August 09, 2005

Cites & Insights July/August 2005 - Guns 'n iPods

Walt Crawford's publication Cites & Insights 5:9, July/August 2005 was released a while back, and I kept putting off writing about it. It covers the Grokster case extensively, DVD-bowlderizers, conference commentary, etc. All worth reading.

I get mentioned a few times, which warms my heart. There's matters about which I'd want to clarify or expand my views - but on the other hand, it's not worth typing pages about it, especially during the middle of summer. There's one portion where I can add particular value. The Guns-vs-iPods issue has in fact been in the news, in terms of the various standards of liability for different types of products (remember Andrew Orlowski's joke: "It may soon be possible to carry around an AK-47 assault rifle and an iPod with you down the street - and be arrested for carrying the iPod." - we aren't quite there yet, but that definitely sums up one potential future).

Walt writes:

I believe a handgun company that advertises its products as "Perfect for taking out your old lady" and bases its business model on an increased rate of homicide should be liable, regardless of the Second Amendment. (That's a hypothetical case!)

Interestingly, that's not such a hypothetical case. For example, there's a discussion of "Merrill v. Navegar":

"The TEC-9/DC9 was designed to be fired from the shooter's hip; the barrel of the gun was threaded to accommodate silencers and flash suppressors; and Navegar advertised the assault weapon as having excellent resistance to fingerprints. Navegar's director of national sales and marketing testified that he welcomed negative news stories about the TEC-9/DC9s because "whenever anything negative has happened, sales have gone tremendously high."

It turns out the debate corresponds very deeply, with inferences from design, proposed technology mandates, making inducement arguments, and so on. It's surprisingly similar.

I'm not going to say anymore. But the analogy turns out to be provocative on many levels.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on August 09, 2005 11:46 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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