January 28, 2004

Seth Schoen - The History of the DeCSS Haiku

Highly recommended:

The History of the DeCSS Haiku

I wrote the poem known as the "DeCSS Haiku" three years ago, in 2001.
Impressed by other people's contributions to the rapidly-growing gallery, I decided I had to make some kind of effort of my own.

Some quick observations:

An observer might be shocked to compare the Bernstein and Corley cases. She would perceive that the courts have concluded that it's wrong to censor software in the name of preventing terrorism, but it's all right when what's at stake is the ability to copy movies.

Well, yes. Because terrorism is about politics, but copying movies is about money. Just like it's 100.0% First Amendment protected to advocate bona-fide Nazi-ism (I mean real bring-back-the-Third-Reich, not hyperbole), but if you give your friends copies of a few some favorite songs, that can literally be a criminal offense.

Meanwhile, serious problems with the DMCA go unaddressed, and the traditional legal status of reverse engineering is under attack. Public opinion is not rising to defend it; since I wrote the DeCSS Haiku, property rhetoric has continued to its success in making people "brand / tinkerers as thieves". We are not communicating effectively, even though so many of our best cultural traditions are on our side.

Right on. Tell me about it. We aren't communicating effectively in part because too many people (present company excepted!) think talking among themselves is the epitome of political activism, and someone else will do the hard work. But I hardly have a solution.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight , cyberblather , legal | on January 28, 2004 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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