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RE: [dvd-discuss] DCMA Criticism in SIAM News

I had originally replied privately to Tom, but thinking
it through this isn't really as off topic as I had thought
(beyond the first point, that is).

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom [mailto:tom@lemuria.org]
> On Fri, Feb 01, 2002 at 08:43:17AM -0800, Richard Hartman wrote:
> > They went after tobacco companies for things that people
> > did to themselves even after the potential problems were
> > well known.
> actually, they went after the tobacco companies for lying and faking
> evidence and lab results in order to create a false impression of the
> dangers of smoking, not for selling tobacco.

And on those counts, the tobacco companies _should_ be held
accountable.  No argument there.

Otoh, the dangers of smoking have been generally accepted
as proven since, oh the mid 70s at least ... and yet they
_still_ award huge damages to people that _started_ smoking
well after that point -- therefore holding the tobacco 
companies responsible for an individual's choice even after
the negative aspects of that choice were known.  _That_ is 
what I was referring to.

> even though, there *is* some logic in this, the problem is limitation.
> in both sides - I don't think a total "blame only the guy who pulled
> the trigger" approach is justified, either. it would let the planners
> and supporters of crimes off the hook. much like in war we kill only
> the regular people and let the government guys live.

No ... planners did participate, if not physically.  But the guy that 
made the shovel used to dig under the wall didn't participate.  His
involvement ended after he made the shovel, he had no knowledge of
what use it would be put to.

> > Responsiblity must attach to the person who makes the 
> > choice in how something is _used_.  This is a fundamental
> > principle that must be held as a standard for any law
> > to meet.
> yes, but the decision isn't always at the obvious level. your average
> soldier, drug user/dealer or corrupted government official has a
> THEORETICAL choice, but that's it.
> reverse the argument: should we go after the police officers 
> who jailed Dmitri? 

No.  At that level, the laws had been made and it was merely
their job to enforce them.

> the state attorney who prosecuted 2600? 

Maybe.  As an officer of the court, people at that level
should be held responsible for recognizing unenforcable
or bad law.

>the congress twits who
> nodded to the DMCA? 

Yes.  Their job was to think through the consequences.  In
actuality they frequently have assistants read the bills 
(if anybod does) and they are then given abstracts of what
this lower-level (possibly inexperienced) intern thinks
the bill says.  That's not doing their job.  If congress
is churning out too many bills for the congresscritters 
to read them all, that's too damned bad.  Perhaps they
should be producing less quantity and more quality.

>or the law writers, lobbyists and movie mafia dons
> who orchestrated it all?

Now there I don't know again.  A lobbyist's job is
to get the most he can.  It's congress' job to balance
the wants/needs/rights of all sides and come up with
what is actually proper.  The movie mafia lobbyists
were merely doing their job when they asked for the
world.  Congress didn't have to give it to them.

> should we, in short, attach responsibility to the USERS of 
> the DMCA, or
> its MAKERS?

The makers.  Again, the lobbiests aren't really the makers,
congress is.

> maybe it really depends on whose ox it is. ;)


-Richard M. Hartman

186,000 mi./sec ... not just a good idea, it's the LAW!