June 29, 2003

Walt Crawford "Cites & Insights" on DMCA, censorware

Walt Crawford has some nice commentary regarding various material, especially RIAA lawsuits and DMCA censorware testimony, in his "Cites & Insights" publication for July 2003. Particularly the following section [I'm biased :-)]

N2H2, DMCA, Seth Finkelstein and all

When Finkelstein is asked whether he can provide details of how he decrypted N2H2's database, he points out that the threat of lawsuit--a very real threat based on previous occurrences--discourages him from doing so without immunity. David Burt says he's not in a position to provide such immunity, and neither is the government--thus allowing Burt to continue to say that nobody's done such decryption. He didn't say "And if you try to prove I'm wrong, we'll sue your butt." But he also didn't provide an offer to hold harmless. ...

[David Burt] makes some questionable statements, as in saying that if Finkelstein can decrypt the list, "We have ceded all control over our copyrighted material, over our database, to somebody else..." simply because Finkelstein can see it. Band points out that almost all copyright-protected material is distributed to the public--and is protected from abuse by copyright. Somehow, Burt manages to say that peer-to-peer networks illustrate the "dangers of allowing these copyright protections to be disabled." He continues to try to conflate Dialog with N2H2's censorware list, and the others aren't buying it. At one point, Band suggests that Burt's testimony reminds him of the Iraqi Information Minister...

...[James] Tyre discusses some actual examples showing the need for decryption--and also real-world examples showing the need for ongoing investigation, since censorware companies keep adding and reclassifying sites. ... As Tyre concludes, "Not because they're malicious, but because they do most of this by computer robots, not by human review, and the computer robots are stupid. Computers are not smart for this kind of work. They never have been. Some day they may well be, but they surely are not today." I'm less optimistic about "some day." There is, as always, lots more in the transcripts. You can find the HTML versions at sethf.com/anticensorware/ and the PDF versions are also readily available. What will come out of all this? Since the Supremes upheld CIPA, it's even more important that we be able to understand just what those mandatory programs are doing.

[I'll have an entry posted soon with regard to Metalitz]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware , dmca | on June 29, 2003 11:57 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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