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China and the MPA

JonKatz posted more than 14 years ago | from the arrogance-and-stupidity dept.

The Internet 223

This week, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) joined China and the music industry, all simultaneously making doomed efforts to stick their fingers in the digital dike. The Net has destroyed the very idea of censorship, but it looks like there are going to be some casualties before that reality sets in.

A riddle: What do China and the Motion Picture Association have in common? The answer this week: arrogance. Plus stupidity.

Both are about to learn the hard way what American educators, religious leaders, law enforcement officials - even politicians - are just beginning to figure out: The Net isn't censorable. Neither is the software that runs programs, links Web sites, plays, movies and music, stores or transmits information and ideas.

The Net is an unyielding trade-off. If you want to do business or sell things on it, you sacrifice monopoly and control, and use technology to offer choice and options. If you don't, you're heading backwards.

Both the Chinese government and the MPA have learned little from recent technological history, following in the bovine steps of the music industry, which alienated a generation of liberated music lovers by huffing and puffing but failing to slow or stop the spread of digital music technology.

Institutions both governmental and corporate that feel threatened by the Net and the Web, are developing a pattern. Rather than embrace innovative and empowering new technologies to offer consumers and citizens choice and freedom, they seek out a handful of targets to use as warnings, examples of the nasty fate that will befall transgressors.

If any approach is doomed to fail in this era, it's that one. Too bad some people will have to pay along the way, sacrifices on the altar of corporate or governmental obliviousness.

For all the media hype about technology, pornography and e-commerce, one of the most striking but still largely unrecognized legacies of the Net has been the death blow it's dealt to the very idea of censorship. One industry and institution after another - music, the law, medicine, Wall Street, academe, the media- is coming to terms with this new reality, voluntarily or otherwise.

For hundreds of years, censorship has been the primary tool by which government, monarchies, educational and religious institutions and, lately, powerful corporations, have asserted political, cultural and economic dominance. They're going to have to learn to live without it.

This week, police in Norway raided the home of Jon Johansen, a teenager, at the request of the Motion Picture Association, which has joined in the global effort to suppress certain software - in this case DVD viewing code -- deemed responsible for copyright violations and intellectual property theft (last week, the recording industry went after Mp3.com). Last month, the DVD Copyright Control Association sued 72 hackers and Web site authors for posting - or even linking to software (DeCSS) that unlocks the system for preventing illegal copying of video discs.

Johansen's arrest got widespread media coverage in America, unusual for a foreign-based copyright case. Perhaps one reason is that companies like Disney, owner of ABC News, which covered the story yesterday on television and radio, have a decidedly vested interested in publicizing the notion that music, movies and culture in general belong to private corporations, not code-writing geeks and nerds. Hackers (usually crackers) have often been singled out in this way - paraded before hordes of reporters and hauled off dramatically to jail. The authorities know they haven't got a prayer of rounding up all the alleged wrongdoers, but they can make so much noise they might fool people into thinking otherwise.

The arrest came at almost the same moment China announced restrictions on its burgeoning Net chat rooms and e-mail accounts. Ocurring continents apart, the two incidents seemed oddly connected.

The MPA - along with the music industry, one of the world's largest cartels outside of Columbia -- has claimed in several legal actions that the kind of DVD-viewing software Johansen allegedly used was developed outside of the industry's monopoly, and is thus illegal. The organization particularly wants to suppress so-called reverse engineering and the public posting and sharing of DVD codes.

Governments like China are attempting a different kind of information control, an equally doomed effort to stick their fingers in the digital dike.

On Wednesday, the agency that oversees China's Internet users [http://slashdot.org/article.pl'sid=00/01/26/1254221&mode=thread] issued severe new regulations intended to control the release of "state secrets" and other unauthorized information over the Internet, one of the broadest efforts yet by a government to do what is inherently impossible: control online speech.

The Chinese government is in a classic technological quagmire, almost the same one facing the movie industry. Does it want to grow and prosper in a techno-driven, linked global economy or not? Embracing and deploying innovative new technology is essential to investment and development in the 21st Century. That puts increasing pressure on undemocratic governments, who quite correctly dread the spread of computing, e-mail and chat rooms, and on corporations, who fear the loss of profitable monopolies.

China has nearly nine million Internet users, significantly up from two million a year ago, according to a survey by the government's China Internet Information Center. But many Chinese believe the figure is dramatically higher. One computer analyst working from Hong Kong wrote earlier this year that China may actually have more than 35 million e-mail accounts. As for the world's code-sharing DVD nerds, nobody knows how many there are - but it's believed to number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

Despite Johansen's show arrest, and the imprisonment of a handful of Chinese political dissidents speaking out online, both groups are beyond conventional policing. But that doesn't mean a lot of people won't pay by being persecuted, jailed or worse before the futility of the censorship effort becomes clear.

This week's regulations in China were announced by the aptly-named State Secrecy Bureau, a murky agency which seems to be taking over efforts to control the Net and to identify and arrest users who post "illegal" information on the Web.

Does this seem vastly different from the way corporate interests around the world (for more on the issues surrounding the Johansen incident, see http://www.eff.org/ ) are seeking to curb the dissemination of software and intellectual property online? Maybe it isn't. Both corporations and government, since they can't monitor all of the many millions of offenders online, are singling out targets of opportunity. They believe they're sending miscreants a message, but instead, they appear to be alienating and enraging the next generation of consumers as well as prodding geeks and nerds to continue to develop software as a political and cultural tool.

The powerful reality is that there aren't enough cops and lawyers on the planet, not even in China, to monitor all the chat rooms and the millions of e-mail accounts. There sure aren't enough to police the distribution of open source and other code like the one that runs DVD's.

Ultimately, such regulations are utterly doomed, as are efforts to restrict source codes for DVD players or the transmission of music and information online.

But before China and the MPA learn this inevitable lesson, an indeterminate number of victims will be snared and made examples of. As futile and sometimes tragic as these persecutions are, these people will pay the price for the growing freedom everyone else is enjoying.

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Re:The Net can be censored (3)

finkployd (12902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318641)

I disagree, it seems (given recent examples) that the attempt to censor has the reverse effect. It causes even more of the "questionable" material to pop up everywhere. I have a copy of the DeCSS code that I otherwise could have cared less about on my server simply for this reason.

DeCSS has become more widespread than most code fragments not because people are using it, but because people are taking a stand against those trying to censor them.

More effective censorship in this example would have been to not do anything about, then it would have been a midly importent project in the open source world, but would never have become as popular as it is now.

Finkployd

A few things to consider... (2)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318642)

  1. The Chinese Government has NOT finalised any rules, and there is NO evidence (so far) that they are planning any censorship. That is speculation, until they've actually done something!
  2. The MPA and RIAA seem to be betting on the fact that they're both rich, and that they can focus on ONE thing, whereas the Open Source community now has to focus on TWO. That gives them an immediate added advantage.
  3. It doesn't matter to these people if they win or lose, just so long as they ge a lot of publicity and newspaper inches in their favour. The knock-on effect will be that they'll increase sales and stifle competition through PERCEPTION. The actual verdict is just a bonus, if they win.
  4. The long-term strategy is FAR AND AWAY more important than any short term results. We can win a battle, but unless it's the RIGHT battle, we'll lose the war. And the REAL battle is taking place, not in the courtroom, but in people's minds. If people equate freedom with theft, then we can win court battles from now until doomsday, but only thieves will want to use free systems.
  5. Remember 1984? It didn't matter who was fighting who, what the status was, etc. Nobody really cared. That was a side-show, used to manipulate everyone else. Control is the name of the game, and it's a game these people play well. To win, we must oppose that. Like Frodo and The Ring, not to replace Sauron, but to destroy him and the foundation on which his power rests.

If Open Source is to win, REALLY win, it must defeat not the armies of the Sauron (the MPA) or the Orcs and Trolls of Sauruman (the RIAA) but the One Ring (Power Over Others). Yes, that means -fighting- those armies, but as in Tolkein's depiction, those battles can be won or lost by either side, and it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. All that matters is whether The Ring is destroyed or handed over.

You are way too over-sensitive... (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318662)

I didn't see the phrase that annoyed you, but I'll give my take on it.

Grow up.

In a political discussion it is perfectly acceptable to say, "America screwed up royally" when referring to the American government screwing up royally. It is equally acceptable to say "China has no clue about what the Internet really is," when you're referring to China's stupid attempt to regulate online speech.

Now if he said "Chinese suck", then I'd agree with you. But to say "China sucks" is quite acceptable. You cannot be racist about a LAND, you can be racist about a PEOPLE.


---

A technological solution (2)

Sanity (1431) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318663)

Those of you concerned by this article might like to take a look at a project I, and a dedicated band of Java coders, have been working on for almost a year now, which is nearing its first release. It is called Freenet , and aims to make the kind of censorship Katz talks about almost impossible (if not totally impossible). We will be releasing in the next few weeks (under the GPL), when we hope to make quite a bit of noise (Katz has expressed an interest in providing some coverage), but if you would like a sneak-preview, take a look at our project's homepage .

--

Re:hm.... (1)

Zorikin (49410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318664)

Yeah, that's exactly what Andrew was complaining about. People say "China" and don't specify whether they mean the Chinese government, people, hackers, whores, or some other group.

Imagine if everyone said that Unix was made by "America" ...

Obviously I haven't read the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318665)

But I am going to comment anyway.

He needs to stop using phrases like "techno-savvy" and "wired-generation".

I'm assuming he has used these terms here, or other similar buzzwords commonly used by lazy wanna-be journalists.

Anyone who has read this article by accident care to comment, and save me the effort of ploughing through ?

I made that mistake last time, I don't have time to make the same mistake twice...

Re:The Net can be censored (2)

shadrack (49555) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318666)

What the MPAA and other 'official' organizations are doing is the same thing the US tried when it outlawed Alcohol. Driving the perpetrators underground and increasing their profit margins. Organized crime won't be stopped, just the occasional unlucky hacker.

The MPAA and others are guilty of underestimating peoples' curiosity. They are also guilty of stupidity for encouraging the use of such an easily broken code scheme. Now they want blame every one else for their mistakes.

I'm surprised production houses and artists haven't sued the MPAA, the RIAA and others for endorsing sloppy encryption techniques.

What a bunch of arrogant, self important idiots, all of them.

At the high prices Record companies and movie distributors charge, it's just too temptimg for criminals to resist getting in on the action.

MPAA boycott (3)

Bitscape (7378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318667)

How many of us are going to discontinue, or at least decrease our movie viewing because of these actions. If we are, perhaps it would be a good idea to tell somebody about it.

I normally post a movielog on my web page, detailing every theatrical release I see. After these recent events, I've decided to start an Anti-Movielog, in which I will record all the movies I don't see, but otherwise would have if these outrages had not occured.

I just got to thinking, why not implement it on a massive scale? How many people who normally go to movies are actually planning to boycott? If there's an appreciable number, wouldn't it be cool to have a web page where people could go and tell everyone exactly which movies they're not seeing on what dates. Then we could keep a running total to show the movie industry exactly how much money they're costing themselves.

Of course, keeping it honest could be a potential problem. We wouldn't want the hypothetical database to be Slashdotted and the polls stuffed by repeat voters, or people who wouldn't have seen the movies anyway. Still, it's an idea to think about. I'd like to know anyone else has ideas about this. If there's enough interest, I'd be willing to help out on such a project.

Overconfident? (1)

dadith (119849) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318668)

This battle is far from won.

Wether we like it or not, this is going to be settled in court and this is not finished yet. If DeCSS is outlawed, this will give the MPA an instrument against everyone (in the US at last) that distributes it and considering who owns the media - what do you think will the average american think about those who get arrested?


There is a chance that you are right, but that is all it is. A chance. Moveable type, radio, television were similar chances and look what happened.



Ciao, Peter

Wha? (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318669)

Huh? Does anyone understand this comment? The name of the country is China. It's been that, or some variation of that, for thousands of years. And they really don't mind that's their name, promise. If they did, they'd change it.

Yes, that's not the full name, but most people do call it China, just like people call France 'France' and the United Kingdom the 'United Kingdom', both of which have longer real names.

Or are you upset he attributed the actions of the government to the country?

I'm really confused here.

-David T. C.

not enough police and lawyers (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318670)

I think this hits on an important point that
crosses several types of things that governments
do.

Whenever governments try to legislate and curb
act which are not violent, and have no victem
(in the case of software copying, you could argue
that the software company is a "victem" however
they don't even know its going on) then they
create a big problem.

With "real" crimes, there is a victem. Either
a body on the ground with some evidence as to
how it happend ot identiy of the killer through
fingerprints, or a person who was robbed etc.

ie. the victem brings the attention of the police
to the crime. If Joe's store is robbed, surely he
isn't going to sit back and hope the police decide
to come by and ask him if he has been robbed
lately.

Whats my point?

The point is, that with all this "intellectual
property" (what a silly term) the crime that
is being searched for is almost impossible to
identify. Any TCP/IP connection can be one...it
can be happening in the privacy of someones
bedroom and noone will ever goto the police and
complain.

There will NEVER be enopugh manpower to hunt
down consensual "crimes". Whether it is stopping
"Unauthorized copying", protitution, drugs,
or sex with foodstuffs (which is illegal in some
states).

The real danger is that things like this will be
used as an excuse to give the police more and more
powers. It will end up being used (not necissarily
intentionally) to erode privacy.

Now I don't mean to be over-sensitive (2)

Andrew Cady (115471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318684)

but really, it's just inappropriate to refer to the Chinese government as "China", especially if you're going to say something like "China is stupid". I know this wasn't Katz's intention, I'm sure he's not a racist, but he should still be more careful with the words he uses.

don't forget australia (5)

DjReagan (143826) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318687)

Australia too has started actively attempting to censor the internet this month. The Online Services Amendment to the Broadcast Services Act came into efect on Jan 1.

So far, the Australian Broadcasting Authority [aba.gov.au] has issue a couple of "Takedown Notices" to certain websites hosting prohibited content. Each of those sites was back up again running from an offshore host server within hours.

Electronic Frontiers Australia [efa.org.au] has more details..
--

hm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318689)

Wasnt slashdot just praising chila last week?
fickle, fickle

stick their fingers in the digital dike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318691)

efforts to stick their fingers in the digital dike

Sorry, a phrase like that deserves repeating. :)

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318693)

Why is this posted Jan. 31, but the URL is http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/01/27/201525 4 ??? Just curious.

The Net can be censored (2)

Ernest_Miller (117710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318695)

Althought I generally agree with Jon Katz's writings, I have to disagree here. Yes, in an intelligent world, corporations would change their business models to remain competitive. But that is not the world we live in. Corporations would rather change the law than change the way they do business. That is why movie studios fought videotape and why they are fighting OpenDVD. True, they may not be able to stop reverse engineering completely, but they can create (if the courts and congress let them) a very strong chilling effect. It may not be perfect censorship, but it is effective censorship nonetheless.

MPA is associated with MPAA, DUH lordsuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318696)

Just take a look mpa.org [mpa.org] and they are refrenced on MPAA.org [mpaa.org] . Now, Mr. Smartie-grits-in-pants, check CNN Entertainment News [dorsai.org] for even more info.

China will send in the troops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318697)

This is going to sound racist, BUT, what do you expect from a Communist society that offers AIDS baths to cure AIDS and have restaurants whose dishes are primarily animals sexual organs! Communist Regimes should not exist.

Re:Criticism (1)

Zorikin (49410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318698)

Absolutely not. What it prevents is playing the movie without unscrambling software. I think part of the idea might be to make money on the players, and not worry so much about the data itself. If you have two friends with DVD players and infinite disk space, there's no real way to stop them from sharing everything.

Censorship lives (1)

Andrew Cady (115471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318699)

and it has nothing to do with the availability of information. How many Americans would ever read the Communist Manifesto [anu.edu.au] ? How many Americans would read Atheism: A Philosophical Justification [barnesandnoble.com] or consider polyamory [polyamory.org] ? Some, I admit, but the fact of the matter is that if you teach them young enough and from all angles that one view is right and the other is absurd, fringe, radical, or evil, the vast majority will reject that view outright, regardless of whether the information is readily available; they simply won't be willing to read it, or take it seriously in the rare case that they do. They certainly won't wait to read both sides before coming to a conclusion. There's more than one way to prevent a society to read, and it seams the censorship of the future is to grind it into them at a young enough age not to question the authority of the government. A few will slip by, but not enough to convince the rest. 90% of the world's humans practice the religion of their parents - the lasting and enormous power of childhood censorship and propaganda cannot be seriously denied.

You got it wrong this time (5)

arivanov (12034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318700)

Both are about to learn the hard way what American educators, religious leaders, law enforcement officials - even politicians - are just beginning to figure out: The Net isn't censorable. Neither is the software that runs programs, links Web sites, plays, movies and music, stores or transmits information and ideas.

I wish you to be right. But I think you are wrong. Neither the politicians, nor the leaders had the resources behind them MPAA has. They had to push questionable laws and usually they failed (Australia being a noteable exemption). The difference in this case is:

The law (MCPA) has already been pushed and quite a few previous laws exist.

These people do not need to finance a media campaign to promote their cause. And they can promote it at no extra expense. As I said in one of the previous threads on the topic they can lie as much as they wish and there is nobody to oppose them with an equivalent amount of firepower. Quoting myself from a previous thread:

  • A LIE REPEATED ONE HUNDRED TIMES BECOMES THE ULTIMATE TRUTH.

    Gobels

    Repeat after me: "encrypted DVD cannot be copied" - exempt from the presentation of MPAA for the preliminary injuction in New York. The transcript is at:2600.com - one of the sites hit with injunction. The quote is located in the very beginning.

    Presenting it here once again for sake of paranoia (who knows what will they try to injunct next time, the truth maybe):

    MR. GOLD: Now, before plaintiffs were willing to make DVDs available, they decided that they had to have an encryption technology so that the content and their copyright interest in the content could be protected, something that would scramble the picture and scramble the sound. And that system was created, and it is called CSS, which stands for content scrambling system. And you can't watch a movie unless you have an authorized DVD player, and the authorized DVD player has the computer key to the program. So with a DVD and an authorized player, the authorized player will unscramble the picture and the sound and you can watch your movie. But you can't copy it. The CSS technology prevents that.

Yeah, right, not like I can copy the entire DVD bit by bit encrypted, make a 100000 copies and sell them...

And as you see the judge accepted this argument wholehartedly and put the entire weight of the US law system behind it. Though the argument is a lie. One that has been repeated 100 times so far and shall be repeated until Gobels holds true.

There has not been a single case when such firepower and finances have been used to make the net silent. And the chances of bringing the Net silent in this case are too high.

You also miscalculate for the fact that all those who failed before are likely to join the crusade seeing MPAA to score points aginst the net as a whole. The Net against all who want to put it under control... Well, I will make no guesses here. I doubt that the net will win so we can all go to O'Raily and by ourselfs a coopy of DataBase Nation to educate ourselves on how shall we live further on. Or a copy of 1984 for that matter.

P.S. I hope I am wrong as well... But...

This can be dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318701)

Dikes usually don't like that. It would be safer for then to stick their fingers in the digital gay.

This can be dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318702)

Dikes usually don't like that. It would be safer for them to stick their fingers in the digital gay.

Censored Net (1)

orblee (66225) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318703)

I'm afraid the Net is semi-censorable. The Internet as a global phenomenon isn't, but each server in each country is censorable by that country. Each country could also attempt to refuse to allow certain packets from certain sites to pass through the routers in that country just to be really Nazi-esque.

Thankfully, it is hell to do and most governments aren't really bothering as most politicians seem not to come from the IT world. A concerted effort on the part of various countries could restrict the Net - it is just whether we can all be that cooperative.

DeCSS: DVD viewing software (2)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318704)

One of the strongest things in Katz's piece is the almost throwaway phrase "DVD viewing software" when referring to DeCSS.

It's important that we refer to it in that way to make the point that it is control over their viewing monopoly that the MPAA are in fact trying to enforce, and not what they actually claim in court.

Perhaps a few might defend the morality of their primary directive "make film once, suck the public dry forever", but nobody sane would argue in favor of their control of DVD viewing software on computers --- that just smells too much of multi-sector monopoly. No doubt this is why the MPAA lawyers never mention any reason beyond the ficticious "piracy" and equally imaginary "keys to the store" -- they know that if they made the MPAA's real goal explicit then they wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

The papers and other media need to be made aware of the MPAA's real target, and the term "DVD viewing software" should be used whenever possible to drive the real issue home, repeatedly.

Ahem... MPA was in the proper context (1)

GMontag (42283) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318705)

The MUSIC PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION of the United States is what Jon was speaking of and he was very clear about it. As much as it pains me to side with Jon on ANYTHING, I must in this case.

JonKatz HOWTO (2)

PsychoSpunk (11534) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318724)

Apologies to any current HOWTO maintainer...

1. Read Slashdot story X.
2. Read Slashdot story Y.
3. Read Slashdot story Z.
4. Read into Slashdot story X. Let this affect you personally.
5. Read into Slashdot story Y. Let this affect you personally.
6. Read into Slashdot story Z. Find (usually contrive) a common plot.
7. Reread Slashdot stories X and Y. Use contrived plot to aid in providing desired results.
8. Create new words to aid in describing plot.
9. Write story.
10. Liberally use the word 'Net' in rewrite.
11. Post story.
12. Wait for comments to pour in.
13. Remember comments are useful in next article, so select a choice few.
14. Repeat process.

The Future (1)

Sunracer (103819) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318725)

I wonder what would have happened if technology hadn't advanced so rapidly and the governments could have kept up. Would we have an Internet? If we did, would it be as free as we have today? I surmise that we would have something akin to the PSTN: a regulated, around-the-world agreed-upon technology with controlled access.

Now, while the Internet today looks like a great thing, what about the future? Because technology so apparently has outrun any regulatory bodies it looks like we are heading towards a technological anarchy (at least netwise).

Around the corner True Virtual Reality is waiting. With it, everyone can connect themselves to the Net as never before. When that day arrives, will there be an online chaos? The most skillful hacker/cracker can do what (s)he wants without anybody being able to stop her/him. And the potential victims can't leave the net because then they'd be left behind.

Internet today is probably the most chaotic community that ever has existed and it will remain so. But is there a cap to it, a self-regulatory feature which won't allow the internal structure to fall apart in the next few years/decades?

Just a few thoughts. I plan to be c00l enough to survive in the VR. :-)

Katz is a College Freshman (4)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318726)

Can someone explain to me why all of Katz's so-called "media critques" sound as though they've been authored by a college freshman?

In *every single essay* Katz has a sentence that reads remarkably similar to this:

"For hundreds of years, censorship has been the primary tool by which government, monarchies, educational and religious institutions and, lately, powerful corporations, have asserted political, cultural and economic dominance. "

Or, how about this:

"Institutions both governmental and corporate that feel threatened by the Net and the Web, are developing a pattern. Rather than embrace innovative and empowering new technologies to offer consumers and citizens choice and freedom, they seek out a handful of targets to use as warnings, examples of the nasty fate that will befall transgressors."

Does anyone edit Katz's writings? These lines are the typical "throwaway lines" used to link paragraphs in five-paragraph essays. They don't say anything specific and are always rooted in nifty generalizations that have no basis in fact. "For hundreds of years..." For chrissake, Katz: do some fucking research and get us a number. Use a fucking incident -- an actual event to make your writing more persusaive.

I read all of Katz's essays, and I'm amazed: he's a remarkably lightweight critique who never offers any specfic "insights." What Katz offers is generalized FUD: he picks up on an issue, decides to fit it in with his "project", and, damn the facts or specifics, writes around the issue until he drills home a point that could have been "drilled home" in the first sentence.

Does Katz just write these things willy-nilly and send them off to Slashdot to be "published?" Does anyone actually offer Katz some constructive criticism about his pieces?

Jon, really: you need an editor. You shouldn't fire these pieces off for public consumption until you do some real research. They're not persuasive texts: they're ramblings.

It's the typical sort of Slashdot mentality: well, if I can't think of a comparison, well, I'll use Hitler -- or, better yet, I'll use the typical "communism bad, capitalism good" sort of comparison -- or, wait! -- how about "open source good, non open source bad" -- yeah! that's it.

Katz, go ahead and respond to this. I never see any responses to your so-called "pieces". Why do you write like a college freshman? Why don't you do better research? Why don't you use an editor?

Old corporate and government models (1)

PlaidSprayPaint (124050) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318727)

Will not die easily. In fact, they are likely to die only when the old men running them do.

The internet is very young to most of the world. And has become one of the best forums for the exchange of information, ideas, and culture the world has ever seen. This, of course, is a threat to institutions that are trying to maintain a strangle hold on their respective monopolies. Well, tough, they can't stop ideas.


BTW, how did the first post show up 3 days before the article? ;P


Re:A message to Mr. Katz (2)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318728)

Last month, the DVD Copyright Control Association sued 72 hackers and Web site authors for posting - or even linking to software (DeCSS) that unlocks the system for preventing illegal copying of video discs.
This is not what CSS does...

You're right. I assume (hope) Mr. Katz knows the difference as well. But... The DVD CCA sued claiming that that is what DeCSS was for. They claimed that DeCSS was solely to illegally copy DVDs. Yes, this is wrong, and that is part of the problem with their case. No DeCSS is needed to duplicate DVDs. DeCSS is just needed to view them.

OPEN SOURCE JON KATZ (AGAIN) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318729)

the scene takes place on a beach. mud-guts and condelini are playing with a life-sized cardboard figure of queen amidala. toecutter and bubba zanetti are watching. jon the boy is standing behind toecutter. toecutter grows impatient with mud-guts and condelini playing. he beats his gnu-sausage against the sand.

bubba zanetti whispering into toecutter's ear: joviality is a game of children...

toecutter: mud-guts... get out of there! condelini... put her against the post.

mud-guts and condelini both comply

toecutter: we have a problem here! bubba zanetti has informed me on good authority that she has been sent by the mpa, full of treachery. the mpa... kill our pride!

jon the boy grows impatient and snatches the gnu-sausage from toecutter. he runs over to the cardboard figure and bludgeons it with the sausage.

jon the boy: if you're going to waste the mpa, you gotta do it big!

bubba zanetti shakes his head in disgust.

bubba zanetti: ain't got no style do ya, chicken shit?! goes to water, on a cardboard cutout!

toecutter rises and walks over to jon the boy. he grabs him by the hair and pulls him up from the ground. he puts his arm around him and walks off toward the ocean with him.

toecutter: it's ok... it's ok! it's alright... you'll get your chance! just remember to keep your sweet, sweet mouth shut!

toecutter pulls jon the boy's head back by his hair and begins to plant a deep french kiss on him... but stops just as their lips are about to touch. he puts his arm around jon the boy and walks into the water with him.


thank you.

'Fraid not (Ahem... MPA was in the proper context) (2)

lordsutch (14777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318730)

The MUSIC PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION of the United States is what Jon was speaking of and he was very clear about it. As much as it pains me to side with Jon on ANYTHING, I must in this case.

From the beginning of Katz's article:

This week, the Motion Picture Association (MPA)...

I guess you can de-pain yourself ;-)

you, Sir, are an troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318731)

Copyrights... (1)

Threed (886) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318732)

Sauron, Orc, Troll, Saruman, The One Ring, and Frodo are probably owned by a media conglomerate, especially with a string of feature films about them coming out soon.

(It's funny, laugh.)

Oops! The missing link (2)

Sanity (1431) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318744)

Doh! For some reason W3M insists on removing hyperlinks when you preview a comment - the Freenet project homepage is at http://freenet.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] .

--

Re:One of your better articles, Katz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318745)

Open dk() [dorsai.org] needs you too.

Thank you.

Re:Evolution (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318746)

With the growth of the internet, Linux, MP3s, and any other open method of media distribution, it is becoming aparent that the populace will not long endure the shackles that have been placed them by the global mega-corps.

Yes they will. The populace in general are under-educated about this. A vast majority of consumers don't have a clue about any of this. They know what they are told by the corps. They will buy whatever they are told to buy from the corps. Heck, I just saw something on the local news about "a device which tracks your movement on the internet", of course referring to cookies. The news people didn't understand what cookies were, just that they represented some vague threat.

I don't want to sound like a fatalist, but I think that you assume people are smarter than they really are (at least about technological/political issues).

Stupid Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318747)

You stupid fart Katz. Its US Government that allows these patents not Chinese.
Sweep at your own f***in door, you arrogent ass.

Being Your Own Distributor (1)

Our Man In Redmond (63094) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318748)

The most important way to handle this would be for the Artist's to form their own distribution companies and take the Media giants out of the picture. Sell your song, movie or picture. Forget
worrying about what its released on, because that just limits your market.


I can think of several very good reasons why you wouldn't want to do this. They all boil down basically to this very simple truth: If I'm an artist (of whatever stripe -- moviemaker, songwriter, painter, whatever), the last thing in the world I would want to do is be forced to be a businessman. Every minute I have to spend dealing with booking agents, gallery owners, theater owners and the like is actually about five minutes I can't spend doing what I enjoy (one minute to psych myself up for something I'd really rather not be doing, one minute to deal with the suits, and three minutes to unpsych myself and get back into a frame of mind where I feel like Creating Art again).
--

Re:Nice! (2)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318749)

Good article, JonKatz. A well-stated, fully-supported article. Slashdot readers probably realize this for the most part, but a good read all the same.
You should also consider submitting this article to a somewhat more "mainstream media" site. Whether or not it would be accepted, this article would make an interesting read for non-technical people as well. Especially the totalitarian types.





If he's going to submit it to a mainstream media source he should at least fix all of the technical innacuracies, the most of glaring of which is his assertion that CSS prevents copying of DVDs.


Kintanon

Re:Katz is a College Freshman (1)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318750)

And for fuck's sake, Katz: it's "Motion Picture Association of America."

Are you really this fucking moronic?

Really -- all anger aside -- is anyone proof-reading your work? Or are you just posting these things as "first drafts?"

I can't believe the mistakes you make. You can't get names of corporations right, names of movies -- you name it, and you'll get it wrong.

Does it dawn on you that perhaps your texts might actually become more persuasive documents if you check your facts?

Are you really this lazy -- or are you just in a hurry to get these things posted?

Re:A technological solution (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318751)

Wouldn't a proxy combined with the use of encryption solve most firewall problems? In the worst case, a firewall that only accepts emails with normal characters, you can uuencode the transmitions.

Of course, a technical solution doesn't help you alot when the police comes knocking down your door...

- Steeltoe

Re:Dangerous Sentiments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318752)

It pays to preview doesn't it...

Re:MPA is associated with MPAA, DUH lordsuck (2)

lordsutch (14777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318753)

MPA stands for "Music Publishers' Association." JonKatz is talking about the "Motion Picture Association of America." These are not the same thing.

That's like saying something is posted on Freshmeat, when it's really on Slashdot, and then trying to CYA because they're both owned by Andover.

ABC Interview.. (1)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318754)

Has it aired yet? I don't recall seeing a summary or wrap-up of it here.. anyone got any info for us?

Jon Katz Political Speech Writer (2)

IHateEverybody (75727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318755)


efforts to stick their fingers in the digital dike

Sorry, a phrase like that deserves repeating. :)


I agree. Perhaps we've found the right niche for Jon. Let's have a Slashdot political action committee to draw attention to tech issues in the presidential elections. Put Rob in suit and have Jon write inflamatory/attention getting speeches for him.

Hey, if we're going to sit around bitching and moaning over the latest censorship, encryption, whatever, outrage, we might as well get some press coverage out of it. Who knows? We might even change a few peoples minds on the subject.

Easy way to win.... (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318756)

I may be stupid for asking this but, why doesn't someone go into court and do a bit by bit copy of a dvd? Since it seems to be the the megacorps argument that CSS is copy-protection and not monopoly protection wouldn't it prove that all DVDs can be copied without touching CSS at all?

I'm not a lawyer and don't get paid $500 an hour but it seems common sense to me.

Remember the DMCA affects the US only (2)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318757)

So if the MPAA makes it illegal (via winning this battle) to reverse engineer software and protocols, well what is this going to do for the US as far as competetivness?

Non US companies can reverse engineer, US ones can't, hmm guess this will have some implications.

Re:Necessary link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318758)

Damn! #24 is in our mission statement.

Re:A technological solution (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318759)

...of Java coders...

The project sounds great, but why did you implement in a language that not an open standard?

...richie

Re:Not about copying! (1)

bwt (68845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318760)

This is not about copying of works, but about playing them.

Actually, it's not even about playing movies. It's about free speach and opening secret protocols. The DeCSS source code CANNOT playback movies. Source code is merely precise instrucitons on how to create an executable - it is not the executable itself. This is a case about your rights to communicate the fact that you figured out somebody else's secret.

In the Bernstein case, source code in general and encryption source code specifically was ruled to be protected speach and it's expressive content was ruled to override any aspects of its ability to control a machine when those aspects might validly be used to regulate it.

Here ya are... (1)

muxmaster (143763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318761)

From http://www.mpaa.org/about/

The MPA was formed in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II to reestablish Americanfilms in the world market, and to respond to the rising tide of protectionism resulting in barriers aimed at restricting the importation of American films.

The MPA's name was changed from the Motion Picture Export Association of America to the Motion Picture Association in 1994 to more accurately reflect the global nature of audiovisual entertainment in today's international marketplace.

Looks to me like Katz got it right.

Re:Is Censorship/control ALWAYS bad? (2)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318762)

Truth is, in any country where education isn't sufficiently high and skepticism isn't strongly in place, the free flow of information can hurt much more than it can help.

Good point, but I think that the quickest way for people to learn skepticism is by repeated exposure. Hopefully, after getting their 11,000th chain email / doomsday prediction, they'll come to realize that it's all just noise and advertising. I say this with some trepidation, though, having just recieved a 'good-luck' chain-letter forwarded by a fellow white, middle-class friend. I'll 'return' the favour with 50 or so replies w/history ; ) That usually helps to get the point across.

These people need American TV, beer and video games.

Refuse to sit in the back of the OS Bus (3)

turb (5673) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318763)

Not so many years ago there was separate but equal, until one person... just one decided that they weren't going to sit in the back of the bus.

The more things change the more they stay the same. We've been sitting in back of the OS bus for years. Since the media has discovered that Linux is "cool" and companies realize they can turn a buck on the hard work of the Open Source revolution, it is this revolution that is in a position of power and importance. It's time to
change the world.

Katz is right. This is a fight we can and will win. We have to. We have no choice otherwise it's over. This is our Waterloo. Or rather I should say, this is their Waterloo. This is where we stand up and say, no we are in charge of our destiny and we're not going to tolerate the behavior of jackbooted thugs like the MPAA.

I wanna play DVDs on my Linux box. It's a simple yet tragic hard fought freedom. And if we all don't earn this freedom, what's the next one to fall?

I hope that come LinuxWorld this week that there are plenty of folks that take some time out of the convention and protest. Let the media know, blast the message, we're not going to sit in the back of the bus. We don't back down, and we're not going to tolerate some mega corperation dictating terms of what we can or can not do with our computers.

If the petigree of DeCSS is in doubt, time to make an alternative implementation and post it on the net.

Regards...

Dangerous Sentiments (2)

Robert Wilde (78174) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318774)

One opinion that seems to be widespread both on slashdot and among the "cyber-liberterian" community is that the Net isn't censorable or history is on or side. Sentiments along the lines of, "everything will work out, so I don't need to do anything except mirror DeCSS until I get a letter from the MPAA."

The Net not censorable? This is not the case!

Consider two stories recently from slashdot: universities around the country banning the use of Napster [napster.com] , and one university banning access to the webpage dialpad.com. It is only a matter of time before governments and others start seriously toying with the idea of various technical solutions to prohibit access to pornography, copyrighted materials, source code deemed illegal, whatever. [dialpad.com]

The most dangerous way to approach this threat is to assume everything will be okay. Every one who reads slashdot that lives in Norway should be writing dead-tree mail to complain about the treatment of Jon Johansen, everyone in the US should be writing congress and the press to point out that the MPAA is using the DMCA to usurp fair use rights in spite of the intent of Congress. If you live in Australia you should be writing letters every month ccomplaining about the net censorship law, if you live in Arizona you need to write your representative to complain about the propsed legislation to prohibit students from using their net access for non-educational activites.

The net hasn't "destroyed the very idea of censorship." The last thing we can afford to do is assume this. Those who value the current freedom of the net and the current freedom to code should be writing one letter at least every month to a politican or newspaper.

Is Censorship/control ALWAYS bad? (3)

helarno (34086) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318775)

Disclaimer: Deals more with the govt censorship issue than the MPAA. I happen to hold the personal opinion that the MPAA is just trying to find a way to gouge the average consumer more :)

Summary: Not all censorship is bad. Take a chill pill

That felt like a highly inflammatory article, which painted everything with a huge, broad brush. Ok, so we know that Jon Katz feels that censorship, big government and big organizations of any kind are bad. But is that always true? The average American judges based on what they see around them, which is not necessarily true around the world. Education levels, gullibility, etc, vary. Are there places where SOME controls might not be bad? A couple of examples:

  • In Malaysia, a couple of years ago, someone started circulating on the Internet that some Indonesians were going to run riot in the streets, were stocking up on knives, weapons, etc. Everyone was advised to go home and hide. This email circulated through mass forwardings in less than a day. The net result - the capital city of Kuala Lumpur suffered immense productivity losses as people panicked, the more gullible went home and hours were spent forwarding mail, calling people, etc. The rumors were later found to be totally unfounded and just a lunch break joke
  • On 9-9-99 in Indonesia, some doomsday rumors started getting spread, just because the date was a fun date. It resulted in the streets of Jakarta being almost totally deserted as people stayed home in fear. Same productivity losses as above.

These are anecdotes which I know through personal experience or through friends who were actually there. I'm very sure that most non-first world country people have heard these and could contribute some even funnier/sadder stories. Or even people in developed countries.

Truth is, in any country where education isn't sufficiently high and skepticism isn't strongly in place, the free flow of information can hurt much more than it can help. Censorship to most governments is less about keeping total control over their citizens than it is about keeping out false information, information that can lead to totally irrational and damaging actions. For instance, a funny facet of politics in M'sia are the "poison pen" campaigns, when unsigned letters are circulated about a particular political candidate. These letters contain some absolutely unbelievable accusations. It doesn't matter that the average, well-educated voter would dismiss this out of hand. It just needs to hit the more gullible ones who will believe it and the candidate's reputation is ruined ... for no reason.

The US has plenty of such safeguards too. It's just not called censorship here, even though it is the control of information. Think "Truth in Advertising", or FDA approval for health claims.

Personally, I think that as a population matures, people get more skeptical and you can trust the general population to decide for themselves what is right and what isn't. However, in a developing world, a little more control and protection may be a better idea. Something along the lines of Plato's Philosopher King ideals ... only when you are truly "educated" can you make better decisions. Also akin to the parent/child relationship, where the parent must guide the child until he's ready to make his own decisions.

Dangerous Sentiments (5)

Robert Wilde (78174) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318776)

One opinion that seems to be widespread both on slashdot and among the "cyber-liberterian" community is that the Net isn't censorable or history is on or side. Sentiments along the lines of, "everything will work out, so I don't need to do anything except mirror DeCSS until I get a letter from the MPAA."

The Net not censorable? This is not the case!

Consider two stories recently from slashdot: universities around the country banning the use of Napster [napster.com] , and one university banning access to the webpage dialpad.com [dialpad.com] . It is only a matter of time before governments and others start seriously toying with the idea of various technical solutions to prohibit access to pornography, copyrighted materials, source code deemed illegal, whatever.

The most dangerous way to approach this threat is to assume everything will be okay. Every one who reads slashdot that lives in Norway should be writing dead-tree mail to complain about the treatment of Jon Johansen, everyone in the US should be writing congress and the press to point out that the MPAA is using the DMCA to usurp fair use rights in spite of the intent of Congress. If you live in Australia you should be writing letters every month ccomplaining about the net censorship law, if you live in Arizona you need to write your representative to complain about the propsed legislation to prohibit students from using their net access for non-educational activites.

The net hasn't "destroyed the very idea of censorship." The last thing we can afford to do is assume this. Those who value the current freedom of the net and the current freedom to code should be writing one letter at least every month to a politican or newspaper.

Re:'Fraid not Thank You, pain relieved (1)

GMontag (42283) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318777)

Actually, I zeroed in on "The MPA - along with the music industry, one of the world's largest cartels outside of
Columbia -- has claimed in several legal actions that the kind of DVD-viewing software
Johansen allegedly used was developed outside of the industry's monopoly, and is thus
illegal. The organization particularly wants to suppress so-called reverse engineering and the
public posting and sharing of DVD codes."
and blasted right past the beginning. Thank you for relieving my pain and I can go back to my usual disagreeable self ;-)

Re:A few things to consider... (2)

dsplat (73054) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318778)

If Open Source is to win, REALLY win, it must defeat not the armies of the Sauron (the MPA) or the Orcs and Trolls of Sauruman (the RIAA) but the One Ring (Power Over Others). Yes, that means -fighting- those armies, but as in Tolkein's depiction, those battles can be won or lost by either side, and it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. All that matters is whether The Ring is destroyed or handed over.

Ordinarily I don't like facile literary analogies when trying to analyze complex issues involving lots of parties. There is too much of a tendency to assign to each of these parties one of the roles from the book. You avoided that error while bring the point straight home. The true heroes of Lord of the Rings were Frodo, of course, and Sam. Frodo is obvious, a reluctant hero, an ordinary person who takes on a tremendous burden because the task must be done...

Sam is less obvious, but I suspect that Tolkien wanted to emphasize the heroic aspects of his personality as highly as anyone else in the story. Sam wanted happiness, comfort and friendship. The few times he thought about uses for The One Ring, he sould have turned his corner of the Shire into a garden and a breadbasket. The only control he ever wanted was what he needed to make himself and his own comfortable. The world would have been a better place with Sam in charge simply because he would have done nothing to anyone. The desire for power over anyone else had no hold on him.

Now, what does this have to do with open source? Well, why would anyone spend countless hours of his own time working on software for his own use and for the possible accolades of his peers when he could pay much less than that time is worth and get a shrink-wrapped package that did the job? Control over his own life, his own data, his own computer. We want to make tools to make our own lives easier or more fulfilling. As Eric Raymond said in The Cathedral and the Bazaar [tuxedo.org] :

Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch.

And we not only do we not object when other people benefit from it, we have realized that the collaboration that the open source model makes possible can provide us with useful enhancements in return. The guarantee of control over the software on our systems, the source code and the right to modify it, and distribute those modifications is control over our own lives.

Please! (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318779)


You ought to read Alan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. Contrary to your assertion that children in the US are taught from a young age that one view is right, they're taught not to judge, not to compare, but to accept other viewpoints as equally valid. That tends to reinforce the other idea taught by movies, music, peers, and television -- that authority is, intrinsically, something to be distrusted.

If the philosophy I can devise is just as valid as that of Spinoza or Berkeley or Anselm, why bother reading them? I might as well just go watch TV. The best way to convince an otherwise literate society not to read is to convince the people that there's no use learning anything. Mmm, intellectual laziness. That's why the most popular sites on the Internet aren't the Library of Congress or Project Gutenberg, but are sites like Yahoo! and that pornography place.

--

China needs to be shoved up Jack Valenti's butt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318780)

Not in virtual, in reality, physically. At some point all of the phiber of Jack Valenti's body will stretch to the thickness of one molecule and then he will explode. At that point we will be rid of him and will be free to distribute fine works such as this [dorsai.org] to the Linux users of the world.

Thank You

Re:Not about computers! (1)

Pure Doxyk (141294) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318781)

Hey; I'm in Detroit and I'm getting ready to organize a protest in front of one of our bigger movie theatres soon. Should be fun; stand around, make some noise. And, most importantly, I wanted to point out what I think will be my main point--yes, it isn't about copying at all, you're completely right. But really, in the sense that it will affect most of the known world, it isn't about COMPUTERS at all, either. It's about a corporation deliberately stepping over the laws for the purpose of turning another dollar; it's about the free market that will be denied to everyone within the MPAA's self-stated jurisdiction. I intend to make sure everybody knows that the jargon: "encryption", "hacker", "pirate", all that shit is just the MPAA blowing smoke, hoping to the gods nobody figures out that this affects you--not if you run Linux or hack or whatever, but IF YOU WATCH MOVIES. Thanks, Pksc

Re:Software laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318783)

>dont make DVD-R's

>hard drive copies

What's the difference between having it on DVD-Recordable, and a Hard Drive (other than the price?)? A regular DVD-Player for home won't play burned DVDs and obviously not hard drives. So just keep your movies on other media.

It is a waste of time NOT to make DVD-R because if you don't someone else will just invent R-DVD instead (Ie - the same thing, just "different").

There will ALWAYS be ways to pirate stuff... the only thing, for example, stopping people from storing copies of their DVD movies to hard drive right now is the cost. But, at the current pace, I bet you'll be able to buy a 30 GB hard drive for under $50 in 3 years. That'll store 5 or 6 DVD movies! :-)

For now, you can always just backup your HD to DAT/DLT. $10 bucks a movie, give or take... :-)

My suggestion to those who want to keep their software from being pirated is simple - if you think ANYONE has been making copies of your software tell the police. They'll put 'em in the slammer.

Of course, statistics show that piracy actually _helps_ sales of most computer software. Same with movies too. (Note: I am not talking about the piracy where people package pirate CDs that look like originals with original looking manuals in an original looking box, or the pirated movies that are sold at flea shops as originals. I am talking about the cracked software and movies dubbed at home from TV.).

Free Mongolia? Don't you mean Tibet? (2)

rogerbo (74443) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318785)

Uh, I think you mean "Free Tibet".

Mongolia is an independent country, Tibet was invaded in 1954 and the Chinese government is practising a systematic cultural and ethnic genocide through imigration of ethnic chinese and suppression of Tibetan culture.

It is currently illegal to posses a picture of the dalai lama in Tibet so most tibetans keep an empty
yellow picture frame in their home as a symbolic gesture.

see www.tibet.org and www.tibet.com for info

Re:Katz is a College Freshman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318786)

YHBT. YHL. HAND.

I've suspected this for a long time. The jokes on you trolls !

Of course the real question is, does JK have access to the so-called secret 31337 trolltalk sid ?

that wasn't chila, that was chia pets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318793)

let me find that link. brb.

Software laws (2)

OpenSpace (146503) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318794)

I can understand for it to be illegal to duplicate hardware, but the point of software is to take advantage of hardware and use it. Its simple, if you dont want anyone duplicating DVD's dont make DVD-R's. If they do refuse to make a recordable media type for a certain technology. That technology will simply become obsolete. As for hard drive copies, is it now illegal to have a mental pictures? The most important way to handle this would be for the Artist's to form their own distribution companies and take the Media giants out of the picture. Sell your song, movie or picture. Forget worrying about what its released on, because that just limits your market.

Evolution (1)

tilleyrw (56427) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318795)

Corporations are beginning to learn that the people have the power and not them. They don't like this, as it cuts into their profit margin.


With the growth of the internet, Linux, MP3s, and any other open method of media distribution, it is becoming aparent that the populace will not long endure the shackles that have been placed them by the global mega-corps. This will not be a sudden or violent revolution, but rather a quiet and constant one.


As Linux has grown and will subsume other OSs in the computer world, DVD and other proprietary standards will likewise whither and die.


The people have spoken and they all said: [Penguin sound]

Slashdot != Jon Katz (1)

Lars J (17027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318797)

Subject says it all...

Could we have some research, please... (2)

lordsutch (14777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318799)

I realize this is the digital frontier, but if you're going to write an article about the arrogance and stupidity of the Motion Picture Association of America, the least you could do is get the name right.

Also, use of the phrase "industry stooge (or shill) Jack Valenti" is de rigeur in any discussion of the MPAA. Please use it in any future articles on this topic; it would warm my heart.

Not about copying! (3)

blackrazor (97782) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318801)

John Katz wrote:

software (DeCSS) that unlocks the system for preventing illegal copying of video discs.
Of all places, an article on Slashdot should get it right. This is not about copying of works, but about playing them. We have to make sure as a community that we make this perfectly clear to the lay public. We are going to have to fight against a very well-funded and media-savy organization, one that has already proven that they are willing to do whatever it takes to obfusicate the truth, and obscure the facts in the case...

Criticism (2)

Remote (140616) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318803)

  • Last month, the DVD Copyright Control Association sued 72 hackers and Web site authors for posting - or even linking to software (DeCSS) that unlocks the system for preventing illegal copying of video discs.

I've seen a lot of criticism directed to John Katz here in Slashdot. Not that I like his style, but I've always felt that people went a bit overboard with that. Now, is it true that the DVD encryption prevents copying? Or should I finally understand the reason for all that criticism?

One of your better articles, Katz (3)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318804)

As far as the Chinese government goes, it doesn't seem like there is much anyone can do about it if they don't live in China (and little anyone who lives there can really do abou it).

But the RIAA, MPAA, and other various "cartels" in the USA can be fought.

As it stands, the Linux DVD project is just a bunch of viewing tools, and filesystem and hardware drivers--not something the average Linux luser is going to be able to put together yet.

What will finally put the nail in the MPAA's coffin is a graphical, userland program that is simple to install, and comparible to the various Windows players out there. Get it into RedHat or one of the other distributions.

Think of it from the journalists' point of view: sure, we can mirror the source all over the place but face it, a bunch of source files is meaningless to a clueless reporter, or worse, to them it means hacker. A full-featured (at least professional looking) application that any luser can install and play DVDs out of the box would really get the point of this lawsuit across to the various journalists and shapers of public opinion.

If you are a bored coder looking for a project, please consider helping the Linux Video [linuxvideo.org] project!
________________________________

Re:Censorship lives (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318810)

> and it has nothing to do with the availability
> of information. How many Americans would ever
> read the Communist Manifesto?

I read it in High School and thought that was
a normal thing. I have since realized it isn't.
The ideas most people have about "communism" are
really laughable. (like the idea that it is even
any 1 single ideology).

> Some, I admit, but the fact of the matter is
> that if you teach them young enough and
> from all angles that one view is right and the
> other is absurd, fringe, radical, or evil, the
> vast majority will reject that view outright,
> regardless of whether the information is readily
> available

Definitly true. Its very interesting the things
that we are told and believe. We are told that
its important that we can vote and choose good
leaders...thats what makes us "free".

Even after we grow up and see that the system
encourages our leaders to essentially take bribes
and become corrupt and work towards their own self
interest...we still believe that the ability to
vote makes us free and that we need these leaders.

Ask any american what the "most free country in
the world is" and they will tell you that its
this one. We are "free". Most will continue to
say it long past the time that they have monitors
installed in their walls (figurativly speaking
of course).

However...it is about availability of information.
The world does change, it just happens slowly.
The people in power want to keep things rolling.
Those people on the fringe are a threat. Ideas
can operate alot like viruses. They spread. Once
the idea is out there...it can spread from
individual to individual.

While I agree with you that early childhood
programming which is re-enforced by popular
culture, *IS* powerful, It is not the be all
and end all. New ideas still have power.

The thing that truly scares the people in power
is not that these ideas are out there...it is
that with the internet, they are now readily
available. If you want to read the communist
manifesto...you can do it very easily. Its
just a few clicks away (as you demonstrated).

How much is a film worth? (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318811)

This whole problem of copyrights is about relative value. Producers are eager to wring every penny's worth of their films, but exactly how much does the public get for that?

Every couple of years or so we get to see a new "superproduction" which must be necessarily more costly to produce than the former one.

The stars must always get higher salaries, just to pretend they are better. People like Jim Carrey and Sandra Bullock get over $10 million per film. Are they so much better than the extras who almost pay to appear in films?

The public doesn't seem to think so. They will do anything to get a free copy of a film or music. After all, when I buy a book, it's mine as long as I keep it. There is no "pay per read" for books, why should I pay every time I want to see an old film?

Eventually, producers will have to come to the conclusion that it's useless to try to impose value by marketing alone. If they want to be paid for their work, it must be for real work, with real value to the buyer.

Most people are not thieves, they will not steal a work of art if they are convinced that it's morally wrong to do so. But people aren't suckers either. They do not agree kindly to the idea of rich magnates getting richer by deceiving the masses.

Censorship and the Internet != Gonna Happen (1)

Euphorea (140971) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318812)

One of the things that I don't think that the "big players" like governments and the MPA understand is that the internet is intangible. Where can you actually put your hands on a part of the internet, except of course the individual server, but with people mirroring sites, there can be many branches growing up from the "Root of All Evil"(TM). The internet is an "Open Thought" community where ideas and opinions are exchanged freely with out cost, this of course allows people to share with others what knowledge they have. How that knowledge is formatted or what that knowledge can do for others is what scares the people with the big black felt marker, they don't like the ease with which ideas that go against their own are communicated.

When I think of these major bodies trying to censor the internet, I laugh because I know that they will fail in their attempt, it isn't just because of the sheer volume of stuff contained "in" the internet, but because of the spread. The seeds of thought and the new ideas that are spawned from these seeds are what give the internet the spiders web sort of feel, but just like the spider's web, whatever is cut away, will reappear. You can't block every layer of communication and decide what can travel along what line, you will just have to live with what you can't control.

Get out the hose and soak down your estate, because the brushfire is on the way, and you might get burned.

The URL for freenet is (1)

Andrew Cady (115471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318813)

http://freenet.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] ... I've been watching this a little while, and it looks VERY interesting, IMHO.

Re:Overconfident? (1)

Petrus (17053) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318814)

Quite right. There is no reaso to congrautlate ourselves. If there is little censorship now, more will come soon and winning DeCSS battle won't even slow it down very much.

Just keep the bilnds on your eyes. It feels better.

Digital Dyke supported by Open dk() (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318815)

Digital Dyke [dorsai.org]

Thank You

Re:China will send in the troops (1)

Nexeslad (106464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318817)

Hey Don't knock their food, just be careful when you order their sausage!

Miss Katzs Obedient Son (1)

shanerw (104417) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318818)

Being sixteen is not an easy age for any male. I was no different than any other. I spent all the time I could masturbating while looking at magazines with pictures of naked women. Then, I began to peek at my mother while she was undressing. I could slip outdoors and go up to her bedroom window and stand, able to see everything, as she always had one area that gave me a view. I would marvel at her slightly plump forty year old shape. Her large breasts, like two fleshy teardrops, dipping downward, only to turn outward at the ends, which seemed capped entirely with deep chocolate disks, the nipples protruding from their centers dramatically, even in their most flaccid state. Her tummy was the milkiest white and, just a scant few inches beneath her navel, a nest of raven black curls began. A vee that seemingly carpeted the area between her legs unlike any that I had seen in my magazines. For about three weeks, I spent nearly every evening at moms' window. Sometimes, I grew so hard that I would pull my erect cock out and pump it right there. Then, one warm evening, only a few days after summer vacation had begun, I went to my "spot" only to find that the view had been blocked. I went inside, only to hear the water running in the shower and knew that mom was in there. Going to my room, I undressed and was preparing to get into bed when I heard mom call "Jon Katz, will you come here". Slipping my robe on, I went to the bathroom, thinking she had fallen. To my surprise, she was still in the shower. "Please scrub my back.", she smiled, opening the shower door and looking at me as if it were an everyday occurrence. I was dumbstruck, but reached for a loafer. "No, not like that, take your robe off and get in here with me!:, she insisted. Like a puppy, I obeyed and blushed as I saw her eyeing my penis. Slowly, I began to suds the loafer and then her back. "Have you been the flower bed lately?", she asked slyly, turning to look me in the eye and brushing her hip against my penis as she did. I jumped from the contact, my face burning. I knew I was beet red. "You can see all of me now honey!' she said, stepping out of the shower and starting to towel dry. I blindly turned off the water and stood, looking at her, as she placed the towel between her legs and pulled it back and forth slowly. "Mmmmm, how do I look up close?", she purred, her eyes oddly dimmed. My shaft started to expand as I gawked at her naked body. "Why, my goodness, look what's happening to you!" You're as big as a horse between your legs!", she gasped and reached out to grasp me. "If you want to see mommy, all you have to do is say so!" she sighed as her hand pumped my thick foreskin back and forth. She keep this up for several minutes, then, still holding onto me, led me to her bedroom. Releasing me, she lay on the bed, her legs opened wide. "Put your mouth on me here!" she instructed, her fingers parting the columns of hair and revealing her pink gash. I lay between her open legs and did as she said. "Now, lick me! Run you tongue into the hole some.-ahhh yesss that's it, now go up yes yes there - on that but, it's my clitty and uhhhh shit more, god it's sooo nice!" Miss Katzs' ass started to churn and she started to groan loudly. "Turn around, quick!" she gurgled and as I did, I felt her mouth on my cock. "ohhh mom, ohhh mom!" I groaned. "Don't talk, eat me!" she gasped. My tongue began to lap at her and I became entranced by the aroma of her pussy. I had never smelled or tasted one before, but I knew that it couldn't get any sweeter that hers! "Fuck my pussy - NOW!", she ordered and pulled me around. Her hand guided my cock to her and I lunged forward, to the hilt of her slick hot cunt as she gasped and thrust her hips upward in a frenzy. "Fuck me hard!" she panted and my hips began to more frantically. I didn't come earlier because she was so forceful that I guess she had me frightened as well as excited. I was unaware that she was cumming at first, as I was a virgin, but her sound and movements finally clued me in. "Come in me - please come in me!" she wailed as her body shook it what was her throes of orgasm. I felt my column begin to spurt jets of semen over and over. I don't know how many streams of come I pumped, but she later commented that she had your mouth on me here!" she instructed, her fingers parting the columns of hair and revealing her pink gash. I lay between her open legs and did as she said. "Now, lick me! Run you tongue into the hole some.-ahhh yesss that's it, now go up yes yes there - on that but, it's my clitty and uhhhh shit more, god it's sooo nice!" Miss Katzs' ass started to churn and she started to groan loudly. "Turn around, quick!" she gurgled and as I did, I felt her mouth on my cock. "ohhh mom, ohhh mom!" I groaned. "Don't talk, eat me!" she gasped. My tongue began to lap at her and I became entranced by the aroma of her pussy. I had never smelled or tasted one before, but I knew that it couldn't get any sweeter that hers! "Fuck my pussy - NOW!", she ordered and pulled me around. Her hand guided my cock to her and I lunged forward, to the hilt of her slick hot cunt as she gasped and thrust her hips upward in a frenzy. "Fuck me hard!" she panted and my hips began to more frantically. I didn't come earlier because she was so forceful that I guess she had me frightened as well as excited. I was unaware that she was cumming at first, as I was a virgin, but her sound and movements finally clued me in. "Come in me - please come in me!" she wailed as her body shook it what was her throes of orgasm. I felt my column begin to spurt jets of semen over and over. I don't know how many streams of come I pumped, but she later commented that she had hand guided my cock to her and I lunged forward, to the hilt of her slick hot cunt as she gasped and thrust her hips upward in a frenzy. "Fuck me hard!" she panted and my hips began to more frantically. I didn't come earlier because she was so forceful that I guess she had me frightened as well as excited. I was unaware that she was cumming at first, as I was a virgin, but her sound and movements finally clued me in. "Come in me - please come in me!" she wailed as her body shook it what was her throes of orgasm. I felt my column begin to spurt jets of semen over and over. I don't know how many streams of come I pumped, but she later commented that she had my "Syrup" on both inner thighs, to her knees. As we lay exhausted, mom whispered, "Honey, the nest time you want to see me, just ask if we can play. I'll know what you want and I assure you, I let you play!" hand guided my cock to her and I lunged forward, to the hilt of her slick hot cunt as she gasped and thrust her hips upward in a frenzy. "Fuck me hard!" she panted and my hips began to more frantically. I didn't come earlier because she was so forceful that I guess she had me frightened as well as excited. I was unaware that she was cumming at first, as I was a virgin, but her sound and movements finally clued me in. "Come in me - please come in me!" she wailed as her body shook it what was her throes of orgasm. I felt my column begin to spurt jets of semen over and over. I don't know how many streams of come I pumped, but she later commented that she had my "Syrup" on both inner thighs, to her knees. As we lay exhausted, mom whispered, "Honey, the nest time you want to see me, just ask if we can play. I'll know what you want and I assure you, I let you play!"

No one needs to profit from distribution. (1)

OpenSpace (146503) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318820)

I guess the way to handle it would be to develop an organization that is non profit. No one person needs to make excesive money off another persons abilities. The rewards of one should reflect his contributions. The Artist makes his or her share. While a percent goes to the non profit distributer to pay its employee's. The difference is that the Artist would get the larger $ share and also have the top level ability to manage what is done with their work.

The same works for software. Sites such as Freshmeat.net dont need to profit from each of its software listings to stay around. It is a gateway to the works of others. Thats the same thing I think any sort of distribution organization should be.

Re:A message to Mr. Katz (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318823)

You're right. I assume (hope) Mr. Katz knows the difference as well. But... The DVD CCA sued claiming that that is what DeCSS was for. They claimed that DeCSS was solely to illegally copy DVDs.
Yes, this is wrong, and that is part of the problem with their case. No DeCSS is needed to duplicate DVDs. DeCSS is just needed to view them.

I think what Munky was referring to was that the DVD CCA used selected, out of context posts from slashdot to boost their own case. Given that they seem to assume every /. poster (especially the anonymous ones) are defacto spokespersons for the internet users as a whole, having a misspeak like that in the main story header is just playing into their hands.
--

Re:Huh? (1)

Lars J (17027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318830)

That would probably be when Jon Katz started writing this article, only publishing it now...

Necessary link (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318831)

Okay, this article begs for a link to Cluetrain [cluetrain.com] . Some points from that site that the MPAA should heed:

20. Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them.

26. Public Relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.

69. Maybe you're impressing your investors. Maybe you're impressing Wall Street. You're not impressing us.

70. If you don't impress us, your investors are going to take a bath. Don't they understand this? If they did, they wouldn't let you talk that way.

72. We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it.

moderate this up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318832)

Katz, you should know better.

Unholy? (1)

Rodney L Caston (143815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318833)

Wow, the MPAA and China... This is certainly a match signed in hell and witnessed by Steve Case himself.

this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318834)

...post is not news for nerds, stuff that matters. It is offtopic.

Moderate as such.

In search of the digital dike (1)

Plasmic (26063) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318835)

Apologies in advance, but I must say this:

I, too, want to stick my finger in a digital dike.

I'm not talking about making simultaneous efforts to stick my finger in a digital dike; I'm talking about the real deal here.

Good article (1)

Hizz (143345) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318836)

This areticle in a way goes with the "Corporate Conglomerate HOWTO" posted earlier. It pretty much sums up that the MPAA, the DVDCA, The Music Industry, and china have been reading the HOWTO mentioned above. Reverse enginnering has been oging on ever since the 2nd person to own a computer learned how to program and could see what the 1st person was doing, so unless an entire court has been bought or there is an incredibly stupid chain of events that defy Logic, Reverse engineering will be legal. As for China realizing that the internet is Not censorable. I don't see that for decades. They would several all Links to the outside world before they would admit that they don't have control over Speach on the internet.

fear of data (1)

Zorikin (49410) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318837)

Nothing confuses me more than when some agency claims that exposure to information is bad.

It's tempting to dismiss the MPAA and Chinese Government as themselves ignorant, but we know the justified (if not just) reasons for their actions. The MPAA wants a monopoly (oligopoly?) on DVD players. Chinese Government wants a controllable populace, and why not, they've had one for 5000 years, right? Ugh.

In every case where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a little more knowledge is usually the safest thing of all.

Re:Not about copying! (1)

Lars J (17027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318857)

Isn't the block positions containing the DVD-movie decryption keys usually pre-written with zeros on the DVD-Rs you can buy, meaning you must have special DVD-Rs or decrypt the DVD to be able to copy it?

A message to Mr. Katz (5)

Munky_v2 (124274) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318858)

Last month, the DVD Copyright Control Association sued 72 hackers and Web site authors for posting - or even linking to software (DeCSS) that unlocks the system for preventing illegal copying of video discs.

This is not what CSS does, it scrambles the content from being viewed by anything but a registered player capable of returning authentication tokens back to the hardware. The wording Jon uses here implies that Jon Johansen is a Cracker that wanted to start a piracy business selling ripped DVDs. This is not the case, Mr. Johansens thoughts were somerthing like this: "I like Linux...I like DVDs...too bad I can't watch DVDs on Linux...OH! Wait. I will just reverse engineer the CSS system and make a player for Linux. HEY I DID IT. I had better tell the world." That had not intention of ripping DVDs. Please remember that the courts are going to be listening to what we say, and if we stray off and say that de_css is for ripping DVDs, were going to lose this case.


Munky_v2
"Warning: you are logged into reality as root..."

Wrong target.... (2)

Arcanix (140337) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318859)

The MPAA and other anti-piracy organizations are really choosing the wrong targets. All over Asia, and especially in China, you can find massive industrial-sized factories putting out pirated software / movies / music and yet the MPAA decides to harass a Norweigan coder and let the Chinese government continue it's support of pirated media.

Whack-a-Mole style practical joke... (2)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318860)

Since I've seen articles here on how China is embracing Linux...

In order to illustrate how impossible it is to control the web, I would encourage some developer to include a simple comment "Free Mongolia" somewhere in the source code.

Just for the warm feeling it'll give everyone knowing that it'll be on each Chinese Govenrment computer.

Nice! (1)

borzwazie (101172) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318861)

Good article, JonKatz. A well-stated, fully-supported article. Slashdot readers probably realize this for the most part, but a good read all the same.

You should also consider submitting this article to a somewhat more "mainstream media" site. Whether or not it would be accepted, this article would make an interesting read for non-technical people as well. Especially the totalitarian types.

you, Sir, are an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1318862)

"China" does refer to the government of the country as well as the geographical region and the people. Learn better english here. [dorsai.org]

Thank you.

"The reports of my death ..." (3)

Jim Tyre (100017) | more than 14 years ago | (#1318863)


Katz writes:
one of the most striking but still largely unrecognized legacies of the Net has been the death blow it's dealt to the very idea of censorship.

Comments like that have been made for hundreds of years, each time a new means of publishing has enabled more to published wider and cheaper, but have any been the death blow? If they had, Jon wouldn't be writing that sentence, would he?
Among many, the urge to censor runs strong and deep. It always has, it always will. Many with that urge are just now beginning to pay attention to the Internet. The battle lines have been drawm, but the war is not remotely close to over.
I will dance in the streets if and when the day comes when the Internet has dealt a death blow to the very idea of censorship. But to argue that the day is already upon us is fatuous at best
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