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Take Part In The Internet Commons Congress, Mar. 24-25 19

Jay Sulzberger (of New Yorkers for Fair Use) writes: "The Internet Commons Congress 2004 will start at 8:45 am on 24 March in the University of Maryland's Shady Grove campus complex. It will run until the evening of 25 March 2004. Dan Berninger and New Yorkers for Fair Use organized the ICC 2004 because we are extreme optimists: We believe that if we pull together more than we have so far, and if we organize better than we have so far, we can explain to regulators, to U.S. Congressfolk, to reporters, and to most citizens, the most basic facts of our situation. We want more people to know what we know; we want them to know of the world wide culture of freedom and enterprise and engineering that created home computers and that made the Net." (Read on for more.)

"This means conveying some 'technical' facts about the boot process for home computers, and also some 'technical' facts about copyright law in the United States of America, and much more.

In the next few days, descriptions of various projects we need help with will go up on the ICC web sites. Right now, we need places for people to stay near the ICC site, which is in Shady Grove, Maryland. We also need at least one person who can show us a free operating system running on the Xbox, and we'd like to see a St. Ignucious-certifiable OS running on Apple hardware. We need some adepts to help with the gavel-to-gavel audio coverage. We are going to need folks to write to their Representatives and Senators, and more, visit with them and talk with them. If you want to help, write to, and include the string 'ICC Volunteer' in the subject line." Here's NYFU's page on the gathering.

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Take Part In The Internet Commons Congress, Mar. 24-25

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  • by jezor ( 51922 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:32PM (#8600364) Homepage
    While I applaud the increased awareness by technology professionals about the legal and regulatory environment in which we all must work, I wonder whether NYFU is perhaps confusing politics and commerce in its Call to General Assembly []. After all, while there are legitimate political discussions to be had on the jurisdiction and scope of the FCC and its actions, as well as the balance between national security and personal privacy, do these key questions really deserve to be joined with a debate about Microsoft's contracting practice or SCO's IP claims? I would argue that they do not, and that joining them threatens to weaken legitimate discourse and overgeneralizes about the "Internet community" to which this Call to General Assembly is directed.

    Looking at this Call to General Assembly, I find myself pondering exactly what NYFU is trying to be. Is it based upon a political view of overreaching and naive governmental officials, and if so, is this limited to Internet issues? Are they espousing a belief in the technical superiority of open source over closed source software and, if so, what relevance is the "Bio-Medical Cartel" and similar hyperbolic language? Are they objecting to the substance of SCO's IP claims, with some broader conspiracy theory involving Microsoft? If their answer is "all of the above," I think they are being counterproductive. Each of these views is certainly worth discussing, but they seem to have little relationship among them beyond the fact that some technology professionals hold them as true.

    For myself, as an attorney and law professor [] interested in issues of technology rights and risks, I am turned off by the exaggeration and mix of issues presented in this Call. I also believe that NYFU is doing both itself and its cause(s) a profound disservice by presenting its ideas as a conspiratorialist rant filled with references to "tyrannical governments", "barratry and red-baiting" and cartels and oligopolies.

    What do the rest of you think? {Professor Jonathan}

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"