FC: Glenn Reynolds on Dem vs. Republican copy-protection split

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 28 2002 - 21:21:27 PST

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: Washington state goes censorhappy, bans publishing police info"

    [Again, a few SSSCA/CBDTPA threats catenated. See also: 
    http://www.politechbot.com/cgi-bin/politech.cgi?name=cbdtpa and 
    http://www.politechbot.com/docs/cbdtpa/ --Declan]
    From: Glenn Reynolds <gharlanrat_private>
    Subject: FYI
    To: declanat_private
    Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 09:10:21 -0500
    You may find my column at TechCentralStation - on Democrats and copy
    protection -- interesting:
    Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 18:22:35 -0800
    From: Andrew Nuttall <nuttmanat_private>
    Subject: Great Article off Slashdot
    To: declanat_private
    Hey Declan,
    I'm sure you've already seen this article
    (http://www.farces.com/stories/storyReader$414), but its a great overview of
    the semi-recent entertainment & technology industry battle over intellectual
    and copy rights. (Found off Slashdot,
    Cheers, longtime politechbot reader Andrew
    |       Andrew Nuttall           |
    |    nuttmanat_private     |
    | www.anjohn.ca/nuttman |
    Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 07:57:41 -0500
    From: "J.D. Abolins" <jda-irat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Essay on CBDTPA:
      "Hollings, Valenti, and the American Techniban"
    To: declanat_private
    Cc: rfornoat_private
    Thank you for sharing the essay.
     >Hollings, Valenti, and the American Techniban
     > Richard Forno
     > 25 March 2002
     > not be a worthwhile product.  Unfortunately, many folks are of the belief
     > that since we don't require such 'security' measures for handguns
     > (something that can kill people) so why have such measures on electronic
     > media which educates and entertains them?
    For what it's worth, New Jersey legislature does have a bill that will 
    require all handguns sold in NJ to be "smart guns"  three years after any 
    such firearms are available for sale to the public. Police are exempt from 
    this restriction. "Smart guns" are firearms that use biometrics, tokens 
    (such as a ring), codes, or some other method to restricting the ability to 
    fire to specific person(s). The "smart gun" push has been simmering for 
    several years in NJ. There are have been also several bills in NJ seeking 
    to fund research into developing "smart guns".
    (online for a few more days)
    and  http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/ for further info.
    (Somehow, the phrase "smart gun" make think of the phrase: "Smart guns, 
    dumb people."<g>)
    I wonder if the CBDTPA supporters will use the NJ bills to offset the 
    argument that "interactive devices" are being required to build-in 
    restrictions while firearms aren't. Not that would help the situation. The 
    CBDTPA is still a bad law.
     > Simply put, CBDTPA outlaws the sale or distribution of nearly any electronic
     > device and computer operating system unless it includes government-mandated
     > copy-prevention restrictions.
    The implications for programmers and open source software fans are quite 
    nasty. As I look at some of the CBDTPA provisions,the law would require 
    operating systems offered in the USA --and, by various extensions, in the 
    world-- to incorporate USA-mandated digital rights management code. This 
    would apply to non-USA distributors such as SuSE. Nastier yet, the law 
    could be interpreted as prohibiting releasing source code to the public if 
    that might allow somebody to bypass the digital rights enforcement 
    routines. Linux and any other open source operating system could 
    become  "criminal tools".
    But this is not limited to operating systems. Compilers, assemblers, 
    dissemblers, etc. could tun afoul of the CBDTPA.. So legally safe 
    "programming tools" might become limited to high level languages and 
    scripting languages where the tools themselves enforce digital right 
    protections on behalf of third-parties. It will be as though programmers 
    will need a "security clearance" from the entertainment/publishing industry 
    to access the internal coding of their own computers. Oh, by the way, 
    teaching certain programming techniques could be spun to be contributing to 
    J.D. Abolins
    From: Tom_Giovanetti/IPIat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Essay on CBDTPA: "Hollings, Valenti, and the 
    American  Techniban"
    To: declanat_private
    X-Mailer: Lotus Notes Release 5.07a  May 14, 2001
    Just a brief comment: I really think that anyone who labels fellow
    Americans with an allusion to Taliban should be dismissed out-of-hand,
    regardless of their arguments or their positions. It's a cheap rhetorical
    device, akin to associating someone with Hitler or Nazism. It completely
    clouds an issue and chokes it with emotion. It ought to be beyond-the-pale.
    I personally have low regard for Sen. Hollings, but he should not be
    denigrated with a label that is clearly a takeoff on Taliban.
    Tom Giovanetti
    Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI)
    From: "Sutha Kamal" <suthakat_private>
    To: <declanat_private>
    Subject: RE: CBDTPA bans everything from two-line BASIC programs to PCs
    Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 11:52:51 -0500
    It seems to me, there's an even more silly part about the entire discussion,
    which is whether or not it's really possible to copy protect media in any
    form. The CBDTPA lightly touches on the topic, and Jack Valenti refers to it
    at - I believe - the Analog Hole.
    This is to say that - short of connecting electrodes that go straight to the
    brain and carry a signal only a brain could decypher - for us to percieve
    any media (audio or video), it has to be presented to us as some sort analog
    signal. Additionally, it commonly accepted that anything analog can be
    represented digitally.
    Is it just me , or is it blatantly obvious that at a fundamental,
    theoretical level, it's entirely impossible to prevent media from being
    re-encoded so long as it's at least played once on an "approved" player?
    To add insult to injury (and this is what REALLY scares me). It seems that
    an all-to-easy way to prevent media from being stolen (and yes, there are
    ways around this too) is to force players to only play media that's encryped
    or signed by some trusted key. This means that the recording and film
    studios can sign/encrypt their content, so an "authorized" player would
    recognize this key and play the media. Also, someone that re-recorded the
    media (i.e. redigitized an analog playback) would not be able to re-encrypt
    or re-sign the media with the appropriate key, and so the device would not
    play this new re-recorded version of the media.
    The obvious problem with this, however, is that people would no longer be
    able to burn their own CDs with compilations (or music they themselves
    perform), or burn DVDs of their family, etc. To prevent this, then, we'd
    need to introduce additional support for personally-generated media... but
    where would this lead? Obviously we wouldn't want to allow an "authorized"
    dvd authoring program (e.g. iMovie) to reproduce a copyrighted DVD. So then
    we'd need systems to determine if the SOURCE content (in a audio/video
    editing program) was a protected work. Okay, so that PROBABLY means that all
    "protected" media will also have to incorporate some sort of digital
    watermark (like the SDMI tried/is trying), and that all applications that
    use media not only have to look for a "copyright bit" but infact wil have to
    inspect the stream for a watermark that may or may not be there. And of
    course, further exploration of this topic leads to more and more problems
    which I need not discuss here.
    In summary, though, my point is simple: The nature of any perceptible
    phenomenon implies that it can be represented digitally. This means that
    re-digitization is typically a trivial matter. Given that simple
    re-digitization is trivial, one must devise a mechanism which survives the
    digital-to-analog gap, which at the moment is watermarking. Then all devices
    that manipulate, copy, exchange (etc....), such media don't have to simply
    recognize this ludicrous notion of a "copyright bit", but instead must
    inspect the media for such a watermark. The notion that Outlook, or my PDA
    would have to inspect any file I wanted to transfer, looking for either a
    signature, watermark or "copyright bit" is ludicrous.
    The level of complexity here is quite daunting, and one is often left with
    the feeling that this is infact an exercise in futility. Is it an important
    problem? Sure. Is it soluble? I'm not convinced that it is.
    - - - -
    Sutha Kamal
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