Older blog entries for mk (starting at number 10)

Up all Saturday night in a very demeaning minor "boot floppies monkey" rôle helping mjg59 with Frankenstein's own OS project, Debian-BSD. He now seems to have an installable system working and the ability to download such packages as are available vi apt.

On Sunday, attended NTK's Festival thing. Crazy day. Learnt a lesson in media communications stuff - I was called up on stage to talk about the DMCA/EUCD, and was interviewed by Dave Green, who had been doing stand-up comic schtik for about half an hour by this point. I had half been expecting this, but a programme change meant that it happened an hour before I was expecting it, and I didn't have anything prepared to say, so I probably came across as totally deadpan. In the middle of the first long sentence I uttered, after about twenty seconds, Danny O'Brien quietly and very usefully commented that I was probably boring the audience (or at least a substantial section thereof) with detail, and he was right. Note how long the sentences in this paragraph have been. I even talk like that.

So I guess it's time to concentrate on thinking up some punchy short-and-to-the-point messages about the EUCD. This method of communication - getting the point across efficiently and making the best use of people's attention while you still have it, is something I need to learn, and has been the theme of this weekend. On Saturday I was chatting to someone I knew from Cambridge who'd gone off to Harvard, where there's a very different style of education - a lot of what the public policy students produce as written work is two-page policy proposals, rather than the sorts of five or six page essays they do in Arts at Cambridge. Tristan was asking "how can they do justice to these complex issues in two pages?", but he explained that really this was all good practice for what a lot of these students would be going on to do.

So, efficient explanation, or summary, is what it's about.

This is now about to turn into a cyberactivist namedropfest. The previous day (Friday), jtjm and I had been in London to meet Cory Doctorow of the EFF and the NTK guys. Cory was trying to convey the idea that lawyers should not be allowed near a press release, as they'd diminish its effectiveness by quadrupling the size with disclaimers and pathological corner cases. Sounds a bit like software engineering / debugging to me :) . I spent that night worrying about the moral hazard of all this - how much detail can you omit before it starts to get dishonest? how easy is it to navigate a way through all the necessary compromises without compromising yourself?

Did a talk in London for CDR and a bunch of other orgs, about the EUCD. A certain Mr A Cox who was due to speak before me on the same subject used, practically example for example and recommendation for recommendation, exactly the same ideas as I was going to use, so I had to "innovate" frantically during his talk to come up with something different to say in mine. Given the amount of Intellectual Property law in the talks, this inadvertent idea theft was rather ironic. :)

Even more ironic was that a lot of the subject matter was music sharing, and I was given a tape of some Irish folk music by a random van driver in a service station on the way home. I was too drunk to tell the kind guy how funny his action was, it being my birthday and just having given a talk touching on music sharing.

Yesterday I went with Gerry and Dave to the Copyright Directorate (a rebel faction within the infamous UK Patent Office) to talk to them about the EUCD (the European DMCA). They'd heard almost all of it before, and it turns out that the UK government was responsible for watering down the EUCD to the point it's at now. Pity they didn't go further. The upshot of the meeting was that there's nothing that the UK, as a abider by the letter and spirit of the law of the EU, can do. If we want rid of the EUCD, we need to fix it at source in Europe.

So the upshot is we only got information out of the meeting. The UK and Irish governments have pushed the users' entitlements side of the IP argument against a lot of resistance, but there's no political capital for them to go further, not that they really want to.

"Did you vote today?" "No Mum, too busy lobbying the government"

The Guardian mentioned the upcoming talk I'm giving in their computing section today. Luckily I escape unnamed.

Spent the day wrestling with Apache's FastCGI implementation. Time to admit defeat and hit the mailing list.

Got TrustedCVS working, and wrote some new userv-based delegated namespace management utilities for it. Really need to package this lot up and remove all excuses for pserver.

Tigers have many children (Chinese proverb meaning all calamities occur coinstantaneously): I have no fewer than four speaking engagements this week. Oops. At least people are willing to listen.

grant notes the recent article about spillover of copyleft into other realms. My favourite example is UCITA, personally (UCITA provides for some sort of transitive "everyone who touches this is bound by this contract" licensing).

Started work on my new essay "Who's really stealing the music?"

Gave a talk about the threat of privatised intellectual property law, to the Computing Society.

Incredibly nervous ... luckily I'd had several pints of lager to calm the nerves, and was pretty fluent :)

Spent yesterday at the Royal Courts of Justice. The defendant in the Sony v Channel lost the case, though the judge was excellent. See the obligatory Register article, with nice quote from me at the bottom. Obligatory article from the Register. Nice quote from Yours Truly at the bottom.

Mr Justice Jacobs was highly critical of Sony's case (though he agreed that the statute law was entirely with them). He noted that they could monopolise the Playstation games market through their copy-control mechanism, and he didn't like this at all. His ruling probably confirms the prohibition on DeCSS, criminalises the commercial sale of devices based on DeCSS, and certainly confirms that privately importing digital goods is a no-no.

On returning to Cambridge, I went to the Computing Society's talk, which was given by David Braben, author of Elite and now a PS2 games developer. We had a great old discussion of the piracy issue in the pub afterwards. As luck would have it I was to be giving a talk to the Computing Society this term about these sorts of issues; I'll have a lot more material now.

Didn't quite make it back home last night, which is good, cause the walk to the office is a killer (not that I slept at the office).

My euroDMCA article is bringing in interest.

Spent some time on the phone to journalists today in connection with the court case tomorrow. Someone who made a Playstation mod chip is being sued by Sony under the old-style anticircumvention laws the UK put on the books in 1988, long before DMCA.

If you want to attend the court, just to say you were there at the first anticircumvention case in England, then you want the High Court in London, at 9am. The plaintiffs are various parts of Sony Corporation. Wear blazer and tie or suit and tie.

Scarily, the poor chap would be innocent under the DMCA or the European Copyright Directive (EUCD / euroDMCA).

Have to get that article about circumvention rolling.

... posted the final draft of my paper on the Takedown provisions of the EUCD (the European DMCA). Get it from www.openrevolt.org.

I'm now about to start work on the anti-circumvention clauses. Fun.

On the tech front, I'm writing something to help get rid of telnet access (a thing notifying people recorded as using telnet that they want SSH).

Finished first draft of letter to my Member of Parliament. Letter asks five questions about the upcoming UK implementation of the EUCD (the European DMCA). Letter to be published on OpenRevolt.org once I've sent it.

Spent some time reworking one of my articles on the EUCD, and learning two songs, in Brazilian Portuguese and Russian, just for the hell of it. Ok, just because I needed an excuse to test the speakers after an office reorganisation.

Tidied my desk

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