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Re: [dvd-discuss] DMCA replies
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] DMCA replies
- From: Noah silva <nsilva(at)atari-source.com>
- Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 11:05:58 -0500 (EST)
- In-reply-to: <E16RD3uemail@example.com>
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
See... I still don't understand all the excitement over DMCA. If I were
the judge I would just drop any case brought to me under this
"law". It's amazing how much protection we give to the guilty in some
ways, and how little in others. If tomorrow congress enacted a law saying
that eating pizza outside was illegal and punishable by death, it wouldn't
stand 10 minutes. This isn't really any less ludicrous.
Let's say you were the judge, the DA brings before you the illegal pizza
The DA says "This man was cought eating the pizza outside, clearly against
the newly enacted law. We have several photos as evidence."
The defendant says "But I didn't know..."
The DA says "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" (and is legally correct).
You as the judge don't think the situation is right, but what he has done
is clearly illegal under the law, and it is clear that he has in fact,
committed the act.
What are your choices:
a.) Find him innocent even though he has clearly done it?
b.) Find him guilty and try to impose a light sentence?
c.) Find him guilty and impose the recommended sentence? (say it's death).
d.) Find that the law is illegal and drop the case?
My question is.. what latitude does a judge have in this type of case? I
have taken a fair number of law classes, but they normally assume well
designed laws, and don't discuss what to do when laws pass that
aren't/shouldn't be legal and/or are oppressive.
To me, the way our system works is that you have a right until it
interferes with someone else's more fundimental right. You can scream
firs, but not in the crowded theater. The movie makers have the right to
try to protect their content, but not when it interferes with my consumer
rights to use the material I have purchased in a legal manner as I see
fit. I still don't understand how they can get away with limiting my
rights to enforce theirs. I can't limit the people in the theater's
rights to enforce my free speach, and if I tried, I think we know what
would happen. Instead of being the defendant, couldn't I sue mpaa,
et.al. for interfering with my rights to use my legally purchased movies?
I mean I know if it were this simple, it would be done, but I feel like I
am majorly missing something sometimes, that when something so grossly
unfair can be allowed to continue for so long, someone obviously hasn't
thought of some remedy.
Let me try another far fetched example:
Ford has decided that they don't like people buying and exporting
vehicles, or driving them on unapproved private roads. (remind you of
playing things on players?). To solve this problem, they have come up
with a "road authentication system". There is a laser on the bottom of
the car that scans barcodes just like the ones at the supermarket. These
barcodes are etched into the road every quarter mile or so. If you drive
too long without the vehicle picking up one of these barcodes, it shuts
off the engine. Technical considerations aside... assume it works
well. In order to get the barcodes to place on the road, you have to pay
ford. So the government has to pay ford to put them on the public roads,
and you have to pay ford to put them on any private roads you might
own. This is like the DVD situation because assuming it worked well, most
people would be ignorant of it and wouldn't care, since most people don't
own private roads, yet it is obviously abusive and restricting our ability
to use our own private property how we se fit. Ford could claim that the
Barcodes are a "content protection tool" to what content? I don't know,
the microcode in the car's "computer" that fires the spark-plugs. If you
disabled the scanner in the car or printed your own barcodes, you could go
to jail under the DMCA. Did I miss anything? Is this a valid example?
-- noah silva