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[dvd-discuss] Lexmark Decision

>From: noah silva <nsilva@atari-source.com>
>Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss]Lexmark Decision
>I would think as soon as they put the hash checking in there, so that
>only one program will work, they are limiting the creativity of
>something that would work.  It seems to me that if Lexmark purposely
>limited the options to copying their program, then they are in fact
>encouraging copyright violation of their own code.

Or, in other words, they are converting their "creative expression"
into a simple fact.  The simple fact is that this particular monolithic
block of bits is the only block of bits that will allow a cartridge to
function on this printer.  It is a KEY.  It is a unique fact.  It should
lose any copyright protection in this specific context because no
functional alternative expression exists.

The particular aesthetics of the key are irrelevant.  The only issue
should whether it effectively a unique sequence of bits that enables
printer function.  This was a bad call on the part of the judge.

>As an aside:  My friend (not from the US) recently asked me "If the
>polls show that less than 50% of Americans  support war in Iraq? Then
>why is the US there?  Isn't it a democracy, doesn't majority rule?".

  No, the United States is a  Representative Republic, not a Democracy.  We
don't vote on our laws.   We elect the representatives who make our laws.
There's a big difference, for better or worse.

>   In this case, it may have been the president's decision (though he should
>do what the public that elected him wants I would think!), but in most
>cases, it is congress/senate that passes things through...

The alternative is the coalition system, where the government can be
effectively ousted at any moment by a vote of no confidence.  This is
the political system in place in England, and the result is that the
Prime Minister, or President, or head of state finds himself bound
tightly to the opinion polls.  Any single false move can result in the
collapse of his government.  Such a political system essentially
eliminates the ability of government officials to make independent

In the U.S., you have the opportunity to force a change in government
every 2, 4, or 6 years, for Representatives, the President, or Senators
respectively, but not every day or every hour.  I believe that this leads
to better government, as our elected officials are not as closely bound
to opinion polls, but are still subject to removal on a regular basis.

>and it has become abundantly clear that senators and
>congresspeople vote the way they want to (or they are told to..),
>not the way their constituants want them to.

... and here's the rub.  Congresspeople have two groups of constituants.
The people who vote for them, and the groups that give them campaign

>Every letter I have ever sent to mine saying something
>like "I Oppose DMCA" (or patriot act, whatever), has always been replied
>to with a form letter saying "we believe that XXX law is important
>because YYY, so we will be supporting it".  Aren't they supposed to
>_listen_ to their constituents, not _tell_ them which laws they
>support?  Seems to me that the information is flowing the wrong way.

I think that the root of this problem is the ability of corporations to
influence Congress and the President, in particular by making campaign
contributions.   Average citizens can't afford to open a permanent office in
Washington DC and make a campaign contribution to every senator and
representative, but many corporations can.  Therefore, they wield more
influence then citizens.

Why should corporations (fictitious entities that only exist by charter
of the government) be allowed to make campaign contributions? (thus
making elected officials effectively beholden to those fictitious entities?)

Or, to put it another way, is the a chance in hades that the
beneficiaries of the free-flowing spigots of campaign money are
going to vote to turn off the spigots?