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Take Part In The Internet Commons Congress, Mar. 24-25

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the deobfuscatory-anti-englobulatorism dept.

GNU is Not Unix 19

Jay Sulzberger (of New Yorkers for Fair Use) writes: "The Internet Commons Congress 2004 will start at 8:45 am on 24 March in the University of Maryland's Shady Grove campus complex. It will run until the evening of 25 March 2004. Dan Berninger and New Yorkers for Fair Use organized the ICC 2004 because we are extreme optimists: We believe that if we pull together more than we have so far, and if we organize better than we have so far, we can explain to regulators, to U.S. Congressfolk, to reporters, and to most citizens, the most basic facts of our situation. We want more people to know what we know; we want them to know of the world wide culture of freedom and enterprise and engineering that created home computers and that made the Net." (Read on for more.)

"This means conveying some 'technical' facts about the boot process for home computers, and also some 'technical' facts about copyright law in the United States of America, and much more.

In the next few days, descriptions of various projects we need help with will go up on the ICC web sites. Right now, we need places for people to stay near the ICC site, which is in Shady Grove, Maryland. We also need at least one person who can show us a free operating system running on the Xbox, and we'd like to see a St. Ignucious-certifiable OS running on Apple hardware. We need some adepts to help with the gavel-to-gavel audio coverage. We are going to need folks to write to their Representatives and Senators, and more, visit with them and talk with them. If you want to help, write to, and include the string 'ICC Volunteer' in the subject line." Here's NYFU's page on the gathering.

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first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597729)

I finally made it this time. Yay!!!

What an achievement... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8597794)

...on a story that no one cares about...

Are we confusing politics and commerce? (4, Interesting)

jezor (51922) | more than 10 years ago | (#8600364)

While I applaud the increased awareness by technology professionals about the legal and regulatory environment in which we all must work, I wonder whether NYFU is perhaps confusing politics and commerce in its Call to General Assembly [] . After all, while there are legitimate political discussions to be had on the jurisdiction and scope of the FCC and its actions, as well as the balance between national security and personal privacy, do these key questions really deserve to be joined with a debate about Microsoft's contracting practice or SCO's IP claims? I would argue that they do not, and that joining them threatens to weaken legitimate discourse and overgeneralizes about the "Internet community" to which this Call to General Assembly is directed.

Looking at this Call to General Assembly, I find myself pondering exactly what NYFU is trying to be. Is it based upon a political view of overreaching and naive governmental officials, and if so, is this limited to Internet issues? Are they espousing a belief in the technical superiority of open source over closed source software and, if so, what relevance is the "Bio-Medical Cartel" and similar hyperbolic language? Are they objecting to the substance of SCO's IP claims, with some broader conspiracy theory involving Microsoft? If their answer is "all of the above," I think they are being counterproductive. Each of these views is certainly worth discussing, but they seem to have little relationship among them beyond the fact that some technology professionals hold them as true.

For myself, as an attorney and law professor [] interested in issues of technology rights and risks, I am turned off by the exaggeration and mix of issues presented in this Call. I also believe that NYFU is doing both itself and its cause(s) a profound disservice by presenting its ideas as a conspiratorialist rant filled with references to "tyrannical governments", "barratry and red-baiting" and cartels and oligopolies.

What do the rest of you think? {Professor Jonathan}

Re:Are we confusing politics and commerce? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8601020)

It seems to me that this conflation is not all that nonsensical. While I do agree with you that they are mixing the issues and that they are taking a definite stand on them I see nothing wrong with discussing all of these at a single event. All of the issues that they list are real and, even though they all may require different means to address them they should still be addressed.

Re:Are we confusing politics and commerce? (4, Insightful)

krysith (648105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8601490)

While I agree with you that some of the language ("Bio-Medical Cartel" etc.) is perhaps hyperbolic and inflammatory, I can see how there is a natural interest in combining these subjects into a single conference. Essentially they are all about what one might call 'stealing from the commons', or privatizing public property or rights, esp. with regards to intellectual property and rights. That is what NYFU are arguing, whether it is the right of a person to control what happens on a PC they own, or the IP land grab which has occured as a result of copyright extension.

Saying that they should be dealt with as separate subjects is like saying that the founding fathers should have held separate conferences for each of the amendments in the Bill of Rights:
"Well, I can see how a well regulated militia might be necessary, but we shouldn't muddy that with the issue of the soveriegn quartering soldiers in our houses".

Re:Are we confusing politics and commerce? (1)

bsdguy (512724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8607980)

The Bio-Medical Cartel are mentioned because they everyday impact fair use and the public domain in a negative way. Bio-Medical reesearch is done with public funding by way of government grants to university research labs. This work that was paid for by tax payer dollars is then often sold off to the BM Cartel who lock it away from public use with either patents or copyright depending on the work. The company that has a lock on the technology then sells it at a high price to the public.

Since the public paid for the research by way of taxes this research should be public doamin!

End result: John Q. Public pays twice and he gets screwed out of being able to use the results of the research he already payed for with his tax dollars because the englobulators have the results of the research locked up for their exclusive use untill long after JQP's death.

Re:Are we confusing politics and commerce? (1)

NYFU (651280) | more than 10 years ago | (#8607325)

Hi, Jonathan!

We would love to have you come down to Shady Grove next week on the 24th and the 25th to talk with us about your doubts as to the strict accuracy of all our claims. Today you and I can boot a free OS on a computer we paid money to take out of CompUSA. No one one will say us nay, not by law, and not by electronics, and not by any interaction of law and electronics. Admittedly, we both know Aproned Masters who would help us, else perhaps we'd not succeed in this paradigm of private ownership of ordinary sized logic devices. Those who do not know even the Exoterica of the Apron are stuck ru(i)nning machines which will never be owned by them, but will for the life of the hardware be owned by Microsoft and a loose collections of retainers, parasite developers, and broadcasters of wormy squirmy cycle and bandwidth sucktorian Trojans, spambots, spywares, and General-Debilitators-of-the-OS, which last category is done for sport and and not mere gain of money. So already we see that the grand issue of private ownership of the means of digital production, that is, the computers in our houses, here touches upon, seemingly, mean questions of regulation of monopolies, perhaps the question of whether $50 is a fair market price for an OS, clearly a question of little direct significance. Yet, if the antitrust laws were enforced, then we likely would still be able to buy in two years hardware which we can use as we see fit, the way we can today, given good relations with the Guild of Sysadmins. Because then we would have, two years out, CompUSA offering for sale freely bootable computers, which CompUSA will not do if we let Microsoft, and the MPAA, and the RIAA, and HomSecPol dictate that CompUSA only offer Palladiated machines. So ancient, traditional,and much praised on the Fourth of July rights of Americans and the bumbling of the antitrust actions and the criminal career of Microsoft are well intertwingled.

To put it plainly, if we do not enforce the antitrust laws against Microsoft and various allied cartels and oligopolies, we will in two years time lose our right of private ownership of computers, and we will also lose our practical power of control, because no matter what a few say, most people will never salvage a Palladiated home device for any private use not approved and overseen by Microsoft.

ad your remark about making distinctions: I agree. Our side has suffered from a conflation of attacks on the public domain, on our rights of free speech and free association, with a different, but multiply related, series of attacks on our right of private ownership of computers. We have two bundles of rights and powers: Rights and powers we exercise outside the walls of our houses, and rights and powers we exercise inside the walls of our houses. We weaken our teaching when we fail to carefully distinguish these two different bundles. And we also fail when we do not speak of these two bundles together, for they are close connected, and the Englobulators know that they must attack both, else their fantastic scheme to seize the whole world's communications infrastructure will fail.

The "technical" issues I speak of in the announcement are exactly the sort of stuff you study, write on, and teach about. We'd be honored to make the case before you next week in Shady Grove. We believe the facts are convincing. We even think the legal, political, economic, electronic, and moral theories of our case are not entirely without a certain charm of gravitas.

I remain, as ever,your fellow WWWhacko,
Jay Sulzberger,
Member of NYFU.

Re:Are we confusing politics and commerce? (1)

H4wk (762768) | more than 10 years ago | (#8609237)

In many ways, there is no difference between politics and commerce. The government is well on its way to increasing technology regulations. If a regulation comes down that "for the good of the industry" we all have to conform to .NET, it would have a major impact on commerce. That's just a far-fetched example. As more minor regulations are handed down, minor negative impacts are experienced. Computer technolog has benefited greatly from limited government intervention. Don't mention computer/internet origin, I'm talking about where we have gone since then. I think the point the group is trying to get across is that we do not need more government regulation now or in the future. I think that is a wonderful message and more than worthy for actively supporting.

Re:Are we confusing politics and commerce? (1)

nosilA (8112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8610442)

It's expensive to hold lots of separate conferences, for the attendees and organizers. All of the topics relate to intellectual property and technology, or a new term I've been seeing pop up, "Law of Information."

Regarding the rhetoric, all of these groups tread a little bit on the side of radicalism - they overstate their side in order to make a point. I chalk this up to the maxim "openers aren't closers."

Unfortunately I have a number of other things to be doing on those two days, or else I would go.


Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8602988)

The only thing that will make a difference is deciding how much money you will donate to members of congress' re-election campaigns. Anything else is a waste of time.

And this is impressive how? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8603032)

Frankly, if you want to impress the meat world, hacking together a flash conference [] isn't the way to do it. Proper organization, proper presentation, and proper appearance are the keys. If they can pull it off, it'll be a neat hack, but will look like what it is, a mob gathering with no center, no purpose, and guidance.

Legislators and public opinion aren't swayed by such.

Re:And this is impressive how? (1)

bsdguy (512724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8607868)

It only seems like a "flash conference" because for many weeks no news outlet has been willing to pickup any of our press releases.

I invite you to really take a look at the list of folks that have signed on for panels and then decide if this is really a flash event. See the press release at []

FYI- we are already in planning for next year and congress 2005.

-Brett Wynkoop []
Working member of NYFU []

At least two problems in the announcement alone... (1)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#8603612)

#1 If you want to appeal to Americans at least try to act like one. We write dates in the format of MM/DD/YYYY. Putting the date before the month makes you look like a euro wannabe. I was put off immediately. You are not better than anyone; you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

#2 What's a 'technical' fact? Are these facts or not? A 'technical' fact sounds like something Comic Book Guy would pop in to point out. "Well technically Spider-man is a mutant, but not the same as the X-Men." WTF?

Clearly I have no interest in this conference, but if you want to generate interest, why not cease talking down to people? The alarmist fear-mongering crap could probably stand to go as well. You catch alot more flies with honey then with vinegar.

Re:At least two problems in the announcement alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8607931)

technical in "technical fact" is to fact as musical is to fact in the phrase "musical fact".

This was a free clue. The next one costs. ;)

Hey! I live near there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8607571)

Yay for the Red Line! Maybe I'll go.

Woah I live like 5 minutes away (2, Informative)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8607698)

Finally something cool happening at Shady Grove.
We should have a geek get together. I have lived 5 minutes away for most of my life and not one thing has ever happened there cause its just a small satelite campus with a handful of majors.

Easy directions: points North West I70 to I270, get off at Shady Grove heading South and continue 3 miles till you see a sign for the campus after crossing Darnestown Rd.

points South, North-East, I95 to I495 to I270 get off at Shady Grove heading South and continue 3 miles till you see a sign for the campus after crossing Darnestown Rd.

Re:Woah I live like 5 minutes away (1)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8607722)

And I hate to nitpick but its not in Shady Grove, Maryland as there is no such place. Its actually in Rockville, MD on the border with Gaithersburg and Potomac.

ICC Icecast info (1)

bsdguy (512724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8626124)

For those that can not make it to the Internet Commons Congress [] in person New Yorkers For Fair Use [] will be transmitting streaming Ogg audio of the whole event. You can get a streaming audio player that plays Ogg streams at [] .

Check this page [] on conference day for a list of icecast servers. In the mean time you can test your player on one of the below streams.

We could use more streaming servers. Please contact us [] if you want to join our network of streaming servers.

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