Re: Singularity: can't happen here

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sat Sep 08 2001 - 12:47:17 MDT

On Sat, Sep 08, 2001 at 10:21:16AM -0700, Ken Clements wrote:
> Well, I guess if you write a compiler, and someone uses your compiler to
> generate code that removes copy protect from something, then you go to
> jail. Existing software is grandfathered in so, it would seem that no new
> development systems will be able to be sold after the law goes in force.

It's pretty gross, yes.

I've been doing some digging on the DMCA of late -- wearing one hat,
I get to write articles about civil liberties and the net in Computer
Shopper (UK mag of that name, not the US version -- it's the biggest-
selling monthly computer mag over here), and I'm currently doing a
detailed backgrounder on the Sklyarov case. We're seeing a world-wide
move to clamp down on copying technology; this isn't just going on in
the USA. Basically, the music and film industries have collectively shat
themselves over the implications of the internet, and rather than trying
to come up with a workable business model they're trying to destroy the
perceived competition.

If it goes through, expect the US State Department to try to export
it. The real place to lobby isn't congress or senate, though -- it's
the World Trade Organisation, WIPO, and the other treaty organisations
that build the international free trade infrastructure. The big music
and film corporations know enough to lobby them, and in the absence of
consumer lobbying to the contrary, they're getting their way.

Frightening read: "Outlaw School" by Rebecca Ore. (Probably deserved the
Prometheus award far more than a second-rate L. Neil Smith novel; it's
the scariest dystopian near-future I've read in ages. In fact, it's
probably not going too far to compare it to "1984" in its impact for
the net generation. It's a sign of how far down that road we've already
gone that it hasn't gathered the attention it deserves ...)

-- Charlie

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