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Cory on DRM
There's a great commentary on DRM by Cory Doctorow here
. Cory makes the argument that DRM allows the studios to change the rules at any time and revoke the implicit deal that consumers have made with the folks who provide the content. As Cory points out, DRM is not about protecting producers, it's about wresting control from consumers. What about consumers who "can't be bothered"
to chose non-DRM devices over DRM locked-down stuff like Microsoft's Media Center 2005 PC? They'll be bothered soon when Hollywood and Microsoft erase their files.
couldn't even vote for the right guy?
Lessig's 'Code' Wiki
Lessig is trying a new experiment
. He's creating a wiki to update his book Code. He's looking for volunteers who are expert in the subject of the chapter, and willing to work through the Wiki to produce an updated chapter.
Next on the O’Reilly Factor: When did you stop beating your wife?
Geof Stone, guest blogger on Lawrence Lessig's blog reports
on his debate on the O'Reilly Factor. He was debating the question: “Can an American want the United States to lose the war in Iraq and still be patriotic?” I find O'Reilly and others like him disgraceful. I don't know whether O'Reilly believes the stuff that comes out of his mouth or he just acts like he does because it plays well to the Fox audience. Either way, it does a disservice to America by lowering the terms of the national debate and pandering to the worst in people. However, pandering to the lowest common denominator is a long-standing American tradition. What I don't understand is why anyone with an IQ above room temperature would appear on that show or any like it. It's an obvious setup to make any "liberal" look like a fool to the O'Reilly audience. O'Reilly seems to consider anyone to the left of Joe McCarthy a liberal.
The I Ching says "Pigs and fishes are the least intelligent of all animals and therefore the most difficult to influence. The force of inner truth must grow great indeed before its influence can extend to such creatures." When people who have a reasonable point of view allow themselves to be drawn into debates with pigs and fishes on Fox, the don't serve the truth. They shouldn't allow themselves to be tricked into fatuous debates on issues framed by the host. It would be best for reasonable people to avoid shows that try to frame everything in black and white.
/. and global warming
U.N. talks on climate change ended today
with no action on the European Union's proposal for deeper emissions cuts to stop global warming. It was scuttled by the US and oil producers who seem bent on keeping their heads in the sand. This is hardly surprising. The US government has had a "live for today" attitude for some time. Witness the Social Security and Medicare problems, both brought about by an unwillingness to plan ahead in a reasonable manner. The current deficit spending excesses are another example.
StripBurger Part II
has a comment on the StripBurger issue as well as some info on the Magic Cube. The StripBurger issue seems to be one of free sppech being violated by overzealous Customs authorities. The Magic Cube issue is a case of "duh". The Department of Homeland Security sent agents to a toy store to order them to remove a toy called "Magic Cube" because it allegedly violated the trademark of Rubik's Cube. The patent protecting the Rubik's Cube has expired. I feel safer now that those Cubic terrorists have been contained.
The Comics Reporter
has an article about US Customs seizing copies of the anthology, Stripburger
. Customs is charging that the stories "Richie Bush" by Peter Kuper and "Moj Stub" (translated, "My Pole") by Bojan Redzic constituted "clearly piratical copies" of registered and recorded copyrights. I wonder if it's rather because the US Customs doesn't like the fact that Richie Bush is a crude parody of their boss. There's an animated version of Richie Bush here
. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is supporting Stripburger.
Guantanamo and the courts
I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been extremely busy over the last two weeks and haven't had much time. I had made a personal resolution to try and avoid blogging about politics except where it concerns issues of online speech, copyright etc. Most of the political news these days is just too irritating to write about and there are at least a zillion bloggers of the right and left covering that scene. However, this article U.S. OK's Evidence Gained Through Torture
upset me. As a US citizen, I'm an disturbed by the actions and attitudes of the US government on this issue. The issue here is a little more subtle than the US defending torture. At issue is whether the government can use evidence obtained through torture. The New York Times recently reported the Red Cross described the psychological and physical coercion used at Guantanamo as "tantamount to torture." The problem is that since there is almost no external over-site at Guantanamo so who is to say that much evidence is not being obtained through illegal means. The larger problem is that the government has been quite willing to embrace torture as a means to an end. The administration, through its justice department, has defended the use of torture in a number of cases. The use of torture as interrogation policy was made illegal for several good reasons: it is incompatible with human dignity and it's an unreliable technique. Torture dehumanizes both the victim and the perpetrator. It is incomparable with the ideals the US pretends to espouse. I hope the court rejects the government's argument and refuses to allow the use of evidence obtained in illegal ways. It's the only way this ruthless administration will be stopped on this issue.