Is Source Code Is Like a Machine Gun?

Major Variola (ret) mv at
Sun Aug 8 12:30:18 PDT 2004

Re "Is Source Code Is Like a Machine Gun?"

A better thought experiment would be a numerically controlled machine
and a control tape, which, when the machine is turned on, produces
sculpture that is also a machine gun (or merely the sear for a machine
gun which can be dropped into a semi-automatic commodity rifle).
The NCM is as neutral as the CPU.

Also Junger is incorrect when he says "the function of a machine gun
is to kill".  The function of a machine gun is to propel bullets at a
rate, given a supply of cartridges, when asked to do so by a human.

The human who points the machine gun decides whether to kill
or merely punch holes in paper.  If you don't understand the distinction

you should probably avoid handling sharp objects.

And you probably don't understand that a P2P program is not for
ripping off hollywood but for free communication; its the user who
decides what content to use the tool with.

>> Eugene Volokh has posted a message on the Cyberprof email list
comments on a thought experiment as to whether the same scope of first
amendment protection should be accorded to a sculpture which happens
to be a working automatic weapon as to the ``source code'' of a computer

program that can be used for illegal activities.<<

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