[somewhat OT] Cory Doctrow and the EFF

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[somewhat OT] Cory Doctrow and the EFF

Howard Stearns
Wetmachine (where I blog on Croquet stuff) is podcasting an interview  
with Cory Doctrow. If you're familiar with the Electronic Frontier  
Foundation, there's probably nothing new here. But if you're not,  
this is a gentle (if eye-opening) introduction. http://

The connection to Croquet is this: What happens if someone who gets  
their way decides Croquet is bad? I've worked hard towards making it  
so that anyone can create and coordinate their own Croquet world, and  
anyone with access to that world can put in whatever media they want,  
including text, sound, pictures and video. Maybe that's not a good  
thing, if it puts us into the kind of battle in which the EFF gets  

What do you think?


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Re: [somewhat OT] Cory Doctrow and the EFF

Darius Clarke
Hi Howard,

My opinion is to look at the bigger picture over the centuries.
Censors come and go.
Human skills, knowledge, and memory live on.

This was pointed out to me recently at ELI. Someone recounted what a
Jewish friend of his presented as the reasoning behind a historical
Jewish cultural tradition that emphasized education. When persecuted
and driven from country to country, the only thing of value that they
could take with them across borders was knowledge.

In Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" he explores the concept of a
culture of censorship (where the population is spoon fed preprocessed,
pop-culture media through one way TV screens the size of walls :-) ).
The solution he provided was for those concerned to memorize what was
in the books and regularly recite the contents.

I once read that, in the early days of the /printed/ book, there was
resistance by the academic community to the "new technology" that
allowed everyone to carry & read their own books. They feared that
everyone would trust the book as an authority and forget how to
memorize vast amounts of information and life experiences that they
all could actually memorize at that time. And they were right. We only
memorize a minuscule amount compared to the "less civilized"
population of centuries ago. Fahrenheit 451 suggests that civilization
can reverse that "technology progress" to get around censorship.

So too with Croquet. If censorship becomes an issue, Croquet should
include the techniques (or mnemonics) for average people to memorize
what is worth carrying beyond the censors. But then, that hearkens
back to Croquet & Squeak's roots anyway, not just to explore, but to
learn and pass on "deep ideas" and skills in one's mental storage.
Testing the success of that transition might not need to be required,
but should be desired by the learner. Squeak tries to be a system that
a single individual can understand in all its breadth. Most
copyrighted or digital right managed material probably isn't worth
memorizing, and, common knowledge is hard to copyright. ;-)

Also, in such a state, camouflage would become perfected... hiding
something in plain sight. This is done by making it look like
something familiar and easily overlooked, or hidden in a wave of
extraneous information.

Also, in the digital world, because of the ever increasing speed of
data flow, it might be possible to keep questionable information
constantly on the move so there is no "host" for more that a split
second. This would make it difficult for censors to find, accuse, and
prove an "owner" of the data.

Lastly, if the value of the service is deemed to out weigh the
presumed damage cause by breaking digital rights by the right holders,
allowances would be made.

Those are my thoughts. So make Croquet as initially imagined. Just
make sure it's hyper-valuable and memorize-able. ;-)


P.S. also include the human "common knowledge" as coded by Cycorp:

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Re: [somewhat OT] Cory Doctrow and the EFF

Darius Clarke
In reply to this post by Howard Stearns
Just to clarify, by the previous message, I don't mean we should use
any techniques to circumvent copyrights. The techniques are mentioned
as a way to protect information, legitimate to share, from getting
caught in an overreaching a filter.

If copyright holders are so eager to protect their rights, we who
provide sharing technology should allow them to do so. If they provide
a mechanism for us to identify their work, we should utilize it so we
can keep it out of our communication technology. This way they cannot
point to our technology as the cause of their grief. If they don't
provide mechanisms to identify their work, how can our technology be
accused just because of the potential of trespassing on their rights?

In the copyright holder's opinion, should the whole internet be shut
down because its enabling technology also enables illegitimate use? or
stop electricity? or stop all digitization? or stop photocopiers? or
stop web browser software from viewing web pages which have all rights
reserved, because a browser makes a copy in memory?

No. Neither will they stop sharing technologies, if the spirit is to
not harm their rights.
Croquet's constructivist attribute is also its strength here. We
encourage participants to make their own content rather than copy. We
also allow the construction of meta-media objects that can't exist in
the media formats that are copyrighted. It's hard to copyright
dynamic, running, self-modifying systems. ;-)