a node at the edge  

August 19, 2002

I really admire Doc for trying to find a middle ground between Larry Lessig and Dave Winer regardling Larry's rather assertive and bold speech at Open Source.

I agree with Doc: we're all on the side of angels, here. The important thing is that we all work towards something that's important to each of us: Larry is fighting copyright restrictions and Dave's fighting the Berman-Coble bill (by tring to get a Libertarian elected in North Carolina--no small task). It's unfortunate when someone such as Josh Allen seeks an even wider split by highlighting the differences between Larry and Dave rather than any similarites. And while I may agree with Allen in his admiration of Tim O'Reilly's article The Growing Politicization of Open Source, I disagree with him when he says:

    How is it that the certain people have time to clone 30 year-old Unix utilities but not enough time to create really new things? How is it that certain people will politic so tirelessly to coerce California into using lousy software, while totally ignoring the individual liberty impacts of DMCA?

BTW, did I happen to mention that Josh Allen works for Microsoft? (Of course, in the interests of open disclosure and fairness, I must mention that I'm a co-author of the upcoming "Unix Power Tools 3rd edition" for O'Reilly. We all have our personal stakes in these conversations.)

I haven't talked much about copyright laws in this weblog because this isn't the fight I've picked. I think it's a good fight, and I would contribute to the EFF if I had more money (sigh), but most of my political energy is focused on preventing a war in Iraq, and on stopping the current administration's violations of the constitution. And if fighting these means voting for someone who might be for the Berman-Coble bill, so be it.

Confusing times when the angels you dance with one moment become devils the next. Why can't everyone just agree with me. Life would be so much simpler.

Posted by Bb at August 19, 2002 08:20 AM


Berman Coble and the CBDTPA are about violating the constitution. The first, fourth and fifth amendments. They hand over control of your computer to copyright holders, preventing your free speech, letting them make unreasonable searches, and constitute 'taking' under the fifth's definition.

Posted by: Kevin on August 19, 2002 12:11 PM

Actually, Kevin, free speech isn't necessarily impeded by the action that would be allowed with this bill. And I'm not sure of your interpretation of the fifth amendment in this context. The fifth amendment prevents "private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

I do think this bill is appalling -- but I think the thought of us invading Iraq or holding Jose Padilla without right to due process of law is even more appalling.

There is no party line on many of these issues, and a person may oppose an invasion of Iraq but support the Berman Coble bill. We're faced with tough times and tough choices that behoove us to be extremely cautious about our choices.

Now, if I have a choice of someone who is against Berman Coble, and the war in Iraq and who is fighting Bush's unwarranted use of war powers, then my job as voter and citizen is easy. But I don't think in the next few years, my job is going to be easy.

Posted by: Shelley aka Bb on August 19, 2002 12:38 PM

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