Finally, A Solution To The DMCA!

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, August 23, 2001

from the well-maybe dept.

For years, the geek community has been at the wrong end of the War on Piracy waged by Hollywood lawyers. The situation could change, however, with the unveiling of a secret weapon -- "The First Church Of Digital Grepping".

This newly created church argues that copying digital information is a form of religious worship. As such, it's protected in the US by the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment.

"Rock beats scissors. And Free Exercise of Religion beats Digital Millennium Copyright Act®. Ha ha, suckers!" said the church's High Priest.

Chapter 16, Verse 256 of the Sacred Readme of the First Church Of Digital Grepping states:


On the first day, the Great Programmer created a new text file and the Universe was born.

The Great Programmer flexed his fingers, started hacking, and entered Deep Hack Mode.

First He wrote universe.c. Then sys/laws_of_physics.h and universal_constants.h. The Great Programmer continued his Hacking Binge into the second day with sol.c, which begat terra.c, which begat land_and_sea.c, which laid the foundation for the creation of life.c.

On the third day, He gazed upon his Program and saw that it was good. More he produced: prokaryotes.c, eukaryotes.c, sys/dna.h, invertebrates.c, vertebrates.c.

On the fourth day, the Great Programmer, against his better judgement, coded mankind.c.

On the fifth day, He compiled his work, and received 1,024 errors.

On the sixth day, He debugged.

On the seventh day, He continued to debug. Rest is for the weak.

On the eight day, the debugging continued. Only 128 compiler warnings did He now receive.

On the ninth day, the program compiled correctly. Upon execution, it immediately coredumped.

On the tenth day, The Great Programmer debugged.

On the eleventh day, He debugged.

On the twelfth day, He waved a dead chicken, but the Great Program continued to segfault.

On the thirteenth day, He discovered the fatal flaw, a misplaced comma He did find. And then void main() executed, and the Big Bang did occur.

Then the Great Programmer leaned back in his executive chair, and gazed upon the newborn Universe.

And frowned. He knew those sentient humans would be a problem. Even after He had sweated over a hot terminal for thirteen days, those humans were ungrateful. They called their place of existence the "Universe", not the "Great Programmer/Universe".

On the fourteenth day, he decided to take action. He would send these humans The Meaning Of Life, and soon the world would worship Him and his Hacking Skills.

He did just that. He inspired a certain human to produce a work of art which includes His message, The Meaning Of Life. Eventually the humans would discover the .plan of the Great Programmer hidden in a certain work of art and all would be well...


The Sacred Readme is a tad vague, but the church's High Priest believes that "The Meaning Of Life" is encoded in either a popular song, or a Hollywood movie, or an Adobe e-book.

"If only we could figure out which 'work of art' the Sacred Readme refers to, and then grep through the binary representation to extract the divine message," the High Priest explains.

The mission of the church is to make digital copies of every music CD, every movie DVD, and every printed book and then grep the digital version for any tell-tale signs of 'The Meaning Of Life'."

"Our church cannot function if the DMCA prohibits us from making copies as part of the Fair Use Doctrine. We worship the Great Programmer by trying to discover His secret message. Why should we put the profits of Big Evil Corporations above the search for The Meaning Of Life?"

Of course, the MPAA, RIAA, DVD-CCA, BSA, and other groups see things slightly differently.

"This is all bull," said a MPAA spokesperson. "We didn't buy a slate of Congressmen to get the DMCA passed just so some fake parody religion could claim a bogus exemption!"

An investigator for Oracle discovered a hand-written copy of the Sacred Readme while rummaging through the High Priest's trash cans. The P.I. believes that the holy document was actually written last Wednesday when the High Priest had a little too much to drink.

The founder of the church stands his ground, however. "I wasn't drunk last Wednesday," he argues, "I was busy trying to find the divine message within a copy of 'Star Trek XXIII: We Promise This Movie Doesn't Include Any Annoying Characters Like Jar Jar Binks' on my big-screen projection TV. Needless to say, I came up empty."

The judges in the California Sixth District Court of Appeals were all unavailable for comment at press time.

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