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Re: debian-multimedia.org considered harmful

Luk Claes <luk@debian.org> writes:
> On 03/11/2012 09:37 AM, Mike Hommey wrote:
>> On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:16:47AM +0100, Adam Borowski wrote:

>>> When the totem law of Kbanga declares that displaying any words with
>>> two consonant clusters is illegal on Fridays, the rest of the world
>>> doesn't suffer.  Being able to pop in a DVD and play it is something
>>> an average person takes for granted.  If oppressive laws in a single
>>> country stop a good part of multimedia functionality, why should that
>>> functionality be taken away from everyone else?

>> The problem is: decss is illegal in very much more than just the US.
>> This is a very different situation.

> Why so?

Because it's not illegal in just Kbanga.  The content providers are doing
their best to make it illegal everywhere, and would potentially harass
Debian as an organization in rather more than just one country if we
distribute decss.  It therefore doesn't constitute the case of "oppressive
laws in a single country" in the above paragraph.

(This is apart from the other problem that the US is, for better or ill
and frequently both, not just a single country from the perspective of
Debian governance, both because of the US's position in terms of project
membership and server placement and because it's the home country of
Software in the Public Interest.  Debian would similarly be strongly
affected by laws in Germany or the UK or another country where we have a
lot of developers and infrastructure, and rather less by laws in countries
were we have far less infrastructure, money, legal existence, or

> If I make a copy for backup and want to use it, how would I do that
> without use of decss or similar? Or is making a backup copy no
> legitimate use anymore?

> I think it's very stupid to make it illegal to distribute software just
> because it *can* be used illegaly. One always punishes the legitimate
> users in such cases and introduces an alternative (sometimes illegal)
> distribution channel of the software.

I doubt many people on debian-devel would disagree with any of this, but
the reality is that the content providers are convincing governments to do
something really stupid.  And while we can all feel that this is, indeed,
really stupid, that doesn't change the legal realities of the situation
for the project.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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