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CATO Institute Releases Paper Criticizing DMCA 418

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the keep-saying-it-and-people-might-start-listening dept.
flanksteak writes "The CATO institute has published a paper criticizing the DMCA entitled 'The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' From the article: 'The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders--and the technology companies that distribute their content--the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.'" A report worth taking a look at that puts into words what most of us know already.
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CATO Institute Releases Paper Criticizing DMCA

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  • All aboard. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:24PM (#14967758)
    I am glad the right wing is getting on board in the fight against DMCA. Organizations like Cato are very big players in the right wing movement and this will certainly have an impact on the republicans who control all branches of the govt and the supreme court.
    • Re:All aboard. (Score:4, Informative)

      by stewie's deuce (953163) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:37PM (#14967850)
      Its http://www.cato.org/about/about.html [cato.org] actually more of a libertarian group. And libertarians favor less goverment control (more so than republicans.)
      • by AuMatar (183847)
        Republicans don't favor less government control by any means. Look who has been controlling Congress and the white house this decade.
        • Re:All aboard. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bhirsch (785803) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:57PM (#14967999) Homepage
          You do realize who signed the DMCA into law don't you? It was a very non-partisan law.
          • Republicans don't favor less government control by any means.
            You do realize who signed the DMCA into law don't you?

            So.. your point is that everybody who wasn't involved in enacting *one specific law* (which doesn't mention government size) is automatically for less government control?

            Sorry, I don't think that parses.
          • Re:All aboard. (Score:2, Informative)

            by troll -1 (956834)
            True it was non partisan. But mostly democrats by a small margin IIRC. Though it was really bought and paid for by the entertainment industry.

            And this man [house.gov] is guiltly of malfeasance. Between 1997 and 1998 he accepted over $50,000 [opensecrets.org] from the entertainment industry in exchange for indroducing the DMCA to Congress. It's what Ralf Nader calls legalized bribery. You give us money, we'll support your bill. Oh the madness of it!
      • Perhaps you could call them right-wing, if you realize that the Republicans are NOT conservatives, and haven't been since Ronnie "let's run up the largest national debt in history" Reagan. They just like to pose as conservatives as a campaign strategy, since their real agenda wouldn't sell well to the public.
        • Hasn't Bush's deficit overtaken Ronnie Raygun's by now? I mean, fighting two undeclared wars concurrently AND increasing government bloat AND funding "economic development" abroad has to have incurred some amount of debt, and I can't fathom that Reagan spent more money than that, even after adjusting for inflation.

          (no, I honestly don't know, this is a serious question, not a flamebait comment or anything of that ilk)
        • Re:All aboard. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by utlemming (654269) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @10:55PM (#14969228) Homepage
          That is the problem with modern politics. The poltical parties have blurred the lines between what a conservative and liberal is, requiring them to align with a political party. When in fact, the politcal parties fluctuate so much, move left and right, that depending on where your politcal ideology actually lies, you might be more in line with the democrats on presidental term and the republicans the next. With each election the politcal parties attempt to capture the magical middle of the political spectrum, while at the same time pushing forward their left or right wing agendas. However, since it is all politics, the pure ideology of being a conservative or a liberal is usually lost. In the case of the current administration, Pres. Bush has pushed the country more towards the right, while pursuing a course that a lot of conservatives disagree with (for example, conservatitves are for less government, less regulation, and less government in their lives). Pres. Bush has done more to put the government in people's lifes than what a true conservative would have done. So when all is said and done, a politiian may claim to be a conservative to capture that voting base, but then abuse them and actually pursue a course that runs counter that ideology. The same holds true for a liberals and the democrats. And what we think of being oxymoronic, you can actually be a conservative democrat. The conservative and liberal are all just titles of the ideology. While the political parties are the method and the means to implementing that ideology. American politics are somewhat of an enigma in the world. With a two party system, somehow we loose the fact that the vast majority of Americans do not fit neatly in two parties. However, since third parties have proven to be ineffective and are ignored by the two other parties, then most American's simply say Democrat, Republican or Independant.

          My personal feeling is that the politcal landscaping is going to start changing soon so that the Democrats and Republicans are going to have to acknowledge the independants. They are going to have to change their platform to be flexiable. The difference between a Republican and Democrat is so minimial that the rest of the world largely laughs at America. In other countries you have poltical parties that run from Communist to straight out facsist. But in the US you have two groups that are so close to the middle that they actually fight over capturing the middle ground.

          Another interesting thing is that many self-labeled conservates and liberals may not actually be such. For example a conservative may actually be an economic or neoliberal and be a social conservative. Or libertarians for the most part are economic and social liberals. Or what many democratic politicans tend to be, which is economic conservatives and social liberals. The problem with the parties is that they mix and blur what the issues really are and they don't have clear policy statements about their parties positions.
      • by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @07:48PM (#14968301)
        Don't underestimate the political pull of the Cato Institute [sourcewatch.org] and other lobbying institutions founded by the Koch family. [sourcewatch.org] They are very influential to the other business-friendly, anti-regulation political think-tanks including those followed by more Republican than Liberatarian politicians. In addition, the David Koch donates an awful lot of money to Republicans. [newsmeat.com] If his think tank gets involved against the DMCA, we might see to chance of progress here.
        • .......If his think tank gets involved against the DMCA, we might see to chance of progress here......

          The French assembly may help kill the DMCA. They just passed a law mandating DRM interoperability of the various DRM schemes and making it legal to make DRM circumventing devices and software. If this finally becomes law in France, (and there is a good chance it will)the cat is out of the bag. There will be a thousand French websites that will allow the purchase of and downloading of DRM killing software.
      • Re:All aboard. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chudnall (514856)

        Its actually more of a libertarian group.

        Translation: I like what they're saying, so I don't want to associate them with conservatism.

        I've talked to a lot of libertarians, to try to figure out what really motivates them, and found that by and large each of them is enthusiastic about one particular piece of the libertarian platform, and willing to go along with the rest of it. Some want smaller government, some want more privacy, some want legalized drugs, etc. My conclusion is that libertarians are made u

        • Re:All aboard. (Score:5, Informative)

          by takeya (825259) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @12:10AM (#14969533) Journal
          The Cato people really are bonafide libertarians actually.

          Anti-government, pro-consensual society.
          As economists, they dislike the root causes for inflation, and the fact that the fed has one private bank print all our money.

          Conservatives tend to love it when the government controls things like money and marriage and drugs.
    • I don't think that the CATO institute is really right-wing. They are more libertarian.
      • Re:All aboard. (Score:2, Insightful)

        Technically, Libertarian IS really right wing. The Republican party hasn't actually been acting all that right-wing lately, to be honest.
        • Re:All aboard. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jcr (53032)
          Technically, Libertarian IS really right wing

          Nope. The right wing simply chooses a different group of our rights to violate than the left.

          -jcr
          • The best summation of the two main American political parties I've seen goes something like this: Both parties are conservative reactionaries. The Democrats are conservatives who want to drag America back to the 1960's and the Republicans are conservatives who want to drag America back to the 50's.

            Neither party is in favour of individual liberty or rights. Neither favours smaller government or reduced government spending. They differ only in what past era they wish to recreate.
        • Re:All aboard. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AJWM (19027)
          Technically, Libertarian IS really right wing.

          Nope, not that either. Libertarians are fond of pointing out that the whole "left-right" thing is an artificial constriction to one axis what is better measured by at least two axes.

          There are a number of ways of presenting this, but a common one is the amount of government control (or conversely, freedom) of personal issues on one axis and economic issues on the other. Democrats tend toward more personal freedom (except in some areas, eg gun ownership) and les
    • I am glad the right wing is getting on board in the fight against DMCA.

      If you consider Cato to be right wing, that tells me where you stand. ;-)

      -jcr
  • Pirates (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eightyford (893696)
    I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.
    • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Funny)

      by InfiniteWisdom (530090) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:31PM (#14967810) Homepage
      I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.
      I agree. In fact, while we're busy insisting that words can't take on new meaning or have multiple meanings, I wish they'd stop referring to "executing" software unless they were killing it, or "running" it unless the softwere grew legs and ran away.
      • While we're at it, I hear there are people out there who spell things "colour" and "tyres". And the japanese use funny squiggles to spell those words!

        Human language: it's unambiguous and somewhat inefficient. Get over it.

        • Re:Pirates (Score:3, Funny)

          by MicktheMech (697533)
          While we're at it, I hear there are people out there who spell things "colour" and "tyres". And the japanese use funny squiggles to spell those words!

          Human language: it's unambiguous and somewhat inefficient. Get over it.

          That joke doesn't work when you use the right spelling. Remember, it's called "English", not "American".
      • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @10:00PM (#14968975)
        You missed the point of the original poster. Too bad. Otherwise you'd understand that insisting on calling copyright infringement "copyright infringement" and not "piracy" is so that the RIAA/MPAA can't create the emotional response of "hang 'em high!" when they ask what should be done with P2P downloaders.

        This is not some academic exercise in language purity. This is a fight to keep the debate about copyright infringement right where it belongs - in the realm of copyright law, not violent takeover of personal property.
    • I've always wondered if, when a pirate's ship sinks, he can get a bank to float him a loan to get back on the high seas.

      And then I wonder if the loan officer has any pirated music or software on his work computer.

      I get confused sometimes, but I do manage to keep my shoes laces tied in knots. How fast is that in mph?
    • Re:Pirates (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jambon (880922)
      I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.

      But we YARRRRR pirates! I don't know about yerself, mate, but when I gets me music, I goes into the music store cutlass in hand, killing employees left and right before I make off with the latest Jessica Simpson!! Yarrr, she be a good-lookin' lass...if only I could plunder her.....

    • Re:Pirates (Score:4, Informative)

      by Haeleth (414428) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @07:38PM (#14968246) Journal
      I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.

      People don't call people who share software "pirates". Nobody accuses RMS or Linus Torvalds of piracy. The people we call pirates are the people who make unlicensed copies of other people's software, which is not exactly "sharing" in the neighbourly sense.

      As for calling people who make unlicensed copies of other people's work "pirates", well, according to the SOED in front of me, people have been using the noun "pirate" to mean "someone who infringes on the copyright of another" since 1701, and the verb "pirate" to mean "to appropriate or reproduce the work or invention of another without authority" since at least 1706. So, no - given that we've been using the word that way for at least 300 years, I rather doubt we're going to stop now.
      • Re:Pirates (Score:3, Informative)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)
        And you still missed the point why this fight to recenter the word is important. I won't plagiarize my own post from about 2 seconds ago, but the point is that piracy has an emotional baggage to it that the RIAA/MPAA are taking advantage of. Copyright infringement doesn't. Which is why its important that this gets repeated everywhere and everytime.

        So - repeat after me. Copyright infringement is not piracy. Copyright infringement is not piracy. Copyright infringement is not piracy. Now, go forth and spread t
  • CATO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:28PM (#14967782) Homepage
    Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things. Will this report reach the ears of politicians / mass media, or will it go largely unnoticed except by slashdot? I don't think we are going to see the DMCA revoked unless the public cares enough to put pressure on their representatives, and honestly the public isn't informed enough to care. So will this report help mobize people or are they just preaching to the choir?
    • Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things.

      Perhaps not very, but they're certainly a lot more influential than the EFF, for example, so I would say this is a good thing.

    • Re:CATO? (Score:5, Informative)

      by centie (911828) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:39PM (#14967868)
      Well, according to http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A42525-20 05Feb21?language=printer [washingtonpost.com]
      Nowadays, Cato alumni are everywhere in the Bush administration and in groups advancing the president's Social Security initiative. Former Cato analyst Andrew G. Biggs is an associate commissioner of the Social Security Administration. The director of the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, Derrick A. Max, previously worked for Abdnor (when she was at Cato) and for Weaver (when she was at the American Enterprise Institute)...
      ..and theres several more. So I'd think this is at least likely to be noticed by politicians and the media, if they take any notice or not is a different matter though..
    • Re:CATO? (Score:5, Funny)

      by hotdiggitydawg (881316) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:40PM (#14967882)
      Cato is very important. He attacks when you least expect it, to keep your defences sharp. Unfortunately he usually winds up being beaten into submission.

      In related news, the CEO of Disney started channeling Peter Sellers earlier today, and was heard to say "Cato! You imbecile! Not now!" and "Cato... Cato... Where are you my little yellow friend?"
    • by jcr (53032)
      Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things.

      How important is any think-tank? How important is Academia?

      -jcr
    • Generally speaking, Libertarians preach to a very dedicated, very small choir.

      Occasionally one of their messages will get mainstream traction, but I'm betting that this is too esoteric to resonate with the mainstream.
    • Re:CATO? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stlhawkeye (868951)
      Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things. Will this report reach the ears of politicians / mass media, or will it go largely unnoticed except by slashdot? I don't think we are going to see the DMCA revoked unless the public cares enough to put pressure on their representatives, and honestly the public isn't informed enough to care. So will this report help mobize people or are they just preaching to the choir?

      The CATO institute is a libertarian think-tank that is largely embraced by the Amer

    • CATO is very influential with the current administration. They're very powerful.

      I generally hate their opinions, but in this case I guess they figured that even big business (their prime constituency) can get bitten by the DMCA.
      • Re:CATO? (Score:3, Informative)

        by jcr (53032)
        CATO is very influential with the current administration.

        I wish!

        Last time I checked, the current administration is still spending money like water, pouring out corporate welfare, fighting against cancer patients who need pot for medical purposes, and spending my tax money to keep same-sex couples from marrying.

        -jcr
    • Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things. Will this report reach the ears of politicians / mass media, or will it go largely unnoticed except by slashdot? I don't think we are going to see the DMCA revoked unless the public cares enough to put pressure on their representatives, and honestly the public isn't informed enough to care. So will this report help mobize people or are they just preaching to the choir?

      They are THE libertarian think tank and one of the top think tanks in the nation.

  • translation... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zen611 (903428)
    translation:

    I'm glad you can't sell content for my box! Oh, wait...You mean I can't sell content for your box either?
  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:30PM (#14967800) Homepage
    In the end, this won't make a bit of difference in the U.S. until it costs corporations money.

    Look at patents. People knowledgable about patents and software have almost universally criticized software & business method patents, but the only reason congress and the patent office is starting to look at it is because its costing big corporations money.

    You see, the trouble is, when you have people like Alan Greespan saying more copyrights and patents are vital to the U.S.'s economic growth, when congress perceives the entertainment industry as being the growth engine for the U.S. economy, then its tough for congress to vote against these kinds of laws.

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Speeches/2 003/20030404/default.htm [federalreserve.gov]
    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2004/march3/ greenspan-33.html [stanford.edu]

    Until these same companies feel a pinch from the DMCA, it doesn't matter what the real impact of the law is, it's the message that's carried by the press, by the fed chairman, by the heads of industry such as Bill Gates that will determine the fate of the DMCA.
    • In the end, this won't make a bit of difference in the U.S. until it costs corporations money.

      DRM is costing Microsoft and plenty of other companies big time - by allowing Apple to have a strnglehold on the industry. Would Apple's position be as lofty if every online music store sold MP3's?

      I'd probably still have an iPod but not ALL my online purchases would be going to Apple.
      • Would Apple's position be as lofty if every online music store sold MP3's?

        Yes, actually. iTunes+iPod was already well on the way to a dominant market share before the iTMS existed.

        -jcr
    • by mdielmann (514750) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @07:20PM (#14968147) Homepage Journal
      I have to say, I read both pages you linked to (at least where they started talking about intellectual property), and I can't say I disagree with him, at least from an economic standpoint. If you have a moral objection to IP, he probably won't sway you much. Let's look at a few of his statements.

      "Whether we protect intellectual property as an inalienable right or as a privilege vouchsafed by the sovereign, such protection inevitably entails making some choices that have crucial implications for the balance we strike between the interests of those who innovate and those who would benefit from innovation." A balance between the benefit of society and the benefit of the inventor? I can live with that. I have no problem with giving someone enough time to make good on their idea before all the me-toos jump on the bandwagon. Where that balance lies is the crucial thing, though.

      "Of particular current relevance to our economy overall is the application of property right protection to information technology. A noticeable component of the surge in the trend growth of the economy in recent years arguably reflects the synergy of laser and fiber optic technologies in the 1960s and 1970s." Uh oh, he's talking about IP in the IT world, almost sounds scary. But his next statement is about hardware, and highly technical hardware no less. This is the closest he gets to talking about software patents. I'd love to hear him address that issue specifically, but so far, I can't disagree. IT has often piggy-backed on the IP of other areas, most notably because it's usually implemented as an abstract (virtual, if you prefer) version of a physical object. Other times it's because of the improvements of physical items that has increased the capacity of equipment used in the IT world.

      "The dramatic gains in information technology have markedly improved the ability of businesses to identify and address incipient economic imbalances before they inflict significant damage. These gains reflect new advances in both the physical and the conceptual realms. It is imperative to find the appropriate intellectual property regime for each." That sounds suspiciously like "IP needs different protections for physical inventions versus conceptual inventions, and different rules may apply" to me. Again, an astute observation, and more obvious from an economic standpoint than most others. The IT world behaves differently than much of the physical world - why would we expect treating them the same to work without problems?

      That's just a few of the things he has to say. I strongly recommend anyone who is concerned about IP, especially the economic impact of IP, read that speech. He's pointing the way to both criteria to test if IP law is effective, and means to formulate a solution to any problems found in IP law. If you can't get rid of IP law altogether (and I'm not sure I want to), at least arguments like his could guide us towards a more rational implementation. And all in an economic fashion, which matters far more to government than opinions, feelings, or ideals these days.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:32PM (#14967822)
    CATO is libertarian. CATO's consistent criticism against interventionism and the drug war hardly puts them in the mainstream of right-wing conservatism.
    • "Left versus right." (Score:5, Informative)

      by Captain Scurvy (818996) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:50PM (#14967942) Homepage
      Cato is to the right. Cato promotes free market (i.e., classical) liberalism. Main stream conservatism, otherwise known as neoconservatism, is a mish-mash of collectivism with some vague lip-service to (classical) liberalism thrown in. Have a look at some of the writings by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, et al. These are your right-wingers. Compare these writings to the writings of Irving Kristol, who started the neoconservative movement. They are ideologically incompatible.
      • by eris23007 (958564) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @07:17PM (#14968129)
        Mod Scurvy's post up. It's about time more people understood that "conservative" is not a swear word. I suspect a whole lot more of you slashdotters lean for more libertarian than you realize. That has been the case frequently over conversations I've had with a number of liberal friends, once they actually started listening to my arguments instead of blindly reacting against the conservative bogeyman.

        Incidentally, Cato is far more pragmatic and realistic than the Libertarian party. I know a number of folks who are trying to make the LP more Cato-like in its platform (as opposed to anarcho-capitalist), and if they are successful, the LP could very well become an intriguing, influential 3rd party in this country. Keep an eye on this, as it may turn out to be a tremendous way to escape the current domination of the Democans and the Republicrats.

        One such individual is the guy I voted for Congress in 2004 when I used to live in Silicon Valley. Interesting fellow, software engineer at Yahoo. Holds a set of viewpoints broadly compatible with my own, despite a few disagreements over specifics. This is the guy who bet voters $2 that they could read his website and still decide they didn't want to vote for him or somesuch. He's pretty active in the Libertarian Party of CA trying to get them to come up with a platform that's somewhat practical, as opposed to purely ideological and idealistic. His website (a great read): http://marketliberal.org/ [marketliberal.org] - go check it out.

        • Thanks for pointing out that site. I hadn't seen it before. But Jeebus, it's ugly as sin, you'd think there would be a Libertarian around there willing to donate some webmaster skills. At any rate, I always like to see minor party candidates taking a visible stand (especially Libertarians). Trying to bring some moderation to to Libertarians' sometimes extreme views should be attractive to a larger group of voters. But he comes across as pretty harsh; I wonder if the bottom-right cell of his site comes
      • by argoff (142580)
        This is intentional, a standard divide and conquer tactic. Instead of people choosing economic freedoms AND personal freedoms, all to often the enemies of freedom try to force one to fignt against the other.

        But now we have the internet, and dividing culture that way is becomming a lot harder. That most likely means that the contention and divisions are going to be more international (like islam vs the west), and that there will be a major shakeup in the two party system.

        I wouldn't be supprised if the Demo
  • Misleading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:37PM (#14967858)
    Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

    I take exception to the woring this phrase, for the use of "little to stop pirates" implies that there might actually exist some for of DRM that would in fact ever stop piracy, especially the real pirates and not just mislabled fourty-year old women.
    • I take exception to the woring this phrase, for the use of "little to stop pirates" implies that there might actually exist some for of DRM that would in fact ever stop piracy, especially the real pirates and not just mislabled fourty-year old women.
      Actually, the phrase is clearly referring to "DRM technologies" in general. If it had said "current DRM technologies" you might have a legitimate concern about the wording.
  • by Geekbot (641878) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:39PM (#14967870)
    The DMCA hurts consumers in more than one way.

    First, it hurts the end user or consumer by imposing government restrictions on how we use things that we "own". Or more to the point, we no longer own things that we buy.

    It also hurts us that we don't see competition. This means higher prices, collusion, price gouging, and all the other nasties that come along with pseudo-monopolies.

    We are further harmed by the lack of new jobs and opportunities. Real growth for our country is not in the 1000+ employee multinational corporations, but in the small companies employing 25 or less employees. The DMCA seriously harms innovation and prohibits companies that are more truly American companies from growing, making money, paying taxes, and employing more workers.

    And we get the short end of the stick when these companies no longer need to innovate from the unnatural monopoly caused by the DMCA protects them from newer, more competent competitors. Not only do we not see the innovative, improved, products from fresher companies, we also see outdated technology from the companies that have lost the need to improve in a free market system.
    • First, it hurts the end user or consumer by imposing government restrictions on how we use things that we "own". Or more to the point, we no longer own things that we buy.

      The problem is not "government" restrictions, but government enforcement of private restrictions. The DMCA allows corporations to renegotiate the terms of a sale at their whim. There's a long and sound tradition of case law covering the purchase of goods. (doctrine of first sale, fair use, reverse engineering, etc..) This gets throw

  • Libertarians are effectively traditional conservatives and still share much of their political philosophy with the Republicans. They come out with many studies, traditionally siding with Republicans and Libertarians. Many leftist groups have labeled them as a right-wing group.
  • Cage Match! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by overshoot (39700) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:53PM (#14967966)
    Cato has clout. Especially in a Republican Congress, where any support from Hollywierd and the music industry is, shall we say, less than whole-hearted.

    Looks like this is going to come around to a very interesting game of bedfellow swapping:

    • On one side, the nominally populist Democrats supporting:
      • the fat cats of the Content Cartel (mainly because they get a lot of nonmonetary support from that quarter) and
      • the very biggest of tech firms (the biggest of big business) vs.
    • The Republicans (who talk a better personal-liberty line than they deliver) supporting
      • The relatively libertarian thinktanks (Cato, etc.)
      • the smaller tech firms, and
      • Actual citizens (don't read too much into this.)

    I'll get the beer if you bring the pretzels -- this should be fun to watch going into an off-year election. Wonder if any of our Ruling Class are going to make a campaign issue of it?

  • It's not CATO... (Score:4, Informative)

    by posterlogo (943853) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @07:17PM (#14968128)
    It's "The Cato Institute" http://www.cato.org/about/about.html [cato.org]. CATO doesn't spell out anything. It's "Cato", named after "Cato's Letters" -- used as anonymous treatises pro-American Revolution by some founding fathers, named after an ancient Roman "Cato", who wrote against tyranny and oppression in his day and age.
  • Copyright, and fair use have been a pendulum swinging from consumers to creators and back over the last 100 years or more, it started with player pianos, and the phonograph, then radio/tv, then consumer recorders, and so on.

    This is a step in pushing the pendulum back, as is, I believe the forthcoming HDMI/HDCP time-bomb. Just stick to it and the pendulum will go back. When we win, the media comenies win too, look at radio, look at vinal/tape/CD...

    Let not your heart be troubled and keep up the good fight.

  • by Tsunayoshi (789351) <tsunayoshi&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @07:36PM (#14968241) Journal
    To all you people screaming about how stupid CATO is, what is their political intent, etc, I suggest you read through the entire 28 page report. A lot of facts and examples are presented where the DMCA has been the trump card preventing a number of legitimate fair uses of copyrighted/DRM'd stuff.

    Hell, there are even 2 or 3 reference to things like building LEGAL software DVD players for linux, or how Alan Cox resigned from an association because he didn't want to face the possibility of being arrested if he ever visited the US for a conference, since his kernel work sometimes involves reverse engineering.

    Regardless of who wrote it or what the hell the political bent of the authors are, it all but says the the DMCA is a stupid act that was not needed since there were already legal means and precedents in existence to cover what the DMCA blanketly prohibits.
  • DRM Technology? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rnd() (118781) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @08:08PM (#14968426) Homepage
    First off, I am a huge fan of Cato, and I subscribe to several of its publications.

    But, the blurb is misleading. The DMCA isn't DRM technology it's simply regulation.

    I do not like the DMCA, but I do like legitimate DRM technology. If someone engineers a product to make it difficult to copy, that is their business. If you copy it and violate copyright, that's their business, but we don't need an intermediate law saying it's illegal to even attempt to crack the DRM scheme.

    In other words, the technology should stand on its own.
  • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @08:48PM (#14968650) Homepage Journal
    I recently came into possession of a free iPod Shuffle, and since I was away from home I put it on my laptop at work. I learned a day later that you can only install iTunes onto one computer otherwise it will try to delete the music you've put on the iPod from the other computer.

    Thinking that was a pretty crappy way to operate something that should be as easy to add music to as copying files though My Computer to the iPod removable drive, I did a google search that would be illegal in the United States of America.

    I came up with this:
    software that operates the Shuffle without running iTunes [agoraphobeus.free.fr] *
    which allows me to copy music to my iPod and generate a playlist without iTunes messing up my life.
    *Offer void in the United States of America. Turnabout from the infamous [at least in the Rest of the World] "Offer void outside of the USA" is pretty sweet I do say so myself.
  • France's recent bill (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Submarine (12319) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @10:05PM (#14969005) Homepage
    I note that France's National assembly recently adopted a bill that balanced criminal and civil penalties for circumventing systems deemed to implement DRMs with a clause saying that publishers of DRM systems should be ready to give out specifications of these DRMs to anybody willing to implement a compatible player.

    This move was derided in the US as some "anti-iPod law".

    Well, the motivation for this was that the criminal and civil penalties initially envisioned by the DADVSI law would have de facto created a new kind of intellectual property around DRMs, with DRM companies potentially being able to prosecute competitors for making compatible players (which can be easily construed as facilitating the weakening of the protection).

    The law was then balanced so as to avoid this.

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