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CATO Institute Releases Paper Criticizing DMCA

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the keep-saying-it-and-people-might-start-listening dept.

418

flanksteak writes "The CATO institute has published a paper criticizing the DMCA entitled 'The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' From the article: 'The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders--and the technology companies that distribute their content--the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.'" A report worth taking a look at that puts into words what most of us know already.

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418 comments

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hehe (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967753)

Cato is a conservative right-wing think-tank

That sound you heard was a million slashdot users heads asploding

Which is good, cause /. could use a little head asploding. Right wing doesn't automatically mean bad, nor does left wing automatically mean good.

Now go clean up the mess

Re:hehe (5, Informative)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967785)

The CATO institute is a libertarian think tank. Libertarianism falls into the left wing of the traditional classification of politial thought in some ways and right wing in others.

Re:hehe (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967834)

The CATO institute is a libertarian think tank.

They're still very much on the right wing side of many issues, but they are fairly libertarian on economic issues.

Re:hehe (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967930)

They're still very much on the right wing side of many issues, but they are fairly libertarian on economic issues.

The way I would state that, is that the right wing is libertarian on some issues. Describing Cato as "right-wing" is just the way that the pinkos try to ignore them. The right-wingers try to ignore them by denouncing Cato's opposition to the drug war.

-jcr

Re:hehe (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968178)

My understanding is that there are four primary positions, and that libertarians occupy one of the outlying positions if you assume that reps and dems are the primary poles in this country - which they are. Reps (conservatives) want to control personal issues and not control the economy. Dems (liberals) are ostensibly the other way around. Libs would prefer not to control either. Populists want to control both. Do I have that right? Anyway, reps and libs have [primarily] the same economic views - free market. And of course, all this assumes we're not talking about subtypes of any of these groups...

Re:hehe (2, Funny)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967903)

Actually, I've heard NPR refer to them as a tool for the Republicans on at least two or three occasions. And of course NPR is totally non-partisan, so they must be right.

Re:hehe (4, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967987)

The CATO institute is a libertarian think tank. Libertarianism falls into the left wing of the traditional classification of politial thought in some ways and right wing in others.

The libertarians, on balance, have far more in common with the Republican part of the mid 1990's than any other major American political idealogy. The only major thinks they have in common with Democrats is they oppose having our military involved overseas and are generally pro-choice. And frankly the Democrats are only anti-Iraq because they're the opposition party and the opposition party traditionally opposes the leadership party's foreign policy. Foreign policies are almost necessarily interventionalist, even the most hands-off of foreign policies must sometimes be interventionalist (e.g., President Clinton), and such manuevers are easy targets for the opposition party. So you can take that one away and you're basically left with the pro-choice issue. Libertarians are also more likely to support gay marriage, but neither party wants to go anywhere near that one, uncharacteristically deferring it to state courts.

If you do a run-down on the issues you get a group of people who are intensely dedicated to private property and individual freedom issues, and other than gay marriage and abortion, Republicans overwhelming want the government out of people's lives and everyday decision making as much as possible. Well, in theory anyway. In practice they spend just as much money on pointless and worthless government programs that don't solve anything.

Re:hehe (4, Informative)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968048)

Libertarianism falls into the left wing [...] in some ways and right wing in others.

Or better put, it's completely tangential to both. Left (Liberal) vs. right (Conservative) isn't useful, much less accurate, when talking about the border case Libertarian & Statist philosophies. More appropriate is a 4-point diamond with Libertarian & Statist opposite of each other and perpendicular to Liberal & Conservative; with Centrists in the middle.

Take the World's Smallest Political Quiz [theadvocates.org] .

Quiz & explanation [theadvocates.org] (PDF file)

Libertarians support a great deal of liberty and freedom of choice in both personal and economic matters. They believe government's only purpose is to protect people from coercion and violence. They value individual responsibility, and tolerate economic and social diversity.

Left-Liberals generally embrace freedom of choice in personal matters, but support central decision-making in economics. They want the government to help the disadvantaged in the name of fairness. Leftists tolerate social diversity, but work for what they might describe as "economic equality."

Right-Conservatives favor freedom of choice on economic issues, but want official standards in personal matters. They tend to support the free market, but frequently want the government to defend the community from what they see as threats to morality or to the traditional family structure.

Centrists favor selective government intervention and emphasize what they commonly describe as "practical solutions" to current problems. They tend to keep an open mind on political issues. Many centrists feel that government serves as a check on excessive liberty.

Statists want government to have a great deal of control over individuals and society. They support centralized planning, and often doubt whether liberty and freedom of choice are practical options. At the very bottom of the chart, left-authoritarians are usually called socialists, while right-authoritarians are generally called fascists.

Re:hehe (1)

eris23007 (958564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968217)

Mod this post up. Excellent explanation of what is often referred to as the "Nolan Chart", in honor of the Libertarian Party's founder, David Nolan...

Spelling? (0, Offtopic)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967863)

I assume you meant 'exploding', but I find 'assploding' a more fun word.

Thank you.

All aboard. (3, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967758)

I am glad the right wing is getting on board in the fight against DMCA. Organizations like Cato are very big players in the right wing movement and this will certainly have an impact on the republicans who control all branches of the govt and the supreme court.

Re:All aboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967806)

RTFW!

The following is on CATO's front page:

"As the United States enters its fourth year of conflict in the country, the public has become increasingly skeptical of U.S. deployment in Iraq. In the links below, Cato's foreign policy experts comment on the importance of implementing an exit strategy to get out of Iraq."

Reality Check: Any organization that says the US should pull out of Iraq is *not* going to have a lot of GOP pull.

Re:All aboard. (4, Informative)

stewie's deuce (953163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967850)

Its http://www.cato.org/about/about.html [cato.org] actually more of a libertarian group. And libertarians favor less goverment control (more so than republicans.)

Re:All aboard. (1, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967936)

Republicans don't favor less government control by any means. Look who has been controlling Congress and the white house this decade.

Re:All aboard. (3, Insightful)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967999)

You do realize who signed the DMCA into law don't you? It was a very non-partisan law.

Re:All aboard. (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968235)

Republicans added a cabinet seat. As much bloat as they have added, I think they are only interested in control and power.

Re:All aboard. (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967861)

I don't think that the CATO institute is really right-wing. They are more libertarian.

Re:All aboard. (2, Insightful)

yurnotsoeviltwin (891389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968003)

Technically, Libertarian IS really right wing. The Republican party hasn't actually been acting all that right-wing lately, to be honest.

Re:All aboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968131)

Socially liberal, fiscally conservative, pro individual liberty is right wing? God damn, where do I sign up?

Re:All aboard. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968179)

Technically, Libertarian IS really right wing

Nope. The right wing simply chooses a different group of our rights to violate than the left.

-jcr

Re:All aboard. (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968184)

Only on a fiscal sense. In a social sense, Libertarians could be considered left-wing. Think of the Libertarian party as being for people who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal.

Re:All aboard. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967874)

I am glad the right wing is getting on board in the fight against DMCA.

If you consider Cato to be right wing, that tells me where you stand. ;-)

-jcr

Re:All aboard. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968030)

Libertarianism has about as much credibility as Communism.


The fact is that CATO always stands up for big business against the public. Whether they call themselves "libertarian" or just simply "corporatist" is irrelevant, their bias overlaps significantly with that of the neo-con, anti-environmental, anti-consumer agenda that dominates Washington. If a corporation is threatened by laws or regulations that might hurt their bottom line, you can bet CATO will be there with a harshly worded screed and a blank cheque book, condemning it as the downfall of America.


As others have pointed out, the Bush administration (largely viewed by actual economists as one of the worst fiscal administrations in the history of this country) is chock a block full of CATO types.


Unfortunately for all of us, libertarianism is another example of a one-size-fits-all ideology that sounds great on paper but simply doesn't work in the real world where things are far more complex. Unfortunately it is looking more and more likely that we are only going to learn this lesson the same way that the Soviet Union learned (and in many ways, is still learning) about the problems with communism.

Re:All aboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968059)

Yeah, because what you just said fits in so well with the subject of this article. Are you French?

Re:All aboard. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968140)

Libertarianism has about as much credibility as Communism.

Among ACs on slashdot, perhaps. To the rest of the world, the tens of millions of people killed by the commies tends to put them quite a ways into the negative category.

Thanks for playing, pinkbot.

-jcr

Real World (1)

bobbuck (675253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968234)

When has Libertarianism failed in the real world?

Re:All aboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967895)

It won't matter. The Republican politicians want that which will give them power and the DMCA gives them power. They like to claim that they want smaller government control, but its not true. In general, less government control is an advantage to them, but where its advantageous, they'll pass laws like the DMCA. Anyway, just to be clear, this doesn't apply to real people republicans, just the politicans. For that matter, it applies to a lot of Democratic politicians too.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it bugs me that they claim to want smaller government.

Re:All aboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967906)

Sorry, but not all "right-wingers" believe the way you think. My conservative friends and I have been against DMCA since it was first proposed. Fortunately this article sums up our sentiment quite well, and I will be using it as a resource to confound those people I know who think DMCA is either "no big deal" or a good thing.

more paper (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967763)

I hate to be dramatic, but as a country we're way past cordial discourse and publishing papers -- and we should be on towards arming ourselves and demonstrating in the streets.

Re:more paper (3, Interesting)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967835)

If you hold cordial discourse and publish papers, those in power will be more inclined to listen to you, especially if those in power have agreed with you in the past. If you arm yourself and demonstrate in the streets, you're branded a nut and hauled off to jail for weapons violations, and noone pays any attention to you.

The important thing with this story here is that we have a significant victory. We, the DMCA opposing people of the country, have succeeded in convincing an organization with considerable influence with those who disagree with us that we're right. Now, this gives our lobbiests, such as the EFF and FSF, some significant ammuntion when trying to convince congress that the DMCA is a bad thing. Maybe there's some hope after all.

Re:more paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967985)

Actually, I stopped paying attention when you wrote NO ONE as one word. Do you write "that one" or "this one" as one word?

Pirates (1, Interesting)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967779)

I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.

Re:Pirates (0)

Whalou (721698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967789)

Yarr!!

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967802)

Yes, we prefer to be called "ninjas".

Re:Pirates (4, Funny)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967810)

I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.
I agree. In fact, while we're busy insisting that words can't take on new meaning or have multiple meanings, I wish they'd stop referring to "executing" software unless they were killing it, or "running" it unless the softwere grew legs and ran away.

Re:Pirates (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967857)

While we're at it, I hear there are people out there who spell things "colour" and "tyres". And the japanese use funny squiggles to spell those words!

Human language: it's unambiguous and somewhat inefficient. Get over it.

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967945)

Human language: it's unambiguous and somewhat inefficient. Get over it.

Anyone else see the irony here?

Re:Pirates (3, Funny)

MicktheMech (697533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967983)

While we're at it, I hear there are people out there who spell things "colour" and "tyres". And the japanese use funny squiggles to spell those words!

Human language: it's unambiguous and somewhat inefficient. Get over it.

That joke doesn't work when you use the right spelling. Remember, it's called "English", not "American".

Re:Pirates (1)

Popcorn Dave (819721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968057)

I agree. In fact, while we're busy insisting that words can't take on new meaning or have multiple meanings, I wish they'd stop referring to "executing" software unless they were killing it, or "running" it unless the softwere grew legs and ran away.

You're close. You can call it "running" if you have a jockey riding it around a track being chased by 7-8 other programs also ridden by jockeys.

Re:Pirates (0, Redundant)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967871)

What is it called when someone is sharing something that is copyrighted ?

The good thing about the DMCA is that it helps people protect thier image. If you discovered that a friends image was being used for promoting porn sites, they would want to have somethig there to help them.

As far as other companies 'stifling innovation', Lexmark was told that the DMCA wouldnt apply to them. They were going after 3rd party inkers.

I think that its important for there to be a level playing field. No matter what kind of law exists, someone wont like it.

WHy is it ok for the opensource people to take companies to court over GPL violations, when other companies go after you, for violating thier terms?

Re:Pirates (1)

Big_Al_B (743369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967877)

I've always wondered if, when a pirate's ship sinks, he can get a bank to float him a loan to get back on the high seas.

And then I wonder if the loan officer has any pirated music or software on his work computer.

I get confused sometimes, but I do manage to keep my shoes laces tied in knots. How fast is that in mph?

Re:Pirates (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967947)

Why? It's a definition of the word:

2. One who preys on others; a plunderer.
3. One who makes use of or reproduces the work of another without authorization.
4. One that operates an unlicensed, illegal television or radio station.

a rose by any other name and all that.

I heard the "Undercover Economist" on the radio the other day, and his comment about piracy in China was a reminder that once the US was like China to England - book publishers in the US blantently copied the works of Dickens, he didn't get a penny from US sales. But eventually US authors like Mark Twain and others pressured congress for better laws and enforcement so they could make a living writing and that helped make it possible for US author to exist.

Re:Pirates (2, Funny)

Jambon (880922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968135)

I wish people would stop calling people who share software, pirates.

But we YARRRRR pirates! I don't know about yerself, mate, but when I gets me music, I goes into the music store cutlass in hand, killing employees left and right before I make off with the latest Jessica Simpson!! Yarrr, she be a good-lookin' lass...if only I could plunder her.....

Re:Pirates (1)

Jambon (880922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968171)

Yarrr. I spoke to soon. This is about software, isn't it. I apologize, mate. Your mention of piracy just make me think of all the booty I've acquired.....

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968200)

I hope you don't mind if I share your car the next time I see it parked on a dark side street.

Karma whore.

CATO? (4, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967782)

Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things. Will this report reach the ears of politicians / mass media, or will it go largely unnoticed except by slashdot? I don't think we are going to see the DMCA revoked unless the public cares enough to put pressure on their representatives, and honestly the public isn't informed enough to care. So will this report help mobize people or are they just preaching to the choir?

Re:CATO? (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967860)

Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things.

Perhaps not very, but they're certainly a lot more influential than the EFF, for example, so I would say this is a good thing.

Re:CATO? (5, Informative)

centie (911828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967868)

Well, according to http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A42525-20 05Feb21?language=printer [washingtonpost.com]
Nowadays, Cato alumni are everywhere in the Bush administration and in groups advancing the president's Social Security initiative. Former Cato analyst Andrew G. Biggs is an associate commissioner of the Social Security Administration. The director of the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, Derrick A. Max, previously worked for Abdnor (when she was at Cato) and for Weaver (when she was at the American Enterprise Institute)...
..and theres several more. So I'd think this is at least likely to be noticed by politicians and the media, if they take any notice or not is a different matter though..

Re:CATO? (5, Funny)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967882)

Cato is very important. He attacks when you least expect it, to keep your defences sharp. Unfortunately he usually winds up being beaten into submission.

In related news, the CEO of Disney started channeling Peter Sellers earlier today, and was heard to say "Cato! You imbecile! Not now!" and "Cato... Cato... Where are you my little yellow friend?"

Re:CATO? (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968035)

Beaten into submission? Have you forgotten that he helped bring about the utter destruction of Carthage? Carthago delenda est.

Re:CATO? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967908)

Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things.

How important is any think-tank? How important is Academia?

-jcr

Re:CATO? (1)

Big_Al_B (743369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967918)

Generally speaking, Libertarians preach to a very dedicated, very small choir.

Occasionally one of their messages will get mainstream traction, but I'm betting that this is too esoteric to resonate with the mainstream.

Re:CATO? (2, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967925)

Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things. Will this report reach the ears of politicians / mass media, or will it go largely unnoticed except by slashdot? I don't think we are going to see the DMCA revoked unless the public cares enough to put pressure on their representatives, and honestly the public isn't informed enough to care. So will this report help mobize people or are they just preaching to the choir?

The CATO institute is a libertarian think-tank that is largely embraced by the American right wing-conservative movement. Although I doubt the likes of President Bush cares what CATO says, the true intellectuals of that branch give much credit and respect to the CATO institute, and will take them seriously. The CATO institute has very little credibility with the mainstream of the Democratic party, but honest left wing-liberals will also give this report due consideration because they give EVERYTHING due consideration no matter how meritless (or merited).

In other words, this does matter.

Re:CATO? (0, Troll)

eris23007 (958564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967982)

...honest left wing-liberals will also give this report due consideration because they give EVERYTHING due consideration no matter how meritless (or merited).

Then I've met terribly few honest left-wing liberals, I'm sorry to say.... and I lived in the SF Bay Area for over two years, too.

I wish I could say differently... :-(

Re:CATO? (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968014)

Then I've met terribly few honest left-wing liberals, I'm sorry to say.... and I lived in the SF Bay Area for over two years, too.

I wish I could say differently... :-(

I've met very few honest people on either end of the political spectrum. Very few who actually listen to the argument of the opposition and either rebut it with facts and logic or, if they cannot do that, accept it as valid until they can. But when you get away from the mainstream media and politicians and armchair pundits and start digging into the real think tanks on each side, you find people engaged in honest intellectual analysis of the issues. You find a true debate. The CATO Instutute would qualify as being a part of this on the right. I honestly don't know who I'd put in that category on the left, but there are a lot of fair and honest left-wing liberals, even in the mainstream media. I'd put Tim Russert in that category. He doesn't always ask the questions I wish he'd ask, but his hardball-to-softball ratio for liberals vs conservatives is more even than most. I'd put John Stewart in that category as well. I've seen him ask questions of liberal guests that nobody else asks. There are plenty out there who want an honest debate and look across the spectrum of opinion and say, "who is there on the right that cares about ideas?"

But if you're looking for an honest intellectual engagement at The Daily Kos, you're not going to find it.

Re:CATO? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968153)

The CATO Instutute would qualify as being a part of this on the right.

You're giving far too much credit to the right.

-jcr

Re:CATO? (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968139)

CATO is very influential with the current administration. They're very powerful.

I generally hate their opinions, but in this case I guess they figured that even big business (their prime constituency) can get bitten by the DMCA.

Re:CATO? (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968172)

CATO is very influential with the current administration.

I wish!

Last time I checked, the current administration is still spending money like water, pouring out corporate welfare, fighting against cancer patients who need pot for medical purposes, and spending my tax money to keep same-sex couples from marrying.

-jcr

CATO is a MAJOR Washington DC think tank (2, Informative)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968193)

Exactlty how important is CATO in the scheme of things. Will this report reach the ears of politicians / mass media, or will it go largely unnoticed except by slashdot? I don't think we are going to see the DMCA revoked unless the public cares enough to put pressure on their representatives, and honestly the public isn't informed enough to care. So will this report help mobize people or are they just preaching to the choir?

They are THE libertarian think tank and one of the top think tanks in the nation. (Some other top think tanks are Hoover Institution, Heritage, AEI, and Brookings)

People on the more libertarian side of the Republican party will take it seriously. Personally, I love CATO, but many people will dismiss anything CATO does out of hand because they are libertarian. They are for legalization of drugs, private accounts for Social Security, Health Savings Accounts, school vouchers, repeal of Health Information Privacy Act, etc...

As I said, they are read and respected, but libertarians and people sympathetic to more libertarian ideas are (unfortunately IMHO) a small percentage of congress and the population.

Jesse Helms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967783)

If I remember correctly even Jesse Helms (the ORIGINAL SPONSOR of the DMCA) was criticizing the abuses of the DMCA just before he left office. This is simply one of the most unambiguously badly written laws in American legislative history.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967790)

The DMCA is anti-competitive and turns digital media players into annoyances? Really? Just when I thought I was the only one who thought rootkits were bad for me.

translation... (2, Interesting)

zen611 (903428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967796)

translation:

I'm glad you can't sell content for my box! Oh, wait...You mean I can't sell content for your box either?

In the end, it won't make much difference (4, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967800)

In the end, this won't make a bit of difference in the U.S. until it costs corporations money.

Look at patents. People knowledgable about patents and software have almost universally criticized software & business method patents, but the only reason congress and the patent office is starting to look at it is because its costing big corporations money.

You see, the trouble is, when you have people like Alan Greespan saying more copyrights and patents are vital to the U.S.'s economic growth, when congress perceives the entertainment industry as being the growth engine for the U.S. economy, then its tough for congress to vote against these kinds of laws.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Speeches/2 003/20030404/default.htm [federalreserve.gov]
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2004/march3/ greenspan-33.html [stanford.edu]

Until these same companies feel a pinch from the DMCA, it doesn't matter what the real impact of the law is, it's the message that's carried by the press, by the fed chairman, by the heads of industry such as Bill Gates that will determine the fate of the DMCA.

You mean like Microsoft? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967836)

In the end, this won't make a bit of difference in the U.S. until it costs corporations money.

DRM is costing Microsoft and plenty of other companies big time - by allowing Apple to have a strnglehold on the industry. Would Apple's position be as lofty if every online music store sold MP3's?

I'd probably still have an iPod but not ALL my online purchases would be going to Apple.

Re:You mean like Microsoft? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967885)

Would Apple's position be as lofty if every online music store sold MP3's?

Yes, actually. iTunes+iPod was already well on the way to a dominant market share before the iTMS existed.

-jcr

Re:You mean like Microsoft? (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968025)

Oh they don't like it now. But if/when Apple no longer has the stranglehold, then there is a chance for someone else to have that same stranglehold. Like Microsoft. It's just like most revolutions. Someone doesn't like the king so they start a revolution for ... another king, who does the same stupid things, but this time they're the one in charge. MS will not argue against the DMCA because of Apple's dominance as long as there is a chance that they can be the one with the dominance.

Re:In the end, it won't make much difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968123)

"when you have people like Alan Greespan saying more copyrights and patents are vital to the U.S.'s economic growth"

Greenspan:
"yet an excess of rules--in the extreme case, central planning--has also been shown to stifle initiative and produce economic stagnation."

Re:In the end, it won't make much difference (3, Informative)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968147)

I have to say, I read both pages you linked to (at least where they started talking about intellectual property), and I can't say I disagree with him, at least from an economic standpoint. If you have a moral objection to IP, he probably won't sway you much. Let's look at a few of his statements.

"Whether we protect intellectual property as an inalienable right or as a privilege vouchsafed by the sovereign, such protection inevitably entails making some choices that have crucial implications for the balance we strike between the interests of those who innovate and those who would benefit from innovation." A balance between the benefit of society and the benefit of the inventor? I can live with that. I have no problem with giving someone enough time to make good on their idea before all the me-toos jump on the bandwagon. Where that balance lies is the crucial thing, though.

"Of particular current relevance to our economy overall is the application of property right protection to information technology. A noticeable component of the surge in the trend growth of the economy in recent years arguably reflects the synergy of laser and fiber optic technologies in the 1960s and 1970s." Uh oh, he's talking about IP in the IT world, almost sounds scary. But his next statement is about hardware, and highly technical hardware no less. This is the closest he gets to talking about software patents. I'd love to hear him address that issue specifically, but so far, I can't disagree. IT has often piggy-backed on the IP of other areas, most notably because it's usually implemented as an abstract (virtual, if you prefer) version of a physical object. Other times it's because of the improvements of physical items that has increased the capacity of equipment used in the IT world.

"The dramatic gains in information technology have markedly improved the ability of businesses to identify and address incipient economic imbalances before they inflict significant damage. These gains reflect new advances in both the physical and the conceptual realms. It is imperative to find the appropriate intellectual property regime for each." That sounds suspiciously like "IP needs different protections for physical inventions versus conceptual inventions, and different rules may apply" to me. Again, an astute observation, and more obvious from an economic standpoint than most others. The IT world behaves differently than much of the physical world - why would we expect treating them the same to work without problems?

That's just a few of the things he has to say. I strongly recommend anyone who is concerned about IP, especially the economic impact of IP, read that speech. He's pointing the way to both criteria to test if IP law is effective, and means to formulate a solution to any problems found in IP law. If you can't get rid of IP law altogether (and I'm not sure I want to), at least arguments like his could guide us towards a more rational implementation. And all in an economic fashion, which matters far more to government than opinions, feelings, or ideals these days.

Like I always say... (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967811)

DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective

Like I always say, the only way to prevent people from doing something is to make them to not want to do it. (The last part of that sentence is a grammatical headache.) For example, why do people pirate music? Personally, I use P2P networks because the MPAA & Co. is jacking prices way too high. If I can get it cheaper somewhere else, I will, and you can't beat free. (Actually, it's mostly because I can't get the music I want anywhere, really, but that's beside the point.) Other people may do it because they want to "stick it to the man". The man is, of course, the MPAA. Why do they want to "stick it to them"? Because they have too much power.
This pretty much sums up a free market, too--the people decide which companies stay and which go.

Re:Like I always say... (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967978)

Like I always say, the only way to prevent people from doing something is to make them to not want to do it.

There are two ways to say this, depending on a subtlety of your intended meaning. If you mean to describe them as actively against a thing, you would say "to make them want not to do it".

If you mean merely not to be for a thing, you would say "to make them not want to do it".

In any case, avoid splitting the infinitive ("to" + verb). Think of the infinitive form as a single word, and it's a lot easier to figure out what to say.

do something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967816)

wonder if Cato would sign these? anyone care to write them and ask?

http://ipaction.org/principles.html [ipaction.org]

oh, and if you haven't signed yet, now's a good time.

CATO conservative? Right-wing? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967822)

CATO is libertarian. CATO's consistent criticism against interventionism and the drug war hardly puts them in the mainstream of right-wing conservatism.

"Left versus right." (5, Informative)

Captain Scurvy (818996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967942)

Cato is to the right. Cato promotes free market (i.e., classical) liberalism. Main stream conservatism, otherwise known as neoconservatism, is a mish-mash of collectivism with some vague lip-service to (classical) liberalism thrown in. Have a look at some of the writings by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, et al. These are your right-wingers. Compare these writings to the writings of Irving Kristol, who started the neoconservative movement. They are ideologically incompatible.

Re:"Left versus right." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968022)

Just to show you how screwed up the American political system is, I've been reading publications and papers from the Cato insitute for about 8 or 9 years now. I find them about 75% ideologically consistent with my personal thinking, and I'm a Democrat.

Re:"Left versus right." (5, Insightful)

eris23007 (958564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968129)

Mod Scurvy's post up. It's about time more people understood that "conservative" is not a swear word. I suspect a whole lot more of you slashdotters lean for more libertarian than you realize. That has been the case frequently over conversations I've had with a number of liberal friends, once they actually started listening to my arguments instead of blindly reacting against the conservative bogeyman.

Incidentally, Cato is far more pragmatic and realistic than the Libertarian party. I know a number of folks who are trying to make the LP more Cato-like in its platform (as opposed to anarcho-capitalist), and if they are successful, the LP could very well become an intriguing, influential 3rd party in this country. Keep an eye on this, as it may turn out to be a tremendous way to escape the current domination of the Democans and the Republicrats.

One such individual is the guy I voted for Congress in 2004 when I used to live in Silicon Valley. Interesting fellow, software engineer at Yahoo. Holds a set of viewpoints broadly compatible with my own, despite a few disagreements over specifics. This is the guy who bet voters $2 that they could read his website and still decide they didn't want to vote for him or somesuch. He's pretty active in the Libertarian Party of CA trying to get them to come up with a platform that's somewhat practical, as opposed to purely ideological and idealistic. His website (a great read): http://marketliberal.org/ [marketliberal.org] - go check it out.

Re:"Left versus right." (2, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968166)

This is intentional, a standard divide and conquer tactic. Instead of people choosing economic freedoms AND personal freedoms, all to often the enemies of freedom try to force one to fignt against the other.

But now we have the internet, and dividing culture that way is becomming a lot harder. That most likely means that the contention and divisions are going to be more international (like islam vs the west), and that there will be a major shakeup in the two party system.

I wouldn't be supprised if the Democratic party got killed, the libertarian democrats and the libertarian rebuplicans join into a new party, and the religious right stays Republican.

Re:"Left versus right." (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968169)

It's almost as if an either-or (left vs. right) distinction fails to adequately describe all political views (even all popular views). Saying Cato is to the right or to the left ignores all of the different ways an entity can lean towards what government's role (or lack thereof) should be in all different possible spheres.

I disagree with your assertion that mainstream conservatism is synonymous with neoconservatism. Certainly, the Bush administration is neoconservative, but are their views mainstream? I think many mainstream conservatives support the Bush administration do so because of his domestic-social policies/views (abortion, homosexuals, etc...) and not necessarily his fiscal and/or foregin policies. Maybe your definition of a mainstream conservative differs from mine.

Misleading (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967858)

Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

I take exception to the woring this phrase, for the use of "little to stop pirates" implies that there might actually exist some for of DRM that would in fact ever stop piracy, especially the real pirates and not just mislabled fourty-year old women.

Re:Misleading (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968119)

I take exception to the woring this phrase, for the use of "little to stop pirates" implies that there might actually exist some for of DRM that would in fact ever stop piracy, especially the real pirates and not just mislabled fourty-year old women.
Actually, the phrase is clearly referring to "DRM technologies" in general. If it had said "current DRM technologies" you might have a legitimate concern about the wording.

Hurting Consumers in more ways than one (3, Insightful)

Geekbot (641878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967870)

The DMCA hurts consumers in more than one way.

First, it hurts the end user or consumer by imposing government restrictions on how we use things that we "own". Or more to the point, we no longer own things that we buy.

It also hurts us that we don't see competition. This means higher prices, collusion, price gouging, and all the other nasties that come along with pseudo-monopolies.

We are further harmed by the lack of new jobs and opportunities. Real growth for our country is not in the 1000+ employee multinational corporations, but in the small companies employing 25 or less employees. The DMCA seriously harms innovation and prohibits companies that are more truly American companies from growing, making money, paying taxes, and employing more workers.

And we get the short end of the stick when these companies no longer need to innovate from the unnatural monopoly caused by the DMCA protects them from newer, more competent competitors. Not only do we not see the innovative, improved, products from fresher companies, we also see outdated technology from the companies that have lost the need to improve in a free market system.

Re:Hurting Consumers in more ways than one (2, Insightful)

Harry Coin (691835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968079)

First, it hurts the end user or consumer by imposing government restrictions on how we use things that we "own". Or more to the point, we no longer own things that we buy.

The problem is not "government" restrictions, but government enforcement of private restrictions. The DMCA allows corporations to renegotiate the terms of a sale at their whim. There's a long and sound tradition of case law covering the purchase of goods. (doctrine of first sale, fair use, reverse engineering, etc..) This gets thrown out the window when a company employs even utterly ineffective cryptographic measures. In short, I believe that this allows companies to unilaterally alter long-held traditions concerning private property.

CATO (0, Offtopic)

Shakes268 (856460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967876)

Isn't that a women's clothing store?

A brief political science lesson... (1)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967938)

Libertarians are effectively traditional conservatives and still share much of their political philosophy with the Republicans. They come out with many studies, traditionally siding with Republicans and Libertarians. Many leftist groups have labeled them as a right-wing group.

Re:A brief political science lesson... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968223)

Many leftist groups have labeled them as a right-wing group.

Yeah, and plenty of bible-thumpers have labeled them satanists for supporting abortion rights. So what?

-jcr

Here's another good read by Cory Dotorow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14967941)

http://www.msversus.org/node/234 [msversus.org]

This article is along the same lines but gives a few more real world examples. It was actually a presentation given to Microsoft.

Cage Match! (2, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967966)

Cato has clout. Especially in a Republican Congress, where any support from Hollywierd and the music industry is, shall we say, less than whole-hearted.

Looks like this is going to come around to a very interesting game of bedfellow swapping:

  • On one side, the nominally populist Democrats supporting:
    • the fat cats of the Content Cartel (mainly because they get a lot of nonmonetary support from that quarter) and
    • the very biggest of tech firms (the biggest of big business) vs.
  • The Republicans (who talk a better personal-liberty line than they deliver) supporting
    • The relatively libertarian thinktanks (Cato, etc.)
    • the smaller tech firms, and
    • Actual citizens (don't read too much into this.)

I'll get the beer if you bring the pretzels -- this should be fun to watch going into an off-year election. Wonder if any of our Ruling Class are going to make a campaign issue of it?

CATO == dorks (-1, Troll)

Dhar (19056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14967975)

Ever since I heard a CATO "expert" explain that gas prices were so high because a lot of people were topping off their tanks at the gas station, I kinda take whatever they say with a grain of salt...

-g.

Re:CATO == dorks (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968034)

Ever since I heard a Slashdot "expert" explain that the CATO Institute was a bunch of dorks without providing a link to a source, I kinda take whatever they say with a grain of salt...

Re:CATO == dorks (1)

Dhar (19056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968053)

I would, but the guy was being interviewed on the radio. The radio station in question only hangs onto recordings for 24 hours and even when I want to save a show I forget to. So, lost to entropy, it is.

And I never claimed to be an expert, tho I'm flattered you think I am.

-g.

Re:CATO == dorks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968104)

You failed economics 101 didn't you?

Re:CATO == dorks (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968196)

Sounds to me like you took a quote out of context, rather than actually finding out what the man said.

-jcr

Highly Misleading (1)

JBEdgeworth (962496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968028)

It gives copyright holders--and the technology companies that distribute their content--the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Alas, Section 1202(f) explicitly states that the DMCA: "This exception permits circumvention and the development of technological means for such circumvention, by a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a copy of a computer program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing elements of the program necessary to achieve interoperability with other programs ... to the extent that such acts are permitted under copyright law." The CATO Institute provides no reference to the legal backdrop regarding the efforts of these exceptions of Section 1202, to the multitude of the same inculpable constituents that it references under Section 109 under the Sale Doctrine, and again in Title II, Section 512. The CATO Institute also never provides details to the "clumsy and ineffective" installments of the DMCA. Their assessment is rough-hewn, at best.

Re:Highly Misleading (1)

JBEdgeworth (962496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968046)

It gives copyright holders--and the technology companies that distribute their content--the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them.
Alas, Section 1202(f) explicitly states that the DMCA: "This exception permits circumvention and the development of technological means for such circumvention, by a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a copy of a computer program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing elements of the program necessary to achieve interoperability with other programs ... to the extent that such acts are permitted under copyright law." The CATO Institute provides no reference to the legal backdrop regarding the efforts of these exceptions of Section 1202, to the multitude of the same inculpable constituents that it references under Section 109 under the Sale Doctrine, and again in Title II, Section 512. The CATO Institute also never provides details to the "clumsy and ineffective" installments of the DMCA. Their assessment is rough-hewn, at best.

My comments... (0, Redundant)

Onymous Hero (910664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968064)

I work for the CATO institute and helped write this paper, so I am really getting a kick out of most of these replies. Some of you guys are very good at making it sound like you know what you are talking about.

But trust me.... You don't.

I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you dont know what you are talking about. This is how bad info gets passed around. If you dont know about the topic....Don't make yourself sound like you do.

Because some Slashdotters believe anything they hear.

Yeah... "work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14968118)

"I work for the CATO institute"

Getting coffee for the real people who work there doesn't count as "work".

In any event, I pass by the Cato institute every day, and I'll bet you can't even tell me the street name or the closest traffic circle. So stop pretending.

Re:My comments... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968165)

I work for the CATO institute and helped write this paper
[...]
Because some Slashdotters believe anything they hear.

I don't believe you. I did a google search and no one called "onymous hero" was credited for anything on CATO's site.

More seriously though, you just came off like a complete and total ass. If I believed that you worked for them, I would now have even less respect for CATO than I do now.

Luckily, I don't believe anything I read. Including, now, anything I see with your name on it.

Re:My comments... (0, Flamebait)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968227)

Ha! Ha! You got 0wned by a Fark cliche!!!!111!

It's not CATO... (3, Informative)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968128)

It's "The Cato Institute" http://www.cato.org/about/about.html [cato.org] . CATO doesn't spell out anything. It's "Cato", named after "Cato's Letters" -- used as anonymous treatises pro-American Revolution by some founding fathers, named after an ancient Roman "Cato", who wrote against tyranny and oppression in his day and age.

The pendulum swings (1)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968190)

Copyright, and fair use have been a pendulum swinging from consumers to creators and back over the last 100 years or more, it started with player pianos, and the phonograph, then radio/tv, then consumer recorders, and so on.

This is a step in pushing the pendulum back, as is, I believe the forthcoming HDMI/HDCP time-bomb. Just stick to it and the pendulum will go back. When we win, the media comenies win too, look at radio, look at vinal/tape/CD...

Let not your heart be troubled and keep up the good fight.

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