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New Copyright Philosophy - Maybe

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JohnInKansas 03 Jun 05 - 04:09 AM
mack/misophist 03 Jun 05 - 10:06 AM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Jun 05 - 10:55 AM
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Subject: New Copyright Philosophy - Maybe
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 04:09 AM

Copyright Philosophy - Maybe

The current issue of Technology Review has an exchange of articles that might be of interest to those concerned about Copyrights, and new directions they might be going. These articles don't deal with what Copyright law is, but with two rather different ideas of what it should be, so they don't fit in with recent previous threads - hence this new one.

The articles are a bit longish, and may require some thought to follow closely enough to get the drift; but there are indications that some rather drastic changes are coming, and an advanced peek of where the battle lines might be drawn may be of interest. (The entire issue of the magazine is centered on "Intellectual Rights.")

Before diving into them, I'll note that PC Magazine editor Bill Machrone has posted a couple of articles that take a more direct stance on what current "good moral practice" should be. A very brief summary of his idea of "when and how to copy" is at Hey, It's Your Music. A link in this article goes to the other, very slightly more techy article at Unlock Music where he gives a brief outline of some ways to "remove" Digital Rights Management tags from stuff you've purchased.

Bill is looking at what it takes to get a tune or two off of your PC, iPod, etc, to use in a different medium than the one it was in when you bought it. His articles may be of interest to anyone doing that now, or wanting to do it.

If you haven't heard about "Digital Rights Management" (DRM), it's certain that you will hear of it soon. The "Industry" people are proposing that every new machine capable of playback be required to contain a "DRM chip" that will allow them virtually complete control over what you can do with the music and videos that you buy. One law mandating a chip of this kind in all new digital TV sets has already been invalidated by the US Supreme Court; but it doesn't seem to have put much of a damper on the media moguls.

DRM Proposals have included the ability to sell you a "play once" or play a small fixed number of times, and then self destruct. Several proposals have asked for ways of preventing you from converting from one format to another, as in MP3 to WAV etc. Nearly all proposed DRM schemes would attempt to prevent you from making copies, and since the same tune in a different format will probably be considered a "copy" they are likely to try to prevent you from doing that. It has even suggested that text that you copy from a website could be tagged so that you could not copy it to another document.

In the first Tech Review Article: The People Own Ideas, Lawrence Lessig takes the stance that creativity is hindered if everything isn't kept freely available. His arguments are fairly persuasive, but are mostly anecdotal, so one may assume he's a liberal. Even disregarding the DRM issue, it's a fairly interesting article on what they're doing with some computers in Brazil. (Freeware devotees will perhaps be interested.)

In the second Tech Review Article: The Creators Own Ideas, Richard A. Epstein offers a rebuttal to Lessig's article. There is no question that Epstein is a "corporate lawyer," but most of what he says is fairly reasonable. I think he says "trust me" at least once.

The third article: Lessig's Rebuttal to Epstein is a fairly brief reply by Lessig.

Note that there are popups on the Tech Review website, but so far as I've noticed blocking them won't prevent the articles from loading. The site uses lots of graphics, so pages may be a bit slow loading. All of the articles should have a "print" button at top right that lets you get a fairly clean version you can copy and paste into your WP document so that you can insert your own rude commentaries - but you don't get to see quite all of the great ads.

A separate issue of note, but one that may also be of interest to a few, is in the same issue at How Linux Could Overthrow Microsoft. It's probably not necessary to suggest who might be interested.

Or you might want to just check out the whole table of contents at June 2005 TOC.


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Subject: RE: New Copyright Philosophy - Maybe
From: mack/misophist
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 10:06 AM

Thank you. It's an important issue, especially since the whole thing was presumably decided when vcr's became commonplace.

It's worth noting that, even though the creators of music, etc deserve a profit, few actually own the rights. And of those who still do, do their great grand-children deserve an income from them?

Note. As of a few years ago, "Happy Birthday to You" was still under copyright.

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Subject: RE: New Copyright Philosophy - Maybe
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 10:55 AM

That is, those complex lyrics of Happy Birthday are (were?) still under copyright. The tune predates the copyright.

Dave Oesterreich

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