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Alan Cox Resigns USENIX Post Over DMCA Arrest 241

1millionmhz writes: "NewsForge is reporting that Alan Cox has resigned from his position on the USENIX ALS committee in protest of Dimitry Sklyarov's arrest in Las Vegas. He is also urging non-US programmers to boycott American computing conferences until the DMCA is overturned." Boy, aren't you glad that the DMCA now has nine special units to prosecute hacking and copyright violations? At least it will help keep the country safe from programmers. Update: 07/22 01:05 AM by T : Yup, it's a dupe. Mea culpa -- I missed it the first time. Worth dwelling on, though ;)
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Alan Cox Resigns USENIX Post Over DCMA Arrest

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here's what happened in Adobe: their lawyers found out about this problem, and they realized that if they failed to take some action to resolve it, they would be exposing themselves to a lawsuit from their customers who are using their crappy secret-decoder-ring security. Their lawyers said, "Mr. CEO, if we don't do this, we're risking a lawsuit!" So they made the calculated decision: sic the FBI on them.

    So, where is the real problem? It is in two places.

    First, obviously, it is with the legislative branch (Congress) for passing this monstrosity, and with the executive branch (Mr. Clinton) for signing it. Hopefully someday the judicial branch will clean up this mess.

    The other location of the problem is with US law enforcement. The FBI should have reviewed it and said, "Sorry, we have missing interns to look for, we're busy, handle it as a civil matter." The protests should be at the FBI's offices, and in front of Mr. Hatch's house.

    Adobe is not the problem.

    This doesn't mean that I'll be likely to everbuy any Adobe products ever again, but it would be more effective to "boycott" the FBI in some way... I'll leave that to your imagination.

  • SAP

    The list goes on and on.
    Welcome to the real world, boy.
  • Done. Pro.hqx Screenshot.jpg ProSource.txt

    Interestingly, it turns out that the declicker's real interesting to use _inverted_: you set it up to kick in on just the harder transients, and have it hop them up a bit. It sounds like a sort of expansion, but rather than broadly expanding everything it just opens out the top of snare hits etc. Dynamite subtle effect...

    And hell yes, will it ever clean up Macrovision garbage. I wrote a routine to put in full crank samples every thousand samples... initially I thought it wasn't working, until I remembered to take the 'test file evil noise' generator back _out_ again. Then, it was clear as a bell without the tiniest trace of the junk that I'd put there at roughly twice the amplitude of most of the music...

    This normal, useful audio signal processing tool works brilliantly as an access control circumventor. Cuff me :P

  • OK, so did he or did he not violate the DMCA? If he did by giving the talk then what is the problem? The law is the law. Don't bitch at Adobe about this, contact your congressman and tell them how you feel. We can't just arbitrarily decide which laws we want to obey from day to day. The proper way to deal with idiotic laws is to get Congress to repeal them.
  • Alright. I'm Canadian. I'm interested in letting people in power know that I take strong issue. What is the most effective way to go about this?

    \\\ SLUDGE
  • While the efficacy of Alan Cox's resignation as a symbolic protest may be debatable, the immediate practical ramifications need to be highlighted: Alan Cox will not be arrested while attending a Usenix conference in the U.S.. The DMCA is real and in our faces right now.

    Don't scoff: he hacks closed hardware, and, judging from his diary, with great relish. All it takes in one disgruntled hw manu to have him arrested when he is in the U.S. because he circumvented "encryption" in one of their products in order to get to work or be supported by the Linux kernel.

  • How many programmers own guns? Besides they already have their dangerous computers.

    Most people I know don't go out to a shooting range or hunt _that_ regularly, and I really don't know that many people that are actively into guns, most of them are hardly the business or techie type.
  • Hatch is also the Senator that verbally abused Metallica and the RIAA for abusing the DMCA, particularly for prosecuting electronic music distribution but not having a legit alternative.

    The same guy also used Napster to download Metallica songs and say that they need a better songwriter.

    He also quized the RIAA leader on what counts as fair use and pointed out that fair use has a larger scope than what the RIAA claims. The lady heading the RIAA simply did not know the rules.

    Hatch also threatened that if they don't quit being an ass about fair use he'll codify a law explicitly laying down what fair use is and what rights consumers have, and promised that the RIAA et al. won't like it.

    But let's not disclose facts inconvenient to our arguments, right?
  • by Sneakums ( 2534 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:05PM (#69739)
    This was covered on LWN Daily on Friday: []; not only that, but they posted Jon "maddog" Hall's response: []. Where was Slashdot when all this was happening? Blithering about some idiot game company [] no-one gives a flying fuck about.

    Great reporting, guys.

    "Where, where is the town? Now, it's nothing but flowers!"

  • Actually, waging war on the large corporations that are getting these stupid laws passed in Washington would benefit the majority of us, who work for the much smaller corporations that are the ones usually being hurt by these stupid laws. I say this as someone with a not insignificant percentage of ownership in an American corporation. Most Americans work for small businesses, not for Big Business. It's time we in fact did start waging war on these guys... they are a tiny but way overly influential group of people, and what benefits them does not benefit most American corporations, much less most Americans!


  • While you're correct in some respects, you need to learn more about the history of corporate law. The original poster is correct--the idea of what corporations entailed was, at the start of America, very limited. They could only be assembled for specific purposes, corporations had no "rights," could not own other corporations, and the charter could be revoked very easily.

    If you learn your history, you'll see this was done precisely because of the power of royally-chartered corporations like the Hudson Bay Company you cited. These chartered companies had a great deal of political and legal power, to the point of acting as agents for the king. America's founders didn't want corporations to be able to have that scope and power initially.

    As for "America's economic greatness," this is quite the red herring. Our economic greatness comes primarily from the vast resources we collectively have at our disposal; no other country has both the range of resources and the ease of access to and distribution of those resources. Our 'mixed capitalism' economic system is a primary factor in the latter (distribution and access), but that system doesn't intrinsically require nation-spanning multi-industry corporations; single-industry local and regional firms could do (and indeed, for most of our history, have done) just as well.

  • What's meant by corporations' rightful place is as a servant to society. Until comparatively recently, corporations were not very common, and were formed for specific purposes, generally for short periods of time. A number of states were founded by colonists that had had a corporation chartered to assist them. Or if a community needed a bridge built that was outside of their means, they might permit a corporation to be chartered to build it, recoup their expenses for a little while with tolls, and then be dissolved.

    Corporations were intended to last only as long as necessary, and only created when there weren't any other particularly viable methods of doing something, often due to economies of scale or natural monopolies. They absolutely had to act in the public interest. On occassions where a corporation did not, it was dissolved by the government, which is what had chartered it in the first place.

    Most businesses however, were ordinary sole proprietorships or partnerships. It would've been nuts to want to incorporate a shop or a farm; it doesn't serve community interests.

    Even today, these requirements have not lessened, though enforcement has just gone out the window. We definately need to bring it back.

    (as for your opinion of torts, they still apply no matter what the nature of the organization, it's good that they do, and they're not a replacement for governmental oversight of business.)
  • Well, who do you think is padding their campaign coffers?
  • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @08:23PM (#69750)
    It was the ultra-conservative Republican, Orin Hatch (representing ultra-conservative Utah) that wrote the DMCA.

    Hatch is a moderate. He's one of the few Republicans who is in favor of the antitrust prosecution of Microsoft (the fact that Novell is in his state is only a coincidence I'm sure), and he's as clueless about techonology as you would expect.

    Besides, the DMCA was a bipartisan bill, cowritten by Democrat Senator Leahy, who Senator Hatch praises here []:

    "Finally, I would like to particularly pay tribute to the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy. I don't know of anyone who has more interest in the Internet, more interest in computers, more interest in copyright matters than Senator Leahy, unless it is myself, and I don't think I have more. He has done a great job on this committee. It is a pleasure to work with him."

    The bill passed 99-0, the nonvoting senator being absent. Can't get any more bipartisan than that.

  • You're asking "Will It Help ?" as if commenting that what Mr. Cox is doing is but a meaningless gesture.

    Practically, there won't be ANY immediate change of heart or anything, based on what Mr. Cox has done, but AT LEAST, the action of Mr. Cox BY ITSELF HAS GARNERED ENOUGH MEDIA REPORT and _THAT_, my friend, in one way or another, WILL DEFINITELY HELP to ensure that NOBODY CAN GET AWAY BY SCREWING WITH THE PEOPLE !

    More power to Mr. Cox !

    More power to ALL WHO JOIN MR. COX IN BOYCOTTING US-BASED Tech Convention !!

  • Ok I can't keep up with who is pissed at us or who we are pissed at now. But Allen seems to state we hate russia. I didn't know we did. I thought we considered them partners now. Well I just live here. My government is obviously out of control. Then again so are most others. But thats the way it is I guess. I am american but I say take his advice and go ahead with the boycott. There are many brilliant programmers from overseas and America will feel the hurt. Or maybe they will try to euthanize the programmer they just arrested with some douche.
  • If I remember correctly, the DMCA passed by a voice vote, so there's no record of who supported it and who didn't. This was probably intentional. And if they did this, it's unlikely that they listened to any of their constituents (save the corporations, who seem to have drafted it) no matter how vocal. After all, they can "plausibly" deny that they voted for it...must have been the other reps that did, right?


  • by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @07:39PM (#69754) Journal
    Can someone please explain how Cox's resignation will help the cause?

    It won't. Understandably, Alan is concerned about his personal security in a State which seems to have incorporated kidnap of alien nationals by its Police Apparatus as a law enforcement tool.

    The question which should be asked is simply:-
    "Why do the US State Security organs want to kidnap a Russian citizen"?

  • Can someone please explain how Cox's resignation will help the cause? Whouldn't it be more effective if he remained in his position and used it to promote the cause?

    His resignation has nothing to do with his ability to "help the cause."

    His resignation is based on his personal belief that he would share the blame if another programmer was arrested, in a situation similar to Skylarov's, while attending a conference he helped organize and/or promote.

    Jay (=
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @06:54AM (#69757)
    Hatch also threatened that if they don't quit being an ass about fair use he'll codify a law explicitly laying down what fair use is and what rights consumers have, and promised that the RIAA et al. won't like it.

    But let's not disclose facts inconvenient to our arguments, right?

    It is very, very counterproductive to cast the DMCA fiasco in terms of Republican's vs. Democrats. I do not like Republicans and will never forgive them the twelve Reagan-Bush years that gave us such treasures as an ongoing war on drugs (which is in fact a war on our youth and our civili liberties), Iran-Contra, Desert Storm, and so forth, but Jeff DeMaagd is absolutely right in pointing out that Orin Hatch, who may deserve our contempt for many of his stances and policies, is AFAIK the only congressman to come forward and publically admit that the DMCA was a mistake. For that he wins some respect from me.

    Of course, talk is cheap. Until Hatch actually translates his regret into action and works to repeal the law he will remain nothing more than Yet Another Political Windbag.

    However, I reiterate, this isn't about Conservatives vs. Liberals (a conservative congress wrote and passed the law, and a relatively liberal president signed it), this is about Corporatism vs. Individualism and the rights of the common man vs. the raw might of those synthetic capitalist beings we call corporations. Until we set aside our differences on other agendas and unite to lobby and effect change on those issues we do agree on, such as individual liberty, the civil rights of the common man, and the need to overturn the DMCA, those who benefit from such draconian laws will continue to ride roughshod over the rest of us.
  • Because he believes that conventions in the US are putting people at risk, and that having more programmers go to jail isn't going to help the cause.

    Perhaps he thinks there is a better way to get information about the issue out there.
  • So instead of smashing up a Starbucks like a hopped-up retard, do something positive like lobby the government to abolish corporations. Or at least take away their "human rights."
    You are clearly advocating the abolition of corporations here. Your other statements make your reasoning, or rather, lack thereof, quite clear. If you want to back out of this argument and say you only take issue with the "human rights", then you must at least make it clear what "rights" you take issue with.

    Punishing the corporation and restricting its activities, however, gets to the root of the problem, where there is one.
    Firstly, this is not what you said before. Secondly, there already are penalties for corporate misbehavior. Few shareholders care what the technical status of the corporation is if they stand to lose the majority of their investment. The real problem, like with actual humans, is enforcement, not the laws themselves. Thirdly, revoking the chartership of a corporation is an odd and essentially meaningless punishment, since investors already stand to lose their investment and management their jobs.

  • You mention double taxation. However, the U.S. corporate tax laws are so riddled with loopholes that many large firms (GM and Microsoft, to name two) pay minimal to no tax. I have been involved in some IPOs, and one motivation for transitioning from a partnership to a publicly-traded corporation is that the overall tax regime is more favorable. This is even true for smallish firms (market cap less than 100MM).
    Yes, there are some notable exceptions, but this is generally only because partnerships can be extremely complex animals. It is not the rule. On the aggregate, corporations still bear a larger tax burden. While it is true that there are some loopholes, they are generally far from enough to avoid even half the taxes. Though it is true that Microsoft and Cisco were able to avoid taxes for a year or two, this must be qualified. First, it was not free, they had to offer billions of dollars worth in stock options to employees, which serves to dillute shareholder equity. Second, companies can only do that for so long, it is of questionable wisdom, and can really only be done when the market is very bouyant.

    However, there is nothing wrong with society establishing acceptable norms of behavior on corporations, and imposing sanctions up to and including the revocation of corporate charters, for violation of those norms. Unless shareholders recognize this to be a risk, they will not hold management accountable for some of the abuses that are now commonplace. Corporate governance now is a joke, with most shareholders taking a largely passive role.
    I agree and disagree with these sentiments. Yes, i agree with you in the sense that we should have controls on corporate misbehavior. However, it is foolish to act as if the only acceptable deterrent is the revocation of corporate charter. Financial damages (e.g., RICO action) alone are enough to effectively destroy a corporation, never mind the thousand of other ways that shareholder wealth can be diminished, these are all deterrents.

    Furthermore, I submit to you that revocation of charter is too drastic and too sudden to be an effective deterrent. A great many of these corporate "crimes" happen outside the scope of the investors knowledge. Even when the investor only owns but a few stocks, the information that they have is so high level, relative to the charges that are typically levied. Whether it be price gouging, malpractice, monopolistic practices, or what have you. For instance, it would not be reasonable to expect the shareholder to know of a flaw in a medical device, since understanding that flaw would require a degree in engineering, not to mention internal knowledge and a great deal of time. If the shareholder is incapable of knowing about the act, why penalize them? Why not penalize those that actually have the ability to control that kind of company behavior, like the CEO, and only do it where they are directly responsible.

    Though this can be done currently, it is a very tough wall to climb. Certainly I would demand the same level of evidence that is seen in criminal trials, but it could be made easier, without hurting legitimate business. It would be far more effective.

  • Why is it that GAMBLING should not be RISKY???

    That is in essense what you are talking about, is reducing the risks in gambling. Those that have a lot of money and want to gamble it, that dont want to risk that comes with gambling.

    and therein lies the problem. It is not that society wants to make the investor richer, but rather that we need their investment. If we make certain classes of investment (or all investment) so risky that it becomes unpalatable for any investor, then we lose that source of investment. Thus, society as a whole suffers.

    In other words, investments that once offered a sufficient return for the previous level of risk would become impossible given a drastic rise in risk. Some investments are very sensitive to even the slightest increase in risk.

    Anyways, gambling and investing are quite different (even though investing may technically be called a gamble, depending on who you ask). Gambling strongly implies a game of negative or equal expected returns. The players play for the thrill (otherwise they're quite certainly stupid). Investment is almost always done with expected returns significantly exceeding the investment. For instance, the US stock markets as a whole have returned more than 10% a year on average (over the past 80 years or so). Riskier investments, like those in startup companies, offer multiplies higher returns. In other words, if you could invest in enough of them, you would expect to make a great deal of money over time, even though the returns on a few (or even the whole market) is uncertain and may result in the complete loss of the investment. Whereas if you walk into your average casino and stay for long enough, the law of averages says that you'll eventually walk out pennyless.
  • Corporations are legal persons and are afforded all the rights of a flesh and blood person.
    No, this is not exactly true. Corporations are not afforded all the rights that people are, they enjoy some of the rights, but some of those "rights" are also severely diminished by their very nature. For instance, unlike a person, the 5th ammendment affords them little to no protection. In a nutshell, the government can compel any of the corporations' employees to tell all of the corporations evils by granting that single employee immunity from prosection.

    They just happen to also be very rich, and able to do more than one thing at a time (unlike flesh and blood persons).
    No, just like people their wealthy varies all over the map, in fact, most corporations are quite small and unheard of.

    They also operate under a different set of law; law that sheilds them from the consequences of their actions.
    Yes, they are afford some protections that humans are not. However, it is clear that you are confusing this with the limited liability that the shareholders have. Just because the shareholder cannot be held personally liable, does not mean that the corporation is immune, nor does it mean that the investor bears no risk; it just means that the investor can only lose what the investor invested.

    Corporations are dissolved quite often. Shareholders can, and do, lose ALL of their investment. For some shareholders, this can be pretty traumatic. Anyways, the proof is in the pudding, investors are clearly risk averse. Baring all but the most fly by night corporations, the threat of criminal and civil lawsuits is taken very seriously indeed.

    So instead of smashing up a Starbucks like a hopped-up retard, do something positive like lobby the government to abolish corporations. Or at least take away their "human rights."
    You totally fail to consider WHY corporations exist in the first place, or why they're founded. The shareholders of corporations bear a significantly increased task burden, it generally far exceeds that of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Essentially, they pay taxes twice. The corporations pay taxes on their earnings and the shareholders pay taxes on both capital gains and dividend checks (the two ways that investors get a return on their investment). They are willing to accept the diminishment of earnings because it is quite necessary.

    Without corporate status, each and every one of the investors takes a great deal of personal risk (baring some notable and hardly relevant exceptions). What this means is that if you own even the tinniest number of shares, you stand lose your house, your car, and all of your savings. Consider investing in a well diversified portfolio. You could very expose yourself to MORE risk, not less risk, since just one company need default on a loan, run affoul of the law, get sued by some ambulance chaser, get struck down by some overzealous bureaocrat, or what have you. Many many businesses would simply become impalatable for the reasonable investor, not just "evil" corporations like tabacco companies, but medical devices companies, medical technology companies, drug companies, car companies, you name it. Without investment, those industries would eventually die.
  • by winterstorm ( 13189 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @06:13AM (#69764)

    Alan Cox has legitmate concerns about his safety if he enters the USA. He is also pointing out to other software authors that they should be concerned. This isn't a political game... the USA is arresting people for giving lectures on software design and security!

    I work in the area of network security and I just turned down a contract in the USA. I won't touch foot on US soil until the DCMA is struck down.

  • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Sunday July 22, 2001 @08:01AM (#69767) Homepage
    Top Gun and NRA Life Member John Ashcroft called today for the virtually immediate destruction of all records of approved purchasers retained for the audit log of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) -- a death certificate for the Brady law. 6/28/2001

    FWIW, he was just doing the job -- the instant background checks were a comprimise reached by the stipulation that all the records at the federal level would be destroyed. The FBI never destroyed ANY of them, claiming it was simply keeping an "audit" trail. Whether you agree with the law or not, the FBI was clearly keeping an extensive list of legal handgun purchasers, in direct contradiction to the very federal law that implemented the background checks.

    Nothing would kill the Brady bill and similar measures faster than things like this, where the FBI and fed proves it is unwilling to live up to their own comprimises with gun rights advocates. Now it will be MUCH harder to convince the NRA the fed is working in good faith.

    So NRA aside, Ashcroft was just enforcing the federal law (and his FBI oversight responsibilities)...

  • Staying out of jail leaves him free to program and work on software.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Thank you for setting the persective straight. Adobe is pretty sleazy, but they have nothing on the US government when it comes to corruption. If the government did not have the legislative process up for sale, no one could buy it.
  • There is no continent called 'America' anymore; it ceased to exist with the creation of the Panama canal; the correct term would be 'North America' and 'South America'

    And as for what you are insinuating, that, what, Canada and Mexico will follow the US in it's laws.. what do you base that on? Contrary to popular belief, us Canucks and the Mexicans do NOT base all our laws on what the us does; and, in fact, in Canada anyway, our legislative system is small enough we can actually prevent rediculous laws from coming in to play; there isn't as much corporate power.
  • Don't suppose you've ever heard of "civil disobedience", have you? I'd argue that it is my civic duty to not obey immoral and unjust laws...just as it would be my honor-bound duty not to obey illegal orders if I was in the military.

    Just because it's the law, doesn't mean it's right.
  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @06:34PM (#69776) Homepage Journal
    As long as the majority of people don't understand the issue (and there is almost no issue the majority of the people understand well), Congress will pass laws that _seem_ to do good from a casual and/or ignorant perspective. They will seldom do anything better.

    Think of the children!

  • Less money will be made outside of the U.S. Less folks will go, it will be more expensive. Only stodgy "computer professionals" will show up. It might be kind of nice to weed out the script kiddies though.

    It could be held in Mexico, only a few hundred miles difference between Vegas and Tijuana, you know.
  • Worse than that, it's illegal to even try to decrypt something.

    Therefore, it is illegal in the USA to try to read the following text.

    .did uoy tahw IBF eht llet ll'I ro 000,1$ em dneS

  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @05:55PM (#69781) Journal
    He hated what was going on so much that he resigned twice. Let's see how many times he resigns.
  • Dr. Dave Touretzky (Carnegie-Mellon University Computer Science Faculty - academic editor/author of Gallery of CSS Descramblers []) is

    "... interested in receiving and publishing the following kinds of information:

    Technical descriptions of the access control and encryption mechanisms associated with PDF files and/or eBooks.

    Technical descriptions of remedies for these mechanisms, e.g., patches, key recovery algorithms, modified plug-ins, etc.

    Source code for implementing these remedies.

    [visit his website before submitting to see what he is already aware of. His website Gallery of Adobe Remedies [] already lists ElcomSoft, Xpdf, Ghostscript, but no Haiku ... yet]

    Dr. Dave Touretzky notes that his web site is for "discussion of purely technical information of interest to computer scientists and lawful content users".

    Dr. Dave Touretzky further notes that he is "not interested in receiving rants about Adobe or the DMCA" suggesting that said rants be submitted to Boycott Adobe [] wishing to keep his site focused on "Adobe's access control mechanisms and the remedies people have devised [i.e. 'lawful ways a purchaser desires'] to deal with them."

    Tangential Editorial Comment by RM3 Frisker FTN ... why don't people get as bent out of shape when the Second Amendment protections [Eric Raymond's Linux Gun Nut Page] [] are screwed with?

  • No, they can't vote. But many large corporations have enough money to sponsor election campaigns, which is even more effective.Or to lobby politicans full time. Which is not only more effective than voting it also works even when an election isn't pending.
  • The Adobe contact page [] seems to be missing a link for:

    • Report corporate abuses of illegal laws.
  • Corporations do not have all the rights of a flesh and blood person, for example corps cannot vote. They do have certain legal rights and responsibilities however, they pay taxes, they can sue and can be sued and they are protected by the first amendment just like you and me. Corporations exist in order to protect their owners from liability, that is in fact the entire reason they exist right now.

    Oh and the US has always had corporations, back to the earliest colonial days. Nearly all of the original colonies were founded by corporations, and much of America was opened up and explored by corporations (Hudson Bay Company ring a bell?) Do you know corporations where so popular for starting a colony? Because starting a colony was a very very risky operation, so investors back in England hit on the idea that if they pooled their money they could a) raise far more capital b) by sharing ownership they shared the risk, making it more reasonable. In a LLC (limited liability corporation) you as an owner (investor) are only liable for assests you put in, so if you toss $200 into a venture that goes tits-up you are only out that $200, the companies creditors can't after each investors personal assests only the money already paid up is at stake. This also opens up the door for the middle class to begin investing and playing an active role in big time business ventures, something they were unable to do previously. This inclusion of the middle class also makes vastly more capital available to businesses seeking to grow and further reduces the risk to individual owners, thus spurring more innovation and risk taking.

    Now, armed with this knowledge do you see how corporations are in fact the cause for America's economic greatness?
  • As much as I hate the retarded CD-R tax, it doesn't make it illegal for me to perform my duties as a network security professional.
  • The internet is not as free a media as you would think. It only takes a few firewall rules...
  • Send registered paper mail. See how much they ignore you then!
  • "Solid engineering" dictates that crypto-based copy protection is impossible ("Let me get this straight. You've giving me the ciphertext AND the key??") So, rather than recognising "piracy" as a cost of doing business in the software world, they try to litigate everyone out of existence.
  • No. Expect Ashcroft to make a statement about how America will be a safer place! Hackers are already getting the message that America is not a good place for them to be!

    - - - - -
  • No, just like people their wealthy varies all over the map, in fact, most corporations are quite small and unheard of.

    Most corporations consist of more than one person, and have more resources to draw upon than a single person. Even very small corporations have annual revenues in the millions. However, it's large corporations that are the bulk of the problem. Small business is, in general, better for the country than large business.

    it is clear that you are confusing this with the limited liability that the shareholders have

    No, it's not. It's clear that you're engaging in hubris and armchair psychoanalysis.

    Corporations are dissolved quite often

    They go bankrupt and are dissolved quite often. They go unmaintained and are dissolved quite often. But active corporations are almost never dissolved punitively. Don't cloud the issue. And point out the last few corporate dissolutions that were not the result of bankruptcy or neglect.

    You totally fail to consider WHY corporations exist in the first place, or why they're founded.

    There's that armchair head-shrinking again. I completely understand why they are formed, and why they exist. I happen to own a corporation. Thanks for the little "lesson," though, Professor Lugnut.

    Furthermore, you are ignorant in many aspects of business law.

    Are you one of those call-in radio show advice dispensers? Of course the corporate veil can be pierced. It's not easy, but it can and is done.

    I'm not even talking about criminal behavior on the part of corporations! I'm talking about things that they do which are legal, but probably shouldn't be. Like owning other corporations. Lobbying. Owning patents and copyrights.

    I wouldn't even say, as you did, that lowering the amount of effort required to pierce the corporate veil is a good idea. That does not diminish the power that can be wielded by corporations, it simply creates a new class of potential criminals. And the executive officers are not always in control of or aware of everything that goes on in their companies. It's a stupid idea to hold them accountable for everything, except their own personal wrongdoing.

    Punishing the corporation and restricting its activities, however, gets to the root of the problem, where there is one.

    (*hubris n : overbearing pride or presumption)

    - - - - -
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:28PM (#69806) Homepage
    Corporations are not some alien entities competing with us for receptive ear in Washington. They consist of millions of people like you and me working and waging war on them is like waging war on ourselves.

    Corporations are legal persons and are afforded all the rights of a flesh and blood person. They just happen to also be very rich, and able to do more than one thing at a time (unlike flesh and blood persons). They also operate under a different set of law; law that sheilds them from the consequences of their actions.

    So yes waging war on employers is shooting ourselves in the foot, because we need jobs to make moeny to buy food, etc.

    So instead of smashing up a Starbucks like a hopped-up retard, do something positive like lobby the government to abolish corporations. Or at least take away their "human rights." The U.S. didn't always have corporations far and wide, you know. Once upon a time corporations were a very few select organizations, chartered by the government for some official purpose. Such as the Postal Service and the Internal Revenue Service. And not at all like Adobe, Microsoft, the RIAA, etc. Companies were just companies. And people were people (and small furry creatures from...)

    Corporations are not the cause of America's economic greatness; they are its mummy.

    - - - - -
  • Ashcroft opposed the DMCA originally. I haven't heard anything in support of it from him since (that doesn't mean much, I havn't followed US politics closely since I left the US in January), though he is obliged to enforce it.
  • VHS tapes are still $17 while a dvd movie is $35.

    I've bought dozens of DVDs, and have never seen one on sale for $35. Most can be had for $18-$22 at online discounters line

    No big deal, but in a post that complains about bad and misleading information of others, it's pretty damning.

    DVD discs are actually cheaper to make then a VHS tape.

    Which is completely irrelevant, since you're not paying for the blank medium, but for the content. And the content on the DVD is far superior, thus naturally commanding a higher price.
  • Donating (to) Corporations More Authority?
  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @07:09PM (#69811) Homepage Journal
    Feel free to plaigarize, comment, flame, etc..

    July 21, 2001
    The Honorable Brad Sherman
    1524 Longworth Building
    Washington, DC 20515-0524

    Dear Congressman Sherman,
    Several months ago, I had the opportunity to talk with you after you spoke at Temple Judea in West Hills. At that time, I attempted to convey to you my concern about some of the more onerous provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Recent events have deepened my concern, and as one of your voting constituents, I ask you to work towards the repeal of the DMCA.

    While I am fully in favor of creators retaining control over distribution of their works, the DMCA goes several steps further. The "anti-circumvention" provision restricts time-honored Fair Use rights of consumers, and essentially also destroys the First Sale doctrine. These, in and of themselves, could be considered a reason to work towards its repeal. However, the actual situation is much worse.

    (Any references given in this letter are World Wide Web links, I don't have access to the necessary hard copy.)

    The DMCA has had a chilling effect on academic research. Professor Edward Felten, a distinguished professor, who was also one of the lead witnesses for the Department of Justice in the Microsoft anti-trust trial, was recently prevented from delivering an academic paper on information hiding and watermarks (see This sort of chilling effect is precisely what the First Amendment is designed to prevent.

    Again, that would be sufficient to work towards overturning. Even worse, however, the criminal provisions of the DMCA have been invoked against a Russian national, Dmitry Sklyarov, who performed "anti-circumvention" work in Russia for his employer, where he broke no Russian law. He came to the US to deliver a speech about his work, and was arrested subsequent to that speech. This sets a dangerous precedent. What would the US government do, if a US citizen was arrested for violating foreign law, while the act was performed in the US where it was perfectly legal? Needless to say, the irony of this occuring to a Russian citizen is immense, and embarrassing to the United States.

    Here are some references to the Sklyarov case:,1283,45298, 00 .html (Wired) es /2001/jul/18/512096646.html (Las Vegas Sun) (Reuters) _a rrests_russian_cryptographer_as_copyright_violator _1.html (New York Times)

    Congressman Sherman, please help ordinary people by working to repeal this draconian law.



  • IP owners got the power to trample over people's freedom from our money and the help of an increasingly Big-Brotherish government with which to enact and enforce their Orwellian laws. Did the poeple vote on those laws? I don't think so.

    Hit them where it hurts the most, their pocketbook. Don't buy music. Don't buy software. Download it all and copy it all! And if the government refuses to obey the people's wishes, it will be our duty and right to refuse to pay our taxes also. It's our money after all.

    Demand liberty! Nothing less!
  • by Louis Savain ( 65843 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @06:04PM (#69813) Homepage
    I've written this before but it's worth repeating.

    Intellectual property laws exist only because we have a slavery system. Our livelihood depends on working for others so we can pay our taxes. The reason that we have to work for others is that 99% of people have been deprived of an inheritance in the wealth of the land. Income property is owned by a few and the state. The others are slaves. Artists, programmers and inventors depend on their work to make a living. Can we blame them? We all depend on our labor because we are all slaves. So now we are swimming in a ocean of laws and rules that take away our remaining liberties, one by one.

    Let's face it, if you cannot put a fence around it or put chains on it, it does not belong to you. Makes no difference whether it is ideas, writings, software, music or what have you. Once you've released it, like the air, it belongs to nobody and everybody.

    Intellectual property owners (such as Microsoft, Adobe, and the music industry) will fight freedom with everything they've got. Right now they have two formidable weapons: IP laws and powerful police states to enforce them. But those who yearn to be free also have a formidable weapon, the internet.

    The internet and other communication technologies (e.g., file sharing systems) are the first major kinks in the armor of a sick system. As technology progresses, the system will eventually collapse. What will happen to a slave-based economy when robots and advanced artificial intelligences replace everybody, i. e., when human labor, knowledge and expertise become worthless?

    And don't think for a minute this won't happen in your lifetime. The internet is the latest giant leap in human communication. Before that came mass telecommunication technologies and before that was the movable press. If history is any indication, we can expect a giant leap in technological progress and scientific knowledge. In fact, it is happening before our very eyes.

    We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property, a piece of the pie, an estate if you will. There is plenty for everybody.

    Communism confiscates all property and enslaves everybody. Capitalism gives property to a few and enslaves the rest. It's sad. The land should not be divided for a price. It should be an inheritance for us and our children and their children. It's the only way to guarantee freedom and a truly free market in a world where human labor is about to go the way of the dinosaurs.

    Demand liberty! Nothing less.
  • Even with "Hard evidence" that Hatch had help writting the bill, the evidence is the "... distinguished gentleman ..." river of BS they spew in public.

    Hatch kissing democratic ass is a political tactic, not a sign he's a moderate. This is the same fellow who read from the Exorsist during the hearings for Clarence Thomas' spot on the supremes.

  • by cworley ( 96911 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:33PM (#69824)
    I'd think the folks in Las Vegas who promote conventions would be a little pissed at Adobe & the DMCA too.

    The next Defcon conference should be outside the US... and other conferences should think twice before having a US based conference attended by programmers from outside the US.

    Since the DMCA is protecting wealthy capitalists by disallowing any programs that compete with their popular programs, it is only prudent to avoid putting your programmers in harms way.

    It was the ultra-conservative Republican, Orin Hatch (representing ultra-conservative Utah) that wrote the DMCA. Strange that these republicans say they want to "open markets", then pass laws to protect wealthy capitalists instead.

    Maybe this is cause to boycott the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Utah too (it's worth boycotting since they won't let outsiders bring in their own booze, and must purchase booze from the limited variety offerred by the state store).

  • They have Microsoft in the US, and lawsuits or no it isn't going anywhere

    IANAMSE (I am not a Microsoft Employee) but I've heard (which makes it absolute fact) that MS now has major programmer plants (yes, you're all rooted) in India, if not other countries. WHat makes you think they're not going anywhere?

  • Alan Cox has legitmate concerns about his safety if he enters the USA. He is also pointing out to other software authors that they should be concerned. This isn't a political game... the USA is arresting people for giving lectures on software design and security!

    Whilst your point is noted, this is certainly not a game. I take issue that this *IS* political.

    Information Freedom is a Libertarian view point, indeed a defining difference between Libertarianism and nearly any other political position.

    Dimitry has been jailed for exercising his political belief of Sharing information.

    Sharing information is a crime in the US under the DMCA.

    Therefore he is a political prisoner.

    I always though freedom of politics was protected under the US constitution. Apparently not.

    Whilst in the past I would have been v. *happy* to visit or work in the states. I don't believe I shall anytime soon.

    Linux: Born Free; IE: No such thing as a free lunch.

  • If we boycot US, and people are stop coding new stuff in US, the it is gonna be a dead-lock for the US. No coders, no money :)

    me hope :)

  • We could be like the Teamsters, informationally speaking. You don't get your information unless we are happy, and right now we aren't happy. What do you think would happen in a large corporation if for example suddenly all their mail servers went offline? What if it happened to every major corporation? Sure they could fire us but then what? Who are they going to replace us with? Another geek who's pissed off at the system? There'd have to be no breaking of ranks though, no matter what threats or dollar figures were bandied about.
  • Ok. Let's say there's a company out there who makes locks for doors. They release a new lock to the public with the statement that this lock will keep your door closed no matter what somebody tries.

    Then some lockpick figures out how to pick the lock, and instead of using his knowledge to open doors, he tells everybody how to do it in the hope that the company will release a better lock.

    Does the lockpick get arrested? Of course not. He's performed a public service, showing that these locks are, in fact, not undefeatable and forces the company to produce a better lock.

    The DMCA is retarded because it targets the very people who are pushing for better products. DeCSS, for example, was SHIT. Say it with me, security through obscurity DOESN'T WORK. You know it and I know it.

    Our recently arrested Russian friend figured out a way to crack Adobe's protection. What did he do? He wrote papers, did presentations. All in hope that Adobe would get a better protection scheme. What did he get?


    Man, I'm fucking glad I live in Canada.
  • by chipwich ( 131556 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:16PM (#69841)
    His resignation is admirable, but such an act needs to be followed with a show of solidarity if it is to be meanginful. A good place to start would be pointing your uninformed friends to []

    As other slashdotters have pointed out, mere compaining is not likely to do anything in particular. An organized show of support against adobe, and against the DMCA is much more likely to be effective.

    What is the best approach to organizing against adobe and the DMCA? Letter writing? Boycott? Something else?

    What about flooding local editorial pages of newspapers with well written letters describing the dangers of the DMCA so that our non-linux guru friends (and the media) can understand and support the cause?

  • While this is a good gesture to make, I fear it will do little to resolve the fundamental issue at hand.

    The cold fact is this - the US lawmakers could not care less about what the non-corporate computer world thinks of their laws. Our opinions don't matter to them.

    Consider! There are at last count a few hundred MILLION americans. Most of them can vote, a major percentage of them DO vote. There are also thousands of issues waiting to be addressed, most of which are more emotionally relevant to people than computers. Most people in the world use computers only to get specific jobs done - they have no need to appreciate the whole picture. Consider how small the percentage of voters who are worried about this are relative to the rest of the population. Probably about the same number who stand to profit from the DMCA. The net result, when you throw money into the mix, is that we are irrelevant.

    So our vote doesn't scare them. What about what Cox tried, encouraging people to move their operations elsewhere. From the government's point of view, that's probably just what they are looking for! They have Microsoft in the US, and lawsuits or no it isn't going anywhere. And Microsoft controls probably between fifty and seventy percent of all computing, depending on how you count. On desktops considerably more than that. The Microserfs both within and out of the company aren't going anywhere, and neither is their economic clout or control of personal computing. So what do they care if they lose a few independant thinkers? From their standpoint it makes security through obscurity easier. The fact that this isn't secure at all apparently doesn't mean much to them.

    Consider how much damage things like the Love virus do, and yet no action is taken to fix the fundamental problem (Microsoft's security). If that didn't teach them that unknown security problems are a danger, nothing will. They (and the companies) just want the visible problems gone. They are both monopolies - they don't have to care about a small buch of techno-geeks. We are bad. We wave problems in the face of everyone and teach people how to destroy the system! We should be stopped!

    All the people who wrote the DMCA are interested in is money and public image. They've got the crap beat out of us on both. We insist that people THINK about the problem and find real solutions. The people are lazy. Most think a login prompt is a major hassle. They don't want to have to think about whether they are really secure. They just want to get buy. Anyone shooting their mouth off about problems makes that impossible, and people have to work more. Ohh, we can't have that.

    That battle, at least in the US, is hopeless. It's money and votes people are interested in, and we don't have either. Therefore, our opinions don't matter to the powers that be.

    The once chance that things will improve might be if all the best computer people go somewhere else to work because of the stupid US legislation. Enough dumb rules, and it might just happen.

  • Someone tell Timothy that "Dupe" is a poor word to use here, as it is to easy to think he means hoax. I looked around for a while looking for other reports of the 'hoax' before I finally figured out he was too lazy to type 'duplicate post' out in it's entirety. It's really not that hard, Timothy .... really .... it isn't! 8^}

    (and yes ... I tried to mail him myself, but clicking on the hyperlink brings you to his lame web page rather than an E-Mail box ....)
  • You arbitrarily decide which laws you want to obey every day, and you tell me that I shouldn't? I am a man, not a sheep.
  • by Ho-Lee-Cow! ( 173978 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:08PM (#69864)
    Don Henley mentioned in one of his essays on the topic of IP and the music industry that we probably were going to need our 2nd Amendment rights more to protect us from corporations than from the government. In some ways, especially with crap like this Adobe crap, they are becoming one in the same.

  • by EricEldred ( 175470 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @02:24PM (#69865) Homepage

    The Alan Cox resignation adds a Free Software angle to this sorry case.

    Another might well be potential liability by Ghostview and other Free Software PDF viewers. According to some sources, gv "bypasses" the Adobe Security API model and allows a user to read a PDF file with permissions the original publishers did not grant. For example, to print the file.

    Could some of the Ghostview, Ghostscript, or other PDF developers comment?

    Specifically, if ElcomSoft and/or Dmitry Sklyarov is liable under the DMCA for creating or "trafficking" in a "device" that "bypasses" an "effective" security API that is imposed by "authority" of the copyright owner--then could Ghostview, Red Hat, and other Free Software people be also harrassed by Adobe?

    I got the response that Ghostview is not a "commercial" product. But I don't believe that is enough to excuse a piece of software under the DMCA--the "access" part of the DMCA doesn't require that the software be sold. Certainly Adobe will claim damages in lost sales.

  • This week I wrote a letter to Sens. Gramm and Hutchison and Rep. Bentsen. Who did you write to?
  • It's dubious whether or not he violated the DMCA. People are upset at Adobe for filing a DMCA complaint to the FBI instead of admitting that their product is faulty, advising its customers of this (since many of them rely on Adobe eBooks for their businesses), and fixing the problem. Gestapo tactics won't make their fundamentally flawed software any better, and until that happens, they're knowingly selling a defective product to their customers. One of the major problems with the DMCA is that it encourages companies to rely on litigation rather than solid engineering to protect their data.

    (And yes, I've written several letters to various congresspeople about this. I encourage everyone to do the same.)

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @08:38PM (#69874) Journal
    Did you know George W Bush spent more money in the republican primaries then his fathers spent during his WHOLE 1992 campaign?

    Infact the whole 1992 election cost less then a hundred million but in 2000 the cost was close to a billion with corporations paying for the vast majority of it.

    Why such an increase?

    Because Americans do not read the newspapers or get politically involved anymore. The vast majority of Americans prefer to get their information from blittzy hollywood produced 15 second commercials on television paid by lobbiets and corporate executives. The ad's are all bent on half truths because Americans are too lazy or ignorant to look up the facts. Less then %25 of Americans under 30 even read a newspaper on a weekly basis so the corporations pay more and more on television to produce an artificial image of a candidate to serve their interests. Anyone remember how Bush claimed he was extremely moderate on televsion? Or how NBC claimed he would be the most liberal republican since Nixon? Well after the blittzy "I want to be your friend " ads, George Bush actually was extremely conservative but ignorant televion watching Americans didn't know this untill the California gas crises. What can we do?

    We need to educate Americans to read more newspapers and magazines and encourage others to be politically involved. In 1992 americans spent ore time researching and reading the newspaper to make their political deciscions. This is why money had less influence then in today. Counter lobbying is not the answer. We can not outspend corporate america with counter lobbying. They hold %95 of the worlds wealth. Its a hopeless battle. If people will learn from news oriented media like newspapers and doing their own research rather then from ads on entertainment sources like TV, we can make a difference. Also Corporations are buying their way into being international citizens and not only american ones by buying international trade laws to put the DMCA everywhere including england where Alan Cox is at. It will not stop. They need to grow at %50 every 4 years to make wall street happy and buyuing some laws to help them make secretive deals or brake laws is a great way to accomplish this. GE only had to pay to clean up half the hudson river thanks to some lobbying wich saved them money.

    With regards to the DMCA, Americans do not even know how much money they are losing per dvd disc bought due to price gouging that the dmca was made to help enforce. VHS tapes are still $17 while a dvd movie is $35. DVD discs are actually cheaper to make then a VHS tape. After seeing all those glittz dvd movie ads they all of the suden forget about the price tage and even cmd-Taco himself must have his japanese animated dvd's.

    Hmm that isn't right.

    In the 1950's something like the dmca would not be tollerated. Americans who read back then would know about it and be outraged. Lets hit corporate america right where it hurts and make campaign ad's less effective by promoting people to read the new York times or some other news media which is not written by a lobbiest.

  • You may be forgetting that capitalism is a relatively new concept in Western Civilization. It took a long time for us to figure out that feudalism was flawed. Had Slashdot been around back then I'm sure most serfs would respond to criticism of the system with a cliche like "If you don't like it, become a noble and start your own fief!"

    Historically, "Father of the free market" Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations wasn't published until 1776. There was organized trade before that (e.g. Dutch East India Company), but the world's economic landscape looked nothing like it does today.

    I just pulled Peter Lynch's book "Learn to Earn" off of the shelf, I wish I had a better reference.. Anyway, consider this sentence:
    "By 1800, there were 295 corporations formed in the United States, but most of these remained in private hands so the general public couldn't own them."

    In the early 1800s, there were various stock market panics and bubbles that didn't do much to encourage Americans to invest in the stock market. But during the later half of the 1800s, the corporation in the United States really took off. That's when we saw the proliferation of inventions like the steamboat, the cotton gin, fancy pistols, Edison's inventions, etc. Getting these new products out there took a lot of investment, and that's when the stock market became very active.

    Since then we've incurred incredible societal changes with a move from agrarian life to urban and suburban life, various ethnic groups have more representation in government and less discrimination. The industrial revolution and factories have made mass production of prpducts possible. Corporations are a lot more VISIBLE now. Brand names weren't well known until the early 20th century thanks to A&P being the first popular chain store, making mass produced items like Nabisco crackers and Heinz ketchup ubiquitously known in American towns. Chain stores have now made our cities (particularly the suburbs) look like carbon copies of one another (read The Geography of Nowhere.) Advertising has gone from Burma Shave billboards along Route 66 to huge screens on buildings displaying brightly lit, flashing animated ads that distract drivers on the road.

    Historically, you don't really have a CLUE what the answer is to the question "Which is better: GOVERNMENT or CORPORATION?" because the impact of the corporation on our culture has changed so much in only the past 150 years.

    Henry Fool
  • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @05:19PM (#69886) Homepage
    Actually, if you look back over the last several Presidencies, you'll notice that if a President didn't like certain laws, those laws either soon ceased to exist or weren't prosecuted as heavily unless the defendant was being charged with other things. Also, if a President "liked" certain laws the opposite was true. Look at how much got swept under the rug with eight years of Clinton.

    It's all about currying favour with the current administration.

  • For this reason, the life of a patent used to be 14 years maximum after two extensions (US law here). After 14 years, the knowledge was avaiable for everyone to use.
    . . .
    Miserably. The current patent system is actually preventing innovation in many areas because the lifetime has been increased radically (I think they are now at 70 years in the US)
    You have patents and copyrights confused. Patents are 17 years, non-renewable, and TTBOMK they haven't been changed a bit in quite a while (allthough I'd like to see one tweak, starting the clock on drugs requiring FDA approval after that approval, because now drug companies have just a few years left, and some diseases that affect a small minority just aren't worth researching anymore).

  • Now, when your teacher catches you passing a note to your girlfriend in a high school class in the U.S., you can have him arrested for decoding it.
  • Less then %25 of Americans under 30 even read a newspaper on a weekly basis so the corporations pay more and more on television to produce an artificial image of a candidate to serve their interests. Anyone remember how Bush claimed he was extremely moderate on televsion?

    Does /. count?

    Actually I don't read most newspapers because they are garbage and marketing exclusively. I glance at the headlines, skim certain articles, etc. There are few good newspapers in America, and they do include the NYT, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, etc. but they are few and far between. Some of the alternative ones are slightly better than your agverage paper, but not much more so.

    Simple reason: news is being sold as an entertainment product for the most part (though NYT and WSJ sell News as Business Information Commodity which is better, and the Christian Science Monitor seems to try to sell balanced informed coverage for its own sake but whether that is possible is a question I still entertain...

    When will people actually do their own research instead?

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • It is clear that you certainly understand business.

    This link between risk and return applies to patent law, drug companies, and other subjects that slashdot often gets all up in arms about too.

    Again you are right here too, but I also think that one has to look at the whole system and ask two things: What are we trying to accomplish and how well are we succeeding? (I think that one could misunderstand your position as completely upholding draconian policies for publishers, biotech companies, etc).

    What are we trying to accomplish thought IP law? We are trying to give an incentive to innovate both with practical and expressive innovations.

    Patents are suppose to increase the resources everyone has access to in the research and development of their products because without them, inventors would have incentive to keep things secret. For this reason, the life of a patent used to be 14 years maximum after two extensions (US law here). After 14 years, the knowledge was avaiable for everyone to use.

    Copyrights are designed to give authors incentive to write books, etc. However, beginning in the late 1960's in America, copyright law began to shift from the interest of the author to the interest of the publishing houses. The DMCA is a further example of this shift.

    How well are we succeeding?

    Miserably. The current patent system is actually preventing innovation in many areas because the lifetime has been increased radically (I think they are now at 70 years in the US) and the pase of technological innovation has increased, thereby ensuring that any technology will be useless when its patent expires. Patents were designed to give a slight market edge, not Intellectual Real Estate... Patents are now used to proprietize commodity crop markets and post frivolous lawsuits, etc.

    And in copyright law, how are artist's interests being furthered when they get something like 5% of the recording industry (and those numbers are probably discounting the debt that they usually are given by record labels)? Why is a record deal today as financially profitable as being a coalminer at the beginning of the 20th century? (Yes I know several musicians who were screwed out of a lot of money by the recording industy.)

    What we are atcually doing is damaging ourselves severely. The DMCA places the rights of large publishing houses above the rights of network administrators and above the rights of consumers. No amount of cost/benefit analysis can show that this act is not fundamentally a Bad Idea.

    Sklyarov's arrest and Cox's resignation are clear signs of the danger that this act poses. I will certainly do my part to make the message heard.

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • Agreed. Teh important thing is that we have to get the law repealed or overturned-- getting the charges dropped is great and all but that is a skirmish-- we are at war here. Helping Demitriy out and all is good, and could be beneficial, but it should not stop us from writing to out congressmen, protesting the DMCA, and everything else we can do to make sure that the law comes down. Legal precedent is one way to do it, and the other way is through legislative action.

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:
  • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <chris,travers&gmail,com> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:52PM (#69893) Homepage Journal
    Yes it will help.

    Cox's actions illustrate the danger that the DMCA poses to associations of computer security professionals.

    There are 2 things that will kill the DMCA-- one of them is that the restrictions will eventually annoy the everage person, but the second it is that it will permanantly damage the ability of academics and other security professionals to do their work. (Well, maybe not permanantly...) Without the ability to freely work on cryptoanalysis projects, as a network administrator, I have no way of knowing how secure my networks are. The DMCA threatens to dampen the speech which goes on among security professionals, giving a greater edge to those who would maliciously attack my networks, and this is the primary reason I fight it. (Maybe when the whitehouse's web site actually goes down from a DDOS worm, then they will listen and realize the damage they have done.)

    This is a serious issue, and if it continues, I will have to seriously rethink whether I want to remain in the States.

    Nor is the actual letter of the law the worst though. YOu can expect major corporations to hide behind it, protecting themselves from the expense of investing in real security. So no one in the states will have any idea that that super-duper new encryption scheme is really the old spycode cypher or maybe rot-13. Their threatening letters (ala Felden) will become more important than their actual words, and could destroy the Amercian community of computer security professionals.

    So yes, I hope Cox's move is effectual in making the security community aware of the grave threat that the DMCA poses. I think it just might be.

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • The people of america dont give a shit about this sort of thing. During the 1950s, nobody cared much about civil rights either. Who was interested in it? The NAACP knew this. So they took things to court. And look how far we've gone since then. It is an effective manner of getting action on a situation the public doesnt know or care about.

    Skylarov's case needs to go to court. The supreme court.

  • Government: Corporation : King...Its all the same. Different names for the same thing,that is. Power. Those who have a little want more. Those that have a lot, want it all.

    If more people have been hurt by Governements, that's just b/c they've had a few centuries more than Corps to develop their resume. I suggest you search google for the words Oil+murder+Africa and see if you still are more afraid of your government. Or Banana+Central+America+murder.

    The facts of the 20th Century seem to indicate that Governments have acted in a violent and colonistic manner for the sole benifit of Corporations. Point being, if you are dark-skinned and poor, and live somewhere a Corporation would rather you didn't...well, may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Explain to me how my Father-in-law, who works in a GM plant in Ohio, is even close to being the same (WRT Power) as the Executives at GM, or the Board of Directors?

    This isn't so much about war, as it is returning Corporations to their rightful place. And that is to serve the people. When they stop serving our interests, they get their charters revoked. They have no authority that the Gov't (and by extension, us) didn't give them. The balance of power has been shifted (through nefarious means) from The People, to the Corporations. It's high-time we shifted it back.

  • Politically speaking, Anarchy would be the ideal system. Unfortunately, we as society (woohoo, Haven't used that phrase since I wrote a paper for PHIL 101) lack the respect for basic human rights that must be present for Anarchy to be viable.

    That notwithstanding, there are a great many things a People can do to limit the ability of those with Power to exercise it. Term Limits (insure the same individuals arent' in Power very long), the Power to recall an elected official, and Laws written (as ours in the US orginally were) to protect the Freedoms of the citizenry, and the means to effectively defend yourself (both with a weapon, and a ballot.)

    That Corps are considered to have all the same rights, yet little of the personal responsibility, of a Citizen is an abomination; legally, historically, and ethically.

  • While I agree with the general point of your posting, you should be aware that the Dutch had corporations, and the infrastructure to support them (merchant banks, a stock market) as long ago as the late 1600s. Things were different then, but the history of Dutch colonization, and many of their wars, were driven by business interests.

    The collusion of governments with business (whether corporations or other forms) goes back as far as Roman times. One could even argue that it was the norm in early states. And even when government arguably took the lead (say, the Nazi imperialist venture and the genocides that followed), "respectable" businesses were right there to help, and to cash in.

    Incidentally, Adam Smith had a good understanding of the way that businesses subvert the political process for their own ends. He was a thinker of some subtlety, taking a balanced view nothing like the mindlessly absolutist pro-capitalist cheerleaders who post on Slashdot. He said
    People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
    He was a firm advocate of the rule of law, and of controls on monopolies. He recognized the power of the market, but also understood its limitations. We'll never get anywhere in our current debates on this topic unless we too can recognize shades of grey and get away from idiotic capitalist/communist cold war rhetoric.

    I am pro-market, and I also want corporations out of government. The DMCA is one example of how the system can be distorted when commercial interests buy legislation. I just hope that the response to Alan's principled resignation is not for some corporate shill to be appointed in his place.

  • by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike AT baptiste DOT us> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:01PM (#69905) Homepage Journal
    While I commend Alan on taking a stand, you have to wonder what effect it will have. How much power do the conference organizers have? Even if programmers boycotted conferences en masse, would it have any effect and would there be a receptive ear in Washington? I sincerely doubt it. Not until we elect representatives that a) aren't beholden to corporate America and b) understand technology, the DMCA will remain the law of the land unfortunately. And the likelyhood of A & B happening are slim and none so its likely the only way the DMCA will go down is in the courts and even that is iffy. Not trying to be depressing, but our representatives don't know squat about the Internet and buy into the media hysteria hook line and sinker. And good luck finding main stream media that portrays hackers (NOT crackers) in anything but a bad light.
  • Not an uninteresting idea, but, don't hold your breath. The main point of the conference is to make money after all. Less money will be made outside of the U.S. Less folks will go, it will be more expensive

    It may suprise you to learn that there are plenty of successful conferences not held in the US. Also US hotel rates have over the past five years gone from being relatively cheap to much more expensive than other countries. Even Vegas is no longer cheap, these days there are plenty of casinos arround the US and the cheap hotel rooms are no longer cheap.

    As for a smaller conference, that would probably be a good idea anyway. DefCON has become a flabby media whore event where most of the audience are wannabe script kiddies.

  • Cox's action strikes me as posturing, however it may be posturing with a point. The Felten case against the DMCA censorship clauses is going ahead, Cox is underlining the fact that we are back to the point where giving crypto papers in the US is to risk jail.

    The Bush Administration and Katherine Harris burried "We The People" in Florida, anyone who thought that the first ammendment was safe in their hands is a fool.

    Ashcroft is a racist bigott and anti-gay bigott. He lost his Senate seat because he failed to conceal the fact sufficiently. However the circumstances of his appointment make it hard for him to discriminate against either group. Going after Russian hackers probably looks like a good substitute, a minority that can easily be made the subject of widespread public hatred and fear.

    Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people

  • Boycotting Adobe Acrobat would be one way to protest. I suspect though that the crimninal cracker fraternity will prefer distributing crack programs that break the Adobe eBook protection software.

    It is somewhat interesting that the first ammendment allows the Anti-Abortion fanatics to run a site advocating the murder of their opponents with a hit list annotated with home addresses while the same first ammendment does not appear to protect someone who is merely reporting the poor security technique of a corporation.

    Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people

  • That makes sense, but that doesn't explain to me how his resignation prevents USENIX conventions from being run in the US. On the other hand, if he remained in his position as the US rep, could he not still urge programmers not to attend events in the US, and additionally operate within the organization to urge that no events be held in the US? Maybe I don't understand how USENIX works?
  • by regexp ( 302904 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @05:30PM (#69912)
    Can someone please explain how Cox's resignation will help the cause? Whouldn't it be more effective if he remained in his position and used it to promote the cause?

    I am not being sarcastic; I really don't understand--can anyone clear it up?

  • by doubtme ( 313660 ) <cgf,spam1&syntilect,com> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @09:34PM (#69915) Homepage
    Idly flicking through the Adobe site I came across this...

    Reporting Suspected Privacy

    If you know of, or believe you know of, an organization or an individual who is committing software piracy, please let us know. Reporting piracy is a good thing because:

    Adobe will work with the person or organization to help it become compliant.

    If the information you provide turns into a corporate lead and if we get the company to legalize (by buying genuine Adobe software), Adobe will donate a portion of the proceeds as software to underprivileged schools and nonprofits in North America and the rest of the world.

    Oh the irony. I suppose this only applies to people who are actually pirating Adobe products, and not just showing the world how worthless they are?

    Source: html []

    There's no $$$ in 'team'...

  • that some countries in america (continent, of course) will be stupid enough to follow the US steps with their internet related laws...

    It is our responsibility, from a global perspective, to protest by actively spreading the code...
    Let alone that, this kind of law is threatening the Free Software movement directly, its obvious that all this cases (decss included) put jurisprudence on behalf of code being locked... when the big case of O.S. comes, all the prosecuttor (or defendant) will have to say is: "As was clarified on X versus Y, open, publicly available code is dangerous and destroys the very fabric of society, letting those ruskies hurt our american companies...."
    Im gonna be sick.... Alex
  • by -douggy ( 316782 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:02PM (#69917)
    Yes it is illegal for anybody in america to decrypt my post. If you do the fbi will arrest you.


    Now do you see?
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @07:31PM (#69924)
    Boycott the RIAA, firebomb Adobe, blah blah blah...

    How come nobody's mentioned writing their politicians about this? Try telling THEM how much you don't like sections 1201 [] and 1202 [] of Chapter 12 [] of Title 17 [] of the U. S. Code []. It might be helpful to quote passages from it that you find particularly damning.

    Tell them about Sklyarov [] and Felten v. RIAA [] and Universal v. Reimerdes [] and any other of the big cases I missed. Talk about how the law is being abused and violates the First Amendment. Mention that it could harm business. Keep in mind that neither they nor anybody they know actually read Slashdot (as hard as that may be to grasp).

    Here's the President's address:

    President George W. Bush
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, DC 20500-0001

    Here's the address for the Supreme Court:

    Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
    Supreme Court of the United States
    1 1st St. NE
    Washington, DC 20543-0002

    Your representative? The House maintains a site here [] where it will tell you who your rep is after you tell them what your state and ZIP code are. Don't know your ZIP+4 code is? Go to the USPS site and put your address in here [] to find out. After you find out who it is, their address is on their website.

    Senators? The Senate's web site maintains a list of the addresses (and phone numbers) of all current Senators organized by state here []

    Too cheap to pay the $1.70 in postage to write all these people? E-mail them. I was amazed last week when Tauzin acknowledged an e-mail I sent him with a snail-mail response. Sure, it was a blanket form letter on the topic, but it's a sign that it got read. (I still reccomend paper mail, though, since it's harder to ignore).

    At the absolute least, you should realize that bitching and moaning to Slashdot about all this is about as effective as bitching and moaning to a brick wall.

    Oh, and one last note: If you DO write them, don't flame them (unless you want another note added to your FBI file and possible surveilance/wiretaps/etc.).

  • Hmmm, last time I read something about the percentage of Americans that vote, it said something like 30% or so voted. Not really a 'major percentage'.

    Besides that, even if you do vote here, sometimes your vote does not get counted. Particularly in states where your brother is governor. Come on Americans, don't waste time. You country is rapidly being overhauled into a dictatorship. Don't get defensive about that observation, but DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Revolutions are part of the growth cycle of a country, it's your chance to create culture instead of always advertising 'european this' and 'european that' in commercials on TV.

    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • But Allen seems to state we hate russia.

    He said "hated by the US government". As you probably know by now, the US government no longer represents the American people anymore, so don't take it personal.

    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • But we'll need the inventor of ASCII then

    Why do you say that? Did Adobe 'invent' ROT-13?

    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:12PM (#69932)
    If you have not yet contacted Adobe with your concerns, perhaps it is best to do so. Adobe likely does not read forums such as this (that's their problem I guess), and the only likely means Adobe can understand this public relations flop is their receipt of email from concerned individuals.

    Boycott Adobe has the following email contacts at Adobe to send a message to [mailto].

    Also, Adobe's own forums apparently have discussions related to this matter. I think this forums are located under Adobe support.
  • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:20PM (#69933)
    The story of the new nine special units to prosecute/pursue such crimes is a new /. story, I think. Also, I understand that the U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecuting Sklyarov (Robert Mueller) has been nominated by President Bush [] to be the next head of the FBI.

    I have a feeling that the Bush Administration isn't opposed to DMCA?
  • Who are they going to replace us with?

    Foreign workers (programmers admins etc) who come in on work visas. The corporations have already *bought* these visas so they import technical people from around the world who are severely restricted under the visa. The corps do not have to pay them benefits, have them work unspeakabale amounts of unpaid (or underpaid) overtime and hold the threat of deportation over their heads if they so much as sigh in protest.

    What ever happened to *you cannot fill a job in America with a foreign worker as long as there is an American who can fill the job?* Seems to me there are a lot of techies unemployed but the foreign workers keep flooding in.
  • name one major software package IRC (Finland) mIRC (Egland) MP3 (Germany) CDs (Germany) Corel (Canada) Opera (Norway)
  • by banshee2000 ( 454771 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @09:52PM (#69943)
    I agree with post #230 that Americans need to start making INFORMED DECISIONS. However, that will not be possible until the (any) subject is brought up as a TOPIC OF ANALYSIS ... involving public debate from as many perspectives as possible. The American mass media is a huge propoganda machine and its contents have been bought and sold without the consent or even the consulatation of the people. Americans will NOT get any objective news from the mass media in any form. The mass media (including, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and books) are dominated by the same multi-national corporations that bring lazy (let's have it fast and easy ) Americans their nightly news flashes on the boob tube. These media monopoly corporations turn wants itno NEEDS and dictate the way average Joe America thinks, dreams, acts, speaks, eats, works, and plays, It is in the best interests of these huge corporations to keep the masses dependant and ignorant and they own and control the means to do so.

    There are voices of reason out there in beautiful downtown America. The mainstream rote learners (couch potatos) like to call them crackpots, liberal fanatics, and eco-terrorists (or whatever other buzz words the mass media dreams up) so they don't have to face the truth. It's very hard for people to come to grips with the fact that everything they've believed in and trusted their entire lives is a lie. It's a real challenge for ordinary Joes to break free from their comfortable little paradigms, but until they do, they are being held hostage to the whims of corrupt governments who are also controlled by these same multi-national corporations.

    The Internet has been an invaluable tool in helping people to see beyond the propoganda machine and seek knowledge. There are also a few good journals available to the public, like Zmag for example, that contain no corporate sponsorship and thus are free from influence. There are some excellent academic works like Media Monopoly by Ben Bagdikian and Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky that spell out the conspiracy of corporate America in black and white. These authors are not crackpot leftists, they are the intellectuals in our modern civilized *cough* world that dare to tell the truth and dare to back up their findings. They stand accountable to us, the conscience of America, and the entire free world.Give up a couple of hours of primetime TV and go to the library or the bookstore and pick up these books and read them. Above all, do not depend on any corporate-sponsored media for an objective and honest view.

  • It's the same liberals that forced Ashcroft to say he will uphold the laws and enforce him whether he agrees with them or not that now condemn him for upholding the laws which they disagree with. Give the man a fair chance, I think so far he's done a good job as the Attorney General and surely he has the qualifications for the job. And the only times Ashcroft has really been in the news after congress approved him were when he uncovered mistakes of the previous administration, such as not turning over evidence to McVeigh's defense team, something which is probably for the better that he's not making the news.

    As for the DMCA, you can't expect judges that don't understand technology to overturn a law that congress passed and large corporations support. It's just a shame that companies can appoint lobbyists and make donations and those who oppose what they support don't have the resources nor the organization to do the same. Perhaps those who understand technology and support open source should form their own organizations, collect donations, hire lawyers and members and do the same. You'd think the ACLU would be eager to support this cause but they have more in common with the conservative capitalists than they'd like to admit. It's not going to be possible to overturn things without an organized effort, and currently such an effort doesn't exist. I'm not saying I don't somewhat agree with the voice of the corporations and those who have the money and the ACLU but it would be nice to have a voice of the opposing viewpoint with money and power to provide a formidable opponent to keep the powers in check.

    This is probably the best way to get something done, but if you want someone to blame, make it those who don't understand the technology and are making the laws to govern it and ruling on it in the courts, but don't blame the man you, the liberal community, forced to swear he would uphold the laws.

In order to dial out, it is necessary to broaden one's dimension.