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TN DMCA: Calling All Nerds 27

Average Joe writes "Next week is shaping up to be a critical week for the defenders of digital freedom down in Tennessee. Both the Senate and House will be holding different sub-committee hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday. Opposition to SB213 & HB457(Super DMCA bills) really depends on living, breathing people coming down to attend the actual hearings and hanging around outside. Expect to see the button man handing out cheaply produced but quite to the point artifacts of the fight. Please, if you can make it do so - even if you're not quite from Tennessee. ;) Learn More at"
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TN DMCA: Calling All Nerds

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    My car's a bucket of bolts, so driving myself across the state isn't an option for me. Anyone planning a caravan or something?
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lshmael ( 603746 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @07:02PM (#5959388) Homepage
    The lack of comments (fine, *pertinent* comments, Mr. I-browse-at-negative-1) worries me. While going to Tennessee is not an option for me (I think the one-two punch of no money and final exams are adequate excuses), here is an excerpt from the site, illustrating why you should go:

    Do you have more than one computer? Do you use Linux? Do you use any kind of Internet security hardware or software (called a "firewall"), or does your company use networking equipment to share Internet access using network address translation (NAT), or allow employees to connect from home using a virtual private network (VPN)? Do you cryptographically sign or encrypt your email? SB213/HB457 threatens your access to all of these. And if you don't understand some of these terms, you may already be using these technologies and simply be unaware of it. That's unimportant, though, because you can still go to jail for it.

    This legislation is being presented to the Judiciary Committees as a "Theft of Service" bill, which simply "update[s] state law so that it comprehensively protects new broadband communication services from piracy and sabotage." In reality, it is much broader and more insidious. In its current form this law would make even a minor violation of your Internet agreement a Class-D felony, and levy excessive fines of $1,500 or more per device or software program, per day. Imagine, hooking your laptop up improperly at home for a year could cost you more than half a million dollars. Compliance will cost Tennessee businesses a bundle as well.

    Considering the amount of angry comments about past Slashdot posts involving similar issues [], this surprised me. Perhaps everyone is just too apathetic...
    • Perhaps very few /. readers live in TN? Perhaps because this didn' make the front page? Are those good enough reasonsfor why there are too few comments?
  • how about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 )
    .. how about trying to enlist the help of those same nashville disk jockeys who helped rouse the rabble to protest the proposed state income tax? They seemed to do a good job getting tennesseans out there to the capitol. Can't hurt,it's a phone call/email away.
    • because rallying the technocracy isn't as politically correct as rallying the working class (although the geeks are working class folks too).

      Living in TN myself, I know of only a handful of geeks in my area, and none are really interested in protesting something (even though they should protest the Super DMCA).

      Personally, I'd go to protest but have no way of getting anywhere.
      • Damnit, Nagy.

        If you hadn't been such a cluefuck on the NLUG list (and the LUNA list and the GOLUM list and the...) maybe you'd still be around to see all the traffic about these bills, the hearings, the strategies to get them killed, amended, tabled, etc.

        There's a shitload going on here. Just because nobody bothered to fill you in doesn't mean it ain't so.

        • Actually, NLUG was pretty hostile towards me from the beginning so I don't want to hear about how I acted on NLUG's list. What happened on the LUNA list, well, that's unforgivable. On GOLLUM, I didn't do shit until some dick wipe said something.

          Now, there is NOTHING in your statement that addresses my LOCAL area. NLUG isn't local, LUNA isn't local, and GOLLUM sure as hell aint local.

          I never said nothing was going on there (on the lists). Just nothing going on in MY AREA.
    • Wow, I don't know what the sub thread is really about here... As for enlisting the radio show hosts: I have personally attempted several times to get both their attention and their listeners attention. So far the radio show hosts have been completely silent. It is difficult to read anything into that silence, but word has it that the parent owners may be pressuring them not to speak about it. Conspiracy minded, perhaps, but remember the parallel battle being waged against American consumer currently. The F
      • --if you are looking for the national community of independents, who can see beyond the dem/repub good cop/badcop routine, look to the alternative patriot broadcasters like found at and Internet/shortwave/satellite, some am/fm. Constitutional radio and commentary and news at the various hosts websites. My two favs out of the 24 hour programming are alex jones show,, and thepowerhour, throw an .org on that one for their site. There's more, too, and there's some spill
  • by tliston ( 669910 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:56AM (#5964153) Homepage
    Perhaps a concrete example would help people to understand the impact of legislation like this.

    I am an Open Source developer, and in the spring of 2001, I created LaBrea, a network defense application. LaBrea puts unused IP addresses on your network to use, creating a "network tarpit" that traps and holds connection attempts from worms and scanners.

    On April 15th of this year, it came to my attention that a nearly identical version of the proposed Tennessee law had been enacted in Illinois and had become law as of January 1.

    As I read through the law, I discovered that LaBrea appeared to meet the criteria for what was called an "unlawful communication device" because it both disrupted and concealed the true origin and destination of communication.

    If, indeed, LaBrea represents an "unlawful communication device," then my continued distribution of LaBrea from my website within Illinois placed me in violation of the law, and opened me up to incredibly punitive criminal and civil penalties.

    Additionally, on January 14th I had contacted the developers of every Windows personal firewall that I could find to explain a flaw that I had discovered under WinXP and Win2K. The firewall vendors had worked out patches and rolled them into their products, and I was in the process of coordinating the publication of the vulnerability information with the various organizations when I discovered that this provision was law in Illinois.

    Under this law, simply disclosing information describing a technique for "defeating or circumventing any technology, device or software used by the provider, owner or licensee of a communication service or of any data, audio or video programs or transmissions to protect any such communication, data, audio or video services, programs or transmissions from unauthorized access, acquisition, disclosure, receipt, decryption, communication, transmission or re-transmission" is treated as a felony. I will not publish this information, nor will I allow the vendors to credit me when/if they choose to publish it.

    I have been contacted by the MPAA who has attempted to assure me that there is some sort of requirement for "intent to defraud" under the Illinois law, but I cannot find any such language. Lawyers from the EFF have, essentially, agreed that such language does not exist.

    And so, where does this leave me? I've pulled LaBrea from distribution because I cannot justify placing myself in a position where I could be subject to criminal and civil penalties to give away software for free.

    Is it illegal for me to distribute LaBrea? I honestly don't know. But I certainly can't justify hiring a lawyer to sort it all out. Quite frankly, I'm getting to the point where I really just don't care anymore. It's difficult enough to write good software-- trying to do it while walking through a legal minefield is impossible.

    That is the result of this stupid legislation. If you live in Tennessee, or if you're in a position to influence what goes on there, do whatever you can to get it stopped. There is no justification for passing this law immediately. If there are legitimate questions surrounding this legislation (and I believe there are), then table the dang thing and sort them out now , before it is enacted.

    Further information can be found at the HackBusters website []

    • Thanks for your input. In fact, your case has been used on several occaisions when speaking with legislators by the group Tennessee Digital Freedom. Take heart, your case has been noted. It might have been tempting to take the prior cowardly post about this being a Chicken Little issue too seriously and just give up. BUT, as that person who is obviously monitoring this venue must know, there isn't anything further from the truth. The lobbyist have been very deceptive, rude, and intimidating in their defense
    • While I do have a bare shred of faith that a Judge will understand the intent here is not to defraud. The intent is to defend against attack. It's a defense system that does not cause harm. What you are in fact creating is a Electronic Burglar Alarm. Has I understand tracing the offender is ok, attacking his system isn't. Informing the Domain's Admin/Owner/Upstream Provider is ok. Wasting a Hacker's time in a honey pot isn't illegal, frying their brain like in a William Gibson novel (attractive thought it m
  • Yo, Editors, why didn't this make the front page?
    One measly post (which ignited our fires down here and got us to the hearing (barely) in time) about an S-DMCA hearing in Massachusetts made the front page. Everything about the Tennessee action and the response from [] and other Tennesseans has been relegated to YRO []. Sure it belongs in YRO, but the parent post is a call to action.
    Shoulda been on the front page, since not everyone follows the sidebars and action (if driving to Nashville & sitting

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!