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Archive for April, 2007

There is a short article over at the Economist about DRM in consumer music and video products, which contains this telling paragraph:

Belatedly, music executives have come to realise that DRM simply doesn’t work. It is supposed to stop unauthorised copying, but no copy-protection system has yet been devised that cannot be easily defeated. All it does is make life difficult for paying customers, while having little or no effect on clandestine copying plants that churn out pirate copies.

That’s the Economist.  You know, mainstream contemporary financial and political thought, in fancy magazine form.  With colors and artwork and stuff.  These aren’t some teenage jerks banging away on crumb-speckled keyboards in their mom’s basement.  And they’re echoing what people like Bruce Shneier and Cory Doctorow have been saying for years.  The Economist is referring to DRM in the past tense, like it’s already gone and forgotten.

Maybe now we can finally start to have a rational conversation about what copyright means in the digital age.

(As an aside, notice how I copied that whole paragraph?  And republished it?  Without asking permission of the original owner or copyright holder?  That’s fair use, kiddies- computers have just made it so easy so fast that the black-letter law hasn’t been able to keep up).

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Two down, two more to go. I haven’t been keeping up with much else. Just a few links for you today:

1. Garrett Epps has a new essay up at Salon, co-authored with Dahlia Lithwick, where they analyze Kennedy’s paternalistic attitude towards women. You will be shocked to learn that when Prof. Epps gave his final exam on Thursday last week, the question was about abortion.

2. Also on that topic, 95% of the commentary I’ve read has agreed with my post from last week that Kennedy’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart is a disaster, but who woulda thunk it that I’d be on the same side of an issue as John Yoo?   [Update on Sunday 4/29 at 10:30 :  Ha ha, my prejudices are confirmed.  John Yoo is still a total dickhead.  He just wrote the first two paragraphs  (linked above) to make it look like he might have suffered some kind of brain insult that caused him to see reason.  The full article makes it clear that he still hates freedom and thinks women are property.  He attacks people for questioning whether the decision is religiously motivated, without supporting the substance of the decision at all- and in doing so, he misses the forest for the trees.  Gonzales v. Carhart is wrong, not becuase it was written by a Catholic, but becuase of its flawed logic and its dependance on Congressional “findings” that are clearly questionalbe if not outright fraudulent. ] It’s too late to save yourself, John: the torture memos will always and forever be the albatross around your neck.

3. There is lots going on in the US Attorneys mess. And the first member of the administration tainted by Hookergate has admitted his involvment to ABC news and resigned. I think he’ll be the first of many over the next few weeks. But for now at least you’ll need to read about those stories at their sources, until I’m done with contracts on Thursday.

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So he really did it.  Read the charges yourself here. (PDF)

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Good news: someone is finally investigating Karl Rove for his involvment with just about every dirty trick the Republican party has pulled for the last 8 years.  Bad news:  the investigator, Scott Bloch, appears to put Republican loyalty above honest investigation.  Good news: Bloch is also the target of a investigation into political corruption.  Bad news?

He’s being investigated by a ethics oversight panel… run out of the White House.   I am not making this up.

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BoingBoing has this pretty well covered, but with Goldman threatening lawsuits, I think it’s worth a comment here. Note to Todd: you might want to look into the concept of “unclean hands,” because it sure looks like you’ve got ’em.

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From TPM today:

In addition to the usual stream of junkets, meals, and sports tickets, Abramoff also funneled $10,000 to Zachares through one of his phony charities. In return, Zachares referred clients and provided a number of favors for Abramoff’s various clients.

Zachares worked for Young.  The pattern in this investigation seems to be: catch aide with dirty hands, convince aide to plead guilty and flip on boss who is still in Congress, boss resigns from committee seats, boss either (a) gets voted out or (b) is indicted or (c) both. (more…)

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At the Senate Judiciary Committe hearing on Thursday, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) had some questions for soon-to-be ex-Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales. The questions that I found most damning were about the suspiciously high number of connections between the Bush Administration Office of the President and the Department of Justice.

Sen. Whitehouse had a pair of charts, comparing the relationship between the Clinton Administration and the DOJ with the relationships between the current Bush Adiministration and the current DOJ. I’ve reposted them below.

doj_bush.jpgdoj_clinton.jpg

Now, a question for the reader:  If the goal of the DOJ to fairly enforce the laws of the United States without regard to party affiliation, which of these structures seems like a better way to set things up to discourage horse-trading and interference? Easy choice, right? And of course, the other one is the current setup under the Bush Administration.
These charts were handed out during Sen. Whitehouse’s follow-up questions for the Attorney General, which I’ve excerpted here. (more…)

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