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Philosophy, ethics, faith, science, and other important stuff often
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Dmitry has been
The Russian programmer who was arrested for writing a program
that could "possibly" be used for purposes contrary to the
american notion of copyright, spent five months in a US prison.
The DMCA legislation adopted by that nation, was well received by
monopolistic multi-national corporations who claim it represents the
Under pressure from the American motion picture lobby, 18 year old
Norwegian, Jon Johansen, was indicted for writing software so that
he could watch his DVDs on his Linux computer. One would think
that since he bought the DVDs, he also has the right to do what he
wants with them -- if he uses them as frisbees, feeds them to his
dog, or watches them on his favorite computer, that should be his
own business. Not so, says big brother. Read
In around the time that bureaucrats in high places were excercising
monopolistic rights in war and business, underdog Apple Computer
introduced that company's new consumer operating system to the masses.
Timed weeks ahead of rival XP, Apple's release of
is itself a hard thrust into a world increasingly dominated by the
folks from Redmond. Tiring of the hype, chain rattling, and the
smell of decaying competitors, I decided to have a
at what this low-key new arrival had to offer.
On Sunday, October 7, 2001, in a message presumably recorded prior to
US and UK military machines launched million dollar missiles into the
tents of Afghanistan, Bush nemesis bin Laden, pronounces the state of
in defence of Islam against the infidels of the west. In my own
attempt to understand this behaviour, I found a certain text in the
Koran regarding battle against "those who disbelieve ... And those who
are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain.
He will guide them and improve their state. And bring them into the
Garden which He hath made known to them" (Surah XLVII 4-6, Pickthall).
No wonder so many Muslims are quite willing to die for their cause.
If it can be construed to be in the defense of Islam (submission to
God) then the outlook seems superior to much of life on this planet.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 people around the world were
as hijacked commercial aircraft suicided into the twin pillars of
capitalist pride, New York's World Trade Center, and into that
bastion of military prowess, the Pentagon. Much of the politiking
that followed, comes under the category of knee-jerk reaction.
Following in the lead of his father before him, Bush jr. saw his
popularity soar with each brash and proud public pronouncement of
war that followed. It seems that few pondered the irony of it having
been his father in a previous office who had financed the freedom
fighters in the middle east back when the enemy was communism.
The seed that had been sown came to full tenure and this time they
were deemed terrorists, they had turned their sights on the U.S..
The incident drew some interesting
from political activist, Jerry Falwell. Rather than simply dismissing
these comments as a crass political move, I am struck by the similarities
between this statement and the those made on the other side.
What is it the terrorists have been saying all along? Are they
not also expressing moral outrage at the US and its many offences?
They commit these acts of outrage in the name of God (Arabic: Allah).
Let's get off of our camels for a second, and put our own outrage on
the back burner for a moment. God, any Muslim will confess, is the
God of Abraham and of the prophets. Falwell makes a similar claim.
The tenor of Falwell's statement seems rare, even out of
place, in our modern democratic political environment. Expressing
such unpopular thoughts was also characteristic of the Biblical
character, Jeremiah. The opponents of his day, too, thought that they
had God all figured out and were confident that Jeremiah was just
a little out of touch. But, as that story turned out, Jeremiah's
opponents were then silenced by the sword of Nebuchadnezzar.
The unpopular prophet had warned them with certain precision that
this would happen, years before it actually took place. Read those
and see if you don't agree that such an analogy might fit, in an
arcane sort of way. Those that would criticize, better come to know
what he knows, before they reach their respective conclusions.
Interestingly, these recent innovations in terrorism are being used
in the 'land of the free' as an excuse to erode those liberties.
The argument assumes that in order to increase vigilence and security,
freedoms must be curtailed -- this is not necessarily the tradeoff,
says security expert, Bruce Schneier, in a well-reasoned article
on the topic.
In the summer of 2001 the FBI
Russian computer programmer,
Dmitry Sklyarov as he was visiting the USA to participate in a
computer software conference. The crime that he was thrown into
he wrote a program that allowed people who owned e-books, to save
them in other formats. Under the US version of the
Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the DMCA, writing such
software becomes an illegal act.
In the Dmitry
case, his software was allowing users to choose their book reader
software rather than forcing the user to be corraled into the single
of the DMCA and Dmitry.
Emboldened by new copyright laws of the ilk of the
DMCA, publishers of music and books
alike are looking to cash in on easy money.
The impact on libraries is substantial, according
to the Association of American Publishers. The
Washington Post outlines some of the trends in this
Will we see the centuries old institution of the public library,
shut down like Napster? The pressure is on, according to
Yet another controversial sequence of bills is currently in process
being passed by State governments. This, known as UCITA is apparently well on its
way to being adopted by every State in the Union.
on the philanthropic software developer, are catastrophic,
according to Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (FSF).
For his discussion on the impact of this legislation, follow this link
Other treaties with questionable portend:
Required by treaty to do their own DMCA, Canada has seemingly
approached the subject more cautiously than the crass political
engine to the south. Their request for comment on the issue