September 8, 2000 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Greg does it again, in an extremely well-written piece on lawyers slapping geeks with a good ol' Cold Fish of Reality. (thoughts inside)
posted by cCranium (8 comments total)
He's right, you know. And I'm just proving him so by, well, chattering about it.

The basic premise is that geeks have lived in their little reality of computing for a long time, and now that the rest of the world wants to join our club, the rules are changing to fit how people actually think; in terms of ownership. Eventually geeks (a classification in which I include myself, BTW) are going to realise that the rules have changed.

It strikes me as a call to action. If we want to coexist with the mass public (who don't seem to care or even know that there's an issue being debated) we're going to have to start playing by their rules, and make sure they learn that there's carpet pulling going on that they aren't aware of.

Is it a bad thing that everything Greg writes gets my nipples erect?
posted by cCranium at 6:11 AM on September 8, 2000

There's only one problem.

While Greg's perfectly correct in his appraisal, many of the topics on which law is being made by well-meaning^Wbought-off legislators and judges will *break* the Internet and web.

The breakage will be slow in most cases. But the Internet is founded on the principles of engineering moreso than any other widely-used human endeavour, and if you try to change it in ways that are merely shots from the hip, with no *thought* given to their deeper effects, it ... will... simply...... stop ......... working.


Full stop.

End of report.

There are trademark vs domain name and international character set domain name arguments raging on DOMAIN-POLICY about this topic, even as we speak.

The marketers and lawyers like to pooh pooh us engineering types, saying "aw, the geeks will just run along and play".

It won't be until after they make the Internet useless and run everyone off to AOL that they realize that *we're signing their paychecks*. But by then, it will be too late.

"Imminent death of the net predicted, .MPG at 11."

(And yes, Cranium, it is: Greg's straight. :-)
posted by baylink at 6:54 AM on September 8, 2000

law has nothing to do with "Reality", it's all about *Interpretation*
posted by matucana at 7:08 AM on September 8, 2000

It may stop working, baylink - but not for long... In my experience, geeks have proved time and time again that they are relentless in their pursuit of making broken things work... For every thirty five year old, been-there-done-that geek who remembers "Usenet as it used to be," there's twelve twenty year olds - smarter, faster and far less scrupulous - who see a cool problem to solve, not to mention a paycheck for solving it. Will lawyers make a mess? Undoubtedly. Will the infrastructure be stretched and possibly torn? I'd put money on it. Will the Internet stop working in any serious way for any serious amount of time? Not here on SteveCasePlanet (tm) it won't...
posted by m.polo at 7:55 AM on September 8, 2000

My guess it's precisely the sentiments expressed by m.polo that create the apparent apathy towards the commercialisation of the medium. True geeks don't see lawsuits, corporate greed and commercialisation of the internet as an insurmountable problem - they'll just work their way around it ("we did it with Napster and we'll do it again").
The article should be a call to action, but it won't be.
The wake up calls going to have to be a hell of a lot louder for enough people to see it as a real threat, and by then it might just be too late.
posted by Markb at 8:51 AM on September 8, 2000

Indeed, that attitude of complacency is exactly the kind of thing that will gut Le Internet.

I might have to make a contribution to the EFF.
posted by solistrato at 11:12 AM on September 8, 2000

I am trying my darnedest to get people to join this listserv. I want to create the equivalent of a PAC to represent the views of our community in the real world. Posts on MeFi and Slashdot ain't gonna do it.
posted by owillis at 4:14 PM on September 8, 2000

::: Posts on MeFi and Slashdot ain't gonna do it.

you are correct, sir.
posted by Zeldman at 2:52 PM on September 9, 2000

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