[Politech logo]

Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

John Gilmore on Ukraine doing the right thing, fighting RIAA

Previous message:

U.S. says Ukraine turns blind eye to piracy, levies tariffs


To: declan@well.com, gnu@toad.com
Subject: Re: FC: U.S. penalizes Ukraine for refusing draconian media controls
In-reply-to: <20020103023512.A5896@cluebot.com>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 02:21:52 -0800
From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>

The "optical media licensing regime" that the US is trying to stuff
down the throats of the Ukramians (and many other countries) is one
that puts tracking numbers on every CD blank and on every CD master.
These permit examining any retail CD to answer "which plant made this
blank?" and "which mastering machine made this CD?".  You can see
these marks on your own CDs, if you look in the center of the shiny
side.  E.g. one CD I have is embossed "IFPI 2F82" on one part, "CMCA"
on another, and in the silver is burned "CMCA" and a whole bunch of ID
numbers and bar codes.

This scheme does not 'preclud[e] piracy of such products'.  There's
that deliberately misleading "P-word" again.  It's like calling
someone a terrorist; if they're a "pirate" then we can do anything to
'em, and it's not only legal but fun too.  Let's double the price of
ordinary non-CD products made in the Ukraine and sold in the US,
cutting off their foreign trade.  Whee!

There is a similar tracking requirement imposed on CD recorders (by
the patent licenses issued by Philips).  It requires that each CD
burner record on the CD the serial number of the recorder, so that
every burned CD-R can be traced back to which individual CD-burner
recorded it.

These schemes are described here:


The schemes were invented by IFPI, the International Federation of the
Phonographic Industry, the international version of the RIAA.  The
same companies run it, it's just another smokescreen for the music
mafia.  Here's their web site, and their comment on the Ukraine trade


The Philips licensing site reports (in a PDF paper written by IFPI)
that "While the SID Code programme is voluntary in most parts of the
world it is now mandatory that all CDs replicated in Bulgaria, China
and Hong Kong carry a Mould SID Code.  Mandatory use of SID Code(s) is
in prospect in several other countries which are presently considering
the introduction of CD Plant Regulations."  (i.e. IFPI and the US are
actively pressuring them now with threats like these trade sanctions.)

The equipment and blanks for pressing CD's are the musical equivalent
of printing presses and blank paper for written works.  In order to
'prevent' the 'piracy' of musical 'books', here's the direct
translation of what the IFPI demanded of the Ukraine, and what the US
Government spent years trying to force down the Ukranians' throats:

     * close down and prosecute printing plants that have been involved in
       high volume printing
     * seize and destroy all private property accused of copyright violation
     * carry out regular and unannounced inspections of printers
     * introduce and enforce strict paper production control
   regulations, includling the compulsory use of identification
   watermarks in the printing machinery, and control of trade in
   printers and blank paper
     * introduce new 'protection' laws for foreign record companies,
   and appropriate criminal penalties for copyright "and related
   rights" infringement

Most of that is pretty straightforward censorship of the press, the
kind that our own Constitution would not tolerate, we hope.  Let me
guess what that last sentence means: If they didn't also pass a
DMCA-equivalent law in the Ukraine, then they would still have been

Happily, a formerly Communist government had the sense to reject this
proposed law, while the actively authoritarian government of the US is
trying to force it on them (and us).

Here's some more background against which to understand this.

Reader, in case you didn't know, every color Xerox machine and color
laser printer prints the serial number of the machine on every page
they produce, covertly hidden in the output, under a long-standing
private "arrangement" with the US Treasury Department.  I have been
unable to confirm whether this is also true of black-and-white xerox

Next thing we'll have telephone answering machines recording what
phone numbers people are calling from....video libraries recording who
borrowed each book and when.....Internet ads that track and record who
saw them...hotel room doors that record every time each person goes
in or out...cellphones that report every move we make to the
authorities...tollbooths that record every car that goes through them...
guards in every airport demanding to see 'our papers' before we are
permitted to travel in our own country...

...in short, we'll be living in a POLICE STATE.

The US just imposed 100% duties on the Ukraine because their
legislature voted NOT to impose a piece of the US police state on the
Ukranian citizens.

I say bravo to the Ukranians!  And maybe they can lend us a few
freedom fighters, with experience in throwing off centralized control
of markets by the oligarchy, and authoritarian control of the media and
the citizens.  We need 'em.

	John Gilmore

POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

Enter your email address to join Politech, Declan McCullagh's moderated technology and politics announcement list:

Return to politechbot.com