August 05, 2003

Peter Davies rebutted on DMCA liability by Ed Felten

Edward Felten has noted my posting on Peter Davies, Felten, DMCA liability and written a searing rebuttal to Davies' dismissive stance:

When it's not your house on the line, when it's not your job, then probably may be enough. To people like Davies, who had nothing personally at risk, a lawsuit would have been no more than a scholarly conversation piece.

Hear, hear!

There was an interesting line in Peter Davies IP paper which I didn't mention earlier, but found particularly revealing:

This may look like ghastly legalese to most of you, but it's meat and drink to people like me.

It reminded me of the old lawyer joke:

"A defense lawyer loses a criminal trial. His client turns to him and asks "Where do we go from here?" The lawyer replies: "Well, I go back to my office. You go to jail."

One thing I have noticed in many of my interactions with a certain type of lawyer, is a frustrating lack of comprehension regarding how ordinary people view lawsuits. It is not our "meat and drink". Rather, as in the classic Judge Learned Hand quote, lawsuits are next to sickness and death. The people at risk of being ground-up like sausages are in a very different position than the sausage-makers.

I suspect this also affects Peter Davies' perception of the "astonishing volume of vitriolic comment" on these issues. When it's a scholarly conversation piece, it is easy to be distant. But when it is you who may lose much, that's a different situation.

I've gotten enough dismissiveness myself over my own censorware research, over trying to convey the simple idea that I don't want to be sued, that in reaction, I have no doubt I come across as vitriolic too.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in legal | on August 05, 2003 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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