The Null Device


Some good news: The California State Appeals Court rules that code is pure speech, overturning a ban on the publishing of DVD descrambling code.

"DVDCCA's statutory right to protect its economically valuable trade secret is not an interest that is 'more fundamental' than the First Amendment right to freedom of speech or even on equal footing with the national security interests and other vital governmental interests that have previously been found insufficient to justify a prior restraint," the ruling stated.

Mind you, the case is still pending appeal, so it's not over yet. However, this is very heartening news.

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The story of the CNN doomsday tape, a video Ted Turner had made, to be played on air when it was determined that the world was about to end. (via


Terrorists are everywhere: A British journalist was barred from a flight in Germany for having a Karl Marx book in his possession, which is apparently a terrorist act (at least in the eyes of the aging lefties in government trying to distance themselves from their Baader-Meinhof-backing radical pasts). (Though it makes you wonder whether he'd have been detained had he been named, say, John Smith, rather than Tariq Ali.) (via Leviathan)


Ding dong, the witch is dead: A piece by Stuart Littlemore on the legacy of recently resigned ABC chief Jonathan Shier, who was appointed by the Howard administration to change the ABC's culture, purge all the leftists, cut controversial or uncomfortable programs (like Littlemore's own Media Watch; besides, we can't have the state broadcaster criticising media spin and corporate ad campaigns and undermining shareholder value, can we?), and turn the ABC into a marketing-driven lifestyle programme vendor for Howard's "relaxed and comfortable" Australia. Mind you, if Howard is returned to power (which looks likely), things won't get any better for the ABC.


The local street murdoch, MX, has reported that the tent city set up by leftist peace activists outside the State Library is folding, not because the police threatened to "bust a S11 on their dreadlocked asses" or whatever the parlance is, but because they've been inundated with freeloading backpackers, homeless drug addicts and the mentally ill looking for places to stay. Now this could be a typical Murdoch dig at those leftist rabble ("cut your hair and start watching Foxtel, you bums!"), much like premature reports of abysmal attendances at protests seen in MX. Anyway, it makes one wonder why they didn't just ask attendees questions, like "who was Che, and why was he such a cool guy?", or "name any of the members of Rage Against The Machine".


Looks like Microsoft and the US Department of Justice are close to agreement on which wrist is to be slapped. Not surprisingly, Microsoft look set to get away with doing what it has been doing all the time, with a few minor concessions where they won't inconvenience them too much. After all, the Bush DOJ wouldn't want to be ungrateful to major campaign donors un-American and unpatriotic, would they?

(Btw, has anyone else a major doctrine shift between the initial Microsoft antitrust suit and now? Back then, an OS monopoly was seen as anticompetitive, inefficient and destructive. Now, with things like the SSSCA and secure media, and the content industry's input, an OS monopoly is seen as the best guarantee of security against copyright terrorism, and to be encouraged if not mandated. After all, if anyone can hack the kernel on their computer, you cannot have a secure audio path, can you?)