FC: One more round of replies to weekly column: Time for a GeekPAC?

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 27 2002 - 16:41:39 PST

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    Previous Politech message:
    Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 07:12:08 -0500
    From: Barry Ritholtz <ritholtzat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Replies to weekly column: Is it time for a GeekPAC?
    To: declanat_private
    hey Declan,
    I find it fascinating that the technology industry hasn't shown the 
    "content industry" the back of its hand.
    Post bubble IT spending -- indeed, corporate capital spending of just about 
    any kind -- has mostly ground to a halt. The only thing driving any sort of 
    technology sales are consumers. They are buying or upgrading systems only 
    so they can play multimedia.  Either DVD players or iPods or TiVos or cable 
    modems or iMacs or 2 Ghz P4 PCs, its the only IT spending game in town.
    Here's the conundrum: How has an industry 1/4 the size of the 
    telecom/technology sector, with its gloried  history of price fixing -- and 
    being their own worst enemies (by opposing radio, VCRs, MTV and recently 
    P2P and TiVo) -- have managed to lobby their way to setting technology 
    policy? Its an issue the tech industry better address -- and soon -- or 
    else they will find themselves marginalized by the creeps.
    Instead, many firms -- including Microsoft -- are playing a game of 
    appeasement. The sooner the tech industry realizes that the RIAA/MPAA has 
    declared war on them, the better off they will be . . .
    Barry L. Ritholtz
    [mailto: britholtzat_private]
    Chief Market Strategist
    Maxim Group
    (516) 918-5529
    Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 16:23:05 -0500 (EST)
    From: Dean Anderson <deanat_private>
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    cc: politechat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Replies to weekly column: Is it time for a GeekPAC?
    I think its kind of funny that John Levine should take the time to
    criticize me with respect to the LPF.
    Paul Vixie has told me in personal email that he is pro-patent. I suspect
    that John Levine is probably pro-patent, as well.  Levine was never a
    member of the LPF. The LPF was soliciting for prominent computer
    scientists in 1994-1995 to sign the LPF Amicus Curie brief to the Appeals
    and the Supreme Court in Lotus V. Borland. Levine didn't sign.
    Levine's leadership in the anti-spam movement has been less than
    effective. It was radicals (including Levine) on CAUCE that prevented
    anti-spam legislation from being passed in 1998 when they wouldn't accept
    any compromise that didn't ban spam entirely. Thus, they lost altogether.
    At the time, I proposed a compromise, which wouldn't completely ban spam,
    but would eliminate the most serious problems. My proposal was much
    stronger than the current "anti-spam" legislation under consideration.
    and would have permitted a single opt-out list. My proposal would have
    been difficult for the DMA to challenge, since it had already accepted
    these constraints on junk postal mail. The current legislation merely
    requires every company to have its own opt-out list.
    Back then, the anti-spam radicals wouldn't accept anything less than a
    complete ban, and rejected my proposal. Well, now, thanks to efforts of
    John Levine and others, they have nothing to bargain with, and the DMA is
    calling the legislative shots.
    My 1998 proposal can still be seen at
    I even told them about anti-trust back them, having actually run boycotts
    and protest marches for the LPF, and having been advised by prominent
    attorneys and law professors at prominent law schools on the subject. I
    predicted that Exactis v. MAPS would happen, and that they had to reach a
    compromise.  They refused. They are responsible for the spam you get
    Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 08:36:26 -0800
    From: LR <lrussat_private>
    Organization: ...
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Replies to weekly column: Is it time for a GeekPAC?
    Declan McCullagh wrote:
     > ---
     > Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 13:16:26 -0500
     > From: Ned Jackson Lovely <politicsat_private>
     > To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
     > Subject: Re: FC: Weekly column: Is it time for a GeekPAC?
    [big snips]
     > 2. Get a succinct statement of some goals that will be obvious to any
     >     techie as good things. Maybe two or three statements of our philosophy.
     >     I might suggest something like:
     >     a. Any government regulation of technology should support innovation and
     >        progress.
     >     b. Innovation and progress only occur when people have the tools, 
     >        and incentive to create and sell new products.
    These two items may be obvious, but what about the nitty gritty details?
     > 3. Make a list of specific issues, with a stance on these issues that is
     >     clearly informed by our statement of philosophy.
    Oh, I guess this is where all the nasty details have to go.  EG...
    1) Is software speech?
    2) If it is, what does that do to:
             a) DMCA and its friends.
             b) software patents.
             c) licensing of 'software engineers'.
    3) If it's not, what does that do to:
             a) DMCA and its friends.
             b) software copyright.
             c) publishers of books with software examples.
    4) How are we going to ensure a reasonable amount of protection to
    producers of intellectual property? (see Ned Jackson Lovely's item 2.b
    5) Should there be any IP protection for software?
    Forming geekPak is probably a nice idea.  Considering the range of
    opinion that I've seen on these matters, getting people to agree on what
    it should be supporting might be another matter.
    I'm looking forward to concrete proposals, but I'm reserving my right to
    support only those organizations that agree with my views.
    L. Russ
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