Finally! A couple writers in tech media who really seem to understand what this is all about! Thank you Jim Rapoza and Anne Chen at eWeek! (Actually, there are a few others as well, and I think many others do get it, but maybe they are afraid to actually say it!)

I think my first real understanding of this whole concept came about quite by accident back in 1993 when I saw Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes on ShowTime or some other movie channel (back when we actually subscribed to cable) in Rising Sun. Here’s a quote from one of the comments at the movie link:

“Rising Sun” is a sophisticated thriller which flips neatly between fear of the sinister Japanese (electronic surveillance, big business buyouts, Yakuza) and a deep understanding of, and reverence for, Japanese culture. Wesley Snipes plays Web Smith, a lieutenant in the LAPD assigned to investigate a murder on the Los Angeles premises of a Japanese corporation. He has Captain John Connor attached to him (Sean Connery), an older man who is believed to have ‘gone native’ and sold his soul to the Japanese.

Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes both do an amazing job in the movie. Anyway, Captain John Connor said something that was born out in this thriller and it was something I have never forgotten. There is an old Japanese motto: “Business is war.”

Great suspense thriller, by the way. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. If for no other reason than to understand business type war and how bad it can get — theoretically, at least in Michael Crichton and Philip Kaufman’s minds. 😉

Jim Rapoza reminded me of it again when I read his May 8th article. Here’s a quote from the beginning of the article:

Opinion: Another IP bill on the horizon bodes badly for innovation in technology.

I like to read all kinds of books—from fiction to nonfiction—but some of my favorite tomes detail historical accounts of famous battles. I always find it intriguing to read about the brilliant strategies, the colossal blunders and the overall role of luck in determining the outcome of conflicts that shaped future societies.

Going all the way back to Sun Tzu (“The Art of War”), it’s been shown that the tactics of the battlefield often show up in the everyday world, especially in business.

And, if you think about it, the battle against overreaching anti-piracy legislation really does have the look of a classic war scenario.

The forces of IP protection gain an early sneak-attack victory by getting the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) passed by Congress literally in the dead of night. The effects of this victory prove devastating for the forces of technology, as the DMCA to this day limits the potential capabilities of products and makes criminals out of security researchers and people who just want to back up data.

Anne Chen’s article entitled Time to Dump the DMCA (also an eWeek article) referenced in the above quote is also very good and highly recommended. DRM and the DMCA go hand in hand. DRM would have no power if not for the DMCA.

Is there anyone or anything untouchable by the DMCA?

Congress has at least two good chances to right this wrong. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced intentions earlier this month to reintroduce the Digital Choice and Freedom Act of 2002. The bill would allow consumers to bypass technological copy protections built in to copyrighted work if the intent is to make a copy for personal use. And, on January 7, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) reintroduced the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act, which he is co-sponsoring with Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), and Spencer Bachus (R-AL).

Thanks epp_b at ScotsNewsletter forums for bringing Jim Rapoza’s May 8 article out of mothballs. It certainly didn’t deserve to be there! And further thanks to littlebone at ScotsNewsletter forums for posting about the arstechnica article on Skype and VoIP.

This fight has been going on way too long. The DMCA has been in force since 1998!

Something to think about from the article:

All the movie and music industry forces need is to find the one time when the defenders of technology are not vigilant or are distracted elsewhere. This will allow the industry side to break the techies’ defenses and gain a victory through legislation that will make the DMCA seem like a minor irritant.

Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 (PDF) plays a big part in the timing of the article. This is a House bill and as Jim Rapoza says in the article, “…it doesn’t take long to see the potentially devastating effects it could have on technology.”

This is the House bill in answer to the earlier Senate bill that we have discussed earlier on my blog here.

Neither of these bills are good for technology, innovation, VoIP, or the Internet as a whole.

Let’s hope he’s wrong about that last quote I posted from the article, but it sure seems it’s been proven over and over, again and again. These bad bills keep being recycled to the point of nausea … I really think they keep badgering Congress till they get worn out from hearing about it so they push it through — or as usual — it’s all about the money! Why? Why does Congress have no backbone!

EDIT: added littlebone’s arstechnica article on Skype and VoIP in regard to this threat.

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