I’ve had some time now to digest some things that have been going around the blog world and I have some thoughts:
I’m glad that Elcomsoft was found not guilty but given the facts of the case I’m not too sure that this is really the death knell for the DMCA. The problem is that they were found not guilty partly because they took down the software in response to the DMCA complaint, and because they didn’t mean to break the law. The jury clearly thought the product was illegal, but that Elcomsoft didn’t realize it was, took it down when they discovered it was, and there was no evidence that it had been used illegally so there was no harm to Adobe. Had any of those things been different, the case may not have turned out the same way. Companies are still free to use the DMCA to squelch free speech and other software products that “may” be used for illegal purposes, they just won’t be able to throw people in jail for it, unless they are dumb enough to not make it unavailable when they are served with the DMCA letter.
In other news, this DaveNet piece pulls an interesting comment from a CNN story. In the story, he picks out 1 paragraph that talks about bloggers being part of what is bringing down Trent Lott. The piece is 42 paragraphs long. In it many newspaper and other media reports are listed as being part of the news story far more often that bloggers, which comes up once. Of course the reporter does Dave the favor of making it seem like this was a non-story until blogger got a hold of it, but that’s stretching the truth quite a bit don’t you think? The so-called rap sheets that bloggers were gathering on Trent Lott’s comments in the past were simply discussions of the same reports being in the news. No one in the blogworld would have known what Lott said if it hadn’t have been reported in the news, in places like the Drudge Report, etc. No, the first real sign of weblogs changing the world will be when something gets reported by a blogger that was not reported by the main stream media, and then the media has to pick up the story later. For example, if no one in the media would have bothered to listen to Lott’s speech and a blogger wrote about it after being there. That’s the “big thing” I’m waiting for!
Lastly, AOL has secured a patent for IM. Now AOL/Netscape already have patents for browser cookies and SSL that they don’t enforce so I wouldn’t worry too much about them enforcing this one until they actually do. But it does display the ridiculousness of the US Patent office. How can you be awarded a patent on something after it’s been in use in various formats, by various companies, for years?
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