April 1, 2003
We often find ourselves talking about the cluelessness of legislators and others when it comes to copyfight issues. Today, I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain to the Mass legislators why allowing the MPAA this much say in legislation is a slippery slope. It allows this one special interest to dictate to everyone else how technology can be used. It ignores all other possible benefits of not restricting the use of technology. In the case of the Super DMCAs, you’re not just screwing consumers and technology innovators through DMCA-like anti-circumvention provisions – you’re screwing any business that uses a firewall.
I want to tell the legislators the specific problems with this legislation, but I also want them to get the general feel that letting the MPAA dictate legislation in general is a horrible move. It’s horrible economically, it’s horrible socially, it’s horrible politically.
The problem is: they probably already know this. I mean, isn’t it possible that these legislators aren’t clueless? They know that they’re letting the MPAA screw everyone else, but they just don’t care.
I keep imagining going into speak to these legislators and saying, “It might be a good idea to actually read and edit legislation that special interests provide you.” And they’ll just smile and nod and send me on my way. They’ll think, “That kid’s clueless. Doesn’t he know we just propose whatever these guys write for us?”
(I guess I have some faith that they’ll listen to me and maybe even try to understand my position. Otherwise, I wouldn’t go. But, I’m having a pessimistic moment.)