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[dvd-discuss]DMCA Excemption Hearings at UCLA Day 1..Addenda
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- Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 19:27:03 -0700
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Session 1 - Censorware
There was some discussion regarding private agreements of censorware lists but
I think the committee pretty much got the picture that the purpose of this is
to provide a check on the function. An NDA doesn't accomplish that.
S.Metalitz said several times that it's a different world than in
2000...Technically my response is "guy...if you think its any different in 2003
than it was in 2000, then you didn't know what was going on in 2000....not my
fault but yours....to quote a deceased friend of mine, a former Ranger- 'Deal
The censorware people make a big show that they allow you to ask them what
things are being censored. Jim T. did a good job explaining that the most do
not and the few that do make it difficult. The sheer magnitude of what's going
on when he showed them a bunch of screen dumps (I assume) of a data base query
of their websites.
<It might be an amusing exercise to see if a distributed query of database
attack and reconstruct their database. (DBDA) Whether a number of computers can
be coordinated to query and reconstruct the database or the holes in it..I
don't know of the legality of doing that or if it would constitute a DDoS under
There was a lot of discussion regarding the numbers of people that may want to
do censorware decryption. I do not think the committee realized that many are
content that others do.
Session two- Internet archive and ACM statement
I found it ironic that S.Metalitz earlier made comments on how censorware is
protecting the internet from spam and virii on websites yet obviously doesn't
understand that a polymorphic virus is encrypted so as to hide it's identity.
To do the protection they also must be breaking access controls to copyright
material....Can a virus maker sue censorware?
Metalitz, obviously, is quite unaware that you just can contact a lot of
companies and say "hey...tell me about your version 1.01 of the program"...the
configuration management at most commercial companies is nonexistant and for
defunct ones-NADA and if they did ...are they willing to pay? Or just claim
copyright and then DMCA protection...
I was not crazy about the idea that libraries can fund programmers to RE things
but the public cannot. ALso what's the point that one library can RE something
but can't tell another one what it told...or that libraries become the secret
repositories of forbidden knowledge rather than PUBLIC or RESEARCH
libraries...this is untenable....read Umberto Ecco's "Name of the Rose" It's
rather dense but once you get into it it reads fast (I read 30 pages in 10
minutes at one sitting)
Barbara Simmons gave an excellent presentation. The ACM statement was well
written and presented well. She presented cases of where the DMCA has stiffled
research (e.g, Felton, Wagner) Any others might be greatly appreciated. So if
anyone can think or see cases they would make good ammunition. Barbara made an
interesting observation when she said to just return computer science back to
what it was before the DMCA.
George Ziemann presented a some what scathing indictment of the DMCA and the
panel. Later when the panel was grappling with access control vs copy
protection he popped out a CD and stated that this contained the manual to Mac
OS 9(?) and cannot be read by Mac OS 10(?) because the software is programmed
to ignore it...I don't know if that's true (anyone?) but if they don't shoot
the messenger it may have helped..
Session 3- Copy protected CDs
This was an Alice in Wonderland session...listening to the RIAA and Macrovision
I wondered where they live?
My notes are not that complete since I kept getting interrupted by the guy
behind me (I hope the picture he wanted me to take afterwards of him, Gwen,
Robin, Ren of EFF and Jim T using his 007 sized camera and recorder actually
does come out an he send copies out...I'm sticking to my SLR or cheezy digital
camera I own)
The RIAA witness was what I thought was a green lawyer (afterwards I overheard
him telling someone that if they are innocent they have nothing to hide and I
could not resist informing him that that is the argument used by police states,
fascist, communist and it's not a good argument or one he should use....I doubt
that he got it...I hope he continues to do so...)...his level of argumentation
was not high..mostly denial and I suspect David Carson enjoyed roasting him on
evidence...certainly Jim Tyre was enjoying some of the exchange..he was shaking
in laughter at a couple of points
The guy from macrovision used so many methaphos (OK I renounce copyright on
that word...the creation of metaphors under the influence of natural or man
made chemicals...that was a typo but I think it apropos)..I heard "industry
meltdown", " healthy ecosystem", "balance", "big picture" and " long term.
Macrovision is working to give you a CD with two tracks that can be played in
your CD player and in your computer...I told this to my exboss and he commented
"I can do that now..what do I need that for?"...gotta love us mathematicians
for restating the obvious ....
The RIAA guys was really stupid mixing statistics...There was a lot of mixing
of statistics. Non statisticians LOVE to talk about the average and such but
don't understand what it really means.
The EFF presentation was pretty good and the panel seemed more disposed to it
than the others. Why not...the others are just saying...stop the hearings...we
like it as it is...
The areas I thought could have been better (No flames Robin, Gwen and
Ren...I've been there. Done not quite that... I know that "Bullfight critics
row and row, line the Plaze del Toro. But there is only one there who really
knows. And he's the one that fights the bull [R.Graves..poet, scholar, and
writer of juicy historical fiction]"
The panel struggled with copy vs access protection. It is not clear that they
understand that access is a necessary but not sufficient condition for copying.
I think the point could have been made that the little logo on the CD that says
"XOIHKJND" or whatever is equivalent to the fine print in a contract except
this IS NOT a contract. It's a private sale....the marketplace has never been
the place of contracts. Over tens of thousands of years it has evolved to a
place of the rapid transfer of personal property. If the RIAA and MPAA do not
agree to the common law of that then they must exclude themselves but the
marketplace of thousands of years should not be changed to accommodate.
I have to confess that I was amazed when Robin Gross made a devistating point
that the sale of a CD is the sale of private property and that the LAW says as
much and the RIAA attorney said "I don't agree" Eseentually the RIAA has
decreed that you don't own what you own...What a stupid twit!
It seems clear that the Panel does not understand technology and has not
consulted with available resources (would it help to write letter to congress
critters) They are struggling
The EFF presentation on copy protection needed some technical bolstering on
methods and techniques..of course...patents are public knowledge...is the panel
required to understand them?
We had standards for CDs and the like. Now with copy protection they are
messing with them...a guarentee for problems yet the committee did not seem to
The whole notion of preserving content in one media format less removed from
the technology of today is silly..it does not preserve fair use or preserve
historicla material for the future..on the bright side....the testimony of the
RIAA guy would not be preserved and rather than achieving a negative record in
history, as opposed to a negative footnote, his words will cease to
exist...rather than a possible negative he becomes an absolute non existance...