|FROM ||Ruben I Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Re: proofed commentary
|From owner-hangout-desteny-at-mrbrklyn.com Wed May 8 15:54:42 2002
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Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 15:54:04 -0400
From: Ruben I Safir
To: Ray Connolly
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Subject: [hangout] Re: proofed commentary
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In-Reply-To: ; from RConnolly-at-natsource.com on Wed, May 08, 2002 at 15:01:50 -0400
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OK Here it is improved a bit...I changed the description of the ATM
propaganda war and clearified the property robbery analogy
I feel like I'm missing some parts of this conversation, but instead of
answering every subparagraph of this conversation, let me just try to
focus on a few doable points, and how I think we need to proceed.
It's now early in the morning and I just came home from a NY Fair Use
meeting and we have been actually discussing this, in detail, over the
last few hours.
First, let's look at the threat that the Holling's Bill and the DMCA
present to Free Software. Even under the DMCA, if the major manufacturers
chose to end free software, they can simply do so by running encryption on
any copyrighted part of the system, especially, the system BIOS. Simply,
the machines can be constructed in such a way that booting into anything
other than an approved Operating System would be a felony under the DMCA.
If you listen to the DMCA fair use exemption hearings at the Library Of
Congress, this becomes clear. It is just a matter of time before this
is implemented. Such is the nature of the world. For example, when
ATM machines first came out, banks begged people to use them instead of
tellers because of the cost savings. Immediately the issue came up: would
such a service be charged for. Initially, they did not charge for the
service. Once ATM's use became commonplace, to the point that the public
now *relied* on them and banks repreately claim them as a special service, rather
than a cost savings method, they had paved the way to charge a fee per use.
Eventually it happened, over time. And today, it's nearly impossible to
use an ATM, or the bank for that matter, without these additional fees.
The same will happen with copyrighted BIOS'. Today, the public would be
outraged if Microsoft and Intel prevented other OS's from being installed
on a system. But already Microsoft is re-educating the public about the
property rights of their PC, and making claims that only their OS is
authorized on machines (one can refer to the recent flap about schools
accepting donated systems at:
for further detail). Microsoft is moving rapidly to a model of "OS
assurance" and "Automatic upgrades" in the name of security and content
management protection. The Holling's bills, by whatever name they are this
week, are legal enforcement mandating the worse case scenario of the DMCA.
It will end Free Software the moment it is passed because it demands
secret control of your system to protect copyright monopoly franchises.
Free Software can't be secret...
So the issue is, now that these bills, and other legislative and
regulatory activities, are removing the basic property rights and free
speech rights of PC owners, what do we do? Strangely enough, we MUST stop
chasing out tail. We tend to respond (ineffectively I might add) to one
ruling and bill after the next. We must also broaden our constituency.
Tony pointed out, quite correctly, that the Holling's bill is ultimately
a starting point of for re-education of the public and a negotiating
point for the assault on the 4th and 1st amendments. As I can see it,
the courts are not prepared to uphold the public's interest in the face
of legislation that promotes wiretapping and property damage to privately
owned computers with regard to monopoly franchises (ie: Copyright). We need
to go on the offensive and turn the tables. We need to control the language
used in the debate on these issues. We need to proactively present
bills that redefine Copyright in statutory law. For one thing, we need
to always publicly say, that when a law is passed which prevents
your full enjoyment of information legally acquired through purchase
or borrowing that this is the same as straling. We must explain it, in
clear and simple terms. We need to say that these reguations and business
activities are as if someone knocked down your door and stole your
computer, music and books. We need to say it immediately, constant and
often, because this is JUST what Adobe and Time-Warner said accessing a
DVD on GNU/Linux does. They literally say we're stealing. So we need to
turn it around and point out that if someone does actually break into your
house and steal all your DVD's that the individual calls the cops and reports
the theft, not Time-Warner.
In addition, we need to introduce a new bill that will protect fair use
and property rights. The bill, if crafted correctly, will fortify the
courts in protecting individuals against 4th amendment abuses, defuse
the DMCA and end a whole slew of unethical activities by the executive
branch of government, and Congress.
Jeanne Thewell, who is someone I would trust my life with,
is a lawyer working with NY Fair Use to draft such a bill
(thelwell-at-mindspring.com). The broad outline of the bill is as follows...
The legislation to be drafted will accomplish the following main stream
objectives which all reasonable people can expect:
-All copyrights to individual scores, writings, and recordings will be
returned to the original artist after a period of 10 years.
-No technology can be deployed which spies on, wiretaps or discloses
privately owned information which is stored on digital devices by
any government agency or private 3rd party without the issuance of a
publicly pronounced and disclosed warrant limited to a specific criminal
-All copyright cases must prove, prior to a judgment of guilt, proof
that the actions in question did not infringe on Fair Use, and the
individuals rights under the 4th and 1st amendment of the Bill of rights
-Ownership of all physical media, and devices to read such media, is
the sole property of the purchaser of the media, without an expressly
negotiated and signed contract between both the copyright holder and
-No technological software or hardware method can be deployed in a digital
product and made available for normal retail sale which inhibits, in any
way, the full enjoyment of the property by the purchasers, regardless of
any agreement between the designer of the hardware or software products.
Such agreements are null, and not contractible.
-Copyright is an exception to Fair Use as it limits the ability for
individuals to enjoy their private property and express themselves with
the use of such copyrighted materials. Fair Use is a doctrine to be
based on the 4th and 1st amendments of the US Constitution.
-Individuals have the right to express themselves to others about the
means, mechanism and workings of all digital devices, including but not
limited to, discussion on how to make fair use of media, how to improve
such devices, or to reverse engineer all such devices and the algorithms
which are used to help them display, copy or run media.
We need to get as many big guns on this as possible and then relentlessly
campaign, actively working to elect supporters and vote out incumbent
opposition. In fact, we should look to defeat, not just the proposed
spyware legislation, but also defeat Senator Hollings
WE CAN force him from office, because he's a radical.
Finally, the issue of developing friends and allies. Specifically, they
have to be cultivated. Boucher is not powerful by himself, but if we
get Weiner to become vocal on this issue as well, we WILL turn the tied,
especially since Weiner was Chuck Schumer's chief of staff. Right now,
we need to find him, wherever he speaks, and ask him about this issue,
over and over again.
ALL POLITICS is LOCAL.
I'd love to expand on how to target a congressman. It's got to be
done like Tammany Hall, machine politics, in the neighborhoods, and
focusing on not only software, but the effects on education, libraries
Brooklyn Linux Solutions
http://www.mrbrklyn.com - Consulting
http://www.brooklynonline.com - For the love of Brooklyn
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
http://www.nyfairuse.org - The foundation of Democracy
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources - Unpublished Archive or stories and articles from around the net
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/mp3/dr.mp3 - Imagine my surprise when I saw you...
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/downtown.html - See the New Downtown Brooklyn....
New Yorker Linux Users Scene
Fair Use -
because it's either fair use or useless....