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

On 1 Dec 2001, David Wagner wrote:

> Scott A Crosby  wrote:
> [...]
> >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.
> [...]
> In my declaration, I argue that oftentimes, code is a useful form of
> communication precisely because it is functional: it is useful because
> it is precise & unambiguous, and it is precise & unambiguous because of
> its functional nature.  (Computer tolerate no ambiguity, so writing in
> code is an effective way to avoid ambiguity.)

His refutation of it is that you can easily avoid 'breaking the law' by
not distributing code. The law doesn't have to mold itself to your

Personally, I am far more interested in the non-viability of the exemption
of research.

I'd have to 'get the authority of the copyright holder'---a small and
bitchy hoop to go through--- to get the exemption, but, nobody, not
myself, not the DVD/CCA, or digital-CP (HDCP)  can assure me that I have
that authority, first, because the scheme may not be deployed yet, or, who
knows who ELSE might distribute something. Say, I get disney's permission?
I can still get sued by AOL, or any two-bit company that won't be founded
for 15 years. Thus, this would effectictivly chill ALL research in ALL
practical and deployed systems.

Thats one of the things I realized after talking to Catherin Copetas, and
confirmed after hearing Shamos; they can basically refute most of the
arguments we're coming up with by `The law doesn't have to mold itself to
your convenience', or, 'nobody says that a law has to make sense or be
understood for it to be the law'.

IMHO, the most straightforward way to get rid of the DMCA is