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[dvd-discuss] Re: DMCA exemption reply comments now available

Ken Arromdee wrote:
> Two things that struck me were:
> -- how few private individuals got a comment in (aside from the EFF's form
> comment).  Come on people, if you have the time to post on Slashdot,
> you have the time for a comment.
	I'd say it's a bit more complicated. In posting to Slashdot,
one can just sound-off, and with no evidence needed whatsoever. It
takes some thought and research to make a good reply comment. It's not
beyond people by any means, but it does have a certain barrier.

	That's why I wrote my DMCA comment guides, in part to reduce
that barrier. But the reply comment guide didn't get publicized on
e.g. Slashdot, so it wasn't as effective as it could have been.

> -- how biased the procedure is by giving the replies the last word.
> The companies get to make lots of false or misleading statements, and
> nobody can rebut them.  (Like Sony's about modchips--if that was in a
> first round comment I'd have pointed out that for the Saturn, where
> modding for region was easier than modding for piracy, the majority of
> the mods were for region.)

	I agree that the process isn't set up for truth. But there's
likely to be another comment round. I strongly suspect there will be a
chance at rebuttal, after the spring hearings:

"The Register intends to hold hearings in this rulemaking in the
spring of 2003. Following these hearings, the Register will make a
determination as to whether there is a need for additional written
comments in the form of post-hearing comments specifically addressing
matters raised in the record of this proceeding."

> I wonder if even the censorware exemption is going to go through this time.

	Frankly, I'm disheartened. Going through the opposition
comments for the censorware exemption, I could see the baleful effects
of all that's happened over the years. And worse, how it'll be
virtually impossible to do what might now give the censorware exemption
a better chance against the opposition. It wouldn't be correct to say
that Slashdot opposes the censorware exemption - but the position which
Michael Sims ("michael") has as a Slashdot "editor", is having that effect.
Michael Sims, for people who don't know, tried to pull a coup d'etat
and take-over Censorware Project. When he lost that power-grab, he
hijacked the Censorware Project domain and made all links to it deliver
a diatribe from him (that is, people looking for anti-censorware reports
or archives or essays, instead were redirected to his denunciation). And
to further get back at me, he publicized confidential, legally sensitive,
details about my censorware decryptions, from a lawyer message by
Jim Tyre, which he had received in confidence earlier.

	This isn't ancient history. Censorware Project attorney
Jonathan Wallace has an article on it published just this last month, see

"Michael Sims, Domain Hijacking and Moral Equivalency"
"We had some internal discussions about suing him to get the domain
back. ...  Jim Tyre, much more knowledgeable about these things than I
am, believed that the fact that Michael had been allowed by us to register
the domain in his own name would be definitive and that we would lose."

Also worth reading are some previous comments by Bennett Haselton:
"The only legitimacy that Michael has is through his position as a
Slashdot writer; he has just enough writing skills to make his writings
sound seductively intelligent to anybody who doesn't know the real story.
The fact that Slashdot hired Michael should be deeply embarrassing ..."

	I catch a *tremendous* amount of flack for making an issue
here. But I try to impress on people that this isn't a game. It seems
now that almost every week is bringing a new DMCA lawsuit or legal
charge. I'm sure disinclined to stick my head in a legal meat-grinder,
with any risky censorware decryption work, if there's a chance I'll
have the front-page of Slashdot *supporting* censorware company
actions against me. And as unbelievable, amazing, incredible as that
sounds, every aspect of it has precedent in abuses Michael Sims has
done. Up to and including actively publicly collaborating with the very
PR person who wrote the main censorware company DMCA exemption reply,
in order to help them do PR against me!

	I'm going to pay for writing this, I know. But if I can't even
talk about how one "journalist" is hurting the ability to get the
censorware DMCA exemption, I'm hardly in any shape to go up against
the censorware companies.

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf@sethf.com  http://sethf.com
Anticensorware Investigations - http://sethf.com/anticensorware/
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog - http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/