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[dvd-discuss]DMCA Excemption Hearings at UCLA Day 1..Addenda

Some Addenda..

Session 1 - Censorware

There was some discussion regarding private agreements of censorware lists but 
I think the committee pretty much got the picture that the purpose of this is 
to provide a check on the function. An NDA doesn't accomplish that.

S.Metalitz said several times that it's a different world than in 
2000...Technically my response is "guy...if you think its any different in 2003 
than it was in 2000, then you didn't know what was going on in 2000....not my 
fault but yours....to quote a deceased friend of mine, a former Ranger- 'Deal 
with it'"

The censorware people make a big show that they allow you to ask them what 
things are being censored. Jim T. did a good job explaining that the most do 
not and the few that do make it difficult. The sheer magnitude of what's going 
on when he showed them a bunch of screen dumps (I assume) of a data base query 
of their websites.

<It might be an amusing exercise to see if a distributed query of database 
attack and reconstruct their database. (DBDA) Whether a number of computers can 
be coordinated to query and reconstruct the database or the holes in it..I 
don't know of the legality of doing that or if it would constitute a DDoS under 
current law>

There was a lot of discussion regarding the numbers of people that may want to 
do censorware decryption. I do not think the committee realized that many are 
content that others do.

Session two- Internet archive and ACM statement

I found it ironic that S.Metalitz earlier made comments on how censorware is 
protecting the internet from spam and virii on websites yet obviously doesn't 
understand that a polymorphic virus is encrypted so as to hide it's identity. 
To do the protection they also must be breaking access controls to copyright 
material....Can a virus maker sue censorware? 

Metalitz, obviously, is quite unaware that you just can contact a lot of 
companies and say "hey...tell me about your version 1.01 of the program"...the 
configuration management at most commercial companies is nonexistant and for 
defunct ones-NADA and if they did ...are they willing to pay? Or just claim 
copyright and then DMCA protection...

I was not crazy about the idea that libraries can fund programmers to RE things 
but the public cannot. ALso what's the point that one library can RE something 
but can't tell another one what it told...or that libraries become the secret 
repositories of forbidden knowledge rather than PUBLIC or RESEARCH 
libraries...this is untenable....read Umberto Ecco's "Name of the Rose" It's 
rather dense but once you get into it it reads fast (I read 30 pages in 10 
minutes at one sitting)

Barbara Simmons gave an excellent presentation. The ACM statement was well 
written and presented well. She presented cases of where the DMCA has stiffled 
research (e.g, Felton, Wagner) Any others might be greatly appreciated. So if 
anyone can think or see cases they would make good ammunition. Barbara made an 
interesting observation when she said to just return computer science back to 
what it was before the DMCA.

George Ziemann presented a some what scathing indictment of the DMCA and the 
panel. Later when the panel was grappling with access control vs copy 
protection he popped out a CD and stated that this contained the manual to Mac 
OS 9(?) and cannot be read by Mac OS 10(?) because the software is programmed 
to ignore it...I don't know if that's true (anyone?) but if they don't shoot 
the messenger it may have helped..

Session 3- Copy protected CDs

This was an Alice in Wonderland session...listening to the RIAA and Macrovision 
I wondered where they live? 

My notes are not that complete since I kept getting interrupted by the guy 
behind me (I hope the picture he wanted me to take afterwards of him, Gwen, 
Robin, Ren of EFF and Jim T using his 007 sized camera and recorder actually 
does come out an he send copies out...I'm sticking to my SLR or cheezy digital 
camera I own)

The RIAA witness was what I thought was a green lawyer (afterwards I overheard 
him telling someone that if they are innocent they have nothing to hide and I 
could not resist informing him that that is the argument used by police states, 
fascist, communist and it's not a good argument or one he should use....I doubt 
that he got it...I hope he continues to do so...)...his level of argumentation 
was not high..mostly denial and I suspect David Carson enjoyed roasting him on 
evidence...certainly Jim Tyre was enjoying some of the exchange..he was shaking 
in laughter at a couple of points

The guy from macrovision used so many methaphos (OK I renounce copyright on 
that word...the creation of metaphors under the influence of natural or man 
made chemicals...that was a typo but I think it apropos)..I heard "industry 
meltdown", " healthy ecosystem", "balance", "big picture" and " long term. 
Macrovision is working to give you a CD with two tracks that can be played in 
your CD player and in your computer...I told this to my exboss and he commented 
"I can do that now..what do I need that for?"...gotta love us mathematicians 
for restating the obvious ....

The RIAA guys was really stupid mixing statistics...There was a lot of mixing 
of statistics. Non statisticians LOVE to talk about the average and such but 
don't understand what it really means.

The EFF presentation was pretty good and the panel seemed more disposed to it 
than the others. Why not...the others are just saying...stop the hearings...we 
like it as it is...

The areas I thought could have been better (No flames Robin, Gwen and 
Ren...I've been there. Done not quite that... I know that "Bullfight critics 
row and row, line the Plaze del Toro. But there is only one there who really 
knows. And he's the one that fights the bull [R.Graves..poet, scholar, and 
writer of juicy historical fiction]"  

The panel struggled with copy vs access protection. It is not clear that they 
understand that access is a necessary but not sufficient condition for copying. 

I think the point could have been made that the little logo on the CD that says 
"XOIHKJND" or whatever is equivalent to the fine print in a contract except 
this IS NOT a contract. It's a private sale....the marketplace has never been 
the place of contracts. Over tens of thousands of years it has evolved to a 
place of the rapid transfer of personal property. If the RIAA and MPAA do not 
agree to the common law of that then they must exclude themselves but the 
marketplace of thousands of years should not be changed to accommodate.

I have to confess that I was amazed when Robin Gross made a devistating point 
that the sale of a CD is the sale of private property and that the LAW says as 
much and the RIAA attorney said "I don't agree" Eseentually the RIAA has 
decreed that you don't own what you own...What a stupid twit!


Meta issues

It seems clear that the Panel does not understand technology and has not 
consulted with available resources (would it help to write letter to congress 
critters) They are struggling

The EFF presentation on copy protection needed some technical bolstering on 
methods and techniques..of course...patents are public knowledge...is the panel 
required to understand them?

We had standards for CDs and the like. Now with copy protection they are 
messing with them...a guarentee for problems yet the committee did not seem to 
understand that...

The whole notion of preserving content in one media format less removed from 
the technology of today is silly..it does not preserve fair use or preserve 
historicla material for the future..on the bright side....the testimony of the 
RIAA guy would not be preserved and rather than achieving a negative record in 
history, as opposed to a negative footnote, his words will cease to 
exist...rather than a possible negative he becomes an absolute non existance...