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In an LWN.net article, (subscribers-only; should be released for public viewing on Jan. 19th ), the Dean campaign said the following:

Issues of intellectual property are very important to a knowledge-based society. Ultimately we are going to need to find a solution that both encourages innovation and protects consumers from out-of-control corporate tactics.

This suggests that the Dean campaign doesn't yet have a stance on issues which are very dear to many technology advocates.  I think that most of us believe, like I do, that the DMCA is a terrible law and that software patents stifle innovation and threaten open source software.

Granted, the campaign has a few bigger worries right now than locking down a coherent policy on digital rights.  However, assuming Dean is able to capture the nomination, I would like to see him start to formulate a policy in this area.

Dean should understand how important open technologies, such as the Internet and open source software, have enabled the campaign to grow into a formidable power.  The power which open technology can influence on the culture is staggering.  It may well prove one of the deciding factors in this Presidential election.  Which is why we need to ensure that the freedom to innovate and share information will be upheld in a Dean administration.

Since Dean appeared on Lawrence Lessig's blog, I have had high hopes that Lessig would be asked to advise candidate Dean on technology law and digital rights.  Lessig is a boardmember of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a staunch opponent of the DMCA, Patriot Act, and other attacks on our civil liberties and "online rights".

Many may think that digital rights are unimportant, in comparison with other pressing national matters, but the fundamental way in which open technologies have impacted our national culture should be a clear wake-up call that this is an area of vital importance to our future.  I hope that Governor Dean will give it the attention and focus which it deserves.

Originally posted to stonedown on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:03 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lessig for Supreme Court! (none)
    That's what I want to see under a Dean administration.

    BushOut.TV - 2004 campaign ad news and views

    by LFinMN on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:05:37 PM PST

  •  How About (none)
    How about Bill Gates?

    Oh yeah, he's doing the Bush campaign again.

  •  DMCA (none)
    With all the support HoHo is getting from the Hollywood establishment, I wouldn't count on him coming out against the DMCA.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Cong. Waxman (D-RIAA) is a Dean supporter.  Waxman wants to put people in jail and disable computers of those who share mp3 files.   On software patents, I wouldn't expect Dean to support support more open source licenses if he's getting big money from the bigwigs in IT community.   Just my skeptical two bits for what it's worth.
  •  Jedi Joe and Open Source (none)
    He is using Open Source software on his campaign.  HIs campaign manager is Joe Trippi, who is an Open SOurce guy.  He swore off presidential campaigns untill he saw Dean speak.

    I don't know the law in which you are refering, or its implicatitions.  I think that the campaigns answer was vague and a platitude, but the right answer.

    My point is that I don't think that Dean will do anything to hurt open source software.  Not, of course, if he wants to get re elected.

    I can't spell, so get over it!

    by charlesdog12 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:32:38 PM PST

    •  Dean using Open Source (none)
      Another quote from the LWN.net story:


      Cost is only one of the factors in our use of open-source software. We also greatly value the reliability and security that is inherent in mature open-source software. Additionally, using open-source allows us to focus our resources more effectively. Recently, we launched an official Dean web site for every state. Rather than building all of the site functionality from scratch, we chose to build on top of DeanSpace (an open-source tool developed by our grassroots supporters for creating Dean-related community websites). DeanSpace itself was built on top of the open-source Drupal community system. This is just one example of how open-source software has allowed us to focus our energy on getting Howard Dean elected.

      -- Zephyr Teachout of the Dean campaign

      Sounds pretty positive to me.

  •  Net Advisory Net (none)
    Lessig is already one of Dean's advisors, as a member of Dean's Net Advisory Net.
  •  RIAA and MPAA influence (none)
    This is one area where there really is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. They find a way to throw money at EVERYBODY. Even Rep. Conyers authored letters urging AG John Ashcroft to criminally prosecute file sharers. (Motown Records.)

    I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State.

    by ben masel on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:21:18 PM PST

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