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DRM More Important Than Life or Security? 427

An anonymous reader writes "Ed Felten of Freedom to Tinker has an interesting writeup regarding how copyright holders are still having serious objections to the built in exceptions of the DMCA even when it might threaten lives or national security. From the article: 'One would have thought they'd make awfully sure that a DRM measure didn't threaten critical infrastructure or endanger lives, before they deployed that measure. But apparently they want to keep open the option of deploying DRM even when there are severe doubts about whether it threatens critical infrastructure and potentially endangers lives.'"
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DRM More Important Than Life or Security?

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  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:17AM (#14970902)
    You're confusing individual copyright holders with the middlemen that some of them are tied to. Big difference.

    No, I'm not. In the vast majority of cases, the copyright holder is the middleman. Most people who do creative work do so for someone else. The creator doesn't retain the copyright, the person they're doing the work for does.

    And for most individual creative endeavors, the copyright isn't owned by the creator, it's owned by the publisher. The assignment of copyright to the publisher has become a condition of getting paid at all.

    No, in the general case the copyright holder and the middleman are one and the same.

  • Re:The bottom line (Score:4, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:19AM (#14970913) Journal
    Could you provide a reference for that?

    Probably this one. Not exactly a law, but definitely god's will.

    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead."
    You'd be pissed of wouldn't you. It didn't matter how much goodness, love, charity or faith you'd demonstrated, if you were first out of that particular womb, you were cactus, even if you were a cow...
  • Re:The bottom line (Score:3, Informative)

    by Casualposter ( 572489 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:32AM (#14970976) Journal
    It was a punishment by god that the frist born of each family in Egypt should die. Exodus 12:29-30.

    The only way it is a "law" is if god's will is consider "law." HOWEVER, Herod a mortal king, ordered the deaths of children in Bethlehem, according to the Gospel of Matthew. In that case, it would have been a matter of law.
  • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:53AM (#14971465)

    I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who had a mother who was ill.

    She had plenty of money, and had to get her mother into either the Canadian or U.S. healthcare system. He primary concern was expediency. Her mother was not eligable for healthcare in Canada without paying out-of-pocket.

    She asked my advice as to what to do.

    I told her that if money was really not an issue, engage both systems simultaneously.

    The Canadian system admitted her faster...

    ...just offering a positive anecdote to refute your negative anecdote. Results vary dramatically depending on circumstances of course.

    Despite privatization, there's a problem in the U.S. system regarding pricing and expediency. The private system seems to have fueled a lawsuit-based alternative funding system, and the insurance companies seem to have too much influence in the system. I don't understand it, so I can't comment further.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @12:34PM (#14972348)
    Man I hate to be niggly about the facts. but that's what I get for being a bio major... First off, a symbiosis is actually ANY relationship between two organisms, whereas the specific relationship you are thinking of is mutualism (symbiosis does now have a strong connotation for mutualism, but technically even parasitism is a form of symbiosis). Also, the bacteria the other poster was thinking of would not be in the stomach; due to low pH little survives in the stomach that isn't already a parasite, rather most mutualistic bacteria resides in the intestines, including the helpful form of our friends E. coli. Now that I'm completely off topic I want to go back to the first assumption-and yes parasites that facilitate the survival of their host (to a certain degree) often do do very well as they keep their host alive long enough to spread-but there are those that defy this rule by transmitting quickly before their host meets its demise.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @12:37PM (#14972372) Homepage
    I suspect that the original authors of the Constitution saw it that way, too.

    They did not. Copyrights were alienable under the Statute of Anne, under the state copyright laws prior to 1790, and under the first federal copyright act in 1790 (n.b. that we often look to the acts of the first Congress as instructive with regard to the meaning of the Constitution).

    The system we have right now, where copyright is almost always immediately and irrevocably transferred to some corporation, is little more than a system of slavery.

    Well, I can see that you haven't read 17 USC 203. And I bet you're unclear as to whether a work is a work for hire or not, and what that means (per 17 USC 201(b) and 101). And of course, any license is terminable provided that you're willing to pay the appropriate compensation; the law favors efficient breach. But mainly, I think you're crazy. There's no comparison to be made with slavery. No one is forcing artists to work under any conditions the artists are unwilling to agree to. If an artist doesn't like the deal he's offered by an employer, he can go elsewhere; he can self-publish; he can take up a totally different job.

    But if he makes a deal, even a deal that you feel is a bad deal, why should we not allow him to do it? It's not unconscionable. It's entered into willingly. And normally the only people that can escape contracts so easily are children, and artists shouldn't be treated as though they were children.

    I have a lot of problems with our copyright laws, but this sure isn't one of them. Hell, I would expand the availability of work for hire to any pre-creation agreement between the parties, and would get rid of termination (which the author can still try to include as a term in the contract, if the other side will agree to it). I'm just not paternalistic in my treatment of artists, I guess.

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