Enforcement of anti-piracy laws, especially the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is at best problematic, at worst impossible.

We are fighting, and losing, a cultural war

One day soon, we'll only be able to licence our possesions! Oh Joy!

There are many legal issues involved with computers: supression of reverse-engineered code (ie, to allow me to view a DVD from another region), proposed techniques for third-party access control (ie, watermarking of DVDs & HDTV), "fair use" guidelines (ie, the illegality of time-shifting a RealAudio stream) and other specific things touched by the shit-eating DMCA. Well, people need to look up and see that we are losing a war.

No one seems to quite grasp it.

The crux of the problem with these laws, and accompanying fundamentally flawed court opinions, is that copyright, like patent, is only intended to protect works for a limited time. After this time, the works become part of the public domain. Any before that time, portions of it can be used freely according to legal concept of "fair use."

Therein lies the rub. Without the basic freedom to hack stuff, protected content will not transfer to the public domain... as is specifically legislated in the Constitution of the United States! This doesn't make sense and is a complete turnaround from the Jeffersonian ideal of IP law. In short, a rigorously defended DMCA (or UCITA) would ammend the spirit of the constitution away from public interest.

more info:

(among many many others out there...)


Todd Hodes, <mylastname @ myfullname dot org>