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Copyright Office Needs Comments On DMCA By March 31 100

mdonaghy writes: "The EFF and the U.S. Copyright Office are looking for [further] public comments on the DMCA, as stated in this EFF alert. The deadline for comments is Friday, March 31. This should be a good place to voice our concerns about copyrights that several readers have previously voiced in Slashdot forums." (more)

Though the DMCA was signed into law in 1998, the rules of engagement are still being debated. This is your chance to make "reply comments," and address the arguments raised by the entertainment giants. The EFF link above sorts important previous comments straightforwardly into "pro-freedom" and "anti-freedom," for obvious reasons.

If you haven't yet added your voice, you now have nearly two weeks to do so. You might want to read the thread about the last round of comments on the same issue, and emulate the comments you find most persuasive.

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Copyright Office Needs Comments On DMCA By March 31

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  • However, it's just not practical at this point in history to talk seriously about abolishing property in general. We can only fight one battle at a time, and the one we've got on our collective plate right now is intellectual property.

    It's a generally accepted fact that "intellectual property" is an artificial monopoly granted by the state and enforced by law. The framers of the Constitution thought it was reasonable to allow this to a limited extent, but history has proven them wrong. It's a slippery slope, and if you allow even a little of it, it gets out of hand and everybody loses except for Disney. Even the right-wingers can see that, although the somehow think this makes it magically different from "normal" property. Never mind that; we're allied for the moment and we'll see who comes out on top when the shit really hits the fan. I'm willing to take my chances :)

    Right now, however, we have a golden opportunity to use the blatant, outrageous absurdity of the DMCA to bring attention to this issue and illustrate the destructive and useless nature of IP as a general concept. We can win this one. We can put a final and permanent stop to "intellectual property" in the United States, by means of a Constitutional amendment banning the very idea of IP forever.

    In the fullness of time, we'll win the whole shooting match -- but first let's get our asses in gear and take that first step.

  • I laughed, I cried -- it was better than cats! :)

    Okay, you've wracked your brain and come up with an example that's totally loaded in your favor and based on unexamined assumptions (like, if your engineers are so damn great, why is the company going tits up?)

    Making up a story is nice but it proves nothing.

    You're also forgetting the basic rule of capitalism, which is that the companies that can't thrive are supposed to die. Giving me a story about a company dying for lack of capitalism isn't going to convince me to be more of a capitalist, because dying companies are what capitalism is all about. Well, that's not quite right: They're half of what it's about; the other half is living companies thriving like Microsoft et al.

    So it seems to me that all you're really saying is that life's a bitch and then you go bankrupt. I know that. It's a bummer.

    How's this instead:

    You da man.

    Your neighbors are da men, too, and da women and then there's that one, uhh, guy (I think) who could very well be either. And that person s/he lives with. Never mind! You all da, uhh, people. And if somebody gets laid off because the CEO is a bonehead, that's a bummer but nobody's going to let you starve over something like that.
    Meanwhile, your company, the Amalgamated Widget Co. of Squid Valley Arkansas, is in a blue funk because your two star researchers (who happen to be the s/he and his or her, uhh, partner) got hit flattened by a falling piano on Main Street and now you don't have a new product. So you pick up some trade magazines, and dammit if 3M (famed still for their research dept., quality, reliability, support, and whatnot) didn't invent a groovy new widget. Your loyal customers in Squid Valley would just as soon do business with you as with 3M, so you download the plans from 3M's web site (on your FreeBSD box) and go into production.

    That's just one small example of why your conclusions depend on themselves. If you take a fish and give it lungs, it'll die; but if you give it legs, lungs, feet, teeth, etc. ad infinitum then it's an antelope and all's well. The whole system has to be self-consistent. No formalized "system" at all is best, as the DMCA is aggressively demonstrating.

  • Personally, I find the output of pdflatex and dvipdfm to be far superior to the output of ps2pdf. Anyone who has ever seen the output of ps2pdf knows that PS->PDF conversion is less than optimal. The resulting document (if I understand correctly) is basically just a set of images embedded in a simple PDF document. Unfortunately, these images can appear very blobby when read with a GUI reader. They tend to print just fine (though perhaps at a lower resolution than what would normally be possible).

    Just my $0.02, I guess..
    Stop the MPAA []
  • Farming in the 19th century was certainly less miserable than farming is now. Back then you could get out of debt.

    With fewer tools & fewer hands to help? I think not. Farming in the past was done to survive - if there was a crop shortage, there's a good chance you were going to have a very, very long and hard winter.

    Getting out of debt vs. not having enough to eat. Hmm. I'll take debt.

    If "progress" continues at its present rate, the conditions you live in now will, in 100 years, seem as brutish and primitive as the conditions you describe in the last century (the 19th; the 20th century has about nine months left in it :)

    This is such a wild assertion; I really would enjoy some evidence to support it. Economic growth in the G7 countries has been clipping on a 3-4% per year basis for the last 60 years, with a few recessions serving as a bump in that growth.

    Real disposable income has growth significantly over the last 100 years. Income equality for the majority of the century was actually getting *better*. The last 20 years, unfortunately, have seen that equality erode somewhat. We'll have to work on this difficult, but not unsurmountable, problem.

    Your set of opinions tend to focus on what you want to see. There certainly is a lot of crap, depression, waste, and hopelessness in the world. There also is a lot of hope, ambition, excitement, and joy.

  • And while you're at it, proofread what you contribute. Grammar is tough if you haven't had English for years and don't have an MLA style guide handy, but give it your best shot.

    But do take the time to run things through ispell. Spelling words correctly doesn't take much time, but has a big effect on presentation and credibility. Lots of people who post on /. are horrendous spellers--most of the time that's OK, but this is probably one of the few times that it's a good idea to be meticulous.
  • Our rights in the United States are being slowly taken away by companies. We need let them know
    we are will stand for them pushing us around.
    Join the fight. []
  • Here are the losses I listed in my comment:

    Inability to play a DVD on an unsupported OS (as you said) due to the CSS licensing. The inability to connect a DVD player through a VCR for users who do not own a new television with an RCA or S-video input due to the Macrovision protection on the output of a DVD player. The inability for the owner of an american to play DVDs from another region (i.e. my girlfriend's japanese mother) due to the region restrictions imposed via the CSS licensing. And lastly, see comment #100 (not mine) for an example of a gentleman losing business in the video editing industry due to the illegality of trying to decrypt CSS encoded video. Hope these help!
  • We've knocked our life expectancy down to 55 years by hammering ourselves with crap, and then dragged it back up to something reasonable by spending absurd sums on high-tech fixes.


    Human life expectancy has been increasing thought the industrial revolution, in the middle ages; you'd be lucky to live to 38. If you were not a member of the ruling elite you might get more, Sure, Michelangelo lived to be 80. I can guaranty his farm-tending serf compatriots did not, however. Don't you understand, by flooding the world with cheap crap, it means that everyone can afford itYou and I today, and almost everyone else in the US and other 'first-world' countries has a standard of living that even the richest overlords of pre-industrial era would kill for.

    Did you know that there is not enough arable land on earth to feed the human population if we all used pre-industrial agriculture techniques (actually, there isn't even enough active farmland in America to feed it using 1970's tech).

    There are a lot more people on this planet then there was in 500bc, exponentially more. We need this tech to survive. In order to go back to a pre-industrial lifestyle, we would need to kill billions of people, and subjugate millions more into abject poverty. To simply satisfy your athesthetic sense...

    There is a pretty big difference between morality and atheistic.
  • like, if your engineers are so damn great, why is the company going tits up?)

    Bad management? From someone who doesn't think through all the problematic situations that might arise from ideas?

    Meanwhile, your company, the Amalgamated Widget Co...dammit if 3M... didn't invent a groovy new widget ..... so you download the plans from 3M's web site (on your FreeBSD box) and go into production.

    Now, why would 3m even bother employing any engineering staff if anyone could just start copying their ideas? Why would they want to spend millions of dollars coming up with ideas that anyone could use when they could keep using the same ideas for free? There has to be some incentive for people to spend money developing ideas.
  • This is the reaction of somebody with serious emotional problems, as well as a total inability to imagine a society not populated entirely by like [people like this] sociopath.

    Right, but regardless of your opinion of him, he's still THERE Isn't he? The problem with the idea of total cooperation is that some people won't cooperate, and then your fucked.
  • Here in Metropolis by the Bay, one city had the brilliant idea of providing "public" bicycles.

    Actualy, this system works perfictly in Prog (or Norway or some place like that). Diffrent systems work for diffrent sets of people... Nothing ever gets stolen in japan, but Corporate bribery and stuff runs rampent. Here, its the other way around (AFAIK). There isn't really that much you can do about it.
  • Apache, and GCC are both pretty aberant when you compare them to the rest of the computer industry (esp hardware)

    Also, nether really presents any new ideas...
  • Ether that, or highly stupid. I'm pretty sure it's a troll, and a good one at that :P

    And as far as servents go, you can still have them now if you happen to have the same relitive wealth of an overloard, but the quality of life for those servents is much better...
  • "Cooperation works. Competition is destructive..."

    Certainly cooperation works on a small scale -- where people know each other well. As for it working on a larger scale, I'll leave defending that position up to you. You might start by refuting the incentives that drive the prisoner's dilemma.

    Competition, alas, is the iron law of life. Observe any life form on our busy little planet. All are engaged in well-founded economic strategies which they must execute well or fall prey to the competition. What makes you think that we are somehow exempt?
  • Just because the "blatant, outrageous absurdity of the DMCA" is obvious to us, don't expect it to appear unreasonable to those who have no clue.

    As for your statements arguing that all property is morally indefensible, I am curious upon what concepts such a morality is based. Could you elaborate?
  • by CentrX ( 50629 )
    The people of your country might just as well take away your rights, possibly fueled by saying "They did it, so it must be right."

    Chris Hagar
  • All right, can someone explain the flamebait to me? I know that asking this is going to cost me even more karma when this post gets OT'd, but I just don't follow the moderation around here anymore. I liked it better when my posts were simply ignored...
  • It is worth considering, however, that if they get spammed out by long-winded ill-informed rants, the result might be that independent submissions in general are discounted, in favour of those written on behalf of organisations with nifty initials such as MPAA.

    Please excuse that long-winded ranting sentence.

  • Look at the current issue between Cyber Patrol and the authors of the blocked site lister program.

    One is a Canadian, anther one a Swedish. Both demanded to pull the program from a U.S. district court. (see wired news).

    I have no idea *WHY* the laws of the U.S. of A. has unofficially become laws that the rest of the world must follow. In this light, I feel something must be done even if I'm not a U.S. citizen, luckily.

    Anyone please tell us what kind of weight we can represent.
  • Ask Jon Johansen what the impact on U.S. laws have been to him. Many countries enforce worldwide patent/copyright legislation and intellectual property. If we set the standard here, it will filter out. Sony Japan is already freaking about the DVD bug in their Playstation 2 that allows users to view region 1 DVD's. They will be removing it from the design and looking for ways to pull it from existing players. The world market will bow to the U.S. and for better or worse, you'd best be ready. (unless you live in a country where no one cares what we think ) The additional voices can't hurt. Worst case scenario, create a hotmail address here in the U.S.

  • Actually economially competition is far more efficient than a single cooperation. Moreover the point of competition being good has been proven in major government experiments (communism in the USSR). We need competition between firms. The problem is that the DCMA seeks to stop this. It is trying to give the cooperations the ability not only to control who has the right to use a product but also in what manner they are allowed to use it. THIS IS BAD! It truely does strive to make innovation illegal. We cannot let this happen if we expect growth and prosperity to continue in this nation.
  • Thank you.

    May a million fleas from a million camels infest your armpits from now until Eternity.


  • Since the US laws are getting more and more ridiculous, we should simply violate them. We are outside their jurisdiction. Let the fuckers complain to the WTO about copyright violations and software piracy.

    "But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; If I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am responsible for everything I do." Robert A. Heinlein ("The Moon is a harsh Mistress")

  • In 1900, no human being had flown in powered flight. In 1969, humans walked on the Moon. In 1900,storms, frosts, droughts, etc., locked argiculture into cycles of boom followed by imexplicable,unavoidable bust. In 2000, a global weather system saves lives directly and through avoidance of crop damage. From my vantage, that's progress.


    All progress does is make the TV pictures better. The have-nots die no less legion

    And, come to think of it, boom/bust? Like Wall Street, you mean? Ok, progress lets you change the channel, too. I guess that counts for something...

  • After reading through the EFF's well written comments, I doubt I could put it any better or come up with anything new. So my question is....

    If a lot of people wrote in and reiterated the points made in the EFF's comments to express their support for the pro-freedom side, would it be better than a few people writing in with new comments?
  • Anyone have ideas how this will impact on TROTW? i mean contaraty to /.s general slant,
    and as i keep commenting, the world does not consist of US alone, and "those pesky Canadians" they sometimes mention :P
    but then i believe a good solution to the worlds problems would be bombing
    the headquarters of any company with over 10 000 employees...send my greetz to the US goverment..:P

    Cheo ps' law: Nothing ever gets built on time or within budget.
  • I have to disagree. Although I believe in the principle of civil disobedience, I think it's only valid after all legitimate means of changing the law have been tried. It might become necessary to call out the minute men, so to speak, but first we should try to negotiate.

    Although it's nice to wrap oneself in revolutionary fervor, let us remember that, at the moment, the situation simply isn't that bad. The circumstances are new, the laws are new, and the mores are new. We still have a chance to influence this, to make the world a more benign place.

    If we give up now, then we surrender the world to the corporate drones by default.

    For those not in the States: Write anyway. At worst they'll ignore you. Just be sure to mention how you look forward to the DMCA driving the cutting-edge high-tech industries out of the US and into your corner of the world... :)

  • Well, everywhere on Earth right now it is illegal to hold slaves. (Note: That does not mean there is no slavery ... but every nation on Earth prohibits it, at least on paper.) Two hundred years ago, almost nowhere was this true. From my vantage, that's progress.

    In 1929 the life expectancy in this country was around fifty-five years of age. In 1996, it was seventy six. In general, the people living longer were living better (in terms of material comfort) and healthier. From my vantage, that's progress.

    In 1900, no human being had flown in powered flight. In 1969, humans walked on the Moon. In 1900, storms, frosts, droughts, etc., locked argiculture into cycles of boom followed by imexplicable, unavoidable bust. In 2000, a global weather system saves lives directly and through avoidance of crop damage. From my vantage, that's progress.

    The world, at the dawn of the new millenium, is not a happy place. It's not a safe place. But it is a better place and it has the potential to become even better. I'm not arguing there aren't flaws -- far from that, heaven knows -- but I still believe in progress. I would never want us to give that up.

    Hope that tomorrow might be better is one thing that makes human life bearable.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You may submit your comment in PDF format. To generate a PDF that looks like an e-mail, send an e-mail to either or The attendent cow image contains hidden data (depending on how you look at it, a portion of the DeCSS code). You should defintely read the instructions at [] before submitting.

    To see an example of the output, read my comment (a trojancow_a) on 1/comments/201.pdf [], the copyright office's web site. (The cow's at the bottom.)

    Please don't use this service unless you are submitting a comment, generating one PDF places a real load on the server. Thanks.

    Have a cow man!

    Karl <>

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It probably would help the economy. If your life goal is to help the economy, let me offer you a few pointers:

    1. Buy everything that is marketed to you, to the limits of your income.
    2. Extend the limits of your income with credit cards.
    3. Question nothing, it slows down your consumption.
    4. Work really long hours.
    5. Buy stuff online while at work.
    6. Help the efficiencies of capitalism, buy only popular products, media etc.
    7. Encourage conformity.

    Yay! you're helping the economy!
  • Cooperation works.

    Only when people want to cooperate. If they don't, they either won't do anything or worse, they'll sabotage you. How will you ensure that people cooperate in your utopia?

    Competition is destructive, wasteful, and deadening. Competition generates products whose purpose is to be sold; cooperation generates artifacts whose purpose is to be used.

    Is there much difference? In the end, not really. Consider that every product to be sold is still an artifact to be used. You're simply talking about the same object in two different ways.

    Compare most modern products of factories to anything handmade and old. The difference in quality and durability is astonishing.

    Yes, but the handmade object is not always the better one. I challenge you to build, say, a computer completely from scratch. Consider that any factory-made product would violate your previous statement, so you cannot use any currently existing parts. I'll bet what you make yourself won't go near the quality of anything I could buy today.

    Sure, factories produce so much crap that the rotten quality of it all is not a short-term problem: We can throw it away and replace it, again and again. Is this a valid long-term strategy? Personally, I doubt it.

    I say it depends on what "it" is. There are things for which this strategy is appropriate. Not as many things as there are to which this strategy is currently applied, but some nonetheless.

    My belief is that we've only been trying this "oceans of trash" approach for a very short period of time, and we'll get over it. In 100 years, we'll be back to making things by hand, because factories are unpleasant to work in and live near, and they produce nothing that's of any lasting worth. A time will come when people wake up and smell the coffee.

    I'd be impressed if you could come up with even a single shred of evidence to support that view. I do agree that factories are unpleasant to work in and live near, but I have yet to see anything that works better.

    There are a few products of industrialization that can't be duplicated with handcrafts, and some of those are worth keeping: Computers, for example. Networks.

    But you just said that there would be no more factories. Who, then, would make these?

    Some of what the pharmaceutical industry is doing may be worth keeping, if they can learn to behave themselves and if the FDA starts doing their job right: Detect the poisonous shit (like they did with Thalidomide -- if you have two arms and ten fingers, thank the FDA), but stop there.
    Right now they spend 10% of their time and budget policing the drug companies, and the other 90% attacking anybody who dares compete with the drug companies.

    I see absolutely no evidence to support that at all. By the way, you speak of the FDA "attacking those who dare compete with the drug companies" as though this were a Bad Thing (and I believe it is). But I thought you said competition was bad, therefore according to your own ethics you shouldn't care about the FDA attacking competition. Is this perhaps a double-standard? It sure looks like one. How, by the way, does the FDA do this "attacking"? I've seen nothing that would support that.

    I don't expect that my great-grandchildren will have to breathe filthy air and eat petroleum byproducts (there's ample reason to suppose that the petroleum will all be gone by then anyway).

    I don't think that will be the case either. By the way, you imply that we're doing these things now. Breathing filthy air I'll give you (well, actually that depends on where you live). And we probably will be out of petroleum in another few generations, at least given the commonly-accepted theories about where petroleum originates. But I'd like to know what petroleum by-products we're currently eating. Except, of course, for SPAM and staduim hot dogs :)

    The bottom line with all of this is the undenyable fact that the "competitive" property based worldview has produced a river of shit and damned few goodies. I say we keep the good parts and to hell with the rest.

    I'll agree with the "river of shit" part. But "damned few" goodies? That I can't agree with. I'd say there's been as much good produced by the system as bad. The older systems you propose returning didn't produce much bad, but that's because they didn't produce much good either.

    You can spend two years fighting with a contractor and have a house that'll last for fifty years, or you can have a house-raising with your neighbors and have something that'll be around for two hundred years and be better to live in the whole time.

    One: I doubt I'd be living in that house "the whole time." The oldest human of verifiable age didn't last nearly that long.
    Two: You really think a house built by means of a house-raising will last that long? In the past, perhaps. But no longer. Houses have gotten significantly more complex since house-raisings were common. Size has increased, as has the common number of floors and rooms. And let's not even talk about electrical wiring, plumbing, and insulation. Take it from someone with some experience in the field. It's also worth noting that when house-raisings were common, everyone knew how to build houses. This was partly because the design was simpler, but also because of necessity: people had to know this because

    Anybody who prefers the former of those two options is missing the poing about life in general.

    Unless you actually intended to have a Sluggy Freelance reference in your quote (which I doubt) I think you were talking about the "point" of life. What is the "point" of life? Nobody knows. I'd like to think that a large part of it has to do with enjoying life, wouldn't you? But the times you speak of going back to are, generally speaking, not going to enrich people's lives. You are right that "things" do not bring true happiness. I won't argue against that. But those "things," if used correctly (as tools, not as crutches) can be what enable you to go out and find just what true happiness is. In the past, people couldn't do this as a general rule; they were tied to the land by backbreaking labor day in and day out, all their lives. They could never seek real happiness; to even have one or two happy times in one's life was considered a true blessing. And a few people still managed to stumble into happiness, but these were very few people indeed.

    Nowadays, we are no longer tied down as we once were. We are free to seek real happiness. The problem, perhaps the great tragedy of our society, is that people haven't done that. They've become too wrapped up in their things, thinking that possessions are the end, not the means. They forget that while things may let you seek happiness, they don't bring it themselves. In essence, they've become chained by exactly what makes them free.

    It seems to me as though you've seen a lot of this. That's not surprising; I'd be more surprised to find someone who hasn't seen a lot of this. But you've made the inductivist error; you see a black swan and decide, having seen no other swans, that all swans must be black. You've oversimplified the problem, and in so doing you've oversimplified the solution.

    Each time period has its own things going for it (and going against it for that matter), but all things considered this is still probably the best time to live in, at least so far. And as long as our governments don't screw things up too much more, things will only get better in general; there'll be ups and downs, sure, but looking over the long term things will only improve. Have a little faith in humanity. They'll come out all right if you let them.
  • Data should not be viewed as physical.

    I don't think anyone's claiming that data is physical.

    Simply put, when you make a copy, the original entity is neither damaged or destroyed.

    That's a fairly short sighted viewpoint. The problem is this -- how should the costs of producing intellectual work be distributed ? And copyright provides a way of sharing the said costs. It basically dictates that everyone who uses a copy pays an equal share ( though the copyright holder may choose to exercise some discretion here ). This seems reasonably fair. There is competition to constrain prices. It is true that copying is easy but creating the intellectual work is hard, and the question is how should the cost of creating such work be distributed ? And copyright provides a fairly good answer. Copyright does not prevent other models from coexisting, and no other model has truiumphed over the copyright model. This would suggest that copyright is superior to other models.

    We should be allowed open access to the unrestricted copying and redistribution as long as the originals are unchanged, undamaged whatever and that all subsequent copies keep their integrity. Published or in the wild data should be immanently shareable,

    Well that's a nice idea. Let's just make everything free. The problem is that it fails to answer tough questions such as -- what financial incentive is there to create intellectual work under your proposal ? If there really is a better way, why is it that the copyright model dominates ?

    I'm not a big fan of the DMCA, but on the other hand, I don't see copyright as a "thing of the past". You certainly haven't provided any evidence that there's "comething of the future" to replace it.

  • Property of *any* kind is morally indefensible.

    Cool! Please tell me your residence address. Maybe when I'm in the area I could stop buy and help myself to any food in your fridge, piss on your rug, and drive your vehicle back home with me.

    Or perhaps that is not what you meant. Perhaps you meant that you really believe in property, but that it should be all owned by a "benevolent" dictator who would parcel it out according to his omniscience to those in need. If so, please say so.
  • It's apparent you can't differentiate between sarcasm and mental imbalance. I prescribe an avoidance of all humour until you determine the source of this malady.

    I came from a small town and I am unfortunately still in the habit of not locking anything here in Metropolis by the Bay. I have come home several times to find my front door not locked (though never swinging wide open).

    However, I have been robbed on occasion. I am well aware of the actions of sociopaths. How will your property-less society prevent sociopaths?

    Here in Metropolis by the Bay, one city had the brilliant idea of providing "public" bicycles. They were for the express purpose of anyone to use who needed them. Within a week they were all missing or ruined beyond repair. However, my several of the local employers in the area provide free bicycles for their empoyees to use on the "campus". Occasionally one will turn up missing, but by and large they don't. The difference between the two is that one set of bicycles are not owned and in the other they are.

    But perhaps a better example of the consequences of property-less society can be seen with housing. Although there are numerous exception, by and large, those who own their own homes take care of them and those that rent do not. This observation applies equally well to either wealthy and poor neighborhoods. Extreme examples of this can be seen on college campuses.

    Property-less society is like any utopia. It looks good on paper but it can't possibly work in accordance to human nature. If people are not allowed to allocate resources amongst themselves voluntarily, the only other alternative is the dictator.
  • Your experience and your practical questions demonstrate rather clearly just how poorly this law was thought out.

    The entire thing so unworkable that it would not be imposed on an older (that is, better understood by our representatives) segment of our society. Unfortunately for us, cyberspace is changing too fast for non-specialists to understand it. Further, it is threatening another established niche every day. This is a recipe for serious trouble, and we will see more and more of it in the years to come.
  • Regarding your comments: "We can put a final and permanent stop to "intellectual property" in the United States, by means of a Constitutional amendment banning the very idea of IP forever."

    You Da Man
    In the following example, you're the man who makes decisions at a company called XYZ. You da CEO.

    Your company has been wracked with 2 unprofitable quarters in a row, and cutbacks (layoffs/downsizing) seem like the only way to keep the company afloat. The tteam you assembled to help you with the problem is recomending you start by firing some of the research staff.

    You hesitate, of course, because you're an engineer yourself and still have a lot of friends in research that you don't want to see go hungry.

    Then, one day, like a gift from above, the same research team you were considering laying off makes a startling presentation. They've been working on a new process that would allow you lower your price to the consumer by 25%. All they ask is 2 more years of research dollars to complete the task.

    The problem is, with the recently passed "Freedom from IP" act, you have no garantee you will ever see one thin dime out of the 2 years of research you're about to fund. You fight to keep your engineers by taking the idea to your board, but they vote you down because they know that without protection for intelectual investment, the company will never see any return on the 2 year investment.

    You're company sinks further into debt, and your forced to layoff your team of engineers.

    You're not the man anymore.

    This is just one small example of why IP exists and why it's a good thing for help research move forward.

  • I find pdflatex, which is a pretty standard dist component, works quite well for encoding PDF files. You can also apparently use gs somehow to encode a PDF file from raw PostScript. These would probably be the two easiest options for getting your comments into a format they can read.

    If we're going to see many more of these, maybe someone should bang up a LaTeX style for the comment format they're looking for :-)

  • We can easily rebutt the following point from Time-Warners comments:

    4. I am aware of no works or classes of works that have, because of the implementation of technical protection measures, become unavailable to persons who desire to be lawful users.

    with fair use on non-standard/OSS platforms but what other compelling arguments can we make?

    We can protest the monopoly creating effects of CSS with regard to hardware for content playback in that only companies with the blessing of the MPAA can produce playback hardware which then stifles competition in these markets and keep new players from entering. All in all it puts too much power in the hands of a few groups that do not have the interests of everyone in mind.

    Also, the hindrance to academic research that needs access to digital media in these protected formats and requires computer analysis on *nix systems.

    Can anyone else add/improve these arguments, it would be good to collect them in a thread to assist letter writers.

  • With technology there has been a fundamental shift in business model. "Property" used to mean physical stuff you could touch, package and ship. Now it's not like that anymore. When you borrow a bit, there's allways a bit left. Data should not be viewed as physical. The direction and mantra of copyleft and similar activities are that data is not a physical medium, that is that it is relatively abundant. Source code, music, etc is data, and without disadvantage you can make unlimited copies. Simply put, when you make a copy, the original entity is neither damaged or destroyed. With today's leaps in technology the folks behind copyleft believe that "that human expression and communication across digital computing networks is actioned through referencing, copying and sampling this weightless, non-physical data". We should be allowed open access to the unrestricted copying and redistribution as long as the originals are unchanged, undamaged whatever and that all subsequent copies keep their integrity. Published or in the wild data should be immanently shareable, breaking the old and outdated principals behind intellectual property which had it's time relating to physical mediums but the architecture of the policies just don't port well to data.

    The companies who can understand this shift have a significant advantage on how we are going to be doing business tomorrow. The same goes for DMCA if they apply the same "Old School" model to today./tomorrows technical environment problems, the problems will not get addressed, they will increase ten fold. I don't thing the folks behind DMCA are nessasarily evil, they just simply are using the wrong tools, the wrong model and for some reason forcing a round peg in a square hole.

  • Yes, it actually does. The copyright office is generally and IMO sincerely interested in fixing this. The DMCA and all it encompasses was a bad move pushed though congress much like pork on any other bill. I doubt that anyone in the political (read nontechnical) areana really knew of it's implications. Now that were stuck with it, and it has received so much flame, they have to look at it, because the political community is beginning to learn just how far reaching this is. Your posted comments, letters and communications with the copyright office, elected representetives and lobbies like EFF do have an impact. Write that letter.
  • Do these comments have any impact on the outcome of any legistlation that the beaucracies adopt? It seems to me that we have been asked to give such comments in the past as well, but haven't seen any results. Will the Copy right office post an acknowledgement saying that the overwhelming response was negative or positive or non comittal? Therefore we will or will not or further consider this legistlation? Is there any means of getting feedback on weather our comments are being heard or not? -- YAH00
  • The DMCA has already been adopted, we can't change that without getting Congress to repeal it, or getting the Supreme Court to declair it unconstitutional.

    The best outcome that can come from these comments, I think, is that we can influence them into enforcing the law in a way that is more favorable to us.

    I think that it would be nice if we could get all of the Libertarian organizations to lobby Congress to pass laws protecting people's rights, in the same way that the corperations do to protect their's (at our loss)
  • by Blue Lang ( 13117 ) on Saturday March 18, 2000 @05:35PM (#1193069) Homepage
    Send to a message containing the name of the person making the submission, his or her title and organization (if the submission is on behalf of an organization), mailing address, telephone number, telefax number (if any) and e-mail address.

    Efficeincy is beauty, efficeincy is art. Can you dig it? -- Clutch

    They coulda just posted that in the body of the story, and not made us go thru three links. :P

  • by CentrX ( 50629 ) on Saturday March 18, 2000 @05:37PM (#1193070)
    Write to them intelligent and well thought-out comments. An unintelligent comment will not be considered seriously or possibly even at all and might even get those government-types annoyed at us Linux hippies.

    You still definitely should respond though, intelligently! These are our rights they're taking away. Every time any one of our rights are taken away, even in smallest, it makes it easier for our rights to be taken away in the future. If an abundance of people don't stand up and say "NO!" I foresee a time when we will be almost devoid of rights. And for those of you who say "I don't count," EVERY comment on this counts. If everyone decided they would not voice their opinion to protect their rights, no one would, and this would lead to a very horrible future...

    Chris Hagar

  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Saturday March 18, 2000 @06:00PM (#1193071) Homepage
    If you enjoy playing DVDs on your Open Source system, and if your future is in how open source continues to evolve, Get those comments in. Whining on this site helps with some dialog and focus on issues, but physically does nothing. Getting your comments to the Copyright office will have an impact. Please don't make them flaming in nature, be professional and polite, any "DMCA sux" comments will go right to the bottom and your voice won't be heard.

    The MPAA has exploited the DMCA to architect CSS licensing in a way that completely manipulated and controlls the publishers and DVD player manufacturers. If the MPAA wins out over DeCSS, a precident will be set that will set back the MPAA a long way.

    Also don't just submit one comment. They are public and you can respond to other comments already received and posted. (See the last /. story on this). Lastly don't stop at just the copyright office []. Support EFF [],and also write you elected represetatives and let them know how you feel, Make sure that in all your verbal or written communication to either an elected official, industry lobby or industry exec that you be nice. Elected officials really don't respond well to flames, spam, mail floods or harsh language. You will come off as a script kiddie and be completely ignored. For a loose reference, re-read the Linux Advocacy Guide, it will give you the right sort of flavor for your communications.

    The house of representatives has a search facility to find your representative: []
    The senates listing is here: fm []

  • by MerkuryZ ( 140661 ) on Saturday March 18, 2000 @05:25PM (#1193072)
    We all need to do something about this. The DMCA is a VERY bad thing. We have 13 days to voice our opinions. If we don't all do our part, we will all regret it. If you haven't read the DMCA yet, you can read about it here []

    The DMCA can be interpreted to put ISPs out of business if they don't respond quickly to requests. Several weeks ago, I recieved an email from the RIAA telling me that a customer of ours had an illegal site up, and that we could be help responsible for ANY OTHER copyright violations, now that they have informed us. This was not a site hosted by us, but a customer with a broadband connection. This brings up the following questions...

    1.) How does the RIAA go about finding these sites, do they scan networks for port 21. Do they hop on IRC to find these sites?

    2.) How am I, as a network admin, supposed to prevent any single user from setting up a server that violates any provision of the DMCA?

    3.) If I, as a network admin, am unable to determine whether or not the material on a server is indeed violating any law, am I required to shut it down until I am able to determine this?

    4.) Am I, a normal user, allowed to make back-up copies of music that I own. What formats am I allowed to make these back up copys in. Can I make a duplicate of a CD, for my car. According to the DMCA, I can't

    If we don't do something about these issues now, we lose our opportunity to do so for 2 years, then 3 years after that.

  • by ATKeiper ( 141486 ) on Saturday March 18, 2000 @06:06PM (#1193073) Homepage
    If anyone wishes to send their comments to the Copyright Office in PDF format, I would be glad to save your message in PDF format and send it back to you so you can send it on to the Copyright Office. As the EFF site notes, PDF is not required by the Copyright Office, but it is "preferred."

    If you wish, we'll also make suggestions for how you can improve your comments for maximum effect.

    Just send your message to: [mailto]

    A. Keiper
    The Center for the Study of Technology and Society []
    Washington, D.C.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.