My bit is mine / copyright freedom

“As always, you are to us at least one step ahead.” With all the means available to them understatement begins the obituary, the members of the Chaos Computer Club in their club founder and interim president Wau Holland wrote, the last Sunday beat 50- year died. Holland was the founder of “Datenschleuder”, the “Scientific Journal for data travelers – organ of the Chaos Computer Club”. The pioneers to Holland has always been about two things: freedom of information as a civil right and individual digital data protection. Wau Holland pleaded tirelessly for an equally critical and creative use of technology and put this maxim also impressive evidence: From the legendary HASPA hack, as he revealed in 1984 vulnerabilities BTX system with friends, to the unpaid work in a youth center in Jena, where he acquainted himself with the vastness of the information society East German youth. The Holland decisively influenced “hacker ethic” warned generations of young hackers before personal gain, the resulting blackmail and forced a concept of openness and transparency, which now gradually draws more circles.

What significance Holland has for the German computer scene, show thousands of entries in a digital condolence. Besides cute jokes about the “hacking heavenly firewalls” thank friends, known and unknown to the idiosyncratic Old Hacker and old hippie who had not recently famous for being able to prepare mashed potatoes even a coffee maker. “The computer is per se a machine for copying bits,” Holland said at the 17th Chaos Communication Congress of the European hacker party last December in Berlin and called for an offensive defense of freedom of information on, instead of leading rearguard action under pressure from the media industry. Holland was referring then to the temporary detention of two Norwegian students who managed to escape the copy protection system for DVD and the trials of the hacker magazine 2600th

But Two weeks ago, the US Department of Justice took out a renewed strike against suspected piracy. Dmitry Sklyarov is a 26-year-old student from Moscow, which was supposed to hold a weekend in mid-July a talk at DefCon 9 conference in Las Vegas. His theme was “Safety Aspects of electronic books and documents”. The Russians had not been recently invited because he had worked for his employer, the company ElcomSoft on a program that apparently hard added the US company Adobe: The “Advanced eBook Processor” allows readers restrictions on the use possibilities offered by the has made manufacturer of an electronic book to circumvent. Accordingly, revolutionizes blind can, for example, be read by a computer voice to text, even though this feature was not originally intended.

Shortly after his speech, the provided information in detail about the vulnerabilities in the popular PDF format was Dmitry Sklyarov by the FBI arrested and sitting in prison since then. Accused is it a breach of the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),” although not a single theft of intellectual property he is charged. The DMCA, however, is a US law that provides not only copyright infringement punishable but also the distribution of software, bypassing other software solutions that are designed to protect copyrights. Lawrence Lessig wrote in the New York Times: “The problem now is that technologies to secure protected material, never so sophisticated as are the law. The Copyright Act allows the fair use of protected material; Technologies that secure protected material, but not. “

A wave of protests by digitally¬†organized civil rights organizations, hackers, and computer geeks who demand the immediate release of the young Russian programmer and in recent days, culminating in worldwide demonstrations in front offices of the Adobe Group, remained so far without success. The leader in eBooks proposes the same strategy as recently the music and the film industry. But all attempts to curb freedom of information in the digital age by technical means likely to be doomed. Not only in the strict sense of the word copyright is finally the right to copy and not the blanket ban on any distribution. “The concept of private property, unless it is understood as the exclusive right to use an asset and to utilize all the prosperity that fallscopyrightallrightsreserved from his possession, is increasingly senseless in this new situation,” write Michael Hardt and Toni Negri in their theory bestseller “Empire.” After prolonged pressure, Harvard University Press had finally put a PDF version of the 500-page work into the net a few days ago. As usual, however, limited the provider essential functions, so that the electronic book was, for example, not print. In vain, because the “Project Gutenberg” in “text dot com”, something like Napster for texts immediately brought online a fully functional version.

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