toddmallen at gmail.com
Thu May 10 22:01:42 UTC 2007
On 5/10/07, Andrew Gray <shimgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 09/05/07, Yann Forget <yann at forget-me.net> wrote:
> > That's exactly what I ask. A number can't patented. A number can't be
> > copyrighted. A number is just a code. To get useful information, you
> > need to know how to decode the information hidden in the number. So it
> > seems to me that a number alone is not usefull information (except as a
> > pure mathematical object) unless you know how to get the information out
> > of it. So where is the limit?
> > Is 09-f9-... + 1 illegal?
> > Is x * y * ... + ... + z (= 09-f9-...) illegal?
> > I hope that people start to realise how the discussion stands on the head.
> I am afraid there is a fundamental misconception here; law does not
> make sense in this way. Law, confusing as it may seem to those of us
> reared in technical backgrounds, is illogical and fuzzy and vague; it
> is designed to cope with people, and emphasises very heavily the role
> of undefinable factors like "intent" and "purpose".
> What the law here is prohibiting - let us assume for a minute that the
> law would stand in court, and that the interpretation of the key as
> forming such a tool is valid - is possession of a tool intended to
> bypass copy protection. This tool would happen to be a tool of pure
> information and perfectly expressible as a number, but a tool
> "No person shall ... offer to the public, provide, or otherwise
> traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or
> part thereof that that ... a) is primarily designed or produced for
> the purpose of circumventing ... b) has only limited commercially
> significant purpose or use other than to circumvent ... or; c) is
> marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person
> with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing..."
> It isn't really in dispute that there are legitimate uses for any
> fourteen-digit hex string, including this one - there is a
> sufficiently huge amount of digital data created, processed, and
> transferred each minute that, even were it all to be random noise,
> you'd find that string embedded innumerable times as part of perfectly
> legitimate data. The legally dubious thing isn't the integer as a
> concept; it's the "aspect" of that integer that is a tool.
> But once you add context - by adding the words "the HD DVD encryption
> key" in front of it, for example, or for quoting it in a discussion
> such as this one - which shows you are aware it has that aspect, and
> that you are referencing it with regard to that aspect, *then* you get
> thumped by the statute...
> ... because you're knowingly providing something which was produced
> with the intent of circumvention. It doesn't *matter* to the law that
> it is conceptually identical to and indistinguishable from a random
> integer; you can't get out of it by arguing that you were only using
> it in its "innocent" aspect, because the number you got was obtained
> via the criminalised context and retains that "taint".
> Sure, there are untainted uses. But any time you're doing it knowingly
> and in the context of the tainted use, it's tainted.
> Does that make any sense? It's hard enough to explain to me, much less
> to anyone who has English as their second language...
> http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/lawpoli/colour/2004061001.php was mentioned
> right at the beginning of this discussion, and may be very helpful in
> explaining it.
> - Andrew Gray
> andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
Then we're perfectly safe! That number in itself can't circumvent anything.
Freedom is the right to know that 2+2=4. From this all else follows.
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