I Am a Thug

After releasing my press release, I got this e-mail message from Mike Hihn, apparently copied from a Washington state Libertarian Party chat list:

Geez, I hate to blast this to the entire original list, but Libertarians seem a bit confused on this issue, if they believe this is a mainstream Libertarian position. It's not.

It's always a shame to see my party making lame arguments - like when we supported the idea of subsidizing Internet users (ourselves) through government regulated, fixed-rate residential phone rates - opposing user fees because most of us would pay more without the subsidy.

This case, though legitimately arguable in Sklyarov's case, has also become a smokescreen for larger issues of intellectual propertry, by thugs.

True, not all Libertarians acknowledge that intellectual property even exists - irrational though that may seem, when a popular book fetches so much more in the marketplace than a ream of blank paper - however, to defend the theft of copyrighted materials, while also defending intellectual property is like censoring to protect free speech - stealing to defend property rights.

"This case demonstrates the immediate dangers of big government," said Christopher Maden, a San Francisco Libertarian and professional ebook consultant. "When the government is permitted to pass restrictive, unconstitutional laws like the DMCA, it's natural, and even rational, for companies like Adobe to use them to their best advantage."

(laughing) the guy's an ebook consultant.

"When the government is permitted to pass restrictive, unconstitutional(??) laws protecting copyrights, then it's natural, and even rational for copyright holders to use them to their best advantage."

God help us all, if government passes any laws to defend my rights to my own home.

"What we have here is a modern retelling of the Emperor's New Clothes.

Yep. Under the imprimatur of a local Libertarian Party which is strutting around naked.

Unlike the Hans Christian Andersen fable, when the little Russian boy tells the world that the Emperor has no clothes, the Imperial Guard beheads the kid before anyone else can hear," said Robert Hansen, a Libertarian and cryptanalyst. He points out that public exposure is the best way to build secure computer systems; however, the DMCA discourages researchers from publishing their analyses, despite a research exemption in the law.

He decides that public exposure is the best way to build secure computer systems, a valid opinion - but the then asserts that he can make that decision for copyright holders who may disagree, and simply seize their work.

This is a thug.

DMCA doesn't discourage anything of the sort. Waaaaaaah.

"In order to protect these anemic security mechanisms, businesses and governments will rely on the brute power of the courts to keep those who understand from sharing their knowledge."

sharing = seizing. Orwell would be proud.

Maden called Adobe's tactics "bullying by government proxy,"

Like the police recovering my stolen car? <g>

Maden wrote, "There are several important reasons to set him free:

Setting him free is a lot more debatable than all this this other baloney. We have two separate issues here - where the thugs are trying to hitch a ride on a possibly legitimate victim.

How about we free the Russian dude, and jail Maden? <g>

"1) He is charged with trafficking in forbidden technology. He did not sell the program; his employer did. Although three ElcomSoft employees were at the conference, including the president, it was Sklyarov who was arrested. It seems obvious that an example is being made of him.

Perhaps. But who wrote the program?

"2) The DMCA specifically allows for narrow fair use exemptions from the civil and criminal violations it defines. AEBPR will only unlock a book legitimately purchased by the user; it can not be used to steal others' books. It is thus probable that the program does not even violate the law.

I have the e-book reader from Adobe. It's free. Like the Acrobat Reader, and for the same reason. So if Adobe's reader is free, then why would I need anything else to open a legitimately-purchased book? (Maden is engaging in a shell game)

"3) The DMCA is a very bad law. It has a demonstrably chilling effect on speech... AEBPR is a tool with legitimate and illegal uses, like a lockpick, a crowbar, a car, and a gun. Outlawing the tool does not help."

The Adobe reader is free, Go check that out, and this entire argument collapses in a heap. http://www.adobe.com/products/ebookreader/main.html

Copyrights were created to encourage authors to publish their work.

That is a consequence of protecting their rights.

Copyrights do not compel authors to publish at all, or to publish in venues demanded by Mr. Maden, under threat of Maden otherwise just taking the work..

The legal doctrine of "fair use" says that, copyright notwithstanding, freedom of speech gives people the right to use copyrighted work in parody, satire, and criticism.

Same fallacy. But only those exceptions.

This argument is basically anti-logical. It states, in effect, that book reviewers have a right to walk into a bookstore and steal the book, if it's for a book review! Or of I wish to quote excerpts, which is fine it itself, that too allows me to first steal the entire publication.

Here's what happens in normal book publishing - the publisher gives free copies of a book to book reviewers, I got them all the time when I published Liberty Issues. If I wasn't on the list for certain book, I would request a freebie for review, and sometimes get one and sometimes not. Here, the argument states that if I don't get the freebie, I can go out and steal a copy for my review - or, what the heck, why even ask first?.

These are the premises of a thug. That doesn't mean Maden is a thug. He just argues in a way to defend thuggery.

The DMCA lets publishers take those rights away with technology, and outlaws other technology that would restore those rights.

Again, once you see that the Acrobat Readre is free, this entire argument collapses.

Let's think that through - because the writer obviously has not. Maden apparently believes that creative works spring into existance spontaneously, in the basements of publishing houses - with no creators.

The publisher's rights are derived from the creator's rights, and are purchased from the creator. If you attack and destroy the publisher's rights, then you also attack and destroy the creator's rights - while claiming to "encourage authors to publish their work".

Maden argues like a slavemaster - that certain people have no right to sell the fruits of their labor, on their own terms (assuming a willing buyer).

Under "fair use" doctrine, I may publish excerpts in a review, where "review" is loosely defined (that's good). But where do I get those excerpts from? I have to buy the book, or use a version purchased by a library, or likewise borrow from some other purchaser, or the publisher (it's decision, not mine.).

No rights are being taken away by DMCA. Or, to be fair, none that we have seen "argued" here.

Every major advance in "publishing" technology has forced us to consider and possibly revise the legitimate issues of copyright defense and enforcement. That is a normal function of human progess. But to use each new technology - this also happened with xerography - as an excuse to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and simply walk in and start looting - this is not where libertarians belong.

"Now we have the ironic situation of a Russian martyr to freedom trapped in America, thousands of miles from his family, for helping people to read," said Maden.

To read stolen material.

Rhetoric is easy: "Now we have the ironic situation of so-called Libertarians arguing that America should recognize the superior standards of property rights as practiced in Russia. Whats's next, healthcare rights as practiced in Cuba?" <g>

Read my response.