Not saying you did it, but I had to comment someplace.
I think the insulting tone towards those that disagree with him might have something to do with it. And the above statement is just plain absurd.
| HN is a weird place to bemoan prices when many here are seeking unicorn valuations while disrupting industry
HN is a place where many seek unicorn valuations which are only achievable from monopoly rents. Monopoly rents are what the headphone USB trick is attempting to collect (see bundling). That's what makes it pertinent to state "weird place to take this side" especially so vociferously... well, weird side to take unless you are not educated about econ and are unable to decode what's actually happening.
If the software producer did not try to enforce copy protection through the USB scheme, they would presumably face the problem of people copying the software and buying aftermarket headphones. In a large scale industry like operating systems (Microsoft Windows) such rent seeking behavior is to be deplored because prices of individual copies of the software should approach their very-inexpensive marginal cost. But the marginal cost of a niche piece of software such as this ADA software is complicated by the difficulty in earning back the development costs. This is the justification for patents, etc. whether you believe in it strongly or less strongly or not. I am less strongly a believer, but I'm not a pussy who downvotes people who disagree with me.
I don't share your POV btw, but I got downvoted because they don't like that I defended your right speak because your POV is unacceptable here. And this, to move the topic further afield, is why codes of conduct don't work: it's just another flavor of Turkish Pres Recep Erdoğanian "thin skin to disagreement", or "I don't like your opinion in one area, so you'd better shut up about everything else"
However, I feel like there is something very very wrong about method and intention of this type of actions/complains.
One thing always bugs me about Americans: despite the liberties that they enjoy, despite the very real capacity to impact change in their government and laws, they all hate "the Government." Who is "the Government"? Wait, ain't them the very candidates that you the people vote into offices?
Like this idea of "suing the US government." Who are you suing? The executive branch? Why are you suing them? This is over a law. It's a piece of legislation. The executive branch merely, you know, execute the laws. Why not sue Congress? Oh wait, why sue Congress when you can simply vote them out of office? Oh wait, why "stop enforcing" the laws when you can, you know, CHANGE the laws?
This kinda reminds me of the libertarians' ideas of obstruction of legislation so that "the government does not spend more." If not spending is the right thing to do, why not educate people that. Even if one believes that 47% of the population is "takers," 53% is still a majority. So teach, advocate, change minds. But no, they prefer to obstruct their country, risk the centuries of their national reputation, put t heir fellow citizens to starvation. You know, if this happens in schoolyards, we probably call it "bullying." But if a bunch of libertarians do it, it's "principles."
Obviously, I agree with the plaintiff here. However, the method is still wrong. And different from above, there are very few "takers" here. Mostly, it's faceless businesses that (let's be frank here) few people like. So why not take the high road? Why not educate your fellow citizens on the danger of the laws? Why not change minds? Why not raise money for candidates who will change the laws appropriately?
In short: why not be a citizen rather than a rebel? Why not change the system for the better rather than obstruct it? Why not make your society/country a better place rather than simply fight it?
Legislation is inert. The Executive exists to execute the will of the people expressed through the Legislature. The Judiciary interprets legislation, particularly the interactions and priorities of various laws, ranging from the Constitution, to legislation, to case law. This in turn informs the Executive as to how to execute the legislation.
Therefore, if a citizen is of the opinion that the Executive is doing a bad job of balancing concerns in enforcement (in this particular case asserting that 1201 is unconstitutional due to the 1st Amendment), they sue the Executive. Again, this is entirely in keeping with the structure of checks and balances American government is founded on. When it works, it works well.
That can be radically difficult because of gerrymandering.
That aside, launching a public campaign, garnering votes, and voting on a _single issue_ is often the wrong way to elect a representative.
For instance, I think the 2nd amendment is actually a good idea to prevent invasion of a foreign force (an armed population is very hard to rule over). However, I pretty much never vote for candidates that support the 2nd amendment because they often also deny climate change, vote for private prison control, etc. I can't go with their whole platform. I don't want them representing me.
So in those cases, when you have one issue - especially when it's just part of a whole (e.g. just section 1201) - it seems like the right approach, especially when you think there's a piece of legislation (like the Constitution) that supersedes and invalidates the legislation you're looking at.
Duverger's Law also complicates things:
Yes, the very candidates we vote into offices chosen from a menu prepared by the 0.1% of the wealthiest people in the country.
Please see Lessig's TED talk on U.S. Democratic process.
I could make a bulleted list of why a republic doesn't work very well to tame media oligarchs, but it boils down to control of the media and decades of experience with framing the public conversation.
> One thing always bugs me about Americans: despite the liberties that they enjoy, despite the very real capacity to impact change in their government and laws, they all hate "the Government." Who is "the Government"? Wait, ain't them the very candidates that you the people vote into offices?
Fear of government is essentially a founding value of the United States, but I agree that people often go too far with it.
> Like this idea of "suing the US government." Who are you suing? The executive branch? Why are you suing them? This is over a law. It's a piece of legislation. The executive branch merely, you know, execute the laws.
Because that's how American constitutional law works. If you believe a federal law to be unconstitutional, you sue "the United States" so the courts can rule on the matter. The Justice Department, part of the executive branch, which for all intents and purposes is the government's legal team, is then tasked with defending the law.
Also, in constitutional law cases it's common for the plaintiffs to not seek monetary damages of any kind, just for the courts to affirm the rights they're asserting and remedy the specific situation that led to the lawsuit.
> Why not sue Congress?
The only time you would really have standing to sue Congress is if it did something to you directly, like you walked into Capitol Hill and one of the security guards roughed you up for no reason. Otherwise, Congress is acting on behalf of the government, and if you don't like acts of Congress you sue the government as a whole.
> Oh wait, why sue Congress when you can simply vote them out of office? Oh wait, why "stop enforcing" the laws when you can, you know, CHANGE the laws?
A couple reasons.
One, as an American citizen, there are at most three members of Congress you vote for: your Representative, and your two Senators. That's three out of 535 members. If you don't live in a state, you have no representation at all. So even if you can energize your neighbors to agree with and vote like you, it's still hard to sway the tide of national lawmaking.
Another reason is that it simply might not be politically possible to seek relief in Congress, because you're suing for a right that's politically unpopular, or for the rights of an unpopular group. Think of all the lawsuits involving flag burning, sodomy, the KKK, and the Westboro Baptist Church.
Fixing this issue via the legislative process would therefor require realigning lawmakers with their constituents, which could be done possibly by enacting laws which prevent contributions from corporations (which is itself something that lawmakers may disagree with their constituents about) or by a grassroots campaign to basically replace the entire legislative branch with non corrupt law makers.
Both of these paths are slow and difficult, if possible at all. Meanwhile, there is an argument that the law is unconstitutional which means that it could be repealed immediately. We are still completely within the realm of being a citizen. This is the whole point of the checks and balances system.
Because that's incredibly inefficient when compared to taking someone to court. Most people don't care about the things you care about, and they shouldn't have to -- that's what the courts are for. Democracy is a great last resort, but it should only be used when all other options have been exhausted.
When a bunch of civil rights activists do it, is it still "bullying"?
Similar lawsuits are why Texas and other US states can't enforce their anti-homosexual sodomy laws anymore.
Ignoring fair use for a moment (which DMCA 1201 also breaks, so that's another problem), copyright restricts copying. DMCA 1201 produces a restriction on usage, which copyright does not control.
DMCA 1201 doesn't actually prevent you from copying a DVD, for instance. DMCA 1201 prevents you from reading and playing a DVD using anything other than software approved by the author of the DVD.
1201 also has the effect of banning circumvention that does not infringe copyright. Which is supposedly addressed by the weird adhoc Library of Congress exemption system, but only in a very limited set of cases.
- Tractors that have technical measures to prevent 3rd party repairs or replacement parts. Circumventing those measures is a DMCA violation, even if all you're trying to do is repair a tractor that you own without paying an arm and a leg to the manufacturer for a repair person.
- Printer makers that use technical measures to prevent their printers from using 3rd party inkjet cartridges. It's not my fault that they want to use the "give away the razor, sell the blades" business model.
- Basically any company that wants everything relating to their product to go through them, and to prevent 3rd party companies from creating replacement parts or performing repairs.
The government shouldn't be making laws just to make certain business models viable (that are otherwise not viable). (e.g.) If you can't sell cheap printers without gouging people by selling expensive ink, then charge more for your printers. If printers are too expensive for everyone to have one at home, then so be it. They will do their printing at Kinko's (or the local equivalent).
This works in other industries. Car manufacturers have had a 3rd party parts market for a long time (though they are definitely suckling at the teat of the DMCA and trying to make newer cars as locked down as possible).
Do you really think that the US government should be making laws to shut down the 3rd party inkjet cartridge industry in order to protect HP's consumer printer business? Should the US government pass laws to make it illegal for a farmer to install a non-John Deere part on his John Deere tractor? Is this the kind of thing that the government needs to be doing?
If they want to sell something and still remain ownership rights, then do what every company in history did before software DRM: rent it out as a service. A car bought, and a car rented, has natural right differences which is being erased by DRM.
What difference does the intended purpose make if it does indeed destroy <insert Internet activist claimed right>?
If that was indeed the purpose of 1201, the the law as written has unintended consequences.
But my feeling is that they knew damn well that they were going to sweep up non commercial tinkerers as well.
These days the line between commercial and non commercial is blurred. With the internet a hacker can publish some circumvention method and software with the same reach as a large company.
 I personally see no problem with that. BTW. The law is being used here to prop up outdated, often monopolistic, business models. That's the company's problem, and shouldn't be externalized onto all of society.
Of course not every violation of 1201 will be prosecuted, but the laws are there to intimidate people if their tinkering becomes commerciall bothersome.
Doing <B> was already illegal. Therefore, doing <A> in order to <B> was also already illegal.
People are upset that <A> is now illegal, for all purposes, not just doing <B>.
> The purpose of the statute isn't to <X> but is to <Y>. I don't see anything wrong with that.
What's wrong with that is that it also does <X> (even if that isn't the "purpose").
But the intentions of the legislation don't change its consequences.
I'm not a lawyer, but I think that laws with a constitutionally valid purpose are sometimes ruled unconstitutional by the courts when they have unconstitutional effects.
I can't comment on whether I think that will be the case here.
If a law has unintended consequences of the magnitude that exceeds the supposed beneficial intent of the law, it's a bad law.
If there's no way to write a law without such unintended consequences, it shouldn't exist.
In this case, there's also the additional orthogonal argument that the law violates the First Amendment by prohibiting speech. Even if the law didn't have unintended consequences, this alone is sufficient to justify getting rid of it - if we allow unconstitutional laws because they serve a good purpose, all constitutional protections go out of the window.
Do you see the problem?
Of course, the question is does this invalidate the entire DMCA or only that specific part?
So unless Bunnie has been prosecuted for breaking the DMCA, this is likely going to be an ineffective move.
If you want to change a law without breaking it first, the right way to go about it is petitioning Congress, the lawmaking part of the government.
>Before Section 1201, the ownership of ideas was tempered by constitutional protections. Under this law, we had the right to tinker with gadgets that we bought, we had the right to record TV shows on our VCRs, and we had the right to remix songs.
Wait, before the DMCA "we" had the right to remix songs? Okay so this case is going nowhere because the person filing really doesn't quite understand the mechanics of basic Copyright. Just kind of throwing out the concept of "remixes" does a dis-service for the real nuances of how the rights/permissions/compensation system works, has been tested in court, etc.
The subject of ownership and repair is extremely complex and this lawsuit is frivolous when the matter is being actively tested by John Deere and various farmers. Maybe this person could assist in funding that challenge to 1201. There are some glaring flaws in this whole approach, from what I understand about Copyright law and the DMCA.
Also, I don't know why the EFF continues to push erroneous information regarding how Copyright, the DMCA, and Fair Use actually work:
>This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.
Fair Use always trumps the DMCA; the nature of Fair Use, however, is subject to four factor tests, if an IP owner should feel compelled to assert the Fair Use was not in the spirit and letter of the law. Sometimes it seems like the EFF and TechDirt try to claim things that aren't true just to make a point. It's something that bothers me routinely in this subject in particular.
This is not necessarily the case.
> However, in a number of cases involving DVD decryption courts have held that there is no fair use defense in circumvention cases. In Universal City Studios v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 294, 322 (S.D.N.Y. 2000), the court stated that "[i]f Congress had meant the fair use defense to apply to such actions, it would have said so."
Do you have a link on the John Deere suit(s) you mentioned? That's one I'd be interested in following.
it seems to concern the idea, as mentioned above, of ownership vs a permanent license of the goods purchased or in their minds.. leased?