Subject: Re: SSSCA - Analysis (Q&D)
From: D V Henkel-Wallace <gumby@henkel-wallace.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 21:03:24 -0700

Some of your analysis is (understandably) over the top.

There's no need to ban emacs or TeX.  Instead, only certified applications can authenticate
to the disk drive to read the file.  Acrobat and Word can both authenticate themselves
to the OS with the right capability keys to use the cut/paste service with protected
text.

Of course this means you can't read the program text, so installers have to authenticate
in the same way.  And you can't read kmem, or construct your own pointers, so debuggers
are verboten without a license.  Sound crazy?  The US export laws used to forbid the
export of disassemblers.

The "time shift" part is insidious, and may cause the most uproar.  It specifically
exempts that, but it doesn't say that the PVR need allow _multiple_ replays.  In other
words, you can time shift that ballgame to see what happens, but you can't save that
cool catch to show it again to your husband when he gets home.


I can see some probable outcomes:
- these restrictions will be cumbersome and riddled with loopholes.  When enough people
drop their MP3 players into the ocean and discover that they can no longer "check in"
their favourite songs back into the stereo (so they have to buy 'em again) some restrictions
may be lifted.
- a bunch of laws that are selectively enforced will increase general cynicism and lack
of respect, a la the drug laws, mainly enforced against the poor.
- IT leadership, and even possibly the entertainment mega-industry, will shift overseas.

A couple of people have asked me where to move.  Germany has recently started offering
work visas to qualified developers (they deceptively call it the "green card" even though
it's not permanent).  I can see they and the French potentially supporting a solid alternative.
 The Indians and Chinese need not follow this line...it'll be like region-locked DVD
players, available everywhere but the USA.