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Re: Working Group Last Call for draft-ietf-httpbis-legally-restricted-status

From: Matthew Kerwin <matthew@kerwin.net.au>
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2015 06:48:02 +1000
Message-ID: <CACweHNAYSDUkruUgfuD5gJJX8DhsfmyRJpe0sGNeW2HEe+9eAA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Cc: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, "ietf-http-wg@w3.org" <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
On 14/10/2015 1:27 AM, "Alex Rousskov" <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
wrote:
>
> On 10/12/2015 11:58 PM, Matthew Kerwin wrote:
>
> > while people clearly care about the
> > Ministry of Truth interfering with access to resources, at least in the
> > present climate, I don't know how much people care about other "outside
> > forces" blocking access. Is there much value in what you propose?
>
> If you assume that the "Ministry of Truth" is a well defined concept
> that "people clearly care about" while "other outside forces" is not,
> then my proposal adds no value, of course.
>

No, ​I'd say ​it's well *understood*, not necessarily well defined. Every
person, society, and culture has its own legal authority. It's the one with
the power to force things (like censorship) on people (and websites.)

>
> My assumption is that most people (in a non-US sense of the word, i.e.,
> excluding corporations) can actually define "outside forces" and care
> about them in general, rather than being interested in whether the
> blocking company received a written DMCA takedown notice, was visited by
> a friendly group of armed enforcers, or read an anonymous article in the
> "official news paper".
>

So it's an external force that has the power to coerce you to restrict
access to a resource in such a way that you feel compelled to respond to
future requests with "I would send you this thing but they made me not."
What can that force be other than a legal one? That's not a rhetorical
question, I really would like to see an example. Because...

>
> > I'm struggling to envision a
> > case of externally-pressured censorship that doesn't count as "legal."
>
> Great, you should not object to removing the word "legal" from the draft
> then. Saying "external censorship" should be sufficient. Why muddy the
> waters by introducing precise-sounding but still undefined and very
> context-dependent terms?
>

​​Some would argue that DMCA takedowns aren't censorship (protecting
rightful property, etc. etc.), so by making this change you're proposing to
potentially exclude or discourage what was probably the motivating -- and
likely to be the most common -- use case. "Legal" is the less restrictive
term, as I see it, especially using Ted's suggested text.

On the definition of 'legal', a
 very quick Google
​ g​
ives me
: "the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes
as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the
imposition of penalties." Pretty much matches my definition, and the one I
assumed the draft uses.

I'd have guessed only a small subset of people would think 'legal'
​only ​
means 'issued by government or ruled by a court', and only a smaller subset
further limit it to 'DMCA.' Fortunately for those people, that's probably
the only
​restriction
 they
​'re likely to​
encounter
​ in their lives​
. People who live in other
​regions
 would likely
​encounter others, and thus ​
use 451 for other (legitimate
​, as currently written​
) reasons.
Received on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 20:48:34 UTC

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