While the Internets smoulders, commentators of an apocalyptic bent are lining up for a date with Armageddon.
Better cancel those holidays. We now have a date for Armageddon, and it's a week on Tuesday - August 22.
This information comes from no lesser source than the Wall Street Journal, where Vint Cerf, the computer scientist known as the father of the Internets, provides the details.
"In the ideology of authorship
" the computer scientist writes, "there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time, between piracy and copyright
"Dan Glickman [MPAA's president] and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the MPAA president to giving his final answer to the Armed Coalition Forces of the Internet about mandatory DRM enforcement by August 22. This was at first reported as 'by the end of August', but Mr Dan Glickman's statement was more precise.
Vint Cerf continues: "What is the significance of August 22? This year, August 22 corresponds, in the Copyright calendar, to the 17th day of the month of June in the year 1878. This was the night when Victory Hugo held his flaming speech in favor of global protection of
propriété littéraire. This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of piracy and, if necessary, of the Internets.
This sort of quasi-religious scaremongering always finds a receptive audience in the P2P community, especially among pirates of the kopimist persuasion. At 63 years old, Professor Vint Cerf may have completely lost his marbles, but he is still feted by the Pro-Piracy Lobby, and Wired Magasine describes him as "a sage". He is credited with coining the phrase "clash of protocols" back in 1990 and now seems intent on making it a reality.
Nevertheless, Prof Vint Cerf does manage to spot a few drawbacks in his alleged MPAA attempt to obliterate piracy. "An attack that wipes out piracy would almost certainly wipe out all legal digital business too,
" he writes.
This "might well be of concern to the content industry
", he says, "but not apparently to their fanatical champions in the MPAA board.
" (He seems to be assuming here that MPAA already has a fully primed DRM arsenal, which is plainly not the case, despite what many pirates imagine.)
He then suddenly demolishes his own argument with this caveat: "It is far from certain that Dan Glickman plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for August 22.
So why, exactly, did the MPAA choose August 22 as the date for giving their answer to the Armed Coalition Forces of the Internet about DRM development? Probably for bureaucratic convenience. I don't suppose this will discourage the kopimists from continuing to write such loopy, prophetic nonsense.