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EFF and Dvorak Blame the Digg Revolt On Lawyers

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the jet-fuel-on-a-fire dept.

Censorship 262

enharmonix writes "A bit of an update on the recent Digg revolt over AACS. The NYTimes has taken notice and written quite a decent article that actually acknowledges that the take-down notices amount to censorship and documents instances of the infamous key appearing in purely expressive form. I was pleased to see the similarity to 2600 and deCSS was not lost on the Times either. More interesting is that the EFF's Fred von Lohmann blames the digg revolt on lawyers. And in an opinion piece, John Dvorak expands on that theme."

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Digg is the most childish site ever.. (0, Flamebait)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016317)

Why even mention it on slashdot? To make a bunch of 14 year olds happy?

Re:Digg is the most childish site ever.. (5, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016471)

I think it is on slashdot because the whole Digg revolt is actually showing a new socio-political form of protest, bringing civil disobedience into the virtual world. Before you would have to show up to a rally, carry a big sign, shout and chant stuff and then get beat up by police with nightsticks, peppersprayed, shot with rubber bullets, tear gassed, ect... but who has the time or energy for that these days.

Sit at home, find a piece of info that some company does not want the world to know and post it onto a site like Digg, Slashdot or some other popular site and kick back and watch the fireworks. The reason it is/was so successful was because of the response it got from AACS-LA, they issued hundreds or thousands of DMCA take-down notices. If it looked like they did not give a crap then odds are high that nothing would have happened.

This is 100% the result of a big bad corporation deciding to try and stomp on the rights of the consumers and citizens and in this case instead of laying down and taking their beating like a good citizen is supposed to they stood up and gave AACS-LA a kick in the balls. Trying to censor something is the quickest way to make sure everyone knows about it.

Plus sometimes it takes a childish tantrum to get people to take a look at a real problem (DMCA)

Re:Digg is the most childish site ever.. (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016555)

I though it was more along the digg wasn't paid to adjust reality and they are fighting to retain their right to sell the ability to mould their forum posters opinions. Like google they only censor and mod up for profit, never ever for free ;).

Re:Digg is the most childish site ever.. (-1, Flamebait)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016641)

So basically, digg users spammed themselves and you call it a noble protest. Cool. If digg weren't already so trashy, this concept could be quite interesting.

Re:Digg is the most childish site ever.. (4, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016937)

The more they push, the harder we push back.

That summarizes it pretty well too.

They pushed very hard with the thousands of DCMA take downs and we pushed back, taking out a popular site in the process.

Re:Digg is the most childish site ever.. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016575)

Slashdot wants to glean as much advertising revenue as it can: That is its mandate ever since it was bought out.

Since Digg has a larger audience now, it is in Slashdot's best interest to do what it can to lure traffic from there, and other more popular sites, so as to drive up revenue.

That is why this is mentioned here.

And, it's NOT a bad thing! We can withstand the occassional swarm of "Diggiots", I think, if it will help generate money for Slashdot, right?

Once this article fades into obscurity, we can go back to our normal discussions: You know - why copyright infringement is a bad thing, if it's something GPL'd, but it's OK, if it's a "big nasty, greedy corporation".

Or, why we should all collectively bow down before Apple, as the more vociferous fanbois don kneepads and jockey for position in the long line that has been formed here to suck Steve Jobs' aging dick.

Then, we'll get to do it all over again, when the "editors" dupe the articles.

By no means are my defending lawyers (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016345)

esp. the business/IP type.. but don't the EFF have/employ a lot of lawyers?

Re:By no means are my defending lawyers (3, Funny)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016425)

By no means are my defending lawyers
Me Fail English? That's Unpossible!

You might be a Redneck AACS lawyer if... (5, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016537)

you digg your own grave rather than rob anothers.

Re:By no means are my defending lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016429)

And the sky is blue.

Re:By no means are my defending lawyers (3, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016443)

Well, they aren't blaming ALL lawyers, obviously.

Maybe a better thing to blame is "lawyer-like approaches" to this sort of problem.

Yeah, yeah... (5, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016359)

Blame the lawyers instead of figuring out a reasonable approach to DRM that doesn't burden the consumers while protecting the producers. The worst part is that some of these now blamed lawyers will run for Congress to make a bigger mess.

Re:Yeah, yeah... (5, Insightful)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016831)

I agree that lawyers are not to blame for this. Lawyers are normally hired by an organization, and assigned to whatever issue it is that the organization hired them for. Hacking at the branches of the tree will not solve anything.

Other than that, however, I have to disagree. As far as I can tell, there is no "reasonable" DRM. "Reasonable" DRM is a paradox. It would defeat its own purpose. No, I believe all DRM, no matter how cute and cuddly it may seem to be (*ahem* FairPlay), should be completely outlawed. It serves only one purpose: the circumvention of fair use, yet it is cloaked as an "anti-piracy" measure. In my mind, the only solution to the problem is to ban it, and prosecute those companies that do not comply.

Re:Yeah, yeah... (3, Interesting)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017085)

As for the lawyers, they were just being lawyers.

When the bottom fell out of the Internet Boom, and all those startups, which had beem generating constant stream of contracts, and privacy policies, and mergers, and all sorts of legal documents, all went under. Well not all of them, but enough of them. Probably half of the slashdot audience worked for at least one...

So all of a sudden, no one had new contracts. No one was buying out the new startups. No one really new what all those lawyers in the company's legal department really did. And all the people gettling layed off were particularly curious why their team was decimated (heh.. like the music industry), when there were so many lawyers sitting around doing nothing. So they had to justify themselves. And.. well... you know. The Constitution never explicitly granted the right to duplicate copyrighted materials on the Internet. Not explicitly (how could it have?). It didn't deny those rightseither, which technically is how it works for most things... but I digress. Where was I...

Right. So everyone putting anything online was surely violating someone's copyright or trademark, and later when people started putting programs online, they could violate patents! Woohoo! Paperwork galore! And lawyers LOOOOOVES them some paperwork!

I got a C&D way back in 1995. I had a web page with a live camera looking at a [CENSORED} Lamp that I had on my desk. And I mistakingly titled the page "Check out my Groovy [CENSORED] Lamp!" and had a flowery background and that lame sort of slang we think our parents used to say. After a while I got a cease and decist from ... how should i say it... "Lava Lamp" is a trademark of Haggerty Enterprises. And I was apparently causing irreparable harm by having called my Lava Lamp (TM of Haggerty Enterprises) a Lava Lamp, and having pictures of it on the Internet. I was in a hurry, so I did a search/replace of "Lava" with "[CENSORED]" and left it at that.

So anyway, I guess the writing was on the wall, but I didn't see it yet. But that's what lawyers were doing on the internet before anyone was really even looking at it.

Move forward to 2000, and now there's millions of lawyers that need to make themselves useful in the quickest and easiest way possible. Hypothetically, I mean.

I hope that covers my ass...

Re:Yeah, yeah... (5, Insightful)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016975)

Can you really blame them, what with all the newfound name recognition?

But better: Its freaking working! Here I was thinking that nothing I do can change the system. Then we add a few numbers in our sigs, and what have you, and now Dvorak is spouting off stuff that actually makes sense for once! ;)

"The music industry is decimated" (John D.). Hellaf'in yeah, it is! I don't buy CDs anymore. I don't "steal" music either. I boycott it. I started boycotting the RIAA labels and their artists when Napster (the real one) got taken down. And now, only 8 years later, the mainstream press is getting the message. Napster (the REAL one) wasn't hurting anyone, or hurting business models. When Napster was running, CDs were selling like never before. When Napster went down, CD sales started to drop. There is no data that says otherwise, and the RIAA's own reported stats show it.

Even digg.com is going to become a household word over this. And just yesterday, my dad would have sworn "digging" is something you do with a shovel.

When "exploit ignorance through rampant douchebaggery" stops being the primary business model operating in the US (and I do think its primarily here, in the US), I'll be much, much happier.

well, DANG, hammer meet nail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017093)

that's the best descriptive phrase I have read all year so far, thanks!

"exploit ignorance through rampant douchebaggery"

Re:Yeah, yeah... (2, Insightful)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017111)

Blame the lawyers instead of figuring out a reasonable approach to DRM that doesn't burden the consumers while protecting the producers.

They used to call those 'laws'.

AACS-LA should learn... (4, Interesting)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016377)

...that trying to issue a thousands of DMCA take down notices is the fastest way to proliferate something :)

Oh yeah and the fact that DMCA take down notices only apply to servers in the US.

Re:AACS-LA should learn... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016637)

What is interesting is that Google (for example) lists the sites that have been removed due to DMCA, yes. I first saw this in the case when the Church of Scientology tried to use DMCA to de-list pages critical to them.

The effect is precisely not what the people who invoked DMCA wanted to happen, though.

Google is basically saying "Okay, we would have shown you these sites, but we were told not to". Charlie dies in the season finale. And people are far more curious about seemingly forbidden knowledge =)

Let us rejoice that Google still can tell that the sites were censored and is not required to act ignorant ("DMCA-delisted site? Where? We have no DMCA-delisted sites here, no sir, and if we did, they would be, after all, delisted!").

Re:AACS-LA should learn... (2, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016649)

...that trying to issue a thousands of DMCA take down notices is the fastest way to proliferate something :)

It also has the added side benefit (for the lawyers) of racking up thousands of billable hours in record time...

-=Geoskd

Takedown notice? (2, Interesting)

lunartik (94926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016381)

Was Digg ever given a takedown notice? I haven't followed this since the original flap over it, but at the time it seemed like Digg cowered at the idea that maybe they could get in legal trouble (or lose an advertiser).

When Digg changed their tune, some users rejoiced that Digg was now going to fight for them, possibly at the cost of the site. Digg even made a solemn pronouncement that they were taking some brave and bold step. But there was never any evidence of any fight. If there was a threat or takedown notice, Digg should have posted that.

Re:Takedown notice? (3, Informative)

BenFranske (646563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016477)

My understanding is that they were. The issue is that a takedown notice applies only to the posting(s) mentioned and new postings should require additional takedown notices. Digg was proactively removing postings before receieving additional takedown notices which users took to be them "caving" and which resulted in the revolt. At least that's how I understand it.

Re:Takedown notice? (5, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016765)

The issue is that a takedown notice applies only to the posting(s) mentioned and new postings should require additional takedown notices.
Did you read the FA? The safe harbor provisions may not apply, since this is not a copyrighted work that is at issue -- the claim is that the number formed part of a circumvention device and that continued hosting of it anywhere on a site makes the hoster liable.

Re:Takedown notice? (5, Informative)

BenFranske (646563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017173)

I did read the article and I do concede that in the takedown letters they state "Refrain from posting or causing to be provided any AACS circumvention offering or from assisting others in doing so, including by direct links thereto, on any website now or at any time in the future." However, I question how reasonable this is. First, there is the untested (AFAIK) issue if such a short string of numbers is really a circumvention device. We're not talking about code (eg. DeCSS) which actually does something, this is just a string of numbers. If this is ruled to be part of a circumvention device we're in trouble because by that logic the first part of the string '09' would be a part of a circumvention device and prohibiting people from distributing the number 9 would be rather unfortunate. Secondly, I don't think other recipients of takedown notices (eg. Blogspot/Google) are proactively preventing "...any AACS circumvention offering..." from being posted so my assumption would be that they are only acting on sites specifically mentioned in takedown notices and I wonder why Digg should be different. In any event, I was only stating what the reasons for the Digg revolt were; right, wrong or otherwise.

Re:Takedown notice? (5, Insightful)

shark swooner (1077115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016599)

This "we're going to go down fighting" was obviously some nonsense invented by Digg's public relations team.

Digg is venture capital funded, its management would be replaced by the end of the day if they seriously intended to risk any amount of equity in the company over some symbolic statement like that.

They'll obviously now just wait for the DMCA notices to take the offending material down, at which point we might expect more grandeur from their PR department if anyone notices.

I dunno (3, Insightful)

lorcha (464930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016643)

It couldn't have been a DMCA "we own the copyright, now take it down" takedown notice, because those only apply to copyrightable works.

What probably happened was Digg got a letter saying, "You have posted a DRM circumvention tool. If you don't remove it, we will sue your testicles into the stratosphere."

It's different from a takedown notice, but it had the same effect.

Re:I dunno (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016909)

It couldn't have been a DMCA "we own the copyright, now take it down" takedown notice, because those only apply to copyrightable works.

What probably happened was Digg got a letter saying, "You have posted a DRM circumvention tool. If you don't remove it, we will sue your testicles into the stratosphere."

It's different from a takedown notice, but it had the same effect.


Wow, that's spooky. TFA [eff.org] says

Is the key copyrightable? It doesn't matter. The AACS-LA takedown letter is not claiming that the key is copyrightable, but rather that it is (or is a component of) a circumvention technology. The DMCA does not require that a circumvention technology be, itself, copyrightable to enjoy protection.effect.


You know it's illegal here to RTFA before posting, right ;-)

Seriously, these "takedown notices" seem like prior restraint to me. I can't see how they could survive being examined by the Supreme Court for example and not be found to be unconstitutional.

DRM as offensive tool (1)

J Story (30227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016943)

It occurs to me that if Digg and its ilk can be dealt "take down" notices for carrying a particular representation of data, then that situation could also be turned around.

Suppose, for example, that someone's Valuable Intellectual Property were, through pure coincidence, protected by the key "sony.com", by the contents of http://www.riaa.com/ [riaa.com] or by the image of Mickey Mouse?

Re:DRM as offensive tool (2, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017073)


>Suppose, for example, that someone's Valuable Intellectual Property were, through pure coincidence, protected by the key
>"sony.com", by the contents of http://www.riaa.com/ [riaa.com] or by the image of Mickey Mouse?

I think the only successful attack against the **AA will come from within. One of its own members will see the light, recognize the organization as competition, and destroy it.

Re:Takedown notice? (5, Informative)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016861)

They received a legally-unenforceable cease and desist letter, but never a DCMA takedown notice. This is key: they were under no legal obligation to do anything at any time. They received a threatening letter and over-reacted. They pulled any stories remotely related to the AACS key, including several that did not mention the number, but only commented on Digg's censorship of it. They also banned the people who submitted those stories -- something that has never been a requirement of the DCMA.

That's what I was protesting. I never expected Digg to do anything illegal or take the issue to court.

Re:Takedown notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017217)

Moreover, they said they were going to keep censoring the key. They begged everyone to allow them to choose their own fights, but they weren't going to fight this one. Perhaps they'll fight the next? (Doubt it)

Not surprisingly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016393)

Dvorak's wrong, at least about one thing. AACS does absolutely nothing to stop us from copying the discs. So called 'copy protection' is the biggest joke of the whole DRM movement. All that AACS accomplishes is making it difficult for people who have legitimately purchased discs from watching them on their linux-powered media centers.

Not a piracy code (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016421)

Somebody should write the NYTimes a letter and let them know that the code is just the code you need to play the movies you own and paid for. Piracy doesn't figure into it at all.

Re:Not a piracy code (5, Insightful)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016873)

This raises my main argument over DRM.

Why should you have to be a criminal to play your bought media on a different system?

If Mum sends me a WMV encoded clip from her camera of the new puppy, shouldn't I just be able to double click it in Linux, play it and enjoy it without having to feel like a dodgy guy for having not-so-legal Linux codecs installed?

I think, when you create a technology/protocol/service that is a fundamentally useful, standard that is a leading standard, this protocol/format should be open and exchangeable by everyone. /rant

Re:Not a piracy code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016961)

What's insightful about this? If the New York Times had any intelligence they should have known what the code was. They're supposed to be journalists!

Hell must have frozen over... (5, Funny)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016435)

Dvorak is making sense.

Re:Hell must have frozen over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016501)

He's speaking about something he knows something about, "How to piss people off!"

My guess he's a little envious of the lawyers,... then, again, it might just be projection on my part.<g>

Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (5, Funny)

kernel_pat (964314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016549)

Makes a damn good keyboard layout though

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (0, Troll)

Phroon (820247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016631)

Insult Dvorak if you want, but he makes a damn good keyboard layout though
Wrong Dvorak, your thinking of August Dvorak [wikipedia.org] of Dvorak layout [wikipedia.org] fame, not John C. Dvorak [wikipedia.org] of Slashdot article [slashdot.org] fame.

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016645)

WOOOOOOSH!!!!!

That was the sound of the joke flying over yer head

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016647)

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (1)

kernel_pat (964314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016711)

I know, it was a joke

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016721)

Reminds me of an Emo Philips joke. "You know who my hero is? James Dean! Boy, can that guy make sausages."

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (3, Funny)

Phroon (820247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016827)

Sorry, your post wasn't modded funny yet, so how was I to know?

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017063)

Please tell me you don't actually entrust others with the responsibility of telling you what's funny and what isn't!

Re:Insult Dvorak if you want, but he (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016851)

Whatta amazing guy Dvorak is! He invented the keyboard and he composed music too. I wonder why he invented the keyboard, though. He wasn't a pianist, but a violinist.

Re:Hell must have frozen over... (1)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016819)

Or: Dvorak is a crackpot until /. agrees with him.

Re:Hell must have frozen over... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017045)

Actually, I think that the EFF must be wrong on this one. They're sharing an opinion with Dvorak so they have to be.

Ya gotta love that guy! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016447)

Always, but ALWAYS looking for exposure, you could be talking about hairs on an elephant's (http://www.postgresql.org) ass, and John Dvorak would chime in with an opinion piece that there were twenty six instead of 27.

Blame the Lawyers (3, Insightful)

Snaffler (311068) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016457)

In situations like this it is not always correct to blame the lawyers and to give the company that hired the lawyers a free pass on the blame. These companies have in house intellectual property divisions charged with protecting the company's assets. Those corporate minions hire the lawyers and give them a job to do. The lawyers are more than happy to do what they have been asked to do, and generally there is not a whole lot of leeway on the implementation of that job. If the company wants to avoid bad press, then it ought to reconsider its options, legal and otherwise, available to it and change its strategy.

They still don't get it though (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016483)

The AACS is not a 'copy prevention' or 'copyright protection' code. It has always been possible to copy a DVD and it still is. The AACS is an 'anti fair use' code. As such, it has *nothing* to do with the DMCA.

Re:They still don't get it though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016523)

An "Anti Fair Use Code"? Why, because you have hereby issued a legal ruling saying that it is? rotflmao Do you issue fatwas as well? I hear that's getting lucrative these days.

Re:They still don't get it though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016629)

Why? Because it does nothing but restrict how you can play your movie.

If your goal is piracy: buy a single "legal" HD-DVD/Blu-ray player. Now you can play any of the billions of copies of any HD-DVD/Blu-ray movie you want. These copies can be easily made without ever knowing that this encryption exists - all you do is make an image of a disk to burn an exact copy.

If, however, you just want to exercise fair use... try to play your legally bought disk on your computer, which happens to be linux. Opps, you can't, because it is encrypted and nobody paid for the "right" to make a HD-DVD/Blu-ray player for linux and even if you did you certainly didn't buy the program from them. When you buy a movie you don't agree to only use it on approved players - you just can't sell/distribute copies, sell tickets to watch it, or show it in public on a big screen.

As such, the encryption only stops your perfectly legal playback - it doesn't stop illegal activities like selling copies of a movie or selling tickets to watch the movie or showing movies for free to the public. All it does is stop fair use.

Re:They still don't get it though (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017023)

At last somebody that gets it! AACS and CSS *only* affect legal playback. They do *nothing* to illegal copying. I support copyrights - the GPL depends on it. What I don't support is technological measures that restrict unfairly how I can play content that I legally bought and have the right to play. I paid for the right to play the movie - yet they still try to prevent me from playing it and that I don't agree to.

Re:They still don't get it though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016581)

This post is just a friendly reminder that you're a moron if you actually believe that.

People just don't understand free speech. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016499)

If you ask any American what makes America great, one of the first things they'll likely mention is "freedom of speech". But I think this whole episode shows how many Americans really don't understand the concept they'll preach so loudly about.

I think freedom of speech is a pretty simple concept, really. It's actually one of the few issues that is black-and-white. There is no grey area when it comes to freedom of speech: either you are free to say anything, or you are not free to say anything.

That includes being able to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. If you're not allowed to do that, then you do not truly have freedom of speech. Now, it may be for the good of the public that legislation is in place to limit such expression. Even so, we must accept that any such legislation inherently means that free speech does not exist.

So I think part of the confusion arises because we have people who think they have free speech, and even proclaim these thoughts quite loudly, but in fact they do not. There are limits on what they can freely say. Such people may or may not realize that. But the one thing they'll have to accept in the end is that due to such restrictions, they do not live in a country that practices freedom of speech. Thus they should expect Digg-style scenarios to happen.

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016539)

There are lots of people with opinions that they believe are absolutely correct, no two ways about it. That doesn't make it necessarily so.

Why do they say they have liberty? (2, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016673)

They say this because they have been reciting the Pledge of Allegience since birth. Theless generous might call this brainwashing.

It is clearly a hyporcracy since, for instance blacks were hardly receiving the "liberty and justice for all" until very recently and many people do not at present. Say it enough and you don't doubt it. That those liberties and justice don't exist hardly matters - people still believe they have them.

Sure, USA is better than China etc, but to be the world leader in freedom that USA claims to be it should be ranking a bit higher than 15/11 on http://www.worldaudit.org/press.htm [worldaudit.org]

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (2, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016699)

Of course there are gray areas in "freedom of speech". For example, the United States has often equated giving money to a candidate as "speech". I personally disagree that the right to give arbitrary money to a candidate is equal to the right of free expression or even association, but it's certainly debatable. There's also the question of intent-- you may be free to say anything and not be locked up for the speech, but be locked up because the speech implied intent or guilt in another matter entirely. Depending on how silly and "thought-crime"esque other laws are, it may seem like it's speech itself that is being impinged.

Anyway, nothing is black and white, and especially not something as rich as speech.

In any case, in case this article leads anyone to any undue optimism, you can go read ABC news' editorial on the matter [go.com] to bring you back down again (or to make your blood boil, depending on your temperament).

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016881)

Disney owns ABC. Disney makes movies that may be affected by the breaking of disc encryption schemes. Thus we probably won't hear anything of any value from ABC News on this matter, due to their inherent bias. And as we expect, the article you link to is essentially poop.

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016869)

> That includes being able to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. If you're not allowed to do that, then you do not truly have freedom of speech.

What if the theater REALLY is on fire?!

That example is NOT about freedom of speech, but about property rights.

i.e.
http://blog.mises.org/archives/003070.asp [mises.org]

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017091)


>That example is NOT about freedom of speech, but about property rights.

Actually, the "yell fire in a theatre" idiom was used as an example to justify the government's authority to suppress a person's right to hand out flyers opposing the WWI draft.

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016913)

The first amendment can be interpreted many ways. Personally, I think that they mean "freedom of speech, so long as it doesn't harm others". Yelling Fire in a crowded movie theater is a very likely way to get someone hurt. Other than something like this, however, I feel freedom of speech means anything. This includes slander. I should be able to say "George Bush had sex with 15 men last night, no doubt about it" and not catch any shit for it.

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017325)

dmsuperman is a child molester. He routinely kidnaps young boys and anally rapes them. He also kills hookers for fun.

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016927)

That includes being able to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

Maybe theres a distinction to be made between 'freedom of speech' and 'freedom of yelling'?

Re:People just don't understand free speech. (5, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017039)


>That includes being able to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. If you're not allowed to do that, then you do not truly have
>freedom of speech.

If the theatre happens to be on fire, then you will probably have the gratitude of the people within.

If the theatre happens to NOT be on fire, you may face consequences at the hands of those same people.

In no case was "yelling fire" illegal. However, intentionally causing a panic and creating a public nuisance, *is* illegal.

On the other hand, the allusion to yelling fire was meant to illustrate the basis for a doctrine that a compelling state interest existed that could justify the suppression of certain activities that would otherwise be protected by the First Amendment. In particular, "yelling fire" was an example used in a case that ruled it illegal to distribute flyers opposing the military draft during WWI. I think it is also important to understand that this ruling was overturned, which probably means it *is* legal to protest against a draft during wartime.

If you experiment with "yelling fire", you will probably find that no law actively suppresses your right to do it, and you will also almost certainly find that no law protects you from the ass kicking you receive as a result -- or from the harsh manner in which you are removed from the theatre by its proprietor or the police.

Oliver Wendell Holmes was helping to establish what rights were, and to what extent the expression of one's rights were allowed to abridge the rights of others.

Today, the test for whether first amendment protections my be abridged on any activity, is if the state can argue that it is intended to, and will likely incite "imminent lawless action", a stricter standard than the "clear and present danger" which had existed before 1969. Essentially the government may "place time, place and manner" restrictions on First Amendment activities, if it can argue that the activities are likely to cause a riot.

For what it's worth, I do believe the Federal Government has clearly failed to adhere to this standard on numerous occasions.

appalled (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016515)

I'm appalled that this massive breach of our nation's finest law is being blamed on the good men and women of the legal profession. /sarcasm

Newsflash (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016531)

It's clear what the people want. So why does the law dictate the opposite?

Everyone's so busy looking at copyright and missing the bigger picture! Our 'democracy' doesn't work.

Re:Newsflash (1, Insightful)

creysoft (856713) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016995)

It's not clear what "the people" want. It's clear what a few people on the internet want. Outside of this insular coccoon, you'll find that the vast majority of folks side with the RIAA/MPAA on things. Without understanding the mechanisms involved (which most are seemingly incapable of), it's easy to buy the "Downloading = Stealing" argument. What non-technical people here (when they hear anything at all) is that "pirates" are distributing "computer codes" which allow them to "hack" movies and "steal" them. And that's why they have to buy new copies of all their expensive HD-DVDs, along with a new player. And so they hate us "pirates." (Nevermind that the real pirates are in China making bit for bit copies that work just fine.)

Real change only comes through education. Start educating the people, and the change will come. Not today, not tomorrow, probably not in your lifetime. But eventually. That's the way the system works, like it or not.

Re:Newsflash (1)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017269)

Yeah... The problems is that the "lobbyists" who spread these "lies" have very "deep pockets". And our "corrupt" government officials will "do anything to make a buck".

Oh yeah. They also don't "pay" teachers "enough", so our "education" system becomes succeptible to these same "lobby groups" that sponsor programs to spread "propaganda" about how "scary" computers are.

Maybe computers are "hard" to "non-technical" people. I'm sure something you do is probably "hard" for me, too.

I'm pretty sure the "Internet is tubes" guy doesn't get it. Maybe he shouldn't be "writing" laws about things he doesn't know the first thing about. Maybe.

Maybe instead of being afraid of the things you don't understand and trying to legislate them away, you should try to learn something about them. Read a book. Or a magazine. Or wikipedia, once you get over the whole "I don't know who writes this stuff, but Mr. Brittanica used to date my sister" thing.

Honestly I don't think the kids are the problem. I've seen plenty of kids who know how to use computers and ipods, and bit torrent, and tivos, and even write programs. Ask them how to do it.

Ask them if they feel like they're hurting someone when they listen to music.

People do get it. Its just like the "new math", but now its not just numbers on paper.

Blame the Lawyers! No blame Dvorak! (4, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016567)

Wait a minute - Dvorak says to blame the lawyers??

Oh my... I am so conflicted..... who do I complain about?

Oh, right - Microsoft!

No Duh it's censorship (4, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016579)

This isn't just a matter of one party making a civil threat against another; the government is neck-deep in their involvement. By passing a law as bizarre as DMCA, which the people didn't even ask for, they've outlawed certain types of speech. Argue the merit of censorship, but don't say it's not.

BTW, the NY Times writer is an MPAA-apologist:

..publish and widely distribute a secret code used by the technology and movie industries to prevent piracy of high-definition movies.
(And he makes at least two other references to the crypto being an "anti-piracy" measure.) Anti-piracy is very likely a large part of the motivation for the creation of this system, but as it clearly serves the much more general function of "limiting access." To let things like
  1. Preventing many Fair Uses
  2. Preventing access to the work even after it has entered Public Domain in the future
  3. Controlling the player market(!)
all fall under the umbrella of "preventing piracy" is a pretty distorted way to report the news. If NYT wants to take sides and promote a certain agenda, that's their right, but they should get called on it.

Apology and Advert. (2)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016787)

publish and widely distribute a secret code used by the technology and movie industries to prevent piracy of high-definition movies.

He not only distorts the aim of digital restrictions, he's advertising and promoting newer movie formats. People who use MPAA language aid the MPAA whether they want to or not. The easiest way to foil the "anti-piracy" talk is to point out the failure of DeCSS. Commercial shops will have no problem making and selling exact coppies. Exact coppies can also be made and sent over the internet by normal users. Encryption and restrictions serve only to thwart fair use.

Dvorak, are you a moron? (1, Insightful)

lorcha (464930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016615)

The epitome of this has been how the MP3 music-sharing scene -- which was underground and not taken seriously by anyone except a few college kids back in the mid-1990s -- was marketed by lawyers, who waged a holy war against trading at the behest of the Recording Industry Association of America.

This war did nothing but popularize a system of sharing music files, and I can assure you that it went from fringe to mainstream only because of highly publicized legal actions against people who essentially were judgment-proof.
Let me get this straight, Dvorak.

Will you have me believe that the explosion of p2p mp3 sharing had nothing to do with a) the proliferation of broadband, and b) free music? That if the RIAA hadn't gone on a massive lawsuit campaign, no one would want free music?

Well, I think that you are full of it.

Re:Dvorak, are you a moron? (1)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017053)

Will you have me believe that the explosion of p2p mp3 sharing had nothing to do with a) the proliferation of broadband, and b) free music? That if the RIAA hadn't gone on a massive lawsuit campaign, no one would want free music?

No, but the mainstream wouldn't have caught on nearly as quickly if the RIAA didn't go nuts with lawsuits and bands like Metallica didn't kick up a fuss. They made their point clear but they also advertised the avaliability by doing so.

Like with the HD-DVD processing code. It's been avaliable since about Feb but wasn't a big deal until some dude posts the code to Digg (a couple of months later). Threats are made, Digg caves in and - boom - it's in all the major newspapers. If the threats, take-down notices, etc from the industry weren't made, the whole deal wouldn't have made the mainstream news and would have been very quickly forgotten about.

Lawyers do what they are paid to do. (1)

Vasco Bardo (931460) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016635)

Just like any other professionals.
Although I hate them as much as the next guy, they did not cause this mess.
This mess is caused by out-dated business models, corrupt legislation, impunity and progress, amongst other factors that have historically caused civil disobedience.
To blame the lawyers is not only a cliché, it is confusing the issue.
Lawyer language can be aggressive, but when you bring in lawyers it means you have already tried nicely.

Re:Lawyers do what they are paid to do. (4, Interesting)

geoskd (321194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016747)

Although I hate them as much as the next guy, they did not cause this mess. This mess is caused by out-dated business models, corrupt legislation, impunity and progress, amongst other factors that have historically caused civil disobedience. To blame the lawyers is not only a cliché, it is confusing the issue. Lawyer language can be aggressive, but when you bring in lawyers it means you have already tried nicely.

The porblem isn't that the lawyers didn't do what they were told, nor even that they did do what they were told. Lawyers have a responsibility to their clients not only to take legal action when required, but also to advise their clients on the likely outcomes of their actions, as well as the likelihood of success. Any halfway honest lawyer should have told their client "You will pay us thousands of hours, You will not acheive your goal, and this will backfire causing yet another in a bad series of negative press about your company". The implication here is that the lawyers did not do this. Given the above statement, I find it hard to beleive that an executive at XYZ company would pursue this approach when a legal professional told them to call it a day and move on.
The lawyers should have known this would happen. Posting a song for others to download requires speical software (e.g. napster, kazaa, bittorrent, etc...), and people still manage to do it on a *massive* scale. Posting a 32 digit number is so easy, any 12 year old kid can post it in thousands of places in the space of a day or so. The lawyers all have plenty of precedent to say that takedown notices are more likely to backfire than to succeed, ergo it is their responsibility to advise their clients against this kind of behavior.

-=Geoskd

Re:Lawyers do what they are paid to do. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016883)

Any halfway honest lawyer should have told their client "You will pay us thousands of hours, You will not acheive your goal, and this will backfire causing yet another in a bad series of negative press about your company".

A cease and desist letter takes about 20 minutes to write. Threatening to file a lawsuit sometimes works, and even if it doesn't there's no law that says you have to file that suit you threatened someone with.

Re:Lawyers do what they are paid to do. (2, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017043)

A cease and desist letter takes about 20 minutes to write.

... Per incident. Even if you assume its only 5 minutes, if you multiply that by ten thousand notices, you have a thousand billable hours, and as mentioned, it still won't work anyway, because more people will post to the site, and you will have to issue *more* takedown notices. Who you gonna sue? Digg? They can rightly claim that their site is no different than a public square in which people are posting notices. You could go after the people posting, but that would only make the situation worse. As I mentioned, it is a loosing game, and the lawyers had a responsibility to inform their client of that simple truth.

Threatening to file a lawsuit sometimes works, and even if it doesn't there's no law that says you have to file that suit you threatened someone with.

It only works when you are sending one or two notices to people who are doing things that are *clearly* going to get them in trouble. In these kinds of cases, you would have a very hard time pinning anything on the original posters, and they know it, so they continue posting anywhere and everywhere just to spite the company using the heavy handed tactics. The balance of power is shifting back into the hands of the masses, and the masses know it.

-=Geoskd

No it doesn't (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016753)

Most large corporations send in the lawyers from the start as an intimidation tactic.

Re:No it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017157)


>Most large corporations send in the lawyers from the start as an intimidation tactic.

A good defense against that is to be *really* small, have *nothing* to lose, and *insist* on every detail of every step of the legal process. (That means, order a jury trial on every hearing, file every possible motion, make sure you *really* annoy the judge and make extra sure that he is painfully aware that you are alone, in forma pauperis, defending against a large corporation with it's huge team of lawyers.)

Harder to accomplish if you actually have something to lose, of course. I had fun with this once, against a real estate corporation in a landlord-tenant dispute. Couple of things worked in my favor, though. One, I was *right* (which generally helps), Two, I had absolutely nothing to lose other than a 1971 Volkswagen and maybe a couple hundred bucks between paychecks, and Three, I had studied law for long enough to know how to work the rules of court well enough to be a genuine nuisance.

It turns out that in Texas, for any question of fact you can have a hearing, and for any hearing, any party can insist on having it heard by a jury. When the court date came, the judge did not realize until after he had seated the jury and instructed them on voir dire, what the case was about. When he realized just how petty the matter was, he ordered all parties to his chambers and after a few questions, realized I was right (I was), ordered the real estate company to pay me, went back to the courtroom and I heard people laughing, though I have no idea what was said. I assume they were laughing at me, but then I had just been awarded an amount of money that was quite significant at the time, so I had a good laugh too.

Have nothing to lose, and be willing to push the thing as far as you possibly can. It's really not inherently expensive "to be sued", and by doing nothing aside from insisting on due process and showing up for court dates, you can actually embarrass people.

This is definitely not legal advice, and I am definitely not a lawyer. But if you are right, have nothing to lose, and are willing to game the system just for entertainment's sake, it can be rewarding.

If you are *not right*, which you might not be in a copyright case, or if you have anything to lose, it's a whole different game.

Huh? (2, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016659)

and documents instances of the infamous key appearing in purely expressive form.
Like in poetry? A haiku? What?

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016789)

09 F9 11 02 9D
74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5
63 56 88 C0 rain

Re:Huh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017207)

Please someone make into t shirt

Re:Huh? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017037)

Someone made freedom ribbons with The Number encoded as colors here [outshine.com] (explanation here [outshine.com] )

Re:Huh? (1)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017241)

I don't know what they had in mind, but there are at least two songs that feature it.

Oh Nine, Eff Nine [youtube.com]

What's in a Number? [youtube.com]

I'd guess that those are pretty solidly in first amendment territory, being both artistic expression and political protest. Will the AACS dare issue takedown letters for them?

It seems to me that nearly all of what has appeared on the net containing this code since the start of the Digg uprising should qualify as protected speech. Most has been comments about either the unusual social phenomenon itself, or about the political/free speech implications of this mess. Very few posts or articles have had anything to do with how to circumvent copy protection.

Any lawyers in the house?

So, where are all these digg posts? (1)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016675)

I just looked back over the past few days on digg.com, and could find no evidence of this HD-DVD keyposting. Have digg said 'we won't censor any more posts', and then censored all the posts, or what?

Re:So, where are all these digg posts? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017155)

I just looked back over the past few days on digg.com, and could find no evidence of this HD-DVD keyposting.

Indeed. A search for "09-f9" [digg.com] and sorting by most diggs reveals only one result out of the first six pages. All of the other high-ranking results are not shown unless the 'include buried stories' is selected. It seems more like they provide one reference as a token gesture, while 'burying' all other major references in an attempt to obfuscate much of the criticism (further overt deletion of the other references would probably be too noticeable). Many of the comments in the single unburied result make Kevin Rose out to be some kind of hero, while mostly ignoring the banning of users, the voluntary silent censorship of articles, and the conflict of interest between corporate advertisement revenues with th supposed power in the hands of the users.

Digg is Screwed (0, Flamebait)

stick_figure_of_doom (729073) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016679)

So the point of the article is that Digg's own lawyers made the call to take down the key. Due to Digg's own actions, without any notice from AACS or whoever, this key is famous. So basically if the AACS group wants to nail anybody, they'll hit Digg. In addition, Digg has lost a ton of street cred with its user base. Clearly whoever made the call or accepted the lawyer's advice didn't make the right decision, because it really screwed them. They could've been just one more site hosting the key, but instead they are the main offenders.

Viva la revolucion!

Bad Journalism at NYTimes (5, Insightful)

stick_figure_of_doom (729073) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016713)

Check out this quote:

> Some people believe that such systems unfairly limit their freedom to listen to music and watch movies on whatever devices they choose.

What the is that? Could they maybe cite one of many sources who will freely give that opinion? Fox pioneered this terrible technique of interjecting their own opinion via the construct "Some say...", and it's terrible journalism. I imagine this article was written off the cuff, but just give the EFF or anyone else a buzz for a quick quote.

Re:Bad Journalism at NYTimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19016823)

Some say it's modern journalism.

Dvorak doesn't get it (4, Insightful)

deblau (68023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19016877)

But if ruining a client's image and reputation, and often turning it into a laughingstock is done in the name of "protecting," then perhaps the legal profession should reconsider whether it's being counterproductive.
The legal profession has thought about it, John -- long and hard. And the conclusion is that lawyers are servants, not masters. That's the way it is, and that's the way it must be. If the master wants to jump off a cliff, the servant has no right whatsoever to interfere, because it's not his call to make. He'll tell you not to jump, beg with you, plead, but at the end of the day all he can do is follow your orders, send out cease-and-desist letters, and watch as the PR disaster sends you plummeting to the rocks below.

WTF? (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017025)

How in the world is it censorship to try an maintain private information? This community is hypocritical.

It makes perfect sense. (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017257)

There's nothing hypocritical about this.

This is about a secret number. This number is, well, a number. You can't own a number. No number is a secret unto itself. That they use it as the key for their cryptography, that's the secret they want to keep private. Unfortunately for them, the number was available to anyone with a disk, a drive, and the right software. Someone was bound to tell. They tried to un-share the secret by squelching the mention of the number, not the association with their cryptography. That's censorship.

It's a popular topic here for a number of reasons, including:

  • "Wishing it away" will not erase the fact that true DRM is not possible -- a fact that is abundantly obvious to everyone except the *IAA. Even the geeks who are milking them with tales of bulletproof DRM and golden keys understand this and insist on being paid cash up front.
  • It's an opporunity to bash lawyers - the only professionals that produce nothing, create nothing, serve noone, and gets a third of everything they touch. For the most part even lawyers despise lawyers.
  • Laughing at the failures of incompetent executives is a popular sport around here. We laugh because we dare not cry. Read Dilbert and in time you'll come to understand.

There's a bunch more reasons, but you get the idea.

Frankly I think this whole protect-the-media-empire-profits mode the government has gotten into lately is treason against the people and the Republic. It's an example of legislation for hire. It's an erosion of civil rights to protect the unearned profits on Steamboat Willie. It is vile. But that's just my opinion.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017283)

Once you sell it to me it's a little less private. I get to do whatever I want with it, short of reselling it as my own work. In this case, I want to play it on my unix box.

Being kind of a snot, there's no way I'll play it on your linux box -- assuming you have a linux box.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017329)

Um, in what way is AACS maintaining private information? AACS is a flawed encryption scheme applied to information sold to the public. It's only real-world purpose is to remove rights that traditional copyright law wouldn't touch. Without AACS, I'd be able to watch movies in my choice of player, make backups before my kids scratch the disk, or upload them to my private LAN for easier management of my collection. I would argue that it also prevents the material from entering the public domain. However, considering nothing recorded using a vinyl, magnetic, or laser disc medium has ever entered the public domain, current copyright law also prevents that.

One thing Dvorak got wrong ... (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017167)

Investors should be aware of the overall dangers the legal profession present to companies, and how its current and generalized naiveté can sink fortunes overnight. While I know of no corporation that has been bankrupted by this sort of fiasco, it will happen eventually if lawyers doesn't catch up with the times.

SCO? [groklaw.net]

13256278887989457651018865901401704640 mine still (1)

ozzee (612196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19017255)

13256278887989457651018865901401704640 is mine mine mine it's like an 718624318471594843*2^64 + 15582831591453788352 which is also mine.

Those sequences of 8887 are especially nice and to finish on 640, well WHO needs more than that.

I give you permission to use it under the terms of the GPLv3 or a separate license where you agree to pay me 95% of all revenue.

Blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19017309)

Anonymous Cowards blame Dvorak and Lawyers on bad breeding...
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