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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:22PM (#15390172)
    Our concerns will definitely be taken seriously if we protest against copyright and fair use restrictions by parading around in bunny suits. Way to go.
  • by idonthack ( 883680 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:23PM (#15390174)
    Few people have the resources or even the courage to do something like this. Thank you, protestors, for getting peoples' attention and informing them of the issue.
  • The are no rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Instine ( 963303 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:23PM (#15390179)
    I'm not an anarchist But, who exactly ordains us with rights?
  • by crotherm ( 160925 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:24PM (#15390186) Journal

    Do these type of protests help or hinder? Sure, wearing a hazmat suit will get you noticed, but will they remember you because of your voice, or your suit? Will they agree with you, or think you are a kook?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:28PM (#15390204)
    I agree, trollmeister. Sitting on our butts will solve the problem.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:29PM (#15390206)
    The FSF gets stuck with those labels anyway. The point of a protest is to get people to pay attention to your cause. If the press coverage of a protest is such that at least some people learn more about your cause than they knew before, then it can be considered a success.

    I think this type of flash protest has been shown to be effective. It has garnered press for all sorts of causes, particularly political causes. Whether or not the hazmat suits were a good idea or not depends on if you think the protest would have gotten more or less coverage without them.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:29PM (#15390208)
    Because nothing says, "Let me explain the complex ramifications of this very, very complicated issue..." like a shrill, costume-oriented protest by people who clearly don't have a job to be doing. Honestly, I wonder sometimes what professional protesters really think about who they're reaching with stuff like this. It completely trivializes the discussion to trot out the amateur theatrics. Now, if they started smashing their iPods with Open Source Sledgehammers, that would be fun. But, like, dude, we'd have no tunes to listen to inside our bunny suits... and plus, I'd have to go back to my day job to afford another one.
  • Slashdot FAQ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:30PM (#15390214)
    The Slashdot FAQ explains exactly what is going on here:

    From The last question in the Slashmeta section []:
    "I thought everyone on Slashdot hated the RIAA, the MPAA, and Microsoft. Why do you keep hyping CDs, movies, and Windows games?
    Big corporations are what they are. They sell us cool stuff with one hand and tighten the screws on our freedoms with the other. We hate them every morning and love them every afternoon, and vice versa. This is part of living in the modern world: you take your yin with your yang and try to figure out how to do what's right the best you can. If you think it has to be all one way or the other, that's cool, share your opinions, but don't expect everyone else to think the same."

    We hate that "Big Media" is using ever "improving"/"tightening" DRM restrictions, but we have to accept them if we want the latest music, video, and computer content. These people deserve to get paid, and this is their way of blocking the free providers of their content. If you don't like what they're doing, do without their content.
  • Artificial rights (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XanC ( 644172 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:33PM (#15390233)
    It's important to remember where the "burden of proof" is here. The right to "own" ideas is not one of the fundamental human rights with which we are endowed by our Creator. It's an artifical right, created for the specific purpose of furthering progress.

    So the default is for ideas and information to be "free". It's up to those who would lock them away to prove, in each case, why a bit of information should NOT be free.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:39PM (#15390266)
    I wonder if Ghandi was viewed with the same kind of attitude. "Yeah sure. Sitting there and getting slapped will FOR SURE change a thing. Yeah. Some masochist, that baldy guy."

    To make people want to change a situation first of all requires them to actually SEE that the situation exists. Walk out on the road and ask a random person about DRM.

    "DRM? That something for my car to make it go faster and use less gas?"

    First they gotta get aware that a problem exists. Then we can care about them taking it serious.
  • by wsherman ( 154283 ) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:40PM (#15390275)
    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink...

    The most you can hope for in a situation like this is that some people will notice and say "Hmm, this is something that some people seem to care about so maybe I'll learn more about it."

    No matter what you do, you aren't going to reach the people who have already decided that they have all the answers and are so threatened by alternative viewpoints that they resort to labeling.

    Basically, if they're calling you a commie, a reasoned argument isn't going to reach them either.

  • Seems to Me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:40PM (#15390279) Homepage Journal
    That the first thing you need to do is educate consumers as to why they should care. You need a series of nationwide TV commercials to gently introduce them to the idea. Currently average consumers only find this stuff out when they get burned by it and ask someone who reads slashdot to explain what the hell is going on.

    Unfortunately Joe Average Consumer doesn't have the foggiest idea about Copyright in general, much less the new mechanims being put in place to "protect" it. There's a pretty solid volume of information that the average consumer needs to know that they can only discover by talking to someone who's been dealing with this sort of thing for a while. Actually that's been the case for quite a while now -- I doubt the general public would have stood for Sonny Bono's Copyright Extension Act if they really knew the score. Much less the DMCA.

    It seems to me that Copyright issues should be taught in public schools at a fairly early grade level. The course should include history, fair use, recent events (The Sonny Bono act and the DMCA,) and the Walt Disney Corporation. Perhaps if we did that we'd have a consumer who is both more likely to respect copyrights and who would be a lot less tolerant of extending the scope of the copyright well beyond what anyone (other than a big corporation) would consider "fair."

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:41PM (#15390284)
    Actually, yes, IP laws were created to provide people with an incentive to publish their findings and give them a reward for doing so, to spur innovation and progress. Currently, though, they're used AGAINST progress and inventions.

    The law has turned upside down and NEEDS to be changed. The sooner the better.
  • Hyperbole much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:41PM (#15390286) Homepage Journal
    There is no more important cause for freedom than the call for action to stop DRM from crippling our digital future. The time is now. Join us.

    Uhhh, WTF?

    I thought I had the most alarmist views on DRM [] around.

    Jesus guys, this doesn't help.

  • Re:Slashdot FAQ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TedTschopp ( 244839 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:43PM (#15390297) Homepage
    I agree with this.

    DRM can not only protect a musician's songs, or a film makers movies, but if it is rolled out fully it could protect your own data. For example using DRM to protect your personal information that is in the hands of a large corporation or government. Just think about the ability to turn on and turn off the access to your ID and personal info, based on who looks at it, not just based on who copied it out of one database and into another.

    Think about moving from one cell phone company to another, and when they get down to your record in the database all they see is random noise, because they no longer have the DRM to your phone number and can't call you.

    I really don't get how all this Anti-DRM / anti-crypto think that is out there. DRM is just another type of technology that should be used rightly. Much of the antics pulled off by groups like this remind me of the groups which protest the genetically modified foods or the peta folks who throw paint on people. Gaining headlines doesn't equate to changing the hearts and minds of people.
  • Re:Slashdot FAQ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:45PM (#15390307) Homepage Journal
    "..., but we have to accept them if we want the latest music, video, and computer content."

    no, we don't. They have abused there copyright 'PRIVLIDGE' granted be the people.
    Copyright is not a right.

    Thay have attacked the citizens with the courts without evidence, harrassed people, coluded, violated RICO, and treated their customers like criminal, and lock up chains of devliery systems. Enough.

    If the people making content don't like it, fit you business to meet what the consumer wants, the way the consumer wants it.

    It ahs been shown over and over again that people don't mind paying for goods, but it has to be availible in the way they want it or they find other means.

    If the current industries can't adapt, then they should go away and not waste taxpayer dollars making laws that prop up their industry.
  • Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:46PM (#15390311)
    We already see what happens when people refuse to buy crippled media. The industries behind it will claim it's because of "pirating" (which, I thought, was impossible... but logic and politics mix as well as water and oil), their lobby will press for stricter laws and they'll get them.

    Don't believe me? Look it up in your law books, it's already there.
  • by styryx ( 952942 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:46PM (#15390314)
    At least they did go out there and protest. Arguing on the internet is like running in the special olympics....

    It doesn't matter what the protestors are wearing, it's the point they're protesting and it's the number of them.

    If you are against DRM then you shouldn't criticise these people if the only protesting you have done is posting on /.

    I do not exclude myself from this rant, fair play to those people. It's something, not nothing.
  • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:54PM (#15390349)
    The point of a protest is to get people to pay attention to your cause. If the press coverage of a protest is such that at least some people learn more about your cause than they knew before, then it can be considered a success.

    We had a protest around here where a bunch of jerk-holes got together and stood on a five-lane highway during rush hour, blocking traffic for miles and miles, to protest something, I no longer remember what (a comment on the effectiveness of this crap on its own) (I think it had something to do with construction hiring or something). But I do remember it placed me squarely on the "screw those f***ers" side and by no means made me want to investigate the problem and form a reasoned opinion, and I wasn't even on that road that day.

    That, of course, is a much crappier way to protest than bunny suits that don't block traffic, but they're still (in the picture, at least), handing out pamphlets to people who probably don't care and are going to be annoyed at the inconvenience.

    So because I support the cause, here's a tip for aspiring protestors: Be unobtrusive (no assaulting strangers with pamphlets), be unrepetitive, be respectful, and be funny. Being liked is way more important than being right. If they like you, they'll look into your problem.

    And please make sure you're actually funny if you're going for funny. Not-funny funny is worse than just standing in the commons and reading the Bible at the top of your lungs.
  • by Intrinsic ( 74189 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:55PM (#15390354) Homepage
    Actually, thats a pretty cool idea, it makes a statement much more than just protesting in street cloths. If I saw someone in a Hazmat suit, I would be alert and wondering what the hell is going on.
  • Re:Boo hoo hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kz45 ( 175825 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:58PM (#15390370)
    Microsoft, Disney, and big corporations are the pirates here. They are stripping us of our rights to fair use, to our privacy, and they have the nerve to claim it's for the artists. They've been ripping off artists and consumers for years. They are the real pirates.

    you aren't forced to use the products of Microsoft, Disney, or any large corporation. Fair use is not a right. If you don't agree with their tactics, STOP FUCKING USING THEIR PRODUCTS!

    on the other hand, people sharing their software illegally are pirates. The large companies have no choice in the matter, unlike you.

    Why not use open source alternatives?
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:03PM (#15390389) Journal
    Which protest gets you a picture in the paper?

    1. Normal-looking people wearing normal clothes, speaking politely
    2. Crazy people wearing HAZMAT suits, shouting and carrying on

    Face it -- politics is theater. If you don't get noticed, you don't get heard.
  • Re:Seems to Me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deque_alpha ( 257777 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:05PM (#15390399) Journal
    And why should they care? DRM isn't keeping them from enjoying the content they've paid for. It isn't an issue for "Joe Public".

    That is true. If you ignore the people who want to make backups of their DVD's so the kids don't scratch up the originals, but can't. And if you ignore the people who want to format shift their music from CD's to some other player, but can't, or run the risk of having their computer disabled by buggy DRM software. And if you ignore all the people who buy eBooks and then want to view them on a device other than which it was orginally purchased on, but can't. And if you ignore the people who buy music online and then want to move it to another computer, but can't.

    If I thought harder, the list could get longer. And if Big Media gets its way, it will get a lot longer. This isn't an issue for the majority of the Joe Publics out there, but there are some, and it will be a big issue if we stay on the course we are on now. However, most people will just accept those limitations once they are in place, forcing all of us to live to the lowest common denominator. Also, don't forget about all the interesting gadgets that may never be in an environment where media is so tightly controlled. There is a strong argument that the diversity and low prices that we now enjoy with DAPs would have never been created if the controls that Big Media propose now were in place 5 or 10 years ago.

    That's why public awareness needs to be raised now, so that this trend can be stopped. It's easier to prevent negative changes than it is to reverse them. It is short-sighted to assume that just because something isn't a problem now, or isn't a problem for you that it isn't a problem. I want my kids to enjoy at least as much freedom as I do, if not more. That's why things like this are important, and that's why trends like this need to be fought.
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:18PM (#15390452) Homepage Journal
    There's no real comparison; Ghandi was fighting for the right for he and his people to live in their own country, free of occupiers -and he was demonstrating that he was willing to put his life on the line for that cause.

    These people are bitching because they can't make copies of the latest slipknot tune, and they're looking like shrill tools at best.

    A reasonable person can see the vast devide both between the severity of the struggle, and the sacrifices being made.

    The constant comparison to ghandi serves only to cheapen the sacrifice and the very dire struggle he had to go through in order to liberate his country. Whining about not being able to do something with something you don't even have to live with in the first place isn't even in the same league; it's not even close.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:29PM (#15390499) Homepage
    Protest the LAWS that allow these measures to be more than a nuissance. It's all well and good for media publishers to make playback annoying to the end user. So long as it can be played back, it can be media-shifted for any and all consumer use. However, since there are laws like the DMCA which make certain aspects media-shifting and other fair uses criminal or otherwise in violation of the law, we have a problem with the existance of the law.

    No one can expect media publishers to respect their consumers any more than their consumers demand. The consumer at large doesn't care about any of this and doesn't yet feel damaged enough to protest. But when they finally do, they will find that it's the LAW that is the offender and not the publishers.

    Microsoft and others are simply doing what is considered to be in their best insterests. It is to their advantage that their stuff be able to access the media from these publishers. If it couldn't, the consumers would dislike it. So if it means creating and sustaining DRM per publisher demands, then so be it as far as they are concerned. It is very rare when issues like "right and wrong" or "good and bad" actually play a role in corporate decision making. Slave labor isn't cheap enough for them and I doubt there is a point that isn't too low for them so long as their products and services continue to make a profit.

    Protesting people who don't care while trying to gain the attention of people who don't care is a complete waste of time and resources.

    Finding ways to get people to care isn't.
  • Re:Boo hoo hoo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kz45 ( 175825 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:38PM (#15390559)
    So you believe that Microsoft didn't choose to engage in predatory pricing, didn't choose to add intentional incompatibilities to its software, didn't choose to bully and intimidate other companies, didn't choose to break anti-trust consent decrees, and didn't choose to unlawfully abuse its market power to create and maintain a virtually unchallenged monopoly?

    I believe that dwelling on the past will assure you of no future. Instead of dwelling on the fact that Microsoft is a monopoly (in fact, It's not that truthful these days..You can get Linux Distros in many computer stores) why not figure out a way to destroy them at their own game? it's thinking like this that will keep open source and linux in the minority.


    indeed. It is.

  • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:46PM (#15390603) Homepage
    ...some people also see that the current issues of DRM etc are just the very small tip of a very large iceberg.

    You have no idea.

    The iceberg isn't "copyright issues in the digital age", but rather how the inexorable advance of telecommunications technology will change everything in society, in ways we can't predict today, much less adapt to.

    Our grandchildren will live in a world of vastly different rules and customs and attitudes regarding privacy, security, etiquette, terrorism, manufacturing, travel, etc. The rules of our world will not apply in the slightest.

    Slashdot dreams of our rules, and making the **AA play by our rules in the digital age. I'm becoming more and more convinced that our rules are just as much of a dinosaur as the **AA itself. That the problems are new, but even Slashdot can't help but insist on trying to solve them in the same old way.
  • Re:Boo hoo hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Criterion ( 51515 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:48PM (#15390617)
    Wake up and smell the roses bub. It's not the *pirates* having problems with DRM, it's legitimate users. Pirates don't buy music, nor any other protected media, therefore they are the ones who have the least trouble with it. You sound like the nags going around saying that people who are pirating XP are the ones whining about Genuine advantage, when they are the ones that don't even see it. All this is causing the *legitimate users* problems, not the pirates. Pirates really couldn't care less, because they know the ways and means to get whatever they want, in an unencumbered format.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:53PM (#15390639)
    The issue is the same: freedom.

    The implications are different. While Ghandi was facing imprisonment for crimes that are none, people violating DRM are ... ok, the implications are the same too.

    Without trying to get cocky here, it's not about making a copy of a Slipknot album or if you want a Robby Williams one. The issue is freedom, and that this freedom is being ripped away. Not by being unable to copy a meaningless tune, but by the ability to rewrite history at will. That's what DRM is about.

    Copying issues is a vessel that allows you to "sell" that issue to those who don't care about liberty but only care about getting free music.

    DRM does not only prevent copies. It allows you to retroactively void information, provided you have power over the keys to that information. If an information is no longer to be viewable, it can be erased. Including the copy you have on your computer. Its key is no longer valid, you can no longer view it. No, you couldn't print it in the first place to have a hard copy that can't be erased.

    DRM is, in fact, the ability to recreate and reshape statements. While it won't be as blatant as in 1984, where the announcer changes the name of the enemy mid sentence, it is going to be used, albeit more subtle. Whistleblowing will be incredibly hard, since you won't have any evidence to back up your claim. The evidence you had will vanish, since there won't be a key to unlock it anymore when you need it. Your key, the key you used when you were still allowed to view the information, will be deleted.

    DRM is BY FAR more than the "threat" that we won't be able to use our CD writers anymore. The real danger is that you can commit a crime and pretty much flush any evidence, if you're in a position of power to create and delete keys to it.
  • by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <brian&wylfing,net> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:59PM (#15390663) Homepage Journal
    In Canada or the US, the constitution grants us rights.

    No no no no no no no no. The U.S. Constitution recognizes rights that you inherently possess by dint of being a human being. It is strictly impossible in the United States to "grant rights" to the citizenry. What might happen is the citizenry grant rights to the government (theoretically, very sparingly), but never ever the other way around.

    When new bits and pieces are amended onto the Constitution, it is properly viewed as an act of clarification, not fabrication.

  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:00PM (#15390669)
    "So because I support the cause, here's a tip for aspiring protestors: Be unobtrusive (no assaulting strangers with pamphlets), be unrepetitive, be respectful, and be funny. Being liked is way more important than being right. If they like you, they'll look into your problem."

    So in other words don't protest at all.

    All protests are inconvenient to somebody. It seems to me that you are not the type to care about any protesters. I don't think you are reachable by anybody who wants to disturb the status quo.
  • Re:Slashdot FAQ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:01PM (#15390676)
    For example using DRM to protect your personal information that is in the hands of a large corporation or government.

    Yeah, because laws like DMCA that criminalize circumvention technology will be observed by and enforced against the executive branch of the government by, erm, the executive branch of the government.

    I really don't get how all this Anti-DRM / anti-crypto think that is out there.

    Most anti-DRM people I know are very much pro-crypto, and pro-DRM types tend to be anti-crypto in many other contexts -- particularly, they tend to be for strong controls on who can use cryptography, and what mechanisms can be publicly used.

    So, AFAICT, the thing you have trouble understanding doesn't actually exists, in the first place.

    DRM is just another type of technology that should be used rightly.

    DRM is pretty much impossible to use "rightly" because the "rights" its "manages" often don't, and should not, exclusively belong to the controller of the DRM: particularly, while the right to copy in some manners and for some purposes is, properly speaking, an exclusive right of the copyright holder, there are plenty of existing, necessary, and publicly beneficial exceptions to that exclusivity -- including, but not limited to, fair use -- that DRM is utterly incapable, by nature, of distinguishing.
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:02PM (#15390679) Homepage
    Well, so, what then?

    I don't buy your "be funny and people will agree" bit. People smile and laugh and then forget. That works great if you're talking about getting 2% of people who drink Coke to buy a Pepsi - the free market has both options clearly available.

    But when you are opposing a corrupt system of backscratchers that has more systemic power than you do, a dramatically tilted market, a gov't that gets paid to not care about the free market, and an apathetic/sheeplike populace, you've only got two options. There's nonviolent protest and the other kind. You just crapped all over nonviolent protest, but you can't possibly mean what that implies.

    I guess there is another option - try to think about baseball and hope it's over quickly, but that doesn't sound to pleasant.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:13PM (#15390736) Homepage Journal
    For example if some company or person has legal rights to a song they have the right to distribute that song as they like it
    That is abolsolutely true..

    ..unless they wish their work to have the additional protection of copyright. If they want copyright from society, then they must accept society's price: fair use shall be allowed for the term of the copyright, and the work shall fall into public domain at the end of the term.

    If they don't like the price, then they shouldn't take the deal. Refuse copyright protection and distribute the work as a trade secret or using special licensing. The problem with that, is that they don't want to license their work, because the transactional overhead is so high. Selling copyrighted copies is so much easier and there are already business models for handling it. Alas, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:40PM (#15390845)
    At this point you're arguing semantics and philosophy, but I'll try at a response anyway. The idea is this: in a society without government -- for example, a small group of closely-knit hunter gatherers in the wilderness -- rights aren't enumerated by anyone. People do whatever they want, basically. Our natural instincts as social animals prevent us (barring psychological problems, obviously) from hurting the ones we care about or unnecessarily inconveniencing them, and barring small fights (or even big fights) people basically all just get along, without the aid of laws or government. Think of your family, for example (I'm assuming it isn't disfunctional). If the government were to disappear tomorrow, would you be unable to interact without killing, stealing, or whatever? Probably you'd get along just fine.

    Of course, societies are rarely limited to small groups of people that care about each other. Small villages are pretty much the largest kind of society that this kind of anarchistic model functions with. Even within small societies (and families) people take the role of leader, policeman, etc, usually by consensus.

    Government emerges because anarchy does not scale well, but in principle, people are born with natural rights that can only be taken away from them. Take free speech, for example: it's the canonical example of a natural right. Given the absence of someone telling you expressly not to say something, you're free to say whatever you want. Only the existance of an authoritative body limits this right.

    The US Constitution took the radical and innovative approach of attempting to mirror this reality with its structure. It recognizes that government is an inherent limitor of rights, not a granter of rights. This makes it sound like government is bad -- and libertarians on Slashdot are fond of saying so -- but actually for a society to function, rights must be limited. But by starting from "we limit rather than grant", we guarantee that rights will only be limited if there is a strict need to limit them, rather than having them be limited by default.

    That's how the founding fathers saw the situation, anyway.
  • by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:48PM (#15390870) Homepage Journal
    Humans do not have any intrinsic rights.

    That's not how I view things. I view as humans have "every" right to "everything". Obviously, many rights will conflict in that view. My right to murder you because I don't like your opinion and your right to life conflict. In that situation, the stronger wins, case closed. Well, living afraid someone might kill you at any moment sounds bad, so we form a society and we decide that your right to life is more important, and for that reason (and that reason only) laws are enacted to remove my right to murder.

    The difference between these two forms of thinking is that everytime someone wants to do something you have to justify what gives them the right to do it. If you think as I do, everyone can do whatever they want, and if the government wants to pass a law saying I can't do it, they better be able to justify why. Society has to agree that some other right is more important before any right can be removed.

    In the US, that's exactly how it works. It's called the tenth amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Basically, "if the right isn't being prohibited by society (federal constitution or the states), the people have it."

    In case of copyright, it works like this. Without copyright, if you write a book and you don't want everyone to read it without compensation, you are certainly free to hide it in a safe. If you convince someone that they should pay you for it, that's fine. However, whoever paid you has the right to copy and distribute however many times they want to whoever they want for whatever price they want. Obviously, if that happens a lot, you're not going to want to write any more books. Since society values having new books to read, we agreed to give up our right to copy and distribute your work by allowing Congress "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries".

    Since you need an incentive, and we want your book, we'll give you a greater chance to profit for it for some time, but then we want our right to copy back, when that time expires.

    The grandparent has some form of religious view to backup the copyright point above. I just have this other view which works out to about the same thing. You want to "own" an idea? Fine, keep your idea secret and don't tell anyone. You need to tell people about it in order to profit? Well, that's your problem, I have a right to appropriate and use your idea. I'll even agree to not do it for a limited time period, because I want you to have an incentive to give more good ideas to society...but after that time is up, I'm taking it.

  • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:49PM (#15390872)
    All protests are inconvenient to somebody.
    Yes, but let's just do our best to only make them inconvenient to whoever we're protesting against. I'm guessing we don't like them much anyway.

    It seems to me that you are not the type to care about any protesters.

    That is largely true, but only because they almost always preach to the choir, and by the time you get significant numbers of protestors, the choir is usually already singing pretty loudly.

    So in other words don't protest at all.

    A comprehensive guide to protesting was beyond the scope of my comment (as was accuracy, apparently. The picture doesn't show them handing things out, it shows them showing signs. Oops. My bad), but it should certainly not be taken as encouragement not to protest. Just protest better. Put some thought into whose mind you're trying to change and what the best way to do that might be. My personal favorite plan, to be implemented just as soon as I have a cause with co-supporters and some cash at the same time, is a protest party. Subsidize the beer, invite your supporters and those you hope to convince (with careful planning so as to ensure they're a minority), and let them mingle. Invite a reporter or two. Get the Foo Fighters to play, they'll support anything.

    Kidding about the Foo Fighters. And obviously that's not a full plan, since there are some obvious (but solvable) problems in this synopsis form. But there's one suggestion.

    Or do what you feel like, I'd just try real hard not to tick off any passing newspaper opinion writers is all, 'cause the ones that are there because they were sent by their press-masters will probably just scratch the surface of your issue when they're forced to report on it. The passer-by reporter might actually care.

    And obviously, there are exceptions to everything I've said. Sometimes the shouting Bible guy works. I just wouldn't do it.
  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:12PM (#15390957) Journal
    One more thing yes I do realize that those who decided to oppose the colonial system were infact a minority. So are we most likely. Remember thought the winners are the ones who get to write the history books. They key is to win.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:15PM (#15390966) Homepage Journal
    There's no real comparison; Ghandi was fighting for the right for he and his people to live in their own country, free of occupiers -and he was demonstrating that he was willing to put his life on the line for that cause.

    These people are bitching because they can't make copies of the latest slipknot tune, and they're looking like shrill tools at best.

    A reasonable person can see the vast devide [sic] both between the severity of the struggle, and the sacrifices being made.

    The disparity between the struggles is vast only if you look at it in the most superficial of terms. You look and see only "tools" and "pirates" [sic] looking to get stuff for free. But scratch deeper, and you'll find more similarities than even I'm comfortable admitting.

    The British Empire walked into India, unwanted and uninvited, planted a flag and, without regard to what went before, proclaimed, "We will now dictate how things shall be done here," Gandhi raised the awareness of his people (and the Britons) and said, "Your authority is illegitimate, and derives solely from threat of force. It is immoral and unethical for you to be here. Please go away."

    Today, we find a struggle with disquieting similarities -- an invading force is occupying territory and proclaiming that they shall now dictate how things shall be done. Except that, instead of an imperial nation, it's multinational media corporations; and instead of occupying someone else's country, they're occupying our computers.

    Our computers.

    You may find the comparison fatuous. But, once you finally drill down to the core issue, you must ultimately acknowledge that what's at stake is nothing less than your freedom to do with your property as you please.

    My interests are not served by ceding control of my computers to a self-appointed authority -- to have another man acting as master in my house. It is an affront to my values and my personal sovereignty, and I will not stand for it.

    You are, of course, free to differ, and invite unaccountable corporate control over the computer you bought and paid for. But, in such a case, one is prompted to turn the "tool" ad hominem back at the accuser and ask: Who here is the greater "tool"?


  • by JimmytheGeek ( 180805 ) <jamesaffeld@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:04PM (#15391109) Journal
    If something is inalienable, it's not because something/someone flagged it as such. In fact, you have it backwards - if something has been granted, it can be revoked. You just want to tie your particular superstition to my rights, which have no need of your theological support.

    And whose the biggest threat to liberty right now? Theocrats in the U.S. and the arab world.
  • Uh, no... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:10PM (#15391137)
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are equal, that they have certain rights..." Along with "creator",
    >another word disappeared - "inalienable". Because once we don't believe in God, and that He gave us these rights, then
    >we just have them because... well, because we decided that we have them. And that means that we (or the majority of "we")
    >can decide that we don't have them. The rights aren't inalienable any more.
    >When our country lost its collective faith in God, it had political consequences. All our rights are up for grabs now.

    I believe in God, but I don't buy it.

    First of all, the only reason the word "inalienable" disappeared with the word "God" is because you chose to omit it. One could just as easily argue that right is right (and rights are rights) regardless of whether or not there is a god. I bet you there are a hundred different religions that are radically different in their interpretaton of god and religion and yet are consistent in what is considered moral behavior. Since they can't all be right, how would it be that all of the wrong practioners have secured the idea of "right" and "rights"?

    Also, let's face it - no matter what god was in vogue at any point in history, MEN, with agendas, and NOT a god, have constantly been trying to tell other men what rights they think their god conveys unto other men. With the clarity of 20/20 hindsight, it's clear that in many cases the dictation has merely been to further an agenda, and not to secure rights for others.

    Rights erode because of apathy, nothing more.

  • Perfect example... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:12PM (#15391145)
    Do you think you would have ever heard about these protesters if they weren't wearing hazmat suits?

    Protesting is nothing but advertising. Advertising is about getting and holding attention long enough for a message to stick. Sensationalism sells. About the only thing that sells better is sex.

    Next time they should try naked chicks.

  • by Sparohok ( 318277 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:09AM (#15391620)
    The real danger is that you can commit a crime and pretty much flush any evidence, if you're in a position of power to create and delete keys to it.

    I think it's quite ironic that the same technolibertarians who defend private use of strong encryption suddenly sit up and take note of the disruptive impact of technology when it is used against them. The above quote sounds like it could have been written by law enforcement in support of key escrow cryptosystems like Clipper.

    The "threat" here is simply the availability of powerful encryption technologies. The way to manage the threat is as consumers, by deciding what technological limitations we are willing to accept along with the content we purchase, rather than categorically denying the rights of content providers to use strong encryption on their own content.

    It's disconcerting that people so well versed in their own freedoms forget that other people have freedoms too, including the freedom to use technology in a way we might not like.

  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @03:23AM (#15392277)
    As I said you will not be convinced by any protest. YOu are the type of person who feels that stirring the pot is itself wrong.

    The purpose protests is to make people aware and to make them motivated to push for change. This is not an easy thing because so many people are like you. They just don't care about anything that doesn't effect them directly and they only care when it becomes inconvenient for you. If I protest that I or my friends are being harmed you don't care. The only way to make you care is to bother you a bit and see if you will care enough at that point to see what the fuss is about.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @08:05AM (#15393003)
    Every company will be in the position to revoke its own keys to cover up any blunder they made. From "internal" spreadsheets that get leaked to rootkits that, when discovered, become a PR desaster.

    Imagine Sony had the ability to "unkey" their rootkit CDs. As soon as the story gets out, they'd "revoke" the keys and claim a faulty charge of CDs. No problem, here's a new one (un-rootkitted? Or re-rootkitted with a harder to detect one? We won't know). But the goodwill desaster is at any rate avoided. Hey, they even did a GOOD thing, they exchanged my CD free of charge! Wow, that's service!

    And those guys claiming there's a rootkit? Where? Huh? I didn't see one. Stupid pseudo-hacker-wannabes!

    In fact, the ability to "undo" the release of information would make companies more daring when it comes to infringing upon our freedom. If it runs smoothly, they get away with it. If it doesn't, scrap that key and back to base 1 with a new and better rootkit until we got one that they don't find.
  • by metternich ( 888601 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:07AM (#15393728)
    The reason a Bill of Rights was not originally included in the Constitution is that the authors worried that people would beleive it to limit the rights they had to just the ones listed. Unfortunately, despite the ninth amendment, this as proven to be the case. The situation would have probably been far worse without the Bill of Rights, so it's a good thing they changed their minds.

Information is the inverse of entropy.