Modify This, Suckah

Last night, the EFF-Austin gang did a little dog-n-pony show for The Robot Group. We presented some highlights (and lowlights) of our work with the Texas legislature this session. Our greatest highlight, by far, was killing SB1116, the so-called Super DMCA.

These laws make tinkering with and modifying equipment a crime. Your Internet provider, for instance, could tell you what kind of equipment you can connect to the line and what you can do with it, under penalty of law.

The Robot Group makes twisted animatronic devices from salvage equipment. These folks modify gear in ways their creators could never have envisioned--and in many cases would be aghast to discover.

Any effort to outlaw this sort of work is just wrongheaded. Yet, that's exactly what the movie and music moguls are trying to do. It's not that they are afraid of robots. They're afraid that people who modify equipment are going to steal from them. So they are trying to outlaw not the stealing, but the modification that may, in some cases, lead to theft.

We need folks like the Robot Group to help demonstrate that modification doesn't always lead to theft. Sometimes it just leads to really cool stuff.

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re: Modify This, Suckah

Kudos to you and the rest of the EFF team.
And congratulations even.