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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The laws occur because of these factors:

    • 98% of the population makes statements like: "Oh, computers are so hard! I couldn't possibly understand such complicated things. I can't learn this! Hold my hand and teach me a few tasks I'll never deviate from so I can get work done with my computer!" (It should be noted that 99% of people say the same about their VCRs.)
    • Congress is elected from the general population.
    • Due to public pressure, and industry pressure, the current line in government is: "We've got
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I agree with some of that, but I think there's more to it. That is, you put most of the blame on the electorate, whereas I think most of it goes on the part about "industry pressure".

      All laws are passed due to pressure of some kind. Usually that pressure comes from a special interest group. If the law is important, usually you'll have people on both sides give the pros and cons and arguments about it, and the representatives can decide (in theory) based on those. If the law is not so important, it migh
      • Very true. But I still think any congressman who's ever voted for a law "because we need to get tough on computer crime" after ever having made the statement, "Oh, computers are just too complicated for me," ought to be ashamed.

        Actually, I tend to feel that anyone under the age of 70 who's ever made that statement should take it back. In other areas of life, we call that "giving up," and it's not looked upon with respect.

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • Ashamed of being ignorant, or ashamed of legislating while being ignorant? Neither is a shamable offense. Most legislators are ignorant about many things, as most people are, as you and I are. They can't not make laws just because they are ignorant; they need to trust various people to give them opinions and facts. And in many cases -- such as this one -- the balance is lopsided.

          As to saying "computers are too complicated," it is not that computers are, but these issues certainly are. You could study nothing but these issues for months and just begin to understand them. To really understand them well you need years of study of both the intricacies of copyright law and precedent as well as the various ways technology is used in regard to intellectual property and what other possible remedies and actions might include. It's extremely complex for anyone, let alone someone who doesn't focus primarily on either technology or copyright, as is the case with most legislators.