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EFF Creates Endangered Gizmos List

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the going-the-way-of-the-dodo dept.

The Courts 213

linuxwrangler writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week announced the creation of the Endangered Gizmos List. According to their press release, this project highlights 'the way misguided laws and lawsuits can pollute the environment for technological innovation.' The site categorizes technologies ranging from the Betamax to the Advanced eBook Processor as 'Saved', 'Endangered' or 'Extinct'."

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endangered Gizmos? (4, Funny)

dim5 (844238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503045)

For God's sake, don't feed them after midnight!

In related news... (2, Funny)

Leadhyena (808566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503164)

Microsoft is planning on taking their increase in earnings in order to build a humongeous flashlight, designed to wipe out all of those non-DRM enhanced gizmos out there.

Re:endangered Gizmos? (2, Funny)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503246)

Heck, they wouldn't be so endangered if someone would just drop them in a lake or something.

If Gizmo is endangered, (0, Redundant)

krog (25663) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503054)

just get him wet, and the population problem is solved.

Phew... (1, Funny)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503067)

I was worried, for an instant, that I wouldn't be able to watch betamax tapes of hot grits eating competitions in my garage while printing poorly reproduced pictures of Natalie Portman.

but seriously (3, Interesting)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503311)

We need to pay attention to this. And whether you like it or not, copyleft/GPL avoids having to deal with this problem:

Interesting:

censorship bears the legacy of copyright. For example, the custom of printers and authors to have their name listed with their creations began as a law demanding this practice, not to ensure the originator due credit, but in order for the king to keep track of disobedient writers. Brendan Scott (2000)

falling costs is met with more computer capacity for a sustained price, and therefore that new computers never will reach the poor majority (Stallabrass, 1995)

"The justification for the patent system is that by slowing down diffusion of technological progress it ensures that there will be more progress to diffuse... Since it is rooted in a contradiction, there can be no such thing as an ideally beneficial patent system [...]" [60].

Yes I do lean towards marxism and no, this is not a anti-capitalism rant although this article [firstmonday.org] does point out the obvious (for some) that we have moved from feudalism to capitalism and are GRADUALLY moving towards something else.

Re:but seriously (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503336)

missing link here [firstmonday.org]

near as I can tell (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503697)

we are moving back towards feudalism, although the fedualist pushers don't call themselves "royal".

The new "technofeudalists" are the huge transnational corporations, who are increasingly controlling the "laws" in various nations, overtly (open lobbying, trade associations,pushing "free trade" instead of "fair trade", etc) or covertly (bribing and blackmailing their boys into power in the "legitimate" governments, copting journalists to push propoganda, etc, etc). And it's very hard to control them, because corporations act as a group of people as to profits, but the responsibilities that a normal human person might have are not conclusive or extensive enough, witness time after time corporation-x gets busted for this or that. Usually it results in a fine, said fine monies then being pushed off onto the ultimate customers to pay. The corps themselves are rarely if ever actually busted up entirely, no matter how many times their officers/managers whatever get caught in illegal acts. And to make it worse, even if that happens, they can just "go bankrupt" and most of the same people involved can just go start up another string of corporations under new corporate person names and controlling addresses.

Corporations are very similar to the old concept of "royal bloodlines" in that regard, they persist generation after generation, with the twist they can just morph away and reform, to go on and continue with unethical or illegal practices. You can't really kill them off or revolt against them,like you could with some royal feudalist gang of rank "bluebloods" in ye olden days, not in any practical sense anyway and stay inside technological civilisation.

Re:but seriously (1)

Egonis (155154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503797)

Now, I am a left-leaning individual myself -- voting for the Canadian NDP.

But on both sides of the scale:

- If America considers it a right to 'Free Enterprise', how is it free enterprise when you can block the competition so readily and so strategically? Many trivial things have been Patented which are so basic that manufacturing a Light Bulb could be considered an infringement

- CopyLeft, and TRUE Free Enterprise are important so that the Proliteriat/Peasant/Common Man/Whatever you wish to call them - placing the right to Patent obscure things is morally wrong, since it takes the power away from the people, and further empowers large corporations who are essentially the only ones who can afford to patent, trademark, or protect what THEY call their own creation.

IMHO: Too far on any side of the scale is too much, as corruption will evolve.. I believe in an economic freedom to innovate and prosper from one's own hard work.. and to not be pushed aside by a conglomerate who really doesn't give a crap about freedom or rights.

Was beta really that good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503529)

Speaking of beta tapes, did anyone who actually used them from the era actually find them in any way superior to VHS?

I was 18 when beta was at its peak, and both of my (separated) parents had a vhs and a beta deck each, along with a good mix of beta and vhs machines belonging to friends and their family.

I found them both as bad as one another. Neither made for a better picture or audio, though from my understanding the really high end beta gear that was used in television stations and for production was quite good quality.

Re:Was beta really that good? (4, Insightful)

LO0G (606364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503694)

Both Beta and VHS were limited by NTSC quality.

If you were in Europe, where they use PAL (a higher quality standard) then the difference between Beta and VHS became more apparent.

The bottom line: VHS was "high enough" quality for the US market, and it had features that Beta didn't have (wider licensing, longer recording times).

In many ways, it's a similar situation to CDs today - none of the attempts to replace CDs have been successful because CDs are "good enough" for 99% of the consumers.

Hmm.. And as I wrote this, I realized: Windows is "good enough" for 99% of the consumers too. I wonder if Windows is successful for just the same reason - it was widely licensed, and "good enough".

Re:Was beta really that good? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503723)

If it's any indication, most television stations still use betamax. I can almost guarantee your local cable access channel is heavily reliant on beta.

It's not the same technology as the old home systems, but the foundation is exactly the same.

There has been speculation that the movie studios endorsed VHS (by only releasing movies on VHS) once they lost the Sony vs. Betamax case because the quality on VHS was much worse than Beta (and the shelf life was much shorter).

Posting as AC in case I'm completely wrong. ;-)

Add the EFF website to that list. (0, Offtopic)

bwcarty (660606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503071)

/.'ed already.

Re:Add the EFF website to that list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503108)

Are webservers that flakey or are there gazillions of slashdotters waiting for a news item to be posted?

Perhaps we should establish a benchmark of how many slashdotters it takes to whack:

-dual xeon 2.0 ghz linux 2.6 apache webserver
-dual xeon 2.0 ghz windows advanced 2003 iis
-dual 2.3 ghz g5 Xserve apache

Re:Add the EFF website to that list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503193)

Well since you are dissing the SCO Group by not including their UnixWare I can't support this suggestion.

Re:Add the EFF website to that list. (1)

geordie_loz (624942) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503503)

no, he included a linux server, and everyone knows that's a SCO product..

Re:Add the EFF website to that list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503315)

It's more the bandwidth that is the issue, not the underlying machine(s) serving out webpages.

FB!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503078)

Thanks to FB!!!

save the one button! (5, Funny)

natedubbya (645990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503080)

The one-button mouse is always at risk of being an endangered gizmo, but Apple keeps reintroducing the species into the wild, where they are promptly eaten by 2-buttons and scroll wheels.

Re:save the one button! (2, Funny)

greechneb (574646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503169)

I take it that is not Darwin's survival of the clickiest?

Re:save the one button! (1)

cthrall (19889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503240)

Damn one-click patents...

Re:save the one button! (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503310)

No, it's OK, there are millions of them out there quietly hibernating for as long as possible, in boxes, in attics where they have been safely and warmly tucked up by Apple owners who WANT A SECOND FUCKING BUTTON!

J.

You're right. One button is just silly now a day (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503402)

I don't know any Mac users that wouldn't like Scroll wheels and second buttons.

I think people, as a whole, are generally smart enough to handle a two button + wheel mouse and all the "complexities" that come with it.

The second button can be so useful! And the wheel indespensible for scrolling any type of documents.

I sorta-kinda like MacOSX's UI. I think I'd like it a lot more if full mouse functionality wasn't an add-on that most people probably don't have.

Re:You're right. One button is just silly now a d (5, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503450)

Actually (and I say this as a non-Mac owner, admittedly), in my experience the shipping of the one-button mouse is a Good Thing.

Because not all users have a right mouse-button, it maintains the very sensible UI rule that you should be able to do everything without using it - all features you'd RMB for are available in the menu.

Windows is horribly inconsistent about what the RMB is actually for, and you don't know whether or not a feature actually exists until you try right-clicking on random objects to have a look.

Extra buttons and wheels are undoubtably useful things for shortcuts, but the design principle that everything should be available in a consistent manner without HAVING to use them is great for those of us that don't use them very often.

Re:You're right. One button is just silly now a d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503573)

Can't you design the interface to be usable with one button without bundling a mouse that will not be used by a large portion of your customers?

Re:You're right. One button is just silly now a d (3, Insightful)

glyph42 (315631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503594)

Can't you design the interface to be usable with one button without bundling a mouse that will not be used by a large portion of your customers?

Yes, you can, but try getting every 3rd party software manufacturer to do the same.

Re:You're right. One button is just silly now a d (1)

nadadogg (652178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503583)

Actually, only having one button would make helping people do stuff over the phone much easier. Telling someone to click the icon, then having them ask "which button" is a pain in the ass sometimes. God forbid you have someone right click and icon, then tell them to click on rename. They invariably will ask me "wait, right click on the icon then right click rename", or some other bastardization of what I said.

Dupes are not endangered (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503090)

The slashdot duplicate post detector is at the top of the list.

Coral link (5, Informative)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503096)

When linking to a site like this, consider adding .nyud.net:8090 to the hostname; that creates a cached Coral link. This prevents slashdotting.

So here [nyud.net] .

Re:Coral link (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503133)

Coral cache doesn't work either...maybe the original site was slammed before they got their copy...

Re:Coral link (3, Insightful)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503176)

Yes. Apparently. If you decide to use a Coralized link, it's best to get the Coralized page yourself first, so that the "inner ring" of Coral servers (see the Coral homepage) have the content already.

Re:Coral link (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503147)

does not resolve

Re:Coral link (-1, Offtopic)

HHumbert (823302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503163)

Also:

Re:Coral link (1)

HHumbert (823302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503209)

Oops! missing something there...

http://www.mirrordot.org/

Re:Coral link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503256)

doesn't resolve

Re:Coral link (1)

maskedbishounen (772174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503531)

Prevents? Delays.

As it's a pretty up-to-date cache, it will eventually spread any broken SQL or whatnot errors, assuming the web servers aren't the first to break. This often seems to be the case with the blo-- err, "articles" these days, anyway.

Re:Coral link (1)

adeydas (837049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503559)

/. 'ed too.

What's the point? (0, Troll)

TheNextBigThing (849842) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503097)

If its endangered its because people do not use them? Shouldn't we just say 'end of life cycle'?

What am I missing?

Re:What's the point? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503335)

What am I missing

To know that, just RTFA!

Re:What's the point? (1)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503342)

this project highlights 'the way misguided laws and lawsuits can pollute the environment for technological innovation The items featured here are not just nostalgic entities of the past. They are technologies that are no longer used, or are in danger of no longer being used due to laws and lawsuits. Example: Napster. Insanely popular.

Re:What's the point? (3, Interesting)

Baramin (847271) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503358)

it's endangered because of DMCA or people suing based on stupid reasons, not because people do not use them.

mp3 players, A/D - D/A chips, TIVOs and P2P software are on that list, and you can't say people don't use them.

What a I missing ?
--> reading the FA before posting an opinion maybe

Re:What's the point? (1)

TheNextBigThing (849842) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503434)

My apologies. Here is where I'm torn. I don't think we should be intentionally circumventing copy protection. At the same time I don't think there should be copy protection to limit how I use the product. Here's an idea, why don't they go after pirate rings and leave the legal folk alone. Oh yeah, its easier to punish everyone.

Re:What's the point? (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503735)

I don't seem to have any problems getting A-D/D-A chips, I just go to an electronics store, pay some money, and I have them...didn't know there were people trying to get them banned.

Is any site lists on /. on the list? (0)

Shadow_139 (707786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503100)

Only 1 comment and the server is ./'ed.

I how they have web pages with crap Bandwidth on the list.

But I see DVDx Copy, good can't see dvdshrink http://www.dvdshrink.org/what.html/ [dvdshrink.org] is not on the list.

I am happy to the next 10 ;)

Re:Is any site lists on /. on the list? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503216)

does not matter.

dvd X copy was nothing more than a RIP OFF of the different Open source tools with a fricking GUI (that sucked) on it.

they deserved to be run out of town.

A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503101)

The Endangered Species list serves a useful purpose if you believe that life itself is a value. The utility principle behind its doppelganger is a lot more questionable, which makes it potentially offensive (since the original is nothing but serious).

Personally, I don't find species extinction a humorous matter at all, even if the species in question aren't sapient. I just don't find oblivion amusing.

This is akin to creating a website dedicated to "emancipating slave hard drives from their masters," parodying American abolitionism from the 19th century. It's crushing a serious matter that emotionally affects others, and which others have put great energy into effecting, down to nothing, just to be the butt of a silly joke. I don't like it.

Re:A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503379)

Just because people invest a lot of energy into something doesn't magically make it above ridicule and parody. "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything" -Nietzsche

Re:A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503558)

Just because people invest a lot of energy into something doesn't magically make it above ridicule and parody.

I didn't say the endangered species list was above ridicule or parody. But I did say that the parody listed was feeble and in poor taste.

Just because there exists a freedom to send-up anything and everything that others hold sacred, does not mean it is right to exercise. In a truly free society, the only way to counter rotten ideas is to speak up when they are foisted upon you. However, (as my -1, Troll rating may demonstrate already) "PC" doctrine discourages speaking up against any proffered ideas. Instead, silent tolerance is supposed to be the norm. But freedom of speech implies freedom of destructive and critical speech just as it implies freedom of constructive speech. (And there are no moral connotations attached to those adjectives)

I find this bad parody of a serious endeavor in poor taste, and just as there's nothing wrong with them coming up with such bad humour, there's absolutely nothing wrong in my saying it's garbage - the querulous minds of the anonymous moderators excepted, obviously.

A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503595)

The Endangered Species list serves a useful purpose if you believe that life itself is a value. The utility principle behind its doppelganger is a lot more questionable, which makes it potentially offensive (since the original is nothing but serious).

Personally, I don't find species extinction a humorous matter at all, even if the species in question aren't sapient. I just don't find oblivion amusing.

This is akin to creating a website dedicated to "emancipating slave hard drives from their masters," parodying American abolitionism from the 19th century. It's crushing a serious matter that emotionally affects others, and which others have put great energy into effecting, down to nothing, just to be the butt of a silly joke. I don't like it.


This reference to the slave/master controversy [washingtonmonthly.com] was entirely appropriate.

Re:A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503609)

The Endangered Species list serves a useful purpose if you believe that life itself is a value. The utility principle behind its doppelganger is a lot more questionable, which makes it potentially offensive (since the original is nothing but serious).

Personally, I don't find species extinction a humorous matter at all, even if the species in question aren't sapient. I just don't find oblivion amusing.

This is akin to creating a website dedicated to "emancipating slave hard drives from their masters," parodying American abolitionism from the 19th century. It's crushing a serious matter that emotionally affects others, and which others have put great energy into effecting, down to nothing, just to be the butt of a silly joke. I don't like it.


Emboldened?

Re:A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503636)

The Endangered Species list serves a useful purpose if you believe that life itself is a value. The utility principle behind its doppelganger is a lot more questionable, which makes it potentially offensive (since the original is nothing but serious).

Personally, I don't find species extinction a humorous matter at all, even if the species in question aren't sapient. I just don't find oblivion amusing.

This is akin to creating a website dedicated to "emancipating slave hard drives from their masters," parodying American abolitionism from the 19th century. It's crushing a serious matter that emotionally affects others, and which others have put great energy into effecting, down to nothing, just to be the butt of a silly joke. I don't like it.


Call it a night cowboy?

Re:A bit cruel to the animals - and humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503771)

The Endangered Species list serves a useful purpose if you believe that life itself is a value. The utility principle behind its doppelganger is a lot more questionable, which makes it potentially offensive (since the original is nothing but serious).

Personally, I don't find species extinction a humorous matter at all, even if the species in question aren't sapient. I just don't find oblivion amusing.

This is akin to creating a website dedicated to "emancipating slave hard drives from their masters," parodying American abolitionism from the 19th century. It's crushing a serious matter that emotionally affects others, and which others have put great energy into effecting, down to nothing, just to be the butt of a silly joke. I don't like it.


Copyright laws.

EFF Endangered Gizmos List (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503124)

FCC Chairman Michael Powell calls TiVo "God's machine," and its devotees have been known to declare, "You can take my TiVo when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!" But suppose none of us had ever been given the opportunity to use or own a TiVo -- or, for that matter, an iPod? Suppose instead that Hollywood and the record companies hunted down, hobbled, or killed these innovative gizmos in infancy or adolescence, to ensure that they wouldn't grow up to threaten the status quo?

That's the strategy the entertainment industry is using to control the next generation of TiVos and iPods. Its arsenal includes government-backed technology mandates, lawsuits, international treaties, and behind-the-scenes negotiations in seemingly obscure technology standards groups. The result is a world in which, increasingly, only industry-approved devices and technologies are "allowed" to survive in the marketplace.

This is bad news for innovation and free competition, but it also threatens a wide range of activities the entertainment conglomerates have no use for -- everything from making educational "fair" use of TV or movie clips for a classroom presentation, to creating your own "Daily Show"-style video to make a political statement, to simply copying an MP3 file to a second device so you can take your music with you.

Rather than sit back and watch as promising new technologies are picked off one-by-one, EFF has created the Endangered Gizmos List to help you defend fair use and preserve the environment for innovation.

DVD X-Copy
DVD X-Copy
Species: DVD X-Copy
Genus: DVD archiving program
Closest Surviving Relatives: DeCSS, libdvd, and more powerful CSS decryption utilities are liberally available online.
What it is: A DVD backup utility.
What it allowed you to do: Create backup copies of your DVDs, record fair-use excerpts of DVD movies.
Why it's extinct: Hollywood sued the company that made DVD X-Copy out of existence, successfully arguing that it violated the highly controversial "anti-circumvention" clause in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
What you can do about it: It's too late to save DVD X-Copy, but you can use EFF's Action Center to tell Congress that you support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA; HR 107) -- a bill that would amend the DMCA to restore your ability to circumvent copy protection to make legal, personal uses of your DVDs.
Replay TV 4000
Replay TV 4000 Series
Species: ReplayTV 4000
Genus: Personal Video Recorder (PVR)
Closest Surviving Relatives: TiVo's "Tivo-to-go" is heavily encumbered by DRM and its 30-second skip is hidden. Build-your-own PVRs like MythTV let you skip commercials and export files to your heart's content.
What it is: A personal video recorder with user-friendly features.
What it allowed you to do: Skip over commercials and send recorded TV programs to another ReplayTV device.
Why it's extinct: Former Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner called skipping commercials "theft" -- and evidently the major motion picture studios agree. They sued the manufacturers of ReplayTV out of existence, and the company that purchased it buckled under and removed the contested features.
What you can do about it: EFF intervened in the case to fight for ReplayTV users' right to make perfectly legal, non-infringing uses of their PVRs, but we couldn't stop the subsequent settlement and sell-out. That means it's too late to save the original ReplayTV -- but by joining EFF as a member, you can support our efforts to stop the adoption of international trade agreements that would make it against the law in many countries to include ReplayTV-like features in new devices.
Streambox VCR
Screenshot of Streambox VCR
Species: Streambox VCR
Genus: Recorder for "time-shifting" RealAudio streams
Closest Surviving Relatives: Gizmos like the TotalRecorder, which can capture audio streams later in the path by emulating the soundcard device.
What it is: A software program for recording and playing back RealAudio streams.
What it allowed you to do: It allowed you to record and play audio streams that were originally intended to be played with a RealPlayer G2.
Why it's extinct: RealNetworks didn't want just any company to be able to interoperate with its closed system for content delivery. It sued Streambox under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), arguing that the program violated the law's "anti-circumvention" provisions when it mimicked Real's "secret handshake" to capture audio streams. Struggling under the weight of the lawsuit, Streambox eventually settled -- and when the dust cleared, the VCR utility was sentenced to life in an underground development lab.
What you can do about it: While versions of the Streambox VCR can sometimes be found roaming free on the Internet, its distribution is illegal -- and if US trade partners are forced to adopt DMCA-like laws, similar gizmos will outlawed worldwide. Join EFF today to help us halt the global export of overly restrictive copyright law.
Advanced eBook Processor
Screenshot of Adobe eBook Processor
Species: Advanced eBook Processor
Genus: Decryptor of Adobe electronic books.
Closest surviving relatives: DRM formats are cracked nearly as soon as they're introduced. Often, both decryptors for and decrypted versions of electronic content are widely available online.
What it is: Software to decrypt encrypted Adobe's electronic books.
What it allowed you to do: Open and read Adobe electronic books.
Why it's extinct: The FBI arrested Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov while he was attending a security conference in Las Vegas -- making him the first person to be criminally charged under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Adobe initially pressed the case, but after meeting with EFF called for all charges against Sklyarov to be dropped. There is no DMCA in Russia, and a jury eventually acquitted Sklyarov's company, ElcomSoft, of willful violation -- but only after the judge had ruled the software illegal.
What you can do about it:

1. Join EFF to help us stop the export of DMCA-like laws to other nations via trade negotiations.
2. Tell your representative you support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA; HR 107) -- a bill that would amend the DMCA to restore your ability to circumvent copy protection to make legal uses of electronic books.

Napster 1.0
Napster
Species: Napster 1.0
Genus: Filesharing software with central directory.
Closest surviving relatives: Napster 2.0 doesn't share much more than the name and kitty logo with its extinct cousin. File-sharing programs in general, however, have continued to proliferate in decentralized forms.
What it is: Software that allowed users to share files from their personal computers through a central directory search
What it allowed you to do: Share media files with other users; search for files in Napster's central directory.
Why it's extinct: Big entertainment companies sued Napster (and later, its investors) for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Napster's central directory of files gave its makers knowledge of and the ability to control its users' infringement. Unable to filter files from the network as the record labels would have liked, Napster 1.0 shut down and sold its name to Bertelsmann.
What you can do about it: It's too late to save the original Napster, but you can support EFF as we take our defense of Streamcast Networks, makers of the Morpheus P2P software, to the Supreme Court.
Endangered
Total Recorder
Total Recorder
Species: Total Recorder
Genus: Virtual soundcards
Threat: Entertainment companies pressing for operating system-authentication of soundcard drivers.
What it is: A software program that appears to your computer to be a soundcard, but rather than sending an audio stream to your speakers, it saves it to a file on disk.
What it lets you do: Total Recorder allows you to record any audio that your computer can play.
Why it's endangered: Hollywood is pushing Microsoft and other operating system developers to make it so your computer will detect whether the soundcard software in use comes from a major manufacturer -- that is, whether it's been "tamed" and will do what Hollywood and the majors have agreed it may do.
How you can help save it: You can choose not to purchase or use computers/software programs that use a driver-authenticating scheme (like Microsoft's Secure Audio Path) or multimedia in formats that require it for playback. If you're an artist, you can choose to make your work available in open formats that are more fan-friendly.
D/A and A/D converters
converter chip
Species: D/A and A/D converters
Genus: "Analog hole" products
Threat: The entertainment industry, via behind-the-scenes negotiations in trade association groups like the Analog Reconversion Discussion Group (ARDG) and advocacy in Congress.
What it is: Unencumbered Digital-to-Analog (D/A) and Analog-to-Digital (A/D) converters.
What it lets you do: These little electronic components are at the core of modern multimedia recorders and players like the iPod. They convert between the analog signals of the real world and the 1s and 0s of digital. A digital camcorder uses an A/D converter to save your movies as bits and bytes; an iPod uses a D/A converter to turn bytes back into your favorite tunes.
Why it's endangered: Entertainment companies think that easy recording and play back of digital content is a bug, not a feature, because these gizmos could be used to make bootleg copies of music and movies. They'd like to turn every recorder and player into an embedded spy, made to watch for watermarks and to refuse to record or play the content if the watermark forbids it. Plus, the FCC has proposed restricting D/A converters in its software-defined radio docket.
How you can help save it:

1. You may want to consider purchasing a high-quality soundcard or external card with a USB interface. These devices let you use the "analog hole" to your advantage, digitizing sounds without the encumbrances that may travel along with the digitally encoded version.
2. Join EFF, where we're monitoring the developments in the trade association groups that shape future standards for these devices.

iPod + Linksys AP + Sony CD/RW
ipod

Species: Firewire drives, open WiFi access points, CD burner
Genus: Generic information technology products
Threat: The entertainment industry's push for laws like the proposed Induce Act [PDF] (Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, or IICA).
What it is: Popular mainstream technology products.
What it lets you do: The suite of multimedia devices that you can find in the average gadgethound's home allows you to create, record, transmit, play back, and share music, movies, and other kinds of digital content.
Why it's endangered: In the last congressional term, entertainment industry lobbyists nearly succeeded in persuading Congress to pass the Induce Act -- a radical rewrite of copyright law that aims to make creators of new technologies liable for "inducing" copyright infringement. If that was the law back in the early 1980s, the VCR would have been killed in infancy -- and if the Induce Act or something like it passes this year, we'll never know what future innovations will never see the light of day. Complicating matters even further is the Supreme Court's pending review of MGM v. Grokster, the result of which could be a similarly radical rewrite of the rules for copyright liability.
What you can do: Join EFF's Action Center, where EFF supporters sent more than 30,000 letters and made 5,000 phone calls to members of Congress, helping to kill the bill for 2004. Despite the outcry over the Induce Act, Hollywood is making the inevitable sequel -- so we'll need your help to kill bill again.
pcHDTV card
HD 3000
Species: pcHDTV card
Genus: HDTV Tuner
Threat: The "Broadcast Flag" technology mandate.
What it is: A high-definition television (HDTV) tuner card with unrestricted high-resolution outputs.
What it lets you do: With one of these cards, you can build your own personal video recorder (PVR), a VCR updated for the digital age. Like a TiVo, a PVR lets you watch digital television the way you want: pause live TV, save recordings to DVD, remix "60 Minutes" so you're the new anchor.
Why it's endangered: The copyright cartel has successfully lobbied the FCC for a technology mandate (the "Broadcast Flag") that says companies may only create equipment that "obeys" the flag in digital broadcasts -- meaning that in many cases the cartel gets to decide what you can do with the broadcast content, regardless of whether that strips you of your fair use rights.
How you can help save it:

1. Build your own HD-PVR. Since tuner cards that don't see the Broadcast Flag now will still work after the rule takes effect, your investment will only increase in value. Check out EFF's HD-PVR cookbook for details.
2. Join EFF as a member! We're fighting the Broadcast Flag on a number of fronts, including joining in a lawsuit challenging the FCC's authority to impose it.

Morpheus
Morpheus
Species: Morpheus
Genus: Filesharing software
Threat: Lawsuit from 28 of the world's largest entertainment companies.
What it is: Software that allows users to share files peer-to-peer from their personal computers.
What it lets you do: Share media files with other users in a decentralized, distributed manner.
Why it's endangered: The big entertainment companies sued the makers of Morpheus and Grokster for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement, arguing that the software makers should be liable for the acts of their users. They're now asking the Supreme Court to rewrite the Betamax rule protecting products with "substantial non-infringing uses" to exclude this general-purpose software.
How you can help save it: Support EFF as we take our defense of Streamcast Networks, makers of the Morpheus software, to the Supreme Court.
Saved
Sony Betamax VCR
Betamax!
Species: Sony BetamaxVCR
Genus: VCR
Descendants: Modern-day VCRs, followed by PVRs, DVRs, and DVD burners.
What it is: The first videocassette recorder.
What it let you do: Record and play back television programs and movies.
Why it was endangered: The major motion picture studios believed the VCR would bring about the demise of the movie business, and former MPAA head Jack Valenti famously compared it to the Boston Strangler. The studios sued Sony, arguing that the company should be held responsible for Betamax users' copyright violations.
How it was saved: Luckily, the Supreme Court ignored the hyperbole, ruling in "Sony v. Universal" that because the VCR was "merely capable of substantial non-infringing uses," Sony would not be liable for contributory copyright infringement. Today, not only is the movie business alive and well, the studios are making record-breaking profits -- fueled primarily by the home rental market that the legal VCR created. This "substantial non-infringing use" test (a.k.a. the "Betamax doctrine") paved the way for 20+ years of technological innovation.
Skylink garage door opener
Skylink remote
Species: Skylink Model 39 Universal Transmitter
Genus: Universal remote garage door opener
Threat averted: Overreaching claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
What it is: A universal remote-control transmitter for your garage door.
What it lets you do: You can program Skylink's universal garage door opener to open garage doors with electric motors and receivers made by a variety of other companies.
Why it was endangered: Chamberlain, manufacturer of the Security+ line of garage door openers, wasn't keen on having to compete with Skylink. The company sued, claiming that Skylink's universal opener violated the DMCA's "anti-circumvention" clause because it "circumvented" Chamberlain's rolling-code security mechanism.
How EFF helped save it:EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Skylink, arguing that the DMCA is supposed to protect against unauthorized access to copyrighted works -- not stop homeowners from accessing their own garages. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the DMCA [PDF] shouldn't function as an anti-competition statute, and Skylink was permitted to stay in the universal remote business.
Refurbished printer toner cartridge
toner cartridge
Species: Static Control Components remanufactured Lexmark toner cartridge
Genus: Printer toner cartridge
Threat averted: Overreaching claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
What it is: A printer toner cartridge refurbished by Static Control Components, sold more cheaply than new Lexmark-branded cartridges.
What it lets you do: Toner cartridges are among the most expensive consumables of a laser printer. Lexmark's cartridges include chips with little bits of code that report back to the printer about toner-fill level -- but they also reveal whether or not the cartridge is "Lexmark authorized." The printer will refuse to print if the cartridge isn't "authorized," so Static Control replaced the chips so its refilled cartridges would work in Lexmark printers and report themselves "full of ink."
Why it was endangered: Lexmark wasn't very happy about competing with Static Control for cartridge sales. It sued, claiming that the cartridge-printer "handshake" was a mechanism protecting a copyrighted work, so circumventing the mechanism violated the DMCA. The copyrighted work in question? The "toner loader program" in the cartridge chip.
How EFF helped save it: EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Static Control Components. We argued that the software was no more than a lock-out code, and that the DMCA explicitly permits the creation of interoperable software. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

Already slashdotted. (0)

nenolod (546272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503136)

Probably from the mysterious future.

Actual list and mirror (4, Informative)

Meostro (788797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503149)

Actual list is http://www.eff.org/endangered/list.php [eff.org] .

Mirrored here [wetsexygirl.com] , but the link is NSFW so I can't check to make sure I got it right.

Re:Actual list and mirror (mod parent up) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503229)

Ok, so someone had to click it (and YES IT IS legit) i duno WHY its mirrored there but it is in fact a valid mirror

Re:Actual list and mirror (mod parent up) (1)

Meostro (788797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503333)

I've said it several times before: it's mirrored there to keep my bandwidth down.

Yes there are those weirdos that will click it because they think naked petrified natalie portman hot grits, but most people accessing /. from work (like me) can't justify clicking on such a link, so at least the monitored business-types won't visit.

Anytime I mirror something near the top of a discussion, I get about 3 gigs a day from the zombie army that is /., I can't even imagine what i'd get if i posted to legitimate-business.com....

Re:Actual list and mirror (0)

MPauley73 (822481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503260)

Link is work safe..

Re:Actual list and mirror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503304)

It's ok.

Google Links (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503153)

Funny, even the cached Google pages are slow.

Main page [64.233.167.104]
Endangered Gizmos List [64.233.167.104]

Re:Google Links (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503393)

Google's cached pages end up being slow because they still try to read the images from the original site. Coral Cache also caches the images, and hence should load much quicker.

EFF doing an awesome job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503166)

The EFF has done an awesome job again. Time for my EFF donation... Did you make yours?

EFF Server (2, Funny)

enoraM (749327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503187)

EFF Server endangered - ummh - make that extinct /.

Re:EFF Server (1)

__int64 (811345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503787)

In midwinter 2005, the last of the EEF Server populous was driven to extinction by the trolls of Slashdot. Despite the valiant attempts of dedicated individuals to artificially reintroduce the species back into its habitat, though mirrors and Google caches, they were ultimately unsuccessful. They were simply outnumbered and natural selection ran its course.

HAMMER REVOLUTION --; (0, Offtopic)

clubhouse (840238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503199)

gizmos and gadgets are PROHAMMER --; http://hammerrevolution.com/ [hammerrevolution.com] --;

Missing species (5, Insightful)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503205)

Missing from their endangered species list is none other than: The Internet [wikipedia.org] . The most important 'gizmo' in our lives today.

RIAA and MPAA attack every peer to peer network because of illegal filesharing. Peer to peer networks can be abused, this is true. However, so can social networks, radio networks, cable networks and etc. Yet, if these organizations had their way peer to peer networks would cease to exist. Shall I remind you that the Internet operates on protocols [wikipedia.org] that essentially make it a peer to peer network?

Re:Missing species (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503281)

Or ...
Imminent death of the Net predicted.

Film at 11.
As we used to say in the early 90s.

Kids, eh?

Err Don't They Strengthen the Environment? (4, Interesting)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503212)

From my viewpoint although a lot of these laws and mandates are a pain in the ass they do lead to people trying to find new and possibly better products/methodologies to get around them. Its the strengthen the product versus develop new/different products argument and sometimes new/different is definitely better. (Hell I bet if there was a law that was detrimental to Windows we might actually get a better product from them!)

Boring (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503230)

I've seen plays that were more exciting than this! Honest to god, PLAYS!

dont forget print screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503234)

remember that pushing 'print screen' on your keyboard copies the screen's image onto the clipboard (at least in Windows)

Re:dont forget print screen (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503387)

in other worlds

cat /dev/screen | togif > screen.gif

Endangered Shameless Lawyers is More Like It (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503235)

Every item in every category on the list features an appeal to "join the EFF" so that the evil, toy-snatching corporations can be vanquished for good yadda yadda. If the EFF's legal team was half as as adept as their Marketing and Promotion departments, they might actually amount to something more than a 90's-era anachronism...

Hey, but I've still held onto my old orange cyber-rights clenched-fist-on-a-field-of-lightning-bolts T-Shirt after all these years, so I guess I should give props to their Creative Services Department as well...

Re:Endangered Shameless Lawyers is More Like It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503480)

United we stand, divided we fall.

What makes them an anachronism? How could they change to become relevant again? Be specific.

Join the EFF (0, Redundant)

xlr8ed (726203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503242)

Does anyone have a link for me to join the EFF, I couldn't find one on that page

Hosed! (-1, Offtopic)

bythescruff (522831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503247)

Top of the list: Eff's server...

Rigth now! (0, Redundant)

Janosh (777222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503252)

Right now their web-server is on the brink of Extinction because of Slashdoting.

Dead Media Project (4, Interesting)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503261)

Along similar lines, Tom Jennings has a database of obsolete formats and devices of various kinds, at deadmedia.org [deadmedia.org] .

His site is more focussed on older (nineteenth-century, early twentieth-century) stuff than the EFF site, and of course, not everything dies of regulatory or copyright strangulation.

Forgive me for pontificating.... (5, Insightful)

old_skul (566766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503292)

This isn't about companies and artists being "stolen" from. It's about corporate entities finally having the kind of leverage to exert full control over content distribution from inception to consumption.

If a company can control the distribution of its "intellectual property" - e.g. a song - from the moment it's recorded until it hits your ears - then there's additional opportunities for a revenue stream at any point in that line. For instance, you can purchase a song from iTunes. Or you can pay XM $10 a month for the privilege of listening to that same song on their satellite service. Or you could go to the record store and purchase a disc you can put in your CD player and play.

But the act of copying said content, and giving it to a friend - that's completely outside the revenue stream, and the content companies seek to stop this type of action. Even if the creator of the content - the artist - would see benefit from this action. (An example: a friend recently made a copy of the Secret Machines album for me. I bought a copy for my brother, and then a copy for myself. How is this bad for the artist?)

Music, video, and other entertainment content is *not* intellectual property. Trade secrets, manufacturing methods, software - that's IP. But music in specific is undergoing a transformation. Content control is not natural in the broad scope - it's an artificial control mechanism put in place to generate revenue.

Re:Forgive me for pontificating.... (1)

icebrrrg (123867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503665)

you're tight, skul, and i agree with you. i want fair use myself. but i know a lot of folken who think nothing of modding their xboxes and paying $5 for a DVD of an unreleased game (the money goes to the pirate, not the game developer) ... then burning it 10 times and handing it out to their buddies. things like this drive up the cost of games for developers, which costs me more money. it's disgusting.

personally, i would like to see a lot more "scrupulousness" (?) in the world. but there will always be a darkness in the heart of man ..

Re:Forgive me for pontificating.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503693)

I'm sitting here right now about to go to Best Buy to purchase the new Geto Boys CD [amazon.com] because the one track that I pirated off of the net has me really excited about the rest of the album.

/.ted... (1, Redundant)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503307)

Googles cached page [64.233.183.104]
You are welcome.

Don't forget Teddy Ruckspin (4, Interesting)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503347)

I once read that the Teddy Ruckspin doll was supposed to play and "sing along" to all music cassettes. But the lawyers decided that they might get sued because it might be considered a "performance" which would require payments to the copyright holders. To play it safe, they stuck with proprietary tapes.

The EFF needs our donations - now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503366)

The EFF is fighting for your rights and some of the rights you are enjoying right now exist only because of the EFF. The EFF needs your donations urgently in order to continue to do their job. Please help us all to stay free and to preserve our electronic rights and make a donation when the site comes back up again: http://www.eff.org Thank you!

Great but funny (4, Insightful)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503417)

EFF Defends the apple Ipod here [eff.org] and will defend ThinkSecret against Apple there [thinksecret.com]

Funny world but it shows that EFF and their staff/volunteers are standing for principles and not products/behaviour

"We want to be free! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503456)

Free to do what we want to do!
We want to be free to ride!
To ride our machines without being hassled by the man! "

When Gizmo's are outlawed, only outlaws will own gizmo's!

Seriously! There will be no extinction of gizmos which offer a high level of utility.

Prohibition resulted in a massive black market in alcohol and cigarettes. At present there is a huge trade in low/no tax cigarettes. Bootleg satellite TV subscriptions blanket Canada. Yes, there's marijuana and drug(illicit and gray) markets too.

So, hardcore experimenters will be able to buy their ADAC's and consumers their useful products. It's just gonna be a friend of a friend sort of deal.

The real danger is erosion of the USA legal system. There are already way too many 'designer' laws.

A word on the extinct devices... (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503489)

So, after reading the article I came to think in something. This DMCA law, it is supposed to be for the US only isn't it? so, if I, make some software as the DVD-x-copy in another country, and distribute it, I am allowed to do that provided that the laws of my country allow it no?

Now, it would be then "Illegal" for the people who buys it inside united states, but I think nothing stops me for selling it from, say, somwhere in south america or europe...
Am I wrong?, maybe one of the "solutions" for all this would be simply to move the company to another place out of US.

Or maybe I am missing something here...

Re:A word on the extinct devices... (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503708)

This DMCA law, it is supposed to be for the US only isn't it?
The DMCA itself is, but DMCA-like laws are now being introduced all over the place. The EUCD is another, if anything even worse, example that EU countries have to implement.

Am I wrong?, maybe one of the "solutions" for all this would be simply to move the company to another place out of US.
Provided that you find a country where the creation and distribution of such a product is legal, you're okay.

Re:A word on the extinct devices... (1)

slyguy135 (844866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503728)

Sure, theoretically it doesn't affect you. But in practice, it could mean that companies won't develop products because without an American market they won't be profitable.

D/A; A/D Converters Endangered?? (1)

superstick58 (809423) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503525)

This seems to be the one thing on the list that I could not imagine as being endangered. A/D and D/A converters are essential components in todays digitized world. They are necessary to allow us to view our content in our analog environment while storing and processing it in the digital world. Don't expect these to disappear anytime soon.

Re:D/A; A/D Converters Endangered?? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503810)

They meant free D/As, that don't have DRM/watermark recognition

A couple missing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503580)

*BSD - Endangered
Linux - Endangered

D/A and A/D converters (1)

Rhsqueak (818528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503613)

The author of this article seems to have missed the big picture in a couple of cases. There has been a technological revolution in the professional sound world over the last 5 years with digital equipment (Consoles, Effects processors, Playback systems, and Recording/Editing systems just to name a few) at its core. D/A and A/D converters aren't endangered; their population is growing.

D/A and A/D converters?? (1)

loony (37622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503653)

So no one will ever have a soundcard in their computer? Or a CD player?

Not sure what qualifications they got but whoever puts D/A converters on a endangered list has proven that they don't have much understanding of electronics...

Peter.

Re:D/A and A/D converters?? (2, Interesting)

whimdot (591032) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503778)

I think the issue is with unencumbered D/A and A/D. Currently you are free to convert freely between digital and analogue media, but eventually all DRM material could contain a watermark which would only allow it to pass through the conversion after a small degradation in quality, and then only if you had a license to do the conversion.

This has already happened in the world of picture scanning. Try putting a bill though a colour photocopier. The image of paper money is no longer able to pass through this conversion technology.

Re:D/A and A/D converters?? (3, Interesting)

Rattencremesuppe (784075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503781)

Plus, A/D and D/A converters are ubiquitous in electronics. I guess that consumer devices related to audio / video applications are only a fraction of that.

Perhaps there will be a lot of DRM-crippled A/D D/A converters in such applications but there will ALWAYS be non-crippled parts available to the industry.

Rule #62 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503715)

Don't slashdot EFF, they're only trying to help.

DOH!!!!!!!!!!!

Uh... ReplayTV "extinct"? (1)

Trixter (9555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503733)

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of ReplayTV owners who are quite happy. The only two features they removed were internet sharing and automatic channel skip. You can still happily suck shows off of the unit over ethernet in MPEG-2 format until the cows come home. I am *still* laughing at people who purchase TiVo units.

Chip Control (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503751)

Thats what worries me the most, is that if they do manage to get control of the raw silicon, then we are screwed.

We wont be even able to build our own hardware proejcts with out it being crippled, and having to license it ( at costs the average hobbiest cant afford ).. Regardless if it might 'infringe' something or not.

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