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Re: Bring on the SSSCA - Rev. 1

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  • Shlomi Fish
    ... I will include a link to the LWN coverage of its newer incarnation, or some other resource that describes it. My modus operandi is that they are familiar
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 9, 2002
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      On Tue, 9 Apr 2002, Nadav Har'El wrote:

      > On Tue, Apr 09, 2002, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Bring on the SSSCA - Rev. 1":
      > > wish to change the fact. And legislation of the SSSCA (or CBDPTA as it is now
      > > called)[2] is the perfect vehicle to make it gain momentum.
      >
      > I suggest you start with a short paragraph or two saying what the SSSCA
      > or CBDPTA (eek, couldn't they have chosen more obscure acronyms? I suggest
      > they join the AAAAA, the American Association for the Abolition of
      > Abbreviations and Acronyms). Most people probably don't really know what
      > this proposed law says.
      >

      I will include a link to the LWN coverage of its newer incarnation, or
      some other resource that describes it. My modus operandi is that they are
      familiar with it. Describing it is kind of like the chicken and egg
      problem.

      > > 2. Hardware and software vendors will need to invest a lot of money in building
      > > copyright protection into their products.
      > >
      > > 3. Someone will have to finance this development, and later on converting the
      > > legacy systems into the SSSCA-sound devices.
      > >
      > > 4. This someone is the U.S. Government.
      >
      > I don't see how 4 would necessarily follow from 2 and 3.
      >

      I do. For instance, when the FBI decided he needs to wiretap all local
      phone calls in the U.S. at will, the phone companies demanded money to
      implement it, and the government allocated 200 million dollars of its
      budget to do it. Then, the phone companies sued the government. Search
      for:

      http://www.techtv.com/cybercrime/features/story/0,23008,2134763,00.html

      It is common knowledge that the government is required to finance
      executing its laws into action. The FSF, being a large software vendor,
      can naturally demand that the government finance SSSCA-safing all of its
      software. Microsoft can follow suit, followed by Oracle, Sun, Corel (which
      is based in Canada), IBM. Even I can go to the U.S. Embassy and demand
      them to hire programmers to make sure a patch to Freecell Solver in which
      it is converted to be SSCA-friendly is maintained.

      Someone has to make sure SSSCA-friendly software and hardware is produced,
      and that someone has to be the U.S. according to the logic behind the
      Democratic process.

      > > 5. I'm not really good at approximating things like that, but I think this
      > > amount of money can easily surpass the current U.S. Budget. And I mean the
      > > entire budget, defense budget and all.
      >
      > If such a law ever passes, I assume they will have to "grandfather" [4] any
      > existing applications. Americans usually cherish the concept that you cannot
      > be prosecuted for something you did before that act became illegal.
      >

      That's a common legal paradigm, which is commonplace in every liberal
      country. Writing retro-active laws is considered Totalitarian.

      > This will make converting existing applications (like Windows XP) unnecessary,
      > but also make creating new applications nearly impossible. Instead of ruining
      > Microsoft with huge modification costs, it might make it a monopoly forever ;)
      >

      Microsoft cannot live with those terms. Obviously, they will have to add
      some features to XP, or fix bugs, etc. I believe they won't be able to
      sell new versions of XP. Microsoft is keen on giving the public what it
      wants and what it finds appealing. That's not always the case with some of
      the software out there, but it is a necessity behind every good software
      design. (commercial/o-s, GUI/command line - everything)

      Obviously, I would still be able to use Mandrake 8.2 perfectly. But it
      would be fully to think that 5 years from now, I would actually still use
      it.

      > > I'd like you to take the Meta-Circular Evaluator of the classic text
      > > "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" and make sure it
      > > does not execute copyrighted code. I'd like you to take GNU echo and make
      > > sure it does not prints copyrighted expressions to the screen. (you may
      > > actually find it useful to start from agrep). I want you to take gcc
      > > and make sure it does not compile code that one does not own the copyright
      > > to. And I want you to make sure your own pet programs and script follow suit.
      >
      > I think that anyone familar with computers will find the proposed laws'
      > absurdity and unapplicability "self-evident". Americans love "self-evident
      > truths" [1]
      >

      I hate them. One needs to reason his conclusions. Perhaps not with a
      mathematical proof. (that would be ridiculus in such a scope) But at least
      give some basis to it. To quote Atlas Shrugged (which I highly recommend
      reading despite what distinguished members of this mailing list have
      said):

      <<<
      "We never make assertions, Miss Taggart," said Hugh Akston. "That is
      the moral crime peculiar to our enemies. We do not tell -- we *show*.
      We do not claim -- we *prove*."
      >>>

      I do not prove that 1+1 = 2 or other things whose proof can be trivially
      deduced. But I try to illustrate or reason what I say.

      > > feel that it would be a complete waste of time if my own Freecell Solver[3]
      > > had to make sure it respects the copyrights of layouts it receives as input.
      >
      > Or worse in the case of another game, Mine Sweeper. It was proven that
      > Minesweeper is Turing-complete :) [3]
      >

      So is the game of life. BTW, solving MineSweeper was proven to be
      NP-Complete. But I did not yet write a complete Mine Sweeper
      implementation, so I'd rather keep to stuff I know.

      > > So, fire away I say to Sen. Hollings. Unless, of course, he actually
      > > want to remain in one piece afterwards.
      >
      > Romans had a horse for a senator [2], so why can't the Americans have
      > a jackass? :)
      >

      I think most of the statesmen today are irrational, spineless mystics that
      lack any conception of idealogy. They purposely, willingly and directly
      destroy values and cause money to be lost and lives to be killed. But
      these are just my political opinions which are out of scope of what I wish
      to concentrate on conveying.

      To quote Leonard Cohen: "First we take Manhattan. Then we take Berlin".
      Let's first handle the SSSCA, which is easy bait and a grossly illegal
      law. Then we will have a good momentum with which to get rid of the DMCA,
      or make the public aware of UCITA, of the grossly immoral nature of
      existing IP laws, etc. By then, we can proceed to other things which are
      not computer-related. But one step at a time, and everything
      done strategically.

      The Content Providers are not the real enemy. Yes, they are rich, they are
      paranoid and they tend to abuse their power and money. But they produce
      intellectual values that give people joy or teach them a lot of things. In
      an LFC environment, they could not have been abusive even if they wanted
      to, because in an LFC the law does not change to reflect the whims of
      private factors. (let's not turn it into a flamewar - if you wish -
      subscribe to Philosophy-IL and discuss it there) The digital revolution
      naturally changes the model in which they operated in. But I think they
      can find a new model to work in. Maybe they won't garner as many profits
      as before, but they at least would be happy knowing they produce such
      values.

      We should try to convince them to lose their paranoia, rather than to
      attack them. I don't mean they are innocent in their demands, but an "Foo
      is", "Foo is not", "Foo is too" only escalates to a situation where
      everybody is more convinced of his opinion. It is fun doing it sometimes,
      but usually not constructive.

      A better idea, (based on Cognitive Psychology again) is to do the
      following:

      1. Ask him to explain what he means.

      2. Agree that he may have a point.

      3. Try to reach a constructive conclusion that will make both sides happy.

      With some people, you cannot really reason or should try to. But with most
      people, this methodology works very well.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      >
      > [1] http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/declaration/declaration.html
      > [2] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1843/Caligula.html
      > [3] http://www.mat.bham.ac.uk/R.W.Kaye/minesw/
      > [4] grandfather clause: noun, 1900: a clause creating an exemption based on
      > circumstances previously existing; especially : a provision in several
      > southern state constitutions designed to enfranchise poor whites and
      > disfranchise Negroes by waiving high voting requirements for
      > descendants of men voting before 1867
      > For the curious, http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Poll_tax explains the
      > origin of this phrase a bit clearer:
      > The United States Constitution, Article 1, section 9, prohibits Congress
      > from laying capitation taxes or other direct taxes. (The Sixteenth
      > Amendment allows the Federal government to tax income.) However, some
      > states used poll taxes and literacy tests to determine eligibility for
      > suffrage, circumventing the Fifteenth Amendment with a "grandfather
      > clause" that allowed any adult male whose father or grandfather voted
      > to vote. The Twenty-fourth Amendment ended this process.
      >
      > --
      > Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 9 2002, 27 Nisan 5762
      > nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
      > Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |I used to work in a pickle factory, until
      > http://nadav.harel.org.il |I got canned.
      >
      >
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      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
      "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
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