I see where you're coming from, but I still think that it would do more harm than good.
"When I think data retention I mean putting clear limits both to the Govt and to the private actors mandating the destruction of said data after the deadline imposed."
We could have limits for how long companies can retain data without having a data retention law. Mandatory destruction would be extremely nice, but it doesn't address the problems with mandatory data retention.
Re: Proprietary software is a necessary evil of early versions
Proprietary software isn't a necessary evil of early versions at all. It's just what many (and certainly not all) hardware manufacturers choose to do.
"(Uncompressed. mp3 hadn't been invented yet.)"
Just a point of technical accuracy: True, mp3s didn't exist yet, but Creative Labs did have their own compressed audio format. It just never because standard (because it was proprietary). There were also a few third-party audio players that introduced their own compressed audio formats (I worked on one of them).
I am not a lawyer, and this is clearly an areas where the law falls down completely, so I couldn't care less about what the laws on the books say.
I'm just saying that this is clearly theft by the DEA based on the fact that if I did the exact same thing the DEA did, I would certainly have been brought up on charges of grand theft at the very least.
I disagree. I think zero mandated data retention is called for. It's one thing for a service to provide data that they collect normally when presented with a valid court order. It's another thing to require them to keep more data, or data for a longer time, than they would have done for business purposes.
"SESAC (and the other performing rights societies) don't represent artists at all"
I think you're splitting hairs here. SESAC and the like do represent artists. They just don't represent performing artists. (Unless you're trying to say that authors of lyrics, music, novels, etc., aren't artists).
"Copyright owners of musical works have the exclusive right "to perform the copyrighted work publicly" (§ 106 (4)), which is defined (redundantly) as "to perform or display it at a place open to the public" (§ 101)."
A circular definition is logically the same as no definition at all, so "public performance" is effectively undefined. Which, I suppose, is why these companies can get away with making ludicrous claims about what constitutes a "public performance". (Note: I'm not saying this is or is not one of those times.)
"with everyone surprised by it anew each time (with me being surprised that everyone else is surprised)"
"An ancient principle holds that it's legally unreasonable for someone to commit a crime, and therefore it's legally unforseeable that a crime will be committed."
But the DEA did commit a crime: they stole a truck, then knowingly used that truck in a manner that a reasonable person could easily see is very risky. Last I checked, when us plebes commit a felony and unplanned bad things happen as a result of it, we are responsible for the unplanned bad things as well.
"Or are you making a specific allegation that the DEA, as an agency, committed larceny?"
Yes, I am making this specific allegation. The DEA did not own the truck. They DEA did not have the owner's permission to use the truck. If anyone else who was not the DEA did the same thing, they would be hauled up on charges of grand theft.
It's pure tribalism. Far too many people associate their sense of self worth with the things they purchase. When someone tells them that their cellphone/laptop/sports team/car/whatever sucks, then they take it as being the same as saying they, personally, suck.
It's straight up insanity, but one that is endemic to the human condition.