[free-sklyarov] My reply to the awful Seybold article on Dmitry

Richard M. Smith rms at privacyfoundation.org
Sat Jul 28 11:21:22 PDT 2001


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard M. Smith [mailto:rms at privacyfoundation.org] 
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2001 2:19 PM
To: pdyson at seyboldreports.com; pevans at seyboldreports.com;
mike at seyboldreports.com
Cc: Richard M. Smith
Subject: Re: ElcomSoft supporters miss the point


I just finished reading the unsigned Seybold article "Elcomsoft
supporters miss the point" at Planet eBook.  How depressing.  I can't
believe intelligent people are out advocating throwing software authors
in jail for writing "dangerous" software that they don't approve of. The
last time I checked, the First Amendment has not been repealed.  The
Adobe/Elcomsoft business dispute should be dealt as a civil issue, not
by throwing people in jail.

This is actual an old story.  Content suppliers and their supporters
have always attempted to demonize copying technology as "burglary tools"
and the private use of them as "theft".  It's interesting to compare the
Seybold article to earlier articles about content providers vs. copying
technology makers.  The rhetoric and the flawed analogies haven't seem
to change much in 20 years.  Unfortunately, unlike earlier fights, a
person sits in jail without bail in this latest battle.

Here's the sorry track record:

 Elcomsoft supporters miss the point 

   "Put simply, the DMCA outlaws the creation of burglary 
   tools-which ElcomSoft makes-but it does not redefine fair 
   use for the digital domain."

   "A security company, noting that the locks on a Main Street
   bookstore are relatively weak, decides to create a mechanism 
   that will pick the lock rather than alert the bookstore owner 
   or his distributors that the shop is susceptible to a break-in."

 The Copyright Grab 

   "Universal and Disney once sued Sony to stop distribution 
   of its videotape machines, arguing that private noncommercial 
   copying of their motion pictures by purchasers of Betamax 
   machines was no more excusable than the theft of a necklace 
   because the thief intended to wear it only at home for 
   noncommercial purposes."

 Is Copying CDs a Crime? 

   "No. While the courts consistently support the RIAA against 
   criminal activity, they also prevent the RIAA from branding 
   consumers who make copies as criminals."

   "In the late '80s and early '90s, the RIAA 
   threatened to send police into homes, arresting people in possession 
   of copied music and the new Sony DAT recorders. Congress passed 
   the Audio Home Recording Act to keep the RIAA out of our homes."

Richard M. Smith
CTO, Privacy Foundation


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