Bob Dickson’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It may not be over, but....

    Stephan, I don'tknow what planet you're from, but it appears you and I are so far apart that we can't have a meaningful discussion about this.

  • Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 2:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It may not be over, but....

    Well, Jupiterkansas, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. I'll admit that the corporate death penalty might verge on draconian, but I'd claim that most of what I suggest is merely taking back rights that have been stolen from us over the years. Is *that* draconian? I don't think so.

    Note also that nowhere did I say that my "draconian" laws should be written behind closed doors and pushed through, hoping no one notices. That's one of the tactics of the content industry. I didn't say we should do that.

    That word "compromise" is a funny word. Put aside for the moment that the content industry has shown precious little propensity to engage in it, in the sense that you mean. But you know, there is another meaning of "compromise". Look at's 6th meaning: "to expose or make vulnerable to danger, suspicion, scandal, etc.; jeopardize: a military oversight that compromised the nation's defenses." In that sense, the content industry has been compromising our rights all along, and I, for one, am fed up with that kind of compromise. I guess I'm an odd guy -- whenever I hear people calling for a compromise on these matters, my first thought always is that the content industry has already compromised a lot of our rights, and I don't want them doing any more of it. Funny language, English is.

    Anyway, I want no compromise between giant content companies and giant tech companies that divvy up our rights between them, leaving none for us. And I don't want the government pushing for that. I want the government to protect the little guys' rights.

    Interesting that your last point is about removing money from the process. Did you make it all the way to my last point? You and I certainly seem to be on the same page as far as that issue goes, and if you calmly consider what the other things I suggested actually would mean, should a miracle occur and they ever were enacted, I think you would conclude that you would agree with a lot more of them than you initially seem to.

  • Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 1:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It may not be over, but....


    Oh, I don't know. How about I raise some cows, milk them, and sell the milk, but to get a little better price I add a little melamine, to make the milk test like it has higher protein content? The state has no right to stop me from doing it? I'm not violating people's rights? Take it or leave it?

    Okay, that example is a little over the top, but I think it very clearly establishes that the state certainly does have a right to tell you to stop doing certain things. There are numerous safety-related regulation about what you must do or must not do in making your product. There are implied warranty and fitness for purpose laws, that tell you what you must do or must not do when making your product.

    DRM prohibition would be related to the laws about products being fit for purpose. DRM prevents things like making backup copies, moving files from one device to another -- things which a reasonable person would expect to be able to do with the products. In hardware it prevents some kinds of customizations or repurposing that ought to be routinely possible. So the state has a good reason to protect individual buyers' rights by prohibiting DRM. If you don't want to produce a DRM-free product, that's not violating your rights. Take it or leave it. (How does it feel to be on the other side of that?)

  • Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It may not be over, but....

    Stephan, your logic escapes me. It seems to me the property rights that DRM protects are the ones that eliminating patents and copyrights eliminates. So how can you want to protect them?

  • Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 1:53am

    Re: Re: It may not be over, but....

    Exactly right. This will scare Washington, and we can expect that they will find excuses to try to control the Internet even more.

    I think the best action we could take would be a very strong offensive against all of the areas which have been used against us in recent decades. I have no idea how to organize to get enough support behind it, but if we could keep the bad guys busy fighting our offensive, they would have less time and energy to spend on their offensives, and maybe we'll even win back some of what has been taken from us.

    I said all the areas which have been used against us. Hang onto your seat.

    This offensive's goals should include:

    - Abolish copyrights and patents, including cancelling all existing ones.

    - Prohibit any court from enforcing provisions of existing contracts which require payment (or other actions) that were agreed to in order to license copyrights or patents.

    - Outlaw DRM in any form, hardware or software, with a corporate death penalty for any company that tries to sneak DRM into a product.

    - Require publishing of programming specifications for all hardware products.

    - Completely separate the companies who provide telephone, cable, Internet backbone, and/or Internet access service from any other business, with a corporate death penalty for any company that tries to evade this.

    - Require the companies in the previous point to offer access to their physical plant, as once was required (CLEC), with a corporate death penalty for any company that obstructs or otherwise unfairly competes with companies taking that offer.

    - Eliminate all restrictions that restrict local governments or associations from providing Internet service.

    - Probably something to whack the cell phone companies, but I don't know what would best promote improvement for the users of the cell network. Perhaps establishing a single standard would be part of it.

    - Repeal the rights-trampling parts of the Patriot Act.

    - Sharply reduce the personhoodness of corporations, and reestablish that they must, by law, operate in the public interest. Explicitly repudiate the notion that the only purpose is to increase shareholder value.

    - Devise a way to force all lobbying to take place entirely in the open, and remove contributions from the process entirely. Making your or your company's desires known and pointing out the public benefits that would result is valid. Buying legislation is not. I don't know how to do this, but someone else might.

    No doubt there are goals that should be in the list that I'm not thinking of right now.

    As I already said, I have no idea how to organize to build support for this very large effort. I hope someone does.

    Some might point out that abolishing copyrights undermines the GPL. True, but wouldn't what we win be worth it?

    To those who might say we cannot do some of these things because of existing treaties, trade agreements, or the like, I say ignore them. Treaties get ignored when they no longer align with national interests. Similarly to those who might say we would face other forms of international opposition. We should tough it out. Our rights are at stake.