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

From:           	Richard Hartman <hartman@onetouch.com>
To:             	"'dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu'" <dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu>
Subject:        	RE: [dvd-discuss] DCMA Criticism in SIAM News
Date sent:      	Fri, 1 Feb 2002 13:15:35 -0800 
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> 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.

Dangers were proven in the late 40s under the Truman 
administration. Where I have had a problem with this argument, 
which I presented scornfully early on, has been a quotation I later 
heard from a mid 50s memo written by the president of one of the 
Tobacco firms "think of it [a cigarette] as the delivery mechanism 
for a drug". As the leaves of a plant that contains a mildly addicting 
drug, dried, cured, chopped up and rolled into a paper, I can't see 
that anyone who chooses to light up has a claim. But  as the 
tobacco industry began to do in the 50s, processing the leaves to 
be fortified to have a high level of that drug to create an addiction for 
repeat business, then I began to have a problem. I have not 
resolved this dilemma I should add.

> > 
> > 
> > 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 courts are charges with recognizing unenforceable or bad laws. 
With an adversarial form of trial, the truth comes out AFTER the 
conflict. Those who "battle" are not judged by the outcome of that 

> >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.

Good POINT! Creating a new law does not solve problems. (BTW- 
go to your library and look at the increase in the size of the 
congressional record over the last 70yrs.)....Laws should not be 
created by compromise to keep special interests happy. ANY law 
that is too complicated to be understood in 25words or less runs 
the risk that most people won't understand it! WRT to copyright, 
the law must conform to what people understand it should be and 
not what special interests want it to be. ("we must educate our 
children in the importance of copyright...nevermind that they can't 
do arithmetic, know geography, write an essay, or even read THEY 

Vote OUT the incumbents!

> >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.

 Sure and congresscritters should throw them out of their offices 
after the first visit or testimony. As for Jack Valenti just doing his 
job...there's lots of "talent" in Hollywood doing their jobs tonight 
too. He's just better paid.
> > 
> > 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.

Yes that's where the blame is. The shame is that for the crap they 
put out like the CTEA and DMCA and TEACH people have to get 
involved, have their lives turned around, and pay the price to fix that 
mess. What bothers me is that I don't see a lean, mean, hungry 
adversary willing to take on the establishment that created it. 
Politics in the USA seems to be a game of "Gotcha" or "King of 
the Hill".

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

Are you calling congress critters OXyMORONs....I won't disagree.

> -- 
> -Richard M. Hartman
> hartman@onetouch.com
> 186,000 mi./sec ... not just a good idea, it's the LAW!

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