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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 @07:35AM (#14970552)
    ... about anything but themselves.

    They never have. Perhaps the biggest role of the corporations that belong to the organizations mentioned in TFA is to act as a middleman. Today they add almost no value to the economic equation. That means they're basically parasites. Parasites that, in this case, don't give a fuck about the host (the public) they prey upon.

    As long as they get theirs, that's all that matters to them. And they will do everything in their considerable power to make sure that remains the case. They embody everything that is wrong with modern crony capitalism.

    It's long past time for them to die.

  • The bottom line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:37AM (#14970554)
    What you really need to keep in mind when talking about this is that the groundwork is already laid. The DMCA is law. What is being argued over now is the details of what types of media should be covered by exemptions. If you think that you are fighting over consumer rights, the DMCA is doing laps around you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:40AM (#14970566)
    copyright infringement is already grounds for heftier punishment than some crimes against physical inviolability. What did you expect? He who pays the politician makes the laws.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:42AM (#14970571)
    "One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
    The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
    Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.
    "Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"
    "Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.
    "Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"
    Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"
    "This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"
    "Alright then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.
    "Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"
    So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
    Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
    "You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"
    The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.
    "I could not help myself. It is my nature."

    This is a story often told in psychology classes. To understand the immutable nature of something is vital. There is no point intellectualising, making excuses and analysis, sometimes something just is what it is.

    For humanity it is necessary to recognise the intrinsic nature of capitalism . It is an unfettered force which puts the value of money and profit above life itself. There are too many examples and stories from reality which prove this time and again that we would be fools to ignore this force. Unless we take steps to moderate the present capitalist system a few unlucky people will be left sitting on a vast pile of gold upon the smoking remains of a planet .
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:44AM (#14970575) Homepage
    But I'd rather see DRM and DMCA gone!

    Practically anybody who's ever released anything into the world is a copyright holder, most of them just aren't that anal about users using their work.
  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:44AM (#14970577) Homepage
    Well the answer is simple, you want drm, stick it on a specialist bit of external hardware, not on my general use computer, where the only rights management I care about if my user rights management (my box, my digital life, my privacy).
  • by NotAHappyCoder ( 223421 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:48AM (#14970586) Homepage
    This all comes down to money and the fact that so many people are very very greedy.
    Corporations fear that if they don't do everything to protect their precious products
    from tampering, they'll lose some serious money.

    We /. readers know that providing specifications and helping people to tinker with a product usually helps the company in the long run. It is very sad to see that
    this whole DRM thing has blurred the vision of so many managers out there and they
    just can't get it that by making non-restricted products you help yourself. *sigh*
  • by LParks ( 927321 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:49AM (#14970591)
    It doesn't matter that the "scenario is unlikely." It is an unlikely scenario that you will be wiretapped without a warrant, but that doesn't make it any more just.

    The fact is that the scenario COULD happen where DRM takes down a machine that is needed to keep people alive. This is BS either way you cut it.
  • by smchris ( 464899 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:53AM (#14970605)
    First you wedge in the "critical for life" exceptions and before you know it people will argue that voting machines should be open source.
  • by Jivha ( 842251 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:54AM (#14970609)
    While there is not an iota of love inside me for copyright holders, both the poster and the blogger are trying to stir up reader's emotions by their choice of phrases.

    The poster says "DRM more important than life or security" and the blogger's headline reads "Future DRM might threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives."

    I read the article that is linked to, and from what I could decipher of the legal wording from the RIAA is that they're afraid that until someone clearly defines "privacy or security" or even "threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives", they don't want to commit anything.

    Nowhere does it imply that they said DRM is "more important than life or privacy" but merely that "till you can define privacy, security etc., we don't want to commit".
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LParks ( 927321 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:55AM (#14970610)
    Based on their track record, the Copyright Office will likely do what is asked by these corporations. However, I'm curious as to why? What does the Copyright Office gain by not putting in these safeguards? Who do they answer to? Are these corporations truly funding them? I know little about the Copyright Office mentioned in this article.
  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:55AM (#14970615) Journal
    Wouldn't the designers of any system entrusted to protect the lives of others automatically reject DRM as an elemnent of that system if it could prove to be a point of failure?

    I am not a system engineer, but I don't see how DRM would ever be considered in a system of this nature. I would expect that a lot of the components used in such systems would either be highly modified/customized off the shelf components or custom made.
  • It may be unlikely, but this is what these companies are arguing for -- "We don't want you messing with our DRM systems, because it might be holding control over your computer/network, and screwing with it might break your computer."

    You: "Wait, why would you have control over my computer? I don't want a screw-up with your DRM to mess up my computer!"

    Company: "That's why you shouldn't play with it! Our DRM would NEVER break unless you fool around with it. It's completely bug-free and hacker-proof."

    You: "Uh..."

    And as for it being unlikely, I direct your attention to a certain Sony-distributed rootkit that broke your computer if you tried to remove it on your own...
  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:19AM (#14970684)
    If you every created anything, you too are a copyright holder.

    Yeah, that's why I mentioned the "copyright holders" in the TFA in particular, but I suppose I should have been more clear that I'm limiting my comments to them, and not extending them to all copyright holders everywhere.

    In my humble opinion, copyright should be nontransferable, and should belong solely to the original creator of a work, or to every individual involved in the joint creation of a work. It's fine for the copyright holder(s) to exclusively license their work(s) to a corporation, even for free, but the right for them to terminate the license at will (despite any contractual wording to the contrary) should be built into law. This is the only way I can see copyright properly benefitting the original creators of a work. 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.

    I suspect that the original authors of the Constitution saw it that way, too.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:25AM (#14970702)
    MY interest is my security and safety.
    THEIR interest is the security and protection of their property.

    I get to decide which hardware I buy and use. So MY interest will be the one deciding which hardware will be sold.
  • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:26AM (#14970709)
    That means they're basically parasites. Parasites that, in this case, don't give a fuck about the host (the public) they prey upon.

    And that's mean to the parasites. Parasites actually do care that their host survives long enough to spread the parasite.

    This is, in part, the reason why extremely deadly diseases such as Ebola usually don't spread far: they kill their host far too quickly.

    The most "successful" diseases are those that merely inconvenience their host, such as for instance, the common cold.

  • by timcam ( 962810 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:29AM (#14970724)
    Good story, wrong lesson. The lesson is nature is nature and human nature is human nature. To deny it is to deny the sun and the earth. Stop living off others. You're making yourself miserable. Here's some homework for you:

    http://www.aynrand.org/ [aynrand.org]


    http://www.atlassociety.org/ [atlassociety.org]

    You are not going to change the frog, the scorpion or the human. And they are all beautiful. But please, if I am wrong, please let me know when you've convinced the scorpion to share his food, his recordings and his software with you.

  • Re:The bottom line (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:29AM (#14970725)

    The DMCA is law.

    The DMCA is BAD law and since I'm replying to the guy himself I'm going to us a bad analogy. According to "The Bible" killing first born children was a law at one time too.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:45AM (#14970781) Homepage Journal
    Bwah ha ha ha ha ha.

    Taking the works of Ayn Rand as a moral philosophy is right up there with treating the works of L. Ron Hubbard as a religion.

    Tell me, where do the 9/11 firefighters fit into Ayn's enlightened self-interest. Do you consider their self-sacrifice, and their attempts to save others, to be stupid, or just immoral?
  • by deanj ( 519759 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:56AM (#14970819)
    Today they add almost no value to the economic equation. That means they're basically parasites.

    You're confusing individual copyright holders with the middlemen that some of them are tied to. Big difference.

    Take comic strips for example. The vast majority of new comic strips (within the last 15 years), have artists that own their own copyrights. (That didn't used to be the case).

    If you're saying the middle men don't add anything to the equation, well, that's wrong too. They do... it's just they don't add as much as they THINK they do.

    Again, comic strips... The syndicates that 50% of the sale. The other 50% goes to the author.

    Is that worth it? In this day and age on the web, hell no. In the past, when individual salesmen had to go around selling to each paper (and, yes, some still do that), then that's arguably with the "worth it" category, since that's how the newspaper business works.

    Some of the copyright holders are corporations themselves, which paid the salaries of the folks that wrote the software for the months/years it took to write that software. If you're saying THAT'S unfair.... well....
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:13AM (#14970890) Journal
    You are not going to change the frog, the scorpion or the human.
    Perhaps, though no matter what, there is still hope. But at least we can - and should - build a cage for the scorpions.
  • by dwandy ( 907337 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:17AM (#14970905) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't the designers of any system entrusted to protect the lives of others automatically reject DRM as an elemnent of that system if it could prove to be a point of failure?
    ...yes, until your trusty sysadmin drops the latest Our Lady Peace - Healthy in Paranoid Times [eff.org] CD into the production server to help pass the weekend by. And then your production server is infected with DRM and you're fskered.
    Yes, this is a configuration/control issue, but if I had told you 5 yrs ago that audio CDs sold by a major international corporation would install back-doors, you would have told me I was crazy. I'm sure that plenty of sysadmin's have played audio CDs on the production box at one point or another...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:27AM (#14970952)
    How does "Growth rate" and "the ability to compete globally" benefit me?

    The US has a large number of people who are employed, but essentially living in poverty. In fact, the US has the highest child poverty rate of industrialised nations. There are people who have to suffer easily treatable illnesses because of the lack of affordable medicine. And Canada, France, and Denmark all have greater social mobility than the US.

    In "Socialist" Europe (where most people I know seem to be getting richer), we have restrictions on working hours, and at least 4 weeks off per year. But I guess living in a country where the rich are getting richer and the poor are going nowhere is better than a better quality of life.
  • limit copyright (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:30AM (#14970961)
    The way around all your minefields is to return copyright to Original Intent. One 14 year term of protection, renewable only once. It would put management back in hands of artistic types, because they would have to keep coming up with new stuff to survive. Right now, lawyers are just squatting on past work.

    We can thank a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing extension to 100 years, infinitely renewable. Maybe with Roberts as Chief Justice we'll get sensible rulings. Just don't wake up Ruth Bader-Meinhof Ginsburg.

    See, conservatives aren't so hard to understand. You just have to start thinking for yourself.

  • by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:36AM (#14971000)
    Its not really the fault of capitalism, as such. Perhaps the larger problem is that corporations are aritficial persons in the view of the law, with the full protections of the 14th amendment. They are legally persons, yet are bereft of internal moral codes and common senses. They have far more defacto rights that any human being could hope to have. They have never nor can ever shed blod for their country, and have no vested interest in the welfare of the society that lets them exist.

    People will always be greedy. Artificial people walking the earth immune from the realities of living a life is a new twist on things. Its no wonder that endangering human life is of no interest to them. Sadly, corporations don't need to be given the same rights as humans in order to be profitable or create jobs. They have nearly all the rights as you and I but one. The right to die. Give them that right, and see if things change.

    Or, go ahead and treat them just like a person. Next time one is one trial, give the corporate entity a psycological evaluation and see if they are fit to stand trial. Also see if, lacking any of the mental abilities that enable a person to be a positive member of society such as a sense of right and wrong or the intrinsic value of life, see if a guardian needs to be appointed to handle their affairs, just like any dangerously mentally ill psycotic person, including the capacity to enter into a contract. They like having the same rights and privileges as human beings, then judge them as people.

    I've had to provide care and restraint for psycotic individuals. They're just like corporations. Fine one minute, dangerous to all life around them them next.
  • by timcam ( 962810 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:47AM (#14971040)
    Your disrespect surprises me. Ayn Rand has had a dramatic and positive impact on the world you enjoy today. L. Ron Hubbard? Was that a serious comparison? Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes (Scientologists) are not Alan Greenspan and Ronald Reagan (fans of Rand).

    Once you do read up a little, you'll learn that fundamentally she illustrates simply that it is best if everyone chooses their own path and should not be forced to carry others.

    Despite your callow question about the 911 firefighters, I will give you the courtesy of a serious reply. The 911 firefighters are heroes for many things, which I'm sure we would both agree on, but also in an objectivist sense, for the integrity with which they honored their job.

    Read up some more. You'll be much happier.

    -Tim Campbell

  • by plate_o_shrimp ( 948271 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:59AM (#14971114)
    As long as they get theirs, that's all that matters to them.

    That pretty much sums up American society today: "I got mine, screw you."
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ]o.uk ['d.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:03AM (#14971133)
    Capitalism and socialism are both means-oriented philosophies. That is, the means by which an end is achieved is considered more important than the end in itself. {This goes against the Principle of Equivalence, which states that "all means to the same end are equally valid"; its corollary is "means that are not equally valid serve different ends".}

    To a capitalist or a socialist, obeying orders -- even if the intended aim is not achieved -- is considered more important than achieving aims.

    If a high-ranking officer orders an NCO to lead troops to their certain death, but the NCO thinks on his feet and at the last minute finds a way to save the lives of his men and take the ground, he will be court-martialled and executed for gross insubordination. If the NCO instead leads his men to their death, he will be hailed posthumously as a hero, and the deaths recorded as tragic but necessary. Their deaths will not be considered the fault of the NCO for obeying orders, nor the HRO for issuing the orders, but the fault of the Enemy.

    It would be better for an entire city's worth of innocent civilians to die in screaming agony, than for the law to be broken. If the law says property is more important than life, then property is more important than life. In fact, US law is quite explicit that is is OK to kill a human being in order to protect {real, physical} property. {UK law stops just shy of this. In some parts of Continental Europe, a shopkeeper must actually allow a hungry person to shoplift food, or face penalties.} Killing to protect false, "intellectual property" is surely the next logical extension of this principle. The DMCA is there to protect intellectual property, which is considered equal to physical property and thus to be protected from harmful pirates. Any damage done in the name of protecting intellectual property is surely the fault of the pirates against whom that property was being defended, and not the fault of the defenders.

    That's the means-oriented view, anyway. If you take a more ends-oriented view like the filthy libertarians {disliked equally both by capitalists, for their perverse ideas about how some things can be more important than money, and by socialists for their ideas about the individual [individuals are an unhealthy concept] as an extreme case of a minority [minorities are to be protected]} then you probably think it is a little strange .....
  • by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:10AM (#14971168)

    DRM is the act of a producer to make reproduction of their creation difficult. I don't see a problem with this any more than by putting a lock on my front door.

    You really don't see a problem with someone putting a lock on your front door and keeping the key for themselves?

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:12AM (#14971185) Homepage
    I don't see anything wrong with fitting the books and philosiphies of Ayn Rand into your moral philosophy. There's good stuff in there. But no, it's not the end-all and be-all of moral philosophy, and you do need more - hey, anyone basing their entire moral philosophy off one book is probably going to have something a little skewed. (Apologies to fundamentalists everywhere, those within Christianity and elsewhere...)

    The Fountainhead shows the ultimately ugly tyrannical end of unrestrained socialism and communalism. It's not its job to show the ultimate ugly end of individualism and anarchy. If you don't overdo it, it has an excellent point, and a point that Slashdot (being full of Geeks and such) perhaps ought to understand. Its hero is a geek. He asks questions about why things work the way they do. But his Society doesn't like him asking questions, they make fun of him, and put him in a crew of street-sweepers so that he doesn't cause any problems. When he nevertheless goes off and rediscovers the electric light, all the so-called scientists and community leaders run after it (and him) to see it destroyed, because it will damage their ultra-long-term plans for the candle-making industry. If you're not holding up the book as either Holy Scripture or Unholy Nonsense, you can take away a lesson: that deep down inside, Society as a whole can be ugly, and try to crush any ounce of nonconformity. And like a good book, it doesn't answer questions so much as it raises them: What do you do with this lesson? Umm... Good question. Just keep it in the back of your mind.

    The essential paradox of the American liberals is that even as they celebrate Diversity and Tolerance and all sorts of effusive good stuff like that, when they sic the government on a social problem, they oh-so-slowly push society further towards that bland monoculture. The other component of this paradox is that even as they speak out for Freedom and Expression and Choice on some topics, as soon as a red cent enters the equation, this concern evaporates. Freedom of choice- unless you're choosing to spend your money at Wal*Mart or McDonald's. Freedom of expression, and the Press, unless someone's spending money on it, in which case we'll install campaign-finance laws. And for all that the Right is supposedly the capitalist/materialistic bunch, I think that the epitome of the spirit of materialism is found on the parts of the Left who are most concerned about the injustice of income inequalities: yes, the suffering of the poor may be terrible, but no, it's not terrible because they have a Rich Person to compare themselves to... and especially in this country, when even the poor have color televisions, it can become spurious. As for the railing on about how unfair it is that sports stars have their millions while someone more worthy- usually schoolteachers- only make a pittance.... this sort of complaint is to give in and say that "money is the only thing that matters". Well, maybe not the Only thing. But it's the only thing you're complaining about.

    Anyway. Umm, mod me -1 Offtopic. And then -1 Troll or Flamebait since I dare defend Rand. Yes! CRUSH THE INDEPENDENT THINKER AND PROVE HER RIGHT!!! ;)

  • by syphax ( 189065 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:20AM (#14971223) Journal
    This a cute story, but it promotes a rather simplistic view of the world.

    What about the snake whose best friend is a hamster? [msn.com]
  • by jZnat ( 793348 ) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:48AM (#14971419) Homepage Journal
    Maybe a good solution to the copyright problem that you hinted at there is to not allow corporations/organisations/whatever to own a copyright on something. Only the original creator(s) of the work should get a copyright. Sure, people could license their copyrights to their company/whatever in a style similar to the Creative Commons Attribution license, but if an unspecific group of people were unable to own a copyright, the problems would slowly fix themselves.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:52AM (#14971456)
    The essential paradox of the American liberals

    *EVERY* religious and political philosophy is filled with paradoxes.

    Look at the modern American conservative, trying to blend the wildly incompatible phliosophies of Christianity and capitalism.

    Look at Pauline Christianity itself, trying desperately to blend classic Hebrew religion with more sophisticated Greek and Roman philosophical concepts (a religion popularized by the very Romans responsible for crucifying its founder, no less).

    Look at communism, libertarianism, judaism, islam, etc., etc., etc. All have their paradoxes and problems. We humans are just really good at reconciling incompatible ideas and actions in our heads.


  • you know.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MRoharr ( 243317 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:10AM (#14971613)
    ...something is bothering you when it pops up everywhere you turn. The public needs to be more aware of the lasting implications of the DMCA. It should be a household word. Last evening i was flipping through the channels and it happened to stop on "Wheel-Of-Fortune", it was time for the prize puzzle, 3 consonants and one vowel. The lady choose D-M-C-A. She solved the puzzle and i don't even remember what it was. All i remember was her choice of letters. It stuck in my head. If this keeps up the future will not belong to us, but to corporations and those that govern. My 2 cents.
  • by Expert Determination ( 950523 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:17AM (#14971673)
    Eg. a bum on the street doesn't suddenly gain the right to take products from a food packed supermarket just because he's starving to death.
  • by TheSkyIsPurple ( 901118 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:25AM (#14971745)
    Why does anything that requires DRM going to show up on critical systems? Why do you need to shoev that music CD into your Nuclear monitoring system?

    Or am I missing something?
  • the right for them to terminate the license at will (despite any contractual wording to the contrary) should be built into law

    This could be very bad in some situations because it could be used by the copyright holder to hold a distributor to ransom.

    For example, you write a library of software functions. I build my own product on top of your library and buy a distribution licence from you. I'm now selling my product, which includes (and is intimately tied to) your library - you're probably getting a slice of the revenue too as part of the licence deal.

    Now, you decide you want more money - you terminate my licence (as the law you suggested would allow you to do) and then ask me for a lot more money in order to get a new licence.

    It's far too expensive for me to competely redevelop my product to either rely on another library or to develop my own library to do a similar job (not to mention possible software patent problems if I produce my own library instead of using yours), so I am now forced to pay you the crazy amount of money you're asking for.

    Similarly, if you wanted to put me out of business (maybe you want a slice of my market?) you could revoke my licence and I'd be truly buggered.

    Your idea is great if you're assuming the distributor is evil and the original copyright holder is not - unfortunately it seems more and more as if we have to assume everyone is evil until they prove otherwise. :(
    There have probably always been a lot of people abusing their power in an effort to make money, but increasingly it seems that those people have more and more power.
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:55AM (#14972003)
    the kinda people who the word applies to have been so bad for so long that the word now carries a negative connotation all by itself. You don't call someone you like a "copyright holder" anymore then you call them a "Politician". You use artist, or Statesman, or something along those lines.
  • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @12:40PM (#14972406) Homepage
    It would be better for an entire city's worth of innocent civilians to die in screaming agony, than for the law to be broken. If the law says property is more important than life, then property is more important than life. In fact, US law is quite explicit that is is OK to kill a human being in order to protect {real, physical} property.

    Actually, that's not quite correct. This topic came up during a discussion I had recently with some lawyers over a man in the news recently who is facing murder charges for shooting a trespasser on his property. He claimed that he had a lot of problems with teens walking across his lawn in recent years, and the last onw to walk across just made him snap. The kid was, in fact, trespassing, but the guy is facing charges anyway.

    Generally, there must be a proportional response to any threat. A threat to property is not justification enough to kill someone, but it might be enough justification to forcibly stop him and remove him from the area using non-lethal force. In the U.S., there needs to be a percieved threat of violence associated with the situation to justify killing in self-defense.

    My understanding is that you basically get the benefit of the doubt in the U.S. if someone is doing something that is a serious threat (like invading your home) that could turn lethal, and you don't know their intentions. While you never have grounds to kill someone just becasue they're stealing your stereo, if you try to forcefully stop someone who you think is going to hurt you or your family and happen to kill them in the process, you probably won't be charged.

  • by internewt ( 640704 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @01:10PM (#14972707) Journal
    Homer: "Take a look at your beloved candidates, they're nothing but hideous space reptiles!" (unmasks them)
    Kang: "Yes, it's true, we're evil aliens, but there's nothing you can do about it. It's a two-party system! You'll have to vote for one of us!"
    Guy in Crowd: "Well I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate!"
    Kang: "Go ahead, throw your vote away! Hahahahahaha"

    This classic Simpsons quote has been modded funny (and it is), but its an incredibly insightful comment.

    It's the aliens that don't represent the majority of humanity that tell us that voting for the 3rd party is a waste. On the contrary, voting for the 3rd party is the only possible thing that can break the 2-party status quo that the US (and as a consequence the rest of the world) is suffering.

    People who echo the "voting for a 3rd party is a waste" are just repeating the GOP and Dems message, and it's the one thing the major 2 will always "agree" on.

  • by badmammajamma ( 171260 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @01:12PM (#14972729)
    Who cares? Both parties are a complete joke now anyway. I hate Bush but he's done one good thing for this country: he's shown just how bought the entire congress is.
  • by soloes ( 415223 ) <avezes@gma i l .com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:03PM (#14973232) Homepage
    I would have to respectfully disagree that capitolism is means oriented. Capitalism is ends oriented. Make money. Doesnt matter how you do it.
    I think you are confusing apolitical structure with an economic one. Following the law means nothing to pure capitalist. there should be no laws or rules regulating the economy in their opinion because the market will regulate itself. reach your end and if you are successful at it, repeat the things you did is the only law capitalism follows.
  • by level_headed_midwest ( 888889 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:03PM (#14974029)
    No, this is more like edible plants are patented and he has to break the law to grow some carrots by and for himself.
  • by badmammajamma ( 171260 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:40PM (#14977922)
    "Yes, I'm only a copyright lawyer, what do I know?"

    You can be a copyright lawyer your whole life and never have to deal with the recording industry. Of course, if you do then you (along with the record company, producer, agent, managers, etc.) undoubtedly make more money off the art than the artist but I'm sure you're not in any way biased. :) Want to discuss the fairness of class action suits? Cuz I'm pretty sure we both know who makes all the money on that deal and what happens to the folks who opt out cuz they won't get shit if they win anyway. You can play legalease all day and their actions may be completely legal but it doesn't change the fact that to the average person, it's just a big fucking scam.

    Don't feel too bad though...you're just one of many in a long list of folks who don't actually produce anything for this country. You just suck it dry.

    *continues to wonder why the smart lawyer guy just doesn't get it...*

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.