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If you're an AT&T DSL customer... - The Desian Universe
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deskitty
deskitty
Des
Thu, Jun. 14th, 2007 10:53 am
If you're an AT&T DSL customer...

To whom it may concern:

I recently read about a plan AT&T is considering to detect and block copyrighted content travelling over its network.

While I agree with the idea and principle of copyright, I was surprised and appalled to learn that AT&T is planning to examine my network traffic, and allow it to pass only if AT&T doesn't think it's "infringing content". Some areas of copyright law are complex and subtle (for example, the concept of "fair use"), and automated filtering simply cannot make the necessary value judgements.

When I signed up for AT&T DSL (back when it was Pacbell), it was because AT&T offered high-quality, unfiltered Internet services. You did not attempt to define what users should and shouldn't do on the Internet. (This was in stark contrast to ISPs such as Comcast, which at the time chose to firewall VPN traffic unless I paid them more money every month.) Now I find that AT&T will be examining the content of my traffic and making decisions based on whether or not, in its sole estimation, that traffic is infringing anyone's copyright.

This is totally unacceptable behavior for an ISP. AT&T is neither a judge nor a jury, and as such, it is not qualified to determine if content is violating copyright law. If AT&T continues to pursue its present course of action, I will gladly switch to another provider, and I will encourage my friends and relatives to do the same.

-- Des

Tags: ,
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

25CommentReplyShare

northing
northing
North
Thu, Jun. 14th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)

Word: http://www.speakeasy.net/

The last ISP with the true spirit of the freedom of the internet.


ReplyThread
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Thu, Jun. 14th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)

Until they got bought by Best Buy. :p

I'm going to wait a year or so and see how that turns out. Not making any judgements yet, but given how Best Buy in general seems to operate...

Right now, Speakeasy's at the top of my list. I just hope they can stay there.


ReplyThread Parent
kion
kion
Kevin Kress
Thu, Jun. 14th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)

Too damn expensive

for DSL without a phone line its ~70 a month for 1.5Mbs/384k ... yeah not worth it.

6M/1.5 is like 109 a month + tax/charges so ~120

I've been 1/2 heartedly trying to replace it for a few months, but I can't really find anything else worth buying.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Fri, Jun. 15th, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC)

1) Impossible. There's just too much damn data. The pipe's are too fat and I don't see alot of the FBI's widgets floating around, ... watcha call-its, the black box thingy the developed a few years back -- pre-Patriot days.

2) WWYD (What Would You Do)? Flashback to the BB's of the 80's. Let's say a friend of a friend starting piggy-backing on your BB to trade porno pics of kids. You own the freakin modem and server, and you're going to turn a blind eye?! I'm just saying that corporations are composed of people who have ethics; there's no such thing as a corporate ethic independent of some ideas that its employees (and shareholders) haven't thought about.


ReplyThread
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Fri, Jun. 15th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)

1) Impossible. There's just too much damn data.

Not true. Google already does a pretty good job of that sort of thing with text and GMail. There are already companies that sift through P2P networks and find copyrighted files (where do you think all those RIAA lawsuits come from?).

I don't see alot of the FBI's widgets floating around, ... watcha call-its, the black box thingy the developed a few years back -- pre-Patriot days.

You're not supposed to. ;)

I remind you that AT&T already has been demonstrated (through leaked internal memos) to have been harboring NSA surveillance equipment attached to its major backbones.

That's not speculation. That's a well-known and well-documented fact.

So no, I don't think it's such a big leap technologically. Yes, there are problems to work out, but that doesn't mean it's infeasible.

2) WWYD (What Would You Do)? Flashback to the BB's of the 80's. Let's say a friend of a friend starting piggy-backing on your BB to trade porno pics of kids. You own the freakin modem and server, and you're going to turn a blind eye?!

Oh god, the child porn argument again... :p

If you see child porn, of course you do something about it, but that's a very different situation -- that's a specific, confirmed case of something morally wrong. That's not what we're talking about here at all.

We're talking about actively monitoring to detect copyrighted content (the transmission of which may or may not be infringing), not passively "running across" something that's clearly wrong. We're talking about monitoring traffic (that is, the transmission of information between two specific parties), not storage or broadcasting (e.g. posting).

So I think your example is irrelevant. It's not even the same moral question.

I'm just saying that corporations are composed of people who have ethics; there's no such thing as a corporate ethic independent of some ideas that its employees (and shareholders) haven't thought about.

And I am arguing that it is unethical for them to examine their users' traffic. I didn't address (and don't particularly care) who came up with the idea, or who's doing the monitoring. I just think it's wrong.

I think there needs to be a high barrier to entry (e.g. warrants). I think it should be just as difficult for someone (law enforcement or no) to lawfully monitor your traffic as it is for them to enter your home uninvited and rifle through your papers.

(And yes, I'm pragmatic enough to know that any unencrypted traffic can easily be monitored. But I'm making an ethical argument here, not a practical one.)


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sat, Jun. 16th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC)

Oh no, you said the words "true" and "fact". *gag* Nonetheless, I'll attempt to save some truthiness here. :)

(where do you think all those RIAA lawsuits come from?).

From randomly selected hot spots, usually colleges. When the RIAA filed suit against my college and a student (who settled out of court), they admitted the campus had been randomly selected and the probe filtered for nodes with large traffic. (I happen to know this because the student body president put me on the university's IT board where we heard about the case.)

That's not speculation.

I never denied Carnivore's existence.

there are problems to work out, but that doesn't mean it's infeasible

Precisely. Where does one physically place the black boxes? Each AT&T data center. OK, I know about how many there are in the US. Then there's Verizon's data centers, and IBM's, etc or the lines between centers. But quantity isn't just the problem that I implied; it's quality too. If the FBI or NSA slap a black box onto any T/E1 running underground, then what do they expect to find? The box would have to not only decipher every (public) Internet protocol but the (possibly) private compression and encryption ones. That's some magic box there. Even in 2007, I think it's gonna' be rather bulky and expensive to be distributing across the nation. Installing Carnivore or whatever at every data center in front of the possibly rouge servers -- like ones that serve up torrents or accept P2P connections -- would at least minimize the number and complexity of the black box, but still I find the problem -- not a technical, but -- a practical one.

So I think your example is irrelevant. It's not even the same moral question.

Hah. You're a smartass today.

Basically your argument is that you don't believe copyrights are necessarily binding onto all parties, and indeed that is a big ethical question. I'm not sure art and music should be copywritten, but many artists and musicians argue that they make their living from those protections. Should people profit from such aesthetic things like art and music? That really is our disagreement.

And I am arguing that it is unethical for them to examine their users' traffic.

In most states, single party monitoring is legal, i.e. you can record telephone calls with your Mom and a court will accept them despite neither her knowledge nor consent. Those laws are there to protect the party that feels infringed, otherwise the other party would avoid saying (or doing) whatever they actually would have said (and done) otherwise. So consumers can record what their big, evil ISP's are monitoring and alter their behaviour to circumvent without any legal consequence -- well, unless there's some very small print in the ISP contract, which, well you didn't have to sign.


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sat, Jun. 16th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)

From randomly selected hot spots, usually colleges.

That's where they get some of them, yes, but that's not the whole picture. A large number of them also come from companies such as MediaSentry, which provides services very similar to what AT&T is currently proposing.

... but still I find the problem -- not a technical, but -- a practical one.

Well, you actually pointed out a few technical issues as well (encryption, etc.), so really it's both technical and practical. But keep in mind they already have the hardware/software required to route all those packets. Furthermore, depending on how their network is laid out, they probably wouldn't need to put equipment in every datacenter, just along the major backbones. (I know, for instance, that pretty much all AT&T traffic in my area goes through a datacenter in LA.)

So again, I don't believe it's infeasible, especially for a company that made $7.3bn net profit</a> last year.

Hah. You're a smartass today.

I was blunt. That's sort of like being a smartass, except with more truthiness and less ego. ;P (And yes, *now* I'm being a smartass. ;) )

Basically your argument is that you don't believe copyrights are necessarily binding onto all parties, and indeed that is a big ethical question.

That's not my argument at all.

Should people profit from such aesthetic things like art and music? That really is our disagreement.

No. Our disagreement, as I see it, mainly concerns methods of enforcement.

I believe individuals/companies (including artists) should be able to profit from their intellectual property. (Hell, I write software for a living. I'd be the worst kind of hypocrite if I didn't believe that.)

I don't believe it's appropriate for an ISP to have a hand in enforcing that, except when lawfully ordered to in a specific case by a judge. This is where we seem to disagree.

"This is totally unacceptable behavior for an ISP. AT&T is neither a judge nor a jury, and as such, it is not qualified to determine if content is violating copyright law."

In most states, single party monitoring is legal ...

I wasn't discussing legality. I was discussing ethicality. The two are orthogonal, and an argument for one is not necessarily an argument for the other.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)

I don't believe it's appropriate for an ISP to have a hand in enforcing that, except when lawfully ordered to in a specific case by a judge. This is where we seem to disagree.


Law enforcement needs citizens and corporations. If I know where my friend-gone-missing was last and no policeman does, then I tell where he was -- despite my friend's right to privacy. Privacy is discussed later when the friend is found and wishes to be left alone ... seeing no crime was committed. Similarly, MySpace can deny handing over its membership list to federal agents seeking online predators because the company sees the request as not necessarily legally binding, aka. warrantless, and a possible a violation of trust -- with possible litigation in defense of member privacy --; yet for the good of the public, MySpace may risk all and inform the agents. AFAK, AT&T is abit unique because of the line tampering and survellance laws relevant to its infrastructure, but you won't allow the laws unique to its operation in your court. An odd position seeing how Congress wrote those laws with the big Bell's in mind ... but nonetheless, wouldn't the DA of a state or federal circuit file suit of copyright?! Perhaps the copyright holder would file personally but eitherway I don't expect AT&T would be labelled as "enforcing" the law.


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)

If I know where my friend-gone-missing was last and no policeman does, then I tell where he was -- despite my friend's right to privacy. Privacy is discussed later when the friend is found and wishes to be left alone ... seeing no crime was committed.

In that situation, you have a reasonable suspicion that a specific crime may have been committed...

... yet for the good of the public, MySpace may risk all and inform the agents.

...but in that case, you do not.

In the first case, I agree with you -- you help the police find your friend, if only to make sure s/he is OK and then leave him/her alone.

In the second, I think MySpace made the ethical choice by requiring a warrant. Are child predators on MySpace? Most likely. But I believe the moral thing to do in that case is to go after each specific predator, not cast a dragnet and reel in whatever happens to get caught.

An excellent start would be for MySpace to add "Report Abuse" buttons to their website. That way everyone on MySpace has the opportunity to help go after the unsavory characters. Then trained MySpace staff can review the abuse reports and forward the appropriate information to law enforcement as necessary.

(Parents also need to take more responsibility for their child's activities on the Internet. They need to teach their children how to use the Internet safely, and how to think critically about what they see.)

AFAK, AT&T is abit unique because of the line tampering and survellance laws relevant to its infrastructure, but you won't allow the laws unique to its operation in your court.

IIRC, those laws (e.g. common carrier status) apply only to "telecommunications services" (that is, telephones). They don't apply to "information services". That was decided in fairly recent case law -- I don't remember the specific case off the top of my head, but I can try to find a link for you if you like.

... wouldn't the DA of a state or federal circuit file suit of copyright?!

Nope. That's the responsibility of the copyright holder.

... I don't expect AT&T would be labelled as "enforcing" the law.

AT&T is certainly taking a proactive role in assisting enforcement. AT&T is the one initially discovering potential infringement, and either stopping it (with no easy way to appeal) or reporting it. At that point you're just splitting hairs.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)

you have a reasonable suspicion that a specific crime may have been committed

I did personally, yes. But he could have just fell off the planet, aka. wanted a new life.

But I believe the moral thing to do in that case is to go after each specific predator, not cast a dragnet and reel in whatever happens to get caught.

Ah, so you want it to flow from corporations and people to the state, i.e. MySpace hands over a list of known child predators. Well as I said above, the state depends on the public for information. Indeed it should. We the people rule.

Then trained MySpace staff can review the abuse reports

How is that different from an AT&T person responding to a tip-off? So you want a third party to tattle-tale on a friend downloading copywritten material, and then an AT&T employee to look into it? But you don't want AT&T looking at everything, actively ... Interestingly, I see no difference in this passive mode for a black box to look into the possible violation versus a "trained employee".

I don't remember the specific case off the top of my head, but I can try to find a link for you if you like.

Yes I would, if it's gone to the Supremes. I rarely listen to lower court decisions but make it a point to hear the oral arguments and read the final opinion. ... godz I miss O'Connor.

AT&T is certainly taking a proactive role in assisting enforcement.

Again I would like to know how you expect copyright law to be enforced. It seems there should be no surveillance in this case, and this based on the 4th amendment? If so, then that opens up the can of worms about reasonable searches stemming from probable cause ...


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)

How is that different from an AT&T person responding to a tip-off?

It's not, particularly (but see below).

So you want a third party to tattle-tale on a friend downloading copywritten material, and then an AT&T employee to look into it?

Something like that. In the case of an ISP, all they need to do is provide subscription information when ordered by a court to do so. MySpace is different because it is storing content, not just transmitting it.

Interestingly, I see no difference in this passive mode for a black box to look into the possible violation versus a "trained employee".

There's a huge difference. One is reactive, the other is proactive. A trained employee is capable of looking at context and making value judgements, a black box is not. A trained employee is only looking at specific cases, a black box is looking at everything, including the traffic of innocent bystanders.

Yes I would, if it's gone to the Supremes.

It hasn't. Not sure it will, either.

hmmm. Looking over her case history, my feelings about O'Connor are pretty mixed.

It seems there should be no surveillance in this case, and this based on the 4th amendment?

Again, I'm arguing ethics, not legality. I believe there should be no surveillance because I personally find it unethical.

You could probably make a legal case using unreasonable searches and seizures, but you could also make the case that the 4th doesn't apply to private parties. ::shrug:: For the most part I try to leave such legal ponderings to the lawyers.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Mon, Jun. 18th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)

my feelings about O'Connor are pretty mixed

YEZ! Very good -- the mixed feelings bit. O'Connor's a heroine of mine. Not because she pissed off both liberals and conservatives but because O'Connor and I are just too damned moderate. :)


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sat, Jun. 16th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)

On second thought, "orthogonal" is too strong a word. "Related but separate" would have been better.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)

Well call me anti-hippie, but if you're discussing what a corporation ought or ought not to do, then the law usually enforces those ethics. Sure people should regulate themselves, but history seems to demonstrate that some people will enforce an ethic that deprives others and, so, we have the state. Yet it seems you disliked the NSA and FBI's involvement in warrantless or active surveillance. Then it would follow by a process of ellimination that the corporations should govern themselves? No, that's not it. It follows that the holders of copyrights should enforce their creativity themselves?! But that is what the state is for; to enforce the law lest some profit hungry copyright holder or corporation infringes on other people's rights. And yes the state has more resources to enforce the law because it seems far fetched to ask one holder, say Enya, to go out looking for everyone who violated her creative copyright. Indeed, the law is very much related to ethics when we're discussing concepts that are legally established, such as corporations and copyrights.


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 07:55 am (UTC)

Well call me anti-hippie, but if you're discussing what a corporation ought or ought not to do, then the law usually enforces those ethics.

The law does not and cannot reflect each individual's ethical views. So legal and ethical norms are almost never completely in sync with each other.

Indeed, I would make the argument they shouldn't be. To my mind, if I consider something unethical, it does not automatically follow that it should be illegal.

I don't know that what AT&T is planning to do should necessarily be illegal. (Well, unless it violates a contract with their customers.) But I certainly have a strong ethical problem with it, and I wouldn't want to be associated with a company that does things I consider unethical. But that's a personal decision, not a policy-making one.

Yet it seems you disliked the NSA and FBI's involvement in warrantless or active surveillance. Then it would follow by a process of ellimination that the corporations should govern themselves?

You're making a huge leap there and I'm not following you. What happened to (informed) consumers and shareholders?

It follows that the holders of copyrights should enforce their creativity themselves?!

That is what the legal system presently requires.

But that is what the state is for; to enforce the law lest some profit hungry copyright holder or corporation infringes on other people's rights.

(And yet we have laws like the DMCA which are pretty heavily skewed in favor of rights-holders. But that's tangential.)

You misunderstand the mechanism of copyright law. It's not the state's job to find and prosecute copyright infringement. That's the rights-holder's job. That's why you have, for example, RIAA v. Andersen, instead of The People of Oregon v. Andersen or United States v. Andersen.

The state's role is merely reactive -- arbitrate cases brought by rights-holders, and decide whether the defendant is infringing or not.

And yes the state has more resources to enforce the law because it seems far fetched to ask one holder, say Enya, to go out looking for everyone who violated her creative copyright.

I don't know how much you've been paying attention, but the government hasn't been doing any of that. That's mostly been the RIAA, which is a private (that is, non-government) organization. That's one of the roles that artists' associations, patent-holding companies, etc. play.

So no, it's not far-fetched at all. It's happening right now. Indeed, that's how the law says it's *supposed* to happen.

If you'll pardon me for being blunt (again), I get the distinct sense you suffer from some basic misapprehensions about intellectual property law. I strongly recommend you do some more research on it before continuing the discussion.

Indeed, the law is very much related to ethics when we're discussing concepts that are legally established, such as corporations and copyrights.

...huh? I don't see how any of the preceding discussion is even relevant to that conclusion. Nowhere in the body of your statement do you even discuss ethics, except to consider a few specific situations.

It's quite possible I misread something (it's after midnight here ;P), but I see nothing in your comment to support the notion that law is as intertwined with ethics as you say.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC)

If you'll pardon me for being blunt (again), I get the distinct sense you suffer from some basic misapprehensions about intellectual property law.

Well I'm no lawyer, but neither are you. Yet we're both coming across as authorities on the subject. Hence we're butting heads.

Generally we differ in how we split hairs. Are you libertarian? I've disagreed with many of their ideals although I generally get along with them -- Ron Paul is an example. Those disagreements stem from the purpose of law. Assuming the individual citizen is paramount in a libertarian world, then laws should only protect the individual. I see some paranoid reactions from individualists when laws are passed that protect groups of people or kinds of people. In this case, I got the sense that the corporation AT&T -- aka. the group of employees and shareholders calling themselves by that acronym -- has gone amuck by infringing on an individual right of privacy that you believe is protected while uploading and downloading content. So the question I ask is, do we have the right to upload and download any material? even copywritten media? The natural, knee-jerk reaction is nullify this question by saying that you are indeed not transferring copywritten and that the point is privacy of the transfer -- not content. But again, the group of people called AT&T owns and operates the infrastructure used to transfer all that content. It is not a public utility. The interesting comparison to telephone and other telecommunication companies in this country is when I look at water utilities. The later operate quite differently -- quite socialisticly -- and under different laws from the former -- who operate capitolisticly; namely, citizens must be offered water at fair and reasonable cost and quality if they live within the municipality. The people in essence own water utilities in this country; we do not own many telecomm companies. Perhaps the telco's were never considered for public use because of their bidirectional nature? i.e. water flows one way (and sewer the opposite). Regardless, I beg the ethical question of what rights individuals have when the data travels beyond their homes? You have to delve into the content of that data to make an argument of privacy. I suspect one would argue that the telco or ISP is merely padding extra protocols and routes on top of some base that is private. As you aptly say, I know nothing about law but it seems reasonable to expect that AT&T could be liable for negligence if a third-party informed them that their network was used to transfer copywritten material yet the corporation did nothing. What would you say is the best solution for corporations? Cable TV advertises to its consumers to tattle-tale on their friends who are stealing cable, yet I'm not niave enough to know where loyalties lie when the individual is paramount and the group is seen as somehow evil or at least distrustful.

P.S.

You misunderstand the mechanism of copyright law. It's not the state's job to find and prosecute copyright infringement. That's the rights-holder's job.

Just to satisfy my smartass, DA's are filing on behalf of the state all the time, so you're saying this never occurs with copyright suits?

The state's role is merely reactive

I think any DA would disagree with you. Perhaps that is how the state ought to act?! Well, ideals are nice ... just not on paper.

Nowhere in the body of your statement do you even discuss ethics, except to consider a few specific situations.

The essay format is only one way to discuss things (intro, supporting evidence, conclusion). We could fill out forms instead to ensure the discussion satisfies some expected way of writing, but that would be boring.


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)

Generally we differ in how we split hairs. Are you libertarian?

I consider myself vaguely libertarian, yes.

So the question I ask is, do we have the right to upload and download any material? even copywritten media? The natural, knee-jerk reaction is nullify this question by saying that you are indeed not transferring copywritten and that the point is privacy of the transfer -- not content.

I don't think it's a knee-jerk reaction. It stems from the recognition that you have to address the practical consideration of whether it's acceptable to violate someone's privacy to even determine if a copyright infringement has occurred.

So to my mind, you must ask the privacy question first.

To answer your other question, it depends. If a person is making fair use, then yes, it's perfectly fine. If a person is sending the content to themselves, that's also fine. I'd argue (though the law disagrees) that one should also be allowed to share with a couple friends, so they can make their own better-informed buying decisions.

But again, the group of people called AT&T owns and operates the infrastructure used to transfer all that content.

So it does. And this is where we run into the distinction of "legal" vs. "ethical". This is why I say I have a huge ethical problem, but I'm not necessarily sure it should be illegal.

Regardless, I beg the ethical question of what rights individuals have when the data travels beyond their homes?

Well, from a legal standpoint, there's already large precedent for privacy, especially in the medical and academic communities. HIPAA, for example, basically requires that health-care providers keep all aspects of a client's medical record confidential.

From an ethical standpoint, I have no overarching answer, other than "it depends". My general rule is "privacy should be maintained by default, unless the transmitter explicitly marks it public".

You have to delve into the content of that data to make an argument of privacy.

But you can't do that ethically, because the privacy argument is overriding. If you don't know whether data is private or not, you shouldn't be looking at it until you know one way or the other (e.g. MySpace's hypothetical "Report Abuse" button).

For example, I host email/webpages for a few friends on my server. I can go poking through their webpages all I want, because that's public information. But I never go poking through their email--even though I own the physical hardware on which it's stored--because it might contain private information.

Now, for all I know, the only things they have in their email accounts are chain letters and spam. But since I don't know that, I need to err on the side of privacy. That way I don't violate their privacy by looking at things I'm not supposed to.

... but it seems reasonable to expect that AT&T could be liable for negligence if a third-party informed them that their network was used to transfer copywritten material yet the corporation did nothing.

But that is not, in fact, the case. The relevant law here is the DMCA, and it only covers providers that store the content. Wikipedia says there is an explicit exemption for providers that transmit content without storing or otherwise controlling it.

Just to satisfy my smartass, DA's are filing on behalf of the state all the time, so you're saying this never occurs with copyright suits?

I am.

I have never heard of a case where the DA has filed a copyright infringement suit. I've been following copyright and patent cases pretty closely over the past few years, and every case I have seen has always been between private parties.

I think any DA would disagree with you.

You took my statement out of context. I was speaking specifically with respect to copyright law.

The essay format is only one way to discuss things (intro, supporting evidence, conclusion).

My point is that I saw no supporting evidence for your conclusion. The supporting evidence you offered didn't address your conclusion at all.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Mon, Jun. 18th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)

Well, being embittered and jaded legalist as I am, the simple answer to most libertarian-ish peeps is Cast Away: the best life is on an island, by oneself, in a universe far far away; because we could talk about what people and groups ought to do and ought not to do until we're blue. For better or worse, those ethics never seem universal. So what matters is far too pragmatic for idealization; what matters is the law, aka. what we agree to do about it and how we're gonna' get along (or at least pretend to get along). Separating ethics from the law is, I think, unrealistic and disingenuous to the realization that people disagree yet we all live in the same world. So I hear you advocating your ethics but I also hear a concerned individual not wanting to infringe on other (possibly antagonist) ethics. Yet I only see the later possible for an ideal world where idealists live, so I'm willing to trample some ethics underfoot with a compromise that we codify as the People's Law. (And of course, it will never be Everyone's Law.) That is the conclusion you mention and the reason why I do not separate ethics from law --; although it's all abstract flatulence and practically purged of evidence.


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Thu, Jun. 21st, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)

the best life is on an island, by oneself, in a universe far far away; because we could talk about what people and groups ought to do and ought not to do until we're blue.

Sounds a lot more like my conception of hell than heaven. I don't know that sitting around talking endlessly is a particularly useful thing to do. I'd rather be engaged with the world.

For better or worse, those ethics never seem universal.

They aren't. Ethics and morality are both very personal things.

So what matters is far too pragmatic for idealization; what matters is the law, aka. what we agree to do about it and how we're gonna' get along (or at least pretend to get along).

On the level of whole societies or cultures, I agree.

Separating ethics from the law is, I think, unrealistic and disingenuous to the realization that people disagree yet we all live in the same world.

On the contrary, separating the two is essential to reaching that kind of understanding. Otherwise you get everyone trying to impose his or her particular set of values on everyone else.

There are lots of people out there who want to do that. As an example (in the US, at any rate), a good many of them are fundamentalist Christians. If you take that proposition to its logical conclusion, you will end up in a very similar position--one where your personal belief system should be imposed on everyone else--regardless of your values or religion.

Yet I only see the later possible for an ideal world where idealists live, so I'm willing to trample some ethics underfoot with a compromise that we codify as the People's Law.

You just made the very distinction you are arguing against. :) You're absolutely right -- law is a compromise on many people's ethics. But in order to make that argument you must first realize the two are separate. Otherwise it is impossible to say things like, "I'm willing to trample some ethics underfoot with a compromise" when referring to law.


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vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sat, Jun. 23rd, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)

Sorry. I blew up laptop by updating xorg so hopefully I can find a better font to read your reply and respond soon.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Mon, Jun. 25th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)

Sounds a lot more like my conception of hell than heaven

lol! nice one ...

P.S. truetype fonts RULE!

On the level of whole societies or cultures, I agree.

Yay! we agree.

On the contrary, separating the two is essential to reaching that kind of understanding. Otherwise you get everyone trying to impose his or her particular set of values on everyone else.

Good point, and one I eventually saw needed some clarification. When I posted a blurb of our thread on my journal, I edited "ethics" to "societal ethics" because obviously personal ethics should not tyrannize.

You just made the very distinction you are arguing against.

Huh?! Could you explain that ...


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deskitty
deskitty
Des
Mon, Jun. 25th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)

When you say you are "willing to trample some ethics underfoot", you are saying that an inequality (in the logical sense) should exist between ethics and law. This implies ethics and law are separate.

By definition, something must be equal to itself (using whatever test you like to determine equality). Therefore, if you use two labels ("ethics" and "law"), and say they are not equal, they cannot refer to the same thing. Hence, the distinction.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Mon, Jun. 25th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)

That's obvious. ethics != law. Like some linguistic theories that say most words, even supposed synonyms, refer to different concepts (because of context), so I did not mean to fly you off on some tangent where ethics = law. To (re-)clarify, I said on my journal "societal ethics ↔ law" where the double arrow still does convey equality in my mind; in the context of language. By that definition, are you agreeing that if there is some law, then it's a society's but it is not the case that some if there's some societal ethic, then it's that society's law? I could agree ... in some cases. Most Americans would agree to a privacy and harmful ethic about not stepping on each other's toes -- literally stepping -- and it's not a law AFAK. Yet I could imagine a suit filed where a petite secretary got irritated from her big footed boss always "accidentally" stepping on her toes. Perhaps she could win a case using employment laws about harassment. I dunno; the point is there's a case where society generally agrees on that ethic yet we have no explicit law against stepping on toes. Regardless, the converse seems to be something we both agree on; namely, there is some law based on some societal ethic. Murder is a good example. Some murders personally have no issue with this but our society does. Ergo our law. And I think one of few ways one could find exception to this case is to look up some arcane law that we forget about and no longer agree is good, or no longer ethical.

Sorry, there's so many things I pressume when writing about this stuff.


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Mon, Jun. 25th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)

ACK! Edit

"the double arrow still does not convey equality"


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trema_slo
trema_slo
T.L.
Thu, Jun. 28th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)

Outrageous and interesting. I use the same provider (formerly pacbell) and also think the isps should leave open the internet and leave content enforcement and to owners. Thank you for this info, and I too will keep an eye on this.
Friending you, new friend.
T.L.


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