Re: Singularity: can't happen here

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Sep 10 2001 - 08:36:44 MDT

On Mon, Sep 10, 2001 at 08:59:39AM -0400, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > Let me go further: the FASTEST way to build public support for
> > draconian legislation of this type in the UK would be to somehow
> > link DRM circumvention tools to handguns in the public mind.
> >
> > Not saying there isn't a common factor in the mindset behind the
> > clamp-down; just saying that to draw this out in public would
> > be a very effective way of shooting ourselves in the [metaphorical]
> > feet.
> But I've often wondered which is a more effective political technique:
> resisting something, with the result being that the resulting
> legislation winds up somewhere in the middle, or else cheer it on and
> push it so that it goes so far in the other direction that it is easily
> thrown out as bad law by the courts, and the public changes its opinion
> when their previous one is taken to its logical extreme.

Looking at the UK, I really think it's better to fight it out than
to egg the bad law on.

(NB: my reason for saying it would be _bad_ to link DRM circumvention
to guns in the UK is that the old syllogism "when guns are outlawed,
only outlaws will have guns" has sunk in; and if you say, in such
a situation, that "X is like a gun" you are by implication saying that
"only outlaws will have a reason to own X". At least, that's how the
message would be received over here: guilt by association would apply,
because guns are _not_ generally perceived as a civil rights issue. This
is purely a local argument and shouldn't dissuade you from using this
tactic in the US if you think it'll work; I just think you ought to
be careful what horses you couple your wagon to.)

-- Charlie

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