[linux-elitists] decss list

Seth David Schoen schoen@loyalty.org
Fri Jan 28 10:31:37 PST 2000

Tabinda N. Khan writes:

> Disclaimer: I am not picking on Seth, who I happen to
> think is an extremely cool person. I'm just replying to
> his email so I can keep some context here. I'm sure he's
> regretting ever mentioning the decss list. :-)

I am, in some sense.

I didn't realize that it was such a secret and closed list (because one
of the first threads there established that it was not legally
privileged, and there could well be spies from the industry present).
I didn't realize that the list members (those who are defendants) would
have the level of concern that they do.

But I've written three messages to the list and one to the list owner
asking for known and experienced Linux activists from the Bay Area to
be added, and suggesting that some of the people here would have a lot
to contribute.

> So, am I the only one who is somewhat disturbed by this
> situation? I admit I know very little about it,
> basically what Seth mentioned below and that people have
> unsuccessfully tried to subscribe.
> Is it too hard to type the 50 keystrokes to realize that
> deirdre@deirdre.net helped out tremendouly at the first
> court hearing, or that dmarti@zgp.org has been spending
> a lot of time doing interviews and running the DVD
> Source Code Distribution Contest? What is it exactly
> that needs to be figured out?

I mentioned both of those things on the list this morning.

> I mean, I thought this was a community thing. I
> understand that they might be wary of spies, but a small
> amount (and I mean small) of investigation would reveal
> that there are community people who want to help and be 
> involved.

The way the decss list got started was that Weil used Cc: rather than
using Bcc: in trying to serve defendants.  (Well, sure -- maybe some people
have shared maildrops and don't _see_ Bcc:s.)

So immediately Tom Vogt made a mailing list with all of the people who had
been Cc'ed, and asked them to try to track down other defendants and get
them on the list.

Chris DiBona ended up there because he immediately put up a web page saying
he was going to the courthouse and encouraging other people to come (and
then he got in touch with the defendants and the EFF, and perhaps with John
Gilmore).  (By the way, the EFF likes this case.  They really, really
like this case.)

I ended up there because I called Chris that evening and told him that I
thought what he was doing was cool, and that I wanted to help.  So he asked
Tom to add me, and things were still in a lot of flux, so Tom said OK.  No
great controversy nor significant public comment; the defendants were busy
with _other_ petty flamewars. :-)

Eventually, I forgot that decss _wasn't_ advertised anywhere, that it was
basically a list of defendants whose e-mail addresses Weil had kindly
collected and shared with the other defendants.

But remember that these people are all _being sued_ and therefore are more
than a little wary about who sees the discussion of their plans for the
future.  Some of them are in other countries and have not heard of any of
us, nor our Linux activism -- so they hear that a non-defendant who is
supposedly very excited about the case would like to be added to the
mailing list of defendants, and they are "seized with fear and trembling".

I hope that they will soon take the step from "We appreciate the efforts of
these activists" to "We should co-ordinate with these activists".

Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp.  http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down:  http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5

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