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EFF Compiles Endangered Gizmos List 201

Hungry Student writes "The EFF has published an "Endangered Gizmos" list of technology that is at risk of extinction from the lobbyists of the entertainment industry. Extinct species include DVD X-Copy and Napster 1.0. Among those fighting for survival are Morpheus and HDTV tuner cards. The BBC has commentary on this as well." From the article: "The EFF intends the list to be part of a wider educational and awareness project, and it will be updated regularly as more gadgets and technologies are saved or killed off."
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EFF Compiles Endangered Gizmos List

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:44PM (#11713885)
  • by bconway ( 63464 ) * on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:46PM (#11713913) Homepage
    Dear Slashdot Editors,

    If you find that a link in a story that has been submitted shows up as purple in your browser, it may be worth checking whether the reason you've already visied the site because the story was already submitted.

    Your humble reader
    • 1) How many slashdot editors actually read the submissions?

      2) Is there a SIMPLE one off search point to put keywords into and get listings of the accepted submissions? This should NOT include wading through tonnes of comments slightly similar.
      (before you open your mouth and say Google, think - google won't catch the dupes within a couple of days of posting, only the older ones)

      3) Does it matter THAT much if theres an occasional dupe. (Yes I realise you are a paying subscriber, and in your case, its just
      • (before you open your mouth and say Google, think - google won't catch the dupes within a couple of days of posting, only the older ones)

        Really? Then how come I can find this particular story on, and it was posted an hour ago? And if the editors can't catch dupes that are still on the front page, there's not much hope for them at all.

    • Slashdot is the Dupe of URL
  • I couldn't find "Slashdot Dupe" on the endangered list, so I believe that phenomenon will continue to live on....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:48PM (#11713960)
    This isn't about companies and artists being "stolen" from. It's about corporate entities finally having the kind of leverage to exert full control over content distribution from inception to consumption.

    If a company can control the distribution of its "intellectual property" - e.g. a song - from the moment it's recorded until it hits your ears - then there's additional opportunities for a revenue stream at any point in that line. For instance, you can purchase a song from iTunes. Or you can pay XM $10 a month for the privilege of listening to that same song on their satellite service. Or you could go to the record store and purchase a disc you can put in your CD player and play.

    But the act of copying said content, and giving it to a friend - that's completely outside the revenue stream, and the content companies seek to stop this type of action. Even if the creator of the content - the artist - would see benefit from this action. (An example: a friend recently made a copy of the Secret Machines album for me. I bought a copy for my brother, and then a copy for myself. How is this bad for the artist?)

    Music, video, and other entertainment content is *not* intellectual property. Trade secrets, manufacturing methods, software - that's IP. But music in specific is undergoing a transformation. Content control is not natural in the broad scope - it's an artificial control mechanism put in place to generate revenue.
    • Why is copyright not considered IP? OK, there is a joke about not requiring intellect to make, but it still falls within the IP scope as far as I can tell.

      Heck, why is software considered IP and not media? Heck, a broader definition of software includes media even if it is linear and doesn't require a computing device to decode it.

      Trademarks are a sub-type of IP, as are patents, copyrights, trade secrets, etc. They each have their uses and abuses.
    • "Music, video, and other entertainment content is *not* intellectual property. Trade secrets, manufacturing methods, software - that's IP."

      Yeah, but the copyright on the "music, video and other entertainment content" is intellectual property, specifically, an intangible asset. Otherwise, you're spot on.
    • by no_opinion ( 148098 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:20PM (#11714494)
      I recommend that you not speak for people who make a living off of music, because copyright violation is exactly what it's about. We want to let consumers do whatever they want with their music *for their own enjoyment*. The fact that you bought copies of a shared CD puts you in the minority. Most people would not bother buying something they already got for free.

      As an aritist, I have a right to decide how I want to make my music available. A consumer's desire to get it for free does not trump my right to sell it - at least not in America since we don't live by communism. Try and make the same rationalization in the context of something like a movie theater. Just because you think a theater is charging too much to watch a movie does not give you the right to sneak in for and see it for free.
      • I was going to make a post along the same lines, but it sounds much better coming from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
      • Since people have forgotten what is meant by the fair use clause and also that before the rise of P2P software. The giving away of copies by individuals was probably not that big or percieved by the content providers as not that much of a problem. Now with P2P software and here in the U.S. people forgetting what is meant by personal in the fair use clause, I can understand some of the alarm. Personal ae reference by the Fair Use clause means just YOU, the original purchaser may make and keep copies of cont
        • Personal ae reference by the Fair Use clause means just YOU

          That's funny, the word "personal" is never once referenced by the Fair Use Clause:

          107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use []

          Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use),
          • That's funny, the word "personal" is never once referenced by the Fair Use Clause:

            However, it might be relevant: "In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include...
            whether such use is of a commercial nature...
            the effect of the use upon the potential market
            -- if for "personal use" these two considerations would tend to weigh on the side of determining that it is "fair use"; at least they wouldn't go against it.

      • by GoodNicsTken ( 688415 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:56PM (#11715086)
        Your right, this is about copyright violation. The works of a society belong to that society. Copyright law was ment to give a TEMPORARY period for you to have control of the content to encourage works.

        That idea was lost long ago, your copyrights as an artist will outlive you and probably your children. Society is currently getting the raw end of the deal so Mickey Mouse doesn't end up in the public domain.

        I wish people would see both sides of this issue instead of, "he's Stealing from me."
        • Yeah, in a very real way, these corporations are "stealing" from us.

      • And for the other question: When I purchase a CD from you, am I purchasing the physical media, or a license to the music on the media? If you prevent me from copying the music off of the CD, will you provide me a replacement copy (for a modest fee of course) if/when my CD gets damaged/stolen/lost? If your song is played on the radio, what rights (if any) do I have to record it and listen to it again? Now mind you, most of the bands that I like support bootlegging their concerts (and have some songs that
  • by blanks ( 108019 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:50PM (#11714008) Homepage Journal
    In regards as to why this is happening...

    Does this create inovation?

    What about jobs, any new jobs? Or less jobs?

    How about the customers? This helps them right?

    Who exactlly does this help other then a few very large companies with very bad/old business models?

    From what I understand, this suffercates inovation, really hurts customers, and causes many people to lose jobs, and many many more over the next couple of years.
    • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:04PM (#11714244) Homepage Journal
      It bolsters the business models the wealthy are already using.

      If real innovation were permitted, media companies would have to spend money on R&D to keep up, and even roll out new product lines instead of milking the old ones.

      Do you think we'd have DVDs if people hadn't found many easy ways to copy VHS tapes? Nope. Same with CDs. They exist because they're cheaper to produce than tapes, yet can be sold for more because of the "higher quality" and because they were, at the time of their release, damn difficult to copy.
      • Do you think we'd have DVDs if people hadn't found many easy ways to copy VHS tapes? Nope. Same with CDs. They exist because they're cheaper to produce than tapes, yet can be sold for more because of the "higher quality" and because they were, at the time of their release, damn difficult to copy.

        ...because it took years before somebody noticed you could connect the video out from a DVD player to the video in of a VHS deck. Similarly, I'm sure it took forever for someone to notice that the audio out from

        • The point is not the difficulty of making copies, but the difficulty involved with maintaining quality.

          You admit that quality degredation is an issue when copying a DVD to VHS. Before the dawn of cheap burners and media, you still couldn't copy a DVD or CD to the same media type without quality loss. It's that difficulty in making a lossless copy combined with the less expensive manufacturing processes that made them appealing.

          Of COURSE you could still copy the mew media to old tech, which is one of the
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:52PM (#11714042)
    Since the site is dead, you can read a transcript of the site anonymously posted to Slashdot the last tine [] we killed the server.
  • Is it possible... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JawzX ( 3756 )
    That other "nerd news" organizations use slashdot as a source, somone sees the new somewhere else after missing the original slashdot post and then re-submits it to slashdot a couple weeks later?

    Still, dupes are far too common here and somone needs a good switch kick in the memory.
  • To everybody pointing out that this is a dupe:

    This may be a dupe (the earlier article is still fresh in my memory), but the BBC article is from today (Feb 18).

    At the very least, it's good to see that the mainstream news media has gotten wind [] of the article and is echoing EFF's concerns. Most of the articles in the Google News search seem to be recent (Jan/Feb 2005).

    I don't mind these kinds of dupes, because Slashdot (being the techie kind of website that it is) is likely to report such articles before

    • Just because someone reads slashdot discovers something and then reprints an article slashdot already covered, does that make it ok to post it again?
      • Yes. We should all write blog entries about the BBC story, and then submit Slashdot stories about our individual blog entries. They won't be dupes of this story, because it's about the BBC article, not the blog entries themselves or the original piece on EFF's site.

        And then some metablogger can write about all the interest this story is generating on blogs, and someone can submit a slashdot story about that, too.

    • The even covered this topic on the television program that only vaguely resembles the screen savers, and since TSS seems to get all it's news from /., we should expect a dupe on TSS later this afternoon =P Which may lead somehow to ANOTHER BBC article and re-re-re-dupe on /.

      This may never end.
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 ( 721233 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:57PM (#11714132)
    If you dealing with endangered Gizmos, just pour some water onto them : But for God's sake, don't feed 'em after midnight !

    [/Obscure Gremlins reference] ;)

  • by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @01:58PM (#11714145)
    Is BSD on the list?
  • by Jjeff1 ( 636051 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:00PM (#11714178)
    I watched my dad sit at his PC trying to get his "free" song he won from a little contest a Burger King. The only thing that stopped him from loading his PC up with whatever DRM locked media player was the annoyance of having to register when trying to download the player.

    My explanation of how the DRM locked tune would only work on his one PC and he could never play it anyplace else was all but pointless. He didn't understand, and didn't care. He just wanted a free song.

    It's not the DRM that most users care about, they care about being annoyed by the DRM. Once the companies figure out how to put DRM onto PCs without pissing anyone off, it will be all over.
    • You can't make DRM that does what **AA want and not piss people off.
    • Putting DRM into things in a way that doesn't piss everyone off is not possible. For DRM to not piss people off, it has to not prevent them from doing anything that they try to do. If DRM doesn't prevent people from doing anything, then you may as well not use it.
      • If the web site popped up a little ActiveX installer with simple instructions to "Click Yes to Enable Burger-King Music!!", then it would be installed.

        Done. PC now contains DRM player. Probably whatever stuff microsoft or real is churning out.

        Later on, if Dad actually tries to buy music, he'll put in his credit card and billing info just like any other on-line purchase.

        It's only when its time for an upgrade or his PC crashes that he'll encounter the restrictions in DRM, at which point it's too late.
    • "Once the companies figure out how to put DRM onto PCs without pissing anyone off, it will be all over."

      Already done. It's called FairPlay.
    • Its not the DRM that most users care about, they care about being annoyed by the DRM. Once the companies figure out how to put DRM onto PCs without pissing anyone off, it will be all over.

      Hence apples success.

      Thanks for sharing your insightÄ

  • I've long had suspicions, but this confirms it: The EFF pays slashdot for all the promotion they get here.

    I'm guessing this dupe was due to the fact that the weekly quota of EFF stories was not met as of Friday, Noon, Central Time, so some script in the slashcode kicks in and re-posts an EFF story from days past. (Advertiser charge-backs being a bitch, and all that)

    Am I right, or am I right?
  • I hope the EFF site is on that list, because it's not just endagnered, it appears to be a victim of mass extinction caused by a slashdotterite.
  • Dazed and confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) * on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:06PM (#11714290)
    This is really stupid. Firewire drives and CD burners are not endangered. Likewise D/A and A/D converter chips.

    It's misleading and confusing to include these in the classification with technologies like Morpheus, which looks to be heading towards a loss in court with the recent admissions that it tracked individual downloads, and HDTV tuner boards which are already scheduled to be phased out this year due to the broadcast flag rules.
    • Are you kidding?! The movie industry tried to get the VCR banned, but it failed. Do you really think the RIAA or the BSA wouldn't have tried the same against CD burners?

      I do admit that firewire drives are a stretch, but since you can use them to copy copyrighted materials, you know the copyright industry would love to ban them.
    • Those devices may not be directly in the sights, but they could become victims of collateral damage.

      Right now the analog output is a way around virtually any restriction on digital items. Once the analog outputs are eliminated, or greatly hindered, then the digital control would be virtually complete.

      Perhaps the D/A items won't become totally illegal, but they could be greatly restricted until the ordinary citizen would (could) be outlawed for having such a device, as it could be considered a DRM circumve
      • Perhaps the D/A items won't become totally illegal, but they could be greatly restricted until the ordinary citizen would (could) be outlawed for having such a device.

        All it takes is a ladder of precision resistors and an op-amp to make a relatively good DAC. I don't see how a restriction on DACs could possibly be enforced.

        Shit, I shouldn't have suggested that. Now resistors will be outlawed.
    • This is really stupid. Firewire drives and CD burners are not endangered. Likewise D/A and A/D converter chips.
      Don't you think that the "content" "industry" wouldn't dearly want to see them banned to the public? Only available to a few handpicked minions???
    • I have to agree that I cannot see these items being made illegal. They are simply too ubiquitous now and they have, like the VCR, legitimate uses. I vaguely remember the ruling on the VCR suit came down to legitimate uses. If the government starting outlawing items that are clear legitimate use items, we would be in trouble. (i.e. Next on the EFF list, the automobile) I think it is fairly obvious that all of the items you mention above do have legitimate uses. And there is really no way that A/D and D/A ch
  • near as i can tell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:13PM (#11714405)
    we are moving back towards feudalism, although the fedualist pushers don't call themselves "royal".

    The new "technofeudalists" are the huge transnational corporations, who are increasingly controlling the "laws" in various nations, overtly (open lobbying, trade associations,pushing "free trade" instead of "fair trade", etc) or covertly (bribing and blackmailing their boys into power in the "legitimate" governments, copting journalists to push propoganda, etc, etc). And it's very hard to control them, because corporations act as a group of people as to profits, but the responsibilities that a normal human person might have are not conclusive or extensive enough, witness time after time corporation-x gets busted for this or that. Usually it results in a fine, said fine monies then being pushed off onto the ultimate customers to pay. The corps themselves are rarely if ever actually busted up entirely, no matter how many times their officers/managers whatever get caught in illegal acts. And to make it worse, even if that happens, they can just "go bankrupt" and most of the same people involved can just go start up another string of corporations under new corporate person names and controlling addresses.

    Corporations are very similar to the old concept of "royal bloodlines" in that regard, they persist generation after generation, with the twist they can just morph away and reform, to go on and continue with unethical or illegal practices. You can't really kill them off or revolt against them,like you could with some royal feudalist gang of rank "bluebloods" in ye olden days, not in any practical sense anyway and stay inside technological civilisation.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:16PM (#11714437) Homepage Journal
    Lobbying groups have, for good or evil, led to many items being banned or pulled off the market.

    "Real" Coca-Cola with real cocaine.
    Carbon Tetracloride.
    R-12 auto refrigerant.
    Cars without modern emissions and safety systems.
    Children's jackets with drawstrings.
    50-70MHz FM radios.
    TVs that can receive above channel 67.
    Styrofoam burger boxes at McDonalds.
    Many drugs and food additives.

    The list goes on and on.

    The major difference now is that unlike the above, distrubiting the blueprints (source code) to make certain computer programs can land you in court for DMCA violations if you live in the wrong country, while nobody cares if you post instructions on how to manufacture Carbon Tetrachloride on your web site.
    • nobody cares if you post instructions on how to manufacture Carbon Tetrachloride on your web site

      I got in big trouble for that, you insensitive clod!
  • It's interesting to look at what things are being eliminated. But there's no way to catalog all the innovation that will not happen in the future because of this. Oh, and listing Napster is just plain stupid IMHO.
    • Re:Not invented yet (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ThosLives ( 686517 )
      It is indeed interesting to see what is on the list. Of the things on the list, only a couple really struck me as being important.

      The first are the A/D and D/A converters. This is bad, because these devices are actually used in things well beyond the scope of music. Think your cars, think thermometers, think anything that requires a sensor and a computer. It's a sad day when people want to keep people from using tools because 'the tools might be used for something illegal'! This argument doens't fly with "

  • by bgarcia ( 33222 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:24PM (#11714553) Homepage Journal
    I just have to cut & paste all of the +5 comments from the last time this topic was posted! YES!!!
  • Is there anything out there where one could claim reasonable profit on a produced item? Once that copywritten material has produced 300000x the cost to produce it becomes public domain? That would be in the public interest! It would promote more material and provide for the classic material to be shared by all, just like it has been for thousands of years.
  • by Faw ( 33935 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:31PM (#11714688)
    ... the EFF web server?
  • Off topic? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by charlie763 ( 529636 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:47PM (#11714950) Homepage
    This is probably a bit off topic, but it's been bothering me and I would like to see what others think.

    For broadcasts like satellite radio and television how can it possibly be illegal to intercept them and view their contents? I feel that if you don't want me to view your satellite feed, keep your electromagnetic radiation out of my back yard.
    • Re:Off topic? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is a public good associated with the use of the public airwaves, which you do not own - it is a "commons" that all citizens own (in the US, anyway). The public good is dictated by legislators, elected by the public with the help of campaign funds from the broadcasting... oops, never mind.
  • This July, when DRM-free HDTV tuners becomes extinct, I hear that in China there will be born a new mutant species of HDTV tuner that somehow ignores the broadcast flag. My friend Al says he's all set to begin importing them too (but don't ask where he hides 'em). :-)
  • by elemental23 ( 322479 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:53PM (#11715054) Homepage Journal
    The EFF's BayFF [] is having a related event next Tuesday in San Francisco. I'm planning on being there.

    EFF Celebrates Innovation at BayFF!
    Check Out the Latest Gadgets and Hang Out with EFF at Our February BayFF

    Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005
    7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

    Inventive Gizmos - A Celebration of Innovation

    Innovation. We love it.
    The upcoming BayFF is a celebration of all the technological wonders we've been able to enjoy thanks to the legal shield provided by the 1984 Sony Betamax ruling. Come check out cool new gizmos from local tech companies Elgato, Slim Devices, and Sling Media. EFF attorneys and tech gurus will talk about how you can help protect the pro-innovation environment that allows gadgets like these to flourish.

    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Elgato - []
    Slim Devices - []
    Slingmedia - []

    111 Minna Gallery []
    111 Minna Street
    San Francisco, CA
    (map [])

    This event is free and open to the general public. You must be 21+. Refreshments will be served.
  • What about all those phreaking tools such as the blue box [], black box, [insert pretty much any color you can think of here] box? Those are essentially hacker tools which are now extinct and endangered only in countries with primitive telcos. Much in the same way that Napster 1.0 allowed you to use music which you wouldn't otherwise pay for, the various phreaking boxes allowed you to place long distance calls which you wouldn't have otherwise paid for.
  • The "saved" section is much better news than the saving of one "species" of gizmo. That court case set a precedent that saved a whole family (or maybe even genus or phylum?) of gizmos.

    For example when the court ruled that "Species: Sony Betamax" was protected because of substantial non-infringing use, that protected all video recorders (even those funny VHS ones) - and maybe a wider range of devices too.

  • They listed Betamax under the saved list. They must have done a good job saving Betamax because I see them all over the place.
    • Well it was saved from being outlawed, which is what allowed the VCR to flourish. Though the court ruling that allowed Betamax to be legal didn't exactly save Betamax in the marketplace.
  • I remember about 10 years back talking to one of the managers for Sony about changes we would see in the future. At the time, he predicted that we would move from an ownership society to a rent and lease society.

    Look at things now - think about all the things you pay a monthly subscription for. DRM locks or at least partially disables your ability to make use of content in a way you see fit. You now have to ask permission in order to access things - or have to buy add on products from the authorized sup
  • For example, what the media companies might do is build a requirement into the next generation of media formats (whatever they are) that all content be protected and that if you want to produce a player (and have access to the encryption specs) you need to enforce this in your player. Build it around some kind of public key cryptosystem so that even if it is "cracked", that doesnt allow you to make new content for the system.
    And make it so that Big Media holds all the keys.

    The sheeple consumers will accept

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson