[clug] Consume But Don't Try Programming [was viva la DMCA? [was: Against US-AU FTA Intellectual Property Clauses]]

Martin Pool mbp at sourcefrog.net
Sat Apr 10 12:04:57 GMT 2004

On 10 Apr 2004, Jepri <jepri at webone.com.au> wrote:

> I don't support the MPAA/RIAA, I just don't care about them.  And I 
> don't have to wait for a revolution.
> The laws that Darren has brought to our attention allow the MPAA/RIAA to 
> tightly control how I use their product.  

The DMCA and laws that might follow from the USFTA take away rights
from people who never buy an MPAA/RIAA product.  Amongst other things
(IIRC) it becomes technically illegal for me to play with my cat using
a laser pointer, or to use emacs abbrev-mode.

> Fine by me.  If they won't let me play with their stuff, I'll go
> find someone who will.

Take it or leave it?

I think you've just proved that no Australian law ever has bad
effects: people who don't like it can just move to NZ.  Somehow I am
not convinced.

Let me turn that around: what about if we *not* pass the agreement,
and if the MPAA doesn't like it, they can not distribute movies to

> And talking about 'backup rights' sounds silly when I put it in context:
> "Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and free backups of their 
> music CDROMs".

Yes, that does sound silly.  Well done.

Three of the core freedoms of a western society are: free speech, free
markets, and stable property rights.  DMCA-like laws attack all three
freedoms: prohibiting speech (DeCSS), entrenching monopolies, and
retrospectively deleting property rights (reselling software you no
longer use.)  Put like that, it seems more important to me.

> Just because they produce the movies that people like to watch,
> doesn't mean that they reign over anyone.  They are not opressing
> you when they stop you watching their movies.

If the movies just came with a contract saying "you mustn't play this
on Linux" your argument might hold water.

> You are free, right now, and you will be free under the FTA.

<1984>We have always been at war with Eastasia</1984>

Right now I'm free to buy a DVD player that plays US DVDs I bought and
paid for.  Under the USFTA, I might not be.  Explain how this is good?

Right now if somebody patents an obvious/trivial software idea, I am
free to just smile wryly.  Under the USFTA, it might make it illegal
to write some free software.  Sounds bad to me.

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