Sunday, January 1, 2012

Now you have N problems

(10:40) It's not that regulators don't understand information technology, because it should be possible to be a non-expert and still make a good law. MPs and Congressmen and so on are elected to represent districts and people, not disciplines and issues.

That couple of sentences reminded me of a recent post on single-issue advocacy by Roger Pielke Jr. So, in that spirit, here's a fun word game: How applicable is Doctorow's criticism if you substitute "climate" for "copyright" below?

(22:20) But the reality is, copyright legislation gets as far as it does precisely because it's not taken seriously, which is why on one hand, Canada has had Parliament after Parliament introduce one stupid copyright bill after another, but on the other hand, Parliament after Parliament has failed to actually vote on the bill. [...] It's why the World Intellectual Property Organization is gulled time and again into enacting crazed, pig-ignorant copyright proposals because when the nations of the world send their U.N. missions to Geneva, they send water experts, not copyright experts; they send health experts, not copyright experts; they send agriculture experts, not copyright experts, because copyright is just not important to pretty much everyone!
Canada's Parliament didn't vote on its copyright bills because, of all the things that Canada needs to do, fixing copyright ranks well below health emergencies on first nations reservations, exploiting the oil patch in Alberta, interceding in sectarian resentments among French- and English-speakers, solving resources crises in the nation's fisheries, and thousand other issues! The triviality of copyright tells you that when other sectors of the economy start to evince concerns about the internet and the PC, that copyright will be revealed for a minor skirmish, and not a war. Why would other sectors nurse grudges against computers? Well, because the world we live in today is /made/ of computers. We don't have cars anymore, we have computers we ride in; we don't have airplanes anymore, we have flying Solaris boxes with a big bucketful of SCADA controllers [laughter]; a 3D printer is not a device, it's a peripheral, and it only works connected to a computer; a radio is no longer a crystal, it's a general-purpose computer with a fast ADC and a fast DAC and some software.

Full Transcript


  1. > How applicable is Doctorow's criticism if you substitute "climate" for "copyright" below?

    Err, not applicable at all?

  2. Well... on second thought, I guess it is applicable after all!