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Responses from Consumer Advocate Jamie Love

Roblimo posted about 13 years ago | from the at-long-last dept.

United States 159

We put up the original call for questions on September 5. Jamie's travel schedule (mentioned in one of his answers) is so hectic that it is amazing he found time to answer these questons at all. But answer he did, in detail. It's going to be interesting to see how Jamie's take on tech-oriented lobbying compares with that of "commercial" lobbyist Morgan Reed, whose interview responses we hope to see in the very near future.

1) Politician's Reaction
by dexter1

From my perspective, it seems that all of the politicians in congress seem to be firmly in the grasp of big business ......... or intellectually aware of the issues and responsive to viewpoints other than those of big business? Are there any particular politicians that seem more receptive (that could potentially campaign and convince others)?

Jamie Love:
Politics have gone downhill ever since the US Supreme Court decision in Buckley v. Valeo. By making campaign spending a constitutionally protected form of speech, and essentially legalizing bribery, we created a system where the average member of Congress spends most of his waking hours trying to raise money, just to compete with some other person who might do the same thing. Now the new members of Congress are people who excel at fundraising, or have money to begin with. Once they get on this treadmill, the spent all their time socializing and speaking with the lobbyists who can raise more money. It isn't so important that a politician be genius, or have deep insights of their own into problems, but if you hang out too much with lobbyists and make friends with people just to ask for money, you get a warped and fairly limited view of the world.

That said, I have my own favorites. In the Senate I like John McCain, even though I hate what he does maybe half the time. Patrick Leahy is smart and has his moments. Paul Sarbanes is a decent guy, as is Byron Dorgan. All of these guys will make you mad part of the time, but not all of the time. In the House, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Browne, Jan Schakowsky, Jessie Jackson, Jr. and some others have helped us a lot on our work on access to medicines in developing countries. I think Barbara Lee is very good, and independent -- she was the only member of the House that voted against the bill to give the executive branch a blank check in its war against terrorism. She is one of a small handful of members of Congress who are focused on the tragedy unfolding in Africa over AIDS.

2) Consequences for Patent Breakers?
by Bonker

I believe it was Brazil(? Please correct me) who recently ordered pharma plants to start manufacturing AIDS drugs in violation of U.S. patents. What are the consequences for countries who violate patents like this? Can we take this as a sign that violating a patent in this manner, 'for the public good' so to speak, is going to become more common and acceptable?

Jamie Love:
The Brazil case was poorly reported. Yes, Brazil has threatened to issue compulsory licenses on some patents on AIDS medicine, which has forced the price down, and yes, Brazil manufactures a number of AIDS medicines itself. Brazil only included medicines in its patent Act in 1996, after considerable pressure from the US government, so the earlier AIDS drugs are not covered by patents in Brazil. Now what else has Brazil done? It spends more than $300 million per year to buy AIDS drugs, provides universal access to triple therapy for every person in Brazil who needs it, regardless of their income. Brazil is the only country in the developing world that makes triple therapy available to any significant number of patents. Without triple therapy, most HIV+ people will die within ten years.

Brazil hasn't "violated" any patents. Brazil didn't issue patents on pharmaceuticals before 1996, and now it issues patents. Patents are a grant from the government. If the government wants to limit that right, it can, even here. We recently pushed a report that provides examples of compulsory licenses on patents in the United States, to provide a better understanding of how often this is done in richer countries. It makes no sense for the government to give unlimited power to patent owners. Patents are instruments of public policy, to achieve public purposes. People can't do whatever they want with regular property, and they can't do whatever they want with intellectual property.

We have global trade rules that determine what countries can and cannot do in terms of patents. The most important of these agreements is the World Trade Organization's TRIPS agreement on intellectual property. Articles 27, 30 and 31 of that agreement give governments the right to limit patents in important ways, including cases where governments can create either exceptions to patent rights, or step in and authorize third parties to use patents. In September of this year, the US Department of Justice required 3D Systems Corporation and DTM Corporation to license 178 patents to competitors. I didn't see screaming headlines all over the world announcing that the US was violating patents. Also in September, the US Federal Trade Commission announced it was considering a request for compulsory licenses on Unocal's clean fuel patents, at the request of Exxon. There are lots of circumstances under which the US government can limit patent rights in the United State. But there is often a big international trade crisis when a poor countries wants to issue a compulsory license for a patent on a pharmaceutical drug. This is the case for example in Africa, where infection rates are astonishing. We are working on a compulsory license application in South Africa. Right now more than half of pregnant women in their 20s are testing positive for HIV. They will all die without access to medicines. What type of government would put the interests of patent owners above the interests of half a generation of mothers?

The Clinton Administration was very friendly to the pharmaceutical industry in trade disputes involving medicines, having brought dozens of trade actions against countries all over the world. On January 11 this year, a few days before he left office, President Clinton filed a WTO case against Brazil, claiming their "local working" requirements in the Brazil patent law violated free trade rules. After a great deal of opposition by the public health community, the Bush Administration withdrew the case. Although Clinton actually filed the case and Bush ended it, Clinton is now touring developing countries as a champion of AIDS patients. For eight years Clinton and Gore placed incredible pressure on poor countries to adopt very high levels of intellectual property protection on medicines. President Bush started out with a fairly moderate policy on this, but seems to be increasingly captured by the big pharma companies, in terms of trade policy, and is opposing every effort the poor countries to make the WTO agreement more friendly to the poor, in terms of access to medicine issues.

3) How to communicate issues?
by Sinistar2k

Obviously, the big ticket item is getting the citizenry involved in making changes at a legislative level regarding the liberties that have been traded in the interest of corporate domination. The problem, however, is finding a way to communicate that without spending three days pointing out cases of encroaching corporate control.

Do you have any tips/suggestions on how an average technology enthusiast such as myself can best go about conveying to the every-day public the sense of urgency surrounding technology issues and the reason such issues should be addressed?

Jamie Love:
The Internet is an amazing showcase for creative ways to call attention to various issues and causes. I would barely know how to start. But I can give what I think are some basics.

  • People who take the time to be informed are taken more seriously.
  • It helps to have some idea of who the decision makers are, and how you can get in touch. Writing a member of Congress an email probably has some effect, but probably not much. Writing a Congressional staff member who is working on an issue is likely to have a much large effect.
  • It is rather amazing how much impact public comments have on government bureaucrats, particularly in formal rulemaking and requests for comments. Something more interesting than you might think would be to spend some time searching the federal register on topics you find interesting.
  • Letters to the editor in newspapers are underrated, particularly if you target key papers in a member of Congress' hometown. That's a letter they will read!
  • If the issue is getting press attention, lobby the press. What reporters or columnists say and think is pretty important.
  • For the non-amateur: during the 1996 Telecom debates, $1,000 apparently would buy about 10 minutes of face to face with the Chairman of a key subcommittee. I don't know the current price. We don't do this, but some small businesses might want to, it costs money to elect a Congressman, and it may make sense to support members who support you. I'm only half kidding.

4) Patent Issues
by michellem

It seems that the patent office has, in the last few years, lost their collective mind. Patents are incredibly broad, or amazingly misdirected, like in the case of the patents on human genes. They currently seem to protect only litigious patent holders, not the consumers or anyone else, for that matter. What is your organization doing to change this current patent landscape? Is there anything that can be done?

Jamie Love:
Well, we are doing what we can. We spent a lot of time communicating with the patent office, and dealing in particular with the international dimensions of this. One issue that needs more work is documentation of the costs of the patent system in various industry sectors. It makes no sense to have patents issued for software or business methods. The American Medical Association (AMA) told Congress that "thanks but no thanks," they did not want patents on surgical methods, and Congress provided an exception. One problem here is Article 27.1 of the WTO TRIPS agreement, says that

patents shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application
The US government has been pushing a very aggressive interpretation on this, and some people at the World Trade Organization or the World Intellectual Property Organization claim that this requires every countries to patent software, business methods and just about anything else. So the USPTO isn't just issuing patents on everything under the sun, it is lobbying the whole world to do so. For example, Jordan is now required by the US government to issue patents on business methods and software.

Another very important international fora concerns the proposed Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments. I have written a lot about this, and this is our main e-commerce project right now. I can't think of a bigger threat to the Internet than the Hague Convention. The Hague treatment of patents is a nightmare. Everyone would be liable for infringement of foreign patents, and the Hague Convention would give exclusive jurisdiction for both validity and infringement in the county of registration. Every country who signs the Convention would agree to enforce both money judgments and "protective and provisional" measures, such as injunctions, across borders. Companies like Microsoft can find or even rent member countries to adopt and enforce bad patents, and harass the free software community or competitors. In the end, every country will try to tax the Internet through overreaching patents. It presents a huge problem. The US government is actually the most progressive delegation on this issue, and the problem now is convincing Europe to take patents and other intellectual property out of the Convention.

On medicines, we are working with Representative Sherrod Brown, who has introduced HR 1708, a bill that would create a stronger compulsory licensing authority in the US, to deal with such issues as blocking patents, or refusals to license on reasonable terms. This bill is limited to public health, but could be expanded.

One thing the average hacker could do is to communicate more with the Judges who make policy, and by this I mean the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which really makes patent policy in the US. These Judges hear from patent owners all the time, but not from the public.

5) Free Speech
by Nexus Maelstrom

As a University student currently involved with a student group called the Campus Democracy Collective, what is the best way to inform both my peers and government representative that the fight for speech, liberty and freedom from oppression will be fought over bits and bytes, and not how many miles per gallon their car will get?

Jamie Love:
I would start by thinking a bit about what types of freedom you think are being threatened. Certainly you can find a lot of free speech on the Internet. What you may find less free are some other media, such as television, which features a remarkably narrow range of views, or the new limits on liberty by expanding concepts of intellectual property. I also think there is a big relationship between privacy and freedom, this is an area where the role of the government is complicated, because on the one hand, you want the government to protect the public from invasions of privacy by businesses and other institutions, and on the other hand, you want the government to leave you alone. After September 11, all of this has become much more difficult to manage. The world has changed, and we have to have a new strategy to protect privacy and human dignity and freedom in a world that wants more surveillance and less liberty, in order to be more safe. How do we enable the government to protect us, while having some protection against the government?

6) Neverending Copyright
by oddjob

The entertainment industry appears able to get copyright protection extended as long as they wish. While not as directly related to technology as patent law, copyright law is becomming more of a concern, especially with the recent mess with the DMCA. Is your organization making any efforts to convice congress to return copyright duration to a sane limit, and if so, is there much hope for success?

Jamie Love:
Our proposal is to have short terms for works for hire, where a corporate entity owns the right. This would put movies into the public domain much sooner, for example, as well as much of the archives of newspapers. More generally, we need to have a much stronger public domain lobby, and an international dimension too, to address the WTO requirements for copyright term.

7) Patents and the cost of development...?
by tenzig_112

How does CPT balance fighting patents on drugs (and other technologies) with the cost of developing those technologies?

Surely, the cost of life-saving medications should not be prohibitive. And dozens of ridiculous patent disputes cannot be good for any industry. But without some means of recouping the often crippling cost of development (for example, 1000s of drugs begin the development process and only a handful make it to the consumer) what incentive is there to investigate new ideas?

What will happen to the fields of medicine and information technology if the market for invention dries up?

Jamie Love:
I spend a lot of time on R&D issues, for example as a member of the MSF working group on Drugs for Neglected Diseases, and also proposing various approaches for R&D treaties. It does cost a lot to develop a drug, but not as much as one might think. If you look at the Orphan Drug Tax Credit, for example, you find that in 1998 drug companies spent only $8.6 million on clinical trials per approved orphan product, a major development cost. Of course for some drugs this can be much more expensive, running into tens of millions of dollars. The most difficult and risky part of drug development is the pre-clinical stage, where there is less data. In general, the US pharmaceutical industry spends about 7.5 percent of sales on R&D, according to its tax returns. This amounts to a lot of money, but even here, a lot of this is fairly low priority stuff, such as "me-too" drugs.

We have proposed R&D mandates for the drug industry. Specifically, we think that every firm that sells drugs in the US market should make mandatory contributions into R&D funds, as a cost of doing business. Companies could manage all or part of this money, for their own benefit, under whatever conditions the government wanted to impose in terms of transparency or public health priorities. This would give the US government new policy tools to increase R&D, if other policy tools, such as compulsory licensing, reduced private incentives.

If you knew how much crap the drug companies get away with now, in terms of ripping off the public on government funded inventions, or "evergreening" patents beyond 20 years, you too would be looking for ways to avoid the constant blackmail over R&D that you get every time you try to introduce some fiscal discipline to the system.

The story on the information technologies side is different, and patents play a much lesser role in protecting investment. Software gets copyright, trademark, trade secret and contract protections. It doesn't need patent protection.

8) The public cost of copyright
by underwhelm

It seems to me that because copyright is intangible, that the public domain is immeasurable, and because expanding copyright takes no money out of the budget, that IP laws are the pork barrel legislation of the Digital Millennium. Senators and legislators see no problem with enlarging copyright beyond its traditional boundaries, past fair use and first sale, because there is no means of accounting for the theft. Is there a sense in Washington that wrapping new copyright restrictions with a bow and handing them to entertainment conglomerates has no downside politically or economically?

If this is the case, how can we change the climate in Washington to make our representatives accountable for diminishing the public domain and enlarging copyright?

Jamie Love:
This is tough, because the entertainment companies really invest in Congressional campaigns. I would have to say that consumer interests are weak, as a movement, on the IPR issues. Larry Lessig and others are trying litigation, raising constitutional arguments. Maybe one exercise would be to ask members of Congress to estimate the loss to the public domain for all of these new claims for privatization. One of the issues is who will pay for the lobbying to protect the public domain? It helps to have money to fight these battles. We have to figure out where the money will come from. It isn't easy. I worked on various IPR issues for a long time before any foundation would fund this aspect of our work. No one understood what it was about. Very few groups work on these issues. We do. EFF has been doing some useful work. Public health groups have been doing a great job on the global medicines issues, and librarians are pretty well organized on issues that directly impact them. The ACLU is beginning to think more about IP issues. Sun Microsystems used to be more active on these issues, as did a few other firms, but really fairly minor. Bill Gates is very involved, but not on the side of the public domain. Richard Stallman seems to have engaged some lobbyists on issues more directly related to free software.

I guess the best answer is to get organized. In 1996 we formed a group called the Union for the Public Domain (UPD). Richard Stallman, Mickey Davis, myself and several others are on the board, but due to my poor leadership, it isn't active at the moment, and we are looking for a new board chair. Suggestions would be welcome. The main problem was that I couldn't even raise the money for a single full time staff, which is really needed. If someone wants to pay for this, it would be a very good investment.

9) What's your job really like?
by Masem

Whenever I hear the word lobbyist, I think of someone carrying a bag of money to a Congressman, and expecting to get legislation passed; the image is most likely a result of hundreds of political cartoons and editorals. Obviously, this image isn't 100% true, but from what we as citizens hear on daily events in Washington, this doesn't seem like an overexaggration.

Can you describe what a typical day is for you - for example, do you see Congressmen, how do you influence their voting (financial or otherwise), and what do you do when you are NOT on Capitol Hill?

Jamie Love:
I spend almost no time on Capitol Hill. I spent a lot of time outside of Washington, DC, and a lot outside of the United States. In August I was in Pakistan, the Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Tomorrow I leave for Berlin. These face-to-face meetings are pretty important. We use the Internet a lot, but it is quite important to build some confidence first, particular when dealing with international issues, where cultural differences take some time to understand. I also spent a lot of time writing and sending email, managing email lists and posting stuff on our web pages. Our typical contribution is to get fairly technical on policy issues, and share information fairly widely, via the Internet, trying to build a broader movement on this or that. In terms of Capitol Hill, I personally talk with staff more than members, and the same is true with the federal executive branch agencies -- I talk with middle level staff quite a bit. Every once in a while I participate in a meeting with the President or a high level official, but not often, and rarely do I have much to show for it later. But if you do a good job convincing a few key staffers, or the general counsel of an agency, or a lead negotiator, you have really done well. As a practical matter, one of the main things you also need to do is talk to the press. When I travel a lot, reporters get a bit tired of trying to track me down. But you can always call reporters. They play a pretty important role in government.

10) Why do you use Microsoft Windows
by Anonymous Coward

If you are so anti-corporation, and so anti-Microsoft, to the point of publically criticizing them and their practices, why does the Consumer Project on Technology, and specifically you, Mr. Love, choose to use Microsoft Windows on your office and home machines?

Jamie Love:
Well, our office uses just about everything. We have Windows boxes, Linux boxes, Macs and Suns. For a while I moved the CPT unit entirely to Linux, to have a Microsoft free environment to see how that would work. We did this for more than a year for everything. Recently I switched some machines back, and now I use an IBM lap top with Windows as my main machine. I decided to switch back for several reasons. First, I had lost touch with what Microsoft was up too, and I needed to know that. Second, I wanted to use a large number of new devices that I couldn't get to work on my Linux box. Third, I was having trouble sharing my Linux documents with colleagues using MS Office, due to the typical Microsoft anticompetitive practices. And I was pretty unhappy with the progress in the various GPL office productivity tools, with the exception of the GNOME spreadsheet program, which was pretty good. I didn't see much work by AOL in improving the Linux version of Netscape, and wasn't happy when Microsoft invested in Corel and they seemed to be dumping the Linux apps. Recently I went back and tried a few current Linux distributions, and am deciding what to do on that front right now, wondering why Sun can't make Star Office an easier install. I've used lots of different computers over time. My first one didn't have a monitor, only a printer, and my first personal computer was a Commodore 64, which I used to dial into an IBM mainframe. I like computers and computing, and I like Linux a lot, but I am not that happy with the current state of client applications, and a bit frustrated tying to use various PDAs, scanners, cameras, printers, etc, with my Linux box.

11) Outside the US of A
by bfree

I'm not American, but in recent years I have been boycotting many American corporations due to the influence they have on the US legal system and their seemingly inexhaustable ability to gain any IP law they require. I am seriously concerned by the aparently relentless push by US based coporations to bring an American style Intellectual Property regime to the rest of the world. As a Free Software advocate I find few ideas as repellent as "Software Patents"! My question to you is how do you see the International Intellectual Property arguments going, and ultimatley will we reach a system where everyone is under the thumb of software patents or where the US is forced to give up on this terrible idea?

Jamie Love:
As I noted above, the most pressing current danger is the proposed Hague Convention. We have a lot of information about this on our web page. Also, by all means file comments in the EU consolation on the Hague Convention, which can be done by electronic mail.

I think the second major issue is the WTO TRIPS Article 27.1 language, which is quite expansive in terms of what countries must patent.

The third area to watch out are the various bilateral and regional trade agreements, which are basically out of control. In the US, USTR is the lead agency, and is largely captured by a handful of large corporations. But things are really pretty bad elsewhere too. Some European trade officials and bureaucrats have patent envy, and can't wait to get Europe to become even more aggressive than the US. On the Hague negotiations it is the Europeans who want intellectual property in, and the US that wants it out. So sometimes the problem is in Europe more than here. Look too at the mess caused by the EU decision to create these rights in data under the database directive.

12) Effective technology lobbying and activism for DMCA
by melquiades

I'm part of the group that's organizing the DMCA protests in Minnesota. We're passing out fliers and staging protests, but haven't managed to get any press. We're also trying to get a face-to-face meeting with our senators...but no luck so far -- their offices haven't even called us back, despite both written and phoned requests for a meeting.

The problem is, we're technology people, not activists, and we don't know how to lobby effectively. What's your advice? How can we get the attention of our senators? How can we attract media attention (in a respectful way, that is)? Are there other activities we should be undertaking that would be more effective than what we're doing?

Jamie Love:
What worked well in the struggle to change US policy on patents in AIDS drugs for Africa were people doing some brave things, like participating in demonstrations, chaining themselves to office furniture in government offices, getting arrested, and doing lots of civil disobedience. Today everyone seems a bit spooked by the September 11 events, and I don't know how well this will work. But I believe many of these older direct action tactics are quite effective. Why not just find out where the Senator is going to speak and disrupt the event? That seems to get attention. And maybe some good attention if you can show that he meets with the other side, but doesn't get your views. Does he take money from MPAA or RIAA members? And won't meet with his own constituents? Will the local papers take letters to the editor? There are ways that you can get a Senator's attention, and show him that it is in his interest to give you the time of day. Call me and we can talk about this.

13) consumers and quality
by tim_maroney

Ralph Nader's consumer advocacy has always been first and foremost about quality, of which safety is a subset. Given that the commercial operating systems (MacOS and Windows) are much more user-friendly than the current slate of Linux offerings, and that even many Linux advocates have now come around to admitting that fact, how does Linux advocacy benefit the consumer? Isn't it strange for a consumer advocacy organization to be advocating a lower-quality product over a higher-quality one?

Jamie Love:
I think you have to look at the longer run. Where is Microsoft taking us? Where is AOL/TW taking us? What will it take to get a paradigm shift away from Microsoft, and what would be the benefits?

One thing that is unacceptable are actions to undermine the Linux or other alternatives. We think the USDOJ should stop Microsoft from undermining dual boot PCs. We think that remedies in the Microsoft case should make it easier for rivals to be interoperable with Microsoft products, that Microsoft should be restrained from using file formats as an anticompetitive weapon, particularly against its installed base, in order to force unwanted upgrades. Every OS has its strengths and weaknesses, and we favor more biodiversity in the OS space.

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I love a parade! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2406728)

Chevy Chase: what movie?

Could it be? (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2406737)

Third too?

Re:Could it be? (-1)

Pr0n K1ng (160688) | about 13 years ago | (#2406968)

Congrats d00d! Pretty good.

Not quite as good as my non-Bone-A-Rama influenced three in a row dealy on Saturday, but pretty good none the less.

Still hungover? I'm full of turkey.

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2406740)

Damned if I know.

I feel like I've heard it before too, just can't remember where.

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2406787)

Vacation... when he was wandering around in the desert.

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2406815)

I knew I'd heard it, and I figured it was from one of the NL movies! Damn my brain, damn it to hell!

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | about 13 years ago | (#2406889)

I prefer a good mel brooks movie.

"Its good ta be da king..."

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2407090)

Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein.

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | about 13 years ago | (#2407122)

History of the World, Part I.

Best brooks movie ever.

Re:I love a parade! (-1, Offtopic)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 13 years ago | (#2407414)

Blazing Saddles of course. Nothing beats Gene Wilder in the KKK robe and the black guy asking "Where all da white women?"

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2406823)

"My daddy says that I'm the best kisser ever!!"

Re:I love a parade! (-1)

mackga (990) | about 13 years ago | (#2406854)

gotta love a nice juicy cunt [] .

Re:I love a parade! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406907)

cyborg_monkey is a raging homosexual. him and I are butt buddies and we give it up the ass to each other.

-- CmdrTaco

Where is everyone? (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2406760)

It's been several minutes, and still very few responses.

w00t to myself, and propz to Cyborg_Monkey.

I'm here! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2406901)

Locked and loaded, ready to rock and roll. I was busy taking pics of Jon Katz working a glory hole in the Castro. I'll up them shortly.

focus on ease of use (3, Informative)

jchristopher (198929) | about 13 years ago | (#2406779)

"I like computers and computing, and I like Linux a lot, but I am not that happy with the current state of client applications, and a bit frustrated tying to use various PDAs, scanners, cameras, printers, etc, with my Linux box."

What a telling comment on the state of Linux. Same boat I'm in. This guy is no newbie, yet it still gives him fits.

Easier, people, easier!

It's called the LFT (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | about 13 years ago | (#2406818)

The Linux Fault Threshhold [] , the point at which Linux lets you down and the apologists come out of the woodwork. Adequacy did an apparently satirical article on this very thing.

Re:It's called the LFT (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2406846)

d00d! What is happening?

Re:It's called the LFT (-1, Offtopic)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | about 13 years ago | (#2406898)

more of the same d00d, when is GiZ coming back? Because of the 3 month old baby, I'm tired and horny, and I have new job responsibilities which take some getting used to.

I see motherfuckin at adequacy occasionally, but no one else, except for the adequacy trolls. Where does the GiZ crowd hang out?

Re:It's called the LFT (-1, Offtopic)

jchristopher (198929) | about 13 years ago | (#2406880)

Thanks for that link... hilarious.

Yeah, it's a strange site (-1, Offtopic)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | about 13 years ago | (#2406919)

but sometimes they hit the target perfectly.

Re:focus on ease of use (1)

jslag (21657) | about 13 years ago | (#2406997)

Easier, people, easier!

What's that supposed to mean? Do you think developers are sitting around not sure what to do with themselves? And now that you've shared your insight, they will jump up and make their projects easier to use?

Re:focus on ease of use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407311)



One can hope.

Re:focus on ease of use (1)

jchristopher (198929) | about 13 years ago | (#2407422)

What's that supposed to mean? Do you think developers are sitting around not sure what to do with themselves? And now that you've shared your insight, they will jump up and make their projects easier to use?

Show me ONE Linux developer who's willing to talk about interface and ease of use. No one cares, and it shows.

If you point out the usability flaws in an application, you get flamed. I'm not a coder, what else can I do?

fp? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406780)


Some Real News that Nerds Can Use!! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2406794)

Cyborg Monkey and TrollMan5000, this goes out to you two, especially! God bless you guys for making Slashdot as great as it is today! :)


The other day I found an amusing and informative text file on
some BBS or other, explaining how to make a lifelike, artificial
vagina "out of common household products."
Hey, I thought, I've tried that. (Bet you have, too. Be honest.)
I was intrigued.
The guy who wrote it calls his device Porta-Pussy. It involves a
mailing tube, a string, and a balloon. Basically, you lower the
balloon into the tube, stretch the neck of the balloon to overlap
the outer edge of the tube, then use the string to stretch the
balloon down the length of the tube.
He suggests taping the tube to the edge of a table, kneeling down
and licking it for a while, then standing up and fucking it.

I just tried fucking it. It wasn't bad. I decided not to try the
advanced applications, though, which include sticking a dildo up
your ass and drinking the cum as it leaks out of the tube. Another
time, maybe.
But I did admire his imaginative design; simple to make, reasonable
facsimile, easy cleanup (throw away the balloon). His description
made fun reading, too; "How I Spell Relief." I encourage others to
download his file (called IWACK1.ZIP).

So, in a spirit of sharing, here's my technique. It doesn't look
as authentic as his, and it takes more preparation, but I think
it feels MUCH closer to the real thing. Close your eyes and the
PseudoCunt (this name just occurred to me; snappy, huh?) feels
just EXACTLY like a warm, wet, tight pussy.
You think I'm kidding, right? Nope. Read on, if you're so inclined.


1- Registration

2- Materials & Ingredients

3- Construction

4- How to Use

5- Hints & Techniques

6- Troubleshooting

7- Why I Created PseudoCunt


Ha, ha. Get it? It's software. Real soft. If you figure
out who I am, send me some money. PseudoCunt is not
shareware, by the way. It's recommended for use alone.


* Cylindrical container (see below)

* Large pot (3-4 quart capacity)

* Butter or margarine (2-3 tablespoons)

* Vegetable oil (just a drop or two)

* Saran Wrap or equivalent

* Spaghetti or fettucini (lots; two boxes)

* Sturdy rubber band

* Several big, firm sofa cushions (optional)

* Your favorite masturbation fantasies in magazine, video,
gif, or virtual form


1- Find a suitable container. This is the tough part. The
best one I've found is an overlarge Mason-type jar (about
11" tall), though these are hard to find. Second choice
would be a length of PVC pipe sealed at one end, or a
mailing tube, but it should be at least five inches in
diameter. A half-gallon cardboard milk carton might work,
with clever modifications.

2- In a large pot, bring two or three quarts of water to
full boil. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a pinch of
salt. Boil spaghetti to aldente texture (about 8 minutes).
Any pasta will do, but I find spaghetti and fettucini most

3- Drain spaghetti, but do not rinse. Mix in A FEW DROPS of
vegetable oil (be CAREFUL not to use too much; use just
enough to keep the spaghetti from sticking together) and
stir well. Set aside in colander until cool enough to handle.

4- While spaghetti is cooling, melt some butter (not much; about
1/3 of one of those little butter pats you get with toast in
a diner is enough). Don't let it boil; 15-30 seconds in the
microwave should do it.

5- Stuff spaghetti into the container described in Step 1.
Really pack it in tightly; as tight as you can cram it in.
This is crucial to success. I use wooden cooking implements
to tamp it down. When the jar is about 3/4 full, bore a hole
down the center with something long and moderately thin (I
use the long handle of a wooden stirring spoon) and continue
packing spaghetti around it, up the brim. Remember to pack
tightly; spaghetti will compress a lot more than you'd think.

6- At this point, remove the rod or dowel or whatever, and
pour a SMALL amount of melted butter down into the little
hole to lubricate it. (By the way, I've found that butter or
margarine feels much more like the creamy inside of an
aroused cunt than any kind of oil; and I've tried quite a
few). Stick your finger in and work the lubrication down
into the little hole. Feels interesting, doesn't it? Close
your eyes and probe, slowly; does that feel just EXACTLY
like a wet pussy hole, or what?

7- Now, use something wider and slightly tapered to widen the
mouth of the surrogate vagina (I use the neck of a wine or
beer bottle). Do this gently, and don't widen it to your
full dick diameter; you want it to be nice and tight.

8- Cut a generous length of Saran Wrap and stretch it tightly
over the mouth of the jar. Fasten it tightly with the
rubber band. Now punch a hole in the Saran Wrap in the
obvious place. (Use a pencil, or a spoon handle, not a
knife; a sharp cut will make the Saran Wrap tear.)


1- Pile two or more big, thick sofa cushions on top of each
other. Make an identical pile next to the first, leaving a
12-inch space between the two piles.

2- In the space between the cushions, spread a towel (or
newspaper) on the floor. If properly constructed, your
PseudoCunt should not make a mess unless you really get
carried away, but it's a good idea to protect against this

3- Position the PseudoCunt jar on the floor between the two
cushion piles.

4- Lie across the cushion piles, chest on one, thighs on the
other, dick dangling in the space between. Now, gaze lovingly
at whatever fantasy object you prefer, tease the head of your
dick against the warm, slick mouth and begin fucking.


* Before you get started, check with your finger to make
sure your PseudoCunt has cooled to the proper temperature.
You don't want to burn yourself. Optimum temperature should
be obvious if you're a reasonably sexually active person.
Push your finger in as deeply as you can; the bottom of the
jar may be too hot even though the mouth is a nice, warm,
cuntlike temperature.

* The PseudoCunt is not recommended for quickies. Choose a
time when you're absolutely certain you'll be alone and
undisturbed. PseudoCunt takes some time to prepare, and a
fair amount of what's called in cinema and theater circles
'suspension of disbelief.' It can't be fully enjoyed if
you're worried about your wife or girlfriend walking in and
finding you fucking a jar of spaghetti.

* Size of the container is important. Make sure it is at
least two inches deeper than your dick is long, and wide
enough so that your dick is surrounded by a generous cushion
of pseudo cuntflesh. You don't want to bang up against the
hard sides or bottom of the thing at a crucial moment.

* Shape of the container is important, too. I like the jumbo
jar configuration because the "shoulders" of the jar where
the neck narrows help to keep the spaghetti in place when
you withdraw on the out-strokes.

* Don't use too much butter. A very small amount should suffice.
Remember that your own secretions will increase the lubricating
effect. It's not generally recognized that grease and oils
actually DE-sensitize erectile tissue. A thin coat of oil on
your dick is like wearing a condom. I find that the absolutely
perfect effect is achieved by adding just a *tiny* amount of
butter, then slathering saliva all over my dick just before
first penetration. The combination of butter, saliva and natural
lubrication that leaks from your dick feels closer to authentic
vagina arousal than any oil I've ever tried.

* Make adequate preparations. Arrange your favorite magazines
on the floor in front of you, or display a particularly
fascinating GIF, or make sure the VCR is cued up and the
remote is handy. One of the real joys of using PseudoCunt is
that it leaves both hands free to work the VCR remote or
languidly browse through magazines, savoring the tight cunt
sucking wetly at your dick with each slight movement of your
hips. With careful preparation it's a damned comfortable
position, and you can just lie there for as long as you please,
indulging as many fantasies as your self-control will allow.

* For best results, fuck slowly and gently on first
penetration. This allows the PseudoCunt hole to adjust to
the proper diameter.

* Don't ram your dick in to the bottom at first. Go slowly,
and try to restrain yourself as long as possible, fucking a
just a little deeper at a time. Each time you stroke a
little deeper, the PseudoCunt is a little tighter, and
incrementally warmer. The sensation is fabulous if prolonged.
I like to keep the last inch or so unpenetrated until I'm
just at the point of cumming, then grunt and howl and plunge
to the bottom and blast my sperm into the tight warmth deep
down inside.

* Sound effects, if authentic, can really heighten the effect.
Porn videos just don't do it for me. Too contrived. I have a
few audio tapes that do, though, and once in a while I'll put
on the headphones while fucking my Pseudocunt. One is a tape
I made by concealing the microphone in the headboard of the
bed before fucking my wife doggy-style (you should consider
trying this; it's incredibly arousing to hear the rutting
grunts and screams of a woman you know). The rest are
recordings of phone-sex conversations with two former
girlfriends -- one in particular, whose panting and gasping
and whimpering as she masturbates is truly phenomenal.

* Shed all inhibitions. Admit to yourself that, while this may
seem truly bizarre behavior, it feels incredibly good. Get
hedonistic. Get totally naked. Or wear leather, or panties
and a bra, or clothespins on your scrotum, whatever makes your
dick throb and ooze.


If you experience problems with your PseudoCunt, the fault most
likely lies in your choice of materials, or lack of attention to
proper construction techniques.

Commonly experienced problems usually have simple solutions:

Too hot for comfort

If too hot, allow to cool at room temperature. Don't get
impatient and put it in the freezer, or outside in a
snowbank. If it cools unevenly, you're in for a very
unpleasant surprise.

Not warm enough

If too cool, place jar in a pan of water on the stove and
simmer for at least 30 minutes. To spread heat more evenly,
make sure the water covers at least 2/3 of the jar, and
place a wire rack beneath the jar to raise it off the bottom
of the pan. If a glass jar is used, you can heat it in a
microwave oven for a minute or so. [This procedure is not
recommended if using a waxed cardboard milk carton.]

These heating techniques, by the way, are handy for repeated
use of your PseudoCunt between washings, unless you're too
squeamish for sloppy seconds.

It's also occurred to me that a hair dryer might be a quick
alternative, but I haven't tried this. I'm not sure I could
maintain a hardon or a straight face kneeling there naked
and blow-drying a jar of spaghetti.

Bits of greasy spaghetti cling to your dick on withdrawal

This is normal. While the problem cannot be eliminated
entirely, the effect can be minimized by several means:

1- Make sure spaghetti is packed in VERY tightly.

2- Use a high-shouldered jar (see above) to help keep
the spaghetti in place on the out strokes.

3- Make sure hole in Saran Wrap is not too large.
Punch, do not cut, this hole to prevent tearing.

PseudoCunt makes distracting slurping noises

You used too much butter, or oil, or both. Or you've gang-
banged your PseudoCunt one too many times and you need to
clean it out and start over again at Step 2.

Of course, if you want to fantasize about oral sex, this
could be regarded as a design feature rather than a problem.

Greasy stains on sofa cushions

My wife responds to greasy stains on upholstery by
immediately dumping a big pile of talcum powder on the
spill, letting it sit for a while, vacuuming it off later,
then calling in a professional furniture cleaner to finish
the job.
I try to avoid stains by making sure the Saran Wrap is
tightly secured with the rubber band, and by spreading a
towel over the leading edge of the sofa cushion pile. I'd
rather not have to explain PseudoCunt stains to my wife.

Fetid stench

Throw away the spaghetti and wash the damn thing. Unless
mold and bacteria growth play an essential role in your
sexual fantasies, repeated use of the PseudoCunt is not
recommended beyond, say, 24 hours. Refrigerate after use.


No, I'm not a social outcast or a phobic recluse. I have a
normal sex life (pretty fabulous, actually) so I should
explain why I continued to experiment with masturbation
techniques in adulthood, long after abandoning the clumsy
remedies most teens invent to draw off excess spunk.
One reason is simply that I'm a very sensuous person with a
vivid imagination. I've found that I can occasionally attain
amazing heights of sexual arousal when I masturbate. At the
risk of sounding immodest, I've induced some of the best
orgasms I've ever had.
Another reason is that I am aware of absolutely no physical
or psychological reasons not to masturbate, and can't help
wondering if the world might not be a better place if more
people did. Whether they use fists or balloons or spaghetti.

Finally, it provides a fabulous way to indulge certain sexual
fantasies that just can't be shared no matter how skilled and
understanding one's lover may be. Know what I mean?
If you're inclined to give this thing a try, I hope it
enhances your own secret fantasies as much as it does mine.
If you have a technique of your own, write it up and post it
for others to share. If you find the whole concept disgusting,
why did you read this far?

Re:Some Real News that Nerds Can Use!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406873)

YOU SIR, ARE A WINNER. A truly genious idea, i say you patent the actions of a) putting saran wrap on it b) putting pasta in the jar c) fucking it. That way you can charge housewives money for making pasta, for putting saran wrap on things, and finally anyone having sex. BILLIONAIRE.

A Fine Idea! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2406917)

Yes...yes I see the merit in your point. I think I shall have to patent these. It seems these days that the patent office will award patents to anything. I'll charge everyone $10 to get laid (and I expect to collect about 18 cents from the Slashdot community.)

Patent it as a masturbatory aid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407097)

You'll be able to retire sometime within the week of when your patent goes through off the Slashdot revenue alone.

Yeppers! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2407152)

Sweet jesus yes. All the pimple-faced cockfisters that read Slashdot will make me richer than Bill Gates in about a month. Naturally all devices used for self-gratification (vibrators, buttplugs and pocket pussies) will have to have some sort of DMCA-empowered device to enable me to charge properly...Hmmm....

Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406797)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2406836)

We logged-in-trolls should be ashamed of ourselves, for an AC has beaten us to this...

Anonymous Coward, troll, dead at 54 (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2406939)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Troll/Cockgnome Anonymous Coward was found dead in his parents basement this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure no one in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't read at 0, there's no denying his lame attempts at a troll. Truly an Slashdot fuckup.

Speaking of fiction: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407006)

I killed him myself! Damn, but he fights back hard! I had to kick him in the balls at least 3 times before I could pin im down and tie him up. After I cut off each of his fingers with an exacto-knife, I injected him with some methyl stereate (to keep him conscious over the pain) and then went to work on removing his skin. It took a couple of hours, but I managed to get almost his entire dermis removed before he died of blood loss. Damn, but he screamed like a girl, you'd think he'd be more immune to it considering the work he was in. Oh well.

I'm putting his skin up on ebay next month after I finish drying and mounting it.

Sadly... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406828)

From reading this piece, it seems this lowlife scum has no actual job. Shmooze shmooze shmooze.

He was on some working group for the MSF(??) for "neglected diseases"? What kind of stupid fucking "work" is that? He seems to be fighting against a lot of stuff, but not *for* anything. And his support for Barbara NeoCommunist Lee is appalling, not because it's wrong to be a communist, but because she's a fucking moron, seriously.

Then he comes on /. and gets his chance to whine that he's all but precluded from influence. What a whiner. Maybe if he did his job better, or if he supported practical solutions to real problems he would get more attention. He supports loser ideas and pie in the sky solutions to imaginary problems.

Fuck him.

ironic that the watchdog muzzles itself (2, Troll)

cbowland (205263) | about 13 years ago | (#2406847)

It is wonderfully ironic that someone who is head of the CPT [] and should be strongly opposed to microsoft for both business and philosophical reasons sites those same reasons for using microsoft products. If people like Jaime Love cannot be convinced of a choice other than microsoft, then there is little hope of the general public doing so.

Just goes to show... (2)

TopShelf (92521) | about 13 years ago | (#2406955)

Which, you might say, is another example of how this powerful monopolist has throttled the competition.

Re:Just goes to show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407074)

Or it shows how much the competition really sucks. Read what the man said: He has a bunch of devices that DON'T WORK. Did MS send out a goon squad to threaten OSS programmers? Did they send out the black helicopters to take ESR's house?

The apologists are just incredible.

Re:Just goes to show... (1)

esj at harvee (7456) | about 13 years ago | (#2407412)

Or it shows how much the competition really sucks. Read what the man said: He has a bunch of devices that DON'T WORK. Did MS send out a goon squad to threaten OSS programmers? Did they send out the black helicopters to take ESR's house?

not exactly. It's more like the manufacturers of these devices won't talk to open source programmers. If you can't get the specs, you can't write the device driver.

Know thy enemy (1)

Snar Bloot (324250) | about 13 years ago | (#2406966)

I think Jaime has a point when somebody asked him about this specific issue. If you are going to be opposed to certain products, you're going to have to stay on top of those products.

Re:Know thy enemy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406978)

If you are going to be opposed to certain products, you're going to have to stay on top of those products.

You're right. I'm 100% against prostitution.

Could it be... (1)

junkpunch (514143) | about 13 years ago | (#2406982)

that possibly, just possibly, that, Microsoft produces, the, *GASP*, best solution for some people? Is that completely beyond comprehension?

Re:Could it be... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407033)


What a well-honed sense of irony. (1)

poemofatic (322501) | about 13 years ago | (#2407043)

So if you use Word, then you must be 100% lockstep behind of all of MS' business practices, huh? Sheesh.

Biodiversity? (3, Funny)

Some Woman (250267) | about 13 years ago | (#2406853)

we favor more biodiversity in the OS space

I always knew that operating systems were people, too.

Re:Biodiversity? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406877)

I knew that people had accused Microsoft of illegal dumping, but I had no idea the actual effect on the ecology of the OS space.

Re:Biodiversity? (3, Funny)

nizo (81281) | about 13 years ago | (#2406929)

Personally I keep hoping for more penguins in the OS space.

Re:Biodiversity? (1)

jezra (524337) | about 13 years ago | (#2407271)

Read the 'Web of Life' by Fritjof Capra and you'll see how OSs operate in an ecological network where biodiversity (read diversity) is healthy

Re:Biodiversity? (1)

Russ Steffen (263) | about 13 years ago | (#2407291)

SoylentXP is people!

pateNTdead copy(paste)writes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406882)

We'll never endeavor to pander to Godless politico greed/control mongers at ScaredCity?tmp? []

We will, however, endeavor to give away this unpatentable (maybe trade/service markable?) set of URLs [] , including a year's free (as in NO charge) hosting.

fud is dead. if you have any DOWts, just look at these face scans [] , of the fugitive felonious fuddites, from the kingdumb, who are, mysteriously, STILL, out on bail.

Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (3, Insightful)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | about 13 years ago | (#2406911)

I believe it was Brazil(? Please correct me) who recently ordered pharma plants to start manufacturing AIDS drugs in violation of U.S. patents. What are the consequences for countries who violate patents like this?

Simple answer: None

Acting with the genuine intention to save somebodys life is (under any legal system) is a legtimimate mitigation for any crime, up to and including murder.

Illegal manufacuture of lifesaving drugs isn't going to bother any judge (or any right thinking person)
Making cheap viagra on the side may land you in a spot of trouble though :-)

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2406930)

Sorry, it's not lifesaving drugs but death-preventing drugs. No one has an automatic right to those.

Stop thinking like a hippie for once.

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407096)

Why don't you stop thinking like a Republican.

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407104)

I know you are, but what am I?

I'm glad to see you've mentally progressed beyond the second grade. Now if you could just make it past the third.

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (1)

Galvatron (115029) | about 13 years ago | (#2407195)

Life-saving? Huh? Don't you mean death-prolonging? Now, instead of 10 years, they have 15 or 20 to go around infecting people. Okay, life extension is a noble goal, but don't make it out like these people are saving those who would otherwise die. They'll still die, it'll only take a little bit longer.

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (1)

Happy Monkey (183927) | about 13 years ago | (#2407515)

In other words, there's no such thing as a "life saving" action, since we'll still die in the end?

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (2, Insightful)

curril (42335) | about 13 years ago | (#2407592)

We all die. Putting that eventuality off a little bit longer is what medicine and health care is all about. A drug is "life-saving" if it extends life by a meaningful amount. Insulin-dependent diabetics aren't "cured" by insulin, and they will probably eventually die from diabetic complications, but insulin is certainly life-saving for them. So while AIDs drugs may not cure the patient, or even assure them a relatively normal life span, they are certainly life-saving, and the moral question of whether or not to violate the patent to save lives is still relavant

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407634)

Would you say that diabetics are naturally entitled to receive insulin? It's easy to say that everyone should have as much medicine as they need, but it's much more difficult to take the realistic position that those who can't pay for some benefit will not get it.

Medicine is not an entitlement.

Re:Patents on AIDS drugs can be EASILY ignored! (2)

Znork (31774) | about 13 years ago | (#2407215)

International political pressure isnt exactly under the jurisdiction of courts you know. Sure, it might not hold up in a court if a pharm company tried to sue a foreign government for patent violations on lifesaving drugs, but what can a court do to prevent trade limitations or withdrawal of support programes, etc?

Jamie's Answer (2, Interesting)

Red Aardvark House (523181) | about 13 years ago | (#2406921)

Jamie's answer to "Neverending Copyright"

Our proposal is to have short terms for works for hire, where a corporate entity owns the right. This would put movies into the public domain much sooner, for example, as well as much of the archives of newspapers.

OK, this seems a bit vague. A corporate entity holding the copyright? I do not think it would lend itself to a short copyright term. Also, what defines this "short term". How long is "short"?

It was an excellent question but the answer was quite vague. Disappointing.

Re:Jamie's Answer (4, Insightful)

Masem (1171) | about 13 years ago | (#2407022)

Actually, apart from lacking a length of time, this is a great answer. Nearly every form of entertainment that is put out today is a work-for-hire, in that the publisher (whether MPAA, RIAA, print, etc) pays the creator of the work a fee and royalities, but then maintains the copyright on the work and earns all other moneys from it beyond this. At this point, the copyright that the publisher is holding is at odds with the Founding Fathers' idea for copyright in that it grants a limited monopoly to encourage creators to create more; since the artist has already 'sold' the work out, he gains nothing more with the perpetual copyright and therefore has no encouragement, unless of course the publisher hires him again for more work.

If we cut down that copyright from 95 years for a corporately-owned copyright to, say, 20 years, it would have two effects; first, as pointed out, things would move MUCH faster into the public domain. But secondly, if a privately-owned copyright lasted significantly longer (say, 35 years, or life+10 years) than the corporately owned copyright, this might encourage more artists to use the indy system (which typically does not do works-for-hire) to publish their works in order to reap more benefit to themselves.

Of course, that's using PSI::ESP, so I may be reading too much into his response.

Re:Jamie's Answer (1)

Red Aardvark House (523181) | about 13 years ago | (#2407079)

I see your point, but I do not know how to sway a Congress that is easily bought by corporate interest money. An example is when the copyright on Mickey Mouse is close to expiration, Disney will lobby and grease the palms of legislators to extend the term. This is what happened with the Sonny Bono Act of 1998. In fact, it takes only act of Congress to extend copyright term limits now.

Attn. Mr Malda (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | about 13 years ago | (#2406933)

Your penis pump is ready at the service desk. Have a great day, and thank you for shopping at WalMart.

Good long term? (1)

Nijika (525558) | about 13 years ago | (#2406958)

I liked Jamie's responses. I think he's got a good grasp of the long term goals of Consumer Advocacy. Instead of this year's fad issues, he seems to be looking ahead 10 to 15 years. Tough job, but I'm glad somebody's doing it!

Is it just me? (1)

iplayfast (166447) | about 13 years ago | (#2406965)

or is Jamie Love sounding really bummed out? Like he's doing his best, but not getting anywhere and now it's a trudge job.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2407220)

Seemed that way to me to. I was especially troubled by his apparent acceptance of the fact that politicians are always going to work on behalf of the lobbies that provide the most lining for their pockets.

I realize that it is tough to survive in politics, and that their is a lot of pressure to constantly raise money. However, that is NOT and excuse to abandon your oaths of office (or whatever they take, if anything) and prostitute yourself to the private sector. Jamie acts as though it is our responsibility to sweeten the pot if we want our interests represented, as if electing them and paying for their salaries and perks were not enough.

Frankly, it sounds to me like he has been in the game too long. Perahps he has contracted a touch of the Stokholm Syndrome.

Comments on DCMA and Patents activism (5, Insightful)

WillSeattle (239206) | about 13 years ago | (#2406974)

I noticed that the lobbyist suggested actions like chaining oneself to desks and disrupting events.

One of the more effective methods myself and friends had at the WTO was not to protest, but to go to the restaurants and hotels the delegates were staying at and talking reasonably (while dressed nicely) about all the issues, and engage the delegates in discusssion of these issues.

For a Senator or Congressmember, the action I would suggest would be to get four or five people to go to the normal boring "coffee talks" in the home district and have each person have a short question about an issue one wanted to discuss. Then have other members react typically to the response.

E.g. "Do you think that the DCMA should be changed so that we can make backup copies of our software as is our constitutional right?" Response: "No, Microsoft told me it was cool" Audience: "I thought you worked for us, not for them."

This really zings them.

Re:Comments on DCMA and Patents activism (2, Interesting)

curunir (98273) | about 13 years ago | (#2407196)

Another great way to get "face time" with politicians is to volunteer to work on their campaigns. Politicians will listen to anyone who is helping them to get/stay elected. Usually this takes the form of monetary donations, but other types of campaign contributions are just as important...especially if you have something extra, like tech saaviness.

Other methods for DCMA and Patents activism (1)

WillSeattle (239206) | about 13 years ago | (#2407297)

Another great way to get "face time" with politicians is to volunteer to work on their campaigns. Politicians will listen to anyone who is helping them to get/stay elected. Usually this takes the form of monetary donations, but other types of campaign contributions are just as important...especially if you have something extra, like tech saaviness.

Actually, that's how I got a lot of my early connections, back before I had money. A lot of campaigns could use some savvy tech people.

The bonus is you get to see how the process works, and you make some great connections.

Plus, for the guy geeks, most campaign staffers are intelligent young women. Even if one doesn't date at the office, they're fun to hang out with. And they have friends.

Re:Comments on DCMA and Patents activism (2)

tshak (173364) | about 13 years ago | (#2407433)

Thank you for your insightful post - I hope many read it with respect.

Participating in civil disobedience generally makes you look like a fool. I've never had much respect for the "mob mentality" or for extremists who chain themselves to things or block the very roads that I try to get to work every day. There are much more intelligent and effective options to getting the message accross.

A lobbyist I like. wow. (2)

poemofatic (322501) | about 13 years ago | (#2407000)

I wonder how many times he gets called a communist/socialist/radical/luddite for advocating for the public domain..

Also, anyone know of any newsletters, good websites to keep track of IP stuff? The best place I've found is [] .

Re:A lobbyist I like. wow. (1)

de Selby (167520) | about 13 years ago | (#2407572)

>I wonder how many times he gets called a communist/socialist/radical/luddite for advocating for the public domain..

Now days, I think we just call these people fascists. It doesn't have to make sense; it's just what you call people with opposing views you don't want to face.

Name calling has recently gotten strage. For example, someone who is against affirmative action can be called a racist, but so can someone for it. Someone against gun control could be said to promote murders, but so can someone for gun control. It sometimes depends on who's right; sometimes it doesn't have to even apply.

Doesn't it appear that some (very long) public debates are just this name calling with no real inquiry into the facts? Too bad.

Thanks for the reply but ... (2)

bfree (113420) | about 13 years ago | (#2407027)

You never answered my question (though you did point out some items I may not have been so aware of). I was curious as to whether Jamie with his "inside track" would be in a position to provide his own speculation as to whether the anti Software Patents lobby has a hope, or whether we have already lost the battle. I am concerned that it appears my quadrant of the world (Europe) is as stupid as Jamie suggests and I now ask Slashdot for any good sources of information so I can start to educate my local politicians (in Ireland). I recently enjoyed the experience of stumbling into a Eurpoean Patent Office stand at a conference here in Dublin though unfortunately I the person who could even begin to address my concerns was a patent examiner for chemicals and I only got about 15 minutes of his time because it was the end of the day. What he told me left me seriously disturbed for days and to be honest I still am. The only reassuring thing he had to say was that they realise the USPTO are idiots and that if someone doesn't register for a patent in a way that covers Ireland [] within one year of applying for the patent anywhere it is fair game!

How do I talk to a judge? (3, Interesting)

Belly of the Beast (457669) | about 13 years ago | (#2407045)

One thing the average hacker could do is to communicate more with the Judges who make policy, and by this I mean the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which really makes patent policy in the US. These Judges hear from patent owners all the time, but not from the public.

At the risk of sounding like a babe in the woods, How do I talk to a judge? Do I call up the clerk of the local US Court of Appeals and ask to take her honar out to lunch? Or do I have to sue Micro$oft to get face-time with a judge?

Re:How do I talk to a judge? (3, Interesting)

bluGill (862) | about 13 years ago | (#2407172)

When there is a case you are interested in write a letter in the form of a "friend of the court brief". There are specific formats they like to see this in, but pretty much everything gets read. You may or may not infulence the decision, but at least the judge knows there is public interest.

Judges are also less swayed by money, so you have a better chance of getting a fair ruling from them.

Let's imagine to walk in their shoes (1, Flamebait)

platypus (18156) | about 13 years ago | (#2407046)

This is the case for example in Africa, where infection rates are astonishing. We are working on a compulsory license application in South Africa. Right now more than half of pregnant women in their 20s are testing positive for HIV. They will all die without access to medicines. What type of government would put the interests of patent owners above the interests of half a generation of mothers?

The US government, and the government of the vast majority of the other industrial countries (actually I don't know any exception).

We should be ashamed when we read things like that (I am, although I knew this before, but I'm ashamed every time I'm reminded to such things). No I'm don't want to justify sep 11 events and I strongly abominate them - and I don't like the urge I feel that it's necessary to assure this in any critical statement nowadays - but we (the "developed" nations) sacrify a lot of lives for out wealth, day to day, year to year.

Go to, especially here [] and here [] ,here [] or here [] (I choose one random example here, to add to the drug thingy) and wonder with me why we as western people can yet go to so many countries in the world and be welcomed, while every dark skinned, muslimic looking man in our countries gets looked like he will soon begin to kill people.

The typical theme of critizing the united states for their past politics is far to easy for western citizens. No, we all as a big group of people bear the blame for much of the hatred against us, because of our way of living. We amuse ourselfes on a gigantic pile of nearly world wide misery.

Sorry, this post isn't loaded with facts, sometimes I just get a little depressed and have to rant.

Re:Let's imagine to walk in their shoes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407089)

We do not bear the blame for the belief that screwing a virgin cures AIDS. We do not bear the blame for AIDS spreading throughout Africa like wildfire. We do not bear the blame for African tribal wars. We do not bear the blame for ill-informed African presidents.

You want to know why Westerners are accepted in so many countries? It's because we are at the apex of technology and civilization. The problems of the 'uncivilized' world go far beyond some imaginary imposition of U.S. might. You think the Middle East or Africa is a hotbed of enlightened political and social debate?

Sorry, you've been miseducated.

Re:Let's imagine to walk in their shoes (2)

platypus (18156) | about 13 years ago | (#2407184)

Sorry, you've been miseducated.

No, apparently you've been miseducated. Sorry to say that, but you seem to have a problem with reading. Nowhere I did talk about "bearing the blame".
I also didn't imply any blame for things like bhopal.

But - and this is just a matter of fact - our countries could do a lot more to help, our industry could do a lot more to not amplify suffering. If you don't believe this, go and reread the above interview, esp. the part about patents for drugs and the role of the WTO.

Re:Let's imagine to walk in their shoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407207)

we all as a big group of people bear the blame for much of the hatred against us, because of our way of living

Our way of living has nothing to do with the problems in undeveloped countries. Our way of living feeds people in undeveloped countries. Our way of living employs people who would otherwise starve to death in undeveloped countries. Our way of living creates medicines that cure people in undeveloped countries.

The hate against us has nothing to do with "Our way of living". We are the saviors of undeveloped countries.

Re:Let's imagine to walk in their shoes (1)

platypus (18156) | about 13 years ago | (#2407278)

Nowhere I did talk about "bearing the blame".
Uuups, small correction, I did, but not in the context you said. I just meant to make clear that this hatred I presumed needs not to be attributed to "bad things we did", rather to things we don't do, to sum it up: we don't care.

Re:Let's imagine to walk in their shoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407425)


Such hatred is not warranted, though. Hatred born of jealousy is not justifiable and its responsibility lies in the jealous party, not the object of jealousy.

We need simple copyright laws (2, Insightful)

Mountain_Man87 (253499) | about 13 years ago | (#2407057)

I know I am being overly simple but why not make the copyright law protect a copyright for something like 5 years after it is actively published. That way nobody or no corporation can just sit on a copyright without offering it for sale to the public but anyone who is selling their work will not lose the copyright to that material until after they abandon it. No corporation would be able to sit on a large archive of past work without offering a choice to consumers who would like to buy things if they were available.

just my $0.03 - adjusted for inflation :)

Disappointing (2, Flamebait)

Zeinfeld (263942) | about 13 years ago | (#2407082)

Unfortunately Love and the rest of the Naderite faction have pretty much destroyed any influence they might have had. The GOP's sole objective is furthering the corporate interest. Nader cost the Democrats the Whitehouse.

As a result it isn't too surprising that Love isn't spending much time on Capitol Hill. He doesn't have a constituency there.

Love's slam of Microsoft on the patent front is somewhat unfair. Unlike Apple, Sun, Rambus, Entrust etc. Microsoft is one of the few major computing companies that has played the IP game with a straight cue. (That is not to say they have played every game with a straight cue). But Microsoft has not sued to prevent others using the Xerox windows GUI as apple did, sued to prevent extension of an 'open' language standard as Sun did, or steer standards bodies towards a technique they owned an undisclosed patent on.

After the 9/11 attack it is unlikely that there will be a great deal of political capital that the US can expend to further extend its idea of Intelectual Property and errect more barbed wire accross the plains.

Re:Disappointing (2)

Znork (31774) | about 13 years ago | (#2407259)

Nope, Microsoft hasnt been nice with IP either. There was at least one case recently where they threatened lawsuit over a video codec. Perhaps not _as_ nasty as the worst, but nasty enough.

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407315)

The GOP's sole objective is furthering the corporate interest.

I would mod this to troll (got points today) but ultimately would be destroyed in metamod.

Note to /. posters : the GOP is overly fond of business, but survive by doing many other things that endear them to voters as well.

Nader cost the Democrats the Whitehouse.

There are arguments, however, that

  1. Dems worked harder for votes because of nader
  2. More dems voted because they were afraid of nader (Everybody I ever knew that said they liked nader voted for gore.)
  3. Many nader voters were non-voters otherwise
  4. Even though the vote for buchanan was very small, even compared to nader, if Gore had won in florida you could say the same thing about buchanan losing it for bush (it would have won bush a few more key states)
  5. If everyone would have voted for nader that liked him, he would have gotten lots of money for next time, and bush would still be president.

Re:Disappointing (1)

Chibi (232518) | about 13 years ago | (#2407450)

Nader cost the Democrats the Whitehouse.

While this must be true, any things that he was running for will now have some greater attention from the Democratic Party next time. If Nader took away Democratic voters, it's the party's responsibility to get those voters back, and not by getting rid of opposition (other choices), but by addressing the desires of those voters -> DEMOCRACY!

Re:Disappointing (1, Offtopic)

beme (85862) | about 13 years ago | (#2407643)

Nader? Naw, Gore cost the Democrats the White House. Gotta _earn_ those votes. Shameful of the Gore campaign to blame someone else for their own shortcomings. Wouldn't have taken much... just some, any, sign of resistance to the corporate bendover.. some indication of decent environmental policies.. maybe a little Labor in there too... not hard at all for Gore to get the majority of those votes back from Nader.

Re:Disappointing (1)

mickeyreznor (320351) | about 13 years ago | (#2407684)

Nader cost the Democrats the Whitehouse

Bullshit. The democrats are just as much of corporate sellouts. Medicare and Medicaid is a perfect example of how the democrats have sold the good of the american people for corporate dicksucking.

Gore also got tons of money from the entertainment industry during the election. Hmmmm?? And the DMCA was made into law when who was president? Oh yeah, that sack of shit they call bill clinton.

You don't get it. Gore or Bush, we were fucked either way.

linux not where it should be (1)

neilsly (106751) | about 13 years ago | (#2407084)

I'm hugely anti-corporation and very very anti microsoft. But if I want to video conference and use a usb web cam I don't have time to dick around with windows. If I want to sync my handspring - again I don't have time to dick around. True that I don't spend enough time with it - but the documentation is lacking and the whole idea of these devices is "plug and play." re-compiling my kernel because it doesn't contain usb support or playing with other settings is a big big problem. I love linux (hell my dog's name is tux) just as much as the next reader - but it's not where it should be - It's used on my servers, my two sparcs, and my laptop and main machine both dual boot.

Stop and think - possibly, Linux isn't all that easy to use: possibly, Linux isn't the best over all operating sytem in the world.


Re:linux not where it should be (2)

jd (1658) | about 13 years ago | (#2407139)

If you want to videoconference, all you should need is to run SDR, and create a conference. If your distribution is properly set-up, EVERY device not loaded into the kernel should be available as a module. That way, when you try to do something, the right driver is always going to be at hand.

(SDR, VIC, RAT, WBD and NTE are some of the best videoconferencing tools available, IMHO, and some of the easiest, since you can drive everything from SDR.)

Re:linux not where it should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407331)

it is the best OS, for me, and thats all that counts , for me. i dont care if others use it. thats not my problem when they blue screen 10 times a day

Votes for sale (2)

Ian Bicking (980) | about 13 years ago | (#2407188)

While this sort of thing is commonly mentioned, the underlying assumptions always trouble me:
By making campaign spending a constitutionally protected form of speech, and essentially legalizing bribery, we created a system where the average member of Congress spends most of his waking hours trying to raise money, just to compete with some other person who might do the same thing. Now the new members of Congress are people who excel at fundraising, or have money to begin with.
Underneith those sorts of statements -- and, I suppose, the actual actions of the politicians -- is the notion that all of our votes are for sale. Not even just that money helps, but that votes simply go in proportion to the spending of the candidates.

This is probably true. So what has gone so horribly wrong with the citizens of the US that are so shallow?

I think there are real 1st Ammendment issues when barring issue ads -- not just real issues, but huge issues... how can you tell someone they can't express their opinion, just because that opinion agrees with a certain candidate (isn't that supposed to happen?)

Probably a significant part of the problem is that, with no other real difference between candidates, ads are the only thing to tip the balance. One way to fix that would be to bring some real democracy to the parties, instead of having candidates simply be anointed by a party committee. The other solution, of course, is the very hard path of a third party. Or maybe the option of a "I don't like any of them" vote to demand an election with all-new candidates.

Still, we're all a bunch of losers to let our votes follow the money. OTOH, the other option is not to vote at all -- which is, unfortunately, mistaken as nihilistic apathy (which I don't think it is). No one mentions that Bush wasn't elected with 49% of the vote, but actually less than 25%. Pathetic.

Most-hated nation status (5, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | about 13 years ago | (#2407190)

Events over the past month seem to accord the US a sort of most-hated nation status in the world. While this does not justify taking of innocent lives, and those doing the hating ignores many of the good things that the US does, any solutions that do not address the hatred and its causes will have problems over the long term.

From what I can see, globalization of IP looks like a means to allow the haves of the world to 'tax' the have-nots. This situation is not good for long-term peace or stability in the world. It will only increase the hatred.

Re:Most-hated nation status (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407232)

Thus, the need to wipe out the most vocal dissenters. Make a public show of their destruction. Make the rest of the dissenters fear hating the U.S.

Simple, really. And we have enough nukes to do it.

Lobbying (4, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 13 years ago | (#2407230)

One thing I've discovered is that beyond civil disobedience, politicians love help more than money. Volunteer and get in their face. Find a local politician with some influence and tell him or her that you'll do the research for them on some totally unrelated issue they're working on. Become a volunteer staffer somewhere with clout. Get involved so that your face is seen and you willingness to help out is known. Then make sure your views are expressed every step of the way -- you'll get heard inherently.

Bad start (4, Insightful)

mikec (7785) | about 13 years ago | (#2407242)

Mr. Love's first sentence of his first answer is flat-out incorrect, which makes me wonder about the rest of his answers.

Ruling that campaign spending is protected free speech is not what forced politicians to become full-time fundraisers. It was the stupidity of allowing limits on campaign contributions that caused the problems. Before limits were in effect, politicians had a range of techniques for funding campaigns. Some raised money in small increments. Others got big contributions from organized labor. Others got big contributions from corportations. Others got big contributions from a few rich folk.

We ought to remove all restrictions on donations and simply insist on full and immediate disclosure. Then politicians could get plenty of money without attending 300 fund-raisers per year, and voters could see exactly where it's coming from.

Campaign Financing Reform (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 13 years ago | (#2407254)

My solution is simple, easy to administer, and fair to all involved except lobbiests.

Limit campaign contributions to registered voters. Limit voter contributions to actual races and legislation pending before the voter. No other restrictions are necissary.

This would eliminate Lobbiests and PACs from contributing to polital causes directly. This would eliminate outside influences to localized politics. This would force politicians to spend more time in their "home districts" representing the people there.

Personally I don't see anyone's rights violated with my proposal. People who aren't registered to vote, shouldn't have any say in the process, and don't have any right to influence the system, especially at the expense of those that do have that explicit right.

'biodiversity' (2)

CPCA (10847) | about 13 years ago | (#2407284)

I love the _evolutionary_ overtone of the final phrase of Mr. Love's post:

"[We] favor more biodiversity in the OS space."

Exactly! Let the software industry/environment evolve, without artificial, commercially driven restrictions. I'd like to see developers compete for whatever motivates them (eyeballs, downloads, dollars, etcetera), with quality, instead of semi-transparent deception.

conflict of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407589)

I think that if a congressman recieve "donations" from a company, he should not be allowed to vote on a matter which affects this company. Is it just me, or aren't there laws for this regarding other professions?

Re:conflict of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2407660)

I think that if a congressman receives donations from private citizens, he should not be allowed to vote on matters which affect those citizens.
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