April 3, 2002


I’ve been reading about the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act lately, and seeing a very scary proposal. Doc has been doing some excellent coverage of the CBDTPA, so I won’t go into it too much here. I also read Jeremy Bower’s article on the consequences of the CBDTPA. As I did, something struck a parallel in my mind. Jeremy says:

I have never seen a bill that as immune to criticism as the CBDTPA!

It’s absolute genius. The content industry raises their arguments, and progress their cause. We raise our counter-arguments, based on appeals to absurd results, and in the process, progress their cause all the further. We (irrationally) lose credibility in the eyes of the the undecided, and (irrationally) reinforce the arguments of the content industry, namely that those who object are stretching to find any excuse to continue the “rampant piracy”. (Because why else would we say such wacky things like this completely eliminates legal fair use?) They can’t lose!

So basically, they’ve set it up as “either you’re with us or you’re against us”. If you try to speak out against it, you are branded as one of the very criminals it’s trying to stop, and your dissent is seen as nothing more than the whining of someone who is being stopped from committing their favorite crime.

It reminds me a little too much of current US foreign policy and warmongering. Bush has tried to brand countries who are against our “terrorism abatement” tactics as terrorists themselves. Either you’re with us or you’re against us. If you don’t like our “war on terror”, then it must follow that you’re a terrorist. Even at home, too many people are soiling the good name of patriotism by labelling any criticism of the “war” as an Anti-American act, akin to treason. I guess the same thing happened to the Vietnam War protesters, and will happen during any war. Either you’re with us or you’re against us. The high and mighty get to thinking their way is the only right way, and see any kind of dissenting viewpoint as not only a threat but a direct attack.

The CBDTPA is just latching onto that mindset and moving it into the digital arena. Ridiculous. The Constitution was written to protect us from people like that.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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