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DRM Protest in Hazmat Suits 385

johnsu01 writes "The Free Software Foundation launched a new anti-DRM initiative today with a flash protest at Bill Gates's keynote speech to Microsoft developers in Seattle. They're calling the new campaign 'Defective by Design' and have named Big Media, device manufacturers and proprietary software companies as targets. CivicActions is participating as a coalition partner in the campaign. Protesters donned HazMat suits, apparently to emphasize the hazard Digital Restrictions Management poses to their rights." There are also a few pictures available over at
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DRM Protest in Hazmat Suits

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  • Re:The are no rights (Score:3, Informative)

    by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:32PM (#15390223)
    Wrong. According to the founders, "the Creator" endowed us with these rights. This is why they are called human rights, and not American rights. The Constitution serves as a means to protect these rights from the government, not as a means to grant them to anyone, as they already belong to every person. Unfortunately, the government has proved more adept at getting around the Constitution than the people have been at defending it.
  • Re:The are no rights (Score:4, Informative)

    by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:40PM (#15390278)
    I disagree with whoever modded you off-topic. Shrug.

    Anyway, there are many answers to your question. In Canada or the US, the constitution grants us rights. Obvious further questions include "Who created it?" and "Who enforces it?" and ultimately these boil down to the writers of the constitution, elected officials (since they can change the constitution with a large enough majority) and police/armies that enforce it. At a low enough level, it's just "might makes right" since the combined force of police and army is stronger and/or more passionate than any organized resistance. Additionally, there are groups like the UN that purport to grant us rights, but the question of enforcement ability is even more obvious there.

    With regard to this article specifically, copyright law originally granted the creators of content an exclusive right to profit from it for a short period of time. Recently, depending on location, this has been changed to become "an exclusive right to profit as well as the right to prevent others from copying it freely". If you disapprove of this change (and I do), then you may either blame the politicians that made the laws, the voters that elected the politicians, the media companies that financed the politicians, the consumers that financed the media companies by purchasing their product, or the founding fathers for setting up a system so easily corrupted by money. Take your pick.
  • Re:Boo hoo hoo (Score:5, Informative)

    by zoloto ( 586738 ) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:46PM (#15390313)
    You poor lost soul.

    Rights are not granted to us by the government.
    We grant rights to the government.

    Any attempt to reverse this will, in effect, start a bloodbath that I would be happy to participate in to preserve what is rightfully ours. Even if some of those rights are things I do not agree with. They are ours and ours alone. The government is merely a keeper for the majority and it's sole obligation is for our collective protection and our collective benefit, long and short term.

    That is all.
  • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:03PM (#15390391) Journal
    you should look into the work on pressure groups in the UK by Wynn Grant. He's done a lot of stuff about the insider/outsider distinction in pressure groups which is interesting and applicable here. Outsider groups are often thought of as being less succesful, but then some of these ideas are being challenged because they are seeming to work periodically. I personally don't like outsider stratergies because it makes us (as open source proponents) look like nut-jobs... but I guess if people don't know that there rights are being eroded then they won't do anything about it... so maybe we should support them?
  • by eurleif ( 613257 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:13PM (#15390434)
  • Re:The are no rights (Score:5, Informative)

    by Puff of Logic ( 895805 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:49PM (#15390621)
    In Canada or the US, the constitution grants us rights.

    I've always understood that the Constitution enumerated our rights, but that the rights themselves were considered God-given or innate (depending on how you prefer to phrase it). Similarly, the Bill of Rights is not the source of Freedom of Speech etc., but rather is just a specific enumeration of the rights the Founding Fathers thought deserved specific mention against possible incursions by future governments. -PoL
  • Re:The are no rights (Score:3, Informative)

    by gg3po ( 724025 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:07PM (#15390709)
    In Canada or the US, the constitution grants us rights.

    Wrong. You are perpetuating a very common and unfortunate misunderstanding of the philosophy behind the concept of rights. I can't speak for Canada, but in the U.S. Constitution, no claim is *ever* made that the Constitution itself grants *any* rights. It is made very clear that the rights are only enumerated as preexisting things that are already inherent to humankind by "the Creator" (I'll leave it for you decide who or what "the Creator" is). On the surface this may seem insignificant, but it is an *extremely* important distinction. Without it any claim of inalienability is meaningless -- what the government giveth the government taketh away.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:49AM (#15391756)
    If by "property" you mean that Slipknot album I downloaded from the iTMS, it's still the intellectual property of Slipknot (they own the copyright on the words and music) and the record company (they own the copyright on that particular recording thereof).
    Except that it's not.

    Bear with me for a moment, and consider this: Real property and "Intellectual Property" are two completely different things.

    • Real property is scarce; "IP" is not. In other words, real property is inherently owned by one person. "IP" is inherently owned by everyone collectively. For example, if I'm holding a rock, nobody else can physically hold it at the same time. It's my property. On the other hand, if I'm holding an idea any number of other people -- or indeed, everyone can also be holding it at the same time. It's not property.
    • If person A takes real property from person B, person A gains and person B loses. If person A takes "IP" form person B, person A gains, person B stays the same, and all of society benefits from subsequent synthesis of ideas based on the communication.
    • A founding principle of the United States is the "Right to Property." "Intellectual Property" expires at the end of the copyright or patent term; if it were property it would be perpetual.

    Now that I've explained what "Intellectual Property" isn't, I'll explain what it is: it's a lease.

    If someone comes up with an idea (i.e., creates a work of intellect) it is by default owned by society as a whole, or in other words, is Public Domain. This is the natural state of things in the absence of any law, and it's a good thing. In fact the Founding Fathers realized that it's a good thing, and wanted to encourage the creation of ideas for the purpose of enriching the Public Domain. That's what the "To Promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts" means; it's not just for show.

    So, they wanted to come up with a mechanism to encourage creation of ideas. What they decided to do was to basically give the creator an opportunity to lease a "copyright" or "patent" from the government. The government would agree to enforce certain privilages for the creator over the term of the lease, and would take as payment the creation of idea itself. Note that that's not the idea, which is already inherently public property, but the act of creation of the idea.

    Make sense?

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.