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Re: OT: Acrobat Reader needs plugin?

On Wed, 2007-09-05 at 19:46 -0700, Les wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-09-05 at 17:32 -0400, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> > On Wed, 2007-09-05 at 11:23 -0500, Mike McCarty wrote:
> > > Les wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > I went to the site and looked at the plugin installation page, then
> > > > followed a couple of links to some discussion on the subject.  They are
> > > 
> > > Yah, with a little prompt from Craig, I found it, too.
> > > 
> > > > using DRM, but not calling it that.  I will cease recommending anything
> > > > from Cambridge press from here on out.  Sorry guys.  I detest a company
> > > 
> > > So will I. If I buy it, I should own my copy.
> > > 
> > > > that thinks everyone is ripping them off (even if it is happening to
> > > > some degree, I purchased the book, and I do not want anyone snooping
> > > > about on my system or reading habits.  Frankly, it is none of their
> > > 
> > > I also own a copy of the book, and agree wholeheartedly with your
> > > statement.
> > 
> > I don't quite get this.  You bought a paper copy of the book.  Is not
> > installing the plugin preventing you from reading your paper copy?  If
> > you read your paper copy, is anything snooping on your system or reading
> > habits?
> > 
> > I suppose a subscription model for free stuff (like the PDFs of old
> > editions of the book) is a little silly, but a subscription model for
> > access to online material in general isn't any more unreasonable than
> > any other model.  If you don't like the technology used to manage the
> > subscriptions, you are certainly free to not participate.
> > 
> > > 
> > > > business.  I think a civil suit for peeping should be appropriate to
> > > > such organizations. Just my opinion.
> > > 
> > > Going too far, I think. What damages have you incurred? Contacting them
> > > and letting them know who you are, that you object, and what your
> > > planned actions are may have more effect, anyway.
> > > 
> > > > 	However for now, my censureship will be that I will email my friends
> > > > and tell them what the plugin does and to avoid it.  YMMV.
> > > 
> > > No, My Mileage will NOT VARY. That thing has already suffered an
> > > ignominious death on my machine.
> > > 
> > > Mike
> > -- 
> >                 Matthew Saltzman
> > 
> > Clemson University Math Sciences
> > mjs AT clemson DOT edu
> > http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs
> > 
> I have paid for on line material.  I pay for what I use.  I do not spy
> on anyone's use of what I freely give them, nor on what I have sold
> them.  I probably have taken hits from the dishonest few, and certainly
> educators are among those who use information freely, and while I have
> resented it from time to time, honestly I realize that spreading
> knowledge is the only way our society progresses.  My biggest problem
> with this DRM stuff is that the beneficiaries are not the authors, the
> true originators, but the business interests that pocket inordinate
> amounts from the hard work of the originators, and moreover make it
> difficult or impossible for new innovations to proceed without legal
> attacks, and the process of just wearing the individuals down.  Whether
> you agree or not, look at the patent process.  A good man uses his
> talents to create something, it has inordinate value, and the company
> that assumes the production takes far and away the lion's share of the
> proceeds for that work.  I don't object to someone making a profit.  I
> do object to someone being held captive through the legal processes that
> have been set up to strip the author/originator of anything but verbal
> acknowledgement.  I lost several ideas to such processes, and finally
> quit drawing or designing.  If the world needs my input it will have to
> figure out how to motivate me more than is currently possible.  For
> example, a conference is being setup for Croquet.  The company or
> organization sponsoring the conference says that if you present there,
> you deed 50% ownership of your work to that organization.  Did they put
> that out in their invitation?  NO!  You had to go and read the
> information about the conference to find that out.  A really bad probono
> lawyer doesn't get that much and he does some real work toward the
> settlement.
> 	DRM is a bad idea, poorly implemented, and puts spyware on systems, and
> opens systems to abuse of all kinds, in addition to making your own
> modification of the system and software you purchased illegal.  Maybe
> you believe that is a good idea, but it smacks of communism, and not
> capitalism, of big brother, not cooperation, ethics are a thing of the
> past.  The lessons being taught to my children and grandchildren through
> this process is abysmal, and unfortunately, our colleges, universities
> and other institutions of higher learning have taken no initiative to
> teach how important personal accomplishment, personal freedom, and
> personal benefits are to the survival of a society.  And this is in
> spite of watching the self destruction of Soviet Russia, the conversion
> of communist China, and the changes in North Vietnam and North Korea.
> These same people ignored the deaths of good men and women who did
> realize these benefits and how important the benefits of capitalism were
> to their societies, and allowed the destruction of families by the
> millions.  And DRM is more dangerous than the effects of that debacle.
> It is perhaps not as directly deadly, but believe me when I say
> corralling knowledge, preventing its spread, and hobbling the public is
> an insidious destruction of freedom and liberty.  No risk means no gain.
> 	Look at the situation that occurred in England in the 1100-1400 to see
> what happens when a precious few control the dissemination of knowledge.
> Or perhaps Germany in the 1900's or perhaps the Romans in the collapse
> of the Roman Empire.  One who fails to study history has some very
> painful lessons, unfortunately these particular lessons will be born not
> by the fools who set the conditions, but to all our heirs, and death,
> desolation and destruction are certainly within the realm of possibility
> as a result.  The best conditions will result in an elitist society,
> followed by degeneration, and overthrow.  The loss to the general public
> will be starvation and disease should it come to that.  
> 	Is this an extreme example?  Perhaps, but it is less amplified than the
> human effects causing global warming business I see foisted off as
> science everyday.  I hope you realize that I do believe that this is a
> blight on knowledge and a blight on the rights of all mankind, not just
> Americans.  Perhaps you disagree, but have you ever seen such schemes do
> other than cause harm?


That's a lot to respond to, and we've wandered way off topic for the list.

OK I see your points, agree with some, take issue with some.

My main point is that there are a few different business models for
making money off of one's intellectual creations on the Internet.  You
and Mike have certainly made a case against the subscription model.  I
just wanted to point out that the issue may not be all black and white. 

For example, I think there's a difference between a license manager that
keeps a token on your machine and uses a simple program to check its
validity over the 'net--a function that you are fully informed of in
advance and agree to accept--and real spyware that collects and sends
unauthorized information without informing you of its activities or
seeking your approval in advance.  

I understand the unpleasant aspects of the subscription model--I have
subscriptions to online academic journals.  And I understand the
unpleasant aspects of DRM and the evil of the DMCA.  But as long as the
terms are clear in advance and the technology involved performs as the
subscription agreement states, the consumer can make the decision as to
whether to buy or not.

Now back to your regularly scheduled rant-fest...

> Regards,
> Les H
                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu

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