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RE: [dvd-discuss] Postage Meters and the "Right to Tinker"

On Mon, 13 Jan 2003 johnzu@ia.nsc.com wrote:

> >I got the authority when I got ownership ... which
> >they gave me as a gift.
> Not according to the copyright holder.  Certainly not when you consider
> the DMCA.  I would contend that a more reasonable, balanced view of
> copyrights would respect a "keyware" model at least ethically.  Much of

I disagree. A more reasonable form of copyright would probably result in 
keyware being buried and salt sown over it. Keyware is exactly as bad -- 
arguably worse -- than CSS, in providing the author with a perpetual 
private copyright that lacks the needed policy aims or balance of the 
governmental copyright.

> the most useful non-mainstream software in terms of shareware, nagware,
> crippleware, demoware, and free-for-student-ware have been predominantly
> keyware based.  Just because I have legal right to a copy of a keyware work

This doesn't make them sustainable models for distribution. It would be 
wiser to limit widespread distribution to versions that had less 
functionality, but which did not have 'expiration dates.' Such versions of 
the works would likely not attempt to circumvent the copyright system. If 
this means that a developer can't give people a full version of the 
program that doesn't work until a key is entered, then I'll gladly play 
the world's smallest accordion for them, but that's about the limit of my 
sympathy. The software industry's been terrible about proper copyrights 
for decades, with only minor exceptions. I'm in no mood to give them a 

> If we can't agree that "keyware" TPM's should have legal
> protection (and do AFAICT) then we and the content industry are going
> to be at a "pro-life"/"pro-choice" level loggerhead (lagerhead?) and
> progress and the public are ill served.  We can yell "great taste/less
> filling" across the void (while grabbing all the free swag we can), or
> we can work constructively and consistently.

Perhaps the other side should compromise as well? You seem to be giving 
the industry what they want, despite the significant harms that it would 
cause everyone, and for what?

Copyright needs to serve the public interest first and foremost. I'm more 
than happy to help devise ways of working inside the system for mutual 
advantage, but copyright holders that recognize that their position is 
subordinate to everyone else are few and far between.

> To me the protection of keyware is a narrowly-defined "least restrictive means"
> 1A impact that benefits the public interest.  If you would rather that only
> big companies that can by shelfspace and Microwarehouse pages sell software,
> go ahead and promote the concept that keyware is ethical to crack.  Keyware
> allows a network/web/multilevel P2P distribution channel that is a strong
> decentralizing and disintermediating force.

That's like saying that strict environmental controls on dumping toxic 
waste hurt the small businessman that can only afford to dump stuff in the 
local water supply. I would love to see lots of small developers around. 
But I wouldn't be prepared to give them an edge that hurts society just to 
do so.