[free-sklyarov] Wretched article at inside.com

Ethan Straffin drumz at best.com
Wed Aug 1 18:47:52 PDT 2001

Another quick thought on the Parloff article, particularly this bit which
others have already singled out for abuse:

"Most of the people coming to Sklyarov's defense fully appreciate that
some sort of anti-circumvention legislation like the DMCA is crucial to
maintaining meaningful copyright protection in the digital world."

Well, of course we don't -- for many reasons, but the one which I was
thinking about today concerns one potentially disastrous effect of
adopting unenforceable laws: it forces you to put out the match by
flooding the building.

What would it really take to enforce the DMCA, if one assumes (as many of
us do) that all encryption-based DRM systems are inherently
circumventable, and that, in the Internet era, all it generally takes to
make them useless is for one person to figure out how to circumvent them?

For one thing, it would require the ability to prevent anyone, anywhere in
the world, from using the Internet anonymously.  For as long as I can make
up a fake email address and post a decryption program to Usenet from a
public library in New Zealand, I'm safe from prosecution and lawsuits, but
those who were hoping to hide behind the DMCA aren't safe from me.

Seriously, once the lessons of DeCSS, Edward Felten, and Dmitry Sklyarov
soak in across the Internet, think about what trying to enforce this
ridiculous law will require!  (And here I thought our unenforceable drug
laws were bad, with the mandatory minimums, civil forfeiture laws, and
attacks on the doctor-patient relationship to which they have led.)  It's
a totalitarian's wet dream!  It's a perfect excuse to tell the entire Bill
of Rights, "So long, nice knowing ya," while wrapping ourselves in the
mantle of capitalism and artist protection.

Indeed, from a few of the posts I've seen on Declan's Politech list
lately, this seems to be exactly what a few of our more enterprising
politicians have in mind.

"The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
                                                     -- John Gilmour

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