[linux-elitists] What to do about RIAA?

Ruben I Safir - Brooklyn Linux Solutions CEO ruben@mrbrklyn.com
Sat Feb 24 20:17:59 PST 2001

I'm going to try to answer this without getting to flaming on this.

First - I forgive you for insulting me, since you don't know me...

Your really underestimating the amount of damage which is being presently
done, and the importance of the legal basis to protection of fair use.

I'm going to try to address each of your issues, one by one...

> If you think what is going on is about making and sharing copies
> of digital music, well... pshaw, is all I have to say.

Well - you are incorerect about what I think.  But I have no idea how
you extracted this from my message.

> The question is whether it will be possible in the future for petty
> tyrants like the RIAA, the MPAA, the Church of Scientology or WHOEVER
> to use bullying, extrajudicial tactics to prevent any flow of
> information that they don't like. 

It is far more grave than this.  The legal foundation for the open
participation in society, through education, public review and freedom 
of speach, is being undermined by changes in the current copyright laws,
and laws which indirectly affect copyright, such as the DMCA.  There is a
running assumption that technology "changes everything" in the balance 
between freedom of speech, security in ones property, and that of the
limited monopoly which we give creaters of works of art and inventions
in the way of copyrights and patents.  I would argue that this assumption is 

Prior to even the telegraph, there has been a priniciple of Fair Use in 
US law, and this priciple has been the foundation of our free society.
The priciple is that monopolies are to be issues only when it is in the
public interests to do so.  There is no principle that when technology
makes access to inforation easier and less expessive, that public monopolies
have to be compensated with increased restrictions on peoples personal
property and freedom of expression.  And yet this assertion is being made
over and over again without question in the public policy arena.

So the issue, IMO, isn't whether or not we can create more and more 
technical ways of getting around legal problems ... which in the end will fail
anyway if measured in the only way which matters, which is the increased
disemination of information to the masses, but to protect the legal foundation
for freedom in a capitalist society.

> There are 3 prongs of defense here to take:

I disagree.  It's a one prong problem and a one prong defense.  The problem
is political and the solution is legal.

>         2) The technical defense -- using improvements in encryption
>            and steganography to make it difficult to stop the flow of
>            information. Players here: Mojonation, Freenet Project,
>            Gnutella development groups, etc.

This will only help a few geeks, and probibly not that either.  If the
hardware which is available controls access by the software, freesoftware
itself will be dead, let alone any truely free p2p systems.

The public will buy into the new hardware under the guise of increased
accessed to nude PG-13 rated porn flick with Jenifir Lopez.  Access to 
any underground movement for information will be limited by hardcore
liberatirans who will be categorized by the justice department as 
"Hacker Radicals".  The great majority of people will not risk even their
DSL to be cut off, let alone arrest for running a unauthoirzed p2p 

>         3) The social defense -- embarassing the petty tyrants that
>            are doing the bullying. Players here: 2600, RTMark, =some=
>            linux-elitists.

This can not be accomplished without a forum and a control of the language
we use to discuss the issues.

For example - we talk about Intellectual Porperty, when we need to use
the term cultural artifact.  We say copyright, when we need to say 
publically issued limited monopoly.... etc.

But none of this is going to matter if we don't convince the public that
what is happening is the loss of critical  personal liberties which affect
their ability to participate in their street life, as well as political

>> Rant about the evils of government snipped...

Jefferson would have agreed with you and this is and this is WHY I'm right.
The proper balance to protect individual rights is a political question, and
the solution is the one we had prior to 1976, and the DMCA.  The absolute
one thing the Governement has to do to be legitamite is to prevent the
infringment of individual rights by either the Government, or the legal
monopolies which are a franchise of the government.

Overwise - who knows - maybe all the information pertaining to a critical
area of knolwedge, such as say - Dentistry - will be only rentable by the hour
by a sect few  and Public Libraries will become illegal.

If the Napster case upsets the public enough, maybe the pols will finally ask
the only question that they need to ask in relationship to Napster...

Is Napster in the public interst?  If it is.... we havve to role up our
sleeves and do some work.....

Brooklyn Linux Solutions


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