2020-11-03 The long arm of the USA

The EFF post on DMCA 1201 (”anti-circumvention”) is a pretty clear description on how politics works. The copyright maximalists failed in the US in 1995, but then they succeeded at WIPO in 1996, then the WIPO Copyright Treaty was passed in the US and presto, they’re back, and they made it! Then hundreds of other countries sign up to this shit, and often copy DMCA language because the USA pressures them to do so (better for business for sure) … and here we are, and it’s difficult to back out of international treatises.

But of course, copyright maximalists were already winning the fight when the Berne Convention was signed, which is why every single snippet written down is automatically protected by copyright. This was back in 1886! This is where we get “all works except photographic and cinematographic shall be copyrighted for at least 50 years after the author’s death” from (started because of Victor Hugo, with extended monopoly protection because of Mickey Mouse, uuuuugh).

Anyway, I like @pluralistic’s EFF post on Apollo 1201: the plan to defeat DRM everywhere. That means, fighting on all the fronts: challenge the organisations with corner cases of the law, shift the norms and narratives (talking about tractor repair and printer refills), talk about DRM code failures and security issues, shift markets away from DRM (books, music)… A multi-pronged approach is what we need. As they used to say: “viel Feind, viel Ehr!” (Georg von Frundsberg)

OK, that Georg von Frundsberg quote led me down the image search for “viel Feind viel Ehr” with lots of World War I maps and martial encouragement, and what looks like Nazi memorabilia, German newspaper headlines here and there using the phrase, and Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia. The German page has more cringe-worthy stuff in the section on reception and legacy.

Anyway, all this talk of how copyright maximalists are destroying the things we love because they want to insert themselves as middlemen between ourselves and the things we love and would rather have the whole thing crashing came down rather than compromise, and because they are often US based, and the arm of the US is long… that’s why I, a European living in Europe have to donate money to a US non-profit to fight for my rights over there.

As this is election day in the USA: I hope all you people in the USA get your act together and vote for the right person. Then fix your system and be a force for good in the world again.

I sometimes feel like just as idiots are ready to forget the evil deeds of Nazi Germany, good people are about ready to forget the good deeds of American soldiers in two World Wars. Time to do some good again.

I know, the other half isn’t going to go away. And so it has been for the longest time. I have no idea of how the USA are going to move forward but I sure hope they will, eventually. Actually, for the love of the planet and everything we hold dear, as soon as possible would be cool.

@Sandra noted that people need to kick out the GOP entirely, not just the orange pumpkin. @dredmorbius noted that for the purpose of copyright maximalists, it doesn’t matter who’s in power. In fact, the democrats seem to be even more in favor of copyright maximalism than the republicans. That’s why I think the entire system needs to be fixed.

Perhaps “hill climbing” applies to this problem as well. Slowly, invariably, the positions of the two parties start to shift. It’s always a 50:50 position but where the line is drawn in terms of the political agenda makes a difference.


Unfortunately voting for the “right” person is impossible when left with only the desperate attempt to pick the lesser of two evils.

– test 2020-11-04 00:28 UTC

Karl Popper writes that Thucydides reported that Pericles said: even though only a few of us are able to make politics, we are still all able to judge it. To not pick the lesser evil is to make us complicit in the greater evil.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-11-04 07:54 UTC

Now I’m wondering where Thucydides said this. Perhaps it was this:

Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters

– Alex Schroeder 2020-11-04 09:11 UTC

The modern epidemic of tolerance for monopolies began 40 years ago, in the Reagan years, and every administration since has waved through blatantly anticompetitive mergers and turned a blind eye to grossly anticompetitive acts. The story of how this came to pass is tawdry and oft-told: it’s the tale of how switching competition law’s enforcement to focus on “consumer welfare” (low prices) destroyed labor markets, national resiliency, and the credibility of democratic institutions. It’s the story of how control over industries dwindled to a handful of powerful people who captured their regulators and got themselves deputized as arms of the government. – Cory Doctorow: Tech Monopolies and the Insufficient Necessity of Interoperability, in Locus Magazine

– Alex 2021-07-07 15:35 UTC

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