Re: Transparent society?: Feds raid hobby vendors

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Sun Jan 09 2000 - 07:48:14 MST

On Sat, 8 Jan 2000, Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> This is why the example of the cable descrambler is right on target. The
> ads say that you can buy all the parts, put it together, but don't plug it
> in and use it. When they get in trouble for selling illegal cable
> descrambler, they claim that they had no way of knowing that someone might
> use it to descramble cable.

Unless there is a law against selling such kits, they've done nothing wrong.
It is going to be *very* interesting to see how the suit/injunction against
people distributing the DVD copying software plays out.

It is really silly for the government to try to contain these things. They
just move upstream (the distribution of the plans is back to a freedom of
speech issue as would be pointing out various sources for the parts). There
is also the fact that though you can regulate the sale in the U.S., there
may be no regulation against purchasing such devices/kits overseas. So all
you can do is push the point of sale around. As we become more and more
"international" hopefully governments will start to realize that their
regulatory efforts will become increasingly thwarted.

If you look at the history -- Cable descramblers, Satellite decoders,
DVD players and even strong encryption, if its around long enough,
sooner or later someone will break it and make the information available.
Entertainment producers should consider an alternate model -- producing
the things in large enough quantitites at low enough costs that they
make the same amount because people who would not otherwise buy it
can now afford to do so. They might sell more than 4x as many DVDs at $5 than
they would at $20. If they make the costs low enough, they reduce any
incentives for people to do the copying themselves. The volume producer
should be able to produce things the cheapest and therefore undercut
any small-scale copiers.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:09 MDT