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Rep. Gets It - Boucher Re-Examines Fair Use

jamie posted more than 13 years ago | from the i-was-beginning-to-despair dept.

News 204

It's nice to have a bit of good news about the DMCA every so often. Who knows, maybe ten years from now we'll be right back where we were in 1997 -- and what a victory that will be! Anyway, Tech Law Journal has a transcript of Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.)'s savvy speech arguing that the DMCA has reached too far. Surprisingly clued for a lawmaker, he calls for "Congress to reaffirm the fair use doctrine" in a variety of areas: most notably, the contentious issue of buy-once-listen-anywhere for CDs. He also addresses backups, distance learning, resale, caching, and online sampling of your music before buying. He could have said more but I'm just glad he said anything.

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OK, what's the angle? (2)

msuzio (3104) | more than 13 years ago | (#378612)

Forgive my cynicism, but what special-interest group is he fawning to with this? Who's paying him to have these opinions?

I'm just utterly shocked that any elected official would dare strike against the corps unless someone else more influential was convincing him to do so.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#378613)

Maybe he actually beleives in something? I mean how hard is it to have faith in the American political process. I do. You seem to be surprised when any politician has any bit of principle, but it seems to me that is the way it should and often is.

Umm... (3)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 13 years ago | (#378614)

His first name is "Rick," not "Dan."


Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 13 years ago | (#378615)

Hmmmm I'm thinking that the RIAA turned down $1B from Napster, so maybe they're offering it to Congress? Shyeah right...

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#378616)

Perhaps companies that make CD Writers, blank CDs, stuff like that? Just a thought.

We should push the ball and keep it rolling (2)

soybean (1120) | more than 13 years ago | (#378617)

This is a good time to call or write your congresmen and give them an intelegent opinion about the DCMA.

Rick, not Dan (2)

caite (252284) | more than 13 years ago | (#378618)

Virginia's 9th district rep is Rick Boucher [] not "Dan" Boucher.

he's a gonner next election cycle anyway (1)

wamcfield (221893) | more than 13 years ago | (#378619)

being that not everyone lives in VA, you may not have noticed Va. race to the political right, this guy has about a smuch chance retaining his seat as i do of winning it. Va. harbors some of the counrties worst anti consumer GOP'ers in the country, remeber this was the first state in the country to pass UCTICA.

Even the Sun shines on a Dog's Ass once in a while (1)

ThoreauHD (213527) | more than 13 years ago | (#378620)

It's possible that this guy is a bona fide honest person. He's a Representative, so he doesn't have much clout and therefore he hasn't sold his soul to satan yet. Odds are he'll switch sides when he becomes a Senator. It's sad to see. Maybe he and Billy Tauzin(R-LA) can get together and actually make life in the US bearable for free speech. All I know is that unless this guy has balls of platinum, he's going to flop with the rest of the Senate whores(McCain included).

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

tony clifton (134762) | more than 13 years ago | (#378621)

It depends which corp -- the tech industry (if you hadn't noticed) has had a pretty severe dropoff in sales.

So if you're selling PC's, hard drives, home LAN's, Broadband Crap, etc., or even operating systems, the wins that the entertainment industry have been chalking up are coming out of your hide. You want people to be trading big files over the internet -- it's in your interest.

Re:We should push the ball and keep it rolling (1)

doctorwes (128881) | more than 13 years ago | (#378622)

& please don't forget to use a spell checker.

Fair Use (2)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 13 years ago | (#378623)

I especially like how he states that Fair Use is vital to our First Amendment rights. Corporations and Governmetn are time and time agian trying to limit the access people have to information (Mandatory Censorware, etc.). This guy almost makes me want to move to Virginia so I can vote for him. Regardless, he now gives us a precedent to write to our congressional leaders to ignore thier corporate paychecks and actually stand up for us for once.

A small step, but in the right direction (4)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 13 years ago | (#378624)

Now that one member of congress has taken a risk and stood up against the DMCA, we need to pledge our support and rally behind Rep. Boucher in order to encourage others to follow his lead. People here have good intentions, but posting your opinion on Slashdot will not make a difference, we need to contact our representatives directly and let them know that we are behind them completely. I urge everyone who reads this to send Mr. Boucher a congratulatory note to him here [mailto] .

As a Virginia resident, I'm happy to see our elected officials are doing their job and working for the people instead of pandering to corporate pressure. In addition to his stance against the DMCA, Rep. Boucher has also pledged himself to protecting all rights of Americans, and is an active supporter of the NRA and prayer in school. This man will certainly be getting my vote next election!

What about... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 13 years ago | (#378625)

What about reverse enginering? I did not see a mention of that is his speach.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (5)

eric17 (53263) | more than 13 years ago | (#378626)

I used to live in boucher's district, and basically there is no big tech there for him to be heholden to. He's just an intelligent guy with a backbone.

This is why I voted for him last year (2)

EfromVT (156208) | more than 13 years ago | (#378627)

Boucher was the only Democratic nominee that I voted for last year and it was precisely because of his stand on issues of IP and the internet. He has always been forward thinking about technology and fighting for what is right.

To the person who said that he has no hope at reelection obviously doesn't live in VA. He was just reelected and blew the competition out of the water. So I guess he is safe for a couple of more years anyway.

Re:he's a gonner next election cycle anyway (1)

chacha (166659) | more than 13 years ago | (#378628)

I hear you there. I moved to VA from NJ a few years ago, and I continue to find myself a bit frightened by people here, particularly politicians. It is nice to see that there might be some folks in Congress who are actually trying to make things better for those of us who have to live with their laws.

Re:Even the Sun shines on a Dog's Ass once in a wh (2)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#378629)

Senators are a much better deal for the money. Representatives are a bit cheaper, but you have to buy more of them.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (2)

Richard (5962) | more than 13 years ago | (#378630)

If you must have an angle, think of this:

If Boucher doesn't get votes, he can't get relected. Money only goes so far (xref Perot and Forbes' presidential bids).

timely, but not timely enough... (1)

renard (94190) | more than 13 years ago | (#378631)

Quoth Rep. Boucher:

There is an urgent need an agreement that will simultaneously protect copyrights and the home recording rights of TV viewers. In the mean time, I very much hope that the content community will not attempt unilateral approaches to protecting content, which would either defeat home recording rights, or degrade the quality of digital television broadcasts.

Too late!

Re:Even the Sun shines on a Dog's Ass once in a wh (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#378632)

I don't think so. It would seem that on this one issue Senator Hatch [] is also right. I know that at lest part of the reason for this is that Hatch is a musician and understands these issues as a result of that. Might be something similar going on with this guy.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (5)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 13 years ago | (#378633)

As usual, [] has a per-sector breakdown [] .

He gets a decent amount of money from communications people (and Verizon, SBC, and BellSouth rank high on his list), but more from energy and finance. Virgina... hrm.

Here [] is his home page. He doesn't list his committee memberships, but he's member of the Energy and Commerce [] one, which explains the energy and banking money.

Here [] we see PAC contributions from computer equipment/services manufacturers. AOL, Intel, and so forth show up -- but these contributions are fairly minor. The National Assn. of Broadcasters did give him $7k via a PAC, interestingly. Whereas the MPAA didn't give much at all...

People or Corporations - you decide (4)

Paul Bristow (118584) | more than 13 years ago | (#378634)

OK American citizens, it is time for your to stand up and be counted.

Do you want government for the people, by the people or government for the corporations, by the corporations ?

I spend enough time in the US to know that it is getting worse, not better. Do something. Those of us outside can only watch in amazement as you let your government do this to you.

Freedom is lost by inches

I hate to sound like an anti-capitalist, but (2)

peccary (161168) | more than 13 years ago | (#378635)

The time has come for the motion picture studios to present a proposal along these lines to the manufacturers of recording equipment.

Tellingly, he seems to view the world only in terms of the clash of corporate interests. Whatever happened to the citizens?

He's also pro-Napster... (5)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#378636)

It's not the first time he's been mentioned on Slashdot (At least in comments.) He also made a very good statement with his Music Owners' Listening Rights Act of 2000 [] propsal. Too bad this one got buried in committee [] .

He's really in tune with the /. community. Take a look at his picture... [] He really is one of us.

This guy is great (5)

RandomPeon (230002) | more than 13 years ago | (#378637)

OK, this guy is the greatest politician, since, well, anybody.

If you're a US citizen, especially from VA, email [mailto] him, tell him you love him. Congresspeople notice when they get loads of email in support or opposition of their position.

Whatever state you're from, you can make donations to his reelection campaign. The evil double AA's are probably already cutting a check to the GOP in Virginia to get this guy blown out of the water. But if the RIAA and MPAA can buy legistlation, we can too.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#378638)

Well, he does represent the state of Virginia, which is really tech-heavy, although I seem to remember he represents a district in southern VA, which isn't as nearly tech heavy.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (4)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 13 years ago | (#378639)

I think we're going to start seeing the backlash soon whereby the words 'well, c'mon, we gotta make money, so can you blame us' coming from the mouth of a corperation does not neccessarily gel with people. Something like Napster, which could be argued acts as a (probably over-engineered) sampling tool to determine what to buy, is used by everyone. I have a hard time believing that employees of the very compnies that are trying to deny fair use to the consumer dont use Napster (and consequently, will miss it dearly?). So, while historically we've seen big business types promoting the asshole-argument, those same bigwigs havn't been in the position of suffering thanks to their business decisions. (Eg: for drug companies, the people jacking the prices of the drugs arn't dependant on the drugs to save their lives). Now, if you work at a record company, or content provider, those very people go home, and their wife/kids/neighbours, and even possibly themselves, are bitching because they cant store a copy of something they OWN online, such that they can listen to it elsewhere without the bulk of having to carry the CD around.

I know thats a little bit of an obfuscated argument, and may not be the case here .. but eventually you get to a point where so many people are affected by unsportsmanlike or uncivil big business practices that even those in the position of making the decisions have a first hand view of what they are really doing.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

Genaro (30541) | more than 13 years ago | (#378640)

For donors I would suspect they are a bunch of dot-coms. See how he named Amazon and CDNow. See how he almost made the point for that failed business of listening CDs you already own.

For voters I think anyone who connects enough will be pleased to vote for this guy.

Just my thoughts...

Reverse engineering (2) (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#378641)

He almost touched upon reverse engineering.

He talked about circumvention to infringe would be illegal, but it needs to be detailed.

We need reverse engineering or there would be no way to have fair use in many cases.

Re:Fair use? (1)

Smallest (26153) | more than 13 years ago | (#378642)

So I sez to him, I ain't givin' you no damn three-fity.

what was that about fair use again?

Re:Rick, not Dan (2)

jamiemccarthy (4847) | more than 13 years ago | (#378643)

You're right, I don't know where "Dan" came from. Fixed, and thanks for the link too.

Jamie McCarthy

"first sale": the devil in the details... (2)

renard (94190) | more than 13 years ago | (#378644)

Rep. Boucher understands the necessity of getting back our traditional fair use rights - that much is clear, and very reassuring. Unfortunately there is a devil in the details:

If a person purchases over the Internet copyrighted material, whether it is music or a video clip or text of some kind, and if there is the absolute assurance that upon transfer of that material to another party, that the original version of it which was purchased is destroyed. If that condition is met, then the first sale doctrine, in my view, should apply as certainly in the online world as it does in the physical world today.

In a digital world, though, it is precisely the case that such assurance can never be offered...

At least, not without just the sort of intrusive fair use-infringing infrastructures that he (thank heavens) has the courage to speak out against.


9th District Resident (5)

HiroProtagonist (56728) | more than 13 years ago | (#378645)

I am a resident of Boucher's district, and let me tell you, if I could nominate this guy for President I would. He is the most honest, sane, forward thinking politician that I have ever run across.

I feel privileged to have been able to vote for him twice!

In short, every time I've written to him in regards to a civil liberty issue, a consumer rights issue, or a woman's right issue, not only has he given me an opinion (something I have NEVER gotten from another one of my congresspersons) usually he agrees with me!

It's true, he does "GET IT".

Archived on... what? (2)

monaco (37517) | more than 13 years ago | (#378646)

A line in the address that I found confusing (third-to-last paragraph):
The person could have his music archived on _____, and made accessible to him over the Internet at a time and place his choosing.
Why the blank line? Did he mention a specific company, or was "_____" considered to mean "some random internet archive" by whoever transcribed the address?

Re:Even the Sun shines on a Dog's Ass once in a wh (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#378647)

Orrin Hatch is also an "actor" [] . He appeared (as himself) in the movie Traffic. []

Use snail mail (1)

MarkLR (236125) | more than 13 years ago | (#378648)

Try snail mail instead. E-mail is nearly always completely ignored.

Re:We should push the ball and keep it rolling (2)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#378649)

This is a good time to call or write your congresmen and give them an intelegent opinion about the DCMA.

He said intelligent. That means no "fuck da MPAA", no l33t sp33k, no "all your base" references, and whatever you do, ues a sppel cjecker.

Seriously, let's keep in mind that whether or not a congressman is in someone's pocket, he won't appreciate being treated as though he is. Take a chance that yours wasn't bought in bulk, and be civil, intelligent, and do your best to sound like you're a white male Republican in your mid-40s, since that seems to be the tone of voice they're most likely to respond to.

Re:I hate to sound like an anti-capitalist, but (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#378650)

So you missed the whole rest of the speech, where he was talking about how important fair use was to consumers? Even the proposal that you mention above is ultimately to the benefit of consumers, not big industry.

No he'll win, just like he did the last two times (1)

HiroProtagonist (56728) | more than 13 years ago | (#378651)

This last election he won by a landslide.

And he will continue to do so, because he actually is intelligent & protects the rights of his constituents.

Re:Even the Sun shines on a Dog's Ass once in a wh (3)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#378652)

I used to think so too, but in a recent Hatch speech (was in a /. article not too long ago, use search), the language Hatch used was more along the lines of that he supports strong IP laws, and it was more of an appeasement measure, as in, we can't totally quash Napster, because if we do we'll drive the buggers underground, and won't be able to supplant it with a legitimate pay-per-use model.

Hatch is not our friend.

speak only when you know what you speak of (2)

21361 (245314) | more than 13 years ago | (#378653)

Boucher has yet to even be tightly contested for his seat. He's popular in his district...oh wait..that's my district and I actually know what I'm talking about. This district is fairly liberal for VA, as it holds a large university and has a university culture. Boucher's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (4)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#378654)

They just hadn't gotten around to paying him NOT to have this opinion. They should be remedying it soon.

Re:This guy is great (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 13 years ago | (#378655)

not only if you're from the US.

Our Canadian laws are often directly influenced by lawmakers south of the border. Just because you can't vote for him doesn't mean that you can't encourage him.

Re:Fair use? (2)

dwm (151474) | more than 13 years ago | (#378656)

Yes, intellectual property is a form of property, but rather different than physical property. It is much easier to draw ownership lines around a car than an idea.

The law correctly recognizes this difference, which is (I think) why "fair use" exists.

After all, isn't throwing a fence up around an idea, and making sure that the fence also surrounds subsequent ideas stimulated by the original idea, also theft of a sort? That's the kind of thing that "fair use" is designed to prevent.

Re:Archived on... what? (2)

graxrmelg (71438) | more than 13 years ago | (#378657)

Why the blank line?

Probably the transcriber couldn't understand the word.

Re:Archived on... what? (1)

Leven Valera (127099) | more than 13 years ago | (#378658)

I think he wanted to specify a service such as (now defunct, I think) but didn't want to mention Napster, who, let's face it, is kind of a taboo in Congress.

Re:A small step, but in the right direction (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#378659)

I would have to contend that Slashdot, while somewhat obscure, has made a difference. My most recent issue of Forbes magazine mentioned Slashdot in one of the articles, so it must have some sway in the US at least. At least more than just nerds and geeks know it exists. I believe the article was in reference to YRO or file-sharing or DeCSS or something like that. If anyone can enlighten me I'd appreciate it.

Re:Fair use? (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#378660)

The fact is, intellectual property is a form of property, and any law that gives strangers usage rights to one's property over-extend legitimate government authority.

That is incorrect. IP is actually not property at all; it is only afforded limited protection under the law by the good graces of the government. If there has been an overextension of government authority, it is more likely in the direction of too much protection for IP, rather than too little.

Re:Reverse engineering (1)

Leven Valera (127099) | more than 13 years ago | (#378661)

I think reverse engineering would be covered in fair use.

I buy a car from . It's my right under fair use to take the entire thing apart in my driveway (reverse engineer the car, so to speak) to learn how it works.

Re:Fair use? (2)

eebly (7752) | more than 13 years ago | (#378662)

The whole doctrin of "fair use" was absurdly generous to begin with. The fact is, intellectual property is a form of property, and any law that gives strangers usage rights to one's property over-extend legitimate government authority.
I'd strongly disagree with that. Intellectual propery is a social contract to encourage creation. If you read the constitution:
"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries" (Article 1, Section 8).
There are two key points here: The first is what I put in bold. The purpose for intellectual property is to encourage it's creation, because there's a broader benefit for society. We all benefit from the creation of art, and if we can make a way so artists (and scientists, for that matter) can make a living.
The second point is the 'limited time' part. Copyright currently (I believe) life plus one hundred years. That is, effectively, a 180 year copyright. That's in no way limited. Copyright has gotten out of hand.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 13 years ago | (#378663)

Explanation of that mispelled, incomplete "Virgina... hrm" thought -- AOL has operations in Virginia, right? I don't know whether they'd have anything in his district, 'tho, not living in that state and not being affiliated in any way with AOL. My bad.

Re:he's a gonner next election cycle anyway (1)

eric17 (53263) | more than 13 years ago | (#378664)

Boucher's district is the western part of virginia, predominately rural, white and economically depressed--democrats do fine there, as long as they believe in god and aren't slick--character matters to these folks.

Re:Archived on... what? (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 13 years ago | (#378665)

I think he meant it as 'blank', to imply storage in any medium, tape, disk, etc (as storage mediums evolve over time, to imply any singular form is moot)... Additionally he probably meant website/ftp/p2p systems...

Some good, some bad (5)

Eric Seppanen (79060) | more than 13 years ago | (#378666)

To be kind, I'll say that it's great to see someone from congress say clearly that the DMCA does severe damage to fair use that ought to be corrected.

Unfortunately, he doesn't even touch on some of the more important parts of the DMCA, and he seems to live in a fantasy-land when it comes time to suggest actual alternatives.

When he speaks of section 1201 (the anti-circumvention portion of the DMCA), he only speaks about the part that makes it illegal to circumvent, and he arrives at the correct conclusion: it's stupid to make circumvention illegal without looking at the underlying purpose.

But he completely misses the fact that even if circumvention itself were legal, it would be impossible in a practical sense as long as circumvention devices are illegal. If the device-ban remains in place, it matters not whether fair use is allowed as a defense: the tools will be illegal to distribute, so they will remain out of reach for institutions such as libraries and schools.

And suggesting that Macrovision is the correct model for digital content protection doesn't make any sense. Either devices will be able to copy content or they won't. Only devices that allow copying will allow fair-use copying, and devices that won't allow copying will harm fair use. His view that including watermarking recognition code in all digital recording devices will somehow permit fair use is illogical. How is a recording device supposed to determine whether I am copying "The Matrix" for ten of my friends, as opposed to recording five movie scenes for my college special-effects class?

Mr. Boucher: technology cannot determine whether a user's copying is fair use or not. Let's not pretend that it can. You have to decide whether you're going to support the media giants' control of the end-use of their content, or support unimpeded fair use by the public. The two are not reconcilable, not by technology, and not by law.

Keeping the ball rolling. (4)

banuaba (308937) | more than 13 years ago | (#378667)

I actually just called his office in DC, to express my delight with his statements. When I asked the chick who answered the phone if she knew where I could get some warez and shit, she gave me an url. This dude is hard core.

Seriously, tho, I did call his office to express my satisfaction, and the chick who answered the phone was quite nice. The Rep used to be a lawyer and she says that he is quite interested in fair use and the DCMA. This URL [] is a lit of his technology significant statements, letters and bills. Interesting reading.

If you are a constituent of Rep. Boucher's (Live in Southwest VA, 9th District) it is even more important that you call, as he doesn't work for us, he works for you.


Possesion is 9/10ths (2)

CrackElf (318113) | more than 13 years ago | (#378668)

And the corps dont like it. Well, when they cut off ppl's rights, or what they perceive as their rights, then ppl will ignore them. I mean really, are the big companies going to go into every computer in the world and try to limit what is on them. No. It is too late to build the tech with limitations in it. We already know how to encode and transport sound, text, and video. We have the technology. Realistically, they cannot stop what is out there, only slow it. Sure they can shut down napster, they can kill sites, but can they kill all of the ftp's? can they really stop it? No, they can limit it. Make it a little harder to get. They can not stop it.
IMHO the laws are stupid and take our rights away in the courtroom, but in the real world it does not matter if they pass laws now. Except maybe to corporations that want to capitalize on the popularity of these things. Maybe if they had defined the limits before the digitizing and transport tech was out there. But it is like building a dam after the entire plain is flooded already. What are you going to do? Pump the water back out?

Rep. Rick Boucher, circumvention device? (2)

I am the blob (239590) | more than 13 years ago | (#378669)

Under the terms of the DMCA, isn't Rep. Boucher a circumvention device himself, attempting to undermine the law the content providers bought, which effectively controls access to their goodies? I'm concerned that Judge Kaplan may restrict our access to this guy.


Time for a /. Interview? (5)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#378670)

I bet this guy would be interested in hearing from /. members on this and other issues. Michael and Roblimo, go to it!

UTICA? (3)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#378671)

It's rather ironic that he talks of software-purchasers rights when Virginia, the state he's representing, was the first to pass UTICA which strongly limits those rights.

Now, I realize that UTICA was at the state level, DMCA at the federal level, so he most likely never saw word of UTICA's passage through Virginia's state gov't, much less participate in it. But this would seem to strike at a higher level in that beyond those of us that care, UTICA hasn't made a blip on the federal radar.

It's odd that software companies took the state-by-state route to pass 'their' law, while Hollywood went at the federal level. Both DMCA and UTICA, in the end, are doing the same thing: limiting valid rights of the end user by restricting fair use. Maybe it was just a timing issue...

Genius (1)

stubob (204064) | more than 13 years ago | (#378672)

Aha! There's the catch: he's hoping to be kept in office indefinately by college students. IIRC, college age voters are one of the most active (if not most numerous) voting brackets in the country. Plus they usually vote democratic. So he will probably run on the platform of "I kept napster open" and be in office forever (or as long as Strom Thurmon).

Of course, these are just my paranoid ramblings, I could be wrong.

Pro-Macrovision though (4)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#378673)

He's not perfect, however. Read this section, emphasis mine:

There is a way to protect copyrights in digitally broadcast TV programs, and to permit TV viewers to make copies TV programs for home use. The model is contained in the current law. It is Section 1201(k) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And that provision was adopted with respect to recording of analog television broadcasts. The section requires VCRs to respond to macrovision, copy protection technology, and to block copying of rental movies that are encoded with the macrovision marking. In exchange for this statutory mandate, TV viewers are granted the right to make unlimited copies of broadcasts that are made over the air, and one copy for time shifting purposes, of premium television programming, which may only be aired one specific time.

So he IS in favor of at least some MANDATORY copy protection. To me this seems like a violation of certain fair-use rights! Still, he's otherwise on target.

I'd certainly hope he's clueful.... (4)

yankeehack (163849) | more than 13 years ago | (#378674)

Remember, this is the same guy who sponsored the Boucher bill which allowed the mere public onto the Internet in 1992 (the bill which changed the NSF use policy). The elder Bush signed it into law in November of 1992.

So, if anyone is supposed to be clueful about these sorts of things, I would expect that it would be Congressman Boucher from VA.

Before I forget, there is also another Boucher in Congress (Missouri? I think), which is why the references to a DAN Boucher came about.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (3)

luge (4808) | more than 13 years ago | (#378675)

If I still had moderator points, I'd move this one up.
Every once in a while, politicians do actually take stands on things that they really believe in, especially when their constituencies don't really care one way or the other. (I mean, it's not like he is Sonny Bono and depends on entertainment industry votes for re-election.) I say kudos to Rep. Boucher... I'm sending his re-election campaign a check as soon as I can find an address to send it to :)

Re:OK, what's the angle? (2)

Moose4 (182029) | more than 13 years ago | (#378676)

AOL's operations are in the Washington, DC suburbs. Rick Boucher's district is the Ninth, which is a large chunk of southwestern Virginia including the New River Valley (Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Radford). That area is a self-proclaimed "technology corridor" and contains Virginia Tech, and all the technology initiatives VT has been sponsoring. Hell, Blacksburg's the most wired place in the state, more so than any of the bigger cities or even the DC burbs.

I doubt the Republicans will be able to throw Boucher out anytime soon, he's been representing that area for a long long time and wins in landslides every two years. He's also fairly conservative for a Democrat, and has brought a lot of stuff home to his district (of course, we all know that bringing home the pork trumps party lines most of the time). I'm a conservative Republican and I've always liked Boucher, actually. I don't agree with a lot of his views, but he's got tech issues nailed better than just about anybody in Congress right now.

Re:Use snail mail (1)

alprazolam (71653) | more than 13 years ago | (#378677)

I sent an email to Kay Bailey Hutchison (my senator from texas) and received a nicely worded response within a day. So I disagree with you.

Re:A small step, but in the right direction (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#378678)

Oh wait, I think it was talking about OpenSource and Red Hat and the legalities surrounding unfair business practices. Oh yes, now I remember, it was in the article from Forbes ASAP publication regarding AOL's unfair employment of 'volunteers' to monitor their BBoards and build community on AOL. Slashdot was mentioned regarding a blurb on Red Hat taking Linux mainstream and selling it even though it was OpenSource. It did give a positive slant to Red Hat saying that RH continues to work for the OpenSource community. So you see, posting to Slashdot can be good!

Re:A small step, but in the right direction (1)

the coose (171981) | more than 13 years ago | (#378679)

Ok, your post piqued my interest so I went onto Forbes site [] and there isn't anything on Slashdot recently. But, last Feb. they did have an article on, interestingly enough, the Slashdot Effect [] . It's kind of an amusing read. The article your talking about probably hasn't been posted on the site yet.

Re:We should push the ball and keep it rolling (2)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 13 years ago | (#378680)

DEFINITELY. One politician isn't going to do much on his own. We need to call/write (remember: BY HAND, normal letters do much more good) our congressmen and tell them that we agree with Boucher. The responses MUST be intelligently written, or they will be ignored. We've scored a small victory, hopefully this is just the start of them.

-- Dr. Eldarion --

Hillbilly Boucher vs. Beverly Hills Bono (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#378681)

Media stereotypes, how wrong can they be?

It is interesting to observe that Rick Boucher who represents Virginia's 9th district - home of hillbillys, country music, and coal mining - has a clue, while "sophisticated" California cool guys like Sonny Bono are completely void. It should come as no surprise that Sonny Bono represents the Hollywood corporate interests, while Rick Boucher represents the people's interest.

Could it be that Hollywood propogates self-serving stereotypes? I'm shocked! Shocked! Lest we forget, on Arbor Day, don't forget to plant a tree in Sonny Bono's memory. Preferably near a ski slope.

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

alprazolam (71653) | more than 13 years ago | (#378682)

Name one example other than this where a politician has acted purely on principle (as opposed to party/personal politicking, special interest pandering, pork, or quid pro quo favors).

Re:What about... (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 13 years ago | (#378683)

Actually, I think he made mention of the fact the law was too broad in that it forbade all cirumvention, when he felt it should be limited to infringing circumvention (which makes perfect sense, like the rest of his excellant commentary).

Going on means going far
Going far means returning

Slow down there, Hoss (3)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 13 years ago | (#378684)

Boucher seems to be more clueful than most. I wish that there were more Congressmen that were at least at that level.

But he's not entirely palatable.

He has a misconception that Congress granted the right to make recordings of TV shows, and that there was a string attached in the requirement that VCRs have Macrovision. He is of course wrong - that right was already present, and definitively stated as such by the Supreme Court.

He's in favor of extending Macrovision-like controls throughout most consumer electronics. This is generally not a great idea, as those of us who have had legitimate need to copy content from Macrovisioned media, or who have even simply wanted to use VCRs as pass-throughs know. Automated systems cannot accomodate the wide range of legitimate needs that are out there. (e.g. musicians that want to copy songs they hold the copyright to, parodies, quoting, etc.)

Congress hasn't got the right to take them away, and then pretend to grant reduced versions of them back again. Such rights are inherent at a lower level than Congress can operate at. Whether they claim to recognize the existance of Fair Use is irrelevant; it derives from the Constitution.

How he thinks that his first sale system would be implemented is beyond me. It's totally unrealistic, and clearly recognizable as such. Next we'll be defining pi as 3 again....

He doesn't seem to be thoroughly familiar with a statutory exception to copyright that Congress DID grant: 17 USC 117. Incidental copies of media that are necessary to the operation of a computer program probably are covered by this. Given that there's no difference between programs and data anyway, it would be a nightmare to try to draw a line. I think that determining the legalities of caches is not very difficult, and is best left to the courts.

As for the backup thing (the other half of that section of law) I can't even figure out the reason for it.

And he'll have to be careful on his mp3 law. Making mp3s and retrieving them across a network is already legal. Making them for other people for that purpose is where a law needs to step in, and I'm not sure from what he said that he realizes this.

Like I said, he's a lot better than most government officials. But let's not get complacent. Copyright law is thorny just to think about, given the principles, rights, grants and balances involved. I think that in trying to do good, he's very likely to do ill, and very strict attention and a lot of thought needs to go into any bills that actually get into Congress. I'm not seeing enough of that here for me to feel comfortable.

Bad Link (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 13 years ago | (#378685)

----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors ----- ----- Transcript of session follows ----- 550 ... Host unknown (Name server: host not found)

Quick! Call someone! The government's not working!

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

Battra (65036) | more than 13 years ago | (#378686)

His intro makes several references to the CEA. The many references to libraries and academic exceptions (distance learning, etc) make me think that he was addressing the California Education Association, a large teacher's union and a heavy politcal donor.

I don't have any confirmation of this, it's just total speculation, but hey...this is Slashdot.

Backup Generations (2)

lunaboy (99386) | more than 13 years ago | (#378687)

With regards to this statement:

"As a fourth matter, current law permits a computer user to make backup copies of software, so that the program can be restored in the event of a hard disk crash. But current law does not prevent an archival copy to be made with data that is associated with that program. A change in the law would be required to allow the back up copy of data associated with the program to made. Often times the data is the most valuable component, and a complete back up by a prudent person would encompass the data as well as the software. In fact, it might encompass the data in lieu of the software. That is the more typical example."

This should be expanded, in my opinion, to include MANY generations of backups of that data, NOT a SINGLE COPY. I, for one, backup all critical and personal data that is on my hard drive on a weekly basis, and those weekly backups are archived. I keep four generations of these weekly backups (one for each week in the month), and a PERMANENT monthly backup for each month. Am I breaking the law?

Someone shield him from RIAA & MPAA hit men! (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#378688)

Oooo. A lawyer with some brains and some integrity?

Nah, can't be. :-)

Re:9th District Resident (1)

JLester (9518) | more than 13 years ago | (#378689)

I'm also in his district and agree that you can't find a much better politician anywhere. He was instrumental in getting high-speed Internet access in my rural area. The access here is now so good that Bruce Perens has moved all his servers here. I'm the technology manager for a school system that has a DS3 feed with links to each school no slower than T1. It would've never happened without Boucher.


Re:Time for a /. Interview? (5)

Roblimo (357) | more than 13 years ago | (#378690)

Good thought -- but politicians haven't made the best interview guests on Slashdot so far. Maybe I'll call the man's press secretary and see if I can set one up, as long as you realize that the answers we get are likely to have been written by staffers, not the Congressman himself.

- Robin

Re:Pro-Macrovision though (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#378691)

You can't make 27 "duplicate copies" of a VHS tape, but you can record a movie off of HBO. Where's the problem?

And with DeCSS, isn't this issue obsolete?

Re:Fair use? (1)

TVmisGuided (151197) | more than 13 years ago | (#378692)

First, I know that copyrights are valid for the life of the original creator plus 50 years, if the creator is who files the copyright. (I've had opportunity to copyright a couple of things, so I do know that little bit. Not much, but sufficent for my needs at the time.)

My question regarding this...what if a corporation is the filing and holding entity? Major corporations don't suffer from mortality the same way individuals do; it's conceivable that they could exist for five or six lifetimes. So, since IANAL, what's the lifetime of a corporation-held copyright? My own paranoid mind says it's theoretically indefinite...any attorneys out there care to comment?

Dolly + Boucher = Bolly? Bouchy? Dollcher? (2)

powerlord (28156) | more than 13 years ago | (#378693)

I agree. If you live in this man's district read some of his papers and let him know what you think.

Its amazing to see a congressman who actually DOES get it.

Can we clone him and have the clones run for the rest of the seats in Congress? :)

(Yes... I know that we would have to find some way of transfering his brain-patterns also... but just go with it for now)

Re:UTICA? (1)

Tax Boy (75507) | more than 13 years ago | (#378694)

That's because copyright law is federal law, but contract law and the variants on the Uniform Commercial Code (which UTICA is part of) are governed by state law.

(yes, the Uniform Commerical Code isn't uniform. discuss among yourselves...)

FYI- how to really show him that you care (5)

luge (4808) | more than 13 years ago | (#378695)

I've already sent off my email of thanks, but if you really want to make the point- you want to go here [] and make out a check to the man. It doesn't have to be big- mine will probably only be 10 or 20 bucks. But you can bet that the RIAA will be bankrolling his next opponent- so the time to support him is now, not just with words, but by putting your money where your mouth is.
BTW... this isn't just for VA residents. Any American who cares for and agrees with what this guy thinks should send in at least a token donation, and make it clear exactly why you are donating. It is sort of sad that this is how the process works, but it is, and complaining about it is useful but not not change things until it is too late for this particular cause. So... go write that check, and write it now.
P.S. Hiro, this isn't aimed at you but at others. Make sure you vote for him in 2002, though :)

Re:OK, what's the angle? (2)

FFFish (7567) | more than 13 years ago | (#378696)

Those very same people draw in seven-figure incomes, plus bonuses. Do you think they worry for one *moment* about spending an extra twenty bucks for a second CD for the car?

The executives of big businesses are living in a reality *completely* disconnected from the one that you and I are familiar with.


Re:People or Corporations - you decide (2)

Cannonball (168099) | more than 13 years ago | (#378697)

But Paul, so easily we forget, by Law, corporations ARE people. The corp prefix is the same as in corpse...

Re:9th District Resident (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#378698)

I feel privileged to have been able to vote for him twice!

Vote early, vote often!

Re:Fair use? (4)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#378699)

I'll assume that you're trolling. There are many different opinions expressed on Slashdot. Reading and posting to Slashdot does not mean you're necessarily some kind of hippy communist/anarchist/socialist *nix guru who wants to free all the information. If so, you wouln't have made your post in the first place.

Quote: "The fact is, intellectual property is a form of property, and any law that gives strangers usage rights to one's property over-extend legitimate government authority."

You're looking at it backwards. Intellectual property is an artificial construct. Heck, the idea of all "property" is artificial when you get down to it. In the jungle, property is whatever you can hold on to and defend. In the jungle, you can't do a darn thing about someone using your ideas, stealing your livestock or freely copying your jungle music. (Although you could steal the livestock back if the theif didn't kill you and your family.) Heck, the United States wouldn't have existed unless it was fought for. We gained independence with bullets and blood, not with a nice table setting, tea, biscuits and a handshake.

Nowadays, we live in a civilisation. Governments define what rights individuals have wrt property and subsequently help you out with defending it (land records, deeds, police, armies, copyrights, patents, etc.)

Let's look at fair use. First of all, fair use is not stealing. In fact, when you really do violate copyright laws you're not stealing, you are technically "infringing" on the creator's copyright.

The idea behind fair use is that we acknowledge that copyright laws grant artists a (supposedly) limited time monopoly on the distribution of their works. This allows them to recoup their costs and make a living. However, we, as patrons of the artist, are able to enjoy the art/music in any way and place as we see fit (so long as we are not violating copyright laws and mass distributing the works).

This is why it's ok for someone to copy a CD to a tape and listen to it in their car, or rip the tracks to one's mp3 home stereo. You're doing it for your own convenience and personal use.

violation! (1)

XO (250276) | more than 13 years ago | (#378700)

Was it a violation of the DMCA to reproduce that audio recording in a textual format? hmm..

Re:Fair Use (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#378701)

There was only one point i wasn't quite clear on; his forth one. It seems to me that he thinks making a backup of data produced by a program is criminal. Like backing up your quicken files would be illegal under the DMCA. Is this really the case, or did i totally miss his point in that section?

Re:I hate to sound like an anti-capitalist, but (2)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 13 years ago | (#378702)

Somewhere near the end of his sentence, he said "citizens" and you heard "consumers". Think about that for a bit.

Spin those (data) CDs! (2)

powerlord (28156) | more than 13 years ago | (#378703)

Given that there's no difference between programs and data anyway, it would be a nightmare to try to draw a line.

Maybe... but does anyone know of a program that takes the data from an ordinary CD and produces music from it? If it can convert a Data CD into a WAV format and then play it, so much the better (since it would presumably play Audio CDs as is, and therefore argue that all CDs are the same. They are all programs/music.) Might backfire though and have all CDs banned via the RIAA :)

Re:Fair use? (2)

David Price (1200) | more than 13 years ago | (#378704)

If I recall correctly, the timespan of a copyrighted work originated by a corporation (a "work for hire" like a Hollywood movie) is now 90 years, recently extended by the Sonny Bono Act from 70. The fate of the company has no bearing on the duration of copyright.

Re:Rick, not Dan (1)

XO (250276) | more than 13 years ago | (#378705)

Jaime McCarthy formerly of Kalamazoo??

Re:OK, what's the angle? (2)

johndiii (229824) | more than 13 years ago | (#378706)

In the speech, he makes several references to CEA. This is the Consumer Electronics Association (formerly CEMA - VCR makers, among others, and among the backers of the Home Recording Act). Check this link [] (story dated 2/28/01). The actual story is brought up in a popup by javascript, and I don't know how to get the link. How obnoxious. Anyone?

Re:OK, what's the angle? (1)

aengblom (123492) | more than 13 years ago | (#378707)

For those who have not completly lost faith in the political system (or maybe more for those who have)... just wanted to say the idea that people "buy and sell" stances on issues is certainly true, but probably exagerated. People and companies donate to the candidates they want to win. If you like this guy's stances, send him some money and say why! Write a letter saying thanks for getting it, here's 50 bucks for your next campaign! If Slashdot did that let's just say other politicians might start paying attention.

consumer's IP (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | more than 13 years ago | (#378708)

IP laws really ought to take into account the difference between executables and data, as well as subdividing original and interpretted data. Writing a document using Corel Wordperfect doesn't give Corel copyright of your document (example of original data). Ripping an MP3 from a CD doesn't give you the copyright of the resulting MP3, nor does it give the writer of the program any rights over either the original or the derived work. Reverse engineering of data formats should IMHO be legal, but reverse engineering of executables shouldn't be. If any thing deserves to be protected it's closed source executables whose authors wish them to remain closed. Executables in their device-like nature should be protected as the author sees fit. (Bad Analogy Time) Suppose someone patents a better can opener, do they have the right to restrict the invention of a recloseable can? Owner of the new can opener to the consumer: I'm sorry, but you're only allowed to open that can once with our product, and you're not allowed to put anything back into the can, and you're not allowed give anyone else use of the can or the can opener. Owner of the new can opener to the inventor of the currently fictional recloseable can: You're going to have make all of your cans break after a certain number of uses, further you can't make them openable without our product. Also, you must make the food spoil if the can is opened with an obsolete can opener. *end semi coherent rant for lack of more info* Summing up what I tried to get across... Copy control of commercial IP that eliminates the rightful use of personal IP using common devices is both intollerable and unjust.

Re:Fair use? (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 13 years ago | (#378709)

What he said was that the average /.ers desire for fair use, "file sharing" is IP piracy. This is certainly true. You are allowed to copy your CD's, however don't wax poetic about losing your copies and needing Napster to get another copy, or independent artists using it to distribute (Napster is the last place that I as an independent artist would distribute), as that usage is statistically insignificant compared to the infringing usage.

Not ALL Republicans are Xtian... (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 13 years ago | (#378710)

In fact, I've even heard of PAGAN GOPers.

Kindly leave your prejudice by the door. Yes, the Borg Collective, excuse me, the Xtian Coalition, have sunk their claws into the GOP. But no more than other pressure groups on the other end of the ideological spectrum have sunk THEIRS into the Democrats.

And they wonder why I'm Libertarian. . .

Re:Hillbilly Boucher vs. Beverly Hills Bono (2)

XO (250276) | more than 13 years ago | (#378711)

I wish I had a media clip somewhere of this, but on the news a long time ago (perhaps before the WWW), I saw a Sonny Bono speech where he blasted Tipper Gore and her cronies, for the attempts to censor such hardcore rap artists as NWA and 2-live-crew. I remember he read some of his lyrics from his last album (Soldier of Love I think the song was), and then made the point that if 2-live-crew or NWA or Tupac Shakur, or anyone in the rap business had used those exact same lyrics in one of their songs, that everyone would've been after them for the violence effect, just because they are rap people. For that, I certainly applauded, though I don't really know anything else about Bono's career as a politician.
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