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Siva Vaidhyanathan On Copyrights and Wrongs

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the link-to-this-article dept.

United States 215

Jason Haas (haaz) sent us the transcript below of an in-depth interview he conducted with copyright critic and author Siva Vaidhyanathan. It's worth your time to read -- Vaidhyanathan makes some interesting arguments, concentrating on online consequences of current copyright laws (and bills), but with some interesting digressions. He isn't shy about the effects of laws like the CBDTPA.

Jason Haas writes: "While bad copyright laws such as the DMCA are having strong negative consequences, an even worse bill, the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA), is now before Congress. The CBDTPA would have radical effects upon many of the devices that we take for granted -- including the computer you are now reading this on. Bad copyright law is among the many things that we talked about. Siva Vaidhyanathan has a thing or two to say about this. An avid defender of peer-to-peer, Siva recently debated one of the MPAA's top lawyers on copyright law. A recorded version of this will be available on the web in late May.

Furthermore, he has written Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity, the first fully fleshed history of American copyright law ever to be put in book form. The cool thing about this book is that although it's about copyright law, you don't have to be a lawyer to understand it. Copyrights and Copywrongs covers American copyright law's origins in seventeenth century English law, tracks Mark Twain's efforts to extend copyright in the nineteenth century, and ends at the dawn of the twenty-first century with the rise of Napster and the DMCA."

Jason Haas: How are you?

Siva Vaidhyanathan : Stressed. I'm trying to finish my second book, which will likely be called "The Anarchist in the Library." Basic Books will publish it next year.

JH: That sounds like it may be of interest to Slashdotters.

SV: Probably. I lifted many of the insights from Slashdot posts. The book will be an examination of the battles between efforts to centralize information and efforts to decentralize information. It starts with peer to peer, and moves on to battles over encryption, the commercialization and regulation of science, the regulation of algorithms, and the efforts to fight terrorism using information policy. One of the most interesting stories I'm following is the role that encryption plays on both sides of these battles. Some efforts to centralize and control information rely on encryption. For example, DVDs, and some efforts to distribute and liberate information (Freenet) depend on encryption.

JH: Your book, Copyrights and Copywrongs, covers the evolution of copyright law from its origins to the late twentieth century. Where did you get the idea for this?

SV: From rap music. I grew up with rap music. But in the early 1990s I noticed the music was changing. Everyone else was paying attention to the lyrics -- the sexism and the violence and the anger. I was observing how the underlying body of samples were getting thinner, more predictable, more obvious, less playful. I had heard that there had been some copyright conflicts in 1990 and 1991. So I suspected that lawsuits had chilled playful and transgressive sampling. I was right. The courts had stolen the soul. And rap music is poorer for it. We used to get fresh, exciting, walls of sound that were a language unto themselves. By the mid-1990s, all we got were jeep beats and heavy bass.

JH: Are you dissing Ice Cube?

SV: [laughs] No! He's an O.G.! He and other artists are handcuffed by the law. From my research on rap, I got curious about the evolution of American copyright law and how it altered and got altered by the rise of different media technologies and forms of expression. So I traced the changes from the 19th century publishing industries through the rise of film and television, through blues, jazz, rock, and rap, and finally to the digital moment.

JH: The book ends just after the DMCA has gone into effect and Napster has begun its rise. What's happened since then?

SV: I knew that Napster would radically change the ways we interact with the copyright system. And I knew the DMCA would radically undermined the democratic safeguards that were built into our copyright system. But I knew that there was much more to this story. So I wrote an article for The Nation which defended Napster and peer-to-peer. I used this as the starting point for what would become the second book.

JH: In your first book, you refer to the DMCA as an example of what you call a "thick" copyright law. Can you explain the difference between "thick" copyright law and a "thin" law?

SV: I think the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is misnamed. I don't consider it a copyright act. I consider it an anti-copyright act. Copyright is a fluid, open, democratic set of protocols. Conflicts are anticipated by Congress and mediated by courts. The DMCA wipes out the sense of balance, anticipation, and mediation, and installs a technocratic regime. In other words, code tells you whether you can use a piece of material. Under copyright, you could use a piece of material and face the consequences. The DMCA replaces the copyright system with cold, hard technology.

It takes human judgment out of the system and drains the fluidity out of what was a humanely designed and evolved system.

But getting back to thick and thin copyright.

One way to measure the thickness of a copyright law is to look at the duration of protection. If works enter the public domain before an author's life expectancy expires, then it's a thin and democratic system. If the duration of copyright protection is absurdly long and potentially indefinite, then it's way too thick.

JH: Senator Fritz Hollings' has introduced a new copyright bill to Congress, the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act. What what would it do? Is it another "thick" law?

SV: Yeah, it would be as thick as the Berlin Wall. But again, it's the extension of a technocratic control regime and a further abandonment of real copyright. All the attention this bill has received has generated an impressive movement for users' rights. People are finally waking up to the fact that their rights to make private, non-commercial use of material they buy is in danger. I think we should all thank Senator Hollings and the MPAA for sparking a revolt against copyright tyranny.

The title of the bill implies that by giving movie companies what they want, they will give us this wonderful library of streamed films, and we will finally have a reason to sign up for and pay for broadband. Paradoxically, nothing sells broadband like peer-to-peer, which is exactly what it would try to stop.

JH: CBDTPA would make a new computer ship with copy protection. What would it do to things like the iPod?

SV: The iPod would be hard to justify under the new law. But the real issue is the personal computer. The computer does three basic things: it does math, it stores data, and it copies data. A computer can't operate without those three basic functions. The law would limit these three basic functions, thereby cutting the Achilles heel of the PC. It would be just another appliance.

JH: It's that bad?

SV: Yes. If the law passes, I could send you a file that I made, but the machine would prevent you from making copies of just about anything else, including sound from web sites, video from web sites, etc. The law works completely for the benefit of big media companies that can afford to conform to the licensed encryption standards of the industry. Only the big boys could benefit from this law.

The law would only affect new stuff, so it'd be your next DVD players, your next TiVo, your next PC. The stuff you have now is going to do more and work better than any hardware that anyone could roll out after the law passes. But there's another, bigger issue. According to an early version, the bill covers not just hardware but software. Under it, you can't distribute a software package that has copy features. Furthermore, how in the world can anything released under the GPL have closed copy-protection standards embedded in it? It can't. It would make the GPL illegal, and future versions of Linux illegal. Even if Congress focused on hardware and excluded software, we all know that distinction is a matter of modular convenience and industry practice rather than a natural distinction. But nobody ever accused the U.S. Senate of understanding technology or thinking through long-term effects of tech policy.

JH: What can people do to stop this bill from passing?

SV: The first thing people should do is check out and support such organizations as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, digitalconsumer.org, and publicknowledge.org. The latter two are fairly new. And they are a sign that people are getting angry and active about these issues. I am particularly excited about publicknowledge.org, a public interest advocacy group that is coordinating and publicizing the concerns of a wide array of concerned citizens and groups.

But just as importantly, discuss this measure with your local librarians. Librarians are very active in opposing it. In 1998, very few groups actively opposed the DMCA, but librarians were at the front lines of its opposition. And once again, librarians are our best friends in this battle. And of course, the simple answer is, write members of the Senate Judiciary Community. [The American Library Association is a national organization of librarians that is active in defending freedom of information and access. The Senate Judiciary Committee can be found over here.]

If public anger doesn't stop this bill now, then we know that the corrupting power of the entertainment industries is at crisis level. The changes in copyright have not been great for our culture and our democracy. But I am optimistic that this new level of awareness and activism will make a difference.


Jason Haas retired from the computer industry in April 2001, and now juggles being a student, fatherhood, and progressive political activism.

This past year, Siva Vaidhyanathan has been an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, but is moving to New York University in the fall. The web page for his book, Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity, is at NYU Press.

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FPPPPPPPPPP (-1)

Whistler's Mother (539004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524709)

Props to all the logged in Trolls...... !!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:FPPPPPPPPPP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524903)

I claim this post in the name of all AC's, you Dirty GNU Hippy logged-in troll.

Re:FPPPPPPPPPP (-1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525430)

you cant. you are a fat poo.

I am the only one who can, as i have a wand of First post stealing +5, and steal first posts thus:

>Yr0 wields a wand of first post stealing!
>Yr0 touches you with his wand of first post stealing!
>Yr0 has stolen your First post!
>you feel a strange sense of loss.

openbsd rules (-1)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524715)

TrollaJew, i choose you!

greetings, CLITS

The REAL Kathleen Fent (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524902)

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Power! (-1)

Cryptopotamus (460702) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524719)

Power to the trolls!

Revolt!

BEEFY BEEF PAPRIKAS MUNCH MUNCH DELICOUS! (-1)

RecipeTroll (572375) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524729)

BEEF PAPRIKAS

4 tablespoons (about) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet)
2 1/2 cups beef stock or canned unsalted beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 3/4 pounds center-cut beef
tenderloin (chateaubriand), cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices, slices
halved lengthwise
1/4 cup dry white wine
Chopped tomatoes (optional)


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and bell pepper and sauté until light golden, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in flour and paprika and stir 2 minutes. Mix in stock and tomato paste. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil until sauce thickens and paprika flavor mellows, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Mix in sour cream. Remove from heat and add dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before adding beef.)
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef, season with salt and pepper and cook until just brown on each side. Transfer to plate. Add more butter as needed. When all beef is brown, add to sauce along with any drippings on plate. Add dry white wine to skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add to beef. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes before serving, if desired.


Serves 6.

Re:BEEFY BEEF PAPRIKAS MUNCH MUNCH DELICOUS! (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525163)

JH: That sounds like it may be of interest to Slashdotters.

SV: Probably. I lifted many of the insights from Slashdot posts.


You made it to the top, RecipeTroll. Keep up the good work!

Archiving (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524753)

I'm working on a large (HUGE) archiving project with a major library and the copyright issues are becoming increasingly stickly. All the librarians want to do is rip the cd's/lp's and stick them in a vault for protection. Then allow a (highly) limited number of users to access the ripped versions.

It's gone far enough that Hillary Rosen (of RIAA fame) has become involved. Woohoo.

Re:Archiving (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525253)

It's becoming sticky? What kind of CD are you archiving?

Re:Archiving (5, Funny)

ckd (72611) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525377)

I'm working on a large (HUGE) archiving project with a major library and the copyright issues are becoming increasingly stickly. All the librarians want to do is rip the cd's/lp's and stick them in a vault for protection. Then allow a (highly) limited number of users to access the ripped versions.
It's gone far enough that Hillary Rosen (of RIAA fame) has become involved. Woohoo.

Sounds great to me. You've got a big vault, which may or may not be airtight. You've got Hilary Rosen. The possibilities may not be endless, but they're certainly obvious.

Re:Archiving (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525578)

That, my friend, is just way too funny..

Hrm.. what would you do with a big vault and Hillary Rosen.

Is there anybody cool named Hillary? So Far, all the ones I've seen in the public are royal bitches.

good technique? (5, Funny)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524760)

I lifted many of the insights from Slashdot posts.

This comment intrigued me, so I looked in Mr. Vaidhyanathan's latest book:

Table of Contets

  1. What's wrong with the DMCA
  2. What's wrong with the CBDTA
  3. CmdrTaco has tickets for the 12:01 Star Wars show
  4. What's wrong with the MPAA
  5. What's wrong with the RIAA
  6. Anakin turns into Darth Vader
  7. Apologies for the spoiler

Re:good technique? (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524767)

You forgot one chapter:

8. Cowboy Neal is FUCKING FAT

Re:good technique? (2, Funny)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524833)

Table of Contets [emphasis by me]

Would that mean he got the section title from somthing CmdrTaco wrote?

Re:good technique? (0, Offtopic)

tssm0n0 (200200) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524847)

Dedicated to Cowboy Neal

Re:good technique? (1)

shftleft (261411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524873)

I wish I could have not watched the last three Star Wars movies so I wouldn't know Anakin is Vader :)

Re:good technique? (2)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525046)

He isn't; Vader is Anakin -- there's a difference. (Sorry for the spoiler)

I demand a cut of his profits! (1)

Schwamm (513960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524761)

JH: That sounds like it may be of interest to Slashdotters.

SV: Probably. I lifted many of the insights from Slashdot posts.


And I'll bet he didn't use full source documentation, either!

:-)

Re:I demand a cut of his profits! (1)

shrikel (535309) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524949)

Are you claiming that your comments are licensed under the GPL? You should put that in your .sig. :o)

Re:I demand a cut of his profits! (1)

phaktor (39283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525100)

You can only sue if he uses your exact quote word for word. If you emphasize an idea, and he talks about that idea but not exactly the same way you did you can't. you can copyright words, not ideas :).

His book was good, But I would also suggest Digital Copyright by Jessica Litman. I found them both useful while doing my research paper on copyright laws.

Re:I demand a cut of his profits! (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525257)

> I demand a cut of his profits!

Say, that sounds familliar ... you dont work for the entertainment industry by chance, do you? ;)

Brilliant! (2)

Tri0de (182282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524762)

I love his concept of Copyright as it should be, "open and fluid", of use, not abuse.

Finally, too, the first GOOD thing that EVER came out of somebody listening to Rap:

"JH: Your book, Copyrights and Copywrongs, covers the evolution of copyright law from its origins to the late twentieth century. Where did you get the idea for this?

SV: From rap music. I grew up with rap music

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525755)

Naw, rap is much more beneficial than you think. I got laid once because of rap... and there is a lot of good rap that 99.9% of people never hear because radio stations don't play it. Some of the best messages I've heard in music are from a rapper named Michael Franti, of Spearhead. Download some, then buy some CDs.

Of course, I have other uses for rap, too. At around 4:15 or so, I'll play a song like "I've Got Five on It", "Hits from a Bong", etc., to discreetly notify my co-workers of the time. When the song ends, we're ready to go.

Gas Chromatography! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524765)

Are the Soooooooo kiddy gas * chromatography and the crap of the patient of proverb of the people. Those are the method very protects the PS2 or the XBOX the legs being inconvenient. It is better, but being certain, in order for he to think, in any case the school of computer area and me the I of the friend was caught, as for the PS2 when it is better than the Gamecube and there is a gas * chromatography which is not the prahlen, the play and the adult ?, (the people who are very are haughty). Therefore as for the I the sh which was said! The t it is complete, on this Gamecube as the PS2 being the good play depending upon clearly. That did the war which is in accordance with no thing word, it was obtained. Then I had decided to visit the Slashdot. I observed at that message provides the index to 400,000 and therefore the Gamecubes to that was sold in Europe, the dust sounded the I. I " looked at 23 year word when, there is the average age of the GameCube of the owner, ", the grinste of the I. That for the owner of the average age GASCHROMATOGRAPHIE what which is I namely, him called to the arogant friend of center, ", five " thoughts you asked. Therefore as the bright tomato goes, the article of message that as for thing me who was read surface red shows that, the between that. That the system kiddy quiet gas * chromatography the play of the baby who thought aforementioned straight it has him " the SHUTUP! ". Was, how as for me the school which asks that to that the eb us after doing, to that wave functioning of the PS2 for the gas * chromatography and running did one, straightly. As for being the best play he, regrets the ps2 with the saying and all buying where he is everything. I explained thing to the play of all ehrfuerchtigen to him, there is a method, that almost shouts. He to that friend everything that explained, she went entirely, did wave running. The Tommorow should be bought, you called those 8 everything. That when then it lets escape from the wasnt for the people of PGC 9, it is best it is clear, your all TROESTEN! Now as for everything there is venture and an I of the orphan of the star which I need in the sky! So it is!

Re:Gas Chromatography! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524800)

How the fuck is that "offtopic"? Get off the crack pipe, mods!

Re:Gas Chromatography! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524981)

How the fuck is that [slashdot.org] "offtopic"? Get off the crack pipe, mods!

Slashdot TV (3, Interesting)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524772)

Slashdot should televise a conversation between this guy and RMS. This of course assumes placing the two close together doesn't cause reality to tear asunder.

Re:Slashdot TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525105)

How in the living fuck did this get labelled "interesting" Looks like a fucking troll to me, even if I DONT like RMS...

Uh-oh (2, Funny)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524789)

JH: That sounds like it may be of interest to Slashdotters.

SV: Probably. I lifted many of the insights from Slashdot posts.

The last chapter is called The Next Frontier: The DMCA, Frist Prost, Natalie Portman and The Battle For The Goatse Trademark. How Far Hot Grits?

Slashdot: Hard Hitting Journalism (0, Funny)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524813)

"JH: Are you dissing Ice Cube? SV: [laughs] No! He's an O.G.! He and other artists are handcuffed by the law. "

Translated for our Nazi friends (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524851)

Jason Haas: Wie geht es Ihnen? Siva Vaidhyanathan: Betont. Ich versuche, mein zweites Buch zu beenden, das wird wahrscheinlich genannt "den Anarchisten in der Bibliothek." Grundlegende Bücher veröffentlichen es folgendes Jahr. JH: Das klingt wie es kann vom Interesse zu Slashdotters sein. SV: Vermutlich. Ich hob viele der Einblicke von den Slashdot Pfosten an. Das Buch ist eine Prüfung der Schlachten zwischen Bemühungen, Informationen zu zentralisieren und Bemühungen, Informationen zu dezentralisieren. Es beginnt mit Gleichem zu blicken und bewegt an auf Schlachten über Verschlüsselung, der Kommerzialisierung und der Regelung der Wissenschaft, der Regelung von Algorithmen und den Bemühungen, Terrorismus mit Informationen Politik zu kämpfen. Eine der interessantesten Geschichten, die ich folgend bin, ist die Rolle Spiele dieser Verschlüsselung auf beiden Seiten dieser Schlachten. Etwas Bemühungen zu zentralisieren und Steuerinformationen beruhen auf Verschlüsselung. Z.B. befreien DVDs und etwas Bemühungen sich zu verteilen und Informationen (freenet) abhängen von der Verschlüsselung. JH: Ihr Buch, copyright und Copywrongs, umfaßt die Entwicklung des Urheberrechtsgesetzes von seinen Ursprung zum späten zwanzigsten Jahrhundert. Woher erhielten Sie die Idee für dieses? SV: Von der Pochenmusik. Ich wuchs mit Pochenmusik auf. Aber in den frühen neunziger Jahren beachtete ich die Musik änderte. Jeder sonst beachtete die Lyrics -- das sexism und die Gewalttätigkeit und den Zorn. Ich beobachtete, wie der zugrundeliegende Körper der Proben dünner erhielten, vorhersagbarer, offensichtlicher, weniger playful. Ich hatte gehört, daß es einige copyrightkonflikte 1990 und 1991 gegeben hatte. So vermutete ich, daß Prozesse playful und übergreifendes Musterstück gekühlt hatten. Ich hatte Recht. Die Gerichte hatten die Seele gestohlen. Und Pochenmusik ist für sie schlechter. Wir pflegten, frisch zu erhalten und regten, Wände des Tones auf, die eine Sprache an selbst waren. Bis zum den Mid-1990s waren alle, die wir erhielten, Jeepschläge und schwerer Baß. JH: Dissing Sie Eis-Würfel? SV: [ Lachen ] Nr.! Er ist ein O.G.! Er und andere Künstler handcuffed durch das Gesetz. Von meiner Forschung auf Pochen, erhielt ich über die Entwicklung des amerikanischen Urheberrechtsgesetzes neugierig und wie sie geändert durch den Aufstieg der unterschiedlichen Mitteltechnologien und der Formen des Ausdruckes änderte und erhielt. So vollzog ich die Änderungen von den Verlags- Industrien des 19. Jahrhunderts durch den Aufstieg des Filmes und des Fernsehens, durch Blau, Jazz, Felsen und Pochen und schließlich zum digitalen Moment nach. JH: Das Buch beendet, gleich nachdem das DMCA in Effekt eingestiegen ist und Napster seinen Aufstieg angefangen hat. Was wird seit damals geschehen? SV: Ich wußte, daß Napster radikal die Weisen ändern würde, die wir auf das copyrightsystem einwirken. Und ich kannte das DMCA wurde untergrub radikal den demokratischen Schutz, der in unser copyrightsystem errichtet wurden. Aber ich wußte, daß es viel mehr zu dieser Geschichte gab. So schrieb ich einen Artikel für die Nation, die Napster und Gleich-zu-Gleichen verteidigte. Ich verwendete dieses als der Ausgangspunkt für, was das zweite Buch werden würde. JH: In Ihrem ersten Buch beziehen sich Sie auf das DMCA als Beispiel von, was Sie ein "starkes" Urheberrechtsgesetz nennen. Können Sie den Unterschied zwischen "starkem" Urheberrechtsgesetz und einem "dünnen" Gesetz erklären? SV: Ich denke das DMCA (Digitales Jahrtausendfeier-Urheberrechtsgesetz) bin misnamed. Ich halte es nicht für ein Urheberrechtsgesetz. Ich halte es für eine Anti-copyright Tat. Copyright ist eine Flüssigkeit, geöffneter, demokratischer Satz Protokolle. Konflikte werden von Congress vorweggenommen und vermittelt durch Gerichte. Das DMCA wischt aus der Richtung der Abgleichung, der Erwartung und der Vermittlung ab und bringt ein technokratisches Regime an. Das heißt, erklärt Code Ihnen, ob Sie ein Stück Material benutzen können. Unter copyright konnten Sie ein Stück Material benutzen und die Konsequenzen gegenüberstellen. Das DMCA ersetzt das copyrightsystem durch kalte, harte Technologie. Es nimmt menschliches Urteil aus dem System heraus und läßt die Flüssigkeit aus ab, was heraus ein menschlich entworfenes und entwickeltes System war. Aber, erhalten zurück zu starkem und dünnem copyright. Der One-way, zum der Stärke eines Urheberrechtsgesetzes zu messen soll die Dauer des Schutzes betrachten. Wenn Arbeiten das public domain eintragen, bevor Lebenserwartung eines Autors abläuft, dann ist es ein dünnes und demokratisches System. Wenn die Schutzfrist Schutz absurd lang und möglicherweise unbestimmt ist, dann i

"Offtopic"? (-1)

ForeignLanguageTroll (529299) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524939)

Stoppen Sie, Sprung, Sie zu rauchen Idiotmoderatoren!

Random thought (0, Offtopic)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524858)

IP threatens creativity like personal property (real estate) threatens mobility (i.e., trespassing forbidden) - yet personal real estate exists and isn't likely to go away anytime soon.

Re:Random thought (2)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524911)

That's a rather bizarre claim to make. Trespassing consists of being on somebody else's land without their consent, and usually with their explicit demand to go away. Creativity, on the other hand, need not involve tired, old rehashes of somebody else's material -- and when reuse is necessary, you can always ask first.

Re:Random thought (2)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525171)

Creativity is just about always based on things that have gone before. When you stifle access to creative works by others who produce creative works (as the example in the interview about rap music), you lower the total overall creativity of society.

Gross Oversimplification (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525076)


Thomas Jefferson wrote:
He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody...
(letter to Isaac McPherson, 1813 as cited in Kock & Peden, 1972).

Jefferson believed that ideas, once released into the minds of others can no longer be considered the property of one person like land can be. But he also believed that the individual responsible for conceiving the idea should have some sort of just compensation for their ingenuity. It is the balance between these two concepts that forms the basis for fair intellectual property rights.

Re:Gross Oversimplification (1)

Titusdot Groan (468949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525651)

This idea of lighting the darkness is behind the original copyright laws. To get the most light we want as many books as possible. Copyright was an answer to how do we get the next Ulysses or Connecticut Yankee or A Brief History of Time.

Copyright is now being used to maximize the profit to be made from the latest J'Lo single or Pokemon episode.

Copyright isn't about light anymore, it's about noise. If I echo from your noise I don't need to buy my own noise and the noise makers make less money.

Copyright was invented with a balance, an attempt to maximize both the production and the distribution of new sources of material. The current balance restricts both the distribution (by maximizing the supply/demand curve in favour of the producer) and the production (a producer needs to produce less new stuff if they can milk more money out of the old).

The real problem is that the courts and law-makers have forgotten (or never knew or were paid to forget) that Copyright is about lighting the darkness, about lighting the most tapers, not about making the person who invents a new source of fire filthy, stinkin' rich.

Copyright as taxation and monopoly (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525871)

If copyright is not a natural right (as Jefferson is observing) then it is an exaction from the public to benefit the author.


Thomas Babbington Macaulay wrote in his 1841 speech on copyright [kuro5hin.org] :


The principle of copyright is this. It is a tax on readers for the purpose of giving a bounty to writers. The tax is an exceedingly bad one; it is a tax on one of the most innocent and most salutary of human pleasures; and never let us forget, that a tax on innocent pleasures is a premium on vicious pleasures.

and further:

I believe, Sir, that I may with safety take it for granted that the effect of monopoly generally is to make articles scarce, to make them dear, and to make them bad. And I may with equal safety challenge my honourable friend to find out any distinction between copyright and other privileges of the same kind; any reason why a monopoly of books should produce an effect directly the reverse of that which was produced by the East India Company's monopoly of tea, or by Lord Essex's monopoly of sweet wines. Thus, then, stands the case. It is good that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil; but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good.


This point is a bit more subtle than it appears taken out of context. He is not saying that copyright is a bad thing or that it doesn't enable people to make creative works; just that extending copyright in any way beyond that which benefits the individuals actually doing the work will bring all the evils of state sponsored monopoly: to make copies of works overpriced and scarce without increasing the supply of new works.

Re:Random thought (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525097)

IP and MP (material property) are similar in that they don't really exist. They are both social conventions so useful that they have been codified into law. But we've had ten thousand years to work out the bugs in MP, while IP is still relatively new on the legal scene.

The reason MP doesn't threaten mobility is because of Right of Way. You can't enter my home without my permission, but you can use the road which I own in front of my house without consulting with anyone. A history of right of ways is instructive. They have been abused in the past in much the same way that IP rights are being abused today. But we got over them.

Re:Random thought (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525115)

Not a great analogy -- new ideas are like new land, not like walking on somebody else's land. IP grants big companies all the coastlines, and allows them to forbid new land from connecting to old land....

Also, historically, real estate was a much greater obstacle to mobility than today. In eighteenth-century London, many of the roads were privately owned, and there were toll tages all over the place. Public ownership of city streets, and easements for roads on rural land, are relatively recent inventions.

Re:Random thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525200)

There is such a significant difference between intellectual work and real estate that the comparison seems ridiculous to me:
a) land is a limited commodity... information can be duplicated ad infinitum. Using land makes it impossible for others to use that same land. In this sense, I would argue that IP does not exist, but MP does.
b) most landowners pay to persistently own their land (property tax) simply because it IS a limited resource and should not be gobbled up and squatted upon. In a sense, we pay people (via the government) to stay off our land.

Re:Random thought (2, Insightful)

lazn (202878) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525589)

If you and I each have an apple, and we share apples, after sharing, we each only have one apple.

If you and I each have an idea, and we share ideas, after sharing we each have two ideas.

Ideas /= Apples.

what a load of crap (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524865)

> the first fully fleshed history of American copyright law ever to be put in book form.

Come on. There are MANY, MANY histories of American copyright law. Just because this dork and the interviewer are not familiar with them doesn't mean they don't exist.

Re:what a load of crap (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525822)

Clearly you're not familiar with them either, unless you are unwilling to enlighten us with your worldy knowledge.

Anakin gets his head cut off by Tuskin Raiders! (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524906)

As noted on the Smithsonian Institution's site [si.edu] , the first official American flag had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, each representing one of the thirteen original states.

The flag icon for Slashdot's 'United States' section is missing its first stripe - the stripe that represents Delaware, the first state admitted to the Union. While a simple oversight could be forgiven, it should be known from here on out that Slashdot is in fact aware of the missing stripe, and even worse, refuses to do anything about it! [sf.net]

This vulgar flag desecration and rabid anti-Delawarism must be put to a stop. Let the Slashdot crew know that we will not accept a knowingly mutilated flag or the insinuation that Delawarians deserve to be cut out of the union. I ask you, what has Delaware done to deserve this insolence, this wanton disregard, this bigotry?

This intentional disregard of a vital national symbol is unpatriotic. Why, the flippant remarks CmdrTaco made about our flag border on terrorism! I urge you to join the protest in each 'United States' story. Sacrifice your karma for your country by pointing out this injustice. Let's all work together to get our flag back. Can you give your country any less?

It is missing a stripe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524971)

Not to bite too hard on this troll, but the icon really is missing a stripe. The top stripe on the US flag is red. And the icon only has 12 stipes.

Slashdot editors: any way to fix it?

Re:It is missing a stripe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525077)

Burn the fucking flag.

Delaware sux - DON'T change the flag! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525894)

Delaware charges $2 to drive a puny 10 mile stretch of I-95. It deserves every form of abuse that is heaped on it and more.

Slashcode ist defekt (-1)

ForeignLanguageTroll (529299) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524914)

Regeln Sie es bitte; danke.

slashencodenborken ist (-1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525406)

please fooixen der slashencoden
BORK BORK BORK

DAMN the DMCA & CBDTA (0)

OklaKid (552472) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524923)

DMCA &\or CBDTA get passed in to law, & compooters get castrated, then this compooter i am using right now will be my last compooter, i will go back to the mountians and live like the hillbilly i really am HEEHAW...

When will Hollywood ever learn? (1)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524925)

The title of the bill implies that by giving movie companies what they want, they will give us this wonderful library of streamed films, and we will finally have a reason to sign up for and pay for broadband. Paradoxically, nothing sells broadband like peer-to-peer, which is exactly what it would try to stop.

Why does Hollywood think that people will sign up for broadband for movies? There are plenty of viable delivery systems for movies in place now.

Most people wish for broadband mostly for online gaming and even simply for faster web surfing in general. There are plenty of reasons right now to get broadband. The main problems for broadband are that not everyone is eligible for a connection, reliability issues, and cost.

Improving broadband service by improving reliability and ensuring ease of installation will help broadband more than movies ever will.

Re:When will Hollywood ever learn? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525007)

Why does Hollywood think that people will sign up for broadband for movies? There are plenty of viable delivery systems for movies in place now.


And you actually get a pretty good quality picture with current ones. Considering the image quality that you can get down a typical cable connection, I can't think why anyone would want to pay money for that. I buy the DVDs of TV series I could much more easily have downloaded.
What do they think people are willing to pay for an Mpeg1 quality video? The quality stinks too much unless its being given away.

Re:When will Hollywood ever learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525546)

Hollywood doesn't give a shit about broadband and streaming media. The bill is just named that with the stupid preamble about helping promote broadband so that the average person will go, "Oh, that sounds good. I want cheaper internet."

Besides, if they actually labeld the bill acuratly, it would have to be called the "MPAA/RIAA Stealing Your Freedoms Because Consumers Are Criminals and the Enemy Act", which, consiquently, if you ever read about your senator voting for labeled as above, you would vote him the hell out of office.

This kind of false bill labeling happens all the time so that the government can pass shitty bills that serve the big-corporations-who-pay-their-campaign-funds interests. They call them stupid names like the 'Patriot Act', or the 'Protection of Puppies Act' or some shit that makes people think that they may do something other than take away every civil-liberty and freedom you have left.

But, hey, thats what happens when you have one of the most blaitently corrupt governments in the world.

(Sorry for the poor spelling)

Being serious for a change... (3, Insightful)

thrillbert (146343) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524930)

At many times, I think to myself "These laws will never pass.. they have got to have at least some brain up there..."

But as history has shown, they __CAN__ pass these laws. And they have. And unless we start a fund to buy ourselves our own politician, know that the RIAA and MPAA are saying "All your politicians are belong to us!".

We do need to be vocal about this, but not just in /.land. We need to contact our representatives and let them know how we feel, but we need to do it intelligently and respectfully. No trolling allowed.

Become a member of The Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org] or of one of the other sites mentioned in the article. Let your voice be heard!!

---
Strong with you, the force be. -Yoda

Re:Being serious for a change... (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524980)

And unless we start a fund to buy ourselves our own politician...

No! Don't do anything to encourage them! You'll only legitimize the concept that politicians should be bought and sold.

What we need instead is to attack, undermine and evenutally abolish this whole notion that power is a salable commodity. There's a difference between the baksheesh used to grease the wheels, and the wholesale auctioning off the wheels themselves.

Re:Being serious for a change... (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525059)

I admire your integrity, but the fact is, just buying a politician would be a lot more effective.

Re:Being serious for a change... (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525590)

We should give the system time to correct itself...but...

time is money...
money is power...
power corrupts...

therefore, by waiting we are corrupting them even more...

Re:Being serious for a change... (0)

Sharadin (241129) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525094)

I say just kill all the politicians (because they're worthless no matter how you look at it) and destroy the pathetic United States...they won't be missed when they're gone.

Re:Being serious for a change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525137)

No, just burn the fucking flag.

That will piss off the "patriotic" people. Great fun. You should exercise your freedom now before the Ashcroft-Cheney cabinet gets to appoint Supereme Court judges in the future. After that, say goodbye to your girlfriend's/wife's right to her own body and to your right of free expression of political opinions.

Defend humanity (3, Interesting)

shrikel (535309) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524935)

Under copyright, you could use a piece of material and face the consequences. The DMCA replaces the copyright system with cold, hard technology. ... It takes human judgment out of the system and drains the fluidity out of what was a humanely designed and evolved system.

Wow, that point hit home. If we remove all the instances of human judgement from our social activities and interactions (like what we do with our spare time, music, movies, etc.), our society ceases to be a human, flexible, diverse society, and becomes a rigid, homogenous, and sterile machine which is merely comprised of humans.

If this legislation (and consequential social shift) sets the precedent for removal of the human factor in our societal system, where will it end?

I didn't like Brave New World.

Re:Defend humanity (1)

rworne (538610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525064)

Wow, that point hit home. If we remove all the instances of human judgement from our social activities and interactions (like what we do with our spare time, music, movies, etc.), our society ceases to be a human, flexible, diverse society, and becomes a rigid, homogenous, and sterile machine which is merely comprised of humans.

Somehow I heard all this before...

Resistance is futile...
You will be assimilated.
We are the Borg collective. You will surrender all your intellectual property to us.

RAP vs. Hip-Hop (1, Offtopic)

mr_don't (311416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524945)

Siva and Lawrence Lessig (regarding L.L.'s comments about rap from THE FUTURE OF IDEAS) both need to understand that RAP is just one part of a larger culture of Hip-Hop. Vocalists and MC's are just one fragment of a culture that includes DJ's, artists, dancers, etc...

Referring to a whole branch of music, one that began with DJ's and Break Beats is ignorant and almost insulting to the artists that create the music. You can tell - Siva's depth of understanding of Hip-Hop culture and sampling stops at corporate mega-artists like Jay-Z and that guy on all the Jennifer Lopez albums - hardly representative of much of Hip-Hop...

Re:RAP vs. Hip-Hop (2)

isaac (2852) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525037)

Siva and Lawrence Lessig (regarding L.L.'s comments about "rap" from THE FUTURE OF IDEAS) both need to understand that RAP is just one part of a larger culture of Hip-Hop. Vocalists and MC's are just one fragment of a culture that includes DJ's, artists, dancers, etc...

Perhaps Siva is not a fan of the larger culture of hip-hop, but rather of rap music in particular, and YOU are actually the one conflating "rap" with "hip-hop." This makes sense, given that the Mr. Vaidhyanathan is speaking about the music - specifically, the density and complexity of the backing tracks of rap music - and not about dancers or MC's.

Sometimes, people mean what they say, and not more.

-Isaac

Re:RAP vs. Hip-Hop (1)

SivaV (207841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525260)

I beg your pardon. How do you know what I know and understand about rap and hip-hop?

Have we met? Have we discussed music and culture?

Not to be difficult, but please don't judge me based on a few dozen words in an interview.

Re:RAP vs. Hip-Hop (2)

mr_don't (311416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525513)

I don't know you or how much you understand about the type of music you listen too, but I do know that "Rap" is something that occurs in (and is merely one component of) "Hip-Hop" music. A rapper may be one component of a Hip-Hop song. "Hip-Hop" is a type of music, culture, and lifestyle. When you talk about Jazz, do you say, I listen to Trumpet music?

It is just this type of language that does a disservice to the cultures you are discussing. I would argue that DJ's have had much more to do with the practice of sampling and creating new music from copyrighted material than rappers - although of course, MC's do their fair share of mix and match themselves. By saying that you like rap music, are you trying to say that it was the rappers who turned you on to explore the history of Copyright? Is it mainstream made-by-MTV artists like Ice Cube who really prompts discussion about the boundaries of copyright, or is it more the work of lesser known artists like Afrika Bammbatta and Funkmaster Flex, etc., that really show us why copyright law should be criticized?

If you mentioned the term Hacker to a group of Slashdot folks, or EFF people, or the GNU people, many (most?) would think you are speaking about "Computer Programmers" or "Technical Explorers" or whatever. People in the mainstream, thanks to various media and silly use of terminology, would probably think you are talking about those who break into computer systems and vandalize web pages.

The last thing we need are academics deciding what terms and language falls into the mainstream consciousness. If you are willing to write books about how cultural precedents, like those in Hip-Hop or Computer Programming are pointing toward a future of copyright reform, I would hope that you would take the time to really delve into the cultures that you are writing about. If you are willing to co-opt a cultural reference to add credibility to academic writing, the least you can do is give credit where credit is due!

Re:RAP vs. Hip-Hop (1)

SivaV (207841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525635)

I agree with almost everything you just wrote. And I plead innocent to the charge. I've been a rap fan for more than 20 years and an academic for four years. One does not cancel out the other.

"Rap music" is a conventional way to describe the music within hip-hop culture. Hip-hop culture is something much broader. Using this distinction does not detract from the meaning of either. And when I speak to DJs and producers and musicians about these issues, they use the same terminology. I take my usage guidance from them, not the other way around.

And if you actually read anything I have written about rap or hip-hop, you would know that I not only have as deep a grasp of the culture as a fan can have, but a as deep a love for it as an American can have.

If you read the slashdot interview, you will see that Haaz brought up Ice Cube, who was far from mainstream when NWA broke through. I didn't. Why are you riding me about it? And what's wrong with liking Ice Cube? The man has talent. And when he worked with Dre back when artists could make choices without lawyers and clearance officers, they both made some great stuff.

I have not only been a fan of Bammbattaa since about 1980, but I have discussed these issues with him in person. It was my love for his music that moved me to ponder the differences between it and the lame MTV shit we all have to endure since the early 1990s (actually, I think Jay Z has vocal talent, but his productions are lame).

If you are going to diss someone publicly, you should probably know something about her or him. My stuff is out there. Read it and get back to me. But until then, don't question my cred.

Re:RAP vs. Hip-Hop (2)

isaac (2852) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525803)

I don't know you or how much you understand about the type of music you listen too, but I do know that "Rap" is something that occurs in (and is merely one component of) "Hip-Hop" music. A rapper may be one component of a Hip-Hop song. "Hip-Hop" is a type of music, culture, and lifestyle. When you talk about Jazz, do you say, "I listen to Trumpet music?"

You do, if that's the kind of jazz you like. Perhaps you particularly like jazz that features trumpets, as opposed to, say, a piano trio.

Rap music has rap over a backing track (or sometimes over nothing, though an older generation might simply call that poetry). It is a form of hip-hop. Consider Timo Maas, who makes some of the freshest beats today - are his releases hip-hop? Sure! They're not rap music, however, because . . . there's no rap! Afrika Bambaataa was a pioneer of electro-funk, another genre that we might include under the general rubric of hip-hop, but it would not be heresy to refer to his music as electro-funk, even though it is also hip-hop.

Face it, "rap music" is a genre of hip-hop. You may not like rap music, you may think that the MC gets too much attention in rap music, but to say that rap music is not itself a genre is simply wrong. It is at least an identifiable genre or subgenre of hip-hop.

By saying that you like "rap" music, are you trying to say that it was the rappers who turned you on to explore the history of Copyright?

Perhaps this is exactly what Siva is saying - and what is wrong with this? He's not talking about the people that pushed the bounds of copyright the furthest - in a legal sense, it is arguably Biz Markie, since he was the artist whose albums were pulled from the shelves because he used, without clearance, a sample from Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again, Naturally", and whose court case established the principle that the number of notes that may be sampled without permission is zero. He is talking about how his personal experience with rap music got him interested in the law of copyright. Your posts seem to be nothing more than showy attempts to berate Mr. Vaidhyanathan for liking Ice Cube - the insufferable MO of the hip-hopper-than-thou - and offer nothing nearly so informative as Siva's observations about how changes in copyright law and jurisprudence were reflected in popular music.

For what it's worth, I think he's right - the era of the aggressive sound collage largely vanished from popular rap music in the post-1991 era. Now, I wouldn't condemn all modern rap music or hip-hop generally as being mere "jeep beats and heavy bass" - I think the "Nathaniel Merriwether" projects of Dan the Automator and Prince Paul are genuinely creative. They are not, however, collages of samples in the same style as, say, Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Hat, which is composed entirely of samples, carefully assembled, and which predates Grand Upright Music v. Warner Brothers Music (the Biz Markie case).

-Isaac

Re:RAP vs. Hip-Hop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525346)

JH: Are you dissing Ice Cube?

SV: [laughs] No! He's an O.G.!

I didn't want to show my ignorance by revealing that I have no idea what an O.G. is. If he'd said O.J. then perhaps I'd have gotten it...

Well put. (5, Insightful)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524955)

Not quite as well put as Lessig put it, but very enlightening all the same. The issue really is fair-use vs. piracy. CURRENT MEDIA COMPANIES HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FAIR-USE IS. period. If it was up to Disney and the RIAA, everything not bought at exorbitant prices continually (i.e.:rented media) is piracy. The Sony vs. Betamax case doesn't exist in their cosy little world, and the mountain of legalese supporting fair-use is an apparent myth of popular culture from their perspective.


There are intentional limitations to the power an author holds over his/her respective copyrighted works. These limitations exist to encourage other individuals or companies to expand and build upon those copyrighted ideas/works, thereby increasing innovation and promoting scientific development for the benefit of the public. The most important limitation on author control is the "fair use privilege". This right of the people specifically addresses the ability of an individual to use copyrighted works without consent of the owner to a reasonable degree. In Sony v. Universal City Studios; the U.S. Supreme Court stated that, "any individual may reproduce a copyrighted work for a 'fair use;' the copyright owner does not possess the exclusive right to such a use." This "doctrine of fair use" was initially created via judicial review, but has since been intentionally written into copyright law. Although this principle may seem to be counterintuitive to the overall premise of copyright, it is an extremely important link between the inventor who wishes to recieve payment for his work, and the public that wishes to access and make use of it. The U.S. Supreme Court remarks, ""the fair use doctrine exists because copyright law extends limited proprietary rights to copyright owners only to the extent necessary to ensure dissemination to the public." This is directly correlated to the goals of the constitutional explanation of copyright.


The obvious issue associated with this doctrine is how exactly to detirmine what is fair use as opposed to copyright violation. The law is not at all clear as to how a process is to be determined "fair use", but over the years many examples have surfaced. In general, criticism, comment, parody, new reporting, teaching, scholarship, research, or personal use such as time of format shifting are considered to be within the guidelines of fair use. Companies have in the past been relatively acceptant of the fair use clause within copyright law. As of late though, the tide has shifted as corporate profits have taken an ever increasing priority over public relations and proper customer satisfaction. Older ethical standards for customer rights have become less important to business executives then their efforts to increase profit margins and market domination.


Just how exactly media corportions lost site of the usefulness of this doctrine is beyond me. Think of video rental stores: They facilitate piracy. With two VCRs I could own every movie under the sun for about 5 bucks a pop. I don't. Both is it not worth the time to pirate, but it is also easier to pay the extra coin to ensure a good copy. People will pay to support media they like and to ensure good quality fun. They will NOT pay for over-priced crap forced down their throats.


Likewise (and perhaps more importantly), it is idiotic of the RIAA to assume that every person downloading an MP3 is a "diehard" pirate. Since the media companies have not ventured into this new market (digital music) they facilitate the piracy better than any P2P network could.


I will not support corporate theivery.


-----------------rhad

Re:Well put. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525042)

I think the Offtopic mod choice is *great*! I can set scores for individual types of moderation, so if I don't care if something is offtopic, I can make those mods have no effect. If I never want to see something offtopic again, I can cause offtopic mods to be -5. In fact, we ought to have more mod choices -- if you don't like them, you can turn them off.

Re:Well put. (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525630)

Not quite as well put as Lessig put it, but very enlightening all the same. The issue really is fair-use vs. piracy. CURRENT MEDIA COMPANIES HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FAIR-USE IS.

Sure they do...just about every animated Disney movie for the past hundred years was 'fair-used'

I don't think Pocahontas' descendents saw a dime from the movie, nor the descendents of the J.C. Anderson...

It's only when people want to fair-use DISNEY's "Pocahontas" or "Little Mermaid" that they get upset...

i've seen a debate involving Siva.... (5, Interesting)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524961)

A few months back there was a Justice Talking [justicetalking.org] (a show on NPR) that debated the DMCA, Siva was the voice against it, an MPAA rep (sorry, I forget the guy's name) the pro voice. I was in attendence at it's recording.

Some of the interesting tidbits from that session that I can remember (this was in October I think, so my accuracy should be called into question):

Someone suggested that DeCSS may not exist if there were a DVD player available for Linux. The MPAA guy argued that all programs written for Linux must be open-sourced, which would compromise what is essentially their security-through-obscurity scheme of handling CSS. And Siva AGREED! Now correct me if I'm wrong - isnt it possible to write programs for Linux that are closed-source?

Tidbit #2 - Someone asked about making backup copies and their allowance under fair use. The MPAA rep countered that making a backup of a movie (whether it be video or DVD) is not permitted under fair use. A big look of shock on many people's faces after that statement.

Justice Talking used to keep RealAudio recordings of their shows on their site, but I never did see this session on the site in the weeks following the debate for whatever reason. (I suspect maybe it didnt appear because they played a 3-5 second clip from a musical version of DeCSS during the show, and then asked the MPAA rep if they violated the DMCA) Unfortunately, looking at the site now you have to buy a transcript or CD recording.

Re:i've seen a debate involving Siva.... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525021)

ok, i found their archive of abstracts and debater bios [justicetalking.org] , and links from the abstracts point to recordings, but no mention of DMCA/DeCSS/etc in the listing of archived shows at all. Very odd that it's not there.

Re:i've seen a debate involving Siva.... (3, Interesting)

neuunit (200645) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525284)

The show is unavailable online because it hasn't aired yet -- the debate was in March; the show will air in June and be archived immediately thereafter.

Re:i've seen a debate involving Siva.... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525330)

thanks!

hmmm ... March, and here I thought it was October. Man that's embarrasing. I must be doing too much or be under a lot of stress lately if two months feel like seven. Either that or the afternoon that day felt like October.

Re:i've seen a debate involving Siva.... (2, Informative)

stevey (64018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525355)

isnt it possible to write programs for Linux that are closed-source?

Of course it is; that's why Debian has a non-free section ;)

A good example of a Linux closed-source application would be the Opera browser - which was mentioned on /. today.

Re:i've seen a debate involving Siva.... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525477)

exactly. StarOffice and Netscape are also in closed source form (even after OpenOffice and Mozilla sources were made public), to name other examples.

But in the debate Siva didnt convey that, instead he agreed with the MPAA rep on the notion that there was no DVD player for Linux because it was not possible to keep the source closed. Anyone have ideas on why he would say that or where he was comming from?

Changing notions of copyright (4, Insightful)

anser (224618) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524973)

The original concept of copyright was based on the notion that by producing creative works, authors benefit society, and so were entitled to make a living from a time-limited legal monopoly on the reproduction and distribution of their creations -- which would otherwise be technically easy for anyone to do, if the law didn't forbid it. As long as the creator (or other owner of copyright) had that control, everything else was basically OK. There was a clear and logical distinction between copying a book and reading it, and nobody was interested in preventing someone from reading, only in preventing someone from unauthorized printing.

The new notion of copyright seems to be based on a cyptographically and legally enforced "secure pipeline" from the content creator to each individually authorized end user. All new developments trend towards this end. Unauthorized viewing is as serious as unauthorized copying, in fact the distinction often disappears. The right to make a living from printing and selling a creative work has been replaced by the right to control how a creative work is used, and to be compensated for each use, every step of the way.

It is an entirely new paradigm, and if it succeeds in establishing itself, an entirely new information economy will result. Unfortunately, free speech will be an early casualty. Orwell's 1984 will no longer be a dystopian speculation, but a first-year business text.

Re:Changing notions of copyright (1)

beleg777 (551987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525172)

First, that was a great post. Second, part of the problem we're facing today is that unauthorized viewing, when the internet is involved, is often the same as unauthorized copying. Or at least indistinguishable from it. Also, when numerous people can simultaneously, and convieniently, view one thing at any time then copying becomes unnecessary.

I think that's why copyright is such a problem right now. Computers competely destroy all the rules that used to exist regarding how information was used, shared and accessed. And while the people in power see that and over react the people not in power see the over reaction and try to push the other way.

I'm not saying that the current situation is acceptable or that P2P things are wrong, I'm just saying there is a real reason for the current situation. I hope that a new system that more accurately considers the desires of the consumer and the rights of the content creator can be found.

(How in the world did the idea that all the rights of the content creator should be passed to the content distributor, and then held in precedence over the rihts and desires of the consumer ever get any weight?)

Re:Changing notions of copyright (3, Interesting)

phaktor (39283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525215)

the notion that by producing creative works, authors benefit society, and so were entitled to make a living from a time-limited legal monopoly


There is a court case to the Supreme Court that is worth supporting, Ashcroft vs. Eldred [harvard.edu] . They are trying to fight the Sonny Bono act. If this act get repealed, Mickey Mouse and other copyrighted materials will become public domain.

The good news is that the Supreme Court announced that it will hear this case.

Re:Changing notions of copyright (1)

fuzzy1 (128925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525278)

We seem to have lawmakers heading this way -
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.htm l
Maybe they should all read this.

Minor correction (well, not so minor actually) (4, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525343)

The original concept of copyright was based on the notion that by producing creative works, authors benefit society, and so were entitled to make a living from a time-limited legal monopoly on the reproduction and distribution of their creations

ahem. No.

The original concept of copyright was instituted by the British Monarchy to facilitate authoritarian control over the then-emergent printing press, by requiring all works to 'register themselves' and provide certain information making the publisher known, accessible, and ultimately accountable to the Crown if they printed something the Crown found offensive. It was a means of controlling the printing press (by banning unauthorized printing presses) and, most importantly, controlling what was printed.

In other words, copyright was designed from the beginning to do exactly what it is becoming most famous for doing today: facilitate censorship.

Later refinements insured the profitability of those publishers so "blessed" by the crown, by setting up a book in which they could register works they were publishing so that the oligarchs wouldn't be competing with one another.

It wasn't until much later that the justification of "protecting the artist's right to profit from their works" was introduced, almost as an afterthought, well after the publishing oligarchy was well entrenched and generally as a way to mitigate criticism in some quarters with respect to the restritive (and monopolistic) nature of copyright. Unfortunately for the artists, copyright law then, as now, favors the publishers over the authors in most respects, belying its real intent (today: the maintenance of the copyright cartels and oligarchs, then: the maintenance of the authority of the Crown over what information was, and was not, available in print).

The United States adopted both copyright and patent law more or less intact from our former British overlords, with little questioning of the propoganda that justified such strictures (Thomas Jefferson was a rare exception who did question, and criticize, both concepts). The British Empire rose upon the force of tightly controlled trade monopolies and ultimately met its demise when said force, coupled with their weakening navel power to enforce it, couldn't withstand the pressures of a more open, modern marketplace. It is interesting that the two most restrictive, dangerous democracy-threatening aspects of American law both have their roots in British monopoly regimes we adopted more or less unchanged and without question.

The new notion of copyright seems to be based on a cyptographically and legally enforced "secure pipeline" from the content creator to each individually authorized end user.

Again, this is really only new in form, not in underlying substance. There have even been people drawn and quartered for copyright violation in England, and more recently, at the turn of the 20th century shopkeepers were beaten, businesses burned, and people perhaps even killed for copyright violations when the copyright holders of musical scores hired thugs to enforce their copyrights in accordance to a new law granting them such powers. Coercion has always been a part of copyright, as it must be since it creates an unnatural monopoly and artificial scarcity out of something which is inherently bountious (information).

if it succeeds in establishing itself, an entirely new information economy will result. Unfortunately, free speech will be an early casualty. Orwell's 1984 will no longer be a dystopian speculation, but a first-year business text.

That economy is likely to be relatively short lived and short circuit itself. Monopoly economies never operate at anything approaching the effeciency of an open, more or less free market, and there is only so much people are willign to spend, and so many hoops people are willing to jump through, before they will simply say "to hell with it, I'll do without." The Copyright Cartels, if they get what they want, will likely make far less than will if freedom of information wins out. It is similar to when they tried to ban videotape, only to have more than half their profits coming from video tape sales and rentals a decade later. Multiply that by a dozen emergent technologies, and who knows how many more that will never emerge if "Disney" Hollings has his way.

You are right, though, the first casualty of the New American Copyright will almost certainly be freedom of speech, exactly as copyright was designed to do in the first place, four centuries ago.

We all know (1)

rhost89 (522547) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524993)

Even if Congress focused on hardware and excluded software, we all know that distinction is a matter of modular convenience and industry practice rather than a natural distinction.

We all know that anything that can be implemented in hardware can be implemented in software (sans physical devices like storage etc.), so isnt this point moot?

flag stripes? (1, Offtopic)

flynt (248848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525014)

Where is the top red stripe on the American Flag? It looks a bit awkward without it, agreed?

Re:flag stripes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525090)

Stop complaining.

Burn the fucking flag (the rag).

copyright (1)

BlakeB (578685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525128)

Perhaps if software moved to a model where the programmers got royalties, copyright would concern me. The music industry disburses royalties to its performers... Fact is, I'm not going to pay the exhorbitant software costs to the big companies. Big software companies don't lose all that much to individual piracy -- they have multi-million dollar contracts with big companies to give them crap software... I can't sympathise with Bill Gates, Adobe, Macromedia (although I daily use products from each of them) I have figured the cost of the AVERAGE software to be a complete webmaster using a windows box. WIN XP Office XP Dreamweaver MX Flash MX Adobe Font Folio 9 Adobe Type Manager Adobe Photoshop Adobe Illustrator These are the basics, but I'm already in the hole several thousand dollars bah! with the advent of broadband and cd burners, it's put software piracy in the hands of everyman instead of just the ubergeek... When the software houses implement a royalties system of $10 or $20 to be distributed to the programmers for every license, I'll consider paying for my win software... I myself am both artist and programmer... it's not the little guy getting screwed... If you're bored, please visit my site, Web Kiss 101, personals for geeks! [webkiss101.com]

Americ Flag Icon? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525234)

Shouldn't that be an INDIAN flag icon...

Mirror (1)

madenosine (199677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525268)

heres a mirror [slashdot.org]

Spare me. (1, Troll)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525274)

"...which will likely be called "The Anarchist in the Library." Basic Books will publish it next year. JH: That sounds like it may be of interest to Slashdotters."

Hmmm, I wonder... it has the word Anarchist in it... YA THINK? =P Maybe "Anarchist Cathedrals in the Cryptonomicon Nutshell" would do a bit better, but it'd be a close thing.

"JH: Are you dissing Ice Cube? SV: [laughs] No! He's an O.G.!"

Credibility: out the window! Woosh! Buhbye!

"I knew that Napster would radically change the ways we interact with the copyright system. And I knew the DMCA would radically undermined the democratic safeguards that were built into our copyright system. But I knew that there was much more to this story."

I suppose you also know the Unified Field Theory and the color of Sharon Stone's panties, right, smartfuck? Get over yourself and your 20/20 hindsight. Oh, and it's "undermine".

"JH: CBDTPA would make a new computer ship with copy protection. What would it do to things like the iPod?"

Maybe things like this [macuser.co.uk] ?

"But I am optimistic that this new level of awareness and activism will make a difference."

Yeah, 600,000 /.ers patting themselves on the back can't ALL be wrong...

"I was observing how the underlying body of samples were getting thinner, more predictable, more obvious, less playful."

Only intelligent point he had to make. For this I load an article? Feh.


-Kasreyn

the interviewer is a sociopath (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3525345)

First he tried to cash in on being a "linux activist" without actually understanding what linux was. Now he has become a "political activist" and is probably trying to use it to cash in or gain notoriety. Please disregard interviews by this person in the future. He says whatever he needs to forward himself.

Sampling other songs is the soul of rap? (2)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525416)

The courts had stolen the soul. And rap music is poorer for it.

That's just bizarre. So rap is completely dependent on sampling the music of other artists? That's like piecing together a book based on snippets of other books.

Re:Sampling other songs is the soul of rap? (3, Informative)

Syllepsis (196919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525622)

That's just bizarre. So rap is completely dependent on sampling the music of other artists? That's like piecing together a book based on snippets of other books.

Most artwork is designed by ripping off snippets of other works. Ever heard of a literary allusion?

Instead of ripping off, some call it standing on the shoulders of giants.

Nobody complains when guitarists rip off each others licks, but when someone participates in the same type of activity digitally, then it is suddenly a copyright issue. Even if the samples are intermingled in a technically difficult and clever manner transcending the intent of the original works.

-Syllepsis

Re:Sampling other songs is the soul of rap? (2)

Debillitatus (532722) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525856)

That's like piecing together a book based on snippets of other books.

You ever read any academic works? Heh.

Napster may have changed things. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525558)

But it's board is considering Chapter 7, after a deal with bertlesmann couldn't be reached.

Musings on copyright and technology... (3)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525594)

Okay, so the last ten years has seen a revolution in technology. Specifically, the ability to create, copy, and widely disseminate digital data -- be it music, movies, text, images, whatever.

One side effect of this is that it is now trivially easy for a sizable segment of the world's population (and an even larger proportion of the U.S.'s population) to violate copyright laws by (for example) purchasing music legally, making copies of that music, and disseminating it (illegally) for free to thousands of other people all over the world.

I argue that the primary purpose of law is to impose order upon a society, in a form of natural selection. Societies that lean toward laws and order are more likely to survive than societies that tend toward anarchy and chaos. Laws themselves tend to reflect the moral character of the times they are created in. Laws, like any moral system (or system of controlling behavior) are never absolute or inherent to the fabric of the universe (unless you believe that some god's laws are the "inherent morality" of the universe, but good luck getting me to believe that).

When laws conflict with reality, social stress results. There are those in society who hold the law as (almost?) sacred, and those who (in my opinion, more rightly) see the law as merely the current set of rules we must live under. (Tangent: I was dismayed to see a DEA official state that the DEA "does not want to encourage anything which might lead to a lessening of drug laws" (paraphrased) -- nevermind that the DEA, as a part of the Executive branch of our government, should not have any interest in WHAT the law is, merely in enforcing the CURRENT law, whatever it may be.)

This particular issue of stress has a particular set of industries on one side, and the bulk of the nation's citizens on the other. (I refuse to refer to people as "consumers"; it is demeaning.) Content creation industries -- music companies, film companies, publishing companies, and others who control large numbers of copyrights -- have historically based their entire business model on the idea of scarcity. They could charge money for good like music and books, because those goods could not be easily replicated by individuals. In this respect, books, music, and movies were much like any other product -- cars, power tools, furniture, or even food.

But with the dawn of the Internet and the abilities mentioned above, information like movies, music, and books can be endlessly replicated at almost zero cost by virtually any individual. Hence, the obvious conflict -- many people do not see such copying as "wrong". Why not?

The traditional view of "stealing" or "theft" involves taking an item from someone, such that the person no longer has that item. They have suffered a real, measurable loss in this instance. If I steal your car, your power tools, your furniture, or your food, you no longer have those things. Inversely, if you freely give me those things, you no longer have them to use. But information is different. Nowadays, I can freely give you a COPY of a piece of music, a book, or a movie, and still retain the original. Each of our two copies are indistinguishable -- they are identical and interchangable.

This was vaguely recognized by the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution -- they understood that works (mainly books, at that time) could be bootlegged and sold illegally. They believed that a goverment-granted, and government-enforced temporary monopoly on the right to make money from the production of easily reproducible works, would help the nation, its economy, and its citizens. By giving authors that temporary monopoly, the law would encourage authors to produce more without fear that their work would be profited upon by those who had contributed nothing to it.

This was a fair idea, at the time, and indeed it is still a fair idea today. Unfortunately, the content creation industry has made great efforts toward extending the length of copyright, and if current trends continue, we can expect that no copyright will ever again expire. This obviously goes against the original intent of the copyright provisions, which was to allow authors a chance at fair compensation for their works, in exchange for that work entering the public domain after a certain period. Technically, that is still true, but it is quite obvious that the content creation industry has no intention of letting it continue to be true.

Back to the issue of being able to cheaply replicate any data. The problem here is that since many people do not see copying as theft, they are inclined to believe that the law is wrong and can be ignored. There is obviously a wide variety of views on the subject; some citizens believe in sticking to the letter of the law, while others will do casual copying in certain circumstances, and yet others will massively and freely distribute copyrighted information to anyone who wants it. Even further along are commercial pirates, those who actually try to make money selling copies of copyrighted works.

The content creation industry is generally responding to this widespread "threat" by trying to purchase legislation that specifically preserves their business model. Either they do not want to embrace new technologies and figure out how to profit from them, or they are just lazy, or whatever... but the upshot is that they believe that they have a right to profit, and that it is moral to buy legislation in their favor. Some citizens and government officials believe this as well, and support such legislation, either because they REALLY believe it's wrong, or because they've been bought off by media companies.

Depending on your political views, you may or may not support the idea of direct interference in an industry by the government, for purposes of "saving" that industry. I personally believe the following: A free-market economy is generally a good thing, but if left completely unregulated, it will lead to severe abuse by the most powerful entities in the economy. Certain governmental measures are warranted, in order to prevent such abuse. Rescuing a faltering industry can be warranted, but it depends on the particular instance. If privately owned utility companies (power and water) are faltering and cannot easily be saved by the market, it is acceptable for the government to intervene -- if those companies disappear, millions of citizens may be left without water or power for extended periods of time, which is not acceptable.

However, the content creation industry is not so critical. For one thing, they do not have localized monopolies -- if I live in Westwood (a suburb of Los Angeles), I don't have any option for who provides my water and power. I get it from the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (yes, we make our own power, so no rolling blackouts for us!). If they go under and cannot provide power, then there is no way (aside from moving, which isn't feasible for hundreds of thousands of families to do at once) for me to get water and power until someone replaces the DWP. However, I can get music from numerous companies -- any of the big media conglomerates will have their music available for sale in numerous stores in the area, many of which are owned by different companies. If one (or five, or half) of the music companies goes out of business, I can still get music. Even if all music stores and companies went out of business simultaneously, I would still have all the music I had ALREADY purchased, and could listen to that while new music companies and stores were formed. (Unlike electricity, which you can't really store up in significant quantities.)

Essentially, industries which meet a certain limit of criticality are GENERALLY acceptable targets for government intervention when necessary, but of course that depends on exactly what the situation is. Trying to apply the same rules to everything, all the time, is stupid.

If the content industries can't hack it with their current business models, it will not significantly hurt anything for them to have to adapt -- even if some of them end up going out of business. It makes no sense to attempt to cripple the pace of technology and social development so that a few (relatively small) companies can survive. (By relatively small, I mean, for example, taht General Motors grosses more money in a year than all the music and film companies... COMBINED.)

Well, that's enough rambling for now. Hopefully this will inspire some creative thought in readers. :)

The lost art of reading (1)

r_barchetta (398431) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525823)

What part of "Unauthorized reproduction of this recording is prohibited by Federal law and subject to prosecution" is not clear?

You might want to make mp3s of all your albums, but that doesn't mean you authorized to. Now, honestly, the RIAA probably does not care if we space-shift music. I mean, once you buy the CD, does it really matter to them if you listen to the CD, or the mp3s you made? They already got their money.

But, there is a rather large difference between making mp3s for personal use and making said mp3s available for thousands of people to download. Or grabbing up mp3s for songs you don't have on cd.

I'd love to believe that the p2p users really are only doing it to find new music. Or because that is easier than making the mp3s yourself. And I know some of you are. But I also know that some people use it as a way to not buy CDs. This is what's gotten them all riled up. The continued abuse of the "fair use" concept. It's not like fair use isn't defined [cornell.edu] or anything. It's pretty damn clearly defined.

P2P file sharing is not fair use. It never has been.

Now, that I've gotten you all upset, I'll say that I am basically on your side. I want to be able to make mix cds. I'd use mp3s if that was practical for me. The over-reaching "solution" they have come up with is an abomination and I can only hope it blows up in their faces. And yet, it's not a-typical for how Americans think. Nor is entirely against the grains of our US-ian culture.

To boil it down: breaking the law will not convince them you are right.

Some responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in must be placed on people abusing fair use.

-r

Double edged sword (3, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 12 years ago | (#3525847)

Technology is a double-edged sword. Sometimes it helps you, sometimes it hurts. You can't just take the good without the bad.

Let me explain. A 100 years ago, when there was no concept of recordings, musicians performed in the public. Anybody who was adept enough could listen to their music, and perform it as his own a few miles down the road.

Then came the recording technology. Suddenly, a musician could be in a 1000 places at once, performing live! Wunderbar, isn't technology great? This also gave birth the recording companies.

Then came the digital music. It allowed the recording companies to make millions of identical copies of a piece of music. The industry was happier than ever, with record revenues(no pun intended).

Now, suddenly this digital revolution has turned around and bit them on the ass, with P2P, DiVX, etc. Suddenly, the recording industry wants to control the technology now.

The fact of the matter is, you don't see anybody else complaining that their livelihood is being hurt by technology! Why should there be an exception for the RIAA?

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