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The Internet

Mueller-Maguhn On Internet Governance 105

minna writes "In a recent article for the major German daily FAZ, Andy Mueller-Maguhn, newly elected ICANN board member for Europe, declares "What lawyers call "intellectual property" is -- as every Latin student knows -- no more than theft from the public domain. And because we, the netizens, now have no intention of letting these thieves destroy the public domain, we had to take a little corrective action; everybody goes their own way and we're all linked to the network. Through the public domain, through the collective unconscious and through Eris, the goddess of conflict, of discord, of argument. ... I intend to keep the public domain free of commercial rules, to guard the free flow of information and to give the bits their own domain. We want endless gardens of data, where the bits can flower, flourish and reproduce. Those are the cultural aspects of my government policy." The English version of his program for ICANN was distributed on the nettime list."
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Mueller-Maguhn On Internet Governance

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am very pleased by the various tidbits I've been hearing in the press lately coming out of the mouths of the newly elected ICANN members. It sounds as though they are fully for the public good & freedom of information. There should be a tough battle ahead against the corporations who want to rule our word. It is sad that GORE/BUSH will be the puppet of our corporate government in America when elected. Truly sad. I'm voting for NAder. Vote.
  • From the first paragraph:
    I could never stand governments. Not at all. It was only the vigilance of my mother that prevented me from joining the left-wing terrorist organization Red Army Faction at around the age of 11.

    This guy would scare makes ESR look like Bob Dole. Pretty cool...


    If you're not wasted, the day is.
  • These are extremely bold words which should find favour with all slashbots worried about the current trends in providing increased "security" for intellectual property due to all those nasty thieves and pirates that lurk in warez boards and FTP sites.

    And whilst I applaud the stand he has chosen to make, I am (again) forced to ask the question, will he be able to acheive any of this? His policy seems to be in direct violation of what business interests want, and it also seems as though this kind of anarchist manifesto brings its own dangers.

    Do we really want one hundred percent freedom from any kind of intellectual property? The existance of the public domain should be fought for, but at the same time people have the right to choose to sell the end-product of their time and effort, not have it stolen and copied the instant they attempt to make it available.

    Just look at the difference in quality between public domain software and licensed software. When things are in the public domain they are invariably of a far lower quality than equivalent things in the commercial domain. Without financial reward a lot of work would simply not be done, and we'd all be poorer for the loss of a huge part of our cultural heritage.

    Remember, some of the greatest artists of all time were paid to do what they did. If they hadn't have been paid, do you think that we'd have some of the great works of art we have today, or do you think that these people would have led a short, harsh life begging on the streets? I think the answer is obvious.

  • by Jack9 ( 11421 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2000 @11:52PM (#697589)
    Finally, a realist speaks on the inevitability of the demise of IP. I dont understand how anyone can deny the obviousness of the final result of a global network. You cannot stop people from doing what they want. They want to die. They will die. They want to speak. They will speak. They want to spread information. It will spread. I'm glad someone out there sees it. Now the question of the reliability of information arises. Look no farther than the cryptographic community? I think not. Look to popular culture. Is not Amazon a model for a trusted source? Complete as can be imagined (and trusted), as accurate in tracking version, author, publication date, etc. as you can find.

    Often wrong but never in doubt.
    I am Jack9.
  • that elections.com is on the level?
  • Andy is pretty cool. CCC meetings with him are always more intense. He sees the world in a very artistic light, as a place for individuals, a breeding ground for freedom and new ideas.

    ICANN meetings will be very interesting with the currently elected body. Andy, Karl Auerbach, and some of the other new reps make a good counterbalance to the suits and Esther Dyson. Any bets the newly elected reps will be excluded after the first few meetings?

    the AC
  • The claim that public domain software is of a far lower quality than commercial: I would say the opposite is true.

    Copyright needs to be brought back into check. I say 20 years is the maximum for any copyright.
  • by pallex ( 126468 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @12:07AM (#697593)
    ...but i dont think it`ll last. He goes, or ICANN goes.
    I give it 2 years.
  • ...that a lot of software requires large teams of people to work on that project alone. How will these people live if they don't get any returns from IP. Yes I agree it should be time limited (patenting is fine in small doses - just like everything else). IP is also a way of reckognising the creator of something!

    What a lot of the left-wing radicals (note: I consider myself to be someonem who tends towards socialism) is that they forget that

    1. theirs is not the most important view

    2. theirs is not the only view

    3. their ideas are often based on well meaning but ultimately inpractical concept

    4. infrastructure. It's there and to get things done it's not always best to try and take it to peices with a demoloition crew, you have to work with it to bring it around to your way. I find logical argument works well in this case!

    5. they have a habit of losing sight of other people.

    I am not against these concept in principle but we have to consider the fact not everyone is the same and that some people do require an income - bear in mind that communist Russia never quite managed to get rid of their system of money dispite many (failed) attempts!

    Having never heard of this person before, his rant looks far to close to a political troll to be healthy. I could be wrong but I suppose that any replies will set me straight!

    dnnrly

  • by grarg ( 94486 ) <grarg&lesinge,org> on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @12:12AM (#697595) Homepage

    can't help but think that this detracts from the tone of the piece somewhat...

    © Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 2000 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited.

  • by HerbieTMac ( 17830 ) <5excelroa001@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @12:16AM (#697596)
    I sincerely hope that no one takes that translation on the basis of its tone. Quite frankly, it has been stripped of its jesting nature and sounds extremely radical. This does not exist in the original German.

    To put it more succinctly, this type of writing is an art form almost solely reserved for formal languages. It is hard enough to express in English the formality incurred by the use of the German 'Sie' much less the ironic tone with which this article imitates a FAZ formalistic style. The translator has taken the liberty of stripping the article of its self-depricating jabs while leaving in place the inflamatory statements which they mediate.

    We lose Herr Mueller-Maguhn's original meaning if we are reading this article for anything other than straight factual text and even then I would be suspicious as the translator left out some whole sentences which moderate the extremist views.

    Undoubtedly, the /. population will love this new, edited version. We will read only as far as we want and then take small quotes from the article which further obscure its true meaning. Please take this with a grain of salt the size of Rhode Island.

  • Even de-regulated industries have regulations. That's the difference between sanity and anarchy.

    If the Internet is allowed to grow unchecked, it's quality will dramatically decrease - in terms of content, reliability, and speed.

    Obviously, we shouldn't allow the government to regulate the Internet for us. We all know what this will lead to (=censorship). That's why we elect ICANN officials to make decisions for the wider internet community.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.

    --

    Daniel Zeaiter
    daniel@academytiles.com.au
    http://www.academytiles.com.au
    ICQ: 16889511

  • >Remember, some of the greatest artists of all time were paid to do what they did.

    True. they were indeed paid. For now I'll take the Nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn as an example. (incidentally, Rembrandt died quite poor). Rembrandt didn't think one day: well.. I'll make this really cool portrait of the Amsterdam 'Schutterij' (a city-guard like organisation, IIRC). Some day in 1639 Frans Banning Cocq came to him asking for a portrait of the schutterij. So Rembrandt was paid for his time, materials and lotsa other stuff. but NOT for intellectual property.

    //rdj
  • I can't tell if you are a troll, so I won't mod you down, because you say it well.

    However, if you trust economics as you say you do, then trust this: When there is a demand, there is payment. When people produced their great works of art, they produced something that could not be copied; and their patrons, understanding this, sponsored them so they could continue to create.

    As for your point about public domain software being of shoddier quality, take my personal life as an example. The company I work with spent tens of thousands $ buying compilers and environments from Borland. "Enterprise Editions," pieces of crap. What did I do? Got angry, and everyone else was getting angry, and I switched people over to Apache's Jakarta project, to run servlets and make buildfiles. All the things so we can create code in peace and not worry about the underlying mechanics.

    Does evil ol' M$oft make better OS's? Yes, NT and 2k is in many ways far better than Linux, though of course it had a longer time in development. So that just shows us that sometimes things are better, some things are worse. Depends on the people doing the creating, and remember that MS was once the startup that challenged big iron IBM, who now is working with the OS community as a response. Complex times, and your false, simplified dichotomy only plays here on Slashdot, not in the real world.
  • This guy obviously has some very idealistic ideas about the way the internet should be run. I appreciate his youthful spirit and determined words. In particular I start to see quite a novel way of seeing the way the ICANN could go, although IMO it is quite hard to get to where I think he's going:

    For example, he is saying (Round the bottom of the page) that "Even the suits can have their own domains" in his "garden of bytes". He also says:

    "The job of the government will otherwise comprise the creation of interconnected parallel universes through the coexistence of different cultures with separate rules. And then everybody will do what they want."

    I don't understand here if he means the US government should do it, or if he's meaning that that's what ideally the government should do. If that's what he means, I don't see too many problems with the technical side of things getting done. Already in 10 years of having the internet, we have enough technological structures around us for like minded people to use them to, say, build an operating system, start companies, chat, discuss...etc etc. So it's not hard to imagine that in maybe 10 more years we'll be able to govern ourselves from it, at least for some aspects, in some completely different way from how modern geographically based governments do. So maybe he means that the ICANN is going to be that brave new government (or set of domains, as he'd probably like to call them) so that each person can be free to do what they wish. I think that at least with copyright, patent, free speach and software laws this could be technically possible already today.

    And I stress technically, because it's not the technology that automagically changes the world around us. It is us, the people in it who change things. And this only comes from us changing. The closed minded people who can't concieve of it have to change. The open minded people who can, and want to actively do it, have to change, and go through whatever difficulties will get them ready to get it done. It's only through our maturity as a society that we can ready ourselves for changes like that. If the people aren't ready for this, Müller-Maguhn's ICANN isn't going to work.
  • Remember, some of the greatest artists of all time were paid to do what they did. If they hadn't have been paid, do you think that we'd have some of the great works of art we have today, or do you think that these people would have led a short, harsh life begging on the streets? I think the answer is obvious.

    I dont think the answer is obvious at all, i can see no obvious reason that an artist has only two paths available to them (street begggar, or commercial artist).

    I think great art is inspired by passion, not money.

    If an artist gets paid to do what they love then thats a bonus, if they have to get a regular job (street begger?) and do what they love in there own time then thats fair enough.

    If an artist produces work just for the money then why do it at all.
  • First: Are we sure this was written by the right guy?
    Second: This wasn't originally in English, was it?

    I ask these questions because anyone who reads the article in English will find it... um... less than coherent. Although the article's tone is consistent, and it is clear that Müller-Maguhn is trying to establish a position of leadership on par with those of the world's major nations, the article contains frequent references that I just couldn't keep up with.

    For instance, as Müller-Maguhn caricaturizes the evolution of the Internet, he is preoccupied with the idea of the Internet as "parallel universe" , which as far as I can tell, includes

    • bits [that] flower, flourish and reproduce
    • boundless amounts of money
    • spaceports
    • (an alternative to) Blowing up concrete prisons

    If you haven't read the article, you might be a little confused by these examples. Rest assured, reading the article will confuse you even more.

    Additionally, Müller-Maguhn's attitude towards the "suits" is unbelievably simplistic:

    And these suit-wearers wear ties, which are known to restrict the oxygen supply to the brain -- thus depriving them of any imagination and preventing them from [blah blah blah...]

    I can't believe that someone who wants to be taken seriously would write such flamebait, and otherwise fill his statement with what reminds me of an LSD trip.

    So, I ask, is this a fake? Did translation so mangle the connotation of his metaphors as to completely destroy his meaning? Or does this guy have a good dealer?


    If you're not wasted, the day is.

  • If an artist produces work just for the money then why do it at all.

    Um, for the money?

    I'm kidding! I'm kidding! It's not flamebait, it's a joke.


    If you're not wasted, the day is.

  • Yes, this would explain the proliferation of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the States. We just don't give our 11 year-olds enough opportunities to express their desires to take over the world.

    Thank Eris for mothers ;-)

  • No more IP? that's communism.
    ofcourse, comunism in it's purest form *should* work, sharing everything among the comunity is a great idea, it's just a shame that the examples we've seen of this form of government are so bad (China, USSR) that it's tough to get a read on if it could work or not.....
  • I think great art is inspired by passion, not money.

    Yeah, I'm not diagreeing with you here, that wasn't what I said. My point was that it takes a certain amount of time and energy to create a piece of art, and if these people had had to work in other jobs or beg in the streets then they wouldn't have had the time and energy available to exercise their creative talents.

    Hell, if they were begging I doubt they'd be able to afford canvas or paper, and they wouldn't have produced at all. It's an analogous situation with record companies/film studios today, you need money to be able to create.

  • No its not.
  • he did not say he wanted to expland the public domain, he just said the existing freedom needs to be protected. You're arguing against a huge false strawman.

    Just remember that if microsoft made underwear, no one would own their shorts. Hell they'd extra charge rent for skidmarks. Perhaps washing your skidmarks out would violate some horrid NDA. Microsoft Lawyer, "hey you're destroying important marketing data there buddy!"

    And as for your fourth paragraph, take it news://microsoft.support.blahblahblah... where someone might agree.
  • I think you're simplifying the matter a bit too much. You cannot stop people from doing what they want? So what? That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't try. Some people want to steal your car. Some people want to beat their kids. Some people want to spread information by wiretapping your phone.

    "But wait! That's not the information I was talking about!" My point is simply that "information wants to be free" doesn't add to the debate. As Voltaire said, "A witty saying proves nothing."

    To predict the demise of IP because "people want to spread information" misses the point. The question is not whether people want it, of course they do, everybody wants a free lunch. We have, for very good reasons, mechanisms for preventing people from doing what they want. The question is whether we should use (or augment) these mechanisms to prevent them from fulfilling this particular desire.


    If you're not wasted, the day is.

  • Dude. That quote sounds like it came from the Data Angels from AlpaCentauri (c. Firaxis)

  • You're comparing "Public Domain" with "Commercial" - what about the middle-ground of Open Source & Free Software, which is neither?
  • I would place open source/free software more towards the commercial end of scale because it also relies on intellectual property concepts like copyrights and licensing in order to acheive its stated goals.

  • Have you ever cared to read about anarchism and what they offer?

    Try this FAQ [gmu.edu] to get started.

  • I really hope he makes a lot more of these childish anarcho-leftist statements. This way at least inter-netizens might notice that the ICANN "election" process was about as democratic as recent "Direct-Action" protests, and as representative of people's true opionions about the issues. When something in the order of 50,000 people vote (out of 10ths of millions of internet users in europe) you can hardly claim that this guy represents anyone (apart from 2600, CCC and other such groups maybe)... But hey, if he's really an anarchist, maybe annoying the self-styled internet "government" called ICANN is all he goes for anyways... And that might be fun to watch, in any case. Thomas
  • by resistant ( 221968 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @12:51AM (#697615) Homepage Journal

    In a recent article for the major German daily FAZ, Andy Mueller-Maguhn, newly elected ICANN board member for Europe, declares "What lawyers call 'intellectual property' is -- as every Latin student knows -- no more than theft from the public domain.

    Oh, brother.

    If the situation with truly scary patents weren't so bad, if land-sharks (corrupt lawyers) weren't already stealing public domain intellectual fruit wholesale, I'd give this fellow the hairy eyeball, and a verbal pineapple to boot.

    As it is, I do remark that there is a huge difference between an idea that would have occurred to someone else about ten minutes later or which is really obvious to any fifth-grader, and an idea which would not have occurred to anyone else for at least several more months, let alone years or centuries. Patents have their place, although not nearly so much place as they've been made to take by frighteningly greedy corporate masters. Many recent patents, particularly so-called "business method" patents, look these days like the 600-pound fellow who waddles into the all-you-can-eat pizza shop with the fixed intention of eating everything in the place, even to grabbing food from everyone else already there, to be sure they have nothing and he has everything.

    This isn't even getting into works of literature and art. Just because a man understands and appreciates Shakespeare or Madonna, doesn't mean he has any talent or other ability to produce works of that quality. Works that couldn't or wouldn't be produced by anyone else, very much deserve legal and social protection. I don't advocate initiation of force, though -- the corporate thugs who crash violently into homes and private businesses to "seize stolen property" aren't seizing stolen property at all, but rather stealing someone else's CD-ROM's and printed materials and computers at gunpoint with force and fear, and these thugs deserve to be clubbed into submission, forcibly lined up against a wall, and shot like mad dogs.

    Ah, well. Enough of this. Back I go to producing my own "intellectual property" that no doubt will be pirated, much of which piracy will be egged on by yours truly as part of a certain enlightened business method (no, I won't patent the business method, even though it could be patented in today's creepy, nightmarish patent environment 8^(.

  • Sure, copyright needs to taken back to a sensible level, but at the same time there's no point in throwing the baby out with the bathwater is there? This man seems to have some kind of intense anti-IP agenda, and, well, anarchist leanings, and whilst it's nice to have a change from corporate whores, it's also not a good thing to have someone so revolutionary that nobody will take them seriously.

  • by joss ( 1346 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @12:56AM (#697617) Homepage
    The argument "how will these people support themselves", we must have laws to protect the income of these people from the free market.. is a socialist argument. That's what unions, price-protection schemes, minimum-wage etc are all about. We must have government laws and enforced government control of everything... It's hilarious - you think you're fighting the capitalist/socialist argument and it's *not* related, but if anything you're arguments are the wrong way round.

    I'm a software developer, trust me, we'll manage just fine... We won't get as rich as Gates, but then again we weren't going to be anyway.

    Your ideas about money and property are antiquated and not clearly thought out - I know them well, I would have agreed with you entirely two years ago. This may seem ridiculous to you but in 50 years or so, people will look back and laugh at the ridiculous efforts people made to ensure false scarcity of "their" information - a classic prisoners dilemma. If everyone on the planet had access to *all* information on the planet everyone would be better off.

    Then there is the "who would create it" argument, which is also bogus. People (in "advanced" world) don't work for material wealth - they work for status. Does a lawyer really work 70 hours a week because the latest model mercedes is so much more comfortable - of course not. The only reason he cares that he's driving the latest model mercedes is the status it affords him in his brain-damaged world. In an IP free world, status will be obtained by creating useful stuff and having it used by as many people as possible.

    The difference between a "bit" and an "it" is disappearing. I'm a little ahead of the game here - I used to work at 3Dsystems where I could download a vrml model off the net and print it out. As technology advances, nanotech etc, almost the only type of wealth that matters will be IP. Our model of an optimal economy is stuck in a local minima at the moment. Capitalism is a good system for optimal distribution of scare resources but people are too stupid to notice when the model is no longer valid. The internet provides enough of a jolt to push us out. Various misguided selfish interests will try to keep humanity stuck, but I don't think they'll win.
  • Finally, a realist speaks on the inevitability of the demise of IP.

    He doesn't actually strike me as much of a "realist". For someone who has managed to get themselves elected so such a post, he seems to have his head in the clouds on a lot of issues.

    I dont understand how anyone can deny the obviousness of the final result of a global network.

    Why is it obvious?

    You cannot stop people from doing what they want. They want to die. They will die. They want to speak. They will speak. They want to spread information. It will spread. I'm glad someone out there sees it.

    Yes you can, you could install monitoring and filtering software on every router and only allow people to pass along information that is a) unencrypted and b) legal. Sure, it's an extreme possibility and would require international cooperation, but it's not in principle impossible by any means.

    Can we have some more information on why you think these things are "inevitable"?

  • Trust me, the difference between sarcasm, humour and flamebait is beyond the grasp of more people than you can imagine. Who knows, maybe the moderator wants Bush for president? Mushroom clouds, here we come...

    I can really identify with you, so much.
  • The original article can be found <a href="http://www.datenreisen.de/Aktuell/Regierungs erklaerung.html">here</a>, and it comes without copyright.
  • No doubt, to support his words, Andy will soon announce that ICANN will make a new toplevel domain available, containing the complete deCSS source code! :-)
  • After which he painted the "Nachtwacht" in such a way that the really big payers were falling a bit into the background, while the people Rembrand considered to be important were actally painted to come out a little more. I guess that was Rembrand's way of creating an Easter Egg.

    I can really identify with you, so much.
  • You just don't get it: OSS/FSS is a protected public domain, in that you can put things into it, but you can't take things away from it!!! That's why it will grow, and grow, and grow, and possibly break as a big flood and make even the notion of proprietary software silly. Then everything will go back to its original state: public domain! and there will be no need of GPL
  • Many pictures in the National Gallery in London
    are painted on cardboard.
  • I think you're simplifying the matter a bit too much.

    Let's simplify the whole thing even further. For that matter, let's turn the whole thing into one sentence.

    If you can't beat them, join them.

    It's as simple as that. The only way all the "old-school" companies are going to be able to make profit of the Net is if they accept the fact that they can not control the flow of data. Stephen King already proved the fact that people are willing to voluntarily pay for something they might want. There will always be rotten apples that will try to abuse the system, but hey, that happens in the real world as well.

    I can really identify with you, so much.
  • uh, I'm a Latin student (5 years) and I have no idea what the hell he's talking about. Sounds to me like STERCOREM PRO CEREBRO HABET, or something similar...anybody wanna help me out here?
  • And block satellite launchers or outlaw dishes, outlaw making little robotic router-fish to swim round the pacific running Freenet nodes, outlaw blimp relays, outlaw nanotech. Pretty soon, you'll have to outlaw everything, right down to carrier pigeons. And you'd have to do it internationally. It'd be madness,and sure, there's a small, but finite chance of that taking place, but it's a VERY samll chance.
  • Indeed, a lot of the irony got lost in the translation. But I must admit that a good translation would be very hard to do, the style is very specific and uses lots of idioms which don't readily translate into English.
  • by Arthur Dent 75 ( 221061 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @01:33AM (#697629) Homepage
    This is absolutely true. The translation is probably intentionally misleading.

    I'll give you an example:
    It was only the vigilance of my mother that prevented me from joining the left-wing terrorist organization Red Army Faction at around the age of 11. [The paragraph ends here]

    The german text adds the following afterthought:
    Admitted, I was a bit young.

    So he makes clear that he never really wanted to be a terrorist, he just liked some of the terrorists' ideas.

    There's a lot of this kind of stuff. The translation is not actually wrong, but a lot of stuff is just gone in the english text. All the self-ironic humorous subtleties are missing.

    This is not a translation, this is more sort of a commentary on what he actually said. If you don't believe me, just count the paragraphs. There are a least 4 or 5 paragraphs missing in the english translation.

    --

  • I wasn't saying it was practical, merely possible. And besides, it doesn't mean that IP would become invalid anyway, as long as it can be enforced in the majority of cases.

  • I'd like to see copyright AND patents rescaled to the de-facto standard internet time metric of 1 Real World Month = 1 Internet Year. That way, Software patents would last about 2 Real World years, and even ridiculously long copyrights (80 years in the real world) would last about 7 years. That time scale sounds about right to me, given the speed at which internet companies move.

    In a scarcity economy, the patent on invention wasn't orginally a bad idea, neither was limited copyright. We're not quite post-scarcity yet* (It'll take nanotech and fusion for that...), so there's probably still a place for them, but scaled to realistic levels in internet time.

    *As Iain M. Banks would say in a Culture novel "Money is a sign of Poverty"
  • I know. If it made you cry, I'm sure someone can provide you with a handkerchief.

    I can really identify with you, so much.
  • by HerbieTMac ( 17830 ) <5excelroa001@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @01:51AM (#697633)
    This translation has all the clarity of the Fish. It is unfortunate as the original is insightful, well-reasoned (from a point) and funny.

    To answer your 4 confusions:

    • bits [that] flower, flourish and reproduce
    Here he is referring to the aforementioned data-gardens. He uses the metaphor to show that if data is constrained by too many rules and regulations, (weeds) the information will not have enough free space to grow. This relates to the view that "Information wants to be free."
    • Boundless amounts of money
    Here he is making fun of the people flocking to the Internet precisely because of its size. He draws the comparison (sarcasticly, I believe) that if the Internet is infinitely large with few borders to commerce, then the potential for commerce (or making money) would also be infinitely large.
    • Here, he refers back to the two types of internet "content-makers". The first is looking at the possibility of an endless amount of money (see above) without concerning themselves with the regulation. The second is frightened by the amount of regulation which is wielded by a small number of governments trying to prevent parts of the internet (France vs. neo-nazis) from penetrating their national borders. The response (hyperbole) is to move to a spaceport (no government), south seas island and buy server space in non-governmental regions such as satellites.

    • Blowing up concrete prisons
    This is the most prevailing metaphor in the article. The translator, unfortunately did not see fit to translate enough of it to make it understandable. There is a german verb festzementieren which literally translates to solidly cementing. His first reference to this is translated instead as "regimented".

    He speaks of the lawyers and law-makers worrying initially about terrorism and building large "safety-devices" (presumably against porn and the like) instead of regulating intellectual property on the net. Rules on regular means of communication (HTTP, FTP) became cemented. Thus people who did not wish to be tied to these cemented rules created new means of communication and new areas (protocols) of the internet. This is the refernce to blowing up concrete prisons. The creation of protocols such as Gnutella, Freenet and Banana Tree essentially "blew up" the old set of cemented rules (prisons).

    As to the last comment about ties restricting the supply of oxygen to the brain, there is a bit of comedy which is missing from the translation. It is a subtle jab at the lawyers of ICANN in German. In English, it becomes a clumbsy frontal assault. The point remains, however, that the ICANN administration has not seen fit to create a set of network names specifically for companies to lay claim to and allow the rest of the Internet to exist as a "parallel universe" with free expression (good or bad).

    I hope this clears some issues up. Incidentally, the original title of the article was not "Just Do Whatever You Want" but "An Explaination of Governing Theory". That in and of itself may give you an idea of the ideological slant of the translator.

  • The english translation comes not even close to the tone in the german version. When he uses 'Sie'(which is translated using 'you') he IMHO mainly addresses the U.S. goverment and the U.S. legal system.

    From what I can extract in the article he critisizes their urge to obtain and increase their influence into all aspects of the Internet by using cover up organzations like ICANN. This becomes clear at the very end: "As long as they accept other cultures, it's all good. I am really going to try to make this coexistence thing work."

    That is a pretty strong opinion and he is gonna be silenced very quickly if any kind of action in this direction follows from him.

    A real good question is: Why had the ICANN to be placed in the U.S. and why did it have to be founded under the legal status of a company and not just a public organisation?

  • IP and Property are really very different concepts that have very different laws defining how they work.
    The formal communism doesn't address the IP concept.
  • I think he's referring to Proudhon's declaration that "Property is theft". I'm certainly not sure of any Latin connection.
  • Just because the signal appears to be unencrypted it doesn't have to contain only the obvious datastream. Steganographic methods could have added something else. It could of course be some illegal content, but who's gonna find out? The legal system can of course create enough fear to make people stop "abusing" the net. But since such "crime" is really hard to detect, penalties would have to be really extreme just to compensate for the rarity of convictions. Before you know it, copyright infringement puts you in the ranks of terrorists. That's a tradeoff I would not like to see made into that direction.
  • I wouldn't say Public Domain software is of lower quality than commercial software. This is being too general.

    We've seen an increasing number of commercial products of minor quality being published/sold, mostly just to make money. Or what other reason can there be for a software house to publish beta-versions and lots of "Service-Packs" for it?

  • And whilst I applaud the stand he has chosen to make, I am (again) forced to ask the question, will he be able to acheive any of this? His policy seems to be in direct violation of what business interests want, and it also seems as though this kind of anarchist manifesto brings its own dangers.

    This is quite true, but, in a world where every single descision represents just the most common features of both parties. In such a world both parties need to take extream positions, just to achive a little of thier original intention. Hope you get what I mean :-) It's quite too early to do serious writing...

    Look, its just like on a near east market, if you want to buy a, say, cat, and you think its worth 10$, you start your bid at 1$, that leaves you with some air to bargain.
    --
  • > only allow people to pass along information that is a) unencrypted

    Just out of curiosity, how could you establish in an automated way that data coming through is not encrypted? Enforce periodic occurences of boilerplate plaing text phrases, maybe "ready as the devil" every 100 bytes or so? I'm curious.
  • It's a (very) hypothetical situation, and I don't doubt it would be rediculously impossible to enforce and require incredibly draconian legislation on an international scale. But my main point was asking why IP would be invalidated as a consequence of the internet. As long as a majority of people hold to it, then it is still a workable premise, as we see at the moment.

  • Wouldn't this just serve to drive up prices for copyrighted/patented materials? For instance, a drug company would normally develop a new drug with the hope that the costs would be recovered over the long period of time they would have the patent for the drug. Reducing this would mean the development costs would have to be recovered in the '2 Real World Years' which would probably put it out of the reach, cost wise of most health care organisations, which completely defeats the point of making it avaiable in the first place
  • Judge Kamplan issued a *prelimenary injunction, as required by law*, until the trial is over.

    He did not 'decide that linking to DeCSS was illegal'.
  • Oh, nonsense.

    The English translation misses completely the style and somewhat "coolishly plain" talk of this guy. If you were German native speaker you would understand that his talk is more comparable to a little "white knight geek who has decided to make a career as a political stand-up comic for the youngish twenty/thirty something, when talking about things which really matter". You know, it's like when something is really so serious to you that you are afraid to talk about it straight and without joking about it, because people wouldn't take you for serious talking seriously.

    Don't forget that Germans are MUCH more sceptical about any kind of phony, fake rethoric than Americans. We (or our parents) had our Goebbels/Hitler/Marx experience. Missionaries of all kinds (libertarians, marxists, the born again whatever kind of style...what have you) cause most of us to throw up. Comments on this thread just reflect the different historical and cultural experiences of the readership.

    If you gave a German the English article without showing him the original and ask him to translate it back to German, you would have no idea about what this guy tried to cross over to his audience in the first place and what and how he might stand up for his ideas or not. Most of it for you find between the lines and in the "sound" of his speech, which can't be translated.

    Hey, complain with God, nothing we can do about it. :-) And oh well, to say it with his words, he doesn't wear a tie, so he supposedly gets enough oxygen into his brain...so don't worry, be happy. :-)
  • But another witty saying can smack it down: Information wants you to give me a dollar. - Bruce Sterling

    I think the point should be made that since intellectual property is a legal construct, and that it does not exist without the state making it so, that we citizens have a right to question it, or even reject it, if we so desire.


    --
  • Just look at the difference in quality between public domain software and licensed software. When things are in the public domain they are invariably of a far lower quality than equivalent things in the commercial domain. Without financial reward a lot of work would simply not be done, and we'd all be poorer for the loss of a huge part of our cultural heritage.

    Uh-oh. Now you're in trouble.

    You don't come here often, do you?

  • It is a well formulated and slightly funny piece of work. As stated it was more an answere of a request for a comment then a "I tell you what I want". The idea of creating a toplevel domain for brands, where lawyers can sue each other instead of suing privat person "Mr. Stern", which happens to have his domain secured before the well known magazine did it... About blowing up the prisons: Did you know that there was a kind of protest by blowing up a new build german prison once ? No injuries or casulties, just some years work gone away... Lastly, did you find the remark about the name space (larger space for less geographic equivalent). I don t know if it got around in the english version - these could show he really thought before "boasting" what he wants. Joerg (..finally ICANN protocols could become interesting..)
  • Quality on the Internet relies on three things:

    1. The quality of the information,
    2. The veracity of the person who posts the information, and
    3. The ability of people to find that information.

    People will go to those areas where they find what quality they need. If a site doesn't provide information in a timely fashion, or it's impossible to locate, it will be ignored and eventually (probably) taken down. That's attrition.

    The viability of a site depends on all three. People will stop looking for The Ultimate Page if they stumble across one that's Good Enough.

    If it's convincing, a talented liar can post utter nonsense and get traffic, but sooner or later, he'll be caught. (In an ideal world, anyway.)

    ---
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    We [paratheoan...ikhood.net] have infiltrated your internet governing system! Hail Eris!
  • Check the context: it's not about patents, it's trademarking domain names he's speaking about. After all, patents would be a little offtopic in ICANN meetings, wouldn't it?
  • But it's very easy to be vague in English. I kind of like leaving people wondering if they should take a statement as serious or not. You make them have to think about what you're saying much more that way.
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @04:40AM (#697652)
    In an effort to provide a more balance translation, I've taken the last couple of hours to piece this together. I've taken a (very few) liberties with the verbiage to try and preserve the tone and meaning, and think I've done a better job than the original.

    Comments, criticisms, improvements are defintely welcome!

    --- BEGIN HERE ---

    POLICY STATEMENT

    Very Well. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been asked to write a Policy Statement. Indeed I was asked by a Newspaper which, I am told, is read mostly in governmental circles.

    I am to write a Governmental Policy Statement. I, who never could stand governments. I have only my mothers vigilance to thank that I, as a child at the age of 11, did not join the Red Army Faction. Admittedly, I was a bit young at the time.

    Nevertheless I had in some fashion sympathy for the terrorists. At the local police station I requested and received a "most wanted" poster. At last, pictures of people I could relate to, who obviously disliked Suits as much as I did. For some reason my mother didn't approve of my hanging a "most wanted" poster between pictures of German pop bands. So my mother took it away, and this intrusion into my own autonomy annoys me to this day.

    Later I seem to have grown up, although critics insist this hasn't yet happened. Well, they have to make their own judgements. In any event I have now been elected into a World Government. What, you don't believe me? That is why I am writing this Government Policy Statement. Some governments must make clear their policies, some more than others.

    In the minds of some people, reality is being increasingly influenced by media content that can be accessed via electronic networks. The Internet is not just one of these networks that are based on protocols, standards, address assignments and rules. It is first and foremost a cultural area where participants are not committed to being either senders or receivers. Net reality is defined by the users.

    ICANN regulates the distribution of Names, Numbers, the introduction of protocols and their applicable rules - i.e. the internet's architecture. In other words, it governs the internet.

    Since I am supposed to explain the policy of this government to you, I need to explain it in terms of media with which your cultural circle is familiar. The generation of those currently in government grew up with vacuum tube radios. Back then one could easilly distinguish between the broadcaster and the receiver. This is called the Broadcast Model, and is a thing of the past. Today, the internet defines a communcation space, which we refer to as the Network Model. And anyone who is connected can enter this space, have a look around and take or contribute something. On the internet we call this the Gift Culture. A small, electronic paradise. Who did I just hear muttering "social romantic?"

    Wonderful things have developed in the time, as this network of networks comprised of many diverse people engaged in energetic exchange created a new, global culture. One could find anything on the internet, for the planet is big, the aliens were already among us and, well, the lawyers were far away. They were busy making new laws against terrorsts and building huge security and police bureacracies.

    Please understand, blowing up newly constructed prisons is all well and good, but moving into the internet was a much more fundamental form of liberation. Our thoughts were finally free! Admittedly, even on the internet there were a few people who tried to place boundries of the freedom of thought. Then money came into the picture, and if the internet were truly without boundries, then naturally that meant boundless wealth.

    Since I don't want to offend the religious feelings of certain people, and certainly not in a Government Policy Statement, I won't say anything with regards to "eCommerce" or "eBusiness." Believe in whatever or whomever you wish. Faith is said to move mountains.

    But tell your lawyers to leave us alone. The Businesspeople have unfortunately brought lawyers along, who see a potential contract even in the purchase of a bag of gummy bears and apply such horrid terms as "piratecy" to the natural act of reproducing bits of data.

    And now that the Internet is beginning to flourish globally, they suddenly want to declare "intellectual property." And then scream loudly when they discover, that all day long and on every computer on the planet what they call "theft" occurs. And of course, they want to build in anti-theft anti-theft devices -- filters, policemen and jails.

    OK, that is the current situation. And we, as netizens, have to respond. Some of us have concentrated more on the money side, while those with more foresight have rented spaceports, South Sea islands and servers in satellites in preparation for the coming confrontation.

    The Internet was essentially based on one common language for computers to talk to each other and one address domain for contacting each other. The U.S. government, however, was involved in the development of the language, the assignment of addresses and the creation of the name domain. At some point, when the governments of other countries and the generation of suits discovered the World Wide Web, they also wanted a voice. But this is really a different, long story, which I'll skip over, even though it did ultimately result in the foundation of ICANN as a business entity.

    So, we now have ICANN, a company originally founded by the United States government under California Law, that not only regulates the worldwide distribution of Names, numbers, and the implimentation of protocols, but also (almost) controls the critical components of the centralized, heiarchical namespace. I say "almost" because the American government does not want to give up control of the key component, namely the root-Zone file.

    ICANN wishes to govern, but doesn't wish to admit this openly. The company has always been very careful to remain "just" a technical committee that regulated "only" technical questions and created "only" the assignment rules for names and numbers. It was no use. What happened is what always happens when centralized bodies expand -- whether they regulate things on a supposedly "representative" basis or not. The era of greed began.

    Which brings us back to the lawyers, the suits and other governments. Ignoring for the moment the fact that ICANN's understatement was of course defined by business interests -- and there are occasional, unpleasant stories about the mafia-like connection between ICANN and Network Solutions, the registrar of the original birth -- the lawyers suddenly wanted to declare property rights on names. There were already cases of legal disputes between trademark and domain owners.

    The lawyers had discovered the Internet and it annoyed them -- a lot. Such is their overpowering greed, hidden behind law. At this point the government really should have intervened. One could have said: let's create a new domain where trademark law applies. But because the government (ICANN) is itself comprised of lawyers, it didn't want to do this. And of course these lawyers wore neckties, which are known to restrict the flow of oxygen to the brain. Thus they had no imagination and couldn't understand why we would need an open space, or what a "parallel universe" is.

    And because they were Americans, they of course preferred American trademark law, with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as the potential arbitrater (the plaintiff's choice), thereby giving the entire name heiarchy to other lawyers to devour.

    This is not just annoying, this is a crime. A crime outright, as well as a crime against the nature of the internet as a public cultural domain. What the lawyers call "Intellectual Property" is, as every student of Latin knows, nothing more than theft from the public domain. And we, as netizens, have no desire to allow this theft to destroy the public domain and must, therefor, begin to address this issue proactively.

    So everyone goes their own way and is networked together. Through this public space, through the collective subconscious, and through the Goddess of Conflict, of Discord, and Argument, Eris, rampaging between the lines. But before you misunderstand this as esoteric rhetoric, back to matters of government.

    OK, I am now nominally a part of the government, starting sometime in November. I want to keep the public space free of commercial rules, to protect the free flow of information and give the bits space to roam freely. We want endless gardens of data, where it can be bloom, flourish and reproduce. So there you have the cultural aspects of my upcoming governmental policy.

    Then there are also a couple of organizational questions, and because the centralized, hierarchical nature of governments invites abuse and poses an obstacle to progress, I hope to ensure everything runs as decentralized as possible, which means it must be transparent and open to the public eye. And the United States government, well, it should be more concerned with its own educational system instead of trying to rule over the internet's name space. Just look at the geographical understanding of ICANN, it speaks volumes.

    The remaining tasks of this government consists of creating interconnected "parallel universes" of diverse, coexisting cultures, each with its own rules. Then almost everyone will be able to do whatever they like. Even the suits can have their own domains. They can then play their trademark law games (not standardized universally, but who cares), sue each other over differing interpretations of freedom of expression or just go up in smoke.

    As long as they accept other cultures, it's fine. I will work hard to do so as well, so that this peaceful coexistence may work. Thus I have explained to you the government, which means I have explained to you that the future should, please, govern itself. Simply do whatever you like. I will do the same.

  • Yeah, that was pretty obvious after he gave props to Eris.
  • Hey, what do you know, a well reasoned post on this topic. Will wonders never cease. *big grin*

  • Blowing up concrete prisons

    This is the most prevailing metaphor in the article. The translator, unfortunately did not see fit to translate enough of it to make it understandable. There is a german verb festzementieren which literally translates to solidly cementing.

    There is another level of subtelety here, which cannot be translated, but only understood historically and with reference to the Rote Armeee Fraktion (RAF) further up in his text.

    The RAF terrorists did kill several high ranking figures in policics and economy, which makes it somewhat hard to align with their political views. They did one thing though which was quite funny and well executed despite being an act of terrorism and producing several miliion $$$ in damages: They demolished the high security prison in Weiterstadt to the ground just a few days before that prison was ready to accept the first prisoners. Nobody was killed in that operation, in fact nobody was even there but some old watchmen which were easily dealt with.

    They literally blew up a concrete prison.

    It took four years and 100 million Deutschmark ($50 million) to rebuild the Weiterstadt prison, which was opened in mid 1997.

    © Copyright 2000 Kristian Köhntopp
  • See [virtualave.net]
    Anschlag auf den Knast Weiterstadt for more information about the blown up concrete prison (german language).

    © Copyright 2000 Kristian Köhntopp
  • by YKnot ( 181580 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @05:52AM (#697657)

    Government statement

    Very well. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been asked to write a government statement. And after all I have been asked to do that by a newspaper which is said to be read in government circles.

    So I am supposed to write a government statement. But I never liked governments. Not at all. You should thank my mother for her vigilance, without which I had, around the age of 11, joined the RAF. Granted, I was a little young.

    But somehow I found the terrorists sympathetic. I had visited the the local police office and got myself a wanted poster. Finally pictures of some sympathetic people, whom, on top of that, the tie-wearers obviously disliked. Somehow my mother didn't think that was ok, a real wanted poster between pictures of pop-bands and the "Deutsche Welle". And it was gone. Even today I still resent this invasive event a little.

    Somehow I may have grown up later. Critics claim exactly that hasn't happened. So after all, you will have to do the judging yourself. Anyways, I have been elected, into world government. What do you mean you don't believe that? That's of course why I am writing this government statement. Some governments just have to be explained. Or maybe let's say, some more, some less.
    [Translator's note: "Regierungserklaerung" translates to "government statement", but has a second word-by-word meaning which translates to "government explanation".]

    Presently, people's view of the world is being increasingly influenced by media content, which is accessible through electronic networks. The internet isn't just one of these networks, based on protocols, standards, addressing schemes and rules. First and foremost, it's a cultural area, where participants are by principle not determined to be either sender or receiver. That way net reality is made by the users.

    ICANN regulates the assignment of names, numbers and the introduction of protocols and issues the applicable rules - the architecture of the net. Or in other words, the government.

    Since I am supposed to explain the government to you, I probably have to to talk a little about the view of media in general which is prevalent in your culture group. The governing generation is predominantly one which grew up with the valve radio. Back then, when sender and receiver where easily distinguishable. This is called the one-way model. And that's over. Today, the net comprises an area of communication. This is called the network model. And everybody who plugs in can enter that area. Can look around, take something for himself, can put something into it. On the internet we call this gift culture. A small electronic paradise. Who just said social romanticism?

    Funny things developed in there, while, in the network of networks, many different people in colorful exchange created a new global cultural space. Everything was available, because the planet is big, the aliens are among us and, well, lawyers were far away. Back then, they were busy passing laws against terrorists and creating gigantic constructs for security.

    Today things have changed a little. At some point in time, everything outside was completely safe, but unfortunately also a little put in stone. And because not all liked being so confined, they created for themselves a new area of freedom. With no states, with no lawyers, just free flow of information, a few rough rules of conduct and apart from that, everybody just does what he wants. Rough consensus and running code.

    You know, blowing up freshly cemented concrete prisons was ok somehow, but moving into the internet was the more thorough way. Thoughts are free after all. Granted, even some members of the internet culture were a little pressed by that free thought thing. Then money came into play, and if already borderless, then of course unlimited amounts of money.

    Since I don't want to hurt anyone's religious feelings, least of all in a government statement, I will not talk about "eCommerce" or "eBusiness". Believe in what you want to believe. Belief is said to be able to move mountains after all.

    But stop bothering us with your lawyers. Unfortunately, the business people have brought them with them, these pals who see a contractual activity in buying a pack of jellybabies and talk about the unobjectionable and natural, not even sexual, act of proliferation of bits in horrid terms like "pirate copies".

    And who know, that the internet thing is just starting to really take off worldwide, want to declare intellectual property. And cry out loud when they realize that theft is committed, all day long, on every computer on this planet. And who naturally want to add filters, policemen, prisons and barricades against theft.

    Ok, so the situation is there. And we, the inhabitants of the net, have to react. Some of us concentrate more on that unlimited money thing, others have precautiously rented spaceports, South Sea islands and servers in satellites, to be prepared for the coming confrontation.

    Well, then there was this government thing. The net was essentially based just on a common language, which the computers use to talk to eachother, and an address space, so they could contact one another, but the U.S. government had been involved with the development of the language, the assignment of addresses and the creation of the namespace. And some day, when the governments of other countries and the generation of suits knew about the "Double-U Double-U Double-U", they of course also wanted a say. But this is really a separate and rather long story, even though it finally lead to ICANN being the corporate construct it is.

    At this point and another I abbreviate a little.

    This point: So now there is ICANN, it's a business founded by the U.S. government under Californian jurisdiction, not only do they regulate the assignment of names, numbers and implementation of protocols worldwide, they also - almost - operate the vital parts of the centralistic and hierarchical namespace. Almost, because the U.S. government prefers not to lose control over the core of it all, the root-zone file.

    The other point: ICANN wanted to govern, but without admitting it. Attention had always been paid to be "just" a technical board, which "just" regulates technical issues and "just" creates the rules for assigning names and numbers. But it was no use. What happened is what always happens when central bodies are created, no matter if they handle things "representativly" or not: the era of greed began.

    And that brings us back to the lawyers, the suits and the other governments. Aside from the fact that ICANN's understatement was of course also guided by business interests and not taking into account that there are some unpleasant stories about the mafia-like connection between ICANN and the first registrar - Network Solutions, lawyers suddenly wanted to declare right of ownership on names.
    There were already some cases of legal disputes between trademark and domain owners.

    The lawyers had discovered the internet and it annoyed them. Really annoyed them. Obtrusive greed, hidden behind laws. In a sense, the government should have intervened then. It could have said: Why not have a separate namespace where trademark law does not apply. But the government, ICANN, didn't want that. Because it is itself comprised of lawyers. And they wore ties, which are known to cut down on the brain's oxygen supply. And because of that, they did not have any imagination and didn't understand at all why a public space like that is needed or what a parallel universe is.

    And because they were Americans, they of course preferred U.S. trademark law, designated WIPO to be the potential arbitration court (the plaintiff's choice) and thus gave way to the other lawyers taking hold of that namespace.

    This is not just annoying, it's a crime. A crime against the nature of the internet, a crime against the internet as a cultural public domain. What is called "intellectual property" by the lawyers is - as every Latin student knows - simply theft from the public domain. And since we - the inhabitants of the net - don't feel like having the public domain destroyed by thiefs, we had to take some proactive steps.

    Everybody goes their own way and all are on networked. Through the public space, the collective subconsciousness and the goddess of conflict, discord and dispute, Eris. Who rampaged between the lines. But before you misunderstand this as New Age talk, back to government business.

    So, I am in the government now, nominally speaking, and de jure sometime in November. And i still will intend to keep the public domain free of commercial rules, to guard the free flow of information and to let the bits have their freedom. We want gardens of data all over, where they can grow, flourish and reproduce. Those are the cultural aspects of my upcoming government work.

    Then of course, there are the organisational questions, and since governments, centralistic and hierarchical systems, are vulnerable to abuse and an obstacle to progress, I would like to let everything run as decentralized as possible, and on top of that, it has to become transparent. And the U.S. government, they should worry more about their education system instead of trying to control the namespace. Just look at the geographical understanding of ICANN; that tells a lot about them.

    The rest of government work will probably be to create networked parallel universes through the coexistence of different cultures, each with rules of their own. And after that, everybody just does what they want. So, the suits will have their own space, too. They can play trademark law there (not standardized globally, but who cares), sue eachother over different views of freedom of expression or just dissolve into nothingness.

    As long as they accept other cultures, that's all ok. I am really trying, too, honestly. To make the coexistence thing work.

    So, I am now declaring the government to you, and that means that you are now supposed to govern yourselves. Just do whatever you want. That's what I am doing.

  • Check the context: it's not about patents, it's trademarking domain names he's speaking about. After all, patents would be a little offtopic in ICANN meetings, wouldn't it?

    I did notice that odd discrepancy, and decided to respond to the original quoted comment literally because it seemed specifically to attack all "intellectual property" rather than to be confined to what one might presuppose to be this limited context that you mentioned. I'm doing a great of work on the entire field of Web communications and presentation (yes, I know very well that this task of even a broad and shallow overview is rather too large for any one individual to do decently without bringing in a team at some point), and am aware of the ICAAN [icann.org] and also peripherally aware of the nasty game-playing going on behind the scenes, not that I even want to know much about it. Ick, unproductive.

  • "Truly sad. I'm voting for NAder. "

    That is truly sad. I'm not sure how Nader's oppressive gov't is any better than any other oppressive gov't. Perhaps the unqualified success of Communism and Socialism over the 20th century is guiding your choice?

  • You cannot stop people from doing what they want.

    Yes, but you can stop the _majority_ of people that do not know enough about the net to get what they want. You can also discourage those that have enough knowledge (using legal threat).
  • How many pictures did Van Gogh sell?

    How did most pre-industrial painters did earn money?

    Portraits, I would say. Paid by wealthy people. On demand.

    What way did most musicians earn their living?

    Music teacher for the aristocracy.

    Most known artist did that or did have a wealthy patron.

    The unknown ones did surely have led a short, harsh life begging on the streets. Van Gogh nearly did.

    What do you think is the reaction to someone saying: "I want to make money, I'll become painter/sculptor/..."
    Probably a loud laugh.
    Interestingly, I have to spare musicians. Why so? Probably because their work can be easily duplicated and sold?

  • "Do we really want one hundred percent freedom from any kind of intellectual property? The existance of the public domain should be fought for, but at the same time people have the right to choose to sell the end-product of their time and effort, not have it stolen and copied the instant they attempt to make it available."

    I think that is what AMM wants: Choose your gamemode and play by the rules of that mode. If you're on suit turf, play by suit rules, if you're on the no-ip turf, play by no-ip rules. He says, he's trying to allow suits to have their place on the net as well. He does not say exactly how this is going to work. The government statement/explanation is probably more about saying that he tries to be the counterweight which brings the discussion into balance. There are enough suits on the board already, so it would be unwise to enter the discussion with a well balanced compromise as starting point.

  • Yes, I do have some intellectual property. It isn't much but then I am not rich in "real world" terms either. If you think that intellectual property is a tool of oppression, then you are mistaking the effect for the cause, in a way.

    I do agree though that there is a problem with ip: you can create something just to find that what you just created belongs to someone else. This just can't happen with physical property rights and is the key reason why even those who would benefit from ip are not generally pro ip.

  • Does a lawyer really work 70 hours a week because the latest model mercedes is so much more comfortable - of course not. The only reason he cares that he's driving the latest model mercedes is the status it affords him in his brain-damaged world.

    Actually, he probably works 70 hrs a week so that he can provide for himself and his family. (and before you start pasting me as apple pie naive, keep in mind that I actually know a few lawyers) And most of them can't afford to buy the newest model Mercedes any old time they want anymore than you can....

    If everyone on the planet had access to *all* information on the planet everyone would be better off.

    Exactly how would everyone be better off? Sounds to me like everyone would just be scared.

    Capitalism is a good system for optimal distribution of scare resources but people are too stupid to notice when the model is no longer valid.

    You can conjure up material goods out of the vacuum and teleport them instantaneously across the planet without anyone having to work or think to get any of it done?

  • The text's title is another ambiguity. In German, it's "Meine Regierungserklärung". There are actually several things you have to notice about this in order to understand it:

    • The word "Regierungserklärung" is used in an ambiguous way. Normally, it's the German for a declaration the government gives to the parliament, such as an inaugural speech. (It's not limited to inaugural speeches, though, because a government may also give a Regierungserkälrung on ongoing matters of importance.)
    • However, Andy also interprets it in the sense of an explanation of government. This becomes clear in the end of the first paragraph of the text. There, Andy writes "Manche Regierungen muß man eben erklären", that is, "Some governments have to be explained".
    • Finally, what's special about "Meine Regierungserklärung"? It's (deliberately) bad style. It quotes the style children use in school essays, like "My first trip to Aunt Lizzy", or "My first day in school". By quoting that style, Andy puts himself into the position of someone who's still learning, and additionally gives the reader an idea that he doesn't want to do a formal inaugural speech. Also, the combination of this school essay style on the one hand and the important-sounding "Regierungserklärung" already gives some advance warning to the reader on what to expect, and additionally avoids a tone of inappropriate importance.

    So, please, don't expect this article to be a Treatise on the Theory of Government, or an academic contribution. It's written in a style which is most likely impossible to translate. Large parts are written in some kind of tongue-in-cheek-mode which is likely to be lost by any translation.

    I hope the interpretation of the two-word title gives you some idea of how you should read this text to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Actually, there are many digitial anarchists who are very much interested in improving the quality of the Internet and its organization. It's just that we don't want the government involved, nor the capitalists. The latter has been making headway in "enclosing" the Internet in recent years, but I still think that those of us who support the DIY, self-governing nature of the Internet are holding our own.

    The comments from the new European ICANN member are very encouraging. Let's hope that ICANN can be convinced to someday add thousands of TLDs and at the same time find a way to defuse corporate IP claims over words on our languages. If this doesn't happen, we're going to have to start talking seriously about supporting and implementing open DNS projects like OpenNIC.

    I could go on about what anarchists are doing in the area of computer tech, but you can find out more by visiting my website listed above.

    If you are interested in how anarchist ideas relate to the anarchistic nature of the Internet, I suggest perusing the Anarchist FAQ. [infoshop.org]

  • You need to get yourself up to date, grasshopper. The trial ended a while ago. [2600.com]

    Judge Kaplan (beyond all comprehension) did in fact decide that "linking to DeCSS is illegal".

    --
  • As a number of people seem to doubt the translator's intentions: There are two German texts, because Andy Müller-Maguhn has put up a text on his website that is not identical with the text published in the newspaper. That's why the reference to terrorism in the beginning of the text is so brief. (But, as Kristian Köhntopp points out [slashdot.org], he alludes to the last bombing of the RAF terrorists later on.)
    On his homepage, Andy writes that he felt he had to put some things right, since even the Christian Democrats send him their best wishes. So, yes, it should probably be taken as a half-sarcastic attack -- Müller-Maguhn definitely to shock the Frankfurter Allgemeine readers a bit. But he also misses a chance to present his agenda for or knowledge about ICANN.
  • ...or is he stark raving mad?

    Could a European on Slashdot please tell us what the connotation of Eris is over there?

    You see, here in America, it's an underground "art" style movement (ghod, it's difficult to describe) that is described in the free tract Principia Discordia [cmu.edu] and the Illumnati Trilogy [amazon.com] has led to things like the The Church of the SubGenius [subgenius.com]. Even new agers seldom touch Eris due to her modern links to the wierd.

    Serious Freak. I'm curious if he's expressing a bit of his inner freak nature, or if it has a different connotation in Europe.

    --
    Evan

  • Since there are some typos and an undeclared ambiguity in the translation, I would like to post some corrections. BTW: I do of course not claim copyright in the translation. Feel free to use it as you please.
    • The note about the amiguity of "Regierungserklaerung" really should be made before the text and look something like this:
      [Translator's note: "Regierungserklaerung" translates to "government statement", but has a second word-by-word meaning which translates to "government explanation". The german original is titled "Regierungs erklaerung" which suggests the latter meaning. The ambiguity is present throughout the whole text however.]
    • the the is one the surplus
      I had visited the local police office...
    • Add explanation:
      ...sympathetic people, whom, on top of that, the suits obviously disliked. [Translator's note: The german original is ambiguous at this point. The sentence could also be translated to "..., who obviously didn't like the suits either."]
    • know is now:
      And who now, that the internet thing is just starting to really take off worldwide,...
    • on networked should be just networked:
      Everybody goes their own way and all are networked.
  • lat.
    intellectus - understanding, comprehension.
    Can someone own someone elses insight?
    I guess Mueller-Maghun thinks no.

  • I'm not claiming IP is evil, or really that much of a problem either, I'm just suggesting that the idea behind communism (ie, everything is owned by "the people") Could be a viable way of running a society, although I'd imagine that the people with the bigger ego's would suffer greatly from such a regime...
  • Eris does not have a different connotation in Europe. This guy is speaking of the same discordian you and I both know and love. Check out the Chaos Computer Club's faq [www.ccc.de].
  • Hail Eris and Pass the Ammo!

    I'm *very* happy with the status of the North American and European ICANN elections. Get the lawyers off the Net, and the let the Normals, Regulatory Factions, and Mediocritins drown in their filth of their own Conspiracy-backed GreyFaced Boring Decay and thier illusions of sensibility and order.

    This is the Internet, and it was built on certain values- values of Freedom, Chaos, Crassness, and Anarchy- and there is no better (european) rep for these values than someone from the CCC! :-)

    Gobble Gobble!
  • Okay, I knwo this isn't going to be a popular opinion on Slashdot, but I am very UNIMPRESSED.

    When he says ""What lawyers call "intellectual property" is -- as every Latin student knows -- no more than theft from the public domain" he is using an old cheap rhetorical trick called "begging the question."

    In a nutshell, he assumes in his postulates that his argument is correct before he ever makes it.

    As ball-stroking, maybe this rates. As constructive engagement on an improtant issue it does not come close.
  • Since other passages in the text also suggest that AMM thinks that we need to give out-of-the-norm stuff some room, I think it's just that he must be mad. Or not. Depends.
    Project 2501: Life perpetuates itself through diversity.
  • Rejection of IP is can be considered "communism" only if you accept the fallacy that IP is really property. IP is not property, it's a deal.

    In case of patents the terms of the deal go this way:
    "Make the details of your invention publicly known and in return we will give you a limited period where you can use the powers of our courts to harrass people who use your invention without your permission."

    Do you see any property here? I don't. In the past, this deal has had an overall positive effect on innovation and society. In recent years the interpretation of the terms of the deal has taken a bad turn, though.


    ----
  • Most people just don't think about whether they want intellectual property law or not. They just give in to their "want to have" drive extremely fast. If there really is a single right answer to the question "Is intellectual property a good idea?", then it sure isn't obvious. Intellectual property is different from all other property that we know. Only in terms of intellectual property you can create something just to find out that someone else owns what you just created. This single difference alone suggests that we better not treat intellectual property like all other property. But should the concept of intellectual property be trashed altogether? What about innovation being crippled because cost will not be matched by revenue when revenue will be crippled by non-existance of intellectual property laws?
  • Any bets the newly elected reps will be excluded after the first few meetings?

    That's almost a certainty. Hell, I wonder if they might even be excluded before the first few meetings! Given the current boards behavior, I wouldn't put it past them. If they're unhappy with the results of the elections, they might just change or ignore their bylaws and simply say "Sorry, even though people voted for you, you don't fit in with our 'consensus', we can't allow you to come in a mess things up. Goodbye."

    Of course, instead of kicking them out, they could just cut troublemakers like Karl and Andy out of the loop by pushing more and more activities off onto "the staff". The non-elected, pro-business, pro-trademark corporate lackeys would have access to "the staff", while the elected board members would not. They've already made steps in this direction, with many of their decisions lately being attributed to the recommendations of "the staff". It all smacks of Al Gore's "no controlling legal authority". Ugh.

    Yep, if the elected board members become to much of an annoyance, they will simply kick them out, probably claiming (with a completely straight face) that they were interefering with the "consensus" that the board represents.

  • Encryption of structured data (eg text, pictures, etc) increases its randomness (ie lowers the entropy)

    It is rumoured that the [NSA|GCHQ|etc] can search for encrypted data on a hard drive by computing a sort of "entropy index" for blocks of data.

    Similarly, one of the reasons for using long keyphrases to protect your secret key in PGP is that English has about 1.3 bits of entropy ("key strength") per character:

    From October 15, 1999 Crypto-Gram [counterpane.com]:

    Many keys are generated from passwords or passphrases. A system that accepts 10-character ASCII passwords might require 80 bits to represent, but has much less than 80 bits of entropy. High-order ASCII bytes won't appear at all, and passwords that are real words (or close to real words) are much more likely than random character strings. I've seen entropy estimates of standard English at 1.3 bits per character; passwords probably have less than 4 bits of entropy per character. This means that a 6-character passphrase is about the same as a 32-bit key, and if you want a 128-bit key you are going to need a 98-character English passphrase.

    I highly recommend the Crypto-Gram newsletters. Also, searching cryptome.org (use host:cryptome.org on Altavista et al) for information on detecting low-entropy information (no URLs handy, sorry!) should yield some useful pointers / links.

    Al

  • Only on /. This is wonderful! Great clarifications, translators.
  • I think you are of the mind that information is worth something, as a lunch is. Information isnt worth anything, that's the point of the information age...and it aint over yet.

    America is the current information leader. This is temporary. Any given country's IP law does not hold sway everywhere, so it logically holds sway nowhere if you make an effort. The effort required is increasingly small. Replication is free and distribution is free in a country that does not abide by another particular country's copyright. (ex: Anguila) The most effective thing the US could do to secure it's recognized IP, would be to attempt to filter all transmissions from outside (and within the borders of) the US. This will come to pass eventually, I'm sure. Such an act would put any country at the bottom of the information heap and the world will move on in a worldly fashion ^^

    Beyond the fact that prediction is basically guesswork, you don't need to be able to concretely reason out the future. I can only guess that a virgin Geek _will_ like Monty Python. It's just a safe bet. Sometimes the future is intuitive too.

    On a related note. More provocative witty sayings come to mind, with colorful commentary!

    "Have you ever fought an idea, Picard? It has no weapons to destroy, no body to kill!" - Gowron
    Perhaps ignoring IP is akin to studying natural law (a.k.a. physics) during the Dark Ages of Europe. Are not people persecuted and crucified (in a manner reminisce of the Catholic Church) for practicing what is no more or less sinful, in an attempt to understand the world around us today?

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man ...blah blah blah" - George Bernard Shaw (paraphrased)
    Andy Mueller-Maguhn sounds pretty fucking onery to me!


    Often wrong but never in doubt.
    I am Jack9.
  • The Green Party mascot is the watermelon.

    Green on the outside. Red on the inside.
  • The big question is, do you drape your hankie out of your left or your right back pocket?
  • Some are even painted on elephant dung.

    Of course it's expensive autoclaved elephant dung, not your regular elephant dung that you'd buy cheap at the zoo.

We were so poor we couldn't afford a watchdog. If we heard a noise at night, we'd bark ourselves. -- Crazy Jimmy

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