• http://ibiblio.org/pjones/blog/ Paul Jones

    Peters is speaking in response to a question from Cory Doctorow at conference at UNC last November. The video was shot by UNC-TV and digitized by TJ Ward of ibiblio.org.
    See also Cory’s Boing Boing posts about the webcasting flag and the term of copyright (in the US)

  • http://ibiblio.org/pjones/blog Paul Jones

    The blog shows no comments, but I see my comment here. What’s up?

  • Jim Powers

    It is nice to see *someone* in Washington say this, alas, the “wrong” person merely because it won’t “do” anything. But I will try to remain optimistic (an increasingly hard thing to do when confronted with an overwhelming body of data which indicates that congress is ONLY going to expand the powers available to copyright holders, never curtail it) that this statement may be the tip of an iceberg of change.

    Because the issue of copyright is not a “hot-button” issue congress will never take it seriously that this issue needs redress. “Floor-time” for legislation to revamp basic copyright law (such as length of term) and its associated legal cohorts such as the DMCA will never happen.

    In the past, I have been among the shrinking minority who would try to get others around me to understand what copyright is and how it is supposed to work and why it may not be such a good thing to simply download that piece of music or movie without eventually paying for it (that is if you have decided to “keep” it. My personal moral code allows sampling via file sharing, although the law and certainly the RIAA/MPAA don’t agree) by buying a “legitimate” copy. Things are pretty grim, however: practically infinite copyright terms (certainly as it applies to my lifetime) coupled with the DMCA/DRM monster I’m at the point of abandoning all hope and embracing piracy. I go further: I’m actively contemplating encouraging piracy because I consider significant financial retribution just deserts for what the “copyright cartel” has done to the “commons” and to our individual rights. My thinking is that a grass-roots movement where overwhelming numbers of people around the world simply take copyrighted materials as their own might have a sobering effect on our legislators and enable them to see the error of their ways.

    … who am I fooling? About 0.00001% of the population understand or care about these issues. Truly sad.

  • poptones

    By various reports, 75 to 90 percent of the music cds purchased in Ukraine are pirated – and even more than that further east. In spite of that, Sony, Elektra and other old school players still manage to maintain a viable presence there AND attract talent.

    You can rationalize genocide or anything else you like, that doesn’t make you right. Embracing piracy hurts the smaller fish who need incentive to stay away from the sharks in suits a hell of a lot more than it hurts the sharks.

    Your life is not going to end without Mariah. Pirating label music is a slap in the face to every talented, creative artist who supports the creative commons.

    Don’t be an ass. If you are an advocate of piracy, you are no friend to this community.

  • http://www.degreesonlineguide.com John J

    Stealing copywrited material is big business in many poorer countries. And it doesn’t stop there – jeans, watches, you name it… It has been around forever – and it isn’t going to go away. The music industry is just going to have to use technology to thwart the thieves. Whatever the government does is going to be ineffective …

  • Jim Powers

    You can rationalize genocide or anything else you like, that doesn�t make you right.

    Clearly, right and wrong are poorly defined arbitrarily used words. If I would ask you what you thought was “right” and “wrong” your list would not be the same as someone else’s. I don’t think this comment is constructive.

    What I am advocating is more akin to civil disobedience. At points in our history people did “wrong” (for some appropriate definition of “wrong”, usually meaning breaking the law) things in order to, with our modern perspective, achieve a “greater good”.

    As far as the pirating hurts comment, you do realize that that is a required aspect of this action. The point is that there are certain businesses and organizations that must have their business methods debased. The hypothesis is that companies and businesses that participate in propping up the business methods represented by say, the RIAA and MPAA which include continued and effective programs to extend copyrights to infinity and hold hostage their customer base via DRM and the DMCA need to be forced into a change of heart. Pain and suffering is inevitable. Through the “pain” companies will begin to distance themselves from the practices of companies represented by the RIAA/MPAA (that literally want to “stop time” by only legally allowing “traditional uses” of their products) and begin to embrace new and interesting ways to sell their copyrighted materials that does not trample on the rights of consumers.

    The corollary to all this is that I am already a criminal! Not for theft of copyrighted materials, but because it remains an illegal act every time I play a DVD on my Linux-based computers. This criminal status I have attained is the direct result of the power that has accumulated by the “copyright cartel” and the application of that power.

    As you might have already gleaned from my comments so far: I do “rationalize” piracy as viable weapon in the arsenal of civil disobedience in this concern (lowering copyright terms and wiping from the books laws like the DMCA, this, at least gets closer to some kind of “balance”, if there was ever such a thing). In my mind the problem is once you turn on the “piracy” bit is is very hard to turn it off once some sort of “goal” has been achieved.

    As far as If you are an advocate of piracy, you are no friend to this community. methinks you’re being a tad judgmental. What I seek is:

    First: a halt to all expansion of copyright-based laws that are intended to make consumers of copyrighted materials criminals by default, or criminals as a result of “traditional” fair-uses of copyrighted materials.

    Second: an actual REDUCTION of the length of the copyright term. Personally I cannot see a rational argument for anything longer than 20 years.

    Third: an expansion of “fair-use” applications of copyrighted materials.

    To achieve these goals I am not eliminating anything from my arsenal. If you are going to hit me with a “means/ends” argument hold your breath, I am fully aware that certain of my means have “victims” associated with them. But, dear reader please realize that members of the “copyright cartel” WILL be “victims” if ANY of my goals are achieved. There is no “victimless” way about this. Feel free to spin “well, perhaps if we sit down with the MPAA/RIAA to come up if a joint position where they will also back the contraction of copyright holder’s powers” as “victimless” you’re not fooling anyone.

    In the end, I believe that I am a “friend” of this “community” in good standing.

  • poptones

    More rationalizing bullshit. Civil disobedience is pointless in the comfort of your living room: it is thetorical masturbation.

    The facts are:

    During the peak years of “piracy” in the US the RIAA reported growing profits with every passing year.

    The RIAA organizations maintain a growing corporate presence even in the countries where american notions about intellectual proerty have almost zero popular support. They are able to do this because they control the channels of popular communication – the hotwire into the living rooms of the world – and all the file sharing in the world will not change this.

    “Piracy” costs record companies potential profits. But “piracy” in the context of file sharing has exactly the same net effect as “broadcast” – every time you “share” Madonna you give the plantation owners voice; you stick another needle in the arm of a culture that needs to change, and in doing so you help perpeptuate the control of the very people you claim as some sort of enemy: You feed the corporate propaganda machine that is the source of your banal resentment.

    If you want to change things, you share the works of the people who cater to your line of thinking and, in doing so, you give them voice. You respect the value of intellectual works and you encoourage those around you to do so and, in doing this, you give them motive to seek alternative sources of entertainment – works created those who share the values of the new culture.

    Your rhetoric of destruction has been refuted countless times in forums the world over. The facts of your argument are obvious: the entertainment industry is not your “enemy” at all; they are the monkey on your back that you have come to think of as a warm coat and all you are trying to do is rationalize theft of the junk that gives you fix. You don’t want things to change at all – you want the system exactly as it is so you can continue to feed on the hype and polish of a corrupt industry.

    Your rhetoric is an astral beacon of hypocrisy. if you want things to change, you will never accomplish that goal by rationalizing away your responsibility to the values you claim to uphold.

  • nate

    > I believe that I am a “friend” of this “community” in good standing.

    I second this, and appreciate your comments, Jim. I don’t know if you’ve found the right solution, but I appreciate that you are looking for it. Keep posting!

    > because it remains an illegal act every time I play a DVD on my Linux-based computers.

    I’d be interested in hearing someone make the case that playing your legally purchased DVD under Linux is not just legally but morally wrong, whereas playing that same DVD on that same hardware is just fine. Is there anyone out there who uses Linux and avoids playing CSS protected DVD’s for moral reasons? (that’s a real question). My guess would be that there are not, and that some people are just more comfortable with have unenforced laws on the books than others.

    –nate

  • Jim Powers

    More rationalizing bullshit. Civil disobedience is pointless in the comfort of your living room: it is thetorical masturbation.

    Hmmm. You seem to know a lot more about me than seems possible.

    This outburst is easily put down: who says I would confine any action I would take on this matter to my living room? Or my home for that matter? Should I consider taking some sort of action that I would deem effective towards achieving the goals previously stated, I assure you that these actions will not be limited to my “living room”.

    During the peak years of �piracy� in the US the RIAA reported growing profits with every passing year.

    I am well aware of these facts.

    The RIAA organizations maintain a growing corporate presence even in the countries where american notions about intellectual proerty have almost zero popular support. They are able to do this because they control the channels of popular communication – the hotwire into the living rooms of the world – and all the file sharing in the world will not change this.

    We are in agreement about the channel of communication, mostly. Regarding the file sharing issue I think that you will eventually found mistaken. Or more precisely, you can be found to be mistaken. Also, please don’t even consider P2P or other “typical” file sharing as the end of the line with regard to the potential civil disobedience action I have in mind. Give away CDs, files, USB drives, etc can also be applied. Basically any medium capable of furthering this cause could be used.

    I also agree with your general interpretation of the expansion of RIAA and the member companies that they represent into countries that may constitute “future markets”.

    �Piracy� costs record companies potential profits. But �piracy� in the context of file sharing has exactly the same net effect as �broadcast� – every time you �share� Madonna you give the plantation owners voice; you stick another needle in the arm of a culture that needs to change, and in doing so you help perpeptuate the control of the very people you claim as some sort of enemy: You feed the corporate propaganda machine that is the source of your banal resentment.

    Ok, I’m going to try to say this again more clearly:

    The actions I’m contemplating will not be victimless the purpose of any action I would contemplate would be to victimize are those member companies that the RIAA/MPAA represent. Their victimization will be the direct result of their continued application of draconian copyright-enabled controls.

    As far as “feeding the corporate propaganda machine that is the source of your banal resentment.”, again it should be apparent that this is in fact a desired goal. I want to push the RIAA/MPAA to the point of declaring marshal law. I WANT them to go berserk. I want them to pursue a course of action that deliberately brings to light their intentions: the eradication of fair use and total lock-down of all media conduits.

    This is a game of brinkmanship. When they are pushed to prematurely pursue what is ultimately their goal they will be rejected en-mass. By then all of use will be criminals, or, more likely, our elected representatives will be able to finally see the error of their ways because it will become apparent that the RIAA/MPAA tactics have resulted in backlash against themselves as well.

    If you want to change things, you share the works of the people who cater to your line of thinking and, in doing so, you give them voice. You respect the value of intellectual works and you encoourage those around you to do so and, in doing this, you give them motive to seek alternative sources of entertainment – works created those who share the values of the new culture.

    This is a no-brainer. Consider it done. You really don’t need to get all frothy in the mouth with me to see, at the core, a decent person.

    Your rhetoric of destruction has been refuted countless times in forums the world over. The facts of your argument are obvious: the entertainment industry is not your �enemy� at all; they are the monkey on your back that you have come to think of as a warm coat and all you are trying to do is rationalize theft of the junk that gives you fix. You don�t want things to change at all – you want the system exactly as it is so you can continue to feed on the hype and polish of a corrupt industry.

    Again, I’m amazed at how much you know of me.

    The “refutation” of what ever “arguments” I’m putting forth is: 1) irrelevant and 2) quite “wrong” for a great number of cases. I will return to my “action” that I am proposing earlier: I believe that civil disobedience is in order here. Granted, it for a cause not quite as noble a cause as the civil rights movement in the mid part of the 20th century or the liberation of India from Great Brittan, but it does have a core set of goals. I certainly consider, from the vantage-point of the early 21st century that both of these causes were just and the civil disobedience that lead to these social changes justified. Therefore, I consider your “refutation” weak at best.

    As far as my “fix” that I want fed, I will have to reveal a bit about myself to illustrate: I don’t own a TV. Since I left home I have never had cable TV. I do not own an iPod. I do have a number of computers that I run Linux on, including my wife and children, and we do enjoy occasionally watching (legally acquired, but due to the DMCA I am not legally allowed to do) DVDs and I do rip CDs (that I purchased legally) into OGG files. I have also started to rip some of my DVDs to put onto a server for convenience. All I see is to retain my ability to do this. I wish to retain my ability to use the “media” I get for practical personal use. My days of doing that are rapidly coming to a close.

    As far as the “action” I proposed earlier I believe that the “hype and polish” of the “copyright cartel” will manifest itself as something quite “other” than that.

    Your rhetoric is an astral beacon of hypocrisy. if you want things to change, you will never accomplish that goal by rationalizing away your responsibility to the values you claim to uphold.

    I readily admit to be a hypocrite, I am comfortable with that. Are you brave enough to admit the truth which is that you are also a hypocrite? I thought so.

    This has been entertaining, but clearly you have been reduced to flailing. I would offer a simple suggestion: please don’t try to think you “know” to whom you are writing. Believe me, I do understand you position, and I do appreciate the fact that there are problems with what I’m proposing. But for me I do not equate “legal” with “right”. You may not be able to separate these two words, but I can. I am simply acting out of my subjective interpretation that what the “copyright cartel” is and are planning to do to the general public is not to my liking. Furthermore, I think it has little public benefit. My thinking is that the time is ripe to force some “natural selection” on the business practices of the “old-school” copyright moguls. You may disagree, that is your prerogative.

  • ACS

    Stealing copywrited material is big business in many poorer countries. And it doesn’t stop there – jeans, watches, you name it… It has been around forever – and it isn’t going to go away. The music industry is just going to have to use technology to thwart the thieves. Whatever the government does is going to be ineffective …

    THis is the kind of limp BS that makes me sick. Government is not responsible for policing copyright and they never have been. It is the responsibility of the copyright owner to protect thier own intellectual property.

    As an Australian lawyer I often have cases of chinese and Thai foreign imports breaching trade mark, copyright and patents in this country. Often we can stop the imports once they are here but the Judiciary in many of those countries are simply ineffective (although China is starting to get the idea).

    This criminal status I have attained is the direct result of the power that has accumulated by the “copyright cartel” and the application of that power

    Typical, people see the RIAA suing pirates and they think there is a copyright cartel. THe truth is that the RIAA and studios like Sony and Universal are the only players who can bring these big infringment suit. The little guys cant afford to protect thier IP (In Australia alone an infringment case can cost 50-80k to get to final judgment) – Encouraging piracy only exacerbates the problem.

    > because it remains an illegal act every time I play a DVD on my Linux-based computers

    Nate, I think he is referring to the software used to play DVD’s on Linux as being illegal.

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    Nate: What stops me from playing DVDs is that most movies are movies I don’t want to see. I’ve become a more discriminating moviegoer so the vast majority of what Hollywood studios have to offer is simply unappealing to me, regardless of the price of admission or rental. My time means more to me, so I don’t waste it on things I think are junk. However, I recognize that my perspective is quite different from most people; lots of people enjoy what I eschew.

    To answer you more directly, I have no problem with people endorsing deCSS use if they want to watch their legally-obtained encrypted DVDs on their GNU/Linux system. I’m against railroading people into giving up their software freedom. I think that is a far more interesting ethical dilemma than it might at first appear to be.

    This is why I don’t publish MP3s, videos encoded with proprietary codecs, and texts in formats which require non-free software to read. I don’t want the stuff I publish to serve as a temptation for others to give up their software freedom. Fortunately, I don’t have to. All of the things I publish can be done with unencumbered codecs and Free Software, often with higher quality results than their encumbered and/or proprietary alternatives.

  • poptones

    I want to push the RIAA/MPAA to the point of declaring marshal law. I WANT them to go berserk. I want them to pursue a course of action that deliberately brings to light their intentions: the eradication of fair use and total lock-down of all media conduits.

    You call for revision of copyright but ignorantly and stubbornly refusealso brings with it the burden to look objectively at the realm of “fair use.”

    Again, the facts are that DRM brings with it an issue of speech. It is every bit my right to publish legal works in whatever language or manner I please. It is my creative work, it is my right to publish – that’s the entire point of copyright and, in many ways, copyright is directly linked to our right to speech. If I want to publish my work cryptographically, in a manner that allows playback only on a particular device this is no different at all than my desire to publish only on LP records or 8 track tapes. The fact you can transform LP records and 8 track tapes does not mean you have now, or have ever had the right to do these things. I have the capability of driving 100 MPH through school zones, too, but doing so would make me a public menace and so I have never had that right.

    Never before in our history have the means of publication given us the ability to secure those rights of copy. it’s as if cars have never before had speedometers and you are arguing they shouldn’t, or the government should not have the right to regulate our speed on the public highways simply because there was never before the capability of measuring and enforcing such limits.

    This is not “brinksmanship.” DRM is coming whether you will aloow yourself to see this as fact or not – it’s here and the capabilities are going to expand, and this is not so black and white as your narrow focus on entertainment would paint it. DRM will allow the creation of scarcity and legitimacy in a field where it has never before been possible. The potential benefits this brings to our society vastly outweigh the potential downside.

    Your hypocritical rhetoric would have an entire world – a world where people are too busy in their daily lives trying to fend off starvation and oppression to worry about what Vanna’s wearing – remain in bondage simply because the alternative might interfere with your imaginary “right” to waste vast amounts of your decadent leisure time in a raptorious veil of media self indulgence and distraction.

    By your vapid rationalizations you are making yourself part of the problem. You are making yourself every bit as much a part of that oppressive establishment as the shark skinned vipers you would feed with your money and your “free speech.”

  • Jim Powers

    poptones, I am relieved that you have chosen to actually engage in this discussion, when you are not trying to insult me you make some very good points.

    You call for revision of copyright but ignorantly and stubbornly refusealso brings with it the burden to look objectively at the realm of “fair use.”

    I don’t stubbornly refuse the burden to look at anything. I’m quite open to discussing this issue as well.

    Again, the facts are that DRM brings with it an issue of speech. It is every bit my right to publish legal works in whatever language or manner I please. It is my creative work, it is my right to publish – that’s the entire point of copyright and, in many ways, copyright is directly linked to our right to speech. If I want to publish my work cryptographically, in a manner that allows playback only on a particular device this is no different at all than my desire to publish only on LP records or 8 track tapes. The fact you can transform LP records and 8 track tapes does not mean you have now, or have ever had the right to do these things. I have the capability of driving 100 MPH through school zones, too, but doing so would make me a public menace and so I have never had that right.

    I deny none of your publishing rights arguments. You are also free to publish in something completely indecipherable, your prerogative, please do so.

    I do deny the limits you impose on can, in fact, I would resist and pursue every avenue possible to stop you or anyone else for that matter, from prohibiting me to transform legally obtained copyrighted into any form I wish for personal use. If it’s a book I can scribble on it, burn it, use it to level my coffee table, etc. If it is in digital form then I recognize no authority other than my own to do with this data as I please. I recognize no authority other than myself to control the devices I own outright to play or otherwise access digital content in what ever form I deem worthwhile. Now, the law and precedent may in some obtuse way say “no” to everything I just said, but this is exactly what I am on about when I said I want to see and EXPANSION of the realm of “fair use”. You are free to publish anyway you see fit, I am free to consume it any way I see fit. If the law prohibits this then the law, not me, must be changed.

    Your analog of driving a car at 100MPH is not applicable. I am talking about transformations I would make to copyrighted materials for personal use. Not about re-introducing my transformed versions of copyrighted materials back into a “public space”, like where a car drives. If I has my own private race track I can certainly drive my car at 100MPH.

    This is not “brinksmanship.” DRM is coming whether you will aloow yourself to see this as fact or not – it’s here and the capabilities are going to expand, and this is not so black and white as your narrow focus on entertainment would paint it. DRM will allow the creation of scarcity and legitimacy in a field where it has never before been possible. The potential benefits this brings to our society vastly outweigh the potential downside.

    DRM may be coming, this is not in dispute. What is important is that I don’t like it. I will go further: practically nobody likes it. There are some who do, but it is a tyranny of the minority here. I am sufficiently outraged by the proponents of DRM that I am willing and able to take extensive actions to fight the propagation of this scourge.

    In particular, the use of DRM to create artificial scarcity is EXACTLY and PRECICELY at the core of my hatred of DRM and all it implies: it is trying to apply the rules of the corporeal to the world of the ethereal. This is directly the results of sick-minded thinking. Why? simple: DRM dies not work. It is an essentially flawed concept without merit. There will never be a DRM system capable of stopping those who can make money from illegally circumventing the DRM scheme. It is a total waste of resources and time. Both of these are paid for by me and you. Yes, piracy is also paid by us to. But the irony is that if I buy from a pirate there is no DRM therefore retaining my “traditional” as well as expanded (according to me) “fair use” rights, while the legitimate version treats me as a criminal from the get go. As for the potential value to society that you allude to: you are a madman (or woman as the case may be) [look, I'm a hypocrite: I lauded you for finally stopping insulting me while I take a pot-shot at you, ironic]. There are far more beneficial results that would result from a world where information sharing actually works like the archetype that it is modeled after: the human brain. As a species we have literally millions of years of evidence that shows that shared information benefits society as a whole. You can continue to hold your position, but we will have to simply agree to disagree.

    Your hypocritical rhetoric would have an entire world – a world where people are too busy in their daily lives trying to fend off starvation and oppression to worry about what Vanna’s wearing – remain in bondage simply because the alternative might interfere with your imaginary “right” to waste vast amounts of your decadent leisure time in a raptorious veil of media self indulgence and distraction.

    Firstly, is this issue the “most important” in some way? No, there are clearly more pressing issues facing the population of the world: please take action to improve the situation. But when the conversation turn to copyright and DRM or “intellectual property” (whatever that means) then I have certain strong feelings about how I think things should work.

    That said, there is no excuse for not being vigilant on this front: the expansion of powers related to copyright needs to stop and be curtailed.

    By your vapid rationalizations you are making yourself part of the problem. You are making yourself every bit as much a part of that oppressive establishment as the shark skinned vipers you would feed with your money and your “free speech.”

    My you are full of characterizations of me, have we met before?

    Well, despite your repeated bullying attempts I hold my ideas in no less esteem no then when we started this little “get together”. I can assure that what many be “vapid” to you does indeed resonate with many people. I am not alone in the opinions I have expressed here, and even if I were I would still hold these opinions and defend them enthusiastically. Your arguments to shut me up have gotten more lucid with each attempt, but have done little or nothing to assuage me.

    As far as making myself “part of the problem”: I intend to sir.

  • Jim Powers

    Typical, people see the RIAA suing pirates and they think there is a copyright cartel. THe truth is that the RIAA and studios like Sony and Universal are the only players who can bring these big infringment suit. The little guys cant afford to protect thier IP (In Australia alone an infringment case can cost 50-80k to get to final judgment) – Encouraging piracy only exacerbates the problem.

    The view of the RIAA in America is not a positive one. Some may sill see them as essentially going after pirates but after some recent public fiascoes such as suing people without computers for file sharing more and more of the public are catching on to the fact that the RIAA is engaging in intimidation tactics.

    The “encouraging piracy is only exacerbating the problem” comment could have been applied to any civil disobedience action that has ever occurred, so, this, in and of itself is an insufficient reason for not thinking about a civil disobedience action that could involve piracy.

    As far as the cost of prosecuting copyright infringement cases is concerned, I’m going to drop another bombshell into the middle of this thread: dissolve the copyright system. Ok, I’m crazy, I know. But it would work. Also, since I’m assuming copyright and IP attorneys read these threads so I’m not expecting much support here as it is an intrinsic conflict of interest for you to take a supporting view of this proposition. But I think the time has some to consider sunsetting copyright altogether.

  • ACS

    Jim

    I’m going to drop another bombshell into the middle of this thread: dissolve the copyright system. Ok, I’m crazy, I know. But it would work.

    Well one of those statements is correct, probably the one you admit.

    The rise of Western Civilisation since the 16th century is directly related to the patent and to lesser extent copyright and trade mark systems. The system of Intellectual Property is, as one commentator put it, a pillar of a technologically forward society. Now I dont want to give a diatribe about why that statement is correct – safe to say – people will not publicise great ideas and expressions without some reward because the costs are prohibative. It is the reason why the Beatles or Windows or any other great product in history has been able to get into every individual home – because there was no identical ‘pirated’ product in competition.

    And there is another reason – respect. Do you not agree that if a person is willing to share thier creative effort with you then you should respect them by not altering thier work or not using thier work without thier permission? Do you believe that you have a right to something that they have spent thier valuable time working on?

    Civil Disobedience is an honoured phrase reserved for actions that are against laws that oppress individuals and groups. You consider the limitation on your right to enjoy the works of others, for free, as oppression. How warped you are.

    It is that kind of thinking that will return our society to where it was in the sixteenth century.

  • poptones

    there are clearly more pressing issues facing the population of the world: please take action to improve the situation. But when the conversation turn to copyright and DRM or “intellectual property” (whatever that means) then I have certain strong feelings about how I think things should work.

    Your “feelings” are informed by ignorance, and the proof of my assertion is in that you are, despite repeated points made to illustrate this fact, unable to discern how these issues are completely intertwined.

    There will always be people who can counterfeit reserve notes, and there will always be people who lurk in dark places and force passersby to pay them tribute under threat of bodily harm. That doesn’t make property rights a “failed system” or personal rights “irrelevant.”

    You talk of corporeal – well, let’s talk corporeal. Who owns your soul? You may talk of your right to feed your soul as you desire, but is that truly your right? Or is it merely your ability? You cannot possess your soul because it is not a thing of tangible form or even a thing which we all can agree exists. What we can agree is that you possess your body. Your body exists; it can be quantified, and in that sense you “own” it. But when you give up your body, who owns the soul? It is not something you created and it is not something you can destroy. If the soul exists, it is not yours at all – yet, many would agree, it is the sum of your essence. You may spindle, fold and mutilate your body as you see fit, but this does not give you any such capability (or right) to do so with your soul.

    If you wish to scribble on you data, do feel free to do so. However, the data is not the thing you own. If your computer fails, can you not still have the data? This is not a paradigm that lends itself to old notions of property and ownership and your inability to discern this also vividly portrays the ignorance of your opinion. What is the essence of a car? Is it not transport? If your car fails or is stolen, can you still drive it to work the next day? Of course not – but your computer can be utterly destroyed and yet you still may possess its essence.

    Possession does not equate ownership. Even in the realm of the ‘real,” possession is only temporal and ownership merely a construct of that realm. You talk of an imagined ability to prevent such constructs, but I submit the vast history of man readily illustrates the futility of any such pursuit. Entire armies of men greater than you or I have been unable to overcome the basic facts of life in this corporeal realm; your insistence that you, somehow, hold such god like power only makes you to be a fool… a hypocritical fool.

  • ACS

    PS:-

    Granted, it for a cause not quite as noble a cause as the civil rights movement in the mid part of the 20th century or the liberation of India from Great Brittan

    You got that right (and nice grammar and spelling by the way).

  • Jim Powers

    Ok, who to respond to first, I’ll start with ACS:

    Well one of those statements is correct, probably the one you admit.

    I admit that both are correct: one is correct now (I am crazy) and one could be correct in the future (But it would work)

    The rise of Western Civilisation since the 16th century is directly related to the patent and to lesser extent copyright and trade mark systems. The system of Intellectual Property is, as one commentator put it, a pillar of a technologically forward society. Now I dont want to give a diatribe about why that statement is correct – safe to say – people will not publicise great ideas and expressions without some reward because the costs are prohibative. It is the reason why the Beatles or Windows or any other great product in history has been able to get into every individual home – because there was no identical ‘pirated’ product in competition.

    This is the same type of statement made by those who argue against “global warming” (I’m using this as a similitude, not to now open a debate on global warming): Since we do not have another Earth to act at a control, that is to say one without human beings, we cannot scientifically conclude that human activity is a significant contributor to global warming. What you are saying is that starting around the 16th century the nascent ideas of copyright and patent were developed. Coincidentally, there was a flowering of new ideas in the “western world” (mostly Europe). Now, I’m stuck in the converse position as the “global warming” argument above: I do not have a control Earth where in its 16th century copyrights and patents were not founded. This much I will admit, therefore, anything I say about a world without copyright laws is pure conjecture. However, I disagree about 1) the causal relationship you propose and 2) that we got things like “the Beatles” and Windows as a result.

    Regarding: 1) Causality
    History played out the way it played out and there is little to gain arguing about the potential and acute causes of events in history. For this example I’m sure we could have an endless pissing contest citing this research or that research to back up the various claims we would throw out at one another.

    Regarding: 2) Outcomes
    I think that it is safe to say that people were writing music, books, doing mathematics, making stupendous financial investments in stuff long before copyrights and patents came on to the scene. I would argue that the evidence shows that human beings would not have stopped doing this kind of activity had copyrights and patents not come along.

    Regarding the statement “people will not publicise great ideas and expressions without some reward because the costs are prohibative” is clearly false. A more correct statement is “some people will not publicize great ideas and expressions without some reward because the costs are prohibitive”, but some will. It is not clear to me that I should actually care about those who will only publicize great ideas with monetary reward. You may disagree, as I’m sure you do. But you see, the “people” that you are referring to want more than simple payment, because if that is all they want they could be paid for their time by some benefactor or a collection could be made for them. No, these people want the rules that regulate social discourse, laws, to be created in their honor. I have lost my conviction that these people are deserving of such laws.

    And there is another reason – respect. Do you not agree that if a person is willing to share thier creative effort with you then you should respect them by not altering thier work or not using thier work without thier permission? Do you believe that you have a right to something that they have spent thier valuable time working on?

    Let’s dissect these questions:

    Respect: yes, I would like to grant respect to others, generally. However, respect given from one person to another generally is earned, it is not a right. (The Law is written differently with how it accords “respect” to the citizenry subject to the Law because the Law is not a person, merely a set of rules meted out by people). Generally speaking I accord strangers polite respect for I know not how to act otherwise and I would like such treatment in return. Beyond that, when I actually have more information the degree and kind of respect I display can change.

    Do you not agree that if a person is willing to share thier creative effort with you then you should respect them by not altering thier work or not using thier work without thier permission?

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: Not as you phrased it.

    What is confused here is that there is a layer of legality woven into your question that is inappropriate to the debate.

    Firstly: Sharing anything is not synonymous with any form of entitlement. This is to say “share what you want, how it is taken and how it is used by those who receive what you shared really isn’t ultimately up to you.”

    Secondly: Non-alteration. Hmmm. You really want me to open this up? Ok.

    - Once I take possession of “something” (to be explored in a moment) it really is mine to do with as I please, after all, that is “ownership” (for some appropriate definition of “ownership”). If, in the end, you are not able to apply a controlling influence over “something” as a manifestation of your “will” then it really cannot be considered “owned” now can it?

    In the end I’m not going to take your bait. If I get a book. The book was written by someone, probably copyrighted, but I can write all over it if I please. I can even rewrite it if I want. (I’m talking about taking a pen and actually writing over text in the book, I’m not talking about retyping the book). Is that disrespectful? Some would say yes, but generally no there really isn’t any thing wrong with that.

    Ok, so here’s another way to “alter” a work that doesn’t involve ink. When the work is inside my head I can play with it and alter it any way I want. More on this later.

    Thirdly: not using their work without permission. Corollary: I do not relinquish my rights simply because I’ve taken part in interacting with someone else’s shared work.

    Well, the ink writing example cited above would certainly be without their permission. Playing with the “shared” work in my head and drawing conclusions that the “author” of the shared work might be construed as without permission. Perhaps, if I were blind and plopped the book down on a scanner and via OCR had the book read to me might be without the author’s permission. No, so far I don’t see how the author’s permission plays into any of this.

    Although I can see what you are trying to accomplish with the question you posed, I believe that such a question has no one definitive answer.

    Civil Disobedience is an honoured phrase reserved for actions that are against laws that oppress individuals and groups. You consider the limitation on your right to enjoy the works of others, for free, as oppression. How warped you are.

    I’m only going to respond to this because you gall to phrase your statement this way.

    What group is being repressed? Let me start out by saying that I have not engaged in piracy of any kind, yet. Therefore, I consider myself among the group of law-abiding citizenry that would like to have legal access to copyrighted materials without out of the gate being treated like a criminal. How am I and others like me being treated like criminals out of the gate? DMCA and DRM along with various copyright extensions over he years is the simple answer. The classic “copyright cartel” (albeit I’m not defining this term, one that I have used more than once, perhaps someday I provide my definition) has been able to get on the books laws that make it illegal for me to do certain things with copyrighted materials I legitimately buy.

    DVDs – Can’t circumvent CSS without breaking the law (I run Linux and use DeCSS to play my DVDs). I don’t want a friggin’ licensed player, I want the DMCA repealed. I should be able to get a plastic disc that I payed good money for and drop it into my computer no questions asked.

    CDs – Although none of the DRM strategies that effect Windows and the Mac seem to effect Linux yet it is ridiculous to be treated like a criminal when you just dropped $14 for a CD only to find that it is going to try to stop you from playing it.

    Practically infinite lifetime copyrights – when the mouse is going to be threatened with public domain status Walt and Co. will just buy another copyright extension law. What does this mean to you and I? Practically unending lockup of stories and ideas mostly in the control of very few who profited considerably from the public domain not giving back their fair share.

    In the pipeline:

    Trusted Computer Platform (TCP) – Hardware supported DRM enabling the lock-down of ANYTHING the “copyright cartel’s” heart desires. This includes remote revocation of licenses. So, now I have a PC that I paid for, it is “mine” and some person out on the Internet get wind of something I’m doing they don’t like and *poof* I can’t watch a certain movie. Oh yeah, I tell you what I would be doing: copying the disc image to a server so I can watch it without needing the disc. But you see, that’s wrong.

    HDCP – Total end-to-end lock-down of video. So forget about making that VHS tape of movies so your kids can watch without destroying the disc (example direct for a L. Lessig speech).

    HD-DVD and Blue-Ray – The end of my video watching days and I’m not going to give in to the demand that I get a black box with more security than the NSA to watch a movie. All this security is supposed to thwart pirates, but it won’t but it will thwart me. Perhaps DVD Jon will crack this one too and I’ll be able to resume my mere criminal status.

    Eventually (towards the end of my lifetime, certainly in the lifetime of my children):

    The line between the inner world of our mind and the “net” will blur. The brain can and will be directly linked to the “outside” world. At which point one needs to ask the question: are copyright and patent laws going to stop at the skull? Probably not. For the ethereal world of the computer and the net are kin. If a line that pushes the legal constructs of patents and copyrights, which originated and are “reasonably” applicable to the world where physical laws apply but rapidly reduce to absurdity in places where physical laws cease to apply who is to say that YOUR thoughts do not violate somebody else’s copyright or patent?

    So, in short the oppressed group I identify are those people who are today legally engaged in the acquisition of copyrighted materials that are having both their fair use rights simply taken away and secondly being treated as a criminal by being subjected to technological controls that dictate terms of use, even if the only “alternate” uses that the user would engage in would be perfectly legal and socially acceptable.

    I don’t consider that to be warped. Perhaps you do, then we simply disagree.

    It is that kind of thinking that will return our society to where it was in the sixteenth century.

    This is a non sequitur, the 16th century was what it was because that is how far human beings had developed civilization to that point. Perhaps some (a very small amount) of pre-16th century thinking would do us good.

    ——————————————————————————
    Ok, now on to poptones

    I have a theory about you, of course I cannot prove this theory but I think that you are a troll paid by the RIAA or MPAA to keep an eye on L. Lessig’s blog to repress intelligent discussion about copyrights. If you aren’t in their pay I would suggest you seek out their employ.

    Your “feelings” are informed by ignorance, and the proof of my assertion is in that you are, despite repeated points made to illustrate this fact, unable to discern how these issues are completely intertwined.

    I think you analysis is a bit off Doc. So far my feelings on this matter check out. I’m in the clear. Your “points” have all been dispatched with prejudice.

    There will always be people who can counterfeit reserve notes, and there will always be people who lurk in dark places and force passersby to pay them tribute under threat of bodily harm. That doesn’t make property rights a “failed system” or personal rights “irrelevant.”

    Non sequitur.

    You talk of corporeal – well, let’s talk corporeal. Who owns your soul? You may talk of your right to feed your soul as you desire, but is that truly your right? Or is it merely your ability? You cannot possess your soul because it is not a thing of tangible form or even a thing which we all can agree exists. What we can agree is that you possess your body. Your body exists; it can be quantified, and in that sense you “own” it. But when you give up your body, who owns the soul? It is not something you created and it is not something you can destroy. If the soul exists, it is not yours at all – yet, many would agree, it is the sum of your essence. You may spindle, fold and mutilate your body as you see fit, but this does not give you any such capability (or right) to do so with your soul.

    Corporeal | Cor*po”re*al |
    (k^or*p=o”r-e*al), a. L.
    corporeus, fr. corpus body.
    Having a body; consisting of, or pertaining to, a material
    body or substance; material; — opposed to spiritual or
    immaterial.

    1) I’m an atheist, I have no soul. Neither do you in fact.

    2) I see you have picked up a book on philosophy. Then you should also note that it is a well established philosophical tenet that the notion of “ownership” has no meaningful definition. I certainly abide by that result having convinced myself of its unassailable truth.

    3) For “practical” reasons we create, conjure, or otherwise pull out of our ass some legal definition of “ownership” that is sufficiently “meaningful” (but ultimately not) to allow us to live in a shared space with limited resources. Viz.: “owning” houses, cars, etc. Generally, we can do a “reasonable”, but hardly perfect job of creating the legal definitions mostly because we tend to work well with things that have “boundaries” and obey physical laws.

    4) Legally we do an absolutely horrible job of defining any remotely reasonable definition of “ownership” for that which is ethereal. This is usually because there is no boundary. There really are no limits in the way ethereal things can be transmuted into other ethereal things of like “structure” as an example Algebraic groups. It is precisely for these reasons that I put forth my “drop copyrights” idea above. I stick to that proposal.

    Now that the preliminaries are out of the way: Since I am an atheist I need not address your blather about souls, spirits, etc. And since I’ve already put forth previously arrived at results that ownership is meaningless, then I would certainly agree that even ownership of one’s thoughts is meaningless and undefinable therefore copyrights and patents need to be dispensed with post-haste. Now, since the “post-haste” part of my previous statement is probably not going to come true in my lifetime I will first start with at least clipping something off: I’ve already said that I would like a repeal of the DMCA, a shortening of copyright terms and an expansion of “fair use” rights. I probably won’t even get that in my lifetime, but if I did then at least I made a positive contribution to mankind (others may disagree of course). I will have to leave efforts to further decrease the amount of institutional insanity to subsequent generations.

    If you wish to scribble on you data, do feel free to do so. However, the data is not the thing you own. If your computer fails, can you not still have the data? This is not a paradigm that lends itself to old notions of property and ownership and your inability to discern this also vividly portrays the ignorance of your opinion. What is the essence of a car? Is it not transport? If your car fails or is stolen, can you still drive it to work the next day? Of course not – but your computer can be utterly destroyed and yet you still may possess its essence.

    I had a friend of mine who once coined something he called the “agreement principle”. The general form of the “agreement principle” is this: The “heat” of an argument is inversely proportional to the “distance” of the opposing sides. So, the closer you are to actually agreeing with someone else the more heated the argument/discussion becomes.

    This statement shows that we agree, at least philosophically, more then disagree. But I would dispense with the Platonic essence stuff.

    As far as “data” in my computer (leaving aside discussions of “will” free or otherwise), generally, it is desirable that the data within “my” computer agree substantially with the mental model of what I think is inside my computer. That said, I as owner of the computer am final and supreme arbiter over what gets into my computer. Once in my computer I am sole arbiter of what transformations are to be applied on said data. Said in English: All I ask for is that I be allowed (by inclusion in the market place of “content” digestible by my computer) to legally come into ownership of copyrighted materials, that I can freely ACCESS on my computer and that I can use any way I see fit for my personal use.

    Possession does not equate ownership. Even in the realm of the ‘real,” possession is only temporal and ownership merely a construct of that realm. You talk of an imagined ability to prevent such constructs, but I submit the vast history of man readily illustrates the futility of any such pursuit. Entire armies of men greater than you or I have been unable to overcome the basic facts of life in this corporeal realm; your insistence that you, somehow, hold such god like power only makes you to be a fool… a hypocritical fool.

    I will repeat an absolutely meaningless philosophical, but potentially practical definition of physical ownership I mentioned before: In the small, I own something firstly if I can apply my will to control, either directly or indirectly, the behavior of some object in question, secondly, if “others” accept but do not prohibit me from doing the first.

    Armies, hypocrisy, foolishness and all other such lavish words you are willing, able, and apparently quite keen to throw at me aside, I return to where I first started:

    First: a halt to all expansion of copyright-based laws that are intended to make consumers of copyrighted materials criminals by default, or criminals as a result of “traditional” fair-uses of copyrighted materials.

    Second: an actual REDUCTION of the length of the copyright term. Personally I cannot see a rational argument for anything longer than 20 years.

    Third: an expansion of “fair-use” applications of copyrighted materials.

  • poptones

    There will always be people who can counterfeit reserve notes, and there will always be people who lurk in dark places and force passersby to pay them tribute under threat of bodily harm. That doesn’t make property rights a “failed system” or personal rights “irrelevant.”

    Non sequitur.

    wrong again. You made the connection in your own argument! If my response to that argument is a non sequitir it is your own fault for introducing it – but it is not a non sequitir – it is very much, in fact, “a sequitir.” Because no system is perfect this does not mean it lacks in all value. Money can be countereited, that’s why we have laws and officers to enforce those laws – a system that sustains a common currency of exchange. DRM can do the very same thing in the digital realm because it allows data to become “things” – to take on traits common the physical realm. That this can be does not mean it must be in every application – in a world of digitally protected, rights managed works there still need be no laws requiring their use. Just as it is your right to give a dollar to the panhandler it is your right to give away your creative output. Both have value and it is not your right to decide for others which of these is greater.

    You are welcome to think whatever you please of me. Believing me to be an industry shill would be completely consistent with most everything else you have espoused in this thread – that is, utterly wrong. “Poptones” has been a presence on the net for many years now and “his” record easily located via google. I take pride in being combative online and challenging dogma.. I also take pride in the contributions I have made to the creative commons.The difference between you and I would be that I have respect for both the creative and real world needs of others.

    I need not even take a second to address all your other attempts at dodging my previous (quite valid) rebuttals of your ignorant tirade, but I simply cannot allow this one opportunity to pass by…

    In the small, I own something firstly if I can apply my will to control, either directly or indirectly, the behavior of some object in question, secondly, if “others” accept but do not prohibit me from doing the first.

    Which “others?” This is how ownership works. The benefits to all mankind are potentially much greater with a system of ownership than without – this is why we have them. “Others” are already prohibiting you from making certain uses of intellectual works, you are simply ignoring half your own alleged ideals because it potentially interferes with your ability to remix mariah carey.

    Your notions of ownership are antiquated, obsolete, and arguably immoral – which all fits nicely with your like rejection of respect for creativity and your inability to discern knowledge from information. DRM does not infringe upon your right to learn and to think and to create; it does not prevent you from learning to speak russian, or algebra, or even from making music, because it does not (and can not) prevent you from collecting information on these subjects and applying it to your own personal growth. It may, however, prevent you from making use of some embodiments of knowledge and talent in that pursuit – those embodiments produced by individuals who do not submit to your personal beliefs. Sorry, but just as you cannot force me to teach you at the point of a dagger, this has always been a fundamental human right. To reject this agreement is to put yourself in the company of every tyrant in history.

    Those glossy pop culture productions that are the monkey on your back would not be possible in a society without ownership simply because there would be no means of pooling the talents and creativity to create them while allowing the people creating them to eat. There would certainly be songs, but their variety would not be so vast nor their production so polished without a parallel structure of funding. Even linux itself would not be possible without these systems, as linux itself was created by individuals volunteering their free time and knowledge. Those people had to eat, and to eat they either had to sell a portion of their time to someone else or they would have no free time at all because they would be too busy weeding the garden, fishing and hunting – gathering the food they need to sustain themselves and their kin – to waste their precious time tinkering with such trivialities.

    There is no “control” earth but there is ample proof of this right now in asia; the korean film industry has boomed in recent years in direct correlation with an increasing awareness of, and enforcement of, IP rights in that nation. Big budget films like Natual City would not be possible if producers could not fund them and recoup their investment. Before IP rights enforcement the output of the Korean film industry was mostly low budget Bruce Lee like projects, now Korea is one of the fastest growing competitors to Hollywood. China is in similar position – a decade ago films like Hero were an anomaly, now they are almost commonplace. The money to create these productions did not arise out of thin air – it came from western investors… an ownership society.

    If you demand the ability to make transformative use of what goes into your computer – your “brain” – then stop feeding it junk food. Seek out the works of those who respect your demands; reward them and encourage them to produce more. Rejecting them offhand while usurping the rights of those who do not share your dogmatic POV is a slap in the face to them and a betrayal of the very values you hypocritically claim as your own.

  • Jim Powers

    poptones,

    You are a funny person, but I think you have a bit of froth around your mouth.

    I’ll gladly respond later, but I’ll give the short version here: I disagree with you on most of the of your last post. Both in its characterizations of me and the “substance” of your response.

    Guns, at dawn, 40 paces.

  • nate

    ACS (quoting Jim Powers) writes:
    >> because it remains an illegal act every time I play a DVD on my
    >> Linux-based computers
    >
    > Nate, I think he is referring to the software used to play DVD’s on
    > Linux as being illegal.

    My understanding, which I’d love to have corrected by someone with greater legal knowledge, is that within the US (where I am) the DeCSS code is illegal, and additionally each use of that code to playof a DVD is also illegal as a violation of the DMCA. There is an argument that the both of these are actually legal under the reverse engineering exceptions, but I don’t think this has been upheld by any court.

    It’s also my understanding (correction appreciated) that the modifying your legally owned DVD player to play a legally owned DVD from a different ‘region’ is also prohibited in the US by the DMCA. In Australia, I believe you have the opposite law, and this modification is explicitly _permitted_ under fair trade law.

    So I’m still wondering (and I appreciate your response, JB) whether there are any Linux users out there (poptones?) who believe that the use of DeCSS is illegal and therefore avoid playing DVD’s on Linux for moral reasons? Or do believe that what they are doing is illegal but morally correct, much in the way that Jim Powers is proposing civil disobedience with regard to copyright laws?

    –nate

  • poptones

    My understanding, which I’d love to have corrected by someone with greater legal knowledge, is that within the US (where I am) the DeCSS code is illegal, and additionally each use of that code to playof a DVD is also illegal as a violation of the DMCA.

    It is. But in the context of an individual using decss for his or her own personal enjoyment in his or her home, enforcement of this is essentially impossible. I too would welcome a well crafted rebuttal from a qualified legal counselor, but based upon past exchanges with other legal professionals I would say this qualifies as de minimis infringement – that is, essentially akin to copying a record to tape for one’s personal enjoyment, sharing the tape with a friend, or a bunch of teens gathering in one’s bedroom to listen to music together.

    However, when one infringes copyright by applying decsss to a dvd in order to rip for publication, say, via torrents, the DMCA prohibitions against such technology provide one more legal bullet to charge against the infringer – much as, no matter what else they can find on you, at minimum the government, if determined, will always find a way to challenge the well funded criminal for money laundering or tax evasion.

    The DMCA lends other, previously unseen, teeth to copyright matters in that it compounds civil offenses to matters of federal violations and puts pressures upon matters of free speech and research, but that doesn’t make the entire body of code “bad.” Protecting the value of encrypted works will, in the very short term, be readily seen as akin to protecting the value of federal currency or the more recently established right to “privacy.”

    By the way, to answer a question long ago posed in this thread: yes, I do in fact know people who use linux and who do not use decss. My best friend, in fact, a professor at the local state uniy, does not make use of these technologies; he has a dvd player to play dvds and doesn’t even download torrents of tv shows because he is respectful of the copyrights. So yes, there are people for whom this is relevant – not as a matter of law or of penalies, but of ethic.

  • Nonameplease

    My understanding, which I’d love to have corrected by someone with greater legal knowledge, is that within the US (where I am) the DeCSS code is illegal, and additionally each use of that code to playof a DVD is also illegal as a violation of the DMCA.
    (nate)
    It is. But in the context of an individual using decss for his or her own personal enjoyment in his or her home, enforcement of this is essentially impossible. I too would welcome a well crafted rebuttal from a qualified legal counselor, but based upon past exchanges with other legal professionals I would say this qualifies as de minimis infringement – that is, essentially akin to copying a record to tape for one’s personal enjoyment, sharing the tape with a friend, or a bunch of teens gathering in one’s bedroom to listen to music together.
    (poptones)

    Hello all. Very interesting posts here (although the polemic nature of the conversation does seem to get personal at times, but then hey…we’re all human after all).

    I just thought I would chip in my two cents. I must say that I have a serious concern with the above statement made by poptones, namely that “But in the context of an individual using decss for his or her own personal enjoyment in his or her home, enforcement of this is essentially impossible”. Because it seems to me that Jim Powers does make a good point here….namely that such surveillance and control is coming (if the logic of the DMCA, TCIP and other content controls are followed to their logical conclusion)

    Now I’m a big supporter of the second amendment… “being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And lately, I’ve started to think that there is not much difference (as I once thought there was) between my right to bear arms and my right to bear communication devices (cell phone, P2P technology, laptop, etc.) (The amendment is a kind of technology right when I think about it….)

    Anyways, I’m not very excited about my PDA, laptop, cell phone, body-enhancing-device to come….being turned into a Martha Stewart ankle bracelet. Technology that I cannot control, but controls me. I want to bear my own arms and technology, thank you very much. I don’t want to live in a surveillance /1984-like state.

    Now just a quick disclaimer…I have a great deal of sympathy (support really) for the artist, creative persona, etc. who by themselves or in a collaborative group puts something out in the world and has it changed or used by others in ways that they did not intend. Since I do a lot of video and filming in my line of work, it hurts to watch images that I have filmed being used by others in ways that I did not intend (example: I filmed a series of interviews with some women who are particularly vulnerable, socially and economically, and their interviews were taken out of context by a news organization to support a political agenda of someone who distorted what they were saying) I find this particularly upsetting.

    What I’m not sure about is….is whether my complete control and ownership of this video would necessarily solve the problem of misuse. And would such control be a good thing? I’m not sure…should I or they be THE FINAL WORD on how those events can be understood and portrayed? As an artist of his medium, I can sometimes be a downright arrogant guy when it comes to what I create….but do I have the right to silence those who see my work differently than I do, and wish to share that alternative vision with others?…and perhaps more fundamentally, am I stealing from the women who I interviewed? Should they be the “property owners” of their image, voice and ideas?

  • poptones

    Complete control or ownership of video does not prevent free speech. At the most extreme all you need do is point a hi8 camera at the screen and rip that tape to your machine, or even construct a cracked machine (provided, of course, you are sufficiently informed to do so and determined enough). However, DRM CAN prevent you from easily making an exact copy, however, or one that can be remixed or repurposed. But even that doesn’t matter – in the context of free speech you can always quote the work verbally or recreate it descriptively. DRM cannot prevent the distribution of information, only the repurposing or redistribution of specific embodiments of knowledge.

    I cannot quote for you some the work of Disney, for example, even now. Decades ago Disney made a movie called Song of the South that many object to as having racist overtones. Disney pulled this film from the market and I am unaware of any copies in circulation. That doesn’t prevent me from describing the film, however, or telling you about my experiences viewing it when I was a child and it was still appearing in theatres. Nor did its unavailability on the market prevent Saturday Night Live from creating a vivid parody of the work in its “Uncle Jemima” malt liquor ad. This is the eultimate form of rights management (complete refusal to publish) and yet it has not, in any way, prevented the free expression of others – because once you have shared information there is no effective means of preventing its spread.

    This is the crux of DRM: before things were digital there was a more obvious barrier between information and knowledge. Digital technology blurs that line because it allows specific embodiments of knowledge to spread nearly as easily and completely as infromation itself. Allowing those who choose to rebuild that barrier on their works as it suits them still will not prevent the dissemination of information even though it allows them to reclaim the territory lost that stands in distance between information and knowledge.

    But DRM is not just about protecting certain embodiments of knowledge. It also allows protecting cvertain forms of data, and the laws protecting its reuse in that scope can likewise protect the rights and privacy of individuals. Data “leaks” are a real problem right now, and that’s largely because companies construct vast warehouses of information that present easy targets to attack. A system of meaningful and trustworthy DRM could allow, for example, the establishment of a digital currency. And once you have that there is no need to depend on credit companies, banks, and amazon.com to store that vulnerable information “for your convenience” – you can simply fill up the virtual ATM that lives inside your machine with currency which can be exchanged online exactly as cash. When you have that ability, what need does amazon have of your credit information?

    None at all. Nor would they have need to store your other information because you can safely store it in your own machine and exchange it with others through established secure protocols. In that way ecommerce can be transacted in a cash based society – a structure where every individual controls their own information and laws and protocols help them protect it. In that scope an attacker would be relegated to virtual mugger or bank robber – either he picks off your neighbor and you one by one, or he contnues to attack those warehouses. But in that way amazon’s problem are not compounded into your problem and 50,000 others.

    That same technology could likewise enable me or you to create our own currency. just as you may now create a painting that has unique value and sell it, so to you might create unique digital works and exchange them with others who see value in them. They could be artistic in nature but need not be – they need only be unique. This could be a boon to criminals as well – for example, it could allow them to work within online communities laundering money. But at some point it would require them to deposit that money into the digital realm, and at that point they would still become vulnerable… just as they are now always and have been.

    This is only one example of the way in which DRM may represent an increase in the ability of the individual to secure their privacy online. In a peer to peer model of exchange, outside the tariffs and tracking the online banking agencies presently exert, via their ownership of virtually all channels of online commerce, over every single transaction of even the smallest bit of monetary value, individuals may transact business a much more democratized environment.

    And decss is applicable to only one specific technology: dvds. the next generation of DVDs will not be vulnerable to decss because they will not use css, they will use stronger encryption and watermarking and an enirely different security protocol. The works protected by css will never be individually traceable, therefore they will never be able to track you in the way that you so fear.

    However, you do not have the immunity you seem to imagine. If you fear these protocols of control you need to get off the grid NOW, because your IP address can pin you down wherever you are in the world. If you are on a laptop and jacking into open wireless gateways in the area you can still be pinned down by a determined attacker because the point at which you connect will have access to the unique ID of the network adapter in your computer AND to other characteristics that are roughly unique to each machine. If you piss off the wrong people, eventually they WILL find you. Nothing about DRM, TCPA, the DTLA or DMCA will change this – it’s built into the system and has been from the beginning.

  • ACS

    To all

    I believe that there is a major missapprehension as to the nature of copyright licensing in this thread, which I hope I can clear up now.

    A copyright licence is in essence a permission or consent from the author to a person exercising the right in copyright. It forms the consideration for a promise or contract.

    Example – You may only use my work on condition that you (a) only use this work on a CSS area 1 device (b) do not reproduce this work (c) do not communicate this work to the public for reward etc etc etc.

    If you take the work you are bound in contract. You are also limited to the rights granted to you. If you act beyond those rights you are infringing “reserved rights” in the copyright.

    I hope that gives you a platform to review these issues under law. Please note that this is an approximation of what the law states and is not my own personal beliefs about how the law should work.

    To Jim Powers

    Regarding the statement “people will not publicise great ideas and expressions without some reward because the costs are prohibative” is clearly false. A more correct statement is “some people will not publicize great ideas and expressions without some reward because the costs are prohibitive”, but some will. It is not clear to me that I should actually care about those who will only publicize great ideas with monetary reward.

    I dont think you quite understood what was being conveyed. Simply put – if Sony could not protect the works of its artists then why would it bother selling CD’s. Or even worse, if artists could not protect thier works then why would Sony bother paying them. I know you get the picture –

    An individual cannot promote thier works world wide so they rely on companies that can. If there was no copyright then those companies would just steal thier works – You have noted that SOny still has presence in places like Ukraine where piracy is massive. SO I guess it is the artist who suffers and not the record company if we were to adopt piracy. Do you not agree?

    Generally speaking I accord strangers polite respect for I know not how to act otherwise and I would like such treatment in return. Beyond that, when I actually have more information the degree and kind of respect I display can change.

    So you hear an artists works and the degree of respect changes to a total disregard for thier wishes?

    Do you not agree that if a person is willing to share thier creative effort with you then you should respect them by not altering thier work or not using thier work without thier permission?

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: Not as you phrased it.

    What is confused here is that there is a layer of legality woven into your question that is inappropriate to the debate.

    I would hate to think that legal arguments are used in consideration of copyright. I would refer to Professor Posner’s example for the reasons for property rights:- imagine a farmer in his field, he tills the soil, plants the seed and carefully grows the crops. On the night before harvest someone comes along and takes all of his crops. Because there are no property rights anyone can enter his land, anyone can take his goods and he sees no reward. The same is true of intellectual property. If a person cannot protect thier works then anyone could come along and use them – it means that a person cannot devote themselves to (spend thier time sowing the crop) thier art form. As a result all the popular bands would be obliterated because they would have to get jobs instead of playing music or performing.

    Im sure you now agree that IP is required….

    finally
    What group is being repressed?

    Artists

  • poptones

    You know, ACS, until I read the last two words of your post I had never even considered something:

    China and the FSU have tradictionally had very weak property rights and nearly no system of IP enforcement. Can it be coincidence that these regimes also have a vast history of imprisoning dissidents and persecuting artists?

    Gee, I wonder if those weak IP laws are not coincidence at all. Weaken physical property laws and the proletariate can still eat, but weaken IP laws and you make it nearly impossible for those artists to do so…

  • Nonameplease

    What about all the artists who can’t eat now?

    Correct me if I’m wrong (I am no economist, after all) but I thought that in a capitalist, market economy that there were two basic ways to make money: increase demand or reduce supply or both.
    It seems to me that many of the content or cultural industries out there (the companies that market and sell what people like me make) have an inherint interest in reducing supply and stimulating demand of a select few that they control.

    I think this might reduce the number of ideas out in the public sphere, not enhance it.

    I agree that surveillance is already a problem and possibility poptones…but you seem to be saying that surveillance needs to be perfect before we can be free, that we should all just turn in our arms to the state (which is what the DRM, TCPA, the DTLA or DMCA does, since the state is ultimately the means of enforcement) so that everyone can then be safe…and…while I’m not the brightest of guys….that just doen’t seem to add up to me.

    I think I prefer to have freedom

  • Jim Powers

    ACS,

    Thanks for the comments, here are my responses:

    A copyright licence is in essence a permission or consent from the author to a person exercising the right in copyright. It forms the consideration for a promise or contract.

    Example – You may only use my work on condition that you (a) only use this work on a CSS area 1 device (b) do not reproduce this work (c) do not communicate this work to the public for reward etc etc etc.

    If you take the work you are bound in contract. You are also limited to the rights granted to you. If you act beyond those rights you are infringing “reserved rights” in the copyright.

    I hope that gives you a platform to review these issues under law. Please note that this is an approximation of what the law states and is not my own personal beliefs about how the law should work.

    But I have not entered into a contract when I acquire most copyrighted materials I encounter 99% of the time. There are no terms presented, and so signature or explicit acknowledgment of acceptance of terms. You buy a CD or a DVD there is no contract on the outside of the box, unlike software EULA click-through licenses. There are no terms spelled out on the outside of a book (except for a few that do come shrink-wrapped in literal plastic license) or the outside of the New York Times. So generally no, I don’t view nor are there legal precedents that apply contract law in these examples. The items in question are simply protected via copyright law.

    Now, if I were presented with such terms I would have to think about whether or not I would except such terms. The DMCA can produce an implied contract in these cases because the protection of a copyrighted work with some sort of DRM implies that you will only used products licensed to access the DRM encumbered work. But even this is not always the case: a software DVD player may ask you to agree to the license terms but picking up a DVD player at Best Buy presents you with no such license agreement. In the latter case I guess that is it basically taken on faith that people will not open up and hack away at the innards of the DVD player.

    I dont think you quite understood what was being conveyed. Simply put – if Sony could not protect the works of its artists then why would it bother selling CD’s. Or even worse, if artists could not protect thier works then why would Sony bother paying them. I know you get the picture -

    Yes, I do get the picture. My little “bombshell” mentioned earlier in the thread results from: I don’t know if I like the picture, in fact, I am beginning to not like the picture at all.

    I do, I really do (I’m sure some will say otherwise), understand the point and nature of copyright. In making a statement like: dissolve the copyright system, I am also making a statement with regard to the fundamental nature of businesses like Sony and their continued existence (at least in the CD sales business) or not. It should be clear after playing around with the notion of a copyright-less world in your head that the business an economic landscape would be very different that what it is today. I am not saying “get rid of copyrights and maintain the status quo”. As to whether such a business and economic landscape would be “better” or “worse” by some set of arbitrary measures it will be both “better” and “worse”, it will certainly be different. The important difference that I am after is the freedom (and liberty) of information. Yes, one can wax on about that new forms of information “hoarding” will emerge. That is all conjecture, but something resulting in hoarding will happen. The fundamental principle I would seek would be to lower the barrier to information sharing to zero while making it pretty expensive to hoard information. If there is no copyright protection then even hoarded information can be independently replicated with impunity. So those who hoard information in this theoretical world would be placing very big bets that the information they exploit for economic advantage does not get out into the wild. If the bet fails then do do their plans.

    An individual cannot promote thier works world wide so they rely on companies that can. If there was no copyright then those companies would just steal thier works – You have noted that SOny still has presence in places like Ukraine where piracy is massive. SO I guess it is the artist who suffers and not the record company if we were to adopt piracy. Do you not agree?

    Firstly, to be fair, I think poptones make the comment about the Ukraine, not me but I agreed, generally, with his statement.

    Under the current system of copyright yes, I agree that entities, such as artists, that derive significant income from the sale of digital copies of works can be hurt when this system breaks down, such as through piracy.

    I will restate what I have already said before: If I were to go after organizations that I deem are directly responsible for producing and adversarial relationship between them and the general consumer by getting laws enacted and utilizing technical means to impinge the rights of consumers, then I would certainly do my best to debase the value of the relationship of an artist with that organization. One way of doing that is to reduce the profitability of that relationship. Therefore, I return to my original premise that pain and suffering on the part of the artist would be a necessary aspect of any financial attack on the organization that represents them by selling copies of their works which bring about a reduction in the rights of the consumer.

    Now, such action may not have to happen if the artist can find other ways, outside of their relationship with the said organization to engage the market. If the said artist engages the market in a way acceptable to me, which is to say that their engagement with the consumer does not impinge the rights of the consumer then I, personally, would see no reason to take punitive action towards the artist.

    Another outcome is that the organization can change their ways as well so as to cease being adversarial and rights-tromping. Then all is well.

    I know that your question and points here are in regard to my “punish by piracy” idea, but, it can also be related to my more radical idea of dissolving copyright. Digital copies of things have value asymptotic to zero. Embrace this by ending economic practices that rely on selling copies of stuff as it is intrinsically debased in the digital world. Now, poptones is going to have a field day with this, but I could care less: he and I have learned all we are ever going to learn from each other and we are simply going to have to agree to disagree.

    So you hear an artists works and the degree of respect changes to a total disregard for thier wishes?

    Well, if I’m hearing and/or seeing an artists work I am interacting with a product, not the producer of the product. Generally speaking if I don’t like something I forget about it and move on. If I like it, and it is possible to buy a copy I may do so. Once I own the copy I may wish to re-encode the copy in some other way that is worthwhile to me. The artist’s wishes at that point are irrelevant, as owner of the copy of the work I am the sole arbiter of what happens to that copy. I recognize no other authority that overrides this. I think what I do with a copy of an artists work, for personal use, that I legally own is symmetrically irrelevant to the artist. The artist produced a product of sufficient worth that I coughed up some dough to acquire ownership of a copy, legal-like, end of story. If the law does not support what I just said then I would seek to have the law changed to comply with my wishes in this regard.

    I would hate to think that legal arguments are used in consideration of copyright. I would refer to Professor Posner’s example for the reasons for property rights:- imagine a farmer in his field, he tills the soil, plants the seed and carefully grows the crops. On the night before harvest someone comes along and takes all of his crops. Because there are no property rights anyone can enter his land, anyone can take his goods and he sees no reward. The same is true of intellectual property. If a person cannot protect thier works then anyone could come along and use them – it means that a person cannot devote themselves to (spend thier time sowing the crop) thier art form. As a result all the popular bands would be obliterated because they would have to get jobs instead of playing music or performing.

    Im sure you now agree that IP is required…

    No I don’t agree, not in the slightest: steal crops it is gone from where it was and is now some where else. Direct result of physical laws.

    Make a copy of a digital file: Now there are two files in both places. Not subject to physical laws.

    This is where I’m going to invoke the “gotta except” rule. This is how things like computers and the human brain work: we keep making copies of stuff. This is the nature of the beast. One has to work unbelievably hard (in the end infinitely hard) to make the world of computers (and eventually the human brain) work like the stuff we can hold in our hand. you can either accept this and we can move on or I’m going to be forced to do this every time.

    finally
    What group is being repressed

    Consumers.

  • poptones

    What about all the artists who can’t eat now?
    .
    Correct me if I’m wrong (I am no economist, after all) but I thought that in a capitalist, market economy that there were two basic ways to make money: increase demand or reduce supply or both.

    You’re wrong. Entertainment is not a consumable good. You cannot strangle the supply of creative works with more or less publication – all you can do is tip the balance of popularity of certain works. And doing that, as you can plainly see, means more speech. That old school publishers presently control the mainstream media gives them advantage in this, yet all their control could not squash the popularity of many artists (and even that damn frog covering “Axel F” that was on everyone’s ringtone for a while).

    By the way, Britain is now much more “wired” than us with broadband and so I think it no coincidence not one, but several “hits” in that nation have arisen purely from internet memes.

    It seems to me that many of the content or cultural industries out there (the companies that market and sell what people like me make) have an inherint interest in reducing supply and stimulating demand of a select few that they control.

    They cannot reduce supply, they can only meet speech with more speech. We now have mainstream pop bands being sprung from myspace communities. You think the mainstream media is going to pass them by? I know several artists now who have been making very comfortable livings and the media companies wish they could ensare them.

    I think this might reduce the number of ideas out in the public sphere, not enhance it.

    More speech equals fewer “ideas?”

    Only in Hollywood.

    …you seem to be saying that surveillance needs to be perfect before we can be free

    Take of fthe tinnfoil hat, reoberta – I said nothing about survellance. But since you bring it up – do you use crypottgraphy? Offshore proxies servers and secure tunnels? If so, how do you pay for them and how do you connect to them?

    DRM has absolutely nothing to do with survellance. It’s completely the opposite, in fact – at present every single onliune transaction you make is recorded and directly linked in some way to your credit history. If there were drug dealers on the internet it would be impossible to buy ther wares without being found out, since there would be no way of paying them that did not rely entirely upon passing data through servers controlled by “the man” you seem to fear.

    The whole point I am making with DRM is that it would allow us to get beyond that model. There would still need to be money exchangers in order for us to move cash from our pockets into the digital realm, but once that cash was there it could be circulated entirely outside the regulation or monitoring of governments.

    The system you have now is the one you most fear. DRM is the only technology that could allow you to escape that prison. You seem to be saying ou’d rather roll over and go back to sleep in your cell because the safety of your enclosed cot is more comfortable to you than the social restrictions and responsibilities of freedom.

    Jim, I’m not being trite or intentionally malicious when I say you give yourself far, far too much credit. I have learned nothing from you, for your arguments were long ago voiced and thoroughly squashed even by such folks as our kind host, the professor. It’s sad, really, you cannot fathom just how completely wrong you are about your imaginary “rights” in this world. Your arguments remind me of an angst riddled high schooler, annoyed that ‘the man” has finally arrived to remove him from his free ride on the corporate music machine.

    Make a copy of a digital file: Now there are two files in both places. Not subject to physical laws.

    utterly wrong. Now there are two files in two places – what if the value fo the file depends on it remaining one file in one place?

    It is no more your right to dictate the evolution of technology than to steal your fixes from your oppressor. Stop trying to blame the world for your problems living in it and get off the crack.

  • Jim Powers

    Jim, I’m not being trite or intentionally malicious when I say you give yourself far, far too much credit. I have learned nothing from you, for your arguments were long ago voiced and thoroughly squashed even by such folks as our kind host, the professor. It’s sad, really, you cannot fathom just how completely wrong you are about your imaginary “rights” in this world. Your arguments remind me of an angst riddled high schooler, annoyed that ‘the man” has finally arrived to remove him from his free ride on the corporate music machine.

    poptones, the issue is exactly those “imaginary” rights you speak of: I want them to become real rights. I am seeking a change in the law that recognizes the rights I want as valid and worth protecting. I’m not swayed by arguments of authority. If even our host has dispatched my ideas to his satisfaction is of no consequence to me. Ultimately, I make no distinction between the groups “artists” or “producers” and “consumers”: we are all equally capable of both producing and consuming. What I want is very simple to state: if someone produces something and I am able to legally obtain a copy of that thing then I retain all my freedoms to use that copy any way I see fit for my personal use. In this way I see the feedback loop that energizes and inspires artists and and people to produce new products we can all share. In the context of a world where copyright exists then the loop has to go: producer->consumer->(internal personal use of the copyrighted material)->consumer producing new non-copyrighted work or produces new work using copyrighted work with permission. I would like this loop to be easier to execute by removing copyright altogether but I will leave the dismantlement of the copyright system to subsequent generations. I will seek the modest goals I’ve stated elsewhere.

    If Professor Lessig or you or others disagree, that is their right sir. It has no bearing on the fact that I still want to retain my freedoms to use copies of copyrighted works for personal use any way I deem worthwhile. I advocate this position to other as well, as you advocate yours and the Professor his.

    I did not start out calling you a hypocrite or fool, and now: Your arguments remind me of an angst riddled high schooler, annoyed that “the man” has finally arrived to remove him from his free ride on the corporate music machine. yet at every opportunity you have taken pains to level such epithets at me. You don’t know me from jack, yet you act as if you do. You have tried to put me down and shut me up by calling my ideas bullshit and others have been reduced to calling me an ass. All of these are your and others prerogative but in the end they are intimidation tactics intended to get me to see the light and fall in line. It is not working.

    It is you who feels comfortable bantering about the words like “right” and “wrong”, I do not feel these words really carry all that much meaning so I try to refrain from using them or will use them in quotes because they are non-constructive terms that are likely to get their user in trouble. We are not talking about mathematical proofs here using precise language that can be recursively traced back to a set of axioms generally agreed to be true. But again you wield the word “wrong” with some satisfaction towards me, can’t say I understand why, but it is not having the effect you seek.

    utterly wrong. Now there are two files in two places – what if the value fo the file depends on it remaining one file in one place?

    Value is in the eye of the beholder. There can be value for a file in one place or two or many. I don’t see this going anywhere.

    It is no more your right to dictate the evolution of technology than to steal your fixes from your oppressor. Stop trying to blame the world for your problems living in it and get off the crack.

    Wait, let me first take a toke on this pipe… There much better.

    Again, I will reserve whatever actions I deem fit to accomplish the goals I have stated elsewhere in this thread to my satisfaction. Where I “blame” others I seek change. I do hold “others” accountable for engaging in actions that directly hurt me and the public at large. The price we pay is in the erosion of, at the very least, our fair use rights. The “others” can choose to stop doing these hurtful actions, I would be satisfied, but these “others” seem to want to ratchet-up their controls. I resist that and seek ways to punish such action.

    As far as dictating evolution of technology, etc… The only terms I require of technology is that once you acquire a piece of technology that you retain the right to use that technology any way you see fit (I think that you are seeing the same objectionable pattern over and over). So, I would be willing to pursue creating a legal environment that supports this. As an example: there has been recent public talk and legal maneuverings around ISPs tiering the Internet. The ISP’s point of view is that they need this to compete, but so far lawmakers are not buying this and our host has already weighed in quite heavily against this. I support this view. It most certainly a dictation through regulation issue but I see it as necessary to ensure greater freedoms.

  • Nonameplease

    Entertainment is not a consumable good. You cannot strangle the supply of creative works with more or less publication – all you can do is tip the balance of popularity of certain works. And doing that, as you can plainly see, means more speech.
    (poptones)

    poptones: how expensive is free speech then? Doesn’t sound free to me. Isn’t that that what has been wrong with so many news and media outlets…and is being challanged today?

    I know from personal experience that you can supress creative works…you can supress their means of distribution…which is exactly what the old cultural industries of the twentieth century are attempting to do when they shut down P2P.

    And Powers makes a very important point when he says that today the consumer, creator and distributor have colapsed into a sigularity…this is what has the cultural idustrialists so worried…they are the middle men of culture and they know it.
    And we know what eventually happens to middle men..don’t we…

    So the middle men of culture need to use the state to protect their buisness model…and trample my right to bear the technological arms of the 21st century citizen.

  • poptones

    I know from personal experience that you can supress creative works…you can supress their means of distribution

    Really? Usenet is decades old and continues to grow by gigabytes of traffic every single month. The web is ever expanding, and torrents now, by many estimates, account for a third or more of all traffic. There are more publicly accessible websites hosting high bandwidth media content FREE OF CHARGE than ever.

    Methinks you’ve been at Jim’s crack pipe… just where, exactly, are these channels of distribution being shut down? Even if a site gets removed from the web the content may still roam free. Meanwhile, I’ve been a regular visitor to Magnatune and CD baby I’ve never seen an artist squashed by the man – even artists who post some of their work at these places who also have major label contracts.

    Paranoia, willdestrouya…

    And Powers makes a very important point when he says that today the consumer, creator and distributor have colapsed into a sigularity

    It’s irrelevant. Copyright protects everyone equally. If you want to be part of a community where everyone can take everyone else’s work and do absolutely anything with it, no one is holding you back. That doesn’t mean any of you have the right to commandeer the works of those who disagree with you. We all have the same rights to defend as we see fit. If I want to plant a pick it yourself tomato garden on my front lawn and hang out a “hlp yourself” sign it’s not your place to object, but it’s also not your place to “help yourself” to the produce at the local retailer when the neighbors have made off with your entire cache and you need to restock.

    So the middle men of culture need to use the state to protect their buisness model…and trample my right to bear the technological arms of the 21st century citizen.

    Sorry, but no matter how many times you attempt this rhetorical construct it still comes off trite and laughably overblown. Who, exactly, has come to confiscate your computer? Or your software? If I am selling something and then decide not to sell it anymore, is that “the man taking away your shit?” No, it’s me not selling something. Get over yourself.

    I find it doubly ironic that those of you who seem to believe you believe in free expression really do not at all. Encryption is speech, yet you seem unable to respect the rights of those who would speak it.

  • Nonameplease

    Really? Usenet is decades old and continues to grow by gigabytes of traffic every single month. The web is ever expanding, and torrents now, by many estimates, account for a third or more of all traffic. There are more publicly accessible websites hosting high bandwidth media content FREE OF CHARGE than ever.
    (poptones)

    Indeed, and here is the response of the middle men of culture (today, Feb. 24, 2006) is…

    MPAA Files Lawsuits Targeting Major Torrent Sites
    http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=1106

    paranoia..no, I’m a realist.

  • poptones

    What I want is very simple to state: if someone produces something and I am able to legally obtain a copy of that thing then I retain all my freedoms to use that copy any way I see fit for my personal use.

    Bullshit. There is that unspoken caveat “unless they make it where I cannot do what I want, then I don’t give a shit about the law.” You have said this yourself many times even in this single thread.

    If you obtain my encrypted work legally, then you have agreed to play my work back upon devices designed to decrypt it. it doesn’t matter if you had to click through a license because this is the fucking law and, according to your own statements, you are bound to follow it. That means if you are stupid enough to buy a Blu Ray from me, knowing full well it will be encrypted simply because I am a Megasonic Hollywood Studios, and then find yourself unable to play it back on your computer because you refuse to equip your computer with the proper devices, . You knew the rules the day you plunked down the cash, and you are obliged to follow the law.

    What you have actually advocated is that it is your “right” to violate that trust and any laws applying to it simply because you want to. Well, I “want” to be able to walk into my local bank and walk out with whatever currency I need for the day, too… that and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at starbucks.

    This is not just about free madonna. Honestly, I cannot fathom how you can be so dense as to not see this fact.

  • poptones

    Indeed, and here is the response of the middle men of culture (today, Feb. 24, 2006) is…
    .
    MPAA Files Lawsuits Targeting Major Torrent Sites
    http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=1106
    .
    paranoia..no, I’m a realist.

    No, you’re being a cheat. Those trackers are being sued for infringing the copyrights of others, not for hosting creative commons works. In fact, I would defy you to find more than a dozen public domain or cc licensed works across their entirety.

    It is not your right to rebroadcast anything anytime it suits you. It never was. It wasn’t your right in 1924, it wasn’t your right in 1954, and it ain’t your right today. The only difference between then and now is we have never before had 60% or more of our homes equipped with broadcqasting equipment.

    Things have changed, but that doesn’t mean every last part of the old way deserves to be destroyed. Other trackers, like this one don’t seem to be having such problems… gee, wonder why?

  • Jim Powers

    Really? Usenet is decades old and continues to grow by gigabytes of traffic every single month. The web is ever expanding, and torrents now, by many estimates, account for a third or more of all traffic.

    Nonameplease: Here I have to actually agree with poptones. If you have something that you can share over the Internet. Then please do so. There are many outlets for you. What I think you were meaning to say (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that media companies can select not to use their distribution channels to distribute a particular piece of work. That is their prerogative. The Internet can be used to great effect in distributing works. I encourage you to do so. In reality you cannot simply assume that you are entitled to the distribution and marketing channels offered by large media companies.

    Now, there are ways that these media companies can actually actively suppress work. There was a case, not that long ago, where an Australian independent film maker could not or would not cough up the dough to the DVD consortium to get the necessary licenses to region encode their content outside Australia. Although I consider this to be unjust the DVD consortium essentially owns and controls the distribution of “content” on that medium. In this case you can be locked out of this channel and you will have to make due finding other ways to get your work out. There are ways, from what I understand, because either the license fees are “cheap” for distribution of DVDs encoded in the region of origin or free. It’s been a while since I read up on this stuff so I admit being rusty. You might have to find a distributor(s) in the regions where you want to distribute your work who are willing to fork over the dough to get the content encoded for the region in question.

    There are more publicly accessible websites hosting high bandwidth media content FREE OF CHARGE than ever.

    Although FREE OF CHARGE is not a bad thing nearly all of these outlets you speak of are not free (as in liberty). So long as we live in a world where copyright rules the day and the DMCA makes it illegal to get around DRM this is the best that we can get.

    Even if a site gets removed from the web the content may still roam free. Meanwhile, I�ve been a regular visitor to Magnatune and CD baby I�ve never seen an artist squashed by the man – even artists who post some of their work at these places who also have major label contracts.

    Again, I have to agree with poptones here and say that a multitude of outlets content is a good thing. Even if you are kicked out of one site you can ultimately choose to set up your own website to distribute your own work, and maybe even the work of others. Then you too can have the privilege of being the object of other people’s rage and disgust for not distributing “some” content. We are all editors.

    It�s irrelevant. Copyright protects everyone equally.

    Much too big a comment to take on right now, I actually have to get some work done, but I’ll get back to this later.

    Sorry, but no matter how many times you attempt this rhetorical construct it still comes off trite and laughably overblown. Who, exactly, has come to confiscate your computer? Or your software? If I am selling something and then decide not to sell it anymore, is that “the man taking away your shit?” No, it�s me not selling something. Get over yourself.

    This is purely a matter of perspective. Some take the attitude: “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Some take the attitude: “I don’t want to get anywhere near the bridge.” I know that it is a certainty for me, it sounds like it is also the case for Nonameplease as well (I don’t want to speak for you so sound off as necessary), that I see maneuverings in the trend of technological advancement of copyright control that clearly indicate that co-opting your property (say a computer) though both hardware and software means such that you lose the ability to be the sole arbiter over how your property complies to your will is very much in the works. I am not willing to sit around and wait for this situation to become blatantly obvious before complaining. I wish to preempt this possibility and prohibit that from ever actually occurring. Tin-foil hat and all.

    I find it doubly ironic that those of you who seem to believe you believe in free expression really do not at all. Encryption is speech, yet you seem unable to respect the rights of those who would speak it.

    I agree encryption is speech, feel free to speak it. But if you intend to communicate to some recipient then there must be a decryption process at the other end that results in something decipherable to the recipient. In the case of e-mail I would expect that you encrypted with my public key so I can decrypt it with my private key. Otherwise the communication does not happen. Now, once decrypted I may act on this decrypted copy any way I choose. This freedom I am not willing to give up as the result of a one-sided imposition from say you. Now, we may actually agree that I won’t leave decrypted versions of your work floating around on my hard disk that is for you and I to agree on and we can negotiate this. However, in the end you cannot really control what I do with the decrypted content. I could print it, I could memorize it. I could take screen shots of it, etc.

    But with regards to DVDs, MP3s, CDs, OGG files, etc. all of which are encrypted as there are rules that define how information is encoded then decoded if the rules are understood and the information is available to enable deciphering then the end result is something understood by the recipient. What I don’t accept is a-priori rules from media publishers that tell me what I can or cannot do, for personal use, with the deciphered content. I have paid for my copy, my relationship with the publisher ends there.

  • poptones

    Now, we may actually agree that I won’t leave decrypted versions of your work floating around on my hard disk that is for you and I to agree on and we can negotiate this.

    that is exactly what DRM and “trusted computing” means: by you and I choosing, of our own free will to run the exact same, encryption protected software, we have come to this agreement.

    TCPA does not inflict upon the owner what will an will not happen. In order to be effective, it can’t – TCP enabled devices are even shipped, by default, unactivated. It has to be this way because the end user must supply it with activation credentials, and the whole idea is that only the end user knows what those credentials are. Once supplied they are “locked away” inside what essentially amounts to a lucite safe – you can see inside, but you can never open it in order to read what’s on the papers inside. That doesn’t even mean we can’t use open source software or operating systems – it only means we agree to get the kernels of said software from a “trusted authority.” There is no reason that trusted authority cannot be secure servers operated by redhat or canonical.

    However, in the end you cannot really control what I do with the decrypted content. I could print it, I could memorize it. I could take screen shots of it, etc.

    Uh uh. Because I’m not going to send you my video content unless you use software that recognizes the DRM metadata fields encoded in my programming. You might take screenshots with a video camera, but unless you have an approved HDMI signal path you won’t get any high def video, and your player must recognize the fair use credentials built into my file – that means you get to “rip” up to two minutes of fat content every month, certain pieces (like the climax of the story, or perhaps the flashes of nudity or, if it’s porn, the “money shots”) will not be available at all for capture, and unless your client knows how to identify and respect these fields, my content ain’t gonne play on your machine at all. I’ll happily send it to you, and you may feel free to rebroadcast the file as I send it to you all you like – those others who obtain the file and will run approved code will enjoy it, I’m sure.

    So now what do you do? Start cracking?

    Feel free to memorize and repeat all you like: this makes my point entirely about the difference between embodiments of knowledge and mere information.

  • Jim Powers

    that is exactly what DRM and “trusted computing” means: by you and I choosing, of our own free will to run the exact same, encryption protected software, we have come to this agreement.

    Firstly, we have this kind of encryption already we don’t need “trusted computing” (in the form of TCPA) to do anything like this. Everything you just mentioned is already available today. I see nothing new that TCPA brings to the table.

    TCPA does not inflict upon the owner what will an will not happen. In order to be effective, it can’t – TCP enabled devices are even shipped, by default, unactivated. It has to be this way because the end user must supply it with activation credentials, and the whole idea is that only the end user knows what those credentials are. Once supplied they are “locked away” inside what essentially amounts to a lucite safe – you can see inside, but you can never open it in order to read what’s on the papers inside. That doesn’t even mean we can’t use open source software or operating systems – it only means we agree to get the kernels of said software from a “trusted authority.” There is no reason that trusted authority cannot be secure servers operated by redhat or canonical.

    Firstly TCPA is only one way to do exactly what you described. There are other methods for achieving the exact same result. The problem with such a facility being “baked into” the hardware is that software will be built to exploit this where I as owner of the property cease to be the sole arbiter of what and how this piece of property does. Under no circumstances am I willing to give that up. Future content and delivery mechanisms will be built to trust that the hardware “knows whats right” as opposed to the owner of the hardware. I will not permit this. The owner of the hardware is responsible for making such judgment calls.

    Also TCPA being baked into the hardware and software utilizing it without my consent (since it will eventually be on all hardware as it is being stealthily being deployed right now) exactly counters your statement about of our own free will. There will be cases where my will will be irrelevant, such as when I legally acquire some content that plans on using TCPA. Now you would say: “look that’s the format that the content was published with take it or leave it”. I would say: “As soon as a crack is available so I can do with this content anything I want for personal use I will exercise that avenue to personal use and please heave me alone.” I will not relinquish to the blob of metal and plastic in front of me decisions about what I can or cannot do with this content. Right now because of the DMCA this is absolutely illegal, that is exactly why I wish for the DMCA to be repealed.

    This “lucite safe”, as you call it, is exactly the kind of thing I do not want to see happen. It is yet another embodiment of the idea that I, as owner of a piece of property, am not the sole arbiter of what and how that property is used. Your are promoting the idea that there are parts of my property outside of my direct control that is used to communicate directly or indirectly (or maybe comes with baked-in rules) with external entities to decide what are allowable actions on my piece of property. You have gutted my notion of property. I will not allow this. I will resist and seek whatever means I can to alter the legal environment to stop you or anyone else for that matter from doing this.

    Uh uh. Because I’m not going to send you my video content unless you use software that recognizes the DRM metadata fields encoded in my programming. You might take screenshots with a video camera, but unless you have an approved HDMI signal path you won’t get any high def video, and your player must recognize the fair use credentials built into my file – that means you get to “rip” up to two minutes of fat content every month, certain pieces (like the climax of the story, or perhaps the flashes of nudity or, if it’s porn, the “money shots”) will not be available at all for capture, and unless your client knows how to identify and respect these fields, my content ain’t gonne play on your machine at all. I’ll happily send it to you, and you may feel free to rebroadcast the file as I send it to you all you like – those others who obtain the file and will run approved code will enjoy it, I’m sure.

    Not sending me the material after we have negotiated terms and we have come to a mutual understanding that we cannot agree on how to send such a video is one thing. Being born into a world where choices are removed from consideration is quite another. Your HDMI example is simply something I cannot accept. If I legally acquire something I do not recognize somebody else’s authority about what I can do with that legally acquired object. I can see we are not going to agree on this. So be it. For me the issue is not the enjoyment of lack there of of the materials encoded in the files you send me, it is the fact that there is a one-way dictation of terms about appropriate uses of this content that you and my property have colluded on to decide on my behalf what I can do with the content. I reject and I resist this at every turn.

    So now what do you do? Start cracking?

    If necessary, yes. But I really don’t think is has to come down to this.

    Feel free to memorize and repeat all you like: this makes my point entirely about the difference between embodiments of knowledge and mere information.

    I really cannot decipher what you mean by this. I presume you mean something like a mathematical isomorphism. Such an idea is a given.

  • poptones

    that is exactly what DRM and “trusted computing” means: by you and I choosing, of our own free will to run the exact same, encryption protected software, we have come to this agreement.
    .
    Firstly, we have this kind of encryption already we don’t need “trusted computing” (in the form of TCPA) to do anything like this. Everything you just mentioned is already available today. I see nothing new that TCPA brings to the table.

    Again, absolutely and completely wrong. We do NOT have anything of this sort in the desktop realm simply because I have zero means of being reassured you will not break this trust by running hacked code.

    Zero. None. Not “only a little” assurance, but nada. nyet, zip. Because the desktop platform does not contain the structure necessary to provide reasonable assurance the software running on it is the software we agreed upon, there is presently no means at all of enforcing this contract. With no means of enforcing it, there is no agreement and no contract. Your assertion fails fundamentally.

    If I legally acquire something I do not recognize somebody else’s authority about what I can do with that legally acquired object.

    You are either a liar or a criminal. You cannot use a gun to hold up a liquor store, you cannot use your car as a weapon, violate speed limits, or even operate it on public roads without a license, you cannot smoke cigarettes in federal buildings, you cannot drink beer on a street corner, you cannot drink while operating a car, you cannot xerox a book and hand out copies to your hundred closest friends, you cannot post child pornography even if the child and that child’s parents are long dead, you cannot incite others to take up arms against the government, you cannot provide instructions or materials that directly contribute to the creation of dangerous munitions…

    You have the ability to do these things. You do not have the right to do them because such actions constitute a public menace… as does breaking encryption against the will of those who publish it, as does undermining the value of works through dilution, as does repurposing expressions of knowledge created by others who do not want to be part of your expression of knowledge.

    No one is forcing you to purchase a computer you do not want to have. Or just buy whatever the hell you want and never activate the tcpa – problem solved. It’s not my fault you refuse to meet me in agreement, nor is it your right to make this my problem – and if you should try, the legal system will see to it that you are not given such opportunity again… just as it does when you decide to get drunk and drive over a flock of children playing in the street.

    You have gutted my notion of property.

    It is quite obvious you have no “notions of property” – simply because you have no respect for it. You do not have the right to put a gun to my head and force me to share with you my knowledge. The “ideal” (to be generous) you espouse is exactly this

    Sorry, but no matter how you roll it your hypocrisy shines through. Every time you restate your beliefs they inevitably mire down to “it’s my right to do as I damn well please no matter who it harms.” Thankfully, we don’t live in this great anarchy you envision.

  • http://www.a4fs.net Matt C

    You cannot use a gun to hold up a liquor store, you cannot use your car as a weapon, violate speed limits, or even operate it on public roads without a license, you cannot smoke cigarettes in federal buildings, you cannot drink beer on a street corner, you cannot drink while operating a car, you cannot xerox a book and hand out copies to your hundred closest friends, you cannot post child pornography even if the child and that child’s parents are long dead, you cannot incite others to take up arms against the government, you cannot provide instructions or materials that directly contribute to the creation of dangerous munitions…

    You have the ability to do these things. You do not have the right to do them because such actions constitute a public menace…

    I think Jim’s point is just that all those actions are forbidden because those uses of those pieces of property impinges on other people’s rights. He wants to be able to play his CD on any appropriate piece of equipment. He’s currently forbidden to do so by law.

    He doesn’t want to jam his CD in your eye. He’s forbidden to do that by a different law. I don’t think he has a problem with that one.

  • Jim Powers

    Again, absolutely and completely wrong. We do NOT have anything of this sort in the desktop realm simply because I have zero means of being reassured you will not break this trust by running hacked code.

    Zero. None. Not “only a little” assurance, but nada. nyet, zip. Because the desktop platform does not contain the structure necessary to provide reasonable assurance the software running on it is the software we agreed upon, there is presently no means at all of enforcing this contract. With no means of enforcing it, there is no agreement and no contract. Your assertion fails fundamentally.

    poptones, this is becoming tedious.

    I know that the TCG promotes their offering as hacker proof, but you would be placing a lot of trust in that claim. RSA promotes their solution as also being hacker proof. You believe TCG but won’t believe RSA. If you believe RSA then, in fact we do have ways without TCPA to achieve what you are looking for today.

    The trust relationship I’m talking about is between people, not between you an my machine. If you cannot trust your recipient then there is no trust, period. If the recipient has decided that breaking the trust relationship is worth circumventing some sort of hardware-based DRM they will find a way to defeat that DRM. Ways will be found to defeat this DRM. You have to return to trusting people. I’m sure that the people at the TCG employ smart people, but there is no shortage of smart people who can figure out how to get around the offerings of the TCG. Once compromised you now have a planet full of hacked in hardware the is effectively useless.

    In the end you are going to have to trust people on the other end to hold up their end of the bargain, which is as it should be.

    You are either a liar or a criminal. You cannot use a gun to hold up a liquor store, you cannot use your car as a weapon, violate speed limits, or even operate it on public roads without a license, you cannot smoke cigarettes in federal buildings, you cannot drink beer on a street corner, you cannot drink while operating a car, you cannot xerox a book and hand out copies to your hundred closest friends, you cannot post child pornography even if the child and that child’s parents are long dead, you cannot incite others to take up arms against the government, you cannot provide instructions or materials that directly contribute to the creation of dangerous munitions…

    Not a single one of these examples applies to the case I am talking about. I acquire a file legal, fair and square. It is on my computer. I manipulate it anyway I want for personal use. End of story. You, of course disagree and see ample president to put this down. Fine, I will return, one again, to one my original goals: I want to seek ways under the law to ensure that this right cannot be taken away.

    Your examples fall into several categories:

    Stealing: theft at gun point, copyright infringement. These possibilities don’t stop me from legally owning a gun or a xerox machine.

    Engaging in dangerous activity in a public space: DWI, smoking in public places. I can own the car without a license. I need a license to use the car on public roads.

    Obscenity or “blue” laws: Child pornography drinking on a street corner (which is legal in many countries around the world).

    Debatable or to be decided by courts: cannot provide instructions or materials that directly contribute to the creation of dangerous munitions…

    You have the ability to do these things. You do not have the right to do them because such actions constitute a public menace… as does breaking encryption against the will of those who publish it, as does undermining the value of works through dilution, as does repurposing expressions of knowledge created by others who do not want to be part of your expression of knowledge.

    The “breaking encryption against the will of those who publish it” is the DMCA, a law I have already and repeatedly said I want repealed. I simply do not agree that decrypting and trans-coding files I obtain legally for personal use has anything to do with “dilution, as does repurposing expressions of knowledge created by others who do not want to be part of your expression of knowledge.” And even if it did I would seek changes under the law to expressly allow this.

    No one is forcing you to purchase a computer you do not want to have. Or just buy whatever the hell you want and never activate the tcpa – problem solved. It’s not my fault you refuse to meet me in agreement, nor is it your right to make this my problem – and if you should try, the legal system will see to it that you are not given such opportunity again… just as it does when you decide to get drunk and drive over a flock of children playing in the street.

    poptones, please, really, stick to the point. There simply is no analog between transcoding legally acquired digital files for personal use and murdering children.

    Look, I can see that you hold the DMCA close to your heart, you love the thing and all the possibilities that can spew forth. We are not going to see eye-to-eye. I and others like me are your worst nightmare. We repesent the unenlightened mobb incapable of being redeemed. You have a leg-up on me and others like me because you already have the DMCA on the books and are seeking to, as rapidly as possible, export DMCA-like laws. I resist your efforts. I seek to roll-back the DMCA, you aren’t going to succeed in convincing me otherwise. I see the DMCA is an embarrassment to our legal system that has incredibly nasty consequences that I find abhorrent. You disagree, let’s leave at that.

    It is quite obvious you have no “notions of property” – simply because you have no respect for it. You do not have the right to put a gun to my head and force me to share with you my knowledge. The “ideal” (to be generous) you espouse is exactly this

    poptones, I could say the same thing about your notions of property. When I acquire, legally, a copyrighted work controlling influence of that copy is mine, therefore I own it. I would say that it is you who does not respect ownership because you think it is acceptable for you to retain controlling influence over the legally acquired copy after our economic transaction has completed. I do not recognize this, and I simply won’t allow this.

    Sorry, but no matter how you roll it your hypocrisy shines through. Every time you restate your beliefs they inevitably mire down to “it’s my right to do as I damn well please no matter who it harms.” Thankfully, we don’t live in this great anarchy you envision.

    Really, why do you have to engage in the name calling? It is not going to work. I am completely comfortable with my own hypocrisy. I will assert again:

    First: a halt to all expansion of copyright-based laws that are intended to make consumers of copyrighted materials criminals by default, or criminals as a result of “traditional” fair-uses of copyrighted materials.

    Second: an actual REDUCTION of the length of the copyright term. Personally I cannot see a rational argument for anything longer than 20 years.

    Third: an expansion of “fair-use” applications of copyrighted materials.

    And in every example I have stated so far I have said over and over again: I obtain, legally, a copy of a copyrighted work. I then transform that copyrighted work in any way I please for personal use. I am not giving it away, I am not hurting you financially, I am not doing any harm. Of course you disagree because somehow with your penetrating retention of external controls over my “property” that has been thwarted and you have been harmed in some way.

  • Jim Powers

    Matt C:

    You are absolutely right.

  • poptones

    First, you know I’m surprised you didn’t come after me for the “you are a criminal. Perhaps you realized it wasn’t my intent to assert you have or would do any of those things (not even speeding!) only to make the point we already submit to laws and social barriers to “free will” when it comes to “remixing” our own physical property.

    I know that the TCG promotes their offering as hacker proof, but you would be placing a lot of trust in that claim.

    Irrelevant. I use tcpa etc only in the most generic sense. Your disagreement with the fundamentals of the technology make my argument pertinent to any similar or competing variations, and therefore consistent. And it doesn’t even matter if it is “hacker proof” – as has been pointed out to you countless times I already agree with you on that – neither is federal currency “hacker proof.” we have people who violate counterfeiting laws all the time – that’s why we have laws and enforcement mechanisms in place to help secure the value of currency so as to make sure the market for our currency is not undermined through dilution.

    In a world where information is commerce that line between the physical and ethereal blur. You’re welcome to hate it, you’re welcome to unplug, you’re welcome to climb a tower and scream for an end to all property laws. What you don’t have the right to do is usurp the value of property not owned by you. Like it or not, this is the new digital realm. These notions about “bits have no value” are as antiquated as the univac: bits can and do have value. Problem is, right now they only have value for those who own and control the channels of communications. You are, perhaps not so ironically, defending the control those corporations and oppressive governments hold over you and all of society with every breath against trustworthy infrastructure and the rights of the proletariate who choose to embrace it.

    And in every example I have stated so far I have said over and over again: I obtain, legally, a copy of a copyrighted work. I then transform that copyrighted work in any way I please for personal use. I am not giving it away, I am not hurting you financially, I am not doing any harm.

    You’re still wrong, and it is not just me who disagrees with you. it is not even the “new” supreme court or the corrupt congress that disagrees with you, but generations of historical precedent. Outside certain exemptions, restaraunts cannot just play music for their patrons without proper licensing agreements, either directly or via services that protect them, for example, and the precedents supporting this are not just recent add-ons to old regulations. On a smaller scale, even the ruling in the Sony decision made it clear the judgement was based, in part, on the fact the publishers themselves were not at the time serving that part of the market – that is “transforming” copyrighted content to home videotape caused minimal economic harm to publishers simply because they, themselves, were not offering similar materials.

    With two dollar movies on dvd at nearly every corner market, ten dollar dvd blockbusters and ninety nine cent video and music downloads you cannot so easily make that argument now, and the validty of any such attempts are further diminished by the day. Recording “survivor” on your home deck may have minimal impact, but if the producers themselves offer the same content for a reasonable fee then you are, in fact, causing economic harm to the market even with your personal transformative use. That you would not pay for the content anyway is irrelevant – it’s your right to do without, but it’s not your right to take because you’re too cheap to cough up three bucks for a show.

    If the price is too high or the terms too restrictive to meet market demands, it is the copyright holder’s right to better meet those demands… or not. If you want to tell all your friends about survivor that’s perfectly your right and no drm in the world can ever change it; if you want to get a bunch of friends together and recreate the last survivor episode even that is your right, although you may run into trouble if you publish it in a manner that infringes on the producer’s trademarked use of the name. No one is preventing you from creating more speech – from providing specific embodiments of your knowledge – only from hijacking the embodiments of others against their wishes.

    Gnu, BSD, and the gpl itself owe their very existence to exactly this process – the desire to create a Free and competing voice to another they view as oppressive. This model is entirely consistent, both in effect and causality, with the intent of copyright itself.
    You seem to see me as some sort of industry shill or corporate junkie. The fact is I use linux and have for years, there is not a piece of Microsoft software in my home, nor will there be in the business I am constructing, and the media project I am planning revolves around providing high quality content to the educational market that will forever be protected to roam free in the commons while (hopefully) providing me and others some modest income. I don’t know what ideals you actually support, but they seem to involve neither freedom nor respect for the rights of others. I don’t want Warner “remixing” my stuff any more than I want to help spread their influence by doing so in my own works.

    You, by hijacking the voice of the “non free” and embracing it into your life, help propagate that system of control even as you claim to be trying to undermine it. Likewise, you further deny reward to those who devote their time and energy to creating works which embrace the ideals to which you merely give lip service.

  • Jim Powers

    First, you know I’m surprised you didn’t come after me for the “you are a criminal. Perhaps you realized it wasn’t my intent to assert you have or would do any of those things (not even speeding!) only to make the point we already submit to laws and social barriers to “free will” when it comes to “remixing” our own physical property.

    I have no interest in:

    1) Going after you at all.

    2) Pursuing this line of reasoning in the context of the discussion we have been having.

    Irrelevant. I use tcpa etc only in the most generic sense. Your disagreement with the fundamentals of the technology make my argument pertinent to any similar or competing variations, and therefore consistent. And it doesn’t even matter if it is “hacker proof” – as has been pointed out to you countless times I already agree with you on that – neither is federal currency “hacker proof.” we have people who violate counterfeiting laws all the time – that’s why we have laws and enforcement mechanisms in place to help secure the value of currency so as to make sure the market for our currency is not undermined through dilution.

    You have got to be kidding me, or maybe you are confusing me with some other person you have been bullying into compliance recently. I have gone back and reread this thread several times now and the last time we discussed the the TCPA you used it as an unassailable vehicle for imposing a one sided-contract by co-opting my hardware to enforce its terms.

    Other than that, yes we agree on this point.

    But this gets me back to my original point: we already have encryption systems that can accomplish your goals without the need of the TCPA (I can see you’re going to flip-flop on this one already)

    In a world where information is commerce that line between the physical and ethereal blur. You’re welcome to hate it, you’re welcome to unplug, you’re welcome to climb a tower and scream for an end to all property laws. What you don’t have the right to do is usurp the value of property not owned by you. Like it or not, this is the new digital realm. These notions about “bits have no value” are as antiquated as the univac: bits can and do have value. Problem is, right now they only have value for those who own and control the channels of communications. You are, perhaps not so ironically, defending the control those corporations and oppressive governments hold over you and all of society with every breath against trustworthy infrastructure and the rights of the proletariate who choose to embrace it.

    poptones, you really and truly believe me to be some sort of superficial ignorant dweeb that has to be set straight by your enlightened viewpoint. That is such a sad and insulting position to take I don’t know where to start. But I will refrain.

    Information as commerce has been around for centuries, we are not on the verge of anything here, it is here. I would like to dismantle the system that makes this happen, yes, but as far as I recall our little spat here has been about how I would like to see some modest changes to copyright law. I cannot hope to try to entertain the dismantlement of the copyright system in my lifetime, but I do want to see a weakening of the powers that copyrights can impose. We disagree.

    Why on Earth are you simultaneously agreeing that the “trustworthy” infrastructure is, um, trustworthy at the same time agreeing that is can be undermined. Oh, I see the DMCA. But the DMCA is not everywhere. Resistance to this kind of law is pretty strong outside the US (resistance within the US is pretty strong as well, and growing). I count myself among those who resist this. Please, don’t give me the “resistance is futile” nonsense, it really isn’t going to do either of us any good because we are simply going to disagree about this point. Also, encryption is already here. the “proletariat” (ugh, I feel so dirty) has many forms to choose from.

    What you don’t have the right to do is usurp the value of property not owned by you.

    Ok, I’ve introduced several items in this thread:

    - Punitive actions against organizations that perpetuate treating their customers like criminals from the get go and trampling on fair use rights.

    - Dissolving the copyright system.

    - Seeking the more modest goal of curbing the influence of copyright enabled powers.

    Other than a couple of posts I do not entertain any hope of accomplishing the sunsetting the copyright system so let’s get that out of the discussion (save that for another time). What I’m really after it the third item on my list but I am willing to use the first to accomplish getting the third. We disagree on the efficacy of the first item, and agree on the ethical dilemmas is creates. We disagree on the third point on principle.

    You may find this surprising, but I don’t want to usurp ownership rights. I grant that it is/was easy to confuse what point I was discussing where but I simply want ownership of copies of copyrighted material to recognize that the owners of such copies can do what ever they want for personal use. We disagree.

    These notions about “bits have no value” are as antiquated as the univac: bits can and do have value.

    This coming from the same person who has hammered on and on about the difference between representation and information?

    I buy an electronic book, DVD, or CD, or what have you. I transform this content into some other content for personal use. YOU got money for the value if the information, I got a representation of that information. I then transformed that representation of that information into another form (as I would when the information enters my head) for personal use. I don’t give away or otherwise dilute the value of the information you have for sale. Leave me alone. End of story.

    You’re still wrong, and it is not just me who disagrees with you. it is not even the “new” supreme court or the corrupt congress that disagrees with you, but generations of historical precedent. Outside certain exemptions, restaraunts cannot just play music for their patrons without proper licensing agreements, either directly or via services that protect them, for example, and the precedents supporting this are not just recent add-ons to old regulations. On a smaller scale, even the ruling in the Sony decision made it clear the judgement was based, in part, on the fact the publishers themselves were not at the time serving that part of the market – that is “transforming” copyrighted content to home videotape caused minimal economic harm to publishers simply because they, themselves, were not offering similar materials.

    Firstly, please don’t feel so empowered to provide definitions to words that I have been using like “personal” as in “personal use” to include playing copies music I personally own in a place like a restaurant simply so you can bitch-slap me with the word “wrong” again.

    Your particular take on the Sony case is incomplete however. The Sony case was substantially swayed by the fact that the betamax could also be used for substantial non-infringing uses, including playing movies for sale or playing movies that you made. In a similar vein, clearly a general purpose computer can be used for both infringing and non-infringing applications, but a computer can be used for substantial non-infringing purposes. Your particular editorial license on this case is consistent with your view on the matter we have been discussing, but it is incomplete and does not do the ruling justice.

    With two dollar movies on dvd at nearly every corner market, ten dollar dvd blockbusters and ninety nine cent video and music downloads you cannot so easily make that argument now, and the validty of any such attempts are further diminished by the day. Recording “survivor” on your home deck may have minimal impact, but if the producers themselves offer the same content for a reasonable fee then you are, in fact, causing economic harm to the market even with your personal transformative use. That you would not pay for the content anyway is irrelevant – it’s your right to do without, but it’s not your right to take because you’re too cheap to cough up three bucks for a show.

    My previous comment applies to this as well. You are only presenting part of the story. The Sony case allowed the existence of the betamax even though it did cause infringement because of the substantial non-infringing use.

    Even what I just said aside: every one of my “personal use” examples given throughout this thread has been: I acquire a copy legally. And in every case I said that I DID cough up the dough. You got your money for the information NOW LEAVE ME ALONE! I have said this over and over. Now, the Sony case also allows me to use my computer as a PVR. Why? because despite the fact that I infringe while recording “survivor” I can use my computer for substantial non-infringing uses as well.

    If the price is too high or the terms too restrictive to meet market demands, it is the copyright holder’s right to better meet those demands… or not. If you want to tell all your friends about survivor that’s perfectly your right and no drm in the world can ever change it; if you want to get a bunch of friends together and recreate the last survivor episode even that is your right, although you may run into trouble if you publish it in a manner that infringes on the producer’s trademarked use of the name. No one is preventing you from creating more speech – from providing specific embodiments of your knowledge – only from hijacking the embodiments of others against their wishes.

    RE: price – marketplace, given

    RE: tell friends – agreed

    RE: recreate – you could run afoul even if you don’t publish. This is how playwrights get paid. But in the example you are giving infringement is minimal.

    RE: your knowledge – VERY slippery slope here and you know it. All of our knowledge is an accumulation and incremental refinement of other knowledge. Today copyrights end at the skull, tomorrow… ???

    RE: hijacking – I think that you are talking about my piracy as punishment idea here. Agreed. But you know we agreed to this a while ago. I wasn’t disagreeing about the fact that my piracy as punishment plan didn’t involve theft according to current copyright law. But I haven’t been pushing this plan for a while now in this thread. I still hold to it as a viable punishment option even all comments considered. In reality, I don’t want to execute this plan but I am willing to.

    Gnu, BSD, and the gpl itself owe their very existence to exactly this process – the desire to create a Free and competing voice to another they view as oppressive. This model is entirely consistent, both in effect and causality, with the intent of copyright itself.

    I disagree to some extent with your interpretation. The GPL, in particular exploits copyright as a way to legally reinforce its libre goals. There is an uneasy relationship between the GPL and copyright because the FSF isn’t too thrilled with legal constructs that enable and support oppressive “intellectual property” (I know RMS doesn’t like to use this euphemism, and I understand why, but I will use it now as a quick and dirty shorthand) regimes. Basically, there is no other legal construct available to meet their needs so copyright it is. Overall, however, we are in agreement on this point.

    Additionally, the GPLv3 will contain language specifically prohibiting code covered by by this version of the license to be used in any kind of effective DRM system, that is one where it is actually possible to infringe on somebody’s rights

    You seem to see me as some sort of industry shill or corporate junkie. The fact is I use linux and have for years, there is not a piece of Microsoft software in my home, nor will there be in the business I am constructing, and the media project I am planning revolves around providing high quality content to the educational market that will forever be protected to roam free in the commons while (hopefully) providing me and others some modest income. I don’t know what ideals you actually support, but they seem to involve neither freedom nor respect for the rights of others. I don’t want Warner “remixing” my stuff any more than I want to help spread their influence by doing so in my own works.

    I am stunned that you could possibly come to the conclusion that I am “some sort of industry shill or corporate junkie.” I must say that I think that you are simply retaliating against me arbitrarily with that statement as I have been quite focused from the start on the fact that in no way shape or form so I want corporations to exert any more influence over my or anybody else’s lives then they already have.

    After every personal attack you have thrown at me throughout the course of this thread you finally calm down and say “I don’t know what ideals you actually support, but they seem to involve neither freedom nor respect for the rights of others.” Seriously, have you read what I have been writing? I mean after all this I have been painstakingly cutting and pasting your words, even trying to preserve some semblance of the formatting. I have been doing my best to keep my emotions in check as best as I could trying not to descend to you level and lash out with insults and epithets. I have seen some of your disrespectful and dismissive responses you have given to other posters as well. I have spent hours crafting postings only to have you jerk my chain like this? Whatever. The way you go about interacting with the world is baffling to me. You don’t know jack about me and many of the other posters (although it appears you do know some of the posters well), yet you feel at liberty to hurl down judgments and characterizations to discredit all save yourself as a bunch of ignorant malcontents that should be so damn happy with the status quo and your plans to herald in the new world of information commerce right out of the pages of “cryptonomicon”. We can use your comments. I KNOW that behind the venom there is a very intelligent person capable of being constructive. But we don’t need your personal 1-minute summaries of our character.

    You, by hijacking the voice of the “non free” and embracing it into your life, help propagate that system of control even as you claim to be trying to undermine it. Likewise, you further deny reward to those who devote their time and energy to creating works which embrace the ideals to which you merely give lip service.

    I don’t even know what the hell you are talking about here, but I can tell you that is inaccurate.

  • poptones

    the Sony case also allows me to use my computer as a PVR. Why? because despite the fact that I infringe while recording “survivor” I can use my computer for substantial non-infringing uses as well.

    Is it you who has claimed before to be an attorney? If so, I have a hard time believing it. Perhaps it wasn’t you – anyway, you are again incorrect in your evaluation: the “substantial non infringing uses” is the part that protects Sony from liability for “enabling piracy.” SCOTUS makes it clear in that ruling, however, that infringement is still infringement – that is, recording tv shows, whether Disney movies or major league baseball, against the wishes of the copyright owner is still infringement. The “substantial non infringing uses” is what allows you to go to wal mart and buy a video recorder, but that ability to buy the recorder does not give you unrestrained “right to infringe.” All that presently lends you this “right” is the intractability of actually enforcing the laws against such infringement without violating other, more important rights – like the right to privacy in your home, protection from unwarranted searches, etc. But that all changes fundamentally once you enter the realm of computers attached to the internet, because a computer attached to the internet is, in many ways, like a person walking down the street – you are no longer only in your home; you are in a public place. (Ironically, a more trustworthy computing platform is one of the very few effective means you have of reclaiming some of this lost privacy, but you object to having any such capabilities.)

    Lessig makes the above points in very detailed fashion in Code v.2. Have you read Lessig’s books? Have you even read Sony v Disney? I certainly see no evidence of it in your argument.

    Additionally, the GPLv3 will contain language specifically prohibiting code covered by by this version of the license to be used in any kind of effective DRM system

    That is not yet decided and even if such a profoundly stupid restriction does end up in the license it will be relevant only to future application code. Because gpl3 is presently a more restrictive license than 2 it cannot be applied retroactively to any existing code unless the entire community of developers who have contributed to the project agree. Given that large projects may have had hundreds of contributors over their years of development, many of whom may not even be located now, only new projects may adopt such a license.

    Perhaps you don’t know this as you are not a developer. I am a software developer and I know both how the system works and the motives driving much of the core development. And Linus Torvalds, the benevolent dictator who heads up the kernel development, has already stated he welcomes adding DRM capabilities to the kernel, and that the kernel will never be GPL3 so long as there are restrictions on such use because disallowing the use of DRM in linux essentially means locking it out of substantial future capabilities – not the least of which would be to even run on tc enabled platforms. He seems to be one of the very few enlightened indiviudals in this community. Sadly, even he does not seem to have the weight to pull more developers in this direction. So, the door remains open but no one is presently approaching (though I would not doubt redhat, for one, is privately working on this).

    I am stunned that you could possibly come to the conclusion that I am “some sort of industry shill or corporate junkie.”

    I didn’t conclude any such thing. I suggest you revist any available texts on basic grammar, then take a minute to actually read what I said.

    I don’t even know what the hell you are talking about here, but I can tell you that is inaccurate.

    You don’t understand waht I say yet you assert it is wrong?

    Man, you really need to lay off the crack.

  • ACS

    No I don’t agree, not in the slightest: steal crops it is gone from where it was and is now some where else. Direct result of physical laws.

    Make a copy of a digital file: Now there are two files in both places. Not subject to physical laws.

    This is where I’m going to invoke the “gotta except” rule. This is how things like computers and the human brain work: we keep making copies of stuff. This is the nature of the beast. One has to work unbelievably hard (in the end infinitely hard) to make the world of computers (and eventually the human brain) work like the stuff we can hold in our hand. you can either accept this and we can move on or I’m going to be forced to do this every time.

    An interesting justification but short of the mark.

    The point is the relationship between work and reward. The farmer gets no reward and therefore no incentive to grow next years crop. The artist has thier potential customers stolen by piracy and therefore has no incentive to continue creating. Do you now understand?

  • http://www.a4fs.net Matt C

    The artist has thier potential customers stolen by piracy and therefore has no incentive to continue creating. Do you now understand?

    How condescending and wrong. JD Salinger has decided not to publish any more in his lifetime. Does he have any incentive to continue creating?

    Admittedly, JD is no Mariah Carey, but still. It seems to me there’s a certain amount of creative activity that is going to happen regardless, and as an amateur artist I find the monetary synopsis of why people create so reductive as to be offensive.

  • http://www.a4fs.net Matt C

    Regarding Linus:

    I am still not totally sure how the gpl3 works, so I asked why Linus said those things, and a good thread was generated by smarter people than me

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=176124&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=14643200

    Nutshell: This is merely closing a loophole by which people might try to keep essential elements of the sourcecode/compilation secret to deny me exactly what the GPL is designed to ensure cannot be denied to me. That I cannot be denied the use of derivatives of my own work.

  • Jim Powers

    Is it you who has claimed before to be an attorney? If so, I have a hard time believing it. Perhaps it wasn’t you – anyway, you are again incorrect in your evaluation: the “substantial non infringing uses” is the part that protects Sony from liability for “enabling piracy.” SCOTUS makes it clear in that ruling, however, that infringement is still infringement – that is, recording tv shows, whether Disney movies or major league baseball, against the wishes of the copyright owner is still infringement. The “substantial non infringing uses” is what allows you to go to wal mart and buy a video recorder, but that ability to buy the recorder does not give you unrestrained “right to infringe.” All that presently lends you this “right” is the intractability of actually enforcing the laws against such infringement without violating other, more important rights – like the right to privacy in your home, protection from unwarranted searches, etc. But that all changes fundamentally once you enter the realm of computers attached to the internet, because a computer attached to the internet is, in many ways, like a person walking down the street – you are no longer only in your home; you are in a public place. (Ironically, a more trustworthy computing platform is one of the very few effective means you have of reclaiming some of this lost privacy, but you object to having any such capabilities.)

    Lawyer: No (please provide evidence that led you to this conclusion)

    Incorrect on evaluation: No

    Internet like walking down street: No

    Trustworthy computing brings back privacy: No

    Ironic: No

    Lessig makes the above points in very detailed fashion in Code v.2. Have you read Lessig’s books? Have you even read Sony v Disney? I certainly see no evidence of it in your argument.

    Lessig’s books: No

    Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (1984): Yes

    You can’t see evidence: Yes

    poptones primary modes of argument: intimidation, disinformation, by authority, then by FUD. But really, he’s a great guy or gal as the case may be.

    poptones contribution to the world of insightful biting sarcasm: none.

    That is not yet decided and even if such a profoundly stupid restriction does end up in the license it will be relevant only to future application code. Because gpl3 is presently a more restrictive license than 2 it cannot be applied retroactively to any existing code unless the entire community of developers who have contributed to the project agree. Given that large projects may have had hundreds of contributors over their years of development, many of whom may not even be located now, only new projects may adopt such a license.

    No DRM clause in GPLv3: Will be there, RMS on record saying as much

    More restrictive than GPLv2: No

    Some projects/developers have to decide whether or not to use GPLv3: Yes

    Some projects/developers will automatically allow GPLv3: Yes (Or any later version)

    You have an unassailable ability to predict the future: No

    Perhaps you don’t know this as you are not a developer. I am a software developer and I know both how the system works and the motives driving much of the core development. And Linus Torvalds, the benevolent dictator who heads up the kernel development, has already stated he welcomes adding DRM capabilities to the kernel, and that the kernel will never be GPL3 so long as there are restrictions on such use because disallowing the use of DRM in linux essentially means locking it out of substantial future capabilities – not the least of which would be to even run on tc enabled platforms. He seems to be one of the very few enlightened indiviudals in this community. Sadly, even he does not seem to have the weight to pull more developers in this direction. So, the door remains open but no one is presently approaching (though I would not doubt redhat, for one, is privately working on this).

    Leveled yet another uninformed, unsubstantiated statement about me: Yes

    You are a software developer: Yes

    I am a software developer: Yes

    You are a better person that I: In all possible ways that can be measured with a ruler.

    Linus ok with DRM: Yes

    Linus never accept GPLv3: Originally yes -> Community backlash -> now maybe. In the end probably not. Alan Cox: cautiously optimistic about GPLv3.

    You are the only one privy to this information: No

    You are Linus: No

    Linus enlightened: No

    Linux: I run Gentoo. I build from sources. Mystical signed binaries anointed with TCPA urine of no interest to me. I reserve the right to tinker.

    You represent the vast majority of free and open source developers: No

    I didn’t conclude any such thing. I suggest you revist any available texts on basic grammar, then take a minute to actually read what I said.

    I didn’t conclude any such thing: Yes, you did. You also drew many other conclusion about me along the way.

    I suggest you revist any available texts on basic grammar: Will do so, mother.

    Take a minute to actually read what I said: Once I learn to read I will do so.

    You don’t understand waht I say yet you assert it is wrong?

    Sure, why not?

    Man, you really need to lay off the crack.

    Yes, crack.

    DMCA bad law: Yes, we disagree

    I want the law changed: Yes. You: no, you want more of the same.

    Well kiddies, I can see everything here is going along smoothly under the watchful eyes of poptones, so I can see that there is no need for further intelligent conversation.

    Prof., it’s been great, you’ve got a great crowd here, but it seems a bit stuffy. So rather than make a nuisance of myself I’m going to bow out now.

    The next time I want a riveting discussion of this intellectual caliber I’ll pick a fight with a parrot.

    Chow.

  • http://www.a4fs.net Matt C

    hehe … here comes that “had enough, eh?” bit and/or declaration of victory.

  • Jim Powers

    One last thing before I leave:

    Here, read:

    http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/publications/anarchism.html

    It not the only work of its kind but it is a very good start. It might help some folks think outside of the box of the status quo.

  • Jim Powers

    Some advice for Matt C: don’t cast your pearls before swine.

    Other than that keep up the good fight!

  • poptones

    Lawyer: No (please provide evidence that led you to this conclusion)

    More basic grammar skills for you: it wasn’t a conclusion, it was a fucking question – hence the question mark at the end.

    Incorrect on evaluation: No

    Internet like walking down street: No

    I’ll leave you to take that argument up with the professor. he makes several valid points that vividly illustrate the fallacy of your minimalist assertion to the contrary.

    Trustworthy computing brings back privacy: No

    Another trite assertion. Prove it. I’ll happily deconstruct your entire thesis, as I have researched the technology and I do know how it works – and I didn’t rely on a thread from Slashdot for my information, either.

    In the interest of furthering my point re: the relevance of reasonably trustworthy peer to peer ecommerce (which, no matter how many times you tritely assert is presently possible, is readily shown to be nothing of the sort) relates to a truly democratized internet. Don’t forget we have a very, very long way to go – most of the world still isn’t on the net, and perhaps 25 percent of it isn’t even on the electrical grid.

    Anyway, let’s see what the UN has to say about it all:
    ————————–
    …. knowledge-sharing cannot
    be reduced to the exchange of a scant resource for
    which nations would vie simply because it would help
    to create a balance of payments equilibrium or surplus.
    Such a view, inherited from the mercantilist era, may no
    doubt momentarily guarantee the superiority of certain
    countries in respect of research, information or the com-
    mand of information systems, but it does not take into
    account the fact that creativity is a natural and renew-
    able resource that is best spread worldwide, and that it
    needs to be promoted and protected in order to achieve
    its full potential
    . Humanity has far more to gain from
    knowledge-sharing through cooperation between the
    most developed and the least developed countries. This
    could indeed allow the diversity of knowledge cultures
    to flourish worldwide. Such ways and means of coopera-
    tion and knowledge sharing are particularly important,
    for they would enable the least developed countries to
    become full participants in the rise of knowledge socie-
    ties, which is still all too seldom the case.
    ————————

    Of the ten percent of the world that is wired, even that is divided by tarrif regions. Every time you cross one of these borders you end up paying ever higher usory fees. The opportunities for someone in a devleoping nation will be minimal simply because so few even have bank accounts. You do not need commerce in order to share knowledge, but you do need some ability to earn a living – and if you are too busy struggling to gather food you will never have time to even learn how a computer works. Being able to participate in a reasonably stable economy is a fundamental need for anyone who is trying to move from the field to the office. It’s not an option, or something you can do later – it’s almost a prerequisite, as the instant you leave the field you become dependant upon others to supply you with food, and they must be paid for their labors.

    So, what happens? In developing countries those who do manage to escape the fields and get an education – leave. They leave because there is no opportunity for them to utilize their knowledge. There is no infrastructure and where there is infrastructure there is still limited money. So those who would otherwise be able to help others leave the fields and work toward a greater common goal, instead leave for a heavily populated western nation where there are already economic and professional opportunities.

    From President Wade, of Senegal:
    ———————————
    For decades the developing countries have, either through direct spending or through assistance, been
    training professionals who, unfortunately, at the end of their studies and their training, are absorbed by the
    economy of the developed countries. Not only does this rerouting of qualified professionals have a financial
    cost, but it creates a gap in the use of the human resources of the developing countries, particularly in Africa.

    For this reason, it is proposed that compensatory measures be taken in the form of transfers in the opposite
    direction, towards Africa, of experts from developed countries, at their expense.
    ——————————-

    Enabling even a fraction of the proletariat of these nations to participate in online commerce would allow them to remain in their homes and work with others toward greater common goals. Attempts to route aid to nations frequently fails due to political structures of control, theft, corruption, etc. Providing knowledge workers in these nations the ability to participate in a peer to peer system of commerce would enable them to bypass those channels of corrupt control, allowing benefactors in developed nations to send payments directly to the intended recipient. With an electronic currency backed by hard western dollars and euros, banks in developing nations would have ample incentive to offer fair and competitive exchange services – just as they do now for currency exchanged via sms services.

    This is not a Cryptonomicon future. Cryptonomicon was a novel. This is real life – life in a world where thousands of villagers starve because the local politicans are hoarding all the food for themselves; a world where 8 year olds provide sexiual favors in filthy public bathrooms so they can afford another can of spray paint to help them fend off the gnawing pangs of hunger. It is unconscionably selfish for anyone to attempt to narrow this argument merely to debates about how long a dead Walt Disney should be allowed to own a cartoon mouse or how a completely user enabled technology should be thwarted simply because it might interefere with our “right” to remix mariah as we sit and hobby away the hours in the warm and cozy confines of our million dollar mcmansions.

  • Jim Powers

    Ok, I’m a hypocrite once again because I’m back one last time. This time for real.

    Am I a lawyer:

    1. http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/003325.shtml
    2. CRTL+F (On Firefox at least)
    3. Type: “lawyer”
    4. read results
    5. clear search box
    6. type “attorney”
    7. read results
    8. decide for yourself.

    More importantly: does it matter?

    More important things in the world than curbing the power of copyright implies the world should tend to those pressing things (which we should) and leave folks like poptones at home to make sure our “intellectual property” laws are taken care of. I guess so.

    I see you’ve found some of my postings on /.: good for you. I guess that makes me an intellectual write off, eh?

  • poptones

    More important things in the world than curbing the power of copyright implies the world should tend to those pressing things (which we should) and leave folks like poptones at home to make sure our “intellectual property” laws are taken care of.

    Wow, are you confused. You are the one making arguments against opportunity, I am the one pointing out that your world of information anarchy most harms the people who fucking need help the most. You are a parasite to argue your “right to remix” should take priority over someone else’s right to fucking eat.

    Let’em eat cake, eh Marie? Just so long as you got the “right” to remix mariah what does it matter how many weiners little svetlana gets to taste between huffs?

  • Josh Stratton

    MattC–
    It seems to me there’s a certain amount of creative activity that is going to happen regardless, and as an amateur artist I find the monetary synopsis of why people create so reductive as to be offensive.

    Well, copyright is basically economic. Yes, there are absolutely many other significant incentives for creating and publishing works, such as doing it for the fame, or for art’s sake, or for the money that could be made even in the absence of copyright, etc. However, copyright doesn’t really serve to increase those incentives. Instead, copyright gives authors an opportunity to recoup their costs and to profit. If that’s necessary to incentivize authors, then fine. Of course, being of a frugal nature, I’d prefer to not grant copyrights to authors in cases where it was not a necessary incentive; that is, where the author would have done exactly the same thing anyway.

    Distinguishing between the authors that need copyright and the ones that don’t is really a job for a mind reader, but modest hurdles in the form of copyright formalities can do this to a degree. For example, most of the posts here are copyrighted under the present system. However, if we had to pay a token sum to copyright them, as under systems past, then I would bet that none of them would be copyrighted. This is because no one would imagine that they stood a chance of recouping their $30 per post by using the copyright they would have acquired. It’s not as though people buy collections of these things in bookstores. They have no appreciable economic worth. Thus, the authors of these posts — us — must be writing them for other reasons, and so the formalities, which are quite modest, have worked to distinguish between authors that would not create but for copyrights, and those that would create regardless of copyrights.

    It’s not really something you should find offensive. It’s just that the law cannot mandate that your works become famous, or well-recieved artistically, or satisfy your creative impulses, or otherwise fulfill non-economic reasons to create. Hell, they don’t even guarantee economic reward, they just set up a funnel to direct it should there happen to be any.

    Remember, the idea behind copyright is that the public interest should be maximally satisfied. The public interest consists of equal desires for: more original works to be created, more derivative works to be created, more works to be published, to not be restricted with regard to what they can do with those works, and to have minimal restrictions in terms of time and scope if there must be any. Without copyright, some of these desires are fully sated. Others, not so much. Adding them together, we see a net satisfaction, we’ll call A. If we add copyright, we are reducing the satisfaction of some of the interests in order to stimulate satisfaction of others. Different degrees of copyright (e.g. is the term 14+14 years or 95 years, is there an exception covering music or not, etc. will result in different net satisfactions B through Z. The goal is to find the greatest net satisfaction in the B through Z range, where it is also greater than A. The incentives used to stimulate creation and thus fulfill that desire of the public happens to be economic (paid for, essentially, by reducing fulfillment of the should-not-be-restricted desire) because as already noted, we can’t legislate fame. If we could in some reasonable way, I suppose we could put it on the table as well. But for now, we’re making do with the tools we’ve got.

  • Jim Powers

    Ok, I’m back. No venom, no hostility.

    Now, as some of you have already taken note I’ve deposited quite a controversial notion in this thread of a civil disobedience action where I would promote piracy of copyrighted materials from “certain” companies that fortify and pursue a program of expanding copyright scope and powers in such a way as to be quantifiably more invasive into peoples lives then ever before in the history of mankind. Some may have noted that that I, in fact, do recognize this as a program of theft. I have also noted that should such a program be actually enacted that stopping it when some sort of “goal” was archived would be difficult to impossible at best.

    So, for those interested in thinking more about some sort of civil disobedience action I’ve gone back and reformulated my thinking into a set of requirements:

    1. What ever action is taken people should feel as if they are doing the right thing.

    2. It should be something that is easy to do.

    3. The action that is performed should be an action that everyone who participates feels should be a recognized and legitimate action.

    4. This action should have a publicly visible component, but need not actually have any real financial repercussions.

    What I am trying to get at with item 4 is that the action only need to be “bold”, or “defiant”, but it does not have to be financially punitive.

    What inspired me to think about this was Rosa Parks. By thinking about her action of sitting in the prohibited part of the bus it dawned on me that I have to come up with a civil disobedience action that results in legitimizing the action taken. I do not want to legitimize piracy. I want greater protections and expanded rights for the consumers of copyrighted materials.

    So a new idea, again inspired by programs like “read a banned book” would be to educate people how to and propagate the use of DRM removal software like hymn and DeCSS and get more people to transcode to something like OGG.

    There are similar programs like the “Gallery of CSS Descramblers” (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/) for DeCSS, but I’m looking for something more applicable to the average person.

    Now many of you will still find this an objectionable program, but I am open to suggestions about how to pursue some form of action that meets the requirements stated above.

  • Jim Powers

    Also, to get further discussion of any ideas regarding my last post I’ll look into setting up another place on the Web for those interested. No more freeloading off of Professor Lessig’s generosity.

  • poptones

    You want attention? Picket intel with giant Tcpa signs. Crack TCPA. Point out, in newsgroups, websites hosted in russia and other free jurisdictions, and other any other online forums you can find where one can avoid prosecution, the ways in which tcpa can actually, quanitifably, be cracked.

    Note this does NOT mean going to slashdot and the “NO TCPA” forum and preaching to the addled choir about how this might possibly, someday, still allow “information leaks” (the prevention of which was never, in any way, a stated goal of tcpa) but actually means obtaining a tcpa protected platform, enabling it, and then breaking into the motherfucker. If there are really weaknesses to be found we (and the media conglomerates) need to know them now. This goal is perfectly valid from the perspective of advancing the state of the art.

    But destruction is pointless without something arising from the ashes. What we need – especially if you truly believe in that anarchist ethos of subverting oppression by those in an unfair position of power – is a reasonably robust system of securing some amount of trust within the commodity computing platform. That this ability might mean some would abuse it by locking away encrypted works in a manner that is inconsistent with the ideals of the classical american copyright system is irrelevant: some people will always find a way to abuse any amount of control given them but that doesn’t mean all systems of control are inherently immoral, evil, or whatever adjective you feel most valid to convey “bad” in an objective argument.

    SMS messaging has provided countless opportunities in developing nations; Indian peasants have been able to directly particpate in electronic commerce by exchanging goods for electronic currency and then redeeming that money, at exchange centers, directly from affordable cellphones which they are able to procure. The value of electronic exchange has been proven even among some of the most underpriviledged nations on earth. But SMS still relies upon channels of communications that may be “hijacked” and often are controlled by oppressive regimes and, therefore, this system of exchanged is still vulnerable in exactly the way physical donations of international aid may be hijacked by warlords as it is transported over local highways.

    Making truly robust encryption and means of securing reasonable levels of peer to peer trust would have the direct effect of undermining most existing channels of information control. The only way to undermine such a robust system of trust would be to prevent, completely, the proletariat from even being able to obtain commodity computing devices, for once they were obtained they could be linked together even if doing so meant having to employ sneakernets – transport of physical media from point to point (ie usb dongles carried in pockets).

    If open source software – linux – is truly about freedom (and not just “the right to do whatever the hell I want with any data, anywhere, any time I am able to physically obtain it, no matter how it is protected) then working with hardware manufacturers to help develop an open and (most important) reasonably robust means of drm should be a primary goal of the open source development community.

    Refusing to even debate this technology in a fair and objective manner (as the open source community has been to date) because its adoption might interfere with your ability to obtain infinite amounts of what may only be fairly described as junk food for the mind is to exert upon all oppressed peoples of the world the exact same priviledged exploitation by the elite that you accuse those big, bad media conglomerates of exerting upon you.

    Except…the media conglomerates are deciding who will and will not be able to listen to mariah. You, on the other hand, are deciding who does and does not get to eat.

    Sleep well tonight in your cozy and warm mcmansion, citizen.

  • Josh Stratton

    poptones–
    What we need – especially if you truly believe in that anarchist ethos of subverting oppression by those in an unfair position of power – is a reasonably robust system of securing some amount of trust within the commodity computing platform. That this ability might mean some would abuse it by locking away encrypted works in a manner that is inconsistent with the ideals of the classical american copyright system is irrelevant: some people will always find a way to abuse any amount of control given them but that doesn’t mean all systems of control are inherently immoral, evil, or whatever adjective you feel most valid to convey “bad” in an objective argument.

    I would disagree with you here. DRM is overwhelmingly championed, designed, and implemented by those who wish to act inconsistently with the copyright system. It is not a sort of technology that incidentally has bad uses, but is one constructed around bad uses (i.e. acting as a private sort of copyright) and which may only incidentally have good uses (e.g. reducing the threat of malware). While technologies might not be inherently bad, I feel that DRM is the second-worst possible sort of technology dealing with creative works, information generally, etc. Any good implementation of it would have to be carefully designed to guard against bad uses. For example, trusted computing that guarded against malware (unless the user was really sure he wanted to run it) would be okay, but it would be abusive for it to act against benignly modified or pirated software (which the user is also probably sure he wants to run).

    I also think that you’re quite wrong as to whether anarchists would like DRM, but as I am not an anarchist, and as I find your rants tedious and confused when you get into political ideology territory, I’m not interested in discussing it.

    If there are really weaknesses to be found we (and the media conglomerates) need to know them now.

    Of course, from a strategic perspective, it would be better to not completely break such systems until the publishers et al had irrevocably committed to them. That way the attack has the greatest value for the attackers and, in line with the goals of the sorts of attackers we’re talking about, causes the greatest harm to the publishers et al.

    With regard to the idea of security and communications channels, etc., I’m certainly supportive of the idea that users might be able to ensure that other entities could not spy on their communications, etc. However, I’m also concerned that the same technologies could be used to prevent those users from communicating freely. Thus, I think it’s better to decentralize and to leave decisions in the hands of the users themselves.

    I also think that our goals when it comes to communications, computer security, financial transactions, etc. are radically different from our goals when it comes to the copyright system. So, because I think privacy is important, I think that users should be able to encrypt things they write or communications they engage in. But I also think that having creative works available for use, reproduction, modification, etc. as the law permits is also important, and so I support allowing people to use encryption however they like, but for copyrights to only be granted where works are not encrypted. (Publication of encrypted works would be fine, but they’d be uncopyrightable; authors could decide what road they wanted to follow)

    Our policies can differ, or even be opposed, because they deal with different areas. It’s much like how we try to balance the need for transparancy in government with the need for secrecy in certain national security matters.

    I think that the comunities you’re pointing fingers at have done a decent job of treating disparate issues differently. Your objection is that you want a single solution for everything, though I think you’ve arrived at that in an intellectually dishonest way by taking your unwavering support for DRM in the creative works area and looking for ways to sneak in the back door, such as by the computer security area.

  • poptones

    DRM is overwhelmingly championed, designed, and implemented by those who wish to act inconsistently with the copyright system.

    This is circular logic at its finest. You, as a representative member of the open source community (and you are, whether you like it or not, because your naive views on this are entirely representative of those espoused by the greater community at large), refuse to acknowledge the greatewr scope of this issue and, therefore, refuse to particpate in its development.

    In that vacuum of input from those who give lip service to ideals about “freedom,” leave those corporate conglomerates free to steer the development as they see fit. And they, unlike “us,” do not give a damn about creating peered technology that will allow individuals to usurp existing channels of control because they already control them.

    Problem is, those channels of control only connect about twelve percent of the planet. Corporations don’t care; corporations are about generating profit, and that other 80 odd percent doesn’t have any money, anyway.

    It is not a sort of technology that incidentally has bad uses, but is one constructed around bad uses (i.e. acting as a private sort of copyright) and which may only incidentally have good uses (e.g. reducing the threat of malware).

    OK, how can you not, after 60 fucking posts in this discussion, not see how entirely ignorant that assertion really is? Digital rights management has vastly greater potential to do good in the world than to do harm. You are speaking only from the perspective of the wired elite. what you fail to recognize is we are the information elite I don’t care if you’re living on welfare in a 2×4 shack, the fact you are sitting in front of a computer right now, reading this in the warm glow of a monitor, makes you part of that elite. Billions of people tonight do not have that opportunity and a vast majority of them cannot even fathom such a life of priviledge.

    You are denying the creative potential of 80 percent of the people on this planet in order that you might enjoy the selfish “right” to deface mariah as you see fit. It’s fucking obscene to reduce this argument to such trivial concerns.

    While technologies might not be inherently bad, I feel that DRM is the second-worst possible sort of technology dealing with creative works, information generally, etc. Any good implementation of it would have to be carefully designed to guard against bad uses.

    And again you dictate from our cozy confines exactly the oppressive control which you claim to revile. that some people may make unfair use of this technology with embodiment of knowledge which they themselve have produced does not give you the right to decide for Billions of people they should not be allowed to make positive use of it. gun kill people, but guns kill food, too. You are arguing that Billions of starving people should be denied the ability to obtain food for their families because some of us might be subjected to inappropriate uses of a technology.

    This is why we have laws to deal with those who need to be removed from society. If the laws need to be changed, fight to change the fucking laws.

    For example, trusted computing that guarded against malware (unless the user was really sure he wanted to run it) would be okay, but it would be abusive for it to act against benignly modified or pirated software (which the user is also probably sure he wants to run).

    Again: laws. This is what they are for. The Sony fiasco might well have happened even in a “trusted” environ because people trusted Sony not to fuck up their machines. The one saving grace might have been that, on trusted platforms, Sony’s “rootkit” would only have been able to attack data on user’s hard drives that Sony itself had created.

    I also think that you’re quite wrong as to whether anarchists would like DRM, but as I am not an anarchist, and as I find your rants tedious and confused when you get into political ideology territory, I’m not interested in discussing it.

    I’m sorry you are confused – but I never asserted whether anarchists would or would not like DRM. I do believe most would not, however, since a large segment of the open source community – Richard Stallman being the most notable – do, in fact, espouse ideals that may be roughly equated with information anarachy – and we all know where he stands on the issue.

    Of course, from a strategic perspective, it would be better to not completely break such systems until the publishers et al had irrevocably committed to them.

    Only if your “strategy” is, at the same time, to destroy the value of the handfulls of electronic “credits” those starving peasants had worked all year to earn. Congratulations, you just killed a hundred thousand people who won’t be able to buy food again until, oh, 2008.

    You may disagree with me, but if I’m wrong then the fucking UN is wrong. The collected idealistic representatives of five Bilion starving people agree with me, but maybe you really do know more than them…

    With regard to the idea of security and communications channels, etc., I’m certainly supportive of the idea that users might be able to ensure that other entities could not spy on their communications, etc. However, I’m also concerned that the same technologies could be used to prevent those users from communicating freely.

    Duh. We already areprevented from communicating freely. Look around the internet – it’s a fucking propoganada machine for white middle class american judeochristian dogma. Artists are afraid to post a picture of a naked little girl frolicking in the surf because they fear being abducted from their homes half a world away by the american justice league.

    If I can sell you a piece of art I created – a piece of art that does not, in any way, violate local standards of decency – and I can be reasonably assured that you will; not be able to post it in public places where the global thought police might find it and track me, I am going to be a hell of a lot more likely to share my expressions of knowledge

    Can you not see this? Information anarchy only fosters existing structures of control. You, as a member of the information elite, are embracing that control. And you are doing for purely selfish reasons.

    I also think that having creative works available for use, reproduction, modification, etc. as the law permits is also important

    Then if you would be unable to do this at present in a world of perfect DRM, fight to change the fucking laws. There, now you have a mission and potentially a new career. Congratulations.

    and so I support allowing people to use encryption however they like…

    Listen to yourself: I support allowing others to do as I like…

    but for copyrights to only be granted where works are not encrypted.

    So now I sell you one of my creations, in encrypted form, but I am not allowed to claim copyright on it in my jurisdiction, where my work is perfectly acceptable and legal? And what happens to my work when global cultural ideals change and it is more acceptable to share this expression? By refusing to recognize rights on encrypted works and encouraging the social acceptance of cracking such protections, you have again stifled me – you have done exactly what you accuse those evil corporations of doing because you have denied me an ability to share my work, in a reasonably safe fashion, with others who share my values and views. Then you have violated me a second time by denying me copyright on the very work that you were able to crack and republish.

    Tell me: How does it feel to be King?

    We are the information elite. We have a responsibility to those who do not presently share our opportunities. By ignoring this shared responsibility, you are embracing tyrany.

  • poptones

    Hey Josh…

    Your objection is that you want a single solution for everything, though I think you’ve arrived at that in an intellectually dishonest way by taking your unwavering support for DRM in the creative works area and looking for ways to sneak in the back door, such as by the computer security area.

    I don’t have unwavering support for DRM. However, DRM is mandatory if we are to have a truly free system of global expression because of the risk of regional governments with overwhelming authority being able to inflict their views upon anyone they do not agree with. In my example about the artists not offering pictures of naked little girls playing in the surf I am not just trying to be inflammatory and link this to child sexual coerscion and exploitation – I know a very well known photographer and he told me exactly this in a private conversation. He lives half a world away where prudish western views are not shared and yet he deliberately censors himself because he literally fears being given the noriega treatment. Barring that extreme he still must censor himself to comply with perverse ideals of a government having no direct authority over him because, if he doesn’t comply, they will disconnect him from the channels of communications they control – they will strip him of his ability to engage in online commerce.

    You may argue you think it’s best we don’t have pictures of naked little girls frolicking in the surf and that I should be welcome to try to change the fucking laws just as I have challenged you to do. That’s fine – problem is, because of the control those in authority exert over the channels of communication I am severely inhibited from sharing my views on the matter in public in a way which might allow me to organize a lobbying force to work toward that goal. It is censorship at its finest – indirect authority equals global control.

    You might also argue those who live haf a world away and do not share this prudish ideal need to be educated in the errors of their ways. Problem there AGAIN is that, because most of those people do not share this forum – because they, by and large, are economically disadvantaged and the only people who learn how to work in this community end up leaving the country, they never get to hear your views, either. by squashing out the speech we don’t like and not providing an opportunity for those of diffent views to voice their creative expression, we inflict rather than agree – we become tyrants.

    The reason I embrace total control in DRM is because it needs to be this way in order to allow those holding regionally or even globally unpopular ideals to communicate and organize themselves in a manner that would let them better be heard.

    In a truly general purpose computing environment any system that allowed that level of control for some embodiments would essentially and inherently allow such control for all embodiments. That means just as I, from half a world away, can “sell” you a picture of someone’s daughter frolicking in the surf that you are unable to publically share in exchange for currency which may be transferred directly to me outside your oppressive government’s channels of financial control, so too can Sony publish a hundred million Alicia keyes videos that, likewise, cannot in any way be “remixed.”

    What about this? What if we, in this cultue of the information elite, enact laws that say “OK, if you are going to broadcast works – that means you offer them to the greater public at large as opposed to just privately and in limited number where their direct cultural influence will be lessened – then you are bound by law to explicitly allow these certain rights, which the representatives of this culture have agreed are fair and just, to the greater population of this culture?

    What if we say, in echange for these rights – for example, the right to disallow the public at large from reproducing entire works you have created and repurposing or rebroadcasting them – you in turn grant the people of the culture which you influence the explicit right to repurpose ample and meaningful portions of those works in their own creative expressions? You have the ability to lock these broadcasted works down, sure – but if you exert an unacceptable level of coerscion upon our culture we will financially penalize you.

    Does that break down the wall?

    Now can we seriously talk about creating an open sourced and deliberately robust peer to peer engaged system of digital rights mangement?

    Now can we save the world?

  • Jim Powers

    poptones,

    Your menu:

    A) Free software:

    1. download source.
    2. Check MD5s
    3. Check SHAs
    4. Build

    (Gentoo does this and will not built if the checksums don’t add up)

    Still not “sure” about what you have? Read the source. Find the hacked-in back door. Tell everyone.

    Still not “sure” print out the source, find the author, pay the author to go over the source and audit it. Don’t trust the author? Pay someone else to audit the source.

    Do this all the way down to the bios for all I care.

    On some machines you can use linux bios ROMs so you can audit that as well.

    Repeat this process until you are “sure” your clean.

    B) TCPA:

    1. Download source, oops can’t do that
    2. Check MD5s, nope
    3. Check SHAs, nope
    4. Build, nope

    Still not “sure” about what you have? Read the source. (again, no) Find the hacked-in back door. (Nope, actually illegal). Tell everyone. (Nope, nothing to tell, go to jail)

    Still not “sure” print out the source (nope), find the author (maybe, but you have nothing in hand and their NDA and employment agreement complells them to tell you nothing more than that which is already public knowledge), pay the author to go over the source and audit it. Don’t trust the author? (YEP!!, I don’t know what back doors are in there, I don’t know what the TCPA has done to enable the NSA or the HSA to have backdoors into my stuff) Pay someone else to audit the source. (Nope)

    Do this all the way down to the bios for all I care. (nope)

    On some machines you can use linux bios ROMs so you can audit that as well. (not applicable)

    Repeat this process until you are “sure” your clean. (never even got started)

    Choose: item A or item B but not both.

    Further:

    When B GETS hacked then what? As Josh has already pointed out you have a massive sleeping hole! So I guess that TCPA hypervisor can be flashed over, so it doesn’t get completely baked in. Um, a security hole?

    Further more:

    Even the best of the best encryption schemes have been getting chinked away at over the years. Don’t get me wrong, cracking the current crop of “good” encryption schemes is stupendously hard work. The purveyors of encryption systems are very smart people are are doing their best to make a good-faith effort to make good on their work. But I “trust” free (as in libre) more solutions more. I trust that whistle-blowers are more likely to emerge from the folks engaged in the “free software” world than those beholden to a large corporate engines, that have ALREADY begun in engaging in activities I ALREADY disagree with.

    We have already seen this before, this kind of market subversion has been played out over and over: drugs put on the market after cover-up of clinical trial data and manufacturing defects (Shering-Plough, comes to mind), the original secure HTTP implementation from Netscape that was relatively easily cracked despite the “protection by obscurity” approach. These two examples represent 0% of the total number examples that can be played out here.

    Further further more:

    I want to retain my ability to move, as quickly and as often as I want to schemes of encryption and protection I deem worthwhile. You’ll say TCPA doesn’t prevent me from doing that. That is true. But while I have software with baked-in dependencies on using TCPA to access data as the default mechanism I can remain vulnerable to real or theoretical security failures. I want to move to encryption schemes when I feel the need arises. I don’t want to be beholden to the time-line of others to feel “safe”, especially, when I question the motives and processes that are involved in their decision-making processes as they relate to updating their system. I mean really, the T in TCPA means “Trusted” can you imaging the public relations nightmare when time after time their system becomes periodically “Untrusted”. You think that these folks are going to be wicked-fast responsive? And what would that mean? An exploit probably has to emerge first before the BEGIN the fix. This is true of ANY encryption/security scheme, but I simply have more TRUST in the “free software” approach that AS SOON AS THE EXPLOIT is found it will be publicized and I can take IMEDIATE protective actions. Even if the TCPA IMMEDIATELY publicized an exploit THERE MAY BE LITTLE TO NOTHING I CAN DO TO PROTECT MYSELF aside from draconian measure like disconnecting my computer from the net until a fix is released. Can you imagine what this would mean to companies using TCPA for say corporate e-mail: taking entire companies off-line until a fix becomes available. Then you have to got each machine and flash it. We have already seen Microsoft do their best to quash publicizing flaws in Windows. I expect no less than that from the TCPA.

    There is also a substantial defense from the situation of having uncomfortable and potentially long-term sustained holes in your computer’s security by avoiding the “monoculture” as biologists like to style it. Survival of species often is dependent of millions of differences that increase the probability of staving off a potential environmental or genetic attack. This attitude is precisely why Akamai uses many different systems (Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc) in their content delivery network.

    I simply don’t buy your line of reasoning.

  • Jim Powers

    Another note to popones, (with the deliberate intentions of trying to bridge the gap and return to some form of even-headed discussion of the matters so far brought up in this thread).

    With regard to the “good” and “bad” effects of DRM, or more accurately, mandatory DRM, I think you already acknowledge that this issue really is a matter of opinion. I think that you feel that both the logic and the evidence weights in on the side of mandatory DRM being a “good” thing. Others disagree, including me. Mandatory DRM has been with us an incredibly short time and I argue that the evidence definitively indifferent with regard to the “goodness” of mandatory DRM economically. Both sides of this debate can site endless studies, research, and other supporting evidence to prop-up their view. I simply don’t think we are going to further the debate this way.

    It really comes down to the kind of world you want to live in. Even supposing that mandatory DRM has some sort of net positive economic effect, I still don’t like it. I hate to use hot-button examples like “Hitler” and “Slavery”, so please forgive me, but slavery utilized by US states pre-emancipation had “good” economic results. In fact, slavery and forced labor still has “good” economic effects which is why it is still a problem, but generally speaking most of the world, or at least most of the “enlightened” (for some appropriate definition of “enlightenment”) parts of the world would forgo these economic benefits to protect human rights.

    In this vein I see mandatory DRM giving too much power to the copyright holders and compelling consumers to comply to the copyright holder’s wishes. We have, as well as MANY others, gone back and forth banging each other’s head with words like “infringement”. This is the language substantially used by the courts. The courts are left to decide issues about how “infringement” and “non-infringement” balance out based on arguments presented. The “infringements” that we are talking about are “infringement” of the rights of the copyright holder, not generally speaking (with very few exceptions, parody for example), the rights if the consumer of a copyrighted work. I want to see something like an explicit “copyright consumer’s bill of rights”. I want the courts to have some explicit language and an explicit legal construct that enables a check and balance of copyright power.

    Josh pointed out that copyright is essentially economic in nature, although it doesn’t stop there. The recent filing at the DMCA review hearing by the RIAA tries to chip away at what little fair-use rights remain to consumers. Citing that even backup of a copyrighted work, which is infringement, is really not necessary because replacements are available at a reasonable cost. As you could probably predict, I reject this argument. Suppose my house burns down: my collection of copies of copyrighted materials can be substantial and the sum-total cost to replace these copies (some of which may be literally irreplaceable) can be substantial. You turn around and say that’s what insurance is for. But I say to that that it is not the prerogative of the copyright holder to decide HOW I will protect my investment of copies of copyrighted materials. This is yet another unintended consequence of mandatory DRM. I can make electronic copies of stuff, maybe even transcode to new formats and keep that at an off-site location. Mandatory DRM says no, go to jail. I want language in the law that says explicitly YES you can do this!

    I will stop here as my kids want to go out and play, but I haven’t even started on discussing the substantial, perfectly legal, secondary markets that can result in the world where we have a meaningful “copyright consumer’s bill of rights”.

  • poptones

    Blah blah… Jim, it doesn’t surpise me at all that you should object to even reasonable compromise on the issue – duh, as I have said all along, your intentions and motives here are quite obvious: your “right to remix” takes priority over all the starvation in the world… fuck’em.

    Good for you.

    Oh, by the way., you’re also completely wrong (there’s that word again) about the code and source requirements in a tcpa world. But I won’t take the time to explain why yet again as your dogmatic stance on the issue renders you completely irrelevant.

    Next?

  • http://www.a4fs.net Matt C

    poptones:

    i like some of the stuff you’re saying, but some of it not so much. In particular:
    Have you said people should not be “allowed” to subvert/dilute the value of other people’s creative work? I don’t follow.

    If, e.g. I discover that lots of Sony CDs have rootkit software on them, and I publicize this info, it may more-or-less destroy the marketplace value of several million CDs.

    But the question as to whether I’m “allowed” to publicize this revolves around the veracity of the claim — not its impact on the value of assorted commodities floating around in the market.

  • Jim Powers

    poptones,

    I am sorry you feel this way, but those characterizations are not accurate on both accounts.

    You are not the only one who wants to do some sort of good in the world, and you are not the only one who has access to and read the TCPA spec at the Trusted Computer Group’s Web site (for those who want to look here you go: https://www.trustedcomputinggroup.org/home). Our main points of contention are the implication of the use of what is being spected out, and ultimately offered. My issue is that I don’t ultimately trust the TCG and the firms that contribute to its efforts. It has never been my intention to disassemble all of the technical aspects of the TCPA and point out: “look, here on page 65 of such and such a document is where the user gets screwed” in the context of this forum; there are other forums for that.

    Sufficed to say that there is a lot to dislike about baked-in security like what the TCG is planning.

    Now, I would have less trouble with the TCG offerings, if, instead of what is being planned which is to default ship new computers with TCG components built in, and like you said, not activated, that the purchaser could choose to have the TCG hardware components included in their system at their option. I would prefer that the TCG offerings be exactly at the same competitive level as offerings from competitors. But the TCG offerings are getting preferential treatment and are being included as a built-in option like Wi-Fi. This built-in property has media and software companies salivating because it is only a matter of time before they can assume it’s existence and exploit that to their advantage such as compelling the user to activate the TCG components on their computer to have access to some file despite the fact that the person may feel reticent to do so. I can understand the use of TCG hardware when I and another party have negotiated and agreed to this, I cannot accept it when that requirement is imposed and it is otherwise illegal for me to pursue other options. It is this aspect of built-in-ness that people don’t like. This built-in-ness is happening to cater to companies that want to compel people to use their copyrighted materials in only ways the publisher deems appropriate or allowable.

    This said, we actually don’t disagree about the technical aspects of the TCPA, only on: 1) the implications of one particular use of of this system 2) that because of this particular use (needed to access copyrighted materials to be published in the future) the TCPA components pre-shipped in their systems will need to be activated. 3) Once activated these “trusted” components can be compromised. 4) Once compromised the word “trusted” no longer applies.

    The consumer is left with no legal choices to access copyrighted materials the the world where TCPA-enabled DRM, which by law you cannot circumvent, is required, and by requiring it users can wind up decreasing the security of their computing environment.

    So, where I am going with this is remove the link that can connect mandatory DRM and potential security holes, this linkage is not necessary. Let TCPA happen and let users negotiate between each other as to if and how they wish to use it. But if users decide not to use TCPA then they are not locked out of a media market by default, especially if they are willing to pay and otherwise act in what should be recognized as a legal manner.

  • Josh Stratton

    Poptones–
    and, therefore, refuse to particpate in its development

    That strikes me as a rather bizarre argument. If I were opposed to the atomic bomb, you would say that the appropriate thing to do would be to help make atomic bombs in the hope of finding one that I could live with, despite the fact that I could never live with them. You would have people be quislings, basically. I, on the other hand, think that there are two appropriate things for opponents of DRM to do. The first is to not help the pro-DRM cause. I’ll mention the second presently.

    leave those corporate conglomerates free to steer the development as they see fit

    The second is to not only refuse to be involved with helping DRM along, but to actively oppose DRM so that those that support it, whether they are publishers or you, are stymied. Personally, my method for attacking DRM is to starve it by pushing for legal reforms that would make copyrights and DRM mutually exclusive. I think that if a movie studio has to choose between DRM in order to protect themselves, or copyright, they’ll choose copyright. This means that they are no longer able to significantly promote DRM as they would be afraid to use it and thus disinclined to invest in it since it’s of no use to them unless it is perfect and there are no weaker links in the chain for attackers to exploit (e.g. the analog hole, leaks of un-DRMed copies from the studio, etc.). Envisioning that even this might not be good enough, I also support the idea that the Copyright Office coordinate efforts to crack DRM as a public service, since this would result in many public domain works becoming more available to the public. Possibly a bounty system could be established (NASA has something similar for some back burner projects), or spare interns from the NSA could assist, who knows. The idea is that government would not only permit attacks on DRM, but in certain scenarios would encourage or assist such attacks.

    This would result in DRM being lawful for authors to use, but unappealing as a practical matter. It would also tend to have no effect on such technologies being applied in other fields. Trusted computing would not be of much use to movie studios to prevent piracy, but could still be desirable as a very voluntary, very granular thing, to help users avoid attacks by malware.

    Digital rights management has vastly greater potential to do good in the world than to do harm.

    I absolutely disagree. I think it is extremely dangerous at best, and I would not shed a tear if it was completely abandoned due to having been an unredeemably bad idea. And I say this having studied the issue for years, having a good grounding in copyright law and the theory behind it, having some technical chops, etc. You may disagree with my position, but it is not arrived at through ignorance.

    You are denying the creative potential of 80 percent of the people on this planet in order that you might enjoy the selfish “right” to deface mariah as you see fit. It’s fucking obscene to reduce this argument to such trivial concerns.

    I disagree. First, I think that a significant amount of the creative potential of those people also consists of creating derivative works. This means that if they are unable to modify Mariah Carey songs, they are being deprived of opportunities, and you are the one supporting that.

    Second, I think that DRM does not foster creativity. As already noted, there are various factors that incentivize creation. I think that traditional copyright adequately provides an incentive.

    Third, I think that where we provide artificial incentives such as copyright (artistic satisfaction would be a more natural incentive; we don’t and can’t provide it by the law or technology), we must limit the cost of providing those incentives in proportion to the benefit conferred. If I cannot arbitrarily modify a Mariah Carey song, this is an imposition on my liberty; it is a cost. I must receive a benefit greater to me in exchange for giving up this portion of my free speech right, or else I will not tolerate the imposition at all. Copyright should not strive to help artists, it should strive to help the public as a whole. It should leave the public better off than it would be without it. In doing so it may also leave artists better off than they would be without it, but that’s secondary. I think that traditional copyright is much much better at this than DRM because the law is more uniform (e.g. term lengths), while also more flexible (e.g. fair use, the possibility of legislative modification or changed judicial precedents), more attentive to the public interest (Congress is a political body), and more likely to correspond to the norms of the public with regards to what is appropriate and what is not in the realm of creative works (unlike DRM, which is something authors can just impose unilaterally).

    Fourth, DRM is a technology much beloved of the rent-seeker. It is inherently hostile to those authors who are not in the publishing establishment because DRM is not able to distinguish between authorized and unauthorized reproduction, distribution, etc. Consider the example of DAT. Due to the AHRA, which mandates a form of DRM known as SCMS, a person with an ordinary DAT deck is limited as to how he can make copies. He can make as many copies of a first generation DAT tape as he likes. However, he cannot make any copies of a second generation DAT tape (that is, one of the aforementioned copies) at all. Only users with commercial DAT hardware, which costs more and is not as widely available, can make copies of any generation of tape. An established artist can afford the more expensive unrestricted equipment. A new, struggling artist cannot. This means that even if a struggling artist tries to make copies himself, or authorizes others to do so, using the low-end gear, they cannot due to the artificial limits built into the equiment. DRM is acting contrary to the author’s wishes. This is an inherent flaw in DRM, not a technical flaw that could be corrected with other technology. It arises in the case of authorization that doesn’t go through the limited channels the DRM system is aware of (e.g. oral authorization, implied authorization), it arises when authors need to use low end equipment or forget or lose whatever token distinguishes them as authors to the DRM machine, etc. It is not something that can be overcome.

    Fifth, traditional copyright is more flexible, largely because while DRM unrelentingly forbids up front, copyright infringement must be pursued after the fact, allowing lawful actions to occur, while still eventually dealing with the unlawful ones. Copyright is administered by humans, who are more trustworthy than machines, and more able to deal with changed circumstances and policies. In this field, I ultimately trust people and time more than instant judgments made by preprogrammed and unvarying machines. It’s basically the same reason that we have courts, lawyers, judges, and juries, instead of Judge-O-Matics.

    embodiment of knowledge

    You keep using this and related malapropisms, and it is bugging me. The term of art you want is ‘expression,’ as in ‘the idea/expression dichotomy’ which is central to the subject matter of copyright. Alternatively, you might say ‘creative work’ since only those are copyrightable.

    gun kill people, but guns kill food, too. You are arguing that Billions of starving people should be denied the ability to obtain food for their families because some of us might be subjected to inappropriate uses of a technology.

    No. Following your analogy, I am arguing that the overwhelming use of guns is to kill people, and that very few people actually use it to hunt for food, and that fewer still actually rely on it to get food; most farm, or go to a store, or receive charity. I am then arguing that we should strongly discourage the use of guns to kill people, while still allowing people to use it to get food — even though hardly anyone does use it for food. I am not, however, suggesting that guns be made illegal, because I respect gun rights.

    If the laws need to be changed, fight to change the fucking laws.

    I agree. That’s why my goal has been to change the law so that DRM in the copyright sphere is so strongly discouraged that no one will bother implementing it for creative works (though they can if they want).

    I never asserted whether anarchists would or would not like DRM

    No, you recently said “What we need – especially if you truly believe in that anarchist ethos of subverting oppression by those in an unfair position of power – is a reasonably robust system of securing some amount of trust within the commodity computing platform.” I don’t want to get into whether you’re right or not, but you did say that people who believe in anarchism would desire DRM.

    Only if your “strategy” is, at the same time, to destroy the value of the handfulls of electronic “credits” those starving peasants had worked all year to earn.

    Well, DVD is a good example of such a strategy. DVDs hit shelves in 1996, and began to become affordable in 1999 (when DVD players began to enter the VCR price range and major retailers began carrying the discs). In late 1999, DeCSS came along and utterly broke the DRM being used. Of course, hardware was still such that movie trading and end user piracy didn’t immediately catch on (even today, hardly anyone copies to dual layer DVDR) but ultimately it did. Now, I ask you, how many starving peasants made CSS-encrypted DVDs, and how adversely were they hit by piracy made possible by DeCSS? I’m betting the number — you do have hard dollar figures for this, right? — is quite low. Especially compared with big studios.

    Regarding your UN comment, I agree with the UN that knowledge sharing is good. And I think that knowledge sharing is best advanced by killing DRM until it is dead, dead, dead, at least with regard to creative works. Knowledge sharing is a laudable goal, but DRM is opposed to it. I know which one I side with.

    Duh. We already areprevented from communicating freely. Look around the internet – it’s a fucking propoganada machine for white middle class american judeochristian dogma. Artists are afraid to post a picture of a naked little girl frolicking in the surf because they fear being abducted from their homes half a world away by the american justice league.

    If I can sell you a piece of art I created – a piece of art that does not, in any way, violate local standards of decency – and I can be reasonably assured that you will; not be able to post it in public places where the global thought police might find it and track me, I am going to be a hell of a lot more likely to share my expressions of knowledge

    Can you not see this?

    I can see that you’re paranoid, and possibly creepy. I agree that there are problems with adherence to the ideal of free speech with regard to the Internet, and that these problems exist to varying degrees worldwide. But DRM is not the answer. It also is not an answer to the hypo you set up; governments are not going to permit DRM systems to impair their own investigations or exercises of power, and can trivially pressure those that create DRM into giving them the keys to the kingdom, and can bring tremendous forces to bear against DRM systems if they choose. Weak link attacks (e.g. why try to break DRM when a keystroke logger or hidden camera can record you entering your password) are also available.

    I have no problem with helping individuals secure their communications against their governments, particularly in the case of nasty governments (e.g. Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea), but the stakes get a lot higher and you have to approach the issue more pragmatically. DRM has no place in that discussion, and it’s not a discussion that’s interesting in this thread. Perhaps Prof. Lessig will start a new one, or perhaps you could start or join one elsewhere, but that’s not the subject here and now.

    and so I support allowing people to use encryption however they like…

    I support allowing others to do as I like…

    You know, it’s mostly amusing and sad when you contradict yourself. But I do not like it when you quote