Maybe I Should go to Law School

Theres a post on Slashdot about the author of a poem called the DeCSS Poem and his recent essay explaining why he wrote it. It’s a really good read that’s currently making me think about what I trully want to do with my life.

I don’t know much about the specifics of the DMCA - mostly what I remeber is that it makes any type of copy-protection circumvention illegal. Therefore any attempt to view a DVD without an official viewing device would be a circumvention of the copy-protection scheme on DVD’s. Up untill know, I didn’t know there were so many implimentations of CSS (the encyrption that protects DVD data) decryption, though I had heard about a case agains DeCSS. It’s explained all somewhat in the essay, though the main argument arising from it is “can code (programming text and algortihms) be considered free speech?”

The article or essay, has a good description of why perhaps this is a strange topic for some, and something that I as a programmer hadnt thought about. I personally do consider any code I make to be speech as equal to any badly written essay I make, because the code that I write will be different from the code that other people write. Everyone has different ways of thinking how to solve a problem, coding is just the written or typed equivalent of an expression of that way of solving using the quidelines and grammar of a particular language. But other non-programmers don’t understand coding or programming and think that all programmers are hackers - in the bad conotation of the word. I would hope that no one I ever get to know ever thinks that just because i know how to use computers well that is enought reason to classify me as social outcast, trying to plot the fall of capitalism (even though I am) and just out to disrupt society.

There’s a lot that the current society has to go through and understand. We are in a time that our current productivity and machines are rapidly changing and stressing our society and its social way of thinking. Though I’m sure it will all be resolved, as this tension has been happening for more then a hundred years, we should strive to understand the changes instead of fear the future and pass laws the prevent new ways of expression. Our current patent and copyright systems are built on the notions of perfect capitalism, which rewards the person and not society. Human growth is not the growth of the few at the expense of all, its the equal oportunity of all to be free.

January 28, 2004 04:17 AM Online Chatter


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