Enemies of the State: The Shadow and Metropolis and Ebay vs the Supreme Court, Alex Kozinski, Oracle, MPAA/RIAA and Google??!


The logo belongs to the brilliant website shadowsanctum.net, and I urge you to check her site out here. It’s great!

“Dead Cobras are better playthings than live ones.”
—The Shadow in THE TEMPLE BELLS OF NEBAN

“My reward, like yours Commissioner, is in protecting the defenseless from those who have not learned… that crime does not pay.”
—The Shadow

The TEMPLE BELLS OF NEBAN is a very intriguing Shadow episode from 1937, over 70 years ago at the dawn of the age of radio, starring the inimitable Orson Welles. And I highly recommend people seeking it out, and giving it a listen.

It’s not the best sounding recording available, but you can clearly hear why this show was an immediate hit, as the Shadow spars, almost lovingly, with a beautiful Indian dancer, whose powers may rival his own.

You can listen to a copy here.

And It’s also worth mentioning these shows only exist because of collectors, what today we would call filesharers, or bootleggers, these shows and thousands like them only exist because of the loving collector who recorded them off the air and kept them and shared them for the love, while the very companies that produced them, could not erase the tapes fast enough after the initial airing, seeing no long term value/profit to them.

I’m saying it’s ironic that what companies race today to make illegal, is the very people who have preserved the intellectual property many of them today… build their fortunes off of.

They seek to make illegal… the people who we need. The ones who keep things alive not for the money… but the love.

How lucky we are to have these recordings. Unfortunately thanks to Congress and the Supreme court working in tandem to put the rights of businesses above citizens…not only are clear Public Domain concepts like the Shadow radio show and pulp novels no longer in public domain, but they’ve recently upheld a law that allows the REMOVAL of certain foreign based works (Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“Section 514”), which restores copyright protection to certain foreign works that were previously in the public domain), including compositions and the works of silent film directors such as Fritz Lang, out of Public Domain.

How the hell does Congress perceive they have the right to do that? Or does the Supreme court support them in that?

Fritz Lang is taken out of copyright today, what happens tomorrow… Poe? Shakespeare? All so companies can get you to pay, pay, pay.

And making this a one two punch, the Supreme Court has recently upheld (by failing to overturn the 9th circuit court ruling) Software companies rights to stop you from reselling your software on grounds of— well honestly the grounds make no sense— basically it’s companies intent on destroying the secondary market of used resellers, a huge and vital part of any economy, so they alone determine what in essence can be sold. And more, they alone can profit.

The story reads in part:

“The Supreme Court is refusing to review a federal appellate panel’s decision that software makers may use shrink-wrap and click-wrap licenses to forbid the transfer or resale of their wares.

Without comment, the justices on Monday let stand a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that is another erosion of the so-called “first-sale” doctrine, which the Supreme Court began to chip away at last year.

The first-sale doctrine generally is an affirmative defense to copyright infringement. It usually allows legitimate owners of copyrighted works to resell those copies.

That 3-0 circuit court decision means copyright owners may prohibit the resale of their wares by inserting clauses in their sales agreements. Autodesk had done that with a version of its popular AutoCAD software. The San Rafael, Calif. company sued to enforce those terms in its sales agreement and prevailed.

The Motion Picture Association of America and Software & Information Industry Association, whose members include Google, Adobe, McAfee, Oracle and dozens of others, urged the appellate court to rule as it did.”

–This is from the excellent guys at WIRED (it’s not lost on me that WIRED unfortunately is owned by CondeNast, one of the companies particularly active in chipping away at Public Domain), and the full story, along with other shocking abuses and erosions of liberty can be read here.

This ruling by the 9th circuit court, inherently cripples and destroys a healthy monetary model, in favor of a model geared entirely on creating a monopolistic system, and an entrenched protected powerbase that flies in the face of a free enterprise system.

The idea that I can’t, or you can’t resell something you bought, is itself an overstepping of liberties, and an infringement on liberties, so great as to be in and of itself… criminal.

Where does it end?

You do this first with the used software market, what is next? You can’t sell used DVDs? You can’t sell used books? You can’t sell used cars? You can’t sell used houses? At what point are you bankrupt of owning and controlling anything you purchase? Even the air you breathe, the food you eat, everything eventually gets leased to you?

Absurd right? We’re on an absurd and dangerous path.

This is a law that must be challenged and thrown out. And stands once more as clear and present proof that the congress and the supreme court are in the pocket of big business.

And that we have become a country at the mercy of crooks and liars and cowards and scum and thieves.

We have become a country, at the mercy of our neutered Congress and our spade Supreme Court.

The purpose of government is not to protect business at the expense of the citizens, it is to protect citizens at the expense of business.

It is not the job of government to insure the status or the livelihood of Sony or Microsoft or Disney. Businesses come and businesses go. Most of the business around at the start of the 20th century didn’t make it to the end of the 20th century, and that is how it should be.

And part of it is we have 20th century judges ruling on 21st century cases, and quite frankly they are out of their depth.

These are people who can barely turn on a computer or send an email, and yet they are the defenders of the slippery digital slope, and preserving liberties in this brave new field of law. And the judges often rely on opinions of ‘experts’, which is to say the very people that have a stake in seeing laws go their way.

So increasingly judges are deer in technological headlights, and rule when in doubt with the big named company they think knows what they are talking about.

Example?

Alex Kozinski, one of the highest judges in the land. And the chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, that allowed Software companies to make resale of software illegal… This is how technologically savvy this guy is…

The following is an excerpt from the LA times:

“Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he had posted the materials, which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. Some of the material was inappropriate, he conceded, although he defended other sexually explicit content as “funny.”

Kozinski, 57, said that he thought the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public, although he also said he had shared some material on the site with friends. After the interview Tuesday evening, he blocked public access to the site.”

—By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 11, 2008

This is the judge of one of the highest courts of the land? And shaping the laws that bind us all?? He doesn’t even know how the web works and he’s defining the legal length and breadth of it? Not even getting into the moral implications.

It is a sad and dangerous pattern, when our rights are given away at a whim.

Businesses are here to serve the people, and when they fail to do that, or choose not to do that, they deserve to fail. The very opposite of what is happening.

Case in point, Obama’s bailout of Wallstreet? Forget Wallstreet. Bail out the homeowners, and the unemployed and underemployed. Generate new business in the vacuum of businesses that don’t want to pay American taxes, or hire American employees at a live-able wage. These companies, Exxon, Shell, take billions of dollars out of the United States, but have a fit if you talk about raising the minimum wage, or paying workers $20/hr.

But we have a corrupt Congress and a corrupt Judiciary, so we bail out billionaires and aggressively tax, broke and breaking, American citizens to pay for that immoral bailout.

Our Congress and our Judiciary are crooks.

Except… that’s not true.

We have corrupt or incompetent people in Congress and the Courts, but the disease is not the man.

The idea of Congress and the idea of a Supreme Court, are good ideas.

There are people in Congress and the Courts who are there because they believe in this under attack idea of.. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

But they get lost, their good lost in the bad. We owe them more than that.

And how do we do that?

By naming names. Specific people vote these abhorrent laws into being. And they count on being a nameless part of a mob, just as the RIAA and the MPAA are klan hoods for companies doing under the shelter of their hood, things they would shy from by themselves or in the brightness of day.

It’s not enough to say Congress passed this and the Judiciary allowed this. We must name names, of those who in our darkest hour went around putting out lights, as well as those few who stood against them, and tried to light candles.

We must name… the enemies of our state. So we remember them, and push for their ousting for their crimes against us. It’s not enough to just concentrate on who is or isn’t president, we must concentrate just as hard on who we fill Congress with, and the courts.

Enemies of the State.

Enemies of the People.

We must name our betrayers.

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