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[dvd-discuss] The Touretsky and Shamos debate at CMU.

Touretsky versus Shamos debate notes:

This debate *just* finished, here are my notes from it, I've been trying
to track Professor Shamos's arguments, whom we also know from the trial.
So, this is trying to emphasize a devils-advocate position; arguments that
he made that might be refuted.

I intermix my own comments in [[]] and in a few of the sections.

-- Shamos

THe copyright clause in the constitution says:

``To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for
limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their
respective writings and discoveries; ''

[[What is the argument about ``copying'' being an ``exclusive right''?
This was elided out.]]

-- crosby

Although expressive computer programs are functional, many other types of
speech are also functional.

For example, blueprints, embroidery patterns, ..

Because machines can turn these into actual objects, (embroidery machines,
3d prototypers). Given the growth of computing, other types of speech will
eventualy collect these sorts of functional aspects.

-- Touretsky

Very good, points out that it is a digital control scheme, and that the
exemptions are junk.

-- Shamos

He doens't mind that 'you have to jump through hoops' to 'break the law',
and thinks that those hoops should be hard to go through to stop 'illegal'

-- Shamos


Computer programs are both speech and non-speech

Thus, as they are devices, they enjoy only limited protection because they
are devices as well as expression.

Distributing DeCSS is prohibited not because of what it SAYS but because
of what it DOES.

The anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA are constitutional.

-- Shamos

Is a machine gun a sculpture, shape is, function isn't.

What programs do is not speech.

Problem: Code is a single unit. How to seperate the elements
   [[ Flawed, code is not monolithic. See smalltalk-80]]

Answer: Say what you want ot say without giving express instructions to a
machine (expression without functionality)
   [[ But, this cannot be insured. Many expressions *are* functional, or
are becoming functional. Construct speech which cannot become functional.
(I heard) that Algol started off as a pseudocode, which turned into a REAl
language. ]]

DeCSS example: Give a description.

-- Shamos

``the defective syllogism''
 Programs are speech
  speech is free
  therefore, programs are free.

But they are not speech.....

-- Shamos

It costs .25 cents to get a copy of a 500 page book. It costs 300x that to
have Kinko's copy it..

[[ But, whats the cost of going to the library and checking that book

-- Touretsky

Code is expressive, as is, for example, it can server as an existance

 I can do it better with X, here's X as a proof of that.
 X can be done, here's a proof with program Y.

-- Crosby:  [[Weaknesses in Touretsky's argument]]

He didn't respond to Shamos's main argument, Code is speech, Shamos agrees
completely with *that*.

What Shamos claims is that it is wrong to distribute things with
functional aspects. Shamos says that instead, one should just make sure to
distribute it as something that DOESN"T have functional aspects.

Touretsky didn't cover this at all, but I think that we should emphasize
this, that 'what is functional and what is not functional' is *REALLY*
hard to define. A slippery slope. As a counterpoint to this argument. I'm
not sure the best way to phrase this.

At this level, Touretsky is bringing up a straw-man argument.

-- Touretsky.

He does at a few points respond almost directly, pointing out that this is
a slippery slope.

-- Shamos.  -- Rebuttle

``We don't offer a solution for how to protect the interests of copyright

[[ Coutnterpoint, Ford never offered a solution for how to protect the
interests of buggy-whip manufacturers.  See the heinlien quote at the end
of this email ]]

Congress has banned the trading of passwords, because they have no
expressive speech.

  [[ One wants to analyze passwords for the ease of guessing them, or
seeing whether people create good or bad passwords. ]]

-- Touretsky -- Rebuttle

He does point out the straw-mannish of his earlier argments.

And reiterates his 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' argument,
as applied to DeCSS.

-- Crosby, question..

Acted stupid.... Didn't phrase my question well...

I pointed out that I didn't have the ability to research HDCP becuase when
I did it, it wasn't even deployed, so for whom do I ask permission? I

He thought that irrelevant; He suggested I would have to ask the patent
holder? There appears to be no patent on the scheme, thus, this research
seems to be closed off to me and all researchers.

It appears that there's no way I can research this scheme.

The hoop is non-existant.

--  Crosby

My opinions can be wrapped up as a quote:

      "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this
      country the notion that because a man or a corporation
      has made a profit out of the public for a number of years,
      the government and the courts are charged with the duty of
      guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of
      changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This
      strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common
      law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right
      to come into court and ask that the clock of history be
      stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit. That
      is all."    -- Robert A. Heinlein ("Life-Line")