Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
Everyone is welcome here.
(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Thu, May 03 2007

Civil disobedience and saving our right to fairly use what we pay

Have you been observing the recent brouhaha regarding the online publishing of that sequence of AACS numbers? Is this actually a form of civil disobedience? When you look back a bit at the history of civil disobedience you can see that one of the key elements of the practice is the willingness to deal with the consequences that follow actions of civil disobedience, even if that inconveniences the one doing the disobeying. Thoreau did a little jail time when he refused to support certain laws that he felt were morally wrong.

Quite a few people now, including devout Christians, struggle with how to respond when laws seem to cross the threshold of personal moral conscious or when laws seem to deny basic human rights or even fair trade. Are those who oppose the holding of this AACS sequence of numbers ready to pay the piper for refusal to comply? It would make a huge statement if they really are willing to do that by continuing to make public the numbers. In the future, people might also think up other actions which hold consequences.

Modern technology makes it difficult to blur the lines of ownership at times. Some are debating whether the AACS even has a right to hold a copyright to a sequence of numbers, much less to demand that others not publish that sequence on the internet.

I think one of the things that makes people so angry over the DVD copyright types of issues is that we're used to being able to pay for something and then do what we wish with it, within current legal guidelines. If I buy a toaster, I might want to toast bread. I might want to modify the toaster to toss the toast to me when it's done toasting. I might want to smash the toaster with a hammer. I might want to plug the toaster into any of three dozen outlets in my home. I might even take the toaster to a potluck and make toast for everyone there. I can do any of these things without the manufacturer of the toaster having much to say about it in the legal sense, because I paid for that toaster, fair and square. I can comment publicly about my positive or negative experience of using the toaster. I can't legally pick up the toaster and use it to hit someone. There are already laws in place for that sort of thing. But what if I could clone the toaster and give all the clones away to my friends? The manufacturer might sit up and take notice of that, because I'd be hurting their chances of selling that toaster to all those other people.

When I buy a DVD or similar piece of merchandise, I'd like to be able to do with it what I wish, within reason. Unless, and until, I clone and give away (or sell) copies of that DVD, I'd like to be able to use the DVD I paid for in any machine I wish. When I find out I can't do that legally anymore because the manufacturer or copy-prevention folks have assumed negative intentions on my part, I'm tempted to stop buying DVDs at all. I can choose to not pay money for something I'm limited to using in such a narrow way. It might inconvenience me at times, but it could be seen as another form of civil disobedience. (This form of civil disobedience, by the way, is becoming one that I find more and more people choosing to use.)

I don't know yet whether making clones/copies of a DVD and giving it away to everyone I know would be a legitimate form of civil disobedience. I'm still thinking about that on a moral and practical basis. And in this particular situation, the question is complicated by the fact that one entity claims to own the DVD content and another entity claims to own the copy-prevention software and number sequence that handles the copy-prevention.

Thoreau was a thoughful, gentle man. I wonder how he would have handled this dilemna? I suspect that his eventual preference for solitude in nature was at least in part a direct result of becoming disgusted with the tendency of society's laws to evolve into rules that ruin a good thing for most people by restricting the freedoms of not only wrongdoers, but law-abiding souls who were trying to deal fairly and who were no longer allowed to enjoy the simplest of pleasures anymore because of all the crackdowns. If Thoreau had ever bought a toaster or a DVD we might have found that he had even less patience than he had with slavery and war. I know my own patience is certainly on the wane these days.

posted at: 10:42 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Quote Of The Moment
It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, and an even bigger one to keep his mouth shut when he's right.
--Jim Fiebig
Arts and Entertainment
Health and Fitness
Religious and Spiritual
Writing Life
Some of the Blogs I Like
Adrian's Science Fiction Starter
Big Stupid Tommy
Blog Catalog
Christina Waters
Detectives Beyond Borders
Faith in Fiction
The Fire Ant Gazette
Jay Michael Rivera
Keystone Military News
Orange Crate Art
PI Buzz
Rabid Librarian's Ravings in the Wind
San Diego Soliloquies
TED Blog
Blog Resources and Blog Tools
The Ageless Project
Listed in LS Blogs
The Blog Herald
Listed on Blogwise
Some of my other web pages
Deb's Monthly Review
Deb's Writer Cam

Writer Links
Writers' Resources
Hatch's Plot Bank
Instant Muse Story Starter
The Memes List
General Store
Stetson Hats
Levi Strauss & Co.
Jaxonbilt Hat Co.
River Junction Trade Co.
Head 'N Home
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
Hang Hat Here
Write Lightning button       RSS         email Deb

Follow me on Twitter

Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!