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Censorship Your Rights Online

'Battling Censorware' 253

Lawrence Lessig has written a short and sweet essay, Battling Censorware , explaining why the DMCA allows Mattel to claim the rights to CPHack. He hits the nail on the head. I found myself reading this sentence over and over: "code that cracks a protection device is criminal under the DMCA even if the use of the copyrighted material that the code enables would be fair use."
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'Battling Censorware'

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  • > No one can argue that copying cds to MP3 and distributing them is legal.

    Actually, arguably, it can be.

    If I want to sell an album I own, in theory I should be able to convert it to mp3, send the files to whoever seeks to purchase them from me, and then destroy the original physical medium and any cached copies I might have made for myself in the mean time.


  • > The problem with software is to first remove
    > the "licensing loophole" which is "we've only
    > sold you permission to use it in ways we see
    > fit and at the same time disclaim anything we
    > can get away with disclaiming."

    I don't know how much I mind disclaimers. Bottom line, I view software as I view movies--sure, there may be some stinkers out there, but I don't think we should be able to sue the guys who made Wild Wild West--no matter *how* awful it was.

    Art has the right to suck, but don't go off trying to patent the buddy movie!

    > Also surely you should add "If i want to take
    > it apart and tell other people what I find then
    > I should be allowed to do so." (Tradmarks,
    > patents and normal copyright protect the
    > company from having their product "ripped off".
    > Libel and slander protect them from untrue
    > critisism.)

    Untrue criticism is not enough. Benchmarks must be suppressed, because they contradict the GoodThink of the Marketry of Truth. Windows NT is stable. Windows NT has always been stable. Windows 2000 is stable. Windows NT is unstable. You must upgrade to Windows 2000 to get stable. Windows NT is stable. Windows NT has always been stable.

    Of course, there's the point--given the choice between fair, balanced case law derived by well trained judges in a democratic society vs. a quick line in a license agreement which basically says "Fuck with us and we'll rip your balls off", guess which one many unscrupulous companies will choose?

    "If we can't threaten to rip customers balls off, we're doomed!"

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • >Are you saying that the copyright holder has no
    >rights??? Stealing cable is theft. The cable
    >company owns the rights to distribute the signal
    >and charge for it. The MPAA (or equivalent
    >agency) owns the rights to distribute many
    >movies and/or songs. We can claim to have rights
    >while denying them theirs.

    Cable is a continual service. I pay this month, I get to turn on the TV this month.

    Purchased videos are not a continual service. They're mine. They don't change over time, they don't get anything new from the manufacturer showing up on my doorstep in two months...they're mine. Can I make a copy and sell it? Nope. Can I make no copy and sell *my* original? Yup. No different from a book--I can't copy my property and give it to anyone else, but I sure as hell can give my property away.

    The MPAA got their payment when I bought the movie. From that point until when I sell or disavow ownership of that payment, the movie is mine.

    Denying this perceived reality is meaningless. If the law says something else, people will ignore it until they get arrested for doing something that they could never imagine as being wrong.

  • No.

    The claim is that you get a license to use the product.

    Reality does not match the claim, because people--

    A) Are not lawyers
    B) Should not need to be lawyers
    C) Should not need to hire lawyers

    Just to buy software.

    Software is little more than de facto data encased within physical media. You may be limited to the number of concurrent installations you may possess, but effectively, that's the only really widely accepted limit on software.

    There's usually some question regarding the GPL at this point--people seem to forget that while most "software licenses" remove rights that common law grants without a second thought--hell, it's part of that whole "private property" thing that we *almost ended the world over*--the GPL adds rights by specifying conditions where duplication may be accepted. You're always allowed to give someone else more rights, more latitude, more freedom, particularly with you're own code. But unless you make a highly formal arrangement, you ain't getting less. I can swing my arm farther and farther away from you, but I'm not allowed to pummel your nose, your chest, and eventually worse without some pretty hardcore contracts--and no, a shrink wrap doesn't count.

  • As if any modern newsgathering organization would piss off an advertiser. The only investigative coverage it's possible to find in mainstream media these days is in government scandals (and even then, only personal scandals that don't upset the advertisers or parent companies).

    Wish I could find that Eisner quote, something to the effect of "ABC News shouldn't bite the hand that feeds them" (in reference to critical coverage of Disney). That rare moment of candor pretty much confirms what we surely know to be true; that corporate media serves the corporate master first, and above all other priorities.

    The reason I like this site is that while corporate flacks are free to post comments, so is anyone, and they all get the same exposure. Makes for a much broader range of opinions and insight than the pablum they're feeding us at CNN.

  • "At some point" might be within your monitor which. through legal trickery, you are not allowed to tamper with. There are display vendors that are creating systems that encrypt the video signal that is fed from the video card to the display.

    If Big Business thinks that we are going to "hack the raw output", then they will take every measure to ensure that you don't *get* the raw output.

    Chilling, no?

  • That's just brilliant - it basically amounts to a grand new scheme for copyright holders to make more money. Encrypt it, and suddenly not only can you sell licenses for use of your actual property, you can additionally sell licenses for the manufacture and sale of decryption devices.

    I can see it now. "This software is not licensed for use on non-Intel processors." Then add region coding... "This software is not licensed for use in the UK." Before you know, it'll be illegal to carry laptops on intercontinental flights, because of copyright issues.

    Sometimes I wonder what customers of "high-tech products" can be reliably expected to put up with. I mean, who'd buy books that you could only read wearing the right glasses?

  • ::shrug::

    If I buy a copy of Cryptonomicon (which I have), I most certainly can chop it up into little bits. I can photocopy a page with a particularly interesting quote, blow it up very large, hilight it, and tape it to my wall. I can "edit" it by writing small notes in the margins with my ballpoint pen. I can consolodate those notes (and only those notes, possibly with select quotations to show context) into a web page, and post them for the world to see. I can review the book and publish my opinions about it anywhere that is willing to print it. If I want to, I can rewrite the story itself, the way I feel it should have been written.

    So far I'm well within my rights as "fair use".

    Now...that "rewrite" I mentioned...I'm pretty sure that without reference to the original work I might have a problem publishing it (IANAL, so I'm not sure exactly what is required for derivitive works).

    Everything else mentioned though, is, was, and should always be "fair use".

    In the case of DeCSS - I'f I've purchased the DVD, and I've purchased a "licensed" player (let's say my Creative Labs DVD drive) - I've already paid my money to the MPAA and the DVD-CCA. I *should* be able to play that DVD in that DVD drive, regardless of the operating system I run. According to the DMCA, evidently in addition to paying for the DVD, and the player, I should also have to pay for the PROGRAM I use to play the DVD (otherwise I'm in violation of the law, which says that unless I do I'm a criminal, even though were I running an "approved" OS, I could play the DVD without spending more $). Thus the DVD-CCA can regulate not only who can make DVDs, and who can make players, but also what OS the consumer can run to watch them. This is Wrong.

    In the case of Censorware, if I am looking for a product to censor the web -- beit for the purpose of imposing my ethical standards on the public, or for imposing them on my children, or simply because I want to have a "clean" "web experience" -- I'm going to want to look at what each product does, and does not censor. If the company providing the censoring engine does not provide a *full* listing of the sites they block, correctly or incorrectly, I can't make that valuation of the software. Because the company saw fit to encrypt the list, I can't see it, even if I buy the product. Thus I have NO WAY to determine if the product simply fits my needs, or whether it is being overzealous, or if the company that wrote it is censoring any and all viewpoints that they do not agree with. SOme folks decide to write a piece of software that allows people to see the banned list. This gives the consumer valuable information about the product they are using, and points out more than a few "flaws". According to the DMCA, this is illegal, and in fact a criminal act. I wonder what the consumer rights groups have to say about that? The Better Business Bureau?

    But, of course, this is The Law, so it must be right. ::sigh:: Politicians aren't going to make the "right" choice, because they're not going to turn away the money being handed to them by the various companies involved. Companies aren't going to do anything that isn't in their own best interests. They have shareholders to think about, and the primary concern is making money, not being ethical.

    It's a shame that our society has come to this.

    It's a shame that companies are more valuable in the eyes of the government than the people they are supposed to represent.

    Unfortunately, we may be too far gone to change anything.

    I need to get back to work...

    (I also need more coffee... ;P)
  • 2101
    `(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--
    `(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

  • Is CPHack a device for circumventing a copyright protection system?

    I think they've got this one right, according to the DMCA. The clause pertains to access control mechanisms, and the encryption prevents access (ie. acquisition). CSS, on the other hand, is a use control mechanism, rather than an acccess control mechanism. The two are distinct in copyright terms - "access" means "acquisition".

    Anyway, none of this applies to me, 'cos I'm in the UK. Except for the fact that Skala sold his rights. Shame. He was under a lot of pressure though, I'm not sure if I could have handled it and kept my nerve.

  • Mattel is planning to sell it's software company, Learning Co., which is the maker of Cyber Patrol. [...] I tried to submit the story but it got rejected

    We didn't reject it. We ran it. [] (And someone else submitted it before you - sorry.)

    Most of our YRO stories run on the slashdot homepage, but not all of them.

    Click on the YRO section box [] on the left side of every Slashdot page to see all the stories, including the ones that weren't important enough for the main homepage.

    And/or, go to your user preferences [], scroll down to "Customized Slashboxes," check all the boldfaced sections, and then check "Your Rights Online" and any other slashboxes that strike your fancy. That'll keep a list of YRO stories handy.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • It's really amazing - you folks actually think a production studio is going to put $20 million (and that's SMALL budget!) into making a movie and that buy forking over $9.95 at T-Mart your 'buying' that production to do whatever you want with, heehee. Actually, you CAN buy the movie, setup a chain of theatres and other distribution - but you'll need big bucks, and unless you just like burning money, you'll probably want to make a little bit o' profit to pay the mortgage, buy the kids shoes, etc.

    Actually, in a 'perfect' world (from the content producers point of view) if everybody DID honor the licensing, the producers wouldn't have to attempt to resort to fair use restricting, draconion techno-content control mechanisms (like having to have a licensed player) - but as it is, they feel that (even if it is wrong, there's that perception amongst publishers) hey, people are making and distributing unlicensed copies, we're losing money, we must do SOMETING. It the Gates "Open Letter to Hobbyists" all over again, whining about only 10% of BASIC users actually paid (which was TRUE), so NO MORE MR. NICE GUY, which gave us the Msft corp we know and loath today. QED: piracy ruins it for everybody, 'taint the producers fault! They're just protecting their own interests, even if they end up resorting to criminal means to do so.
  • I mean, to play devils advocate, there IS a lot of crap out there for parents and guardians to be concerned about - I'm about to the same point as with Msft and their pirate user base (Msft uses criminal mkting practices, yes, and a lot of their uses are criminal license violators, buy one copy and let everyone use it! Everybody does it!!) - those who want censorware are tossing out the baby w/ the bathwater, while those against it are a bunch of deranged perverts.

    So, maybe what tax funded public Internet providers (pub libraries) should do is designate two areas: one for those under 16 to use with a list of approved or unapproved sites to browse (an 8 yr old probably isn't yet interested in researching therapy for breast cancer) - and an 'adult' section w/ unlimited browsing capability to research the psychology of deviant sexual practices if they so choose.
  • Two comments, one to your parent poster;
    This isn't a bad idea, except that the censorware still blocks legitimate sites and misses a ton of nasty ones. It really isn't any help if the software blocks 80% of a million porn sites-- there are still 200,000 left for my kids to find.
    We (/., me) don't care if the censorware misses sites, we care if it blocks legitmate ones, especially if it blocks sites based on a hidden agenda.

    That said, the open framework for blocking lists would be cool. It's a trust thing - if I trust my church to dictate the morals of my childern (shudder) then I can use their blocking list. Any moral or social leader, individual or organisation, can publish their own blocking list and people can choose which sets to apply on their computer systems.

    Blocking lists for libraries could be a bit trickier, but it could be part of each local politition's campain - a fairer and more comprehensive filter. Anyone found guilty of violating public trust with hidden agendas would be held accountable at the next elections...

    Separate the programmers and the moral judgements. Cool idea.

  • Probably the best way to censor the computer you have at home is to install monitoring software
    I agree. Monitoring of behaviour is one of the most effective ways to keep people within the lines, so to speak - like how people won't cross against pedestrian lights if there's a cop around. Here at work we have a couple of primative filters on Web access, just some Squid access lists (one for sex, one for ads). I update them based on what people have actually found.

    But that's not the point. The timing is unfortunate (another week would be nice), but I recently reminded staff that we can monitor web usage, nothing more. Here is a summary of traffic; (MB) Thu 55, Fri 42, Mon 65, Tue 64, Wed 73, Thu 71, (told staff Fri morning) Fri 38. Unforunately I don't have more than that one day yet - I will be getting updated logs on the weekend. The previous Friday to this summary was 79MB, so I don't think it's a DOTW effect.

    If people think they can get away without judgement then they exercise none of their own...

  • if there are non-infringing uses to a technology, it can not be held to violate copyright to distribute it.
    Problem is that the DMCA makes it so that there a no non-infringing uses of a program designed to break copy protection, even when there are non-infringing uses for the results.

    Basically the DMCA has managed to put a legal barrier around a technical barrier that simultaniously protects and restricts a "work of art" (or similar) from both legal and illegal use. It is obvious that there needs to be a serious change in copyright itself - the community needs to recover some rights from the individual in the name of progess. Mind you, that sentence seems a little silly when we're talking about things like illegal copies of "Titanic"...

  • No more going out and buying that movie your kids want to watch 500 times. If they want to watch it 500 times, you pay 500 times. No more 5 day video rentals. If mom, pop, bro, and sis all want to watch the movie but can't on the same schedule, too bad--pay 4X.
    One thing I've noticed in the posts is the assumption that movies, videos and TV are actually important in the grand scheme of things. For crying out loud people - it's just entertainment. The world is not going to end if you choose not to buy that Men In Black DVD. You can rest assured that anyone that wants to be heard (from legitimate science, thru social expose, to every crack pot on the planet) will find a way to distribute their message in a way that doesn't have all these restrictions.

    Find a way to calm down the want and your outrage will drop back to something realistic.

  • There, I've just Rot13'ed my data. Now I consider it encrypted and protected. By pressing the Rot13 button on your newsreader after October, you're breaking the law. Those who write and distribute newsreaders are breaking the law, now.
    Now there's a scary thought. If I encrypt a peice of copyright work using a Zip file with a password does that suddenly make all the Zip password recovery packages illegal? If I publish a carboard code-wheel with my software like the computer games used to, does that make photocopiers illegal - how about a pencil and paper? If you can break my encryption with a pocket calculator, does that make pocket calulators illegal? What's illegal, the tool or the technique? Are we on the verge of legislating a huge category of "controlled information", like controlled substances? Can the DMCA make existing technology illegal because it can be used to break copy protection on new products? Scary.
  • that DMCA wouldn't have any jurisdiction
    I don't know how the US managed to get at the authors of these things so effectively, a bit of a worry, but I can tell you that my local Australian ISP hasn't contacted me over the copy of on my website - and it's on that mirror list referenced a while back. (Although, it's not on the CyberNOT list, which is a let down.)
  • Also arround 30 years ago there were books marked "not for sale in the US or Canada".
    Until a couple of years ago, a friend of mine used to frequently buy videos either "Not for sale outside of the UK", or "Not for sale in Australia or New Zealand" from a local music / video store here in Australia. The place in question still imports stuff from the UK with such "requests", but quite frankly we all just ignore them as the crap they are. What, is Australian money too good for them?

    All the unnecessary restrictions on trade and use are becoming so complex, or draconian, or stupid that the only responses left are to walk away, or ignore them. Luckily, much of the stuff being screwed by these restrictions is trivial, so the choice ultimately doesn't matter...

  • I wonder what will happen when a company places so many restrictions on a product that between the law and what's technically possible there's no way for anyone to legitimately use the product. (Oh, wait, DIVX...)
  • Yet another story about "Your Rights Online" which, translated into /. speak, is "My Right To Not Pay For Anything"


    "Fair use" is "Fair use" and is written into the copyright law for a purpose. As Lessig points out, the DCMA allows copyright holders to deny fair use by wrapping the work in technology.

    The medium of copyrighted works should have no bearing on the interpretation of the copyright act or limit or enhance the rights of the copyright holder or the user of the copyrighted work.

    Why US universities are screaming about this I don't know. As their libraries become increasingly digital, so will the difficulty of accessing and using texts for the purpose of teaching.

    "Whats that? You want to copy an excerpt on OO concepts from Ivan Hutchinson's Beginning Java 2 for an introductory programming unit? Sorry - that text is only available on CD-ROM/DVD/"

    The medium should be treated as irrelevant... not doing so will only create a massive legal and beaurocratic nightmare.

  • I remember a declaration of independence written in 1776, which voiced a rather eloquent declaration of the liberties that Americans have the right to expect. I remember this country fighting wars against Great Britain to uphold their self-declared freedoms.

    I remember Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Adress, presented during one of the most trying periods of our history, state "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

    But that was long ago... back when we were just a federal republic.

    Now, we are no longer such a republic. We have embraced capitalism and its love of one thing only: MONEY.

    The government that Lincoln talked about is no more.

    Our government is now of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations, and the fucking people be DAMNED!

    There was no revolution, not a single shot was fired. We lost.

    And every American citizen has himself or herself to blame... they allowed it to happen. And now that the corporations are firmly entrenched, we have bugger-all chance of ever getting our liberties back.

    So, sit back, watch your DVD's on your licensed players; allow little Johnny to surf the web knowing that Cyber Patrol will be preventing him from seeing such smutty sites as (they hit positive for nudity, sexual acts, violence, etc.); and when you find yourself evicted from your house by a faceless corporation because "you purchased a spreadsheet program and neglected to read the fine print on their legally binding shrink-wrap license," do so happily, since this is indeed the fucking land of the free.

    "Here come more homeless! God bless America!"

    (Then again, you might want to consider doing something, like supporting the Electronic Freedom Foundation during those "must-watch" commercials on your DVD.)
  • The article URL has changed. Here is the new link []

    The best part of the article is how Mattel is expecting to take a HUGE loss on the company.

    Put another way, former CEO Jill Barad paid about $3.5 billion for The Learning Co. (TLC), which is now reportedly expected to fetch between $500 million and $1 billion.

    And, as icing on the cake, Mattel has associated their company and name brand with repressive censorship. I won't be buying anything with the "Mattel" name on it ever again.

    Nice job with the lawyers, guys.
  • Something I hadn't thought of ... can anyone answer this question ... is cphack an original program that implements the encryption algorithm used by CP, or did the authors disassemble the encryption algorithm, then convert the assembly to C?

    There is a difference ... if cphack was written from scratch to implement the algorithm, then Mattel should have no basis to claim copyright infringement. If cphack is merely a translation of the Mattel written subroutine from machine language to C, then I'd have to agree that the distribution of cphack is probably copyright infringement. I mean, if you were to take a binary of the Linux kernel, disassemble it, and convert it back into readable C code, that wouldn't magically remove the copyright on Linux, would it?

    Of course, if the case were to be tried in court, a fair use defense could be raised, but that option disappeared when the programmers cut their deal with Mattel.

  • Lawyers have a tendancy to ask for everything they could possibly have a cliam to, and are asking for the logs of all the people who downloaded the thing, probably in order to track down more people to target.

    If you are mirroring software which is now illegal under the American DMCA, please consider redirecting your logs to /dev/null (via symlinks, .conf files, or whatever).

    You cannot be forced to turn over information to lawyerly thugs if you do not possess it. As for those of us living in the United States, we need to begin comming to terms with the unpleasant fact that, for many intents and purposes, we now live in an extremely authoritarian, draconian state, and begin organizing our lives accordingly.

    In short:

    • Mirror sites: please send your logs to /dev/null to protect the identity (and anonymouty) of your "customers" - i.e. those who download the files you are mirroring.
    • Get involved politically - we have a moral duty to ourselves and our forfathers to make every effort to win our country back. While you can couch this obligation in whatever terms apply to whatever country you are in, I think it goes without saying that we all need to be involved, wherever we are, and fight these trends with all of the political weapons our democratic systems provide us, wherever we are. You can be certain the extremely well-financed opposition is doing so.
    • Tell your friends and neighbors - Yes, you will be mocked by many of them. Thanks to the popular media apathy is very fashionable. Anyone expressing a passionate political view will be labelled a radical. Get over it, and express those views anyway. Peer pressure to remain silent and pretend not to care is one of the most insidious forms of censorship and social engineering, and we need to start standing up to it.
    • Fight these trends on the grass-roots level (which most of us are doing anyway). In my case, I and a couple of friends are working on the open content [] concept of a new, free culture [] mentioned earlier here on slashdot. In a very real sense, every open source project is a grass roots effort in this respect. Get involved.
    • Have a way out. We have a moral duty to ourselves and our families to have a an escape route, if and when things degenerate further. The notion of an Amercian needing to seek political asylum in Canada or Europe may sound (and seem) absurd, but remember that it has happened before (remember Oppenheimer? Not to mention thousands of conscientious objectors during the Vietnam war) and will most certainly happen again. Quite possibly to us, given the current state of technical and IP legislation.
    Thank god my airplane will get me to Canada on less than one tank of fuel.

  • This isn't a bad idea, except that the censorware still blocks legitimate sites and misses a ton of nasty ones. It really isn't any help if the software blocks 80% of a million porn sites-- there are still 200,000 left for my kids to find.

    Maintaining thorough and fair block lists for censorware will prove to be the largest task undertaken by man. The internet is enormous. With the state of AI as it is, automatic rating of web sites with any sort of accuracy is years away. (Case in point-- there is a restaurant here called the XXX Steakhouse. If they had a website, I'm sure it would be blocked since most automatic censorware crawlers just pick up the keywords and mark it as bad.)

    It's just too big to be reviewed by the employees of a tiny software company! They will always leave too many unchecked sites for their product to work well. If this was the only problem it might be worth buying for your kids. But I'm not interested in blocking only some bad AND some good sites as well. The tradeoff isn't worth it.

    You can seperate the terminals, but the censorware still doesn't work. (A step in the right direction, though, at least preserving the rights of adults!)
  • Censorware seems to be a hot-button issue that could get a lot of free press. However the key to raising public awareness isnt going to be talking about false positives. Will Joe Average Puritain care if little Billy cant visit a science site about breast cancer? Probably not. Its the porn that slips through the filter that will cause outrage. Focus on that, and then explain some of the technical reasons why censorware will never be 100 percent effective. Then offer the perfect alternative to censorware: local logging of all internet connections.

    Local logging offers parents the ability to see what their children are doing, and encourages a relational approach to parenting. Rather than install a blacklist in a box and unleashing the kids on the net, local logging can open the door to talking about important issues instead of pretending they dont exist. Which would you prefer as a parent?

    A) Little Billy spends 4 hours trying to get around the censorware, checks out some T and A, and then does it all again tommorrow.

    B) Little Billy cant get around the censorware, but it isnt installed on his friends computer. They stay up all night downloading movies from

    C) Little Billy looks for some porn, and sees some T and A. When you get home, you check the logs and sit Billy down for a LONG discussion about your values. You have the opportunity to provide information and take disciplinary action.

    Now, you cant do a whole lot about B. However if your kids do not know that you are logging at home, the need to go somewhere else to try to look at porn is diminished. The probability of catching them in the act is increased.

    If my kids look at porn, hate, or I want to know about it. Actually restricting the information is playing Whack-A-Mole. Having the opportunity to talk about it, after they see it is much more valuable. It gets you involved in their lives and gives you another opportunity to shape their growth. Personally I think that this is the best solution.

    Specs for the logger:

    Strong encryption and validation of the logs. If log files are deleted, the administrator is notified. If Billy can crack TripleDES in an afternoon, you have bigger issues to deal with than a little bit of porn.

    Adjustable levels of visibility. You can either make it unnoticable to prevent B above, or very public to encourage self policing. Public terminals should always be run in NOTICE- We _are_ logging mode.

    Protocol versatility Take care of as many sources of inappropriate information as possible.

    Difficult to Disable The implementation is an excercise for the reader...

    Easy to use Well, Duh!

    Make the log files easy to read Highlighting based on trigger words might be useful. Parsing search queries for the search terms would probably take care of a lot of it.

    Anyone care to get started?

  • The logical first step in battling censorware - other than continuing the legal battles already in progress - would be to encourage the Library of Congress, National Archives, and every other public institution, to refuse to accept, archive, catalog, or provide reference links to any document in any media with a format that is trammelled with IP encumberances or that is not fully documented.

    This would not make much difference in the short run, other than sending a message that the public is not going along with the game, but it is very important to get it started now as a sort of "injunction", to keep the censorware industry from presenting the public with a "done deal" that would be nigh impossible to reverse later.

  • Cracks maybe legal until October (does it really make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?), but what is already illegal is to distribute tools for circumventing protection devices.

    It's like you can still use a debugger (until October, at least -- grab your chance), but you cannot buy it, you cannot sell it, you cannot put it on your site.

  • The claim is that you get a license to use the product. Reality does not match the claim

    Unfortunately, the 'reality' you are talking about is nothing but perception, a generally held view of how things work. As such, it could be more or less easily changed, and there could (would?) be a lot of marketing dollars thrown at exactly this task.

    To give an example, think about property-seizing laws. There is that general perception (what you would call a reality) that one must be guilty of some crime in order to be punished (mens rea, and all that). Bzzzt, wrong. You pick up a hitchiker, get stopped by cops, the cops find a bag of grass in the hitchiker's pocket -- your car will get confiscated. This is clearly contrary to what most people think should be just and proper, and still these laws are still on the books and I am unaware of any serious effort to repeal them.

    the GPL adds rights by specifying conditions where duplication may be accepted. You're always allowed to give someone else more rights...

    Sorry, you are wrong. It is impossible to add rights -- you cannot give more than you have. You can transfer all the rights that you have, but you cannot grant additional rights because you don't have them to grant. Giving somebody a subset of your rights is easy and standard, but giving more is impossible.

    [hurriedly pulling on asbestos underwear] That's why the most free code is public domain code. Yes, its derivatives can be made non-free, but the code itself is as free as it gets. GPL most certainly does impose restrictions on its licensees and for all the talk about these restrictions being for the greater good, they are restrictions nonetheless.

  • I'd really like to know how we can get a clear, concise, understandable explanation out to the public that will motivate them!

    I am of rather low opinion of American public (there is a very good description of it in Gibson's Idoru) and don't think we'll be able to make it care.

    However, a campaign on the basis of "Even when you buy it, it's not yours" could push the button of a lot of people. There is a strong feeling that if you bought something, it's yours to do with anything you please -- and DMCA breaks this.

  • VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.

    This is the part of the law concerning use of circumventing programs, and or circumventing thing manually.
    There is a seperate part of the law that has to do with the trafficing of such devices/programs, which has already gone into effect

  • My rights end where yours begin, your rights end where mine begin. You have the right to just about anything you want to yourself, but you don't own his head, so therefor without his express permission, I would recommend refraining to only beating your own head in, and not those of your friends or your wife (whom you also don't own). And if your not the wife beater you sound like, I apologize for the previous comment :)
  • It's not as much to stop modifying the list as it is to stop their competitors from using it. The competition in this industry is as harsh as with anti-virus programs, because the effectiveness of both tends to be judged by the number of sites/viruses they block, not by the actual job they do.

    So they probably just want to keep people from using their list... this IMHO would be better served by using sentinel websites. They could setup a porn site, without any links to it, and block it in their software. If their competitors' products start to block it, they just show a judge that the only way their competitors could have found that site would be to have read their list. Much like a map maker including fake culdesacs in rural areas to try to catch companies who would just copy their map instead of doing their own research.
  • I imagine that one was because the box said that it was a personal edition. It's not like the user bought it, took it to work, and only then found out that it was a personal version. If the shrinkwrap is 'visible' beforehand, then it's not a shrinkwrap. The shrinkwrap term means a license you don't see till you break the shrinkwrap.

    If you believe otherwise, post a link to the trial info, I'd be interested in seeing.
  • Might I introduce you to a word - tangible. Tangible means it's something physical you can reach out and touch, intangible means you can't.

    Just because something is intangible doesn't mean it doesn't exist. A law is intangible - it's just words on paper. But if you break a law, police officers, who carry very tangible guns and clubs, will come to haul you away.

    That's because the law is reality, even if you can't see it.

    Kaa: No, you don't. You get a license to use it.

    Here's where you go wrong. You don't need a license to use a program any more than you need a license to read a book. They're exactly the same from the point of view of copyright law.

    Kaa: I'm not comparing GPL to unlicensed use (which is basically illegal, anyway).

    No more illegal than buy a book and reading it. Anything not forbidden by copyright law is allowed. You only need to look at the license if you want to do more with it (copy it, etc) than is usually allowed or if you were informed beforehand that usage is limited.

    Kaa: Ah, I see.

    Good. Your slamming the other guy over his correct usage of the word 'rights' was silly and didn't accomplish anything except to make you look ignorant.
  • Sure, having a copy is legal. But having the means to make the copy isn't. So they've essentially made fair use illegal.

    The problem with the DMCA is that any anti-copy protection measure is prohibited, even if required to exercise your rights.
  • The commonly perceived reality that you OWN software that you buy IS reality. Sure, some megacorp may buy a few politicians and get that changed, but that's then and this is now. You currently own the software you buy.

    And shrinkwrap licenses have never (not once, not even for a second) been found to be valid. The only time there was even a chance was when the company sued a pirate, and based the claim on the shrinkwrap prohibition of piracy, not the statute. This was upheld, but only because the basic action was illegal, not because the shrinkwrap said so. In no other case has a shrinkwrap been uphelp.

    You're also wrong, the GPL imposes no more restrictions that an unlicensed program. It is assumed that all distribution is prohibited, except in the case of transfering ownership, or fair use of samples. The GPL simply gives the user more rights than the default (barely any). It's not as free as saying "Here, do *anything* you want with it" but it's a hell of a lot more free than not putting a license on it at all, in which case the assumption is that everything which can be forbidden is forbidden.

    If you don't like my word usage, don't waste my time telling me so. My terms are correct and if you disagree, you're just proving that you're either wrong, or pedantic.
  • Kaa: [snip] ... "the reality is that people believe they own software/music/etc that they bought, so legal attempt to do it differently will fail". My point was that this reality is just a perception and as such could be easily changed.

    The reality is what happens. That things will remain this way forever because it's the only right way is the perception.

    If I punch a police officer, I will get arrested, that's reality. My perception that this will always be the way it works, or should be the way it works, is just a perception. I could believe differently but if I punched the cop again, the result would be the same.

    Kaa: It so happens that most everybody is selling software in such a way that the set of rights that you are buying is a license to use and not much more.

    You are making a point that a contract is enforceable only if a court agrees to enforce it and that's a problem with click-wrap sales contracts. Maybe. We don't know. But that's still the contract under which you are buying (buying, not using) software.

    The contract doesn't have to hit the courts to be invalid. If I draw up a contract, never show you, yet try to sue you for violation of this contract, do you have to take it to court to know it's bogus?

    If the buyer doesn't know there are additional restrictions imposed before the purchase, then those restrictions have no force. There was a similar case with a car rental agency. They had a list of what you couldn't do with the car, but they gave this 'contract' to you on the back of the receipt, which you didn't see until the transaction was finalized. It doesn't matter if they offered your money back if you read the contract and didn't agree, because the contract had no force. So anyways, someone did something that was on the list, the company sued them for damages (from a reasonable use of the car, not something stupid like lighting it on fire.) and lost, because the customer had no way of knowing, at the time of agreement, about these clauses, thus they were irrelevant.

    It's not hard to extrapolate from that to showing that all cases where you have a contract that one party doesn't know about are void. It doesn't have to go to trial each time.

    A shrinkwrap license, of EULA clickthrough, that you only see after purchasing the program and weren't specifically told the contents of before, is invalid. This is why the software companies want to push through a law to make these binding, because under current law, they aren't.

    If shrinkwrap licenses were valid, do you think they'd waste millions lobbying for a redundant law?

    Kaa: Again you are confusing the act of using something and the act of buying something. The analogy, in your terms, is not to reading a book, but to buying a book.

    Nope. Buying something gives you the right to use it in all ways that aren't prohibited by law or pre-existing (before or as part of the purchase) contracts.

    It's the old argument of, I can buy a book and burn it, or laugh at it, or read it, etc. The seller has no control over my actions. Copyright law does limit some things I can do with it, but those restrictions have nothing to do with the specific book or seller.

    Software is exactly the same way, except that it's more functional than a book, so some wise guy decided to try click-through licenses. But the software can't offer you anything of value (consideration in legal terms) to sign the contract, so it's void. They could offer you usage of the software, in trade for money, but you've already paid for, and have the right to use the software, so what they offer you has no value.
    They *could* offer extras, like a service contract, in trade for you agreeing to the EULA. But there'd have to be a way for you to use the software fully without agreeing, or they'd be using coercion (illegally withholding your rights) to force you to sign.

    There is *no* way under current law that a shrinkwrap or click-through license is valid.

    The GPL is a different animal because it allows you the usage you're entitled to, but if you agree to a further contract, it lets you do more.

    The GPL has more restrictions that freeware, but less than a book or un-GPLed program, because there's no way to legally distribute a changed copy of the book, without specifically contacting the author/publisher and asking. The GPL removes a step, offering you a contract, that you may choose to accept.
  • But they came for your whiny cowardly ass at the end right? Then it's all good baby.
  • By the way, my apologies for the HTML tags in the forgoing. I posted it extrans by mistake.
  • I can think of two analogies, one to cover DeCSS and another to cover Cyberpatrol.

    People routinely make fair copies of copyrighted materials for private use. I tape shows on my VCR for later viewing. I also audiotape some CDs to listen in the car. This is considered fair use, and as the article points out is why copyright does not conflict with the first amendment. What DMCA's anti TPM measures do, in effect, is to make it it illegal to own the equivalents of VCRs and tape recorders for future media. This cover the DVD case.

    In the CyberPatrol case, suppose that Ford shipped a defective car, and Consumer Reports analyzed this and published their results and testing procedure. What DMCA makes illegal is the equivalent for electronic products. You could still discuss things in generalities, but you couldn't give enough details for users of the product to verify your conclusions independently.

    Of course, it isn't that simple. What DMCA does is insidious. It does not ostensibly remove any of these rights. What it does is allow manufacturers to limit these rights by making the means to excercise them illegal.

    Analogies are almost always imperfect, but I think these cover the facts better than the proDMCA's assertion that without DMCA the electronic equivalent of breaking into a store and stealing books was legal..
  • I disagree. Probably the best way to censor the computer you have at home is to install monitoring software. This software would log everywhere the person went.

    I know this is a privacy issue but it would be private citizens installing it on private computers for monitoring their children. It could also be a way of keeping enployees in check. Just display the logs of all the employees internet browsing, including the boss, in an easily accessable site. The system becomes self regulating.

    I've had experience with this. To stop somone from going to porn sites all I told them was that I could get on the computer and see every where they went. They never did it again. It has worked supprisingly well. If they were to have done it I would find out then the internet would be unpluged. Fear of being cought held them in check.

  • And of course their is such a thing as the "Right to make a profit".

    No, there isn't.

    If you fail to make a profit then it sucks to be you, but your rights have not been violated in any way.

    This point was made very neatly in Robert Heinlein's first published story, "Life-Line". The protagonist builds a machine that accurately predicts when someone will die. Naturally, the insurance companies are upset, and respond by filing a frivolous lawsuit (just like Mattel). I wish I had the story handy to quote the judge's decision blasting the plaintiff for trying to sell the notion that he has a "right" to make a profit despite the fact that changing circumstances have made his product obsolete.

  • Lessig is right. DMCA does not prohibit fair use. But (and this is a really big BUT) DMCA does prohibit unauthorized access for whatever purpose, be it fair use or not.
    Where does it say that in the law? The anti-circumvention portion, which I quoted from, specifically says that it is not illegal to circumvent protection measures, if such circumvention is necessary to allow "fair use". That supersedes the anti-circumvention provision itself.

    Is there another clause that says otherwise?
  • But, Section 1201, Paragraph 2 has no such fair use exemption.
    That's an interesting twist. If your interpretation is correct, it would pretty much render the fair use exception moot, because we can't expect every consumer to individually develop his own DeCSS (or whatever.)

    Maybe "a work protected under this title" does not include such works to which the fair use exception applies? It's a stretch, but I can't imagine the law was really intended to say what it seems to be saying.

    Are there any legal types out there who could offer a better interpretation?
  • It is difficult for mainstream America to get their mind around this issue! This weekend I went home to visit the folks, & I was trying to explain the problems with the DCMA, & had a VERY hard time getting my point across.

    My father isn't a dolt either, he has a doctorate in Audiology & Speech pathology, and has a couple patents and inventions to his name. We need a simple analogy so that regular people can understand this issue!
  • I disagree here.. someone buys the program and decrypts the list. someone buys a car and looks under the hood. where does the stealing come in?
  • And consumer magazines are criminal too, ofcourse.. someone may actually find out a certain product does not do what it's supposed to do, and decide not to buy it! Wow! more theft!

  • Nope. I don't get it. I am legally allowed to build my own recordplayer. I can build me own green/red 3d glasses for those neat 3d pictures. And I am also allowed to read a book through whatever glasses I happen to wear or not wear. But I can't build my own dvd player, even though I already payed for the software (movie). hell.. I can even build my own movieprojector or VCR, which does much the same thing. apparently the medium decides the copyright, which is strange to say the least...

  • When I look around, I already see a backlash. Unfortunately this backlash is not against companies, governments or organization, but rather seems to be directed against the US. The place where companies can do what they want, and where individuals don't count. The place where I can walk the streets with an assault rifle, yelling: "Hitler was a l33t d00d!!", but cant even get a decent beer until I'm 21. Where I can practically get arrested for walking around with a porn pic on my t-shirt for fear of hurting the children. The backlash is already here, and I fear there is not much that can stop it.

  • "That's perfectly normal, sir. That engine is supposed to squeak"

    nuff said....

  • If I buy a car, I am allowed to look under the hood. If I buy food, I can look what it's made of. If I buy a computer, I can take it apart. But in the US I have no rights whatsoever over a prgram that I bought. I can't look under the hood, see what's in it or anything. Nobody is forcing companies to do anything, but some companies are forcing consumers to stand up for their rights. Fine, you have the right to own a gun.. but before long that could be the ONLY right you have left as an individual. All other rights are only for companies.

  • The DMCA could be the most profoundly damaging tool ever used against investigative journalism. If it is illegal to decrypt something copyrighted, by even trivially encrypting internal corporate memos like the Halloween documents or the tobacco companies' executive briefs on the deliberate manipulation of nicotine levels in cigarettes, corporations can provide themselves powerful protection against leaks. Publishing any part of a damning--but previously encrypted--document would be sufficient evidence of a criminal activity; to wit, the unauthorized decryption of those documents, that RJR could sue a newspaper publisher for millions, and possibly win.

    If an employee uses authorized software like his e-mail reader to decrypt a memo, then print it, it could still be illegal. He was using the software in an unauthorized manner; to wit, decrypting proprietary copyrighted material to deliver it to someone outside the company.

    Don't forget that it was the press, not the government, that got the first evidence of astroturfing, nicotine doping, the Love Canal coverup, mercury dumping, "embrace and extend", Unsafe at Any Speed, planned automobile obsolescence, and countless other example of unconscionable behavior on the part of American and international corporations. And it was the press that exposed Nixon's illegal bombing campaigns and the Watergate coverup. Could he have used parts of the DMCA to fight them off, by handing them an encrypted tape then, having them arrested as soon as they broke it?

    Unless the courts strike down these specious restrictions on "fair use", US citizens are badly, badly screwed, by their own government, on behalf of monied corporate interests.


  • There was a very interesting Frontline [] last night discussing the fifteen billion dollar libel suit Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds threatened against 60 Minutes. Faced with a libel judgment of almost three times CBS's eventual selling price, they pulled the story. Quoting Don Hewitt's 1995.10.17 National Press Club address:
    We have a story that we think is solid. We don't think anybody could ever sue us for libel. There are some twists and turns, and if you get in front of a jury in some states where the people on that jury are all related to people who work in tobacco companies, look out. That's a $15 billion gun pointed at your head. We may opt to get out of the line of fire. that doesn't make me proud, but it's not my money. I don't have $15 billion.

    The suit claimed in part that a researcher for Brown & Williamson tobacco, Jeffrey Wigland, would be in violation of his severance contract's non-disclosure clause. The whole thing is well covered at the story's web page [].

    If you read Cryptonomicon [], you heard a lot about tactical litigation. The way Philip Morris and RJR engaged in "tortious interference" against the corporation attempting to run a news story is another real-world example.

    The biggest problem with the 60 Minutes debacle was that the decision to pull the story is that the network was up for sale at the time it was made, and that it was made on the recommendation of corporate executives, not news directors. The chairman of CBS received $12M, the general counsel, who recommended to kill the story, received $1.2M. They would not have made that money if Westinghouse didn't buy CBS at $5.6B, and Westinghouse would not have bought the company if it had a $15B lawsuit hanging over it's head.

    Ironically, the story did end up making the news, not directly, but in stories by other news agencies, discussing not the spiking allegation itself, but the tobacco industry's litigious efforts to supress it.


  • Let me see if I have this straight. Some folks who got very rich by exploiting old school control and scarcity economics bought themselves a law that protects their gravy train. The folks who comprise the courts were appointed by the same politicians who sold themselves in the form of the DMCA and only considered candidates for said courts that have gone through the "classic education" system and therefore don't understand the new paradigm. All these folks live in the vacuum known as "The Belt", go to the same cocktail parties, and rehash the same old school concepts as if doing so makes these ideas new and fresh. Now . . . what was the question again?

    I think, therefore, ken_i_m

  • That's just brilliant - it basically amounts to a grand new scheme for copyright holders to make more money.
    Indeed some people argue that this is the real driving force behind DMCA.
  • I haven't read the actual text of the DMCA, but if unencoding encrypted information is illegal, why aren't DVD players illegal?
    Because "legit" DVD players supposedly have the copyright holder's "authority" to do so.

    Read the DMCA (know your enemy).

  • DTV will be a reality in the near future (here in finland they are starting broadcasts real soon), now imagine that broadcasting companies start embedding a copyprotection into the bit stream of their broadcasts, as with CSS it needn't be perfect it could even be blantanly easy to crack but thanks to the DMCA, videotaping these kind of transmissions would be illegal. (well at least in the states, not here though)

    This is right on the money except for the part where you think it will only by illegal in the US. If it happens here it will spread.

    The idea is to make everyone pay every single time they watch something. No more going out and buying that movie your kids want to watch 500 times. If they want to watch it 500 times, you pay 500 times. No more 5 day video rentals. If mom, pop, bro, and sis all want to watch the movie but can't on the same schedule, too bad--pay 4X. You get an important phone call or are called out on an emergency, too bad you can pay again to watch the rest later (2X)... theoretically. But perhaps they don't intend to rip us off that bad. who knows...

    By the way, this part is very important: If you must pay each time you watch something, then there will need to be a way to track each thing you watch. And circumventing the tracking will be illegal as well. Privacy concerns anyone?

    I hope I'm wrong, but I think this is where their heading with this whole DMCA thing.

  • It really disgusts me the way the DMCA is being used to control information. It's been said for years that information would become the center of our economy. Just as our information infrastructure really starts taking off we get slipped a law that tilts the playing field even further in favor of big corporations. This is not coincidental. It's not about piracy, and it's not even about money as much as it is about control of information. To be specific: in the "digital millenium" gain control of the information first, then the power and money will follow. The Linux/OSS industry serves as a great example of how powerful a force information (knowledge, data, code, etc) is and how it can be so effectively turned into money and power.

    And the big guys aren't as stupid or short-sighted as they'd like us to believe. They know that most power and money will be derived from information now. This is why they're all fighting for control of the flow of imformation be it through controlling distribution, controlling production, censorship. Businesses and government have plenty of people that are all about power and money and understand the new way to get it. Control of information and/or it's distribution in any way automatically gives you power and as I said the money will follow. This is not a new idea, nor is it my own. It just happens to be truer than ever these days.

    One can only hope that the aggressive bullying going on by Mattel, the RIAA, the MPAA, etc will backfire on them. Maybe eventually people will see what's going on and get pissed off about it. Getting the word out is the hard part. The sad thing is that the major news outlets probably have more to gain by being able to stake a claim on their area of distribution so they're unlikely to go out of their way to encourage freedom of information distribution for the small guys.

    How about lobbying for laws to protect our freedom? It seems like all the laws I hear of are all about taking away freedoms. Are we too free or something? Is that why? I'd personally like to see some new laws protecting the free flow of information. There's just way too much incentive to control the flow of information these days. And how do you convince the average person that information is that important? Sorry for the rheotoric but I'm a little aggravated right now.

  • The entire DeCSS affair and the other cases around the DMCA have generated a lot of fuss and made people re-think copyright issues, fair use definitions, the legality of region coding on old movies etc. etc. In all of this there is one development which hasn't gotten enough attention in my opinion, especially since its impact is truly gigantic in comparison to the DVD dilemma. The sentence pointed out in this /. story entails the seed of enormous profits for the MPAA and various other corporations in the film/tv-media industry. combine the statement that "digital copyright protection may not be circumvented by code/technology even if fair use would allow the use of said material" with two words: "digital television". DTV will be a reality in the near future (here in finland they are starting broadcasts real soon), now imagine that broadcasting companies start embedding a copyprotection into the bit stream of their broadcasts, as with CSS it needn't be perfect it could even be blantanly easy to crack but thanks to the DMCA, videotaping these kind of transmissions would be illegal. (well at least in the states, not here though) be afraid, (no kidding) be very afraid...
  • > Firstly, please do not add breaks at the end of each line.

    Fine just this once...really the slashdot comments box needs to be much larger. Personally, I prefer narrow collumns of text, easier to read.

    > Secondly, our economy is already strangled by
    > the slew of so-called "consumer rights"
    > which are basically ways for the government to
    > exert its control

    I am not asking for any "government control" in
    fact I am arguing AGAINST government control.

    Capitalist ideas (which I do fundamentally
    disagree with) say that you should be able to
    sell your product. Fine. What I am arguing is
    NOT that they should not be able to sell a
    product, it is that they should NOT be allowed
    to lie about it.

    Market forces alone are IN THEORY enough to
    stop these things. The fact is, IN PRACTICE ,
    they are not. Companies have found that it is
    more profitable to make shoddy product and
    hide the fact that its shoddy than to actually
    compete and make a good product.

    > And of course their is such a thing as the
    > "Right to make a profit".

    No you have the right to TRY and make a profit.
    Whether you make one or not is completly a
    differnt story.

    What you are defending is the right of a company
    to stop consumers from looking at their products
    and making informed decisions.

    Why is it that the only recognized "individual
    liberties" are the "right to be profitable"?
    Should I not have the right to speak out?

    If you make a car that is unsafe, shouldn't I
    be able to tell people why it is unsafe? Should
    you be allowed to make untrue claims about your

    Now, I am not asking for government control. I am asking for the removal of a government control. The removal of a control that serves NO purpose except to allow companies to hide the defects of their products from the public.

    Just because we are "capitalist" doesn't mean that
    profit can be our only motivation. What is wrong
    with a person publishing information to help
    people make informed decisions?

    There are some things that are just more
    important than a companies "ability to profit"
    and if they violate these things, then they
    deserve what they get.
  • > Yet another story about "Your Rights Online"
    > which, translated into /. speak, is "My Right To
    > Not Pay For Anything", which admittedly isn'
    > quite as snappy.

    Not only is it not as snappy, its not an argument
    that anyone has actually made, except you in your
    straw man.

    Do you have no concept of the fact that other
    people think differently then you? Is your view
    on the way things "should be" the only possible
    "correct viewpoint"?

    I am sorry, I don't agree. I recognize, yes. If
    you create something, you have the right to do
    whatever you want with it. However, I do not
    recognize your claimed "right" to tell other
    people what they are allowed to do with their
    copies of it (assuming you allowed them to have

    I can't really speak about this in a legal sense
    because I am no lawyer and the body of law on
    the subject is (as usual with law) much more
    large and convoluted than even some of the more
    interested people, like myself, have time to
    actually read.

    What you are asking for is the "Right to restrict
    what other people can do". That is not a right
    that I recognize. (unfortunaly my government may
    in some circumstances recognize this suposed
    right, however, my government has never actually
    represented my interests...but thats ok...I don't
    represent their interests either. (they don't
    recognize my rights to do what I want, I don't
    recognize their right to tell me what to do...its
    a weird relationship...we just ignore eachother

    Anyway,...noone is arguing for the "Right to have
    everything for free". Just simply arguing that
    just because you worked on something, doesn't
    give you the right to bully other people around.

    As a matter of fact, I have read a small bit of
    copyright law, and some descriptions of it by
    people who have law degrees and actually understan
    the legal mumbo jumbo.

    Even copyright law doesn't say you "own what
    you make". It says you "hold copyright". Its
    a limited time thing. it is not "property".
    Is there any concept in real physical property
    that says "75 years after the person who claims
    the propery (or builds it, makes it) dies, it
    becomes public domain for anyone who wants it,
    even if the builder has living relatives who are
    using it at the time"?

    Talking in terms of "theft" and "property" is
    just plain wrong. Its not.
  • If I buy a commercial software, or a music CD. I may not distribute any copies of it.
    I may, however, make copies for my *personal* use.

    The copy that I use in my car stereo is legal.
    The backup copy of my software is legal.
    The review (including small quotes) I publish about the book I read is legal.
    The warning I publish about documented unwanted side effects of a product is legal. (if my claims are true)
    Teaching others what I have learned at a course is legal (as long as I do not copy any material)

    Your mileage may vary depending on jurisdiction, but these are examples of *legal* copies. aka fair use.

    "They" want the legal means to restrict our rights, so that we can only do what we are explicitly allowed by "them". Not what we want to do, not what the law otherwise allows, not what we migt need to do in the future (after the company holding my keys has gone under).

    Only what they explicitly allow.

    Nothing else.

  • When it comes to censoreware, they are a little more concerned, but it always comes back to "I'm not affected, and it's probably good for my kids."

    Here's the real problem with not caring:

    • They came first for the Communists...
      but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
    • Then they came for the Jews...
      but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
    • Then they came for the Unionists...
      but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Unionist.
    • Then they came for the Catholic...
      but I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
    • Then they came for me...and by that time...
      there was no-one left to speak up for me.

    This is a quote from Rev. Martin Niemoller, commenting on events in Germany 1933-1939

  • By the way, have you people noticed the news yesterday (CNNfn story here [])? Mattel is planning to sell it's software company, Learning Co., which is the maker of Cyber Patrol. Learning Co. made $300 million loss last year, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the factors leading to the decision to sell the company would be the bad reputation Mattel is getting from it, and all the trouble with legal hassle.

    I tried to submit the story but it got rejected, I guess there's been too much Mattel pounding already :)

  • There's something about this CPhack issue that really disturbs me. One of the guys creating cphack is from Sweden and the other is from Canada. Note that neither of these two states belong to the USA. The DMCA is a US law and as such it is supposed to be valid only for US citizens. Yet it seems that this case heavily involves DMCA that is not supposed to be valid for these guys? What's next? An american entity suing dutch coffee shops on the basis that marjuana is illegal in the US, or what?
  • Well, yes and no. You are arguing that by buying the DVDs, they are still profiting from the purchase of the discs and they don't need to profit from the player. I agree with that completely. But what I'm saying is that the MPAA is greedy and wants to profit from both and they will do anything to defend their hold on the DVD market. As long as they can make money off of both, they will do anything they can to do that.

  • If unencoding encrypted information was illegal, then why would anyone ever encrypt it? It would be illegal to ever decrypt it again.

    What the DMCA refers to is the unauthorized decryption of protected materials. Everyone who builds an MPAA authorized DVD player pays the MPAA a fee to allow them to use the MPAA's version of DeCSS. This is one of the biggest reasons the MPAA hates DeCSS so much. Everyone that used it rather than an MPAA approved player costs the MPAA money (liscensing fees).


  • Yes, its still about money but also control.

    And why does the MPAA want control. To make more money. Yes, I know it's a little circular, but in the end, everything the MPAA is doing is for more profit on their end.


  • remind me of each other.

    For insurance purposes, the swimming pool has to have a fence, it has to be a non-trivial fence, and it has to be locked. You have to have demonstrated not just intent, but reasonable measures to prevent accidental drowning by unauthorized swimmers.

    Now apply it to the anticircumvention measures of the DMCA. They haven't said how hard the electronic publishers have to try to protect their art. Can they encrypt the data by XORing with "DMCARulz" and call the data 'protected'?

    From what I see, they can. One could argue that the CSS key used to develop deCSS was 'trivially' protected, almost as bad as the XOR encryption example.

    One could also argue that the owner of a swimming pool that lightly protected would be readily open to lawsuit.

    There, I've just Rot13'ed my data. Now I consider it encrypted and protected. By pressing the Rot13 button on your newsreader after October, you're breaking the law. Those who write and distribute newsreaders are breaking the law, now.
  • The MPAA v. Goldstein et al case was based on this very paragraph of the DMCA. The judge wouldn't listen to "fair use" arguments in the preliminary hearing because "fair use" is a defense to copyright infringement and the defendants were accused of distributing means to bypass controls not copyright infringement.

    The answer to this is the Sony Betamax case (sorry, I don't have a proper citation) in it the Supreme Court held that if there are non-infringing uses to a technology, it can not be held to violate copyright to distribute it. Essentially, the EFF needs to get someone to declare at least this paragraph of the DMCA unconstitutional.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • But, Section 1201, Paragraph 2 has no such fair use exemption. It may be fair use to use DeCSS on a copy that you have purchased, but Paragraph 2 makes it illegal for anyone to distribute a means to accomplish your fair use. Of what good is the fair use right to decrypt your DVD or your CyberPatrol list if you have to get an advanced degree in cryptoanalysis to do it?

    (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--

    `(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

    `(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or

    `(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • I suggest that we plan to conduct a letter writing campaign to promote Lawrence Lessig as a candidate for the next open seat on the Supreme Court.

    Lessig: He Gets It.
    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @04:05AM (#1152955)
    This may be one the more highly rated AC posts of all time.

    Andy Walton wrote this, many years back.


    > Right. Freedom without responsibility is no freedom at all.

    And responsibility without freedom is not responsibility at all.
    Totalitarian control of human beings means the death of responsibility,
    as everyone is "just following orders."

    <engage rant mode>

    I would rather be a brain-dead junkie in a gutter with a sticky copy of
    Hustler as a result of my OWN stupidity than a clean and well-fed
    automaton in a tiki-taki house with my actions dictated by you or
    another self-anointed earthly representative of God's Will ((C), All
    Rights Reserved). I want to run through parking lots like a lunatic,
    fall and scrape my knees. I want to color outside the lines. I want to
    cover myself with lime Jello and run down the street shouting random
    lines from Finnegan's Wake (are there any non-random lines in Finnegan's
    Wake?). If I want to smack my skull against the wall, damn it, it's my
    skull and my wall. If I want to sing the Leave it to Beaver theme in
    Esperanto while whacking off with topless pictures of Sandra Bernhart
    and standing ankle-deep in a galvanized steel tub full of Kraft Honey
    Dijon salad dressing, that's none of your business.

    And if this means that I'll be shot as an anarchist when the revolution
    comes, so be it; I'd rather have the worm-eaten stench of a private tomb
    than the prim, sterile, chrome-lined common tomb which people like you
    want to make of the Earth. And when they decide that you're not quite
    orthodox enough, I'll save you the next spot over up against the wall.

    <rant mode off>

    Clear enough?
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @04:22AM (#1152956) Homepage
    > If you help or facilitate the breaking of
    > copyright protection, you have violated the DCMA.

    This ain't nothing new, actually. Copier manufacturers, cable stealers, etc. have been getting this for years. But cable is an ongoing service; DVD's are a product you buy. The idea that you're only allowed to use a product you buy in ways that the manufacturer has deemed profitable to them--and that you're not allowed to give the manufacturer the finger--yeah, that's new.

  • by Forge ( 2456 ) <kevinforge&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:57AM (#1152957) Homepage Journal
    Censorware is a natural application for artificial intelligence if ever there was one. In fact you cannot have effective Censorware without employing a reasonably mature AI.

    All the censorware really has to do is read through each page and look at each picture before putting it on screen to figure out whether it is porn or not. It takes some skill to know the difference between an artistic nude and a XXX pix.

    Personally I like the whole human supervision thing. Let your kids know that mom or dad or the made or big sis could just walk in and see what he is viewing before s/he has a chance to react. More importantly provide that strong moral base that lets a child not really care about porn.

    This reminds me of the situation with Alcohol. In the west liqueur is restricted from the kids. Mom and pop drink but they don't dare let the child near the stuff. The result is that he sneaks off to sip a little while nobody is looking and grows up into a drunk lying across the barroom door. Jewish kids on the other hand get wine at major feasts ( Passover, Wedding etc... ). The result is that they get to see this as something they can have if they want to but which has a foul taste. The result is fewer drunks.

    Anybody want to take bets as to the relationship between censorship and the higher rates of all sexual dysfunction in the US? If not for America, it wouldn't have occurred to me that there is a link between sex and chains.
  • by troc ( 3606 ) <(troc) (at) (> on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @04:36AM (#1152958) Homepage Journal
    It is a US law but that doesn't stop countries like the UK (where I live) to follow suit (pun intended :)

    We have our own bill of weirdness here, the RIP bill which is designed to allow aceess by the authorities of encrypted data - it's supposed to help catch rapists and child molesters etc. The out come of it is such that they can force you to hand over your keys etc or they will chuck you in gaol for a coupel of years - if you've lost or forgotten the key, you have to prove it (how does one prove they've forgotten a key?).

    Problem here is that 2 years is less that a sentence for child molesting etc.......

    For more information, go here []

    Erm, my point was that this bill will hopefully be ruled against the EU human rights acts :)

    So there you go - it's not just the States that puts out stupid, short sighted bills!!


  • I think a more plausable attack on these lines would be "It doesn't effectively control access, because the access control is utterly undiscriminating in the case of fair use - it blocks fair use as well as unauthorised access, therefore it is not effective within the parameters that it must operate. It violates the First Sale principle."
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @05:17AM (#1152960)
    This in an excellent analogy. What if it had been illegal to critically examine the Corvair in Unsafe at Any Speed?


  • by Bob McCown ( 8411 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:34AM (#1152961)
    Back when the CyberPatrol thing was going on, I sent a very polite letter to Mattel telling them that I would no longer by any of their products because they were using their product to effectively censor criticism of their product etc. Finally, 2 days ago, I recieved a formletter from Mattel basically saying "for questions on our products, call this number"....

    Great public relations, ignore the problem and it'l go away....

  • OK, let me see if I understand this. A child pornographer has collected a gigabyte worth of disgusting pictures. He took the pictures himself and copyrighted them. He encrypts the pictures with a weak encryption scheme and sells them to other perverts. The FBI wants to catch this sicko. Does the FBI violate DMCA if they decrypt the pictures?
  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @05:35AM (#1152963) Homepage
    In other words, Lessig was wrong, the DMCA does not prohibit fair use.

    Lessig is right. DMCA does not prohibit fair use. But (and this is a really big BUT) DMCA does prohibit unauthorized access for whatever purpose, be it fair use or not.

    Think about some beer in a fridge. You can drink the beer -- no problem, it's legal. However, opening the fridge happens to be illegal. No, nobody is trying to keep you from drinking that beer, no, no, you have full rights to this beer, it's all yours -- you just can't open the fridge.

  • by messman ( 32358 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @05:03AM (#1152964)
    Here is the preamble of the DMCA:

    To amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty, and for other purposes.

    As you can see, the DMCA is the result of a World treaty on intellectual property. It is not an only-American thing. It's just that America implemented it first, but soon everybody in the World will be hit by it.

    Be prepared, and don't laugh at Americans.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @05:30AM (#1152965) Homepage Journal
    <i>It's this attitude that you have a right to pirate stuff and crack other people's programs that has led to laws like the DMCA and UCITA. They were created in response to the illegal activities of computer hackers to provide a measure of security for other people's works. </i>

    This argument suffers from the same problem that every other pro-DMCA argument I've seen has.

    If these activities were <i>illegal</i>, then why why were <i>new</i> laws necessary?

    This is like the argument that without DMCA, it was legal to do the equivalent of breaking into a bookstore to steal the books. It fundamentally misrepresents what DMCA is about. DMCA is not about making piracy illegal. Piracy was illegal before DMCA, and it is no <i>more</i> illegal after. DMCA is about giving the copyright holders' lawyers more powerful tools to combat piracy.

    So far so good, but there's an old Chinese proverb: many laws make many criminals. When you hand somebody a powerful legal weapon, you have to ask how purpose specific is it? The problem with DMCA is that the tools it gives the copyright holders aren't particularly beneficial to preventing piracy, but are very powerful in restricting the normal, non-infringing and heretofore legal use by consumers. Of course, this is economically beneficial to the producers of copyrighted materials. Otherwise they would not want it so badly. However, just because it increases the profits of copyright holders is not sufficient to make it a good law.
  • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @04:40AM (#1152966)
    the public at large is totally unaware that their rights are being taken away. In the censoreware example, people for the most part actually think that it is beneficial for their children to have censoreware installed in public places. And like much of the everyday technology they use (toasters, cars, TVs) they expect that it will just work. It never occurs to them that it could be blocking something legitimate!

    However what is actually being taken away is the right of people to examine such products and tell people if they actually work. As I have said before I'm sure the US motor industry is wishing they had though of lobbying for the same kind of laws in the 1960's.
    Maybe in needs explaining that an absolute right to examine and critque any product is an essential part of any free society. With the only people who benefit from silencing of critical examination of any product, be it a car, a piece of software or a pen are those who produce shoddy products and falsely advertise them.
  • by kaphka ( 50736 ) <> on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @05:01AM (#1152967)
    From the DMCA [], section 1201, B:
    The prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) [anti-circumvention] shall not apply to persons who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of works, if such persons are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make noninfringing uses of that particular class of works under this title...
    In other words, Lessig was wrong, the DMCA does not prohibit fair use.

    Of course, it goes on to say that it's up to the Librarian of Congress (?!) to decide, in advance, what constitutes circumvention for the purpose of fair use. That hasn't happened yet. But then again, as others have pointed out, the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA haven't taken effect yet anyway -- not until October.
  • by CokeJunky ( 51666 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:45AM (#1152968)
    This kind of article scares me.

    American law has always bent the way of the corparation and ensures that they make as much money as possible, at the expense of the rights of the individual.

    The only real case hear has nothing to do with "protecting the morals of our youth"... It was a huge embaressment that a couple of programmers made a tool to render the software useless. Would you as a parent or an institution buy software that was easy to circumvent?

    I offer my congrats to the authors of CPHack on GLPing it and then seeling your "rights" to the program to Mattel, that has to be the funnyest legal hack I have ever heard of.

    Frankly what we need to protect the morals of our children are parents that actually spend time with their kids, not plop them down infront of a TV or computer as an e-babysitter. If we take the time to teach our children right from wrong in the first place, such big-brother-esque software as CyberPatrol would not be neccessary.

    If mattel wanted to "protect the morals of our children" They should pull their entire barbie line of products, for those give young girls a wrong idea of beauty, that will eventually lead to problems such as Anorexia and Bulemia. Mattel and it's group of companies sell many toys that espouse violence... Mattel has never cared about morals in the first place, only the bottom line.
  • by anatoli ( 74215 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @04:38AM (#1152969) Homepage
    If I buy a car, I can replace whatever part I want by an aftermarket equivalent. Suppose the original lightbulbs in the car cost $15 a pop and have an average lifetime of 100 hours. There's an aftermarket bulb that costs $2 a pop and have a lifetime of 10000 hours.

    Now the car manufacturer puts a little lock on the lightbulb compartment, and gives keys only to authorized shops. You say "Screw them" -- and rightly so! -- and break the lock.

    Now the car manufacturer puts a little digital lock on the lightbulb compartment. You say "Screw them"...but it's you who gets screwed. Why? Because they wrote a little haiku inside the lightbulb compartment. And you've circumvented a technological measure in order to gain access to the copyrighted work.

    Ok maybe you can prove in the court that you didn't really want to access their copyrighted work. All you wanted is to change a lightbulb. Maybe. But the lawyer will cost you much more than the lifetime supply of original lightbulbs.

  • by markt4 ( 84886 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @05:07AM (#1152970)
    Actually, now it seems to be "sell the problem and it'll go away". See this article []. Mattel is trying to sell The Learning Company, producer of CyberPatrol.

    Let's hope that whoever buys The Learning Company has a better understanding of the value of opening the blocked sites list than Mattel did. Anybody know if the CPHack settlement was with Mattel or The Learning Company (or both)? I wonder if the terms of the settlement will pass to the company buying The Learning Company.
  • This reminds me of one of those weird little
    moments that I had last summer.

    I was walking through Harvard Square (Cambridge
    MA). I saw a man dressed up vageuly like "Uncle
    Sam" with a big pot and a sign about legalizing

    I went over and threw a dollar in his pot to
    show my support, then he turned to me and said
    "good but thats not going to help much. If
    you really want to help, save up and buy us
    a Senator or two, thats how you get
    things done"
  • > For christ's sake, i thought this was america.
    > this shit pisses me off.

    You thought this was america? Well thats what
    you are suposed to think. Big money buys legal
    force. Thats the way things have worked for
    several centuries, all over the globe. Where
    have you been?

    There are basically 2 ways anything gets done in
    a republic like ours.

    1) Someone throws a shitload of money at congress
    and gets themselves what they want (common)
    2) Enough people get together that the people in
    congress realise that if they do not ignore #1 and
    do what these people want, they will not be
    re-elected. (very rare)

    Barring those two, its a crapshoot of mostly
    doubletalk and bullshit to make people think
    they are making a difference.

    As RMS said in his recent interview (no I am not
    a blind RMS follower, I just happen to think he
    hit the nail right on the head) there is a big
    tendancy of people in power to ignore "individual
    rights" unless its the "right to do something

    (if you don't believe this...look at the absolute
    beating that Free Speech has taken in congress the
    past 5 years or so... CDA I, CDAII, Methamphetamin
    Anti-proliferation act, DMCA. The people in power
    are very willing to disregard individual
    freedom if it meets their political agenda.)
  • No no no.

    If a consumer decides, based on information that
    you give them, not to buy a product. Then you have
    not "stolen" from the company.

    The company did not "lose money" they simply did
    not "make more". No company has a right to any
    money that they do not already have.

    Under you rlogic any sort of consumer protection
    advisories should be outlawed.

    I am sorry, but a consumer has a RIGHT to know
    about a product before they buy it. They have a
    RIGHT to be able to make sure that it doesn't do
    nasty things. Furthermore, they have a RIGHT to
    NOT buy it, if they find that it does something
    other than what it is advertised as doing.

    If the company loses money because people find
    out what it REALLY does, then it is their own
    fault for making a bad product. Consumers have
    a right to know about these things.

    There is no such thing as a "Right to make a
    profit". If they want profit, they should have
    to work for it, and make something worth buying,
    not just make a bad product and supress any
    dissenting opionions.
  • by kd5biv ( 129563 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:55AM (#1152974)
    Anybody remember what movies were like in the 50's? A few easily offended people decided they didn't want anybody to see anything naughty at the picture show, and so the movie industry had to put up with a couple of decades of official censorship by people whose self-appointed duty was protecting the morals of our innocent children.

    Let's hope it takes them a little less than 20 years to realize they're making the same mistake ..
  • by anatoli ( 74215 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @04:02AM (#1152975) Homepage
    to the DMCA problem.

    What is needed is a programming language that closely resembles English (or other natural language). Not like COBOL, much closer. So closely that programs in that language would be (mostly) correct English texts. It is not necessary that this language will be easy to program in. OTOH it should be very easy to read what is written in it, even for non-programmers.

    Here's how it should look like:

    1. Let X be content of file "censorware.exe"
    2. Let Y be byte number 2745 of X
    3. Let Z be Y added with 73091
    4. Let T be byte number Z of X
    Publish that in an (hypothetical) Online Journal of Applied Cryptology (a refined version of sci.crypt [sci.crypt]).

    Now that's speech, isn't it?

    Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. I'm not even an American.

  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:57AM (#1152976) Homepage
    [Damnit. Two really bitter Slashdot posts in a row. This doesn't bode well.]

    You know, the more I think about this, the more I'm beginning to realize this is really the argument we need to start making.

    There are lots of complicated arguments I could make, but I think I'd rather just leave it at--

    If I bought it, it's mine. If I want to sell it, it's mine to sell. If I want break it into little tiny pieces, if I want to put it in the microwave, if I want to worship it as a proclaimation that God himself is going to touch down in a UFO on Main Street at 2:48PM, damnit, I don't need whoever sold it to me's permission to believe in whatever the heck I want to in their product!

    See, that's the nice thing about capitalism. There's no central planner to say that you have to sit here, or go there, or be nice. There's no excessive transmission of executable context, to speak in geek terms. You pay the cash, you get the product.

    Without passing judgement on the rightness or wrongness of communism, there's some delicious irony in that while Open Sourcers are supposedly the biggest backers of communism, we're the ones screaming our brains out over software freedom while the biggest companies in the world lick their chops on the concept of being The Central Planner.

    After all, what are these newfangled "circumvention-resistent" devices but a yoke against which our core freedoms as consumers are jerked away? Imagine, for a moment, that Master(a fine purveyor of padlocks) was powerful enough to extract a licensing fee from any makers of lockers, safes, and doors. Imagine you needed to prove, *to the lock*, that the object it was being placed on was licensed before you'd get your key.

    Lemme tell you what'd happen, real quick: People would figure out how to bust the key--which they bought, when they bought that lock--out, so they could go about their business of doing whatever they damn well pleased with *their* *property*.

    The only reason these laws are getting passed is because people seem to think this is limited to just tech stuff.

    We're talking about *basic* *freedoms*, here. We're talking about *the right to private property*. When I buy a master lock, I buy the lock, and I buy the key.

    When I buy a DVD, I buy the lock, and I buy the key. They're right there on the disc. Sure, they're made difficult to get to, but I've got 80 head screwdrivers for the reasons of custom screw designs *BUILT* to make it difficult for me to get to things. But ya know what?

    If I wanna break my car, it's my car to break. If I wanna throw my DVDs in the Microwave, it's my aluminum to fry. If I wanna use the keys on that disc for something The Manufacturer Just Wouldn't Approve of, damnit, it's my disc, they sold it to me, they took my money, they can go away. If I steal the keys off of some DVD I haven't bought, then I'm a thief. If I use the keys on some DVD I bought...


    I'm going to sleep. Maybe when I wake up this nightmare of idiocy will be over.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • "code that cracks a protection device is criminal under the DMCA even if the use of the copyrighted material that the code enables would be fair use."

    `Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

    `(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
    The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.
    (emphasis added)
    Full text: hr2281_dmca_law_19981020_pl105-30 4.html []

  • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:32AM (#1152978) Homepage
    The largest problem facing those of us who are aware of issues like this (Censoreware, DVDs, the DMCA in general, etc...) is that the public at large is totally unaware that their rights are being taken away. In the censoreware example, people for the most part actually think that it is beneficial for their children to have censoreware installed in public places. And like much of the everyday technology they use (toasters, cars, TVs) they expect that it will just work. It never occurs to them that it could be blocking something legitimate! In the case of the DVD issues, very few americans have any need to play a DVD from another region. After all-- our region sees *almost* all of the movies (there are quite a few Japanese imports I would love to get my hands on, but the average American isn't interested) they would want to see. And how many non-geek friends who want to play DVDs do you know that have ONLY an unusual OS and a DVD-ROM? Not many.

    I'd really like to know how we can get a clear, concise, understandable explanation out to the public that will motivate them! I've tried explaining the DVD issue to people, and mostly they don't care one way or the other. When it comes to censoreware, they are a little more concerned, but it always comes back to "I'm not affected, and it's probably good for my kids."

    Ideas are welcome! If you've had success getting these points across, let me know!
  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @03:40AM (#1152979) Homepage

    Now that we've done all the complaining about the law and the DCMA, next step is to get involved.Here's how, Constructive communication to the folks who can make a difference beats whining every time.

    Electronic Frontier Foundation []
    US House of Representatives []
    US Senate []
    Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) []
    Internet Free Expression Alliance (IFEA) []
    Digital Future Coalition (DFC) []
    TRUSTe Privacy Policy Certification Program []

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.