this stuff and other govermental matters, how severe the backlash depends on how tight they try to hold on to things.

    Completly disrespecting any idea or concept of fair use, frankly is a very dangerous tactic.

    I think it's ego getting in the way of their brains.
  • by geek (5680) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:45PM (#8998291) Homepage
    He is very reasonable and debates with him are always productive. He's also not out to invade peoples homes to find pirate movies and songs, though many of the people who side with him are.

    This was a great interview from what I read. I do think he skipped around the question of whether it was wrong to write a six line program to allow yourself to watch a movie.

    Valenti does make a good point however. Building your own doesn't count. Try building your own car, not one from other auto makers parts. Make one from scratch using parts you engineered. Then try to get it licenced and street legal. It'll never happen. The same goes for movies. If you don't want to buy the products the industry puts out for watching the media then you don't get to watch the media. Can't have your cake and eat it too.
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:45PM (#8998292) Homepage Journal
    Jack Valenti keeps saying that he's not talking about morality. He's trying to sidestep the issue because he knows he can't win on it. In America, or the rest of the free world for that matter, people aren't going to buy into the argument that you shouldn't be allowed to do something with your own property. It would be the equivalent of GM trying to make it illegal for you to use a Fram oil filter on your car instead of an AC Delco.

    Jack keeps arguing in circles. It is illegal to watch DVDs on an unlicensed player because it's illegal.

    How can one seriously respect that line of thinking?

    LK
  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:45PM (#8998301) Homepage
    Valenti actually seemed to understand the issues pretty well, and he gave pretty cogent answers to the interviewers questions. The only thing that seemed to stump/baffle him, was the fact that there are currently no Linux DVD players on the market. Otherwise, every question was answered in a straightforward manner, pretty much always coming back to: "If you don't have permission to watch a copyrighted work, then it's not ok to make digital copies to circumvent the encryption and watch that work. You'll have to find a legal and authorized means to view the content." I don't agree with him, but it's hard to say that he didn't understand the issue.

    Also, I'd imagine that next time he'll have done a little bit more research and have something of an answer for the Linux DVD player question.

    Other than that, I think it's a little bit unfair to say that he doesn't understand the issues. Remember, disagreeing is not the same as not understanding.
  • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:46PM (#8998307)
    The article was published about 2 weeks ago. The Turbolinux article was a couple of days ago. It's entirely possible that Valenti and the intervierer didn't know about that at the time.
  • Many and Few? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lavaforge (245529) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:46PM (#8998313)
    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.


    It's been a while since my civics class, but isn't our entire country founded on the idea that people have certain inalienable rights, even in the face of a majority that wishes to take away those rights?
  • by Dragonfly (5975) <jddaigle@ m a c .com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998322) Homepage
    That's what Valenti said when the interviewer asked him why he can't (legally) play back a DVD on a computer running Linux. I think that captures the issue very well.

    Valenti and those sharing his views on copyright believe that we (the consumers) should only be able to view works on devices that they approve, at a time and place allowed by them, and how ever many times they want us to.

    However, fair use standards CLEARLY state that consumers are allowed to view copyrighted work however they please, as long as they have paid for it. There is no law or statute that allows copyright holders to force consumers to view their work only on certain devices. The DMCA's anti-circumvention provision has this effect, but it would be a blatant anti-trust violation to allow copyright holders to tell consumers they could only view their works on certain devices.

    Another notable quote from Valenti is that he is a "great persuader". We need people advocating for consumer's rights who are just as smooth and soothing to technophobe politicians and Valenti is. We need a Good Old Boy to evangelize to the Good Old Boys. Even if Valenti found qrpff "un-fucking-believable", he still left the interview with the opinion that such tools should not be legal. A dialog is most successful when each side can identify with the other on a personal level.
  • Oh the irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deadlinegrunt (520160) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998323) Homepage Journal
    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Yet it seems that is exactly what the MPAA, as well the RIAA, is indeed doing...
  • Linux DVD players (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KimiDalamori (579444) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998325)
    Even if Jack can get someone to make a DVD descrambler for Linux, It's not going to be free. Not free as in speech, nor free as in beer. If they let us have the source, we can disable the DRM. Which more or less gets down to the root of the problem. We have the skills to roll our own, and they fear us because of that. Even with the best of intentions on our part, If they cannot put us under their thumb, they won't trust us, period.
  • Well spoken. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t1nman33 (248342) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998326) Homepage
    I don't like the MPAA any more than anybody else does, but it was a good interview. I think he expressed his side of the argument pretty succinctly: allowing encryption circumvention, for any reason, opens a can of worms. Much easier to avoid any kind of a slippery slope by saying, "If you want to watch this, get a licensed watching mechanism."

    So, really, what is being said is, when you buy a DVD, you are not buying a physical product. What you are buying the right to view some content in a prescribed manner on an authorized device.

    That's really the crux of the argument. We are geeks. We like to take things apart and use them in ways the original designers did not intend. That screws with ideas of the establishment.

    What WE are saying is, "I got this free Cue-Cat scanner, and it belongs to me, and if I want to take the pieces apart and grind them into confetti or build a moon laser or whatever, I can do that, because it belongs to me."

    What THEY are saying is, "You do not actually own that physical Cue-Cat scanner, you have a license to use that device in the manner we have declared, in the same way that you cannot use your cable TV box to get channels you haven't paid for."
  • input please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beatbyte (163694) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998334) Homepage
    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Has ANYONE heard of your rights end where mine begin?

    Taking away someone else's rights is NOT your right.

    It sucks that pirates use stuff to copy their overpriced pieces of round plastic... but I have the right to play a DVD in linux, build an HDTV, etc. as long as I don't steal content. They shouldn't be able to take that away from me just because its a convenient and easy way for them to fight to protect RIAA/MPAA materials.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:50PM (#8998363) Homepage
    It wasn't too bad. It was a nice start.

    However, the interviewer should have brought up the point that engineers make products for the REST OF US. If engineers can't do something, then than will kill innovation and restrict what the other 299 million people can do.

    That's the big hole in Valenti's "make policy for the majority" argument.

    As far as jumping down his throat for the lack of a Linux DVD player: Yes he's to blame for that. He set's the policy that the rest of his licensed toadies have to follow. He creates the cartel environment that prevents individual companies from acting truely independently.

    There could have been a shareware DVD player by now if not for this cartel BS.

    This cartel environment is also something that's "bad in principle". He's also essentially conspiring with Microsoft to help prevent small, innovative software companies from competing on a level playing field. It's one thing for device drivers to be non-existent due to lack of interest and it's another for key multimedia apps to be non-existent due to gratuitous legal entanglements.

    This is all due to the fact that DVD is not a genuine open standard.

  • by RayBender (525745) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:50PM (#8998372) Homepage
    thats truly amazing how Jack Valenti has no clue about the position he is taking.


    Not at all. He just doesn't care about the consequences to engineers/tinkerers. This illustrates his attitude rather well: "Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way."



    Of course, he's set up a false dichotomy (100,000 engineers vs. 284 million Americans, when it really should be 100,000 engineers vs. ~100 major stockholders).

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:50PM (#8998373)
    Just because building a from-scratch version of one thing (such as a car) is prohibitively difficult doesn't mean that everything that isn't storebought should be illegal.

    I mean, writing your own OS is no walk in the park, but that's been done, and the software is freely available (and is evidently being used by 2M people right now).

  • by DeltaSigma (583342) <onu.public@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:51PM (#8998379) Journal
    Wasn't there a time we were trying to get a legal key for GPL DVD decoders? And wasn't there another attempt to allow FreeSoftware users to buy a license and key to decode DVDs however they wish? I recall there being a lot tried during the decss escapade. If I could buy a reasonably priced license (hell I don't care if it's a piece of paper that says "You can decode DVDs//Love, Valenti"), I would. If I could buy a properly licensed GPL DVD suite, I would. Hell, these days I'd be far more willing to spend money on GPL software than I would proprietary software (except GPL games, thus far proprietary games are still better).
  • by ffsnjb (238634) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:51PM (#8998391) Homepage
    Actually, a lot of stupid people get to his level. It's called promotion to incompetence, and it happens every day.
  • by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:52PM (#8998393)
    Yet he supports the law.

    Which makes him an unethical son-of-a-bitch not worth giving the time of day to.

    People just don't have any concept of morality these days.
  • by shadowmatter (734276) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#8998406)
    But still, no one takes them seriously.

    If you've been to the theater recently you might have seen before these short interviews before the movie with a stuntman, camera operator, or some "behind the scenes" guy explaining what he or she does in every film, and how it's their work of art. And how if you trade a movie online, or "download it with a click," you're taking that art for granted and not appreciating its beauty, which should be paid for.

    First, that person should never have called all movies art. He or she obviously never saw "Ecks vs. Sever."

    Second, whenever one of those trailers plays in a theater with several hundred college students inside, everyone's gut response is laughter. I think the first time I saw one of those interviews was right before Spiderman, and the whole theater was balling.

    Also, as an interesting note, the original versions of those short interviews were with big-league directors and actors -- not the small guys on the set. For obvious reasons their pleas not to download movies and avoid paying for them weren't too effective on the test audience...

    Also, one thing I noticed from the article:

    JV: I don't want to get into the definition of morality.

    So apprently, we can't get into the definition of morality, but nonetheless we're going to legislate it?

    - sm
  • by Draknor (745036) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#8998409) Homepage
    I actually have to agree with the parent - the interview didn't focus on "fair rights", it focused on a very narrow point - particularly, playing DVDs under Linux. I think the DMCA is over-reaching and I don't agree with it, but its not the fault of the MPAA that no company has produced a licensed DVD player for linux (ie MPAA, to my knowledge, has not prevented a company from doing so) - that's a market forces decision. Obviously no company thinks such a program is a viable commercial offering, so no one produces it.

    I think the interview actually made Valenti look like a good guy - he had consistent, intelligent responses. The interviewer bordered on whining with his "I rented a DVD at Blockbuster, why is it illegal for me to play it with my 6-line Linux DVD program on my homebuilt HDTV?" argument, repeated ad nauseum.
  • Of course not (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#8998417)
    If that were possible, then one person would go to the theater and watch it, buy the DVD on his/her way out of the lobby, and show it to all friends/family/internet users. The delay in DVD release is to give the theaters time to show it to as many people who want to see it bad enough to not wait for the DVD. You'll never see what you're proposing. This isn't due to "guys like" Valenti, its the movie industry's business model.
  • by sweet cunny muffin (771671) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:54PM (#8998436)
    qrpff dvd_file | movie_player
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#8998439)
    I like this quote better:
    TT: [...] If I go to Blockbuster and rent a movie and watch it, am I a bad person? Is that bad?

    JV: No, you're not a bad person. But you don't have any right.

    I should go to Blockbuster today and ask them about my rights, seems like they're violating the law by not pointing out to me that I've been actively engaging in criminal acts all this time by renting DVDs and watching them on Mandrake. Their site fails [google.com] to advise that criminals like me should stay out.
  • Re:Wasted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#8998450)
    > Valenti is a very polished, very smooth character that knows how to argue and can be quite persuasive.

    One of these things is not like the other.
    One of these things does not belong.

    Polished, smooth, persuasive. Check.
    Knows how to argue. Negative.

    Valenti: "I never believe in hostile debates. That's not my style. I believe that we ought to talk objectively about it."

    Because, after all, Valenti is being objective, therefore anyone who opposes him must be irrational. Why would you pay attention to someone irrational?

    Valenti: "But I try to make things simple and clear as I can,"

    And the simplest position is to say "Well, this guy says he's being objective, and therefore he must be right."

    Valenti: "But you can do everything you're doing right now -- you'll never know there's a broadcast flag. Well, why would people object to it?"

    Because everything you're doing is obviously the same as what Mr. Objective thinks "everyone" is doing. And why would anyone object to Mr. Objective?

    Valenti: "But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way. "

    No, he's not saying that public policy should be geared towards the 284,000,000 people instead of 100,000 movie industry employees. He's saying "fuck 100,000 engineers over instead"

    Because even though a few thousand movie industry employees can somehow create value for 284,000,000 Americans... it wouldn't be objective to assume that a few thousand engineers might be able to do something similar.

    You get the point. The gaps in Valenti's logic are big enough to drive a galactic supercluster through. He couldn't argue his way out of a paper bag.

    But he is indeed very polished, very smooth, and can be quite persuasive to anyone who has no capacity for rational thought, but a great admiration for polishedness, smoothness, and persuasiveness: Your Congressman.

    I loathe Valenti's vision of the world - but I have to give him credit. He's perfect for the job. And he's won.

  • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:56PM (#8998463)
    Yes, but it's often one gets to that level by having substantial skills and experience at rising up through the levels.

    This has nothing to do with any other sort of skill, experience or intelligence. Some otherwise rather dull and ignorant people are rather good at it.

    In fact, I was just yesterday reading that observation about Idi Amin. A crude, unintelligent man, with obviously no skills at leadership, but with a certain animal cunning that allowed him to rise up through the ranks, and even remain a free, and in certain circles, even respected man, who died at an old age, in bed.

    Simply having achieved some sort of lofty status says little to nothing about a man, and might simply say he's a right bastard.

    KFG
  • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#8998466) Journal
    Meanwhile, 6 or 7 articles before this one, was there not an article about Turbolinux shipping with a licensed DVD player, and WMP licenses?
    Someone needs to learn to read dates...
    This interview was from April 16, 2004
    TurboLinux made the announcement yesterday and on top of that it mentions the player, but CyberLink does not have a listing for the product [gocyberlink.com]

    How is anyone suppose to be able to use a product that does not exist yet?
  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#8998475) Homepage
    I do not believe that you have the right to override an encryption. Because if you have the right to do it, everybody can do it.

    This struck me as being at the heart of Valenti's misunderstanding of the issues important to us. The whole purpose of encryption is to guard the data whether or not it is in a hostile environment. The Nazis didn't go running around screaming "you can't do that, it's not your right" when British intelligence cracked Enigma. Instead, they responded with a stronger cypher.

    If your encryption can be cracked, it's not a matter of rights or privileges. It's matter of technology. Your encryption is weak and you need to make it stronger. Then you don't need social laws to prevent people from cracking it. The laws of mathematics do that for you, and do a much better job.

    Of course, I cannot speculate on how that would change the dynamics of the situation. It may improve because it might eliminate their motivation to push for bad laws to prop up their weak system. Solving technological problems with technology is better than solving them with legality.

  • When I saw this, I was looking forward to a decent intellectual discussion about fair-use and the Movie Industry's abuse of our rights, but IMHO the author simply manages to take a few pot-shots at a guy he dislikes. He doesn't ask a single question that would enlighten us as to how the MPAA thinks or what it's future strategy might be. He just asks loaded questions like:
    TT: Indeed, but are you doing that when you rent a movie from Blockbuster and you watch it at home? ... I run Linux on my computer. There's no product I can buy that's licensed to watch [DVDs]. If I go to Blockbuster and rent a movie and watch it, am I a bad person? Is that bad?
    He's lucky Valenti didn't ask him if he thought people would buy such a product if it existed or if people would continue to "break the law". Why not address the issue head-on and discuss the main premise, that government and corporations cannot trod on the rights of consumers because of a priori concerns about piracy?

    Probably Valenti tells this same story to his buddies to illustrate how difficult it is to have a dialog with fair-use advocates.

  • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#8998489)
    I think the point is, the algorithm for breaking CSS is so widely known and has been refined to the point that it is simply a few lines of perl, but these few lines of perl are illegal. Not a trade secret, not copyright infringement, not a patent infringement, but illegal under a new law called the DMCA that makes it illegal to break encryption, no matter now flawed or trivial that encryption may be, and no exceptions for fair use.

    This will probably be applied to books soon. I can imagine how it will work: the text will be printed as a mirror image. This probably satisfies the legal defintion of "effective encryption". The fact that the algorithm for breaking the encyption (ie. using a mirror) is public domain is irrelevant, it is still illegal. The only way to legally read such a book would be to buy a special 'licensed' mirror, which comes with all sorts of additional restrictions.

    Now do you see the issue here?

  • Re:Well spoken. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kwil (53679) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998494)
    What they aren't saying, however, is if what I've purchased is a license:

    1. Where are the terms?
    2. Where's my signature?
    3. Where's my replacement if my current media breaks or is damaged in some way?

  • Re:Well spoken. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by red floyd (220712) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998495)
    I'd really like someone to go after the studios for false advertising.

    They advertise DVDs as "[INSERT MOVIE NAME HERE]: Buy it today!!!" or "[INSERT MOVIE NAME HERE]: Own it today!!!"

    Yet, the MPAA (and the studios) claim that you're not buying it, but licensing it! Has to be a false advertising claim in there somewhere....

    Somehow I think "[INSERT MOVIE NAME HERE]: License it today!!!" wouldn't sell so well...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998498)
    I agree, a far more important thing to grill him on is the MPAA's legal action against 321 studios, a company which produces software to make copies of DVDs. While there are obvious legitimate uses of this, namely making backups of DVDs (after all, it's easy to accidentally destroy the fragile little discs) the MPAA contends it's a tool for piracy. Copyright law grants and always has permitted me the right to make backup copies of things such as movie and software in case the original becomes unusable, lost, or destroyed. This issue affects everyone instead of just the two million Linux users, and is something the MPAA really ought to be ashamed of.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998505) Homepage
    That's not the point. The point is that we're breaking the law if we watch something we legally rented because we chose to use a different Operating System.

    But that's not true. You're breaking the law if you crack the DRM to view it on the OS of your choice. No one is forcing you to only have a Linux box. You may, if you choose, buy a M$ box as well. Or a cheap DVD player.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998509)
    Valenti asks "why would people object to it?"

    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Okay. The simple clear response for Congress -- and maybe even JV can understand -- is that those thousand engineers represent the technological future progress of the USA.

    And you don't want to keep them from playing in their natural turf. Sure most people don't want to build their own sets. But you let those who do, do so; that is, unless you want a dumbed-down, incompetent populace... down to the very last potential engineer.

    In that case, pretty soon, the un-fucking-believable innovations are going to come from other places, that favor freedom.

    Get it, Jack?

    More to the point, get it, Congress?

    Okay, can somebody put this in politer, more persuasive language...?
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rufus88 (748752) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#8998513)
    I keep seeing people say this, but I don't get it. I read the interview, and it seems to me that he was neither clueless nor unreasonable. He was surprised to find out how simple the decryption code is, but he's not clueless about his position. His position was basically that it isn't immoral for you to watch DVDs on Linux, but it's wrong to circumvent an encryption without a license for the decryption software, since if you do it for benign reasons, anyone else can do it for copyright infringement. Now, you may disagree with him, but in what way is he clueless about his own position? The only cluelessness I saw was on the part of the interviewer who didn't know about the Linspire licensed DVD playback software.
  • by Danse (1026) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#8998515)

    Probably the latter. The other 2 shouldn't be terribly surprising if you're being interviewed by an MIT student.

  • by Sanity (1431) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:02PM (#8998549) Homepage Journal
    I always wonder why interviewers don't respond sometimes by saying "You aren't ansering the question I asked." and if the interviewed person continues to avoid the question, cut them off and repeat "You aren't answering the question" until you get an answer to the question and not some prewritten canned response.
    Because often the interviewers consider themselves lucky to be getting the interview, and don't want to risk giving the interviewed person the excuse to to end the interview.

    The secret is to ask questions that are so simple they are difficult to dodge without being obvious.

  • Re:Whatever (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:03PM (#8998565) Journal
    And PowerDVD for linux goes back to 2001 at least [gocyberlink.com]

    I wouldnt expect Valenti to know about it, as I wouldnt expect any 84 year old man to give a rats ass about "whats happenin' wit linux".

    It is possible that the OSS zealot community would completely ignore a commercial product for linux. Especially one that so buttfucks the whole "there's no dvd player for linux so its ok for me to get divx off kazaa!" argument.

    It's stuff like this that just brings out what I hate about the linux "community". It's all about greed and freebies and some ridiculous sense of entitlement.
  • Wasted? I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:04PM (#8998579) Journal
    From the article:
    JV: Well, I can't believe there's not any -- there must be a reason for... Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question -- I don't know the answer to that... Well, you're telling me a lot of things I don't know.

    TT: Okay. Well, how can we have this dialogue?

    JV: Well, we're having it right now. I want to try to find out the point you make on why are there no Linux licensed players. There must be a reason -- there has to be a reason. I don't know.

    Sounds like progress to me. Mr Valenti sounded like he was willing to listen and do something about this.
  • by Rhonwyyn (773611) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:04PM (#8998580) Journal
    Okay, can somebody put this in politer, more persuasive language...?

    Sounds like the beginning of a scholarship essay contest...!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:04PM (#8998586)
    Plus he does have a point: You can watch the DVD you rented from Blockbuster, just buy a DVD-player. Who says it's your god-given right to watch DVDs on Linux? In a world with intellectual property, these arguments actually make sense. Things will only change when (not if) people realize what the consequences of the intellectual property concept are. We haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg yet, we just know it's cold weather.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:05PM (#8998600)
    "Now, you may disagree with him, but in what way is he clueless about his own position?"
    ---
    TT: Okay. Well, how can we have this dialogue?

    JV: Well, we're having it right now. I want to try to find out the point you make on why are there no Linux licensed players. There must be a reason -- there has to be a reason. I don't know.
    ---

    CLUELESS!

    ---

    JV: Well, I can't believe there's not any -- there must be a reason for... Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question -- I don't know the answer to that... Well, you're telling me a lot of things I don't know.

    ---

    CLUELESS!

    ---

    JV: There's lots of machines you can play it on.

    TT: None under Linux. There's no licensed player under Linux.

    JV: But you're trying to set your own standards.

    ---

    CLUELESS AND WRONG

    ---

    disagree?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:07PM (#8998629)
    The interviewer allowed the terms of the argument to be a losing one before he began. You have every right to make a copy of content you legally possess. I don't want the ability to merely watch DVDs on my Linux box. I want and demand the ability to make copies, too. Making those copies are part of my enjoyment of the product, and making copies is well within my rights.

    If you can't go into a reasoned argument with "the other side" without having first secured for yourself the entire argument for your side, then maybe you shouldn't be the one doing the arguing at all.
  • by bmzf (731840) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:08PM (#8998639)
    True, true.
    But hearing all these comments about Perl,
    I can't help but think: Have you people ever heard of commenting code?
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#8998678) Homepage
    These people are remarkably crude considering what their business is. You don't persuade people by hitting them over the head with an idea and whinning to them. You want your audience to come to the desired conclusion thinking that it was all their doing. Don't whine at the audience, just point their minds in the right direction.

    The part of this that I find the most hilarious is this "why do they pirate" question is followed by several minutes of TV commercial style SPAM.

    These spots should have been nothing more than sympathetic profiles with no references to their actual intent.
  • by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <<slashdot> <at> <jgc.org>> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#8998686) Homepage Journal
    > There are people who've been writing perl code for years and still don't believe the language is "human readable".

    And that's the fault of the authors of that code and *not* the language. Nothing makes me more insane than people who talk about how Perl is "write only". No, it's not. It's the people who write crappy Perl scripts and use every obfuscation feature they can to make the thing unreadable. It's perfectly possible to make readable Perl code, just take a look at POPFile [sf.net]. It's also perfectly possible to write unreadable C/C++: just look at the obfuscation contests.

    John.
  • by Wah (30840) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#8998690) Homepage Journal
    "In fact, many or most inventions were developed by people driven by curiosity or by a love of tinkering, in the absense of any initial demand for the product they had in mind."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:11PM (#8998696)
    If the MPAA says that I can't play a movie that I bought or rented, however I want, fine. Why doesn't the MPAA distribute a free (as in scruples free) viewer for Linux?

    For a fraction of the cost of going after Jon Johansen, they could have created a licenced player and put an end to the whole debate.
  • Re:Whatever (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:12PM (#8998707) Journal
    What "free" DVD player?

    I bought an eMachine that came bundled with PowerDVD. Just like Turbolinux comes bundled with PowerDVD.

    MSFT licensed their DVD player, so it's part of the cost of Windows.

    Buying turbolinux = getting PowerDVD "free, just like buying Windows XP = getting Media Player "free".

    How come there isnt a completely free, no strings, non-bundled DVD player for linux? Because you haven't written one yet, and payed all the royalties out of your own pocket.
  • by DroopyStonx (683090) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:12PM (#8998717)
    All JV admitted to is not knowing why Linux doesn't have any "licensed" players. Take a look at the rest of the dialogue... it's all circular logic. He contradicts himself left and right.

    Get him to admit that the DMCA is wrong and then you'll have a point. Until then, he's ignorant.

    The man CLEARLY has no clue as to what he's talking about.
  • by HPNpilot (735362) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:13PM (#8998724) Homepage
    I think you'd have to be pretty good at debating and very well prepared to do much better when up against a guy like that.

    However, when asked what "our" side could do to do better he made a very good point when he said that he makes things simple. He turns complex issues into black-and-white bullet points, suitable for politicians dealing with a billion other things. Very simple, very clear-cut, very selective.

    This is a classic problem in debates in this country where a commercial interest is on a different side than the general public interest. To be involved in the debate you typically need a lobbyist to explain your side. But lobbyists cost money! Corporations can pay that money but there is no mechanism for the public to do so. Yes, I know, our elected representatives are supposed to represent us, but between the complexities of their job and their lack of understanding of technological issues they need to have things made simple for them and guys like this do that, with results that make industry want to rejoice while the public wonders what the heck happened.
  • by the quick brown fox (681969) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:13PM (#8998726)
    I think it's also a little bit of a stretch to call that "six lines" of perl code. To most programmers that would imply, more or less, six statements... looks like there are just a lot of hard returns missing where, in any other context, any sane programmer would put them in.

    Not that it's not still a really nifty piece of code.

  • by _typo (122952) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:14PM (#8998735) Homepage

    Yes but designing your own OS from scratch does not give you the right to install it on Apples hardware for instance.

    Sure it does. If I bought said apple, it's mine. I can smash it with a hammer, drop it in an acid bath or do any other crazy thing with it including installing my own software in it. I shouldn't expect Apple to help me do any of these things, but I do expect Apple to stay out of the way while I do them since after all the hardware is mine.

    With DVD's the same happens. I bought the right to view that movie. If I want to put the DVD under a microscope write down all the bits, do the CSS math in my head, do the MPEG decoding in my head, and then create an image of each frame I can do it. There's nothing wrong about this since it's a fair use of the DVD. The same is true for viewing it in my linux PC. I'm not creating copies or doing a public broadcast I'm just viewing the freaking movie, and that is just plain legal.

  • by santos_douglas (633335) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:14PM (#8998739) Journal
    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Get's my vote for most significant, because actually, by the original intent of IP law, advancement of arts and science is (not advancement of commerce) the root justification. This also goes to the minority vs majority rule argument, but someone else already made that one.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:17PM (#8998774) Homepage
    No, it just sounds reasonable until you scratch the surface.

    You could use the same argumentation to support any number of racist or theocratic laws. It's not OK to trample people's rights or ignore broader public policy issues just because a small minority seems to be the focus.

    Also, if you can't run Win98 on an iMac that's a TECHNICAL problem and not something that is enforced through a questionable extension of copyright.

  • by patrixmyth (167599) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:19PM (#8998802)
    It only takes a few hours in an introductory law class to realize that legal systems really are circular logic. Things are illegal because they have been made illegal. Right and wrong are not involved.

    What is inherently immoral about not stopping every time you see a red octagonal sign on the road? What is "wrong" with ignoring a red light at an empty intersection?

    It's time to realize, decoding a DVD with unauthorized circumvention of it's encryption is simply illegal, regardless of anyone's feeling of right or wrong about the matter. That was made as clear as day by the passage of the DMCA. It's just no longer a legal argument.

    What about fair use? Fair use is an affirmative defense. It is an excuse for why you violated a proscribed act. It has never insulated anyone from being accused of copyright violation. It is only a consideration that is available to a court in determining if a copyright violation is excusable. If you like analogies, consider trespassing. It's illegal to trespass, but if you are running for your life and trespass, you won't be prosecuted. You have still violated the original trespassing ordinance.

    I would enthusiastically say that the DMCA is "wrong", but that doesn't change it's legal status. Until a court disallows it, or our legal system changes it, it is the law... because it is the law. (Circular logic or not.)
  • by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_Inuit@y a h oo.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:19PM (#8998806)

    The MPAA wants to control the production and distribution of its products. This is perfectly rational and the dream of monopolists everywhere. It just won't work for them.

    First, if students at MIT can build televisions that get around the broadcast flag, so can industry in places like China and Taiwan. Given the amount of money movie studios make overseas, relying totally on broadcast flag technology is probably a loser for them in the long run.

    Second, as people start to spend more and more time with user-generated content online, the movie industry is going to take more hits. Even if the revenue loss is currently minimal, it demonstrates there is a large and growing group of content providers they can't control. Life is a lot different from 70 years ago when the movie theater was one of the few available sources of entertainment.

  • by crawling_chaos (23007) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:19PM (#8998807) Homepage
    Yes but designing your own OS from scratch does not give you the right to install it on Apples hardware for instance.

    If I own the hardware, I sure as hell do have a right to install it. I also have the right to tear off the name plate and paint racing stripes on it, if I so desire. Once I paid Apple for the box, it ceased being Apple's and started being mine.

    On the other hand, Apple is under no obligation whatsoever to make it easy for me to this. They are not required to publish technical specs, et al that would allow me to easily develop software to control the hardware they designed.

  • by cHALiTO (101461) <elchalo@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:21PM (#8998825) Homepage
    Why on earth would I be prohibited from doing -ANYTHING- to my dvd after I legally purchased it?
    Distribution is restricted, but they can't tell you how you can USE things in your own home. You aren't licensing some work from them under restrictive conditions. You're BUYING a copy, which you can use for whatever you want as long as you don't redistribute the content (to oversimplify things a little).
    That's the point. They can't dictate what you can and what you cannot do with your own things in your own home.
    Sadly, companies are more and more moving towards a license-my-IP-for-use-as-I-tell-you scheme (in movies, music, software.. like office subscriptions or sun's licenses for java desktop) and awat from simply selling stuff.
    One of these days we'll find ourselves in a situation where we don't actually own anything of what we have, everything will be 'licensed' for a certain specific use.
    Personally, I think all this stinks.
  • by Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:21PM (#8998827)
    Am I being denied fair use becaue I cant run windows 98 on my iMac. After all I bought and paid for that copy, I should be able to use it how I like.

    The point here wasn't that your toaster _should_ be able to play the video, but that it shouldn't be illegal for that toaster to do so. Exactly like it isn't illegal for win98 to be run on a Mac.

  • Re:Many and Few? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:23PM (#8998848) Journal
    even still his figure of 285Million people, I don't think that all of them, or even most, or even a considerable minority of them want this "protection". I would wager a bet that 99.925% of them don't care one way or the other. So it really needs to come down to the 100,000 (completely made up number) people at the MPAA that want this vs. the 100,000 (another made up number) hobbiests, engineers and others that wish to educate themselves or exercise fair use.

    Making something illegal should be enough. If it is illegal to distribute copied works, fine it is illegal. Why should the process of coping works also be illegal if there is no intent to distribute. Why should it be illegal to utilize tools that "could" be used to copy something only for paid for viewing of works?

    I believe that acts that infringe on someone else's rights should be made illegal as necessary. Means to infringe on someone else's rights should _never_ be outlawed.

    Guns should be legal, shooting people illegal.
    Drugs should be legal, High bus drivers illegal.
    Watching movies legal, distributing unlicensed copies illegal.
    etc...
  • by Uggy (99326) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:23PM (#8998850) Homepage
    It takes more than smarts to say, "I don't know." JV seems like a reasonable guy. He's probably a bit too entrenched in his thinking, but he said that he didn't know. I think any time someone in a position of power says they don't know, it reflects very well on their sincerity. It takes guts to say, I don't know, let me investigate further and get back to you.

    Seems like an upright guy, just misguided or out of touch with the present day realities. We'd probably get much much further with the MPAA and RIAA if we had better diplomacy skills and stopped flaming injudiciously. They're like your grandparents. They may not get all this new fangled stuff that seems wrong, but beating them over the head isn't going to solve it.

    IMHO Steve Jobs, is our best advocate in this arena, somebody who bridges the gap between media and technology successfully and is a leader and visionary.
  • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:24PM (#8998870) Homepage
    Your analogy is flawed.

    This is not a car, with a physical presence that can destroy property and life. It doesn't need to be regulated on safety grounds.

    This is information, which can be replicated and accessed to enrich life at virtually no cost.

    It's not information about weapons systems or international spies, so there is also no security issue or danger to society from its spread or any inherent need to control it.

    The grounds upon which this information is being regulated aren't even purely "must make profit" grounds, since buying a DVD makes a profit for the movie industry and the bulk of movies are profitable based on theatre and DVD sales alone.

    It's simply about control. The MPAA does not want to lose the ability to charge you MORE, LATER, AT WILL... by imposing a fee structure for the player... for the software to look at it... for the transmission of it... or, if they decide they really need a profit bump, by rescinding any licenses to current media and players, releasing some "new" technology and forcing you to buy new media and new licenses to play/see/transmit it all over again, effectively enabling them to charge at will for content that you have already paid for innumerable times, if you want to continue to watch it.

    Perhaps in some peoples' moral universes this is "right" and "fair" and the MPAA should be able to do this if they want to and if you don't like it then stop paying for it (even though you've already shelled out $20 for the VHS tape, $10 in IP/trademark license for the VHS technology to play it, $30 for the Laserdisc, $10 for the IP/trademark license for the Laserdisc technology to play it, $35 for the DVD, $10 for the IP/trademark license for the DVD player technology to play it...) and simply give up access to the content, because that's the "right" thing to do.

    But I'm telling you that the general public is nowhere near that subtle. The reality of the situation is that if someone holds a VHS or a DVD in their hand and they bought it, they're gonna have no qualms about trying to find whatever they can, hardware or software, at a flea market, at a download site, whatever, to play the film that they "OWN." Trying to explain to them that they a) don't own the technology in the player that they just bought and b) they don't own the DVD that they want to play anyway, so you can't watch the DVD that you're holding under condition x or with player y... is going to be like trying to make water flow uphill.

    It goes against all natural sense and logic. It's about as artificial a construct as you can find in the marketplace.
  • I always point out one of two key facts to the people sitting near me when I see those little propagandlets:

    A) The guy on screen was most likely paid up front for his work, he's not getting a percentage of the box office take, so "piracy" doesn't affect him. (unless you belive Hollywood is gonna pack up their toys and go home, *and* that nobody will step up to replace them)

    2) The people being forced to sit through this shit are the ones that just *paid* to see the damn movie.
  • Re:Wasted (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krog (25663) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:26PM (#8998901) Homepage
    Keith Winstein is not a hothead; he was merely trying to debate the point with Jack, and when you have the 100% opposite opinion it is tough to come across as being on the interviewee's side. He had the choice of risking exposure as a 'hothead', or ignoring the one burning issue that comprises the entire reason for the interview (and chatting instead about football or VHS vs. Betamax or something).

    keithw also had the popularity-disadvantage of being much, much more informed about the subject matter than Valenti, in both the technical and libertarian aspects. The subject needed no further rhetoric than what he offered.
  • by DroopyStonx (683090) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:29PM (#8998930)
    This shit pisses me off.

    Basically, the jist of the interview is that even though I purchased a DVD I can NOT run it on anything other than a "licensed" DVD player. Sorry, but they can kiss my fucking ass.

    I'll play the DVDs *I* purchase in whatever I want to play them in. I don't care what the law states. I'm not one of these sheep that blindy follows it. If I want to make a DVD player out of my toaster, then honestly, I have every right to do so and there isn't much you can do about it.

    Since they take on this attitude like I don't really own the movies I buy, then there's no reason for me to buy them. If they honestly think they can dictate what I do with my own property, well, then they can drop the price by 75%.

    Since they won't do that, well, there's really no logical reason why I should spend money on something that technically isn't mine!

    As soon as they change their tune, I will follow suit. Until then, I'll watch theatrical releases in the privacy of my own home, and my DVD collection will continue to grow purely from movies I copy from Netflix.

    Sorry, Jack! Better luck next time.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:29PM (#8998933)
    As to the first two: Valenti isn't directly involved in selling DVD decryption licenses, so how can he be expected to know the details of every software DVD player out there? So he didn't know that none of the software companies licensing the DVD decryption make Linux versions of their software -- so what?

    As to the third, he's neither clueless nor wrong. There are a lot of machines you can play DVDs on -- Windows PCs, Macs, and hardware players. Bitching because the dozen or so people who (a) run Linux on their desktop and (b) can't or won't run to Target and buy a $50 stand-alone DVD player is ludicrous.
  • by southpolesammy (150094) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:30PM (#8998942) Journal
    Sounds to me like he was trying to back out of an argument that he knew that there was no way he could possibly win at that time and place. It the classic, "I don't know the answer, but I'll talk to my people and we'll get back to you" technique, which is followed up by vast amounts of never getting back to you.
  • by michael_cain (66650) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:30PM (#8998944) Journal
    However, fair use standards CLEARLY state that consumers are allowed to view copyrighted work however they please, as long as they have paid for it. There is no law or statute that allows copyright holders to force consumers to view their work only on certain devices. The DMCA's anti-circumvention provision has this effect, but it would be a blatant anti-trust violation to allow copyright holders to tell consumers they could only view their works on certain devices.

    I think you would lose the anti-trust argument in court. The MPAA doesn't tell you which device you must use, only that you must use a licensed device. Any licensed device. And, they argue, the necessary licenses are available on "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" to all parties. I don't know what the charges are for a CSS license these days, but say it's $1.00 per device. I seriously doubt that any court would find that to be an unreasonable charge -- the licensing fees for the MPEG patents are at least that much (yes, the MPEG decoder you wrote from scratch from the published specification infringes on several patents, but the patent holders are only interested in pursuing commercial infringers). The license says you have to protect the IP, which is also reasonable for a commercial venture, but rules out the possibility of a licensed open-source player.

    What scares me is that the content people seem to be getting ready to get in bed with Microsoft and the Windows Media file formats. Portions of those formats are covered by patents. Anti-trust can't apply to patents -- the government is granting a constitutionally-approved temporary monopoly. Microsoft can issue and revoke licenses as they see fit, and reverse-engineering is not a viable option. It also makes it easy to go after people who transcode -- if the only officially released format is WMA, any MPEG version is clearly an illegal copy.

  • by ruzel (216220) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:32PM (#8998958) Homepage
    I think it's even a little more clear than the parent post states since this is a rights issue. The United States is a democratic republic whose objective is to rule by the majority while protecting the rights of minorities. Political Science 101. Since copyright is about rights it should be clear that this is a prime example of where the majority (The Corporate States of America) are trampling on the rights of a minority (apparently any intelligent people in the US who want to DIY)

    In every instance of copyright vs technology, real innovation (innovation by individuals) is being hampered by corporations depserate to hang on to their profits. Congress should just come clean and pass a law stating that coporations in the US have a right to profits.

    Worse than that, perhaps, is that Valenti gets the rights issue wrong! He talks about stealing something from someone. Copyright is just that, the right to copy. He and no one else *owns* the art (movie, picture, photo, etc). As a copyright holder you have the right to copy the presentation of the idea -- it does not mean you own the idea. Copyright is not a property right! It is a right to copy. Valenti just muddles the whole debate.
    ________________________________
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DataPath (1111) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:34PM (#8998983)
    He's clueless in that the only side of the issue that he understands is the side that benefits monopoly and stockholders. He has a position, but he doesn't understand the technological consequences of that position.
  • by Matt - Duke '05 (321176) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:35PM (#8998989)
    But the fact is, they can't actually target the real criminals, so instead, they go after law abiding individuals in an attempt to take the tools away from the criminals.


    The real criminals, oh like say the ones that they are actively bringing to court over their usage of P2P networks to trade illicit MP3's? But guess what, when they do this, the collective Slashdot community gets up in arms and the story somehow makes it to the "Your Rights Online" (laugh) section. So which is it? Do you want them to go after the tools (which they did in the past.. remember Napster?) even though you've consistently bitched about that? Or, do you want them to go after the law breakers (which they are doing now) even though you still bitch about this?
  • by Drunken_Jackass (325938) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:36PM (#8999009) Homepage
    I get your point, and it annoys me that it the MPAA is saying that I'm only licensed to view the video in it's prescribed manner, on an authorized device.

    But I have a question - isn't this a bit like the label on a can of spray paint - you know the one - it's unlawful to use this product in any manner other than its intended use (I'm paraphrasing). If I buy a can of silver spray paint from Walmart and then huff it in my living room for 30 minutes, I'm breaking the law. Not because i don't own the paint in the can, but because i'm using the paint in a manner that isn't in line with its intended use.

    Now, if I buy a DVD, what am i buying - the video, right (it's not like i'm buying a game, which is in fact only a license to play the game, really)? Does it say anywhere on that DVD that I can only use it in a manner prescribed by the manufacturer? I mean - there's a FBI warning about not copying it, but i'm pretty sure I have to actually watch it to see that warning. But to my knowledge, it doesn't state anywhere that I've only purchased the right to view the video on prescribed hardware under a specific license agreement.

    Does it?

  • Re:Many and Few? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by red floyd (220712) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:36PM (#8999010)
    Thank you! The Ninth is my favorite Amendment!

    The Ninth Amendment: "Even if we didn't mention them here, all your rights are belong to you!"
    The Tenth Amendment: "If we didn't say here that they can, then the Feds can't do it."

    These must be the two most ignored amendments (though lately the First, Fourth, and Fifth are coming along too).
  • Re:Many and Few? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:37PM (#8999025) Homepage Journal
    Code is speech. Even unpopular code. What's the difference between printing out computer code or speaking it from memory and distributing it over the Internet? I can't see any, so long as it can be said or written.

    What's the difference betwen writing "$_='while read+STDIN,..." and saying "Here's how you change the oil in your car..."? They both tell you how to do something that takes 'money' away from people. This is why code wants to be free, because it's no different from instructions.
  • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:38PM (#8999033)
    You can watch the DVD you rented from Blockbuster, just buy a DVD-player. Who says it's your god-given right to watch DVDs on Linux?


    A true "right" shouldn't be conditioned to buying a machine. I have the right to watch a film recorded in an analog tape. I can buy a tape player, or I can build one myself, it doesn't matter.


    When I buy a recording of a copyrighted work, I buy together with it the right to use it for whatever legal purpose I want, but the ownership of the work remains with the seller. What Valenti is saying is that I, the owner of the copy, should help the owner of the copyright to protect his property. If the copyright belongs to someone else, why should I be inconvenienced in order to protect it?


    In the case someone points out that there is a practical reason for that, because digital copies are so hard to protect against illegal copying, then why can't I get some protection as well? Shouldn't they provide me with a free replacement in the case my property, the copy, is stolen, broken, or lost?


    As it's now, I share the burden of protecting someone else's property and, by doing that, I'm losing some protection on my own property, since I cannot make back-up copies.

  • by Frizzle Fry (149026) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:39PM (#8999035) Homepage
    Really? It's possible to write obfuscated C code? Some programmers write more readable code than others? Thanks, this is big news. I feel enlightened now.

    But I'll continue to live in reality where some languages make it easier to write readable code, while some make it harder. This relativistic position that what's imprtant is the fact that is is possible to write equally-readable code in any language is about as inetellectually appealing as "logowriter, x86 assembly and C++ are all turing-complete languages, so any program that can be written in one of these language can be converted into the others; so it doesn't matter which one you use". While it's obviously technically true that turing complete-languages are equivalently powerful, it ignores the reality that writing certain kinds of programs is easier in some languages, just like writing certain styles of code (e.g., unreadable code) is easier in some language. All languages are not the same.
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:39PM (#8999041)
    ...JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way...

    What an amazingly stupid old fart! We make special provisions for small groups all the time: lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, police officers, bounty hunters, farmers, the list goes on and on.

  • Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wyseguy (513173) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:40PM (#8999060) Homepage

    I find it interesting that Valenti said that because there are only a thousand or so engineers that could build their own high-def TVs that we can't base public policy on such a small minority. Yet later he asserts that because one person could use anti-CSS software (or other decryption software) to illegally distribute content, we then need the DMCA.

    I'm fully aware that there are far many more than one person downloading movies and music off the internet. My point is that his argument is flawed. Because there might be one person who would abuse the ability to decrypt digital content, we all need to be restrained. Yet if one person knows how to build a DVD player for Linux that is too small a minority to allow people the ability to customize and create their own solutions. Sounds to me like he wants it both ways.

    BTW - isn't this the same Jack Valenti that said the VCR would be the doom of the movie business? How is someone who has been so consistantly wrong with each new technology still able to convince our congresscritters that he knows what he is talking about? I suspect its not Mr. Valenti's silver tongue and gift for pursuasion, but more likely the bags of money sitting behind him that is the key to his "success".

  • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:40PM (#8999061)
    Oh, there's not a "Free as in gimme gimme i deserve it" DVD player for linux.

    And no one is allowed to even make such a system, legally, for even their own use.

    Lies and horseshit won't help the 'cause'.

    trolling won't help the cause either.
  • by yerfatma (666741) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:43PM (#8999102) Homepage
    +1 Literal. I doubt he built a HDTV as well. That's not exactly the point though. Do you find it disturbing that it would be illegal for you to buy a bunch of parts, assemble them into a TV and forget to add a broadcast flag switch? But legal for you to do the whole thing with the flag.

    See, if you remove the TV manufacturer from examples, things become a little clearer. That's the idea of a good example. So the question is no longer, "Why doesn't company X build a TV the way I want", but "Why the fuck can't I do whatever I want with a TV I built/ bought?" I paid for it. It's mine. I own an X-Box and if I mod it I'm violating the law?!

    Pay no attention to your loss of freedom, Citizen! Continue to consume away.

  • Re:Well spoken. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v_1matst (166486) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:45PM (#8999118) Homepage
    OK, I have a question. When you purchase a DVD you are paying for the media and a licensing fee to watch the movie. Why is it then that If I want another copy of the movie (say it got scratched) I have to pay the same price again (including the licensing fee) when all I want is a new copy of the media? I have already paid to watch the contents of the media.

    I have also run into problems where you may have purchased the full screen version of a film by mistake when you meant to purchase the wide screen version. Try to take the film back to the store for an exchange and you'll get the run-around from them saying that they cannot take the movie back due to copyright laws. Again, this is a bunch of bull. I just want the movie I paid to license in another format. Is it so wrong to want, no expect these things?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:45PM (#8999136)
    I'm not rooting for the MPAA by any means, but your example is bad for 2 reasons ... A) most kit cars that are street legal are built on the frame and suspension of a pre-existing street legal car and B) not all kit cars are street legal.

    However, there is nothing illegal about building a kit car, even if its not street legal, its just illegal to use it on public roads. Unlike what the MPAA wants you to believe that even building something to circumvent there technology is illegal, no matter what your intent.
  • by Dreamweaver (36364) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:46PM (#8999158)
    I, myself, am one of those college kids who laughs at the MPAA pre-movie pity-mercials.

    As such, I'd just like to say that:
    1) I'm watching this drek after having paid twice as much to see the movie in the theater than to rent it (and thus, presumably, have a more enjoyable experience)
    2) I've lived away from my parents for the past six years, since before I graduated highschool, much less college.
    3) I pay my own way through college with money from the job that I already have which pays more than some of my professors make a year and, since I intend to someday Be a professor, may well pay more than I will be making after college

    So if I want to laugh at the screen as an alternative to crying at the stupidity of our species, I think it's my right.
  • by Have Blue (616) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:47PM (#8999160) Homepage
    At the risk of getting flamebait/troll all over my good karma, I think it was unfortunate that the interviewer chose to browbeat Valenti with technical questions and focus on a single side effect of the core issue that Valenti could not be expected to be an expert on (the DVD situation on Linux). Had he stuck to the more general issues, like the fact that the behavior of legally purchased hardware is not entirely under the owner's control, he might have obtained more coherent answers that reveal more about Valenti's position, rather than cheapen the anti-DMCA camp by appearing to indulge in personal attacks.
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:47PM (#8999172)
    What we have here isn't a failure of logic or failure of communication, but it's a clash of ideologies. The MPAA reserves the right to make money off of its "product" (approx. the capitalist view) while the user community reserves their right to do as they please with purchased goods (approx. the socialist view).

    It sounds like the MPAA wants the "product" to become licensed for your use but under their ownership rather than offering ownership of the product for sale individually. Reminds me of the licesning for software like SPSS and a few others where you just pay for the right to use it under certain terms.

    The GNU-minded folks seem to have a hard time articulating (in this interview anyways) their reasons why this isn't fair to them and to Linux. The interviewer was very global in his assertation that he was entitled to do what he wants with "the product" after he purchases it.

    There isn't anything wrong (to me) with either view, but the problem is that neither side will reach any kind of agreement as long as both sides keep posturing as the moral authority. To each side, this is perceived as arrogance. The battle shifts from the salient issue to that of ideals. This doesn't really help solve the immediate problem it just becomes a religious war with alot of collateral damage. --just my $.02.
  • Double Taxation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maltese Falcon (11786) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:48PM (#8999182)
    Personally, I've always seen this player-decryption as a form of double taxation. First the reason you have to PAY for a DVD purchase or rental from the original distributor is for the license/legal right to view it. Then they claim that you must also PURCHASE a "licensed" player in order to legally watch the movie you just paid for the license to legally view. So I watch my legally purchased or rented DVDs on my illegal decrypting linux player. If they want to arrest me over it, fine. As a friend of mine once told me: "If you really and morally don't believe a law is right, and you understand the consequences, then break it." He's right, people do it all the time, it's called protest.
  • by baxissimo (135512) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:49PM (#8999196)
    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Yeh, that's a good point. Here's another -- how many people are in wheelchairs out there? It's not *that* many. In fact I don't know anyone in a wheelchair. So why should we have public policy aimed specifically at those people when there are multi-multi-millions of us who aren't crippled? It's another case, just like Skippy Valenti said, where You can't do it that way. To hell with the ADA. Those folks in wheel chairs should go buy their own damn ramps if they want to get into buildings. And tell 'em Jack sent ya!
  • by a_karbon_devel_005 (733886) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:51PM (#8999229)
    Actually this article paints a poor picture of the interviewer.
    Valenti seemed to be speaking well and acknowledging when he didn't know something whereas the ENTIRE rhetoric of the interviewer was:
    1. Linux doesn't have a licenced player! You said it would! Waaahhh!

      Well, I've got news for you. That's not HIS fault. There's a LOT of things that linux doesn't have. Especially "doesn't have LEGALLY". Is it his fault there's no market for a product that's ( as you so pointedly showed ) routinely circumvented for free and targetted at a small geekish market?
    2. I want to build a Digital TV! Why can't I? Waaahhhh!

      Well unfortunately he's right. No one cares about you. If you're building a TV you're either 1) a student, and therefore no one will pay attention to you unless you try to sell it, or 2) working for a company... WHO can pay for the licencing fees.
    If anything this article made Valenti seem RIGHT.
  • by Flyboy Connor (741764) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:53PM (#8999254)
    Yes, it sucks that to play DVDs, you have to buy a license. But...so?

    It's not about having to buy a license. It's having to buy a separate license for each piece of equipment you want to view a DVD on.

    I have two DVD players in the home. So I have bought a license twice over. However, I prefer to watch DVDs on my computer, because my monitor is so much better than my TV sets. So now I own legally bought DVDs, I own two licenses to play them, and I have the software to play them on my computer. But still it is illegal to play them on my computer. That's downright silly.

    What is even more silly is that you can buy a DVD, but you are not allowed to view it until you buy a license to view it. When I buy a DVD, I assume I have, by default, a right to view it. In whatever way I like. As long as I am not violating the copyrights.

  • by lousyd (459028) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:54PM (#8999257)
    The legal system is explicitly designed with the assumption that a person can own products of the intellect. Is it so surprising that someone like Jack Valenti can't understand this "fair use" business? Property is naturally something that one person owns and everybody else doesn't. If Jack Valenti (or the people he represents) owns a movie, why should he expect others to be able to do with it as they please? It's his property!

    The fault here lies with the legal system that creates the fiction that a person can "own" intellect. In a proper legal system, there'd be no such fiction.

  • by cgreuter (82182) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:56PM (#8999287)

    Okay, can somebody put this in politer, more persuasive language...?

    "Those thousand engineers will have to invent the things American businesses sell so that they can pay the salaries of those twenty-four million movie-buying Americans."

    There. Short and .siggable.

    The thing to remember about these sorts of people is that it's all about the money. They don't care about your hardware hacking projects and freedom is one of those abstract things, but say that this will make them poor and they'll take notice.

  • by turnstyle (588788) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:56PM (#8999290) Homepage
    So this isn't about the unavailablity of licensed players, but rather just an unwillingness by vendors to pay for a license?
  • by monkeydo (173558) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:03PM (#8999392) Homepage
    Maybe it's just because I'm not a zealot, but I don't see how that interview makes Valenti look like an idiot. The interviewer doesn't even ask him about fair-use, or any other non-technical questions, he just wants to know why he can't watch DVD's under Linux. Valenti replies that he doesn't know why no one makes a licensed DVD player for Linux, but there must be a good reason. The simple fact is that he's right. Why don't all the bitchers and whiners go out and write a licensed DVD player for Linux and SELL it it? There's such a big market for it, and it should be trivial to write, right?

    1. Write licensed Linux DVD player
    2. Sell licensed Linux DVD player
    3. Profit!!!!
  • by schon (31600) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:04PM (#8999414)
    You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    So what he's saying is that it's OK to take away part of a constitutionally-guaranteed right (freedom of expression), because only a small fraction of the population actually uses it.

    Un-fucking-believeable
  • by 403Forbidden (610018) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:04PM (#8999417)
    What ever happened to the idea of "majority rule, minority rights" This entire interview brands users that aren't of the majority as invalid- and a law that restricts a morally unobjectionable use by a minority should have never been made.
  • by robochan (706488) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:05PM (#8999429) Homepage
    I already _bought_ a DVD player, it's sitting in a bay right below my cdrom.
  • by Zspdude (531908) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:08PM (#8999454) Homepage
    Just because it's not based on morality doesn't necessarily make it a bad law... You have to be careful. If you went through and identified every law that existed for logistical or bureaucratic reasons (as opposed to moral ones), do you think you'd come up empty handed? To determine the quality of a law, you have to look at the quality of reasons for which it was put in place.

    He doesn't have to win the issue of morality: all he has to do is show that the law is worthwhile. The law can be worthwhile for a number of different reasons. The problem is the contradiction in saying that it's not a moral issue, while running sappy morality based ads and harping about 'theft' and 'piracy', both of which have moral implications.

    It *is* illegal to watch DVDs on an unlicensed player, because it's illegal. That's not circular reasoning, that's just stating the obvious! It speaks nothing of the reasons for it's illegality.

    Circular reasoning would be to say, "It's morally wrong because it's illegal. It's illegal because it's morally wrong."

  • by groomed (202061) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:09PM (#8999477)
    Valenti is an interesting character. He knows a lot about movies and about the industry. He seems to have heart for the enterprise, both at a commercial as well as a creative and artistic level, even though his occupation has skewed his perspective towards the commercial aspects of moviemaking. Valenti is a man whose accomplishments practically defined the superstructure for US movie industry over the past 3 decades.

    Keith Winstein gets an opportunity to speak with this man, on behalf of all of us, and is satisfied to knock down a few strawmen ("am I bad? am I a bad person?!"). He doesn't use his considerable knowledge to illuminate and explain the deeper issues. He's just interested in bashing Valenti's head in, using his knowledge as a club. With the result that the true issue gets snowed under. Because the problem isn't that there aren't any licensed DVD players for Linux. The problem is that you need licensing at all.

    What a sad performance. Nerds, stop flashing your braincocks.
  • by Cecil (37810) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:19PM (#8999596) Homepage
    They produce the movies, it's their call. If they don't want you to be able to do thing 'x' with it, then you can't, it's that simple. If they require you to use a particular piece of hardware to view their movies, then that's that.

    I really don't see any moral, ethical, or legal way around the fact. They own the copyright on the movies. If you want to see them, then they have every right to tell you to view them, or not view them, in whatever way they want. You may find it distasteful or discriminatory but it's not your call, it's theirs.

    If you don't like the way they're telling you to do things, then god damn, please stick up for yourself and say "Alright, fine, I'm not buying any more of your shit." If you really want things to change, that's the *only* way you're going to do it. Vote With Your Wallet. End of story. That's right: No Matrix for you; No Lord of the Rings for you. You'll live. At the very least cut down on the movies you watch and go watch some live theater, go to hear an orchestra play, support the very things that the movie industry is currently destroying. The only alternative is to accept the way they want to do it. So, make a decision. Do you actually like movies more than you hate the way they're treating you?
  • by PitaBred (632671) <.gro.sndnyd.derbatip. .ta. .todhsals.> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:19PM (#8999607) Homepage
    In order to sell it maybe. But just to use it yourself? I don't think so. Otherwise, any body modification anyone does would have to be crash-tested for safety.
  • by antiMStroll (664213) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:20PM (#8999610)
    Where does Jack think his highly technology-dependant industry would be without those engineers and tinkerers?
  • by elmegil (12001) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:22PM (#8999635) Homepage Journal
    Except that Valenti's position on most of that stuff is that the people who want to do it for benign reasons are a miniscule minority of those who would abuse the loophole. That's way too big a discussion for a 10 minute interview. I didn't think it looked like personal attacks at all--he said "you claimed we'd have the ability to do this 4 years ago, where is it?" and Valenti's reply was "I don't know", and clearly he was concerned about this lack and the inconsistency in his own case.
  • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:26PM (#8999699) Journal
    Why don't all the bitchers and whiners go out and write a licensed DVD player for Linux

    It's the licensing part, not the writing part, that's causing the problem. It's an expensive process and you have to jump through a lot of hoops.

  • by MeNeXT (200840) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:27PM (#8999704)
    Why need it be a company? Why does he have to charge for it? Why can't he give it for free?



    There is no copyrigts on his code. The copyrights are on the DVDs. He is not advocation distribution. He is advocating the right to use a product after you purchase it. Could you imagine that you are not allowed to change the color of YOUR car???


    That is what velenti is proposing. How many people do you know that purchase a car and paint it? How many are in the US? 1000? Who is to say that the color of the car is not a work of art? What if you wanted to paint a lemon on it and the manufacturer was against it?

  • by MikeJ9919 (48520) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:27PM (#8999712) Homepage
    Whoa, whoa, hang on. Weinstein is entirely correct. When he tried to make an argument about the broadcast flag, Valenti argued that the law had to be crafted to reflect the majority and that small segments of the population who had legitimate gripes would always exist (which isn't entirely true...law must reflect the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority.)

    Weinstein then made the point that Linux users were a not-insubstantial portion of the population. This much is true. In addition, he made the point that this rather large segment of the population could not legally view DVDs on their computer without buying a separate DVD player or another operating system. I don't view this as a terribly technical problem. If I buy a DVD drive, I expect to be able to watch DVDs, just like I would have expected to be able to listen to music CDs if I bought a CD drive.

    Further proof that this is neither a small nor an especially technical problem is the fact that Valenti himself has addressed it before. He has banked on the promise of DVD software soon being available for Linux, but that has yet to materialize. However, it has not and, but for the DMCA, United States copyright law would have no qualms about me finding some way to watch the content that I own. That is what's wrong.
  • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:27PM (#8999715) Homepage Journal

    Did you know people are stupid enough to buy bottled water when they have clean tap water? I'll bet you could double your profits with those dumb people by selling the bottle with a lock on it, then licensing out the schematic for the key and suing anyone you just broke the lock off.

    Some people are smart enough to realize they can just break the lock since they already bought the bottle. Other people are infinitely denser and suggest that the problem is that nobody is buying licenses to the lock and selling a key.

    But, don't worry... maybe that just means you travel at the speed of light.. or something... or maybe you just don't see the inherent problem in criminalizing the activity of using something the consumer already paid for.

  • by Ironica (124657) <<gro.kcodnoob> <ta> <lexip>> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:28PM (#8999717) Journal
    I think it was unfortunate that the interviewer chose to browbeat Valenti with technical questions and focus on a single side effect of the core issue that Valenti could not be expected to be an expert on (the DVD situation on Linux). Had he stuck to the more general issues, like the fact that the behavior of legally purchased hardware is not entirely under the owner's control, he might have obtained more coherent answers that reveal more about Valenti's position...

    But Valenti has many forums in which to reveal his position, if he's really interested in doing so. Personally, I think it's wonderful that the interviewer chose to take Valenti onto unfamiliar ground, to show the Jackass how much he truly doesn't know about his job.

    The legislation Valenti and the MPAA have pushed through has serious and real consequences for technology. It's not all right for them to ignore or dismiss those consequences. It's time someone called them on how much they don't know about what they're doing.
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PincheGab (640283) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:32PM (#8999776)
    I see why Valenti is so persuasive. Looking at the interview from the point of view of a non-technologist, non-Linux user, the man seems pretty level-headed.

    Here is what i got from it:

    1) He really believes in his side of the story. It just makes sense to him, and he explains it in a way that makes sense.

    2) His argument is simple: Don't copy what you don't have permission to copy.

    3) The interviewer was an absolute idiot for approaching his questions from the Linux point of view. Why should Valenti or the RIAA or anyone else assure that there is fucking DVD viewer for Linux???? Why try to put the man on the spot because market forces have not created a Linux DVD player? DUUHHHH! How about asking Valenti about the "fair use" aspect where you cannot make any copies that right now fall under "fair use"?

    4) Showing Valenti that anyone can easily make an "illegal" Linux DVD player only makes the man more resolute, and gives ammo to the RIAA. Can you see Valenti saying to some congressmen I know for a fact anyone, and I mean anyone can make a DVD copier! You must erode freedoms now for the sake of our economy!? He could then provide a printout of the interview with the MIT fool who made the wrong point.

    Well, I'm sure we got closer to an accord with Valenti by letting him know that MIT nerds building their own HDTVs and DVD players need the freedom to do so... But of course, he's worried about the other 300 million people in the USA and the other 4 billion people in the world.

    What an awful interview!

  • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnoldNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:36PM (#8999826) Homepage Journal

    ==========
    JV: ...[omitted stuff about the broadcast flag]... Well, why would people object to it?

    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.
    ==========


    The interviewer blew it right there in his last response.

    The CORRECT response should have been "Why does that matter? Do I not have the right to build stuff for myself?"

    Because that's the crux of the misunderstanding. They do not believe we have the right to build anything for ourselves. We only have the right to choose which overinflated strong-arm corporate overlord we're the least pissed off at today.

    What the internet is changing is not copyright infringement, but publication and distribution. We used to be consumers because we had no choice. Now we are producers becuase the option is available. That's the meat of the thing!

    Anyone who's been to homestarrunner.com knows that Disney does not have to be involved for your entertainment to be hilarious, (very nearly) family-appropriate and extrodinarily well-written.
  • by GbrDead (702506) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:36PM (#8999831) Homepage
    Yes, he should have pointed out the Roman law principle:
    Innocent until proven guilty.
    Something Valenti not-so-indirectly denies numerous times during the interview...
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:37PM (#8999851) Homepage Journal
    I agree, in this case he comes off as someone who is clueless about fair use, but at least concerned (on the surface) that there are no linux players available. Amusingly there's no way he could fail to know there were no Linux players if he cared, so either way the final analysis leads to him being full of shit - which is his job.
  • by pla (258480) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:38PM (#8999863) Journal
    Okay, can somebody put this in politer, more persuasive language...?

    Sure. Translate it, by analogy, into an issue that most people do have a sensitivity to...

    "Why would people object to segregation?"
    "I'll tell you, because I'm black, I'm a black business owner, and this year I bought a home. But because of the Jim Crow laws, if I wanted to vote, that would be illegal."
    "How many blacks in the United States own their own homes?"
    "Well, I'm talking about ones who do."
    "Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 75 million people in this country. You can't have a public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way."

    Does that make the problem seem a bit more obvious?
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:39PM (#8999872)
    > They produce the movies, it's their call.

    Well, just because you have published something, does not make you King of the World, with your opinion dictating whatever rule of law applies.

    Producing a movie does not put you above the law of the land.
  • by shark72 (702619) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:39PM (#8999878)

    "The guy on screen was most likely paid up front for his work, he's not getting a percentage of the box office take, so "piracy" doesn't affect him."

    A lot of Slashdotters misunderstand this. An analogy might make this a bit more comprehensible:

    Say you run a game studio. You have a pretty good track record of releasing games that a profitable. You have a staff of, say, twelve programmers, designers, etc. and you produce some kick-ass games that have lots of cool features and really show the efforts of those twelve people.

    Then, for whatever reason, the piracy rate of your latest games goes from a tolerably low level to the point that it's noticably eating into your sales. Your profits aren't the same as what they once were, or perhaps you're losing money.

    At this point you might say "fuck it, I'm not going to spend so much time and money on these games if people don't think they're worth buying. I've got to cut costs somewhere." You then lay off half of your development staff.

    This massively sucks for the development staff, despite the fact that -- just like the gaffer or set painter or whomever it is in those ads -- they are salaried.

    Likewise, if film profitability drops due to piracy being a much larger factor than it has been in the past, the studios will look for ways to cut costs. Perhaps they'll consider moving more productions to Canada or other countries where labor is cheaper. Or perhaps they'll try to make do with eight set painters instead of ten. In both these cases, jobs are lost. It's important to understand that a significant chunk of the budget of your typical film goes to the salaries of the behind-the-scenes folks. If fewer films are made, or budgets are slashed, or film production moves offshore, there is less work available for these people. The film industry, just like the computer game and IT indutries and so many others, is one in which there are more talented individuals out there than there are available jobs.

  • by ShadeARG (306487) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:40PM (#8999891)
    Saying "this'll let you watch movies" is correct, but saying "this'll play movies" would be misleading. Perhaps it wouldn't have been criticized if it was simply stated "this'll allow you to watch movies."
  • by Ironica (124657) <<gro.kcodnoob> <ta> <lexip>> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:44PM (#8999937) Journal
    Right, because it has nothing to do with just not wanting to pay for something. It's because of several minutes of commercials. Okay.

    Actually, what pisses me off the most about those stupid ads is that I only see them after I paid $9-14 bucks for my seat.

    They should pay for airtime on television if they want to get this message to the "right" people. The way they're doing it now, they're preaching to the choir... and sometimes, that has the effect of making the choir feel more like misbehaving (if they're going to talk to us like criminals, why should we play by the rules?)

    Of course, there are other issues with those ads and the message behind them, as you can see from my sig (taken from an Entertainment Weekly article about the ads, just before they were released).
  • by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity@@@sbcglobal...net> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:44PM (#8999945) Homepage Journal
    I never believe in hostile debates. That's not my style. I believe that we ought to talk objectively about it. I think for anything that I'm advocating, I'm willing to be in an open debate with anybody about it.


    Many of us wouldn't be too surprised if, shortly after retiring from their respective positions, Valenti and (former RIAA president) Hilary Rosen each were to sprout horns and a tail.

    Hilary and Jack got their jobs, first and foremost, because they love music and movies. Just like you and I do. They went into the industry because they care about seeing creative people rewarded for their work. We certainly don't want to see our favorite musicians and directors starve, either -- yet all but the most elite barely carve out a living, even now.

    We really do want the same things that they want. Where we have problems is that our understanding of the issues are lacking.

    When people differ, it's easy to get hostile. One guy is the devil, the other's a lunatic, and once everybody's in that defensive mode nobody is open to hearing a new idea. As a result, nobody wins. You can't convince your enemy of anything, because you've made him your enemy!

    The only way we are going to be able to change anything is by making friends with the industry executives we've until now demonized. As Valenti says here, we need to avoid hostile debate. To discuss things openly and honestly, we need to start with where we agree: We both love the art, and we want to see artists paid for their work. Get them saying, "Yes, yes," right from the start. So that we're not putting them on the defensive, but getting into a spirit of mutual cooperation.

    Because that's the only way we can achieve any kind of change.
  • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by debrain (29228) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:48PM (#8999991) Journal
    My interpretation was that Valenti was miffed about how the out-sourced company came up with such a crappy system. There were many a million invested into this DVD protection scheme. To see a fellow write 6 lines of Perl to circumvent millions in copyright protection investment could well be 'un-fucking-believable' to the fellow vicariously footing the bill.
  • A few bad apples (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Martigan80 (305400) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:48PM (#8999993) Journal
    No matter how much you want to argue fair use and all, the bad apples stillscrew it up for everyone. All it takes is one nimrod to copy and sell some DVD's and you give Hoolywood a fight. Take money away from a giant and he'll step on you.

    Also going after a older man who doesn't know so much about Linux and computers as we do, you only help fule their fires on how imature the "geek" culture is in the eyes of these rich powerhouses. It's bad enough that you can't talk to a senator unless you front some money, but pissing off the people who do will only close the doors of any future visits.
  • by prescot6 (731593) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:49PM (#9000013)
    That's exactly the attitude that has lead us to where we are now with this, and all of the other DMCA issues. "Why should I pay for it when I can just get it for free?" Because it's illegal. "Just because I know that I can get it for free, and I'm not _stupid_ enough to pay for it doesn't make it illegal." Yes it does!
  • Re:Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:52PM (#9000056) Homepage Journal
    Oh please. No law has ever been written perfectly the first time. The Constitution is only a little over 200 years old and it's been ammended 27 times. Shit, even the Ten Commandments [positiveatheism.org] have seen a bit of revision.

    The DMCA isn't all bad. In time, the parts that are unconstitutional will be repealed and the parts that are vague will be clarified.
  • by jejones (115979) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:58PM (#9000115) Journal
    Throughout the interview, Valenti demonstrates his ignorance and misunderstanding of fair use.

    He also displays his ignorance and misunderstanding of the US government and the principles on which it is based.

    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Exercise for Mr. Valenti: do a search for the phrase "tyranny of the majority."
  • linux and DVD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AndroidonPPC (737311) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:59PM (#9000127) Journal
    Wait a sec... so the mpaa wants to force me to buy a decoder so that I can run DVDs I paid for on a computer I paid for with the DVD player I paid for? Jesus, how much cash is the industry trying to milk me for? Some of those folks are already millionaires... I just want to watch "Fishing With John"! I tell yah... I've met winos with less aggressive begging tactics.
  • by Mad Alchemist (706211) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:05PM (#9000176)
    What's guaranteeing that bottled water is any better? I've seen plenty of water bottles for sale that plainly state that they're bottled from some city's municipal supply. Are there regulations on bottled water saying it has to be "cleaner"?
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:05PM (#9000179)

    The real problem with Valenti is that he is assuming the validity of an outmoded paradigm-- that everyone will be satisfied all doing the *same* thing with distributed content, and that a few big corporations or industry groups get to decide what that thing is.

    Linux, FSF and the GNU however, was originally motivated by the desire to specifically wrest such centralized control over technology, and especially now that it is getting more complex to the point that the one-size-fits-all mentality is showing itself to be more and more antiquated. Linux's very nature UNDERSCOREs what's wrong with the Valenti assumption-- and IMHO, unfortunately for them, despite congressional attempts to prop thing up, Valenti and his crew are losing their grip on things and are scrambling to patch the holes in the dike.

  • by mikers (137971) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:20PM (#9000348)
    Of hearing about 'unfairness' and lack of reverse engineering ability. SO WHAT. There is bad law and it happens to suck for me and probably many others here on /.

    I'm going to talk about three things here: Reverse engineering provisions (getting around the DMCA) ,fair use provisions that have been trampled on, and copyright infringement. In particular, the DMCA and Copyright are currently bad law, and only sufficient urging of law makers will change anything.

    Read the article. GIves hard time to Jack Valenti RE: Can't play movie on linux, can't reverse engineer.

    Some posters here are correct in that this is about control and money. Give up the control, harder to get money. Thanks to convergence we are looking at a head-to-head fight with the MPAA. We want freedom with digital media, the MPAA wants to take the freedom away to support their artificial scarcity model. Nothing to see here, move along.

    Jack has been responsible for lobbying for DMCA, etc. to limit our freedoms. Congress buys in because: copyright extension and DMCA provisions limiting digital freedom/fair use is seen as "GOOD" for an entire industry. Why? Because Jack, Hillary and Cary have convinced law makers that it is "GOOD" and it supports artists, etc.

    Since the public buys into the sales pitch of DVDs (with their encryption) congress sees very little complaining or problems, and having already bought into the arguments once sees fit to ignore a few complaining (slashdot, Lessig, EFF) parties.

    There are several ways to fix this, but "dialogs" or "discussions" with Jack or whoever with angry geeks are going to do NOTHING. DDOSing the RIAA website will do NOTHING. Saying things like "I only download mp3s to try out and then I buy the CD" does NOTHING. Continuing to download/upload stupidly MP3s, movies,etc. in this age of lawsuits by RIAA does NOTHING (though I agree with it, and in this case support civil disobediance in the face of bad law). Suing the RIAA to get judgements from the supreme court on constitutionality, or right to reverse-engineer does NOTHING (see Aimster, Felten vs. RIAA).

    So, to move forward and DO SOMETHING:
    (a) The EFF, DigitalConsumer.org, Creative Commons people... Need to get lobbying congress to get some provisions for fair use. Namely all the ones that have been taken away. What we need is 1 line in the copyright act(s) that makes okay a WIDE RANGE of fair use. No amount of whining or complaining will change an ACT of congress. Getting in the face of congressmen REPEATEDLY has a chance. They are the law makers and we have bad law here.
    (b) Engineers, COMPSCI, IEEE... Should get lobbying congress to allow for reverse engineering in this digital world. We have associations and societies, why the heck aren't they doing something? Why isn't industry lobbying for fewer restrictions on hardware? It only lowers their costs.
    (c) Quit complaining to JACK, MPAA, RIAA... Quit whining on slashdot, DOn't assume that if you just keep ripping, downloading from Kazaa things will get better. The language in the laws (DMCA, Copyright) MUST CHANGE. And the LAW MAKERS MUST CHANGE IT AT URGING FROM LOBBYISTS REPRESENTING US!
    (d) Quit buying into the crap that the MPAA and RIAA (and companies represented) put out! Their cash flow will have to suffer far more to sufficiently weaken their fight. Start caring about supporting troublesome companies like Sony and their ilk. Its a question of knowing what you want instead of being sold on by 'marketting' and advertising gimicks.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:20PM (#9000352) Homepage Journal
    It's not Jack Valenti's job to make sure there are legal DVD players for Linux. It's his job to make sure that there are NOT illegal DVD players for Linux.
    Actually, no, it isn't his job. He's not a policeman. Indeed, the former example is more his job than the latter.

    It is Jack Valenti's job to look after the best interests of the movie industry, or at least that part formed of movie producers that are members of the MPAA.

    It most certainly is in the best interests of the members of the MPAA that there be ways of viewing DVDs on Linux. It may not be a terribly urgent thing, there may "only" be two million people affected by this, but it certainly helps the members of the MPAA if as many of their potential customers as possible can view their products. Because those who can't view them will not buy them.

    Jack would best serve the members of the MPAA by lobbying the DVD-CCA to issue a class license, right now, that counts all DVD players as authorized as long as they follow certain guidelines. The DVD-CCA will not do that, because the DVD-CCA has forced DVD set-top manufacturers to fork over vast dollops of cash for the same rights, and they'll make themselves immensely unpopular by suddenly giving them away for free, but that's the DVD-CCA's problem, not the MPAA's.

  • by SecretMethod70 (569755) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:22PM (#9000393)
    It's not "Why should I pay for it when I can just get it for free?" but rather "Why should I be forced to pay TWICE to watch the DVD I legally bought?" It's like if Pepsi were to somehow push through a law that said Pepsi must be drank out of a certain cup, then everyone who wants to (legally) drink Pepsi has to go out and buy a special cup to drink it out of when they ALREADY legally bought the Pepsi in the first place. I own the DVD legally, I ought to have the right to watch it however I see fit - and if that means using a GPL DVD player, so be it. Excuse my language, but I'm not running some damn DVD copying scheme, I just want to watch the movies I like that I buy or rent from the store. There's no reason I should be treated like a criminal because someone ELSE has the capacity to commit a crime. That's about as stupid as "pre-emptive war."
  • by theophilosophilus (606876) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:23PM (#9000405) Homepage Journal
    Fair use was not mentioned once in the article and there was no grilling going on.

    I think this interview demonstrates a serious advocacy problem in our community. We are talking over these people. Geekspeek and "oh no I can't play movies on Linux" whining isn't going to convince anyone. The content industry doesn't HAVE to sell anything to geeks. We need to be speaking legaleese; fair use, the constitution, the framer's intentions and promotion of innovation rather than "But today, you still cannot on the market actually buy a licensed DVD player for Linux."
  • Re:linux and DVD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Syrrh (700452) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:30PM (#9000498)
    This is partly a misleading argument. That coffee-holder you bought ISN'T a DVD player, it's a DVD-ROM drive. The difference being that playback of DVD movies the sanctioned way requires license fees to be paid, which in turn requires regulatory agencies to sniff through your product to make sure you're not going to steal and release their encryption scheme (well, too late now...) or use weak methods of hiding it like Xing did when DeCSS was written.

    But- Most DVD-ROMs you buy these days come with bundled software, including among other things a DVD-playback package or a rebate to get one for free. So the manufacturer or software publisher has already paid for licensing, they just don't have a linux-compatible player. That should be the real target, just getting a version out there that can be sold into their bundle of other junk you get with the drive in the first place. Heck, it'd be a small program; have it printed on the DVDs just like the InterAct player usually is.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jay2003 (668095) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:31PM (#9000505)

    Valenti's logic is flawed. Outlawing something because it has bad uses is not a standard that's routinely used in US public policy. If it were, private ownership of firearms would be the first thing to go. Firearms have really noxious uses, like murder. Far worse, in my opinion, than a movie studio losing some money to copyright.

  • by RedWizzard (192002) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:33PM (#9000541)
    Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box.
    The point is that they should. A purchaser of a DVD should be able to do whatever they like with the DVD and it's content provided they don't break any copyright laws. They should be able to access the content however they like, they should be able to transfer that content between devices and media they own, they should be able to edit it for private viewing, and they should be able to quote small parts of it as fair use permits. You are allowed to do all these things with other media such as books and CDs, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to do the same with DVDs (or TV broadcasts). Prior to the DCMA you could, but the DCMA removes all of these rights in an underhanded way. The DCMA removed the country given right that Linux users used to have to watch American Wedding on their Linux box. That is why we hate it.
  • by tsg (262138) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:36PM (#9000579)
    The interviewer bordered on whining with his "I rented a DVD at Blockbuster, why is it illegal for me to play it with my 6-line Linux DVD program on my homebuilt HDTV?" argument, repeated ad nauseum.

    Which neither Valenti, nor you, addressed adequately.

    The question is not what gives you the right to watch it on a Linux computer. The question is what's the harm if someone does? How does watching a movie on a Windows machine differ from watching the same movie on the same computer with Linux as the OS? How does the movie industry suffer from this? Why should it be illegal? It is their responsibility to prove the harm, not ours to prove the right.
  • by lusid1 (759898) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:40PM (#9000641)
    If we accept that public policy for a population of 284 million should not be directed at addressing a subset of 100,000, then my question would be:

    Of those 284 million people, how many have HDTV? Of those, how many have HD recording capability? Of those, how many can get the HD recording into their computer? Of those how many have the bandwidth and patience to upload a 30gig HD movie stream to the internet successfully?

    Let's for arguments sake say that number is 100,000. I know I am grossly overestimating the intelligence of the American populace, but if his argument is true, then the broadcast flag does not fit his own criteria for becoming public policy.
  • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:41PM (#9000662)
    Actually, the maker of the DVD-player I use under linux has already paid the MPAA their movie tax for the windows software that comes with the drive. They just couldn't be bothered with writing a driver for linux. I don't blame the dvd-manufacturer, as why should he cater for linux, bsd, or all other operating systems that can use his hardware.
    The fact of the matter remains that I did pay the MPAA for a license, simply by buying the drive, it is just that it is worthless on my machine. If there's a free driver, they will not lose out on any money, as the tax has been paid already. Even if there are commercial linux drivers, why should I pay twice, simply because I choose to run a non-dominant OS?
  • by solprovider (628033) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:43PM (#9000682) Homepage
    Parent: I don't see how that interview makes Valenti look like an idiot.
    Article: I never said anything was immoral in what I was saying. I said it is wrong to take something that belongs to somebody else.
    Dictionary.com wrong: Not in conformity with fact or truth; incorrect or erroneous. Contrary to conscience, morality, or law; immoral or wicked. Unfair; unjust.
    Translation: I never said it was wrong; I just said it was wrong.
    Dictionary.com idiot: A foolish or stupid person.
    I think Valenti qualifies.

    ---
    licensed DVD player for Linux
    All DVD Players are already licensed.

    A DVD Player is hardware. Any DVD player should play DVDs. If it is compatible with some computer hardware, then it should play DVDs in that computer. Then we learn that you must use specific software on the computer to play a movie DVD, and your choice of OS is removed because the movie industry has convinced the government that your OS is a threat to them, and they have made it illegal for you to use your legally purchased property for its advertised function.

    The solution is for every DVD Player manufacturer to give DVD Jon a couple of dollars. Wait, he made the software public domain so they do not need to pay him. Do you need to license the technology from whoever controls the DVD standard? They already paid for a license for that exact piece of hardware you bought. Why don't the manufacturers include the software? Will including a Linux/Unix movie-playing program require a second installation CD? (The installation CD for my Plextor PX-708A DVD Writer is 570MB, but more than 60MB is used for MPGs that I did not know existed until I checked while writing this.) Do they want the DVD manufacturers to pay for 2 licenses for the same piece of hardware when it is impossible for more than one program to be using the hardware to play a movie? Why is it illegal for you to use your licensed device as it was intended?
  • by krlynch (158571) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:44PM (#9000694) Homepage

    ..he must be a real technophile.

    More likely, Valenti has become well versed in both the technical and non-technical details, and is choosing to play "dumb". When dealing with a small and inconsequential, but extremely vocal, group, it is a standard tactic to pretend you don't understand the issue, and promise to look into it. Getting involved in an argument on the merits of his position is not his job ... presenting that position clearly and consistently is. Unless he is actually forced to take on the merits of the pro-freely-distributable-DVD-software argument by a constituency that matters (say, Windows users or Congressmen), there isn't any point in bothering. And there currently isn't any group that has proven that they need to be countered. Like it or not, that's how the politics works.... both for you and against you.

  • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:57PM (#9000849)
    As is usual with analogies, we can work around this easily. I buy a car, don't like the Microsoft steering wheel that comes with the car and replace it with a steering wheel that is quite popular for heavy duty driving. Suddenly I'm no longer allowed to listen to my car radio because the Microsoft steering wheel had some licensed software inside, and my linux steering wheel hasn't? And even if this software existed, why the hell would I have to pay for it again?
  • by tsg (262138) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:59PM (#9000867)
    The real criminals, oh like say the ones that they are actively bringing to court over their usage of P2P networks to trade illicit MP3's?

    The RIAA is not just going after the "real criminals". Borrowing heavily from Lawrence Lessig, there are essentially four kinds of downloading going on:

    1) Those who download instead of buying. These are the "real criminals" and nobody is arguing whether this should be illegal.

    2) Those who download and then buy. Yes, it does happen. People download a song, like it, and then buy the album. These are not the "real criminals". This is helping the recording industry, not hurting it, and it shouldn't be illegal.

    3) Those who download what is no longer commercially available. If they aren't selling it, there's no lost profit from the illicit copy, and thus no harm.

    4) Those who download songs the copyright holder has given permission to download, or songs that are in the public domain. This is completely legal.

    The RIAA wants you to believe that everyone they're suing is in category 1. But it's not true. They aren't making the distinction.
  • by sketerpot (454020) <sketerpot@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:01PM (#9000896)
    Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box.

    And the movie companies do have a God or country given right to force us not to?

  • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:02PM (#9000907) Homepage
    No. That's exactly the lie the MPAA has fed you and you believed it. The MPAA disallows more than just freeloading copiers, it also disallows playing a PAYED-FOR movie as well unless it's on a playback device they like. And while the MPAA has the ethical right to define the terms of sale for their movies (yes, including such things as setting insane profit margins), they do not have the ethical right to extend that to defining the terms of sale of every single device that views that movie.

  • Re:Valenti's point (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:37PM (#9001331)
    But ignoring them and going away to your own island with your own ideas doesn't work. We have nations of people - they can't just go elsewhere.

    People shouldn't be able to sell things entirely under their terms because the buyer should get certain rights when they buy something. When you buy an apple should the seller get to define all the terms as it goes through your digestive tract?

    Traditionally it's been the governments who define these types of things as a balance between seller and buyer rights.

    My problem with copy protection is that with copy protection in front of it, and with that copy protection defended by law, the can define arbitrary terms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:47PM (#9001435)
    To hell with the ADA. Those folks in wheel chairs should go buy their own damn ramps if they want to get into buildings.
    Actually, the cost to just buy a Dean Kamen IBOT for each person who now has a wheelchair would probably be far less than making buildings 'handicapped accessible'. But the interviewer missed the opportunity to slam Jack with his own logic....
    You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved.
    How many people in the US work for motion-picture studios?
  • by neurojab (15737) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:00PM (#9001606)
    >Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box.

    Yes they do. The maker of the DVD has a right to copy that DVD, but there's no part of copyright law that says the player must be licensed. There is the only the DMCA, which says you can't circumvent copy "protection". (Which incidentally flies in the face of a many years of reverse engineering case law). If I buy a copy of something, I have every right to view it, whether or not my player is "approved".

    >Just like when DVDs started to get popular people had to replace their VCRs with DVD players.

    That's stupid. You're confusing technical capability with licensing. They're entirely different.

    >Linux users need to give up their technology that doesn't work correctly and use that which does.

    Perhaps the users aren't wrong. Perhaps the DMCA is wrong.
  • by solprovider (628033) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:42PM (#9002067) Homepage
    So you are saying it is not immoral because it is contrary to law?

    Sorry. You are correct. It is possible to be "wrong" without being "immoral".

    But "take something that belongs to somebody else" seems to be both an immoral and illegal act, if we assume that "somebody else" did not agree with the taking. Amazon.com wants you to take many of their things under controlled circumstances. I am assuming the movie producers wanted you to watch the movie. People tend to be more likely to buy other movies if they gained something from the purchase. They tend to dislike paying for items they cannot use. Watching the movie is improper, immoral, or illegal only because they passed a law that says you cannot use your property the way it was intended to be used. Something seems wrong with that.

    ---
    The rest of your post is gibberish mostly because you seem to be confusing hardware with software and DVD players with computer DVD drives.

    I am confused.

    I thought the discussion was because people want to play movie DVDs on their PC while running Linux.

    How can there be any issues with a stand-alone DVD player working with Linux? Just take the video output and plug it into hardware that can accept it. The encoding is removed by the DVD Player before the video reaches the PC.

    Or is all this discussion because so many people want to build their own Linux-based stand-alone DVD Players?
  • by Falshrmjgr (264237) <.zarathustra. .at. .grendyl.net.> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:30PM (#9002481) Homepage
    WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!

    Laws are (and should) be designed to protect the rights of the minority, and not to cater to the whims of the majority. Ergo, slavery is no longer legal, people still have civil rights, and I have the RIGHT to own bolt cutters to cut off a lock. It is just illegal to cut other peoples' locks.

    The whole issue becomes obfuscated when we begin to discuss "average" people or "consumers." These are all Lobbyist code words for people who are ignorant and don't care.

    The last time I checked, I was a "CITIZEN" of a country where the PEOPLE are sovereign.

    This is just another depressing example of the meatheads in congress lining there own pockets from the special interests and pedling fear (Al Queda DVD Hackers???) to the public.

    "I wasn't using my Civil Rights Anyway"
  • by RedBear (207369) <<redbear> <at> <redbearnet.com>> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:33PM (#9002499) Homepage
    I'm sorry, sir, but you are not insightful. Unless you can explain to me what's so "I'm so damn smart, look at me" about asking somebody who writes laws why it should still be illegal for me to watch a DVD on my personal computer which happens to run Linux. 90% of that interview is about legality and morality, and the guy just wanted to have a rational talk about the needs of both sides. Valenti and this Rich Taylor person had exceptionally horrifying responses to everything the interviewer said.

    Here are a couple of the best ones:

    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.


    That seems to translate to "majority rules, right or wrong". Interesting thought experiment: Re-read the above after changing "engineer" to "civil rights user" or maybe "Linux-user" or herhaps "Mac user" or [flamebait]"minority ethnic or religious group member"[/flamebait]. According to Valenti's logic he would certainly give the exact same response as long as there was a correspondingly small number of people in whatever set you stick between the quotes, compared to the total number of people in the country.

    And the best:
    Will Linux users ever be able to view DVDs on their computers without breaking the law? "I'm sure that day is not far away," [Rich] Taylor said.

    Right. Like it "wasn't far away" four years ago. These people are truly frightening. These are the kind of people who would wholeheartedly support the ideas of Thought Police and Pre-Crime style law enforcement.

    And let me just make sure that all you DVD-watching Linux users truly understand the implications of what these guys are saying. THEY WANT TO PUT ALL OF YOU IN PRISON FOR WATCHING ANY ENCRYPTED DVD ON YOUR LINUX-BASED COMPUTER IF YOU DON'T DO IT WITH THE "LEGAL" SOFTWARE THAT DOESN'T EXIST. And if they could actually find you and put you in prison, they would, and they'd feel good about it. They want to put you away if you use your computer to view a DVD in a manner that they don't approve of.

    It boggles the mind.

  • by node159 (636992) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:24PM (#9003343)
    After having listened to the entire thing all I wanted to ask was this:

    "You have shown an inane inability to grasp the technology and the key issues involved. Given your position, what other abilities & skills can you call on to aid in understanding the issues and how do you envisage resolving the key issues given your limited understanding of the issues at stake?"

    He is a very good speaker and to the uninformed would present a quite swaying argument. To the informed he sounds like a great speaker talking about something he has no understanding of and pardon the obscenity, talking out of his ass.

    He on more than one occasion used false information to validate his claims on topics he should be well versed in.

    To summaries he came across as an ignorant oaf with a great mouth.

    Be glad he is being replaced, just hope its someone younger and more in touch with the realities of this day in age.
  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:19PM (#9003669) Homepage Journal
    More to the point: people don't read DVD's; machines do. Machines designed by engineers.

    The future access to information by the public is dependent upon the freedom of engineers.
  • by tmtresh (615002) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:39PM (#9003789)
    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    If Mr. Valenti truly believed that, the law would not have been written in the first place. Let me put it this way: How many of those 284 million people in this country actually copy DVDs for distribution? "You can't have public policy that is aimed at" the few "when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way."
  • *WRONG* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @12:11AM (#9004203)
    "Hilary and Jack got their jobs, first and foremost, because they love music and movies"

    This is so wrong that I believe you must be paid to support these kinds of positions.

    First of all, the job of these guys (people) is to make the legislative envrionment very favorable and to promote the interests of the movie/record companies in every forum.

    Its not required these guys even know who invented the motion picture
  • by nathanh (1214) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:05AM (#9004622) Homepage
    The content industry doesn't HAVE to sell anything to geeks.

    It's not about the content industry selling to geeks. That's not the issue. The issue is that the content industry is preventing geeks from building their own players.

    That you can't see that's a problem is another problem in its own right.

  • by thisgooroo (685374) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:08AM (#9004631)
    They produce the movies, it's their call. If they don't want you to be able to do thing 'x' with it, then you can't, it's that simple. If they require you to use a particular piece of hardware to view their movies, then that's that.

    so a book publisher would be within his rights to demand that i read the books i bought from him only sitting on a chair bought in his other store, wearing a suite made by his brother, issuing a prayer to allah everytime i turn a page?

  • by Alsee (515537) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @07:23PM (#9013848) Homepage
    Yes, it sucks that to play DVDs, you have to buy a license.

    What an absurd notion.

    I bought a book. I do not need any licence to read it.

    I bought a music CD. I do not need any licence to listen to it.

    I bought a DVD. I do not need any licence to watch it.

    There is no such thing as a licence to use. Copyright only provides limited exclusive rights to create copies (and derivative copies), to distribute those copies, and to public performance (or display).

    Valenti's position is that his stupid DMCA law is OK because he thinks it will only hurt criminals. He just got slapped in the face with the fact that he has made it criminal for 2 million people to watch their movies on their computers. That is merely a symptom of a fundamentally broken law, but it is a symptom he can see and understand. It's no longer a few weird geeks doing stuff he doesn't understand - it's 2 million customers trying to watch the product he wants to sell. That he can finally understand.

    -

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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