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Boucher's DMCRA To Get A Hearing On May 12

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the speak-up-sonny dept.

United States 305

Mr. Firewall writes "It's been a long road since Slashdot first carried the story that Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) was speaking out about the DMCA's trampling of fair-use rights. Well, his bill (HR 107) gets a hearing this Wednesday and the multi-billion-dollar music and movie industries have called out their Big Guns to stop it. This morning an urgent message from the Professional Photographers of America arrived in my inbox characterizing Boucher's bill as 'A bill that would make it impossible for photographers to protect their work' and other lies (apparently, the RIAA and MPAA have recruited the PPA into their Axis of Evil). The alert finishes by saying that 'a strong grassroots effort combined with [our] recent lobbying efforts should be enough to keep this harmful bill locked in the subcommittee ... until Congress adjourns.' Let's give these folks a little taste of the slashdot effect and do a little 'grassroots' contacting of congresscritters ourselves." Of course, you can decide only for yourself what your thoughts are on the bill.

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305 comments

Grassroots (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097196)

Time to get the lawn mower!
FS

Re:Grassroots (0, Offtopic)

Adriax (746043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097261)

Ya gotta get at the roots, not just the stalk.
Weedkiller.

huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097199)

Of course, you can decide only for yourself what your thoughts are on the bill.

I don't know how to think for myself... isn't that what /. is for?

thoughts (-1, Flamebait)

DRUNK_BEAR (645868) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097201)

I don't have any thoughts, you insensitive clod!!! (wait, this isn't a poll... oh well)

Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097204)

Figures that Slashdot would talk about a piece of proposed legislation without linking to the actual text of the bill in question...

Here's The bill's test on the Thomas system. [loc.gov] and here's the list of 15 representatives co-sponsoring the bill [loc.gov] .

Read the bill for yourself, then you can think for yourself about what it's going to do if passed.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (5, Funny)

Viceice (462967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097259)

And here's the link to the PPA for us to slashdo... i mean look at .

PPA [ppa.com]

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (2, Funny)

Sunnan (466558) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097370)

Yuck, silly flash page. Works as a slashdot-deterrent, I guess.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (-1, Troll)

packeteer (566398) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097492)

You guys aren';t going to slashdot ANYTHING by linking to it ni a post. More than 3/4 of all slashdot traffic comes from people who dont go beyond the first page. Most reador of /. dont read the comments they simply click on the link in the article.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (1)

HybridJeff (717521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097525)

Tiy si sure abou t that. From what ive notice, most readers dont read the arcticle... they just read the comments.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (1)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097567)

What article?
-N

Rep. Boucher... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097281)

looks like your typical slashdot geek :p
http://www.house.gov/boucher/pics/boucherpic.jpg [house.gov]

Looks like he also aided the early growth of the internet:

http://www.house.gov/boucher/docs/tbio.htm [house.gov]

Re:Rep. Boucher... (4, Insightful)

Kalak (260968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097467)

Consistently, every time I hear something about Rep. Boucher, I'm proud to say he's the only politician I'm actually proud to vote for. (I think he's in some kind or political party, but I don't hold it against him.) And boy does he ever look like a /. geek. I bet he doesn't get many dates with the ladies either (that's an inside joke for those who know about Rep. Boucher).

Don't just throw your support against something like the **AA. When you're given the opportuninty, throw your support *for* something. Let your representatives know that you are for something here, not just against things. It makes you feel better as a person too. Boucher gets my support every time he comes up for re-election, and is one reason I'm against term limits. He's someone I like, and I want him to stay there damn it!

(For the record, I hate a 2 party system, can't stand disliking 95% of the choices I have to vote for, etc. Discussions that follow on the nature of politics/politicians/politicial parties will be sent to /dev/null. Discussions on activision are another story.)

Wow, easy read. Read it! (4, Interesting)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097283)

I always thought there was some law that bills had to be 80 pages long and composed of unintelligible lawyer gibberish. That one is actually an easy read, and the ideas proposed are sensible.

I work in a professional photo lab and I am angling to become a professional photographer myself. AFAIC, the PPA can go fuck themselves on this one.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (2, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097473)

I've heard enough stories of people buying these things and then not being able to play them, that it just seems obvious that they should be correctly labeled since they are incompatible with some CD players.

But regardless aren't cd sales declining? I mean the prerecorded kind. This bill only applies to an old technology medium, and copy protection schemes that have proven mostly ineffectual. Might as well throw in eight track and casette labeling, as long as we are concerned with correctly labeling old technologies.

So, I agree that this makes sense and in politics it is good to fight on consistent grounds. But it seems like congress, as usual, would be a few years late to the game on this one. Or maybe after the game.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097501)

Ok, I read it. And I don't see how this bill has anything to do with digital photographs. Every reference to digital media in the bill specifies audio. IMO, the PPA can go fuck themselves.

Re:Why depend on other's readings of the bill? (2, Insightful)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097545)

As other replies said, this is an easy read. Just to sum up for the lazy, though:

Most of the text relates specifically and exclusively to audio CDs. Specifically, it will require CDs with copy protection to be labeled as such.

The last bit is more general though:

SEC. 5. FAIR USE AMENDMENTS.

(a) SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH- Subsections (a)(2)(A) and (b)(1)(A) of section 1201 of title 17, United States Code, are each amended by inserting after `title' in subsection (a)(2)(A) and after `thereof' in subsection (b)(1)(A) the following: `unless the person is acting solely in furtherance of scientific research into technological protection measures'.

(b) FAIR USE RESTORATION- Section 1201(c) of title 17, United States Code, is amended--
(1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the period at the end the following:
and it is not a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in connection with access to, or the use of, a work if such circumvention does not result in an infringement of the copyright in the work'; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
(5) It shall not be a violation of this title to manufacture, distribute, or make noninfringing use of a hardware or software product capable of enabling significant noninfringing use of a copyrighted work.

It seems this allows certain kinds of research, in addition to making it legal to use and make products that circumvent copy protection if the purpose is not copyright infringement. It seems that breaking a copy protection technology for the purposes of copyright violation is still illegal under both the DMCA and plain old copyright law (but someone correct me if I'm wrong).

I'd also like to point out (because I like to pick nits) the shortage of details in the 321 studios press release:

The DMCRA ... would re-affirm consumer fair use rights and balance the otherwise one-sided protection afforded copyright owners under current interpretations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

It would have been a simple matter to explain how the DMCRA would re-affirm fair use and balance. You'd think people these days were afraid of using concrete facts in the things they write for fear of educating their readers.

-jim

We do have an effect (5, Interesting)

jasonbrown (142035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097205)

Your letters do seem to have an effect folks. It's stopping the damn Diebold voting machines. Maybe we can pull together on this one. It is election season you know!

Re:We do have an effect (1)

Abjifyicious (696433) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097555)

I'd love to send a letter, but I'm not quite sure who I should be writing to. I know I could figure it out with a little googling, but if someone could post the relevent info it would probably help other people besides me...

Fact: *BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097207)

There is one thing we have to remember: *BSD is dying. Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sold another troubled OS. Now BSDI too is out of business, and its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS hobbyists, dabblers, and dilettantes. *BSD continues to decay, and nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time; for all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

DMCRA? (-1, Flamebait)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097208)

What is the DMCRA now? Same as the DMCA? If so, I am all for it. It protects my IP investment.

DMCRA = Digital Media Consumer Rights Act (1, Informative)

doormat (63648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097235)

nt

Re:DMCRA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097391)

rename the bill to STFU :)

mod parent DOWN (1)

Chr1s-Cr0ss (743037) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097466)

once again, we have chosen not to read any of the available links or articles.
also, he deserves negative mods for supporting the dmca ;-)

Does it really have a chance? (2, Interesting)

Drooling_Sheep (683079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097225)

I personally think that the Congressmen would not wish to consider themselves so wrong on this; however, if the DMCA has an expiration date on it (like some legislation), there might be a chance of letting it lapse. Also, I think it far more likely that things such as signal flags and other copy protection devices have more support on the Hill.

Re:Does it really have a chance? (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097275)

The bill doesn't really appear to have anything to do with the DMCA. All it appears to do is require cds labeled as audio cds to actually be valid audio cds. This would just prohibit copy-protected cds from being advertised as audio cds.

How is this news? (And since when did Congress rule on the labling of individual products...A thought the government was designed that the Legislative branch set out the outline, and the Executive branch carried out the details.....And this seems like a detail...)

Re:Does it really have a chance? (5, Informative)

Drooling_Sheep (683079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097282)

The full text says that people now could break DRM for non-infringment uses.

Re:Does it really have a chance? (5, Interesting)

Kalak (260968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097544)

I've been asked to perform what could be considered DCMA prohibited activities for *my job* and in the name of *fair rights*. I work for an educational instution, and we have been contacted by an instructor who wants to use a part Bowling for Columbine [imdb.com] in their humanities course, delievered over the net. Since the copy the professor owns is on DVD, DCMA would have to be violated for it to be used, even within the educational use guidelines for fair use. From talking with my co-workers, one of whom owns BfC on DVD also, it's a good movie, and he's going to loan it to me next week so I can watch it. We're waiting on permission / legal advice of the school to act on this content being brought into the course. Just what I need to have added to "duties as required". Personally, I think this could be a great addition to the course, and it should be well within normal fair use guidelines. (Streaming it, so it's not easily savable, quality will be crap so it can go over a modem, and a student may want to go buy/rent the movie after discussing part of it in class.) The movie even has a Teacher's Guide! [bowlingforcolumbine.com]

Sounds like a scenerio that should be protected, not made illegal, which, since it's on DVD and Macrovisioned on VHS, it is by the DCMA - even if permission is granted we'd have to circumvent encryption to do it! But IIRC, it's distributed by Miramax, which is a division of Disney, so who know if it will be allowed.

Re:Does it really have a chance? (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097299)

The bill doesn't really appear to have anything to do with the DMCA. All it appears to do is require cds labeled as audio cds to actually be valid audio cds. This would just prohibit copy-protected cds from being advertised as audio cds.

Read further down in the text of the bill beyond the point it talks about CDs. The last section modifies Section 1201(c) of title 17, a section that got much of its content from the DMCA. Basically, it guts much of this section by specifically allowing the use and distribution of DRM-defeating software if the goal is to enable fair use that is otherwise legal.

Re:Does it really have a chance? (4, Funny)

unitron (5733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097451)

"...And since when did Congress rule on the labling of individual products..."

Gee, lemme break open a fresh deck of Luckies and think that over.

PPA sees problems with this bill that we don't (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097238)

Taking a look at the PPA's of the PPA's release...
A bill that would make it impossible for photographers to protect their work in any digital format is set for a hearing in the House on Wednesday, May 12.
It'd be still possible for photographers to protect their work using DRM. They could apply DRM until the cows come home... it's just that people would legally be able to crack their DRM in a way that's presently illegal. Security-by-encryption will still be around, but having security-by-law to back it up when it fails would go away. Okay, that's FUD.

Known as H.R. 107, the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act would give hackers explicit permission to distribute software and hardware devices designed to defeat copyright protection technology.
That's exactly true. Software like DeCSS would no longer be illegal to distribute, and in fact would be specifically authorized by this law. The PPA seems to think this is a bad thing, but that's the only problem with this claim.

Other provisions of the bill would set a dangerous precedent by making copyright owners who use anti-copying technology on music discs subject to regulation and fines from the Federal Trade Commission unless they meet extensive labeling and regulatory requirements.
That's true as well, as a CD with any sort of DRM applied to it ceases to be a "Red Book" standard CD. This law would require labeling of such non-standard CDs, and that such labels not be removed until the end consumer gets the disc. There'd be fines from the FTC if such a CD is sold without being properly labeled. Again, The PPA seems to think this is a bad thing, but that's the only problem with this claim.

In short, this is a piece of legislation that undoes some of the most offensive provisions of the DMCA, which is exactly what the "groupthink" opinion of Slashdot has wanted all along...

Re:PPA sees problems with this bill that we don't (5, Insightful)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097265)

That's true as well, as a CD with any sort of DRM applied to it ceases to be a "Red Book" standard CD. This law would require labeling of such non-standard CDs, and that such labels not be removed until the end consumer gets the disc. There'd be fines from the FTC if such a CD is sold without being properly labeled. Again, The PPA seems to think this is a bad thing, but that's the only problem with this claim.

Well if the smoking companies are forced to put warning labels on their cigarette packets, then why shouldnt there be large warnings saying this cd is protected by copying protection schemes and may be incompatible with your current cd player. If the person wants the music bad enough, then it shouldnt be a problem and wont detract from sales. Heck you see heaps of smokers still smoking despite the surgeon general's warning on the front!

Whats good for the goose, should be good for the gander as well is what is appropriate here. Sure cd's aint killing people but hey, if you dont adhere to a standard then you should be made to say so that its not the genuine thing and not dupe people into thinking otherwise

Re:PPA sees problems with this bill that we don't (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097312)

Amen brother..

Actually I think this almost mirrors deceptive marketing practices. I wonder if any of the "totaly frivilous lawsuite" lawers would take it up if the bill doesn't pass. Maybe if the corect way doesn't work we can make it happen anyways using some less then ethical ways.

Re:PPA sees problems with this bill that we don't (4, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097326)

Other provisions of the bill would set a dangerous precedent by making copyright owners who use anti-copying technology on music discs subject to regulation and fines from the Federal Trade Commission unless they meet
extensive labeling and regulatory requirements.

The PPA's notion of extensive is ridiculous. All they need to do is put on a label like copy-protected music or encrypted music - not a CD. The regulatory requirements are almost fully contained in the text of the bill and basically just require these labels. You'd think that they were being asked to provide the kind of detailed labelling required on food, or regulated the way prescription drugs are. The requirements are very modest and entirely justifiable - they just prevent consumer fraud.

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./ congresscritters? (5, Insightful)

Imoen1337 (559938) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097243)

"Let's give these folks a little taste of the slashdot effect and do a little 'grassroots' contacting of congresscritters ourselves." The problem with trying to slashdot congressmen is that writing your congressman takes a lot more effort than clicking a hyperlink. A lot fewer of us have that kind of motivation, unfortunately. Apathy, it's whats for dinner in America.

Re:./ congresscritters? (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097381)

indeed, it's a problem in america, and not just with one generation, with all of them! So lets do it. If that's not worth it, then what is???

This sentance says it all... (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097248)

From the bill's text, if it is passed this sentance would be added to the Laws of the Land:

It shall not be a violation of this title to manufacture, distribute, or make noninfringing use of a hardware or software product capable of enabling significant noninfringing use of a copyrighted work.

It's the RIAA/MPAA's nightmare and the consumer's dream... the right to defeat DRM in order to make fair use of the resulting file.

Send your representatives an email.... (4, Informative)

doormat (63648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097250)

here [protectfairuse.org]

Re:Send your representatives an email.... (1)

BlueJay465 (216717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097401)

The reality is that Email will only go so far as to swaying opinion, and the truth is, it doesn't go very far (unless the slashdot effect really works in this matter). Snail mail, fax or even calling their office on the other hand will get a LOT more mileage with your congressmen. Avoid using form letters since they will get treated more like spam, instead, write it out in your own words.

This is simply due to the fact that a member of congress has to handle physical letters (or pay a staffer to do it) and it can have much more of an impact. All is takes is a machine to sift and sort through email since it will just get forwarded to a box based on a keyword search or something of the sort.

Think of it another way: How much effort are you willing to put forth to contact your representative or senator? How much effort does the named have to put forth to actually see and listen to or even respond to your effort and opinion?

I'm afraid it will be a long time before the opposite is true.

Re:Send your representatives an email.... (2, Interesting)

gilroy (155262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097523)

Blockquoth the poster:

This is simply due to the fact that a member of congress has to handle physical letters (or pay a staffer to do it) and it can have much more of an impact.

Is this still true? I come from the postal district of the anthrax mailing. I know for some time Congresspeople stopped handling their mail, and I wonder if it's regained its cachet. Maybe faxing is the way to go...

Re:Send your representatives an email.... (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097528)

Although a call is probably best, I've heard that email is considered better than postal. Postal mail is slow, bulky, and needs to be terrorist-proofed, which backs it up and causes a hassle.

Fax, perhaps?

Re:Send your representatives an email.... (1)

BlueJay465 (216717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097569)

I've heard that email is considered better than postal.

I would be quite interested to know the source of that, please let me know.

Postal mail is slow, bulky, and needs to be terrorist-proofed

exactly, bulky is the key word there. snail mail is bulky and has weight, much more than a few bits and bytes. As for the terrorist proofing, I thought they had already figured that one out [cnn.com] .

Prolly the best measure would be to email, USPS mail and call your Rep.

Re:Send your representatives an email.... (1)

Hi_2k (567317) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097403)

I would, were it not for their spam I recieved this morning (shown here [hahns.info] )

This argument (0, Flamebait)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097264)

This argument has long since lost any credibility. There is no point at which the "Fair Use supporters" will agree to stop wholesale infringement. No amount of legislation or agreements or anything else is going to stop people from saying "well, what's to stop me from just downloading it?"

Discussion of legislation is pointless. Nobody respects the law now. Why would any new legislation change anything?

If copyright is repealed (for example) 30% of the economy vanishes overnight. Think the last recession was bad? Think the Great Depression was bad? The number of people who would lose jobs that depend on copyright, patent and trademarks is incredible.

Copyright is in need of reform, but it's academic unless the "we want it all for free" bullshit stops.

Re:This argument (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097290)

A law that nobody respects is usually an unjust or at least ill-considered law.

Re:This argument (5, Insightful)

koreth (409849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097302)

If copyright is repealed (for example) 30% of the economy vanishes overnight.

Care to back that number up? Why isn't it 10%, or 40%?

And anyway, very few people are talking about repealing copyright completely. Most anti-DMCA folks just want to roll back the relatively recent excesses of copyright law, not to scrap the entire concept (though there is of course a small minority who wants that.)

Re:This argument (0, Flamebait)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097325)

Care to back that number up?

Sure. I'll hire a couple hundred economists to write up a 600 page report that nobody will read, and people will still argue that the number is inaccurate.

Let's start with books, newspapers, advertising, radio, television, film, theatre, music, software, research, pharmaceuticals and semiconductors. All of those industries, and all the businesses that support them vanish on day one.

That's not even close to a complete list, by the way. Yeah, I'd say it's about a third.

Re:This argument (3, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097360)

What do research, pharmaceuticals and semiconductors have to do with copyrights? They use trade secrets and patents. Scrapping copyright would be a Bad Thing, but there's no need to outrageously state your case.

Re:This argument (0, Redundant)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097372)

The number of people who would lose jobs that depend on copyright, patent and trademarks is incredible.

From the original message.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097394)

That just means there's a lot of people doing stupid unnecessary jobs. Americans persistently misunderstand socialism, but the end result of automation and mechanisation means that none of us will have "jobs" in a few years, unless the americans start another world war to drag our industrial development back to early 20th cenutry levels.

Re:This argument (2, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097435)

Prefixed by "If copyright is repealed (for example) 30% of the economy vanishes overnight". What does this bill have to do with patent and trademarks?

Re:This argument (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097382)

Utter balderdash. People pay for newspapers because they want the information in convenient form on a timely basis. The time value of information is important, and I confidently predict people would pay for newspapers in the complete absence of copyright law.

And advertising? wtf? Advertising wants to spread. The opposite of copyright! (but advertisers DO want "moral right" to prevent parody - i.e. anti plagiarism, which copyright is NOT, surprisingly enough, though americans often mix the two up, unlike europe.).

Radio and television are advertising driven. Don't need copyright there (if anything, copying the programs (which are ads these days) is free advertising)). Theatre and music were around THOUSANDS of years before copyright, and almost all the acknowledged "greats" - shakespeare, mozart, etc. didn't have copyright as we understand it!.

Pharmacuticals and semiconductors are patented, not copyrighted.

Software has only been copyrightable for a couple of decades, and all the "best" software, the compsci groundwork, happened _before_ that.

Copyright is government-enforced restriction of communication, plain and simple. Governments and corporations (same thing, these days...) LOVE copyright because it gives them an exclusive right to control information flow to their benefit.

NO MORE COPYRIGHTS! TOTAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION!

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097552)

TOTAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION!


Let's start with your:

Name
Date of Birth
Current Adress
Bank Account Number
SSN
Credit Card Numbers
Expiration Dates

Re:This argument (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097419)

Let's start with books, newspapers, advertising, radio, television, film, theatre, music, software, research, pharmaceuticals and semiconductors. All of those industries, and all the businesses that support them vanish on day one.

Research? Semiconductors? Pharmaceuticals? Where do you suppose these industries are going? Companies (with a profit mission) will still invest in R&D to stay ahead of their competitors, and universities (with an educational mission) will still invest in R&D for the sake of progress.

Look at Intel-- how much money do they make by licensing copyrighted research? Little, if any-- they use (and patent) the processes they invent. And drug companies' work is also protected by patents, not copyrights. Pfizer doesn't make a dime off of licensing copyrighted content for viewing. You are aware that patents are distinct from and unrelated to copyright, yes? (I always hate to accuse people of this, but I feel like either you're trolling or you really just don't know what you're talking about...)

As for the content industries which are affected by this law, I fully agree that copyright shouldn't be repealed entirely, but I have no problem whatsoever with reverse-engineered decryption software being made legal once again, since I know lots of people that use it to enable legitimate fair use as defined in the Sony supreme court ruling, and not a single person who uses it to illegally crack and copy movies.

Re:This argument (1, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097433)

Companies (with a profit mission) will still invest in R&D to stay ahead of their competitors, and universities (with an educational mission) will still invest in R&D for the sake of progress.

No they won't. They can't sell what they produce if any other company can simply copy their product. The price will drop to zero and all R&D will become worthless.

You are aware that patents are distinct from and unrelated to copyright, yes?

The original message mentioned patent trademark AND copyright.

Re:This argument (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097498)

Have you ever tried to copy a product? It takes time. If anything, progress will speed up, as companies start competing on product merit again and try to beat eachother to market building on competitor's previous designs.

Re:This argument (2, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097506)

progress will speed up

Progress will stop. No company will be able to justify the R&D expense.

Re:This argument (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097538)

That is rubbish. America gained its industrial might by IGNORING british patents which were causing british industry to stagnate. History has proven you wrong time and again - patents exist to protect existing companies against new innovators. New innovators would do better if patents didn't exist - patents are used by existing players in a market to bar new players from market entry by erecting barriers via cross-licensing agreements.

That is why the american empire is pushing so hard for patents to be enforced in the developing world - it is trying to protect itself against third-world innovators, just as the british empire did in its time.

Expect india, china and brazil to band together to ignore american patents and copyrights as soon as they have assembled enough nukes.

the thinkers, the doers, and the.... (2, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097537)

... middlemen. If CR (and patenting of intangibles)_ were to "vanish",or be re-severely restricted- primarily the middlemen's jobs would be in jeopardy,because that is where the bulk of the cash, or wealth, gets skimmed off --> to. The thinkers and doers would still work, because they want to, because they can,and because they have the motivation,because they are humans and not lazy, they want to be productive, and this "the industry" would evolve to a new model with more producing,much less skimming, and the wealth staying more where it belongs, with the thinkers and doers, who mostly realise they profit immensely from collaboration, but not with the middlemen. That's something that is basic, you "get it" or you don't, just generally speaking.

We had in man's history the fasted growth and most advances following the most free sharing of information and when technology making knowledge transfer virtually instantenous and pervasive.

Back when knowledge was locked up in some monks chambers and in a few closed guilds, we stayed mostly stagnant, productive change was painfully slow, and the bulk of the people alive lived in total misery and in helpless exploitation. You can't have it both ways. Some seek a return to the old ways by insisting on more and more to keep knowledge "all theirs", even though they get great benefit from millions of others work and knowledge-they tend to forget that all the time.

It's just historical data, and it's true facts. More knowledge shared, and the cheaper and faster, the better off things get.

Over all it would improve the over all wealth structure of society as a whole, not undermine it. short term, yes, some chaos, but medium and long term, nope, it would make it much better. It would force (they would be more free to do so actually) more and more people to become thinkers and doers in actual effect.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097310)

Hey, this is "Your Rights Online", aka "Warez Monkeys Online". Take your non-conformant opinions elsewhere.

However, I have to agree. Seeing the EFF get involved in MP3 Pirating issues as a "civil right" really takes a lot of their moral highground away.

Re:This argument (5, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097315)

You realize your argument is inconsistent, right? You say on the one hand that nobody respects the law with respect to copyright, and yet if copyright were "repealed", 30% of the economy would vanish overnight. If nobody respects the law now and new legislation wouldn't change anything, how does copyright law protect 30% of the economy, and how would it go away?


Yes, there will always be people copying movies, songs and software. It sucks, especially for small companies just trying to pay the bills (I feel less bad for monopolists and cartels, but that still doesn't make it okay to infringe their copyrights). The DMCA has been remarkably ineffective at preventing this. It has been remarkably effective at squelching free speech and killing off projects to promote interoperability. How long did the Linux platform suffer without proper DVD support no thanks to DMCA threat letters and legal extortion? I think we can safely say the vast majority of people just wanted DVD support to work and be Open Source, and aren't into ripping and pirating movies.


We don't need the DMCA. It fails to respect the balance between consumer rights and media producer rights, it is bad for Open Source and open technologies in general, and it disempowers us all.

Re:This argument (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097339)

You say on the one hand that nobody respects the law with respect to copyright, and yet if copyright were "repealed", 30% of the economy would vanish overnight.

They are two entirely different arguments. "Nobody" is a figure of speech referring to people who infringe. Repealing copyright would render trillions of dollars of capital in our economy worthless. The arguments refer to two different contexts.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097409)

Of course it would, but that just illustrates how much of the american economy is made-up figures the americans pulled out of their asses.

If Intellectual "property" was ignored by the rest of the nations of the earth, we'd see the world economy corrected to how it should be - China the strongest, followed by europe+russia, with america trailing a distant third.

DOWN WITH COPYRIGHT!.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097490)

DOWN WITH COPYRIGHT!.

Cool! I can take all that open source software, mod the hell out of it (like changing the program name and where it says who wrote it) and sell it without providing source to anyone else--all legal.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097516)

That's actually fine by lots of Free Software people, anyway - the point is that you should have no right to stop me implementing the same functionality as your software, or learning from its disassembly - so you shouldn't HAVE copyright law to protect your closed-source stuff. Stripped of the artificial advantage copyrighting and patenting closed-source binaries gives to you, you would rapidly exit the marketplace and open-source would dominate as it did before software became copyrightable in the early days of computing.

The GPL requires copyright law to be enforceable. But in the absence of copyright law, it would be unnecessary, according to Free Software folk like myself and RMS.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097316)

That would mean that 30% of the economy is made up bullshit. sounds accurate - and good riddance it would be. Why should ANYONE have any right to stop me passing on information? Fuck copyright fascists.

Re:This argument (5, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097354)

There is no point at which the "Fair Use supporters" will agree to stop wholesale infringement.

Well, this is woefully incorrect. Most wholesale infringement is simply not a fair use. HOWEVER, any use is capable of being a fair use; it all depends on the specific circumstances involved. So if you foreclose an entire class of use -- e.g. reproduction -- then you are necessarily trampling on fair uses. This is the problem with DRM. It is stupid, and it cannot allow fair uses through while barring infringing uses. Given that federal judges and justices have had arguments in various cases, there is no reason to believe that any stupid, mindless machine will ever be able to do a good job of this.

Of course, since you can get the bejeezus sued out of you for infringements, who gives a rat's ass? It's always an available remedy, and it's a much better one.

Nobody respects the law now. Why would any new legislation change anything?

Well, the law right now is completely unworthy of respect. No one respected prohibition. But there's considerably more respect for the laws pertaining to alcohol that we have now. It's not perfect, but then you should be smart enough to expect that there will always be a bit of illegal activity going on, and that even what we have after reforms might not be ideal either.

If copyright is repealed (for example) 30% of the economy vanishes overnight.

Followed by crazy-huge upsurges in the network, storage, and publishing industries, to whom the doors are wide open.

But most reformers aren't trying for a total repeal. I for one just want sensible copyright laws that more or less fit the contours of people's ordinary common sense anyhow (making it that less likely that people would even want to do something illegal). Shorter terms, strict formalities, more exemptions for ordinary people. It's a damn far cry from repeal.

The number of people who would lose jobs that depend on copyright, patent and trademarks is incredible.

Patents have their own problems of late, but really the patent system is very good. All it needs are some minor changes, chiefly in stricter examinations and easier burdens on challengers.

Same deal for trademarks, basically. Get rid of the recently introduced (and foolish) dilution laws, leaving things at infringement, and that's about all the reform that's needed. Again, a total overhaul is not necessary, and AFAIK not called for.

Copyright is the most fucked up of all of these, but I think you'll find that most /. posters even would support a SANE system of copyrights. Just not what we've got right now.

So stop exaggerating.

Re:This argument (0)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097400)

and publishing industries

Who is going to publish worthless information? Who is going to invest their time to produce something that is worthless and will remain worthless no matter how valuable it should be? Answer: nobody. The publishing industry ceases on day one of no copyrights.

sensible copyright laws

Fine. Would they stop wholesale flagrant infringement? I doubt it. Look at iTunes. Apple allows people to do just about anything they want with their music except put it on w4r3Z R US, and many people still invest hundreds of hours trying to find a way to crack it, with thousands cheering them on.

The argument has lost all credibility.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097488)

You're very sad, if you think people won't produce things in the absence of copyright. History has proved you wrong. Art for art's sake? Ring a bell?

The copyright apologist's arguments have lost all credibility. when a silly showgirl earns 40 million (britney) and a doctor saving hundreds of lives earns a mere 40K, something is very wrong. What is wrong is copyright law. It's time for it to go.

Re:This argument (1)

CodeSniper (744502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097524)

The publishing industry ceases on day one of no copyrights.

Even if copyright laws were repealed, most people would still buy books, read newspapers, etc. The information may be free, but most people will not instantly start reading books and the news online.

I can read the New York Times' articles online for free, but they are still operating.

There are many good tutorials on programming on the web, but there is still a sizable section for programming in most bookstores.

I fail to see how the publishing industry would fail overnight if copyright laws were repealed.

Re:This argument (1)

gilroy (155262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097534)

Blockquoth the poster:

Apple allows people to do just about anything they want with their music except put it on w4r3Z R US, and many people still invest hundreds of hours trying to find a way to crack it, with thousands cheering them on.

And millions use the software legally. Are you saying because "thousands" of people might engage in wholesale copying, we should lock everything down in a draconian information control system the likes of which even Stalin would have drooled over?

And before you whip me for extremism, my image is about as unreasonable as your contention that fixing the DMCA is the same as "repealing" copyright.

Re:This argument (4, Insightful)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097361)

Well, gee, if the law didn't deny fair use rights and treat 95% of the population as criminals, maybe people might actually respect it.

And why the heck would copyright be repealed? What a ridiculous straw man. It's even in the U.S. constitution: "Clause 8: 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;". How about making copyright laws constitutional and enforcing that "limited times" aspect?

limited copyrights (was: Re:This argument) (2, Insightful)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097560)

That's the rub -- the last court ruling on (I believe) the Sonny Bono copyright extension act type thingie essentially said that even life + XX years is "limited". Running with that logic, any copyright term that is not infinity must therefore be "limited". Wheee.

wrong argument (0, Redundant)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097445)

What are you talking about? Your post has nothing to do with the arguments here. Boucher's bill does not "repeal" copyright, and nobody seems to be defending that position here. The bill reverses some of the worst parts of the DMCA. The bill protects a user's fair use rights; "wholesale infringement" as you suggest is not legalized by this bill.

Re:This argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097559)

Sorry, but this is inevitable. What are you, some kind of child moles^H^H^H^H^H protectionist?!

Don't worry, I'm sure those people will find "knowledge worker" jobs in the food service or retail industries. I don't know what the next big thing is, but it's sure to appear real soon now.

HAHAHA (2, Funny)

FS1 (636716) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097274)

Just used their system to send an email in favor of HR 107.

Suck my balls MPAA, RIAA, and now PPA!

Just how urgent (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097289)

This morning an urgent message from the Professional Photographers of America arrived in my inbox

Was it solicited? When I get a lot of urgent unsolicited emails from Nigeria, I figure if I'm not interested, I can still help them out by giving them copies of each others email. (Sadly this sometimes clogs the small email boxes they use.)

I don't know if this would work in this case, but it might be worth a try.

They forgot something (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097307)

"A bill that would make it impossible for photographers to protect their work"

What about copyright? It'll protect their work the same as it protects the GPL and who knows what else.

Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097314)

People using PeerGuardian will not be able to go to that page.

DMC-Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097340)

What is this DMCA you speak of? I live in Canada where RIAA and it's cronies have no sway, and justice and reason win out over idiocy.

Go Canada!

Re:DMC-Wha? (2, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097408)

The court did give CRIA a legal-wedgie, but that was mainly because they were remote-controlled dummies of the RIAA. When they are finally ready to play by Canadian rules, I wouldn't expect the rematch to be as one-sided.

Re:DMC-Wha? (1)

CoolGuySteve (264277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097507)

Oh ya, so that explains this picture of our current heritage minister then? [canoe.ca]

I think the source article [canoe.ca] was originally posted on slashdot a while back.

I suspect that after the next federal electrion, fair use will get its ass kicked just as badly here as in the States. The only glimmer of hope is that the Canadian public is more wired than the US and might actually care enough to stop that from happening.

Re:DMC-Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097558)

>Oh ya, so that explains this picture of our >current heritage minister then?

>I think the source article was originally posted >on slashdot a while back.

HAHAHAHAHAHHA... the "Heritage Minister"? Hahahahah, yeah, I saw that too.

Silly Americans.

Just so you know, the "Heritage Minister" carries about as much power (in any capacity) as the Queen; which is to say *none*. Her portfolio is empty, except for this small memo:

"Things to do: 1) Take coffee break 2) Think about getting a real job 3) Take coffee break."

>I suspect that after the next federal electrion, fair use will get its ass kicked just as badly here as in the States. The only glimmer of hope is that the Canadian >public is more wired than the US and might actually care enough to stop that from happening.

I doubt it. The judges that heard the case were Liberally appointed. The Liberal Party will very likely win another term (it's 4th in a row). The Supreme Court is stacked even more heavily with Liberal Justice's; odds they're going to overturn such the ruling made in the lower courts? Slim to none.

YAY CANADA!

OT: USA's Political System (2, Interesting)

F13 (9091) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097358)

sorry to be off-topic, but does anyone have any good links on how the American policial system works, who has what powers. These debates that involve congressmen and sub-committees are all very interesting, but for an outsider it can sometimes be difficult to understand.

If that's your goal... (3, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097366)

PPA believes that a strong grassroots effort combined with its recent lobbying efforts should be enough to keep this harmful bill locked in the subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection until Congress adjourns.

That's a sign of trouble right there. The PPA's goal is to see Congress lock this bill in committee. That's a legislative tactic to defeat a bill by having the comittee that's been assigned the bill simply never submit a report, which denies the full House any chance to debate or vote on the bill unless there is no objection to the House substituting a favorable report to make up for the comittee's inaction. Death-by-inaction is a way to get rid of a bill you don't like without having to actually make a "nay" vote that goes on the record.

However, this May 12 hearing is not something people supporting that outcome want to see. It's even very possible that the vote to favorably recommend the bill to the full House may come out of this session...

Re:If that's your goal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097462)

Quick! Hook funding of kidney machines for the blind orphans to this bill. No one will want to look bad by opposing it.

Defiance is better (3, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097377)

Alot of times, when a system goes to hell, peoples first instinct is to try and 'force it' to work. After all, it took so much to set up - it would be such a waste. But I think things are different here. The system is stacked against us, and the right to copy openly available information freely exists inspite of government coercion, not because of it.

The freedom restrictions caused by copying monopolies are far more effectively addressed by defiance, encryption, and p2p.

Oh, and so is priavcy (2, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097474)

OK, I know it's bad form to repy to my own post. But every time defiance is sugested as a solution - someone else relpies and says something like "... self centered childish teens that would rather steal than ask mommy for the money to buy a cd ... ", I swear, it's true, or they say something like "... with civil disobedience you have a duty to accept whatever punishment the system dishes out ...(or youre just greedy coward - is often on)"

So let me just address it now. First off, in the information age it is no longer a copyright issue, it is a free speech issue, because there is no technology that naturally distinguish between free speech content and copyright content. Second, did Harriet Tubman deserve to be punished for forming the underground railroad, should she have gracefully accepted whatever punishment that came to her, should society have gracefully accepted her almost certain death penalty if she were caught because she knew it was against the law and did it anyhow? Just think about it ....

I can't believe this is modded "Insightful." (1)

vyrus128 (747164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097515)

Here we have a _golden opportunity_ to change the law to favor the consumer, and argoff here wants us to turn it down and break the law instead! Why? There's no law (no pun intended) that says we have to choose one or the other -- defiance is fine when that's the only route we've got, but refusal to even _try_ to change the law demonstrates only a childish arrogance.

I knew someone would say that (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097548)

....but refusal to even _try_ to change the law demonstrates only a childish arrogance ....



Why should people jump thru pre staged hoops, like a dog, when a run arround is simply more effective. You should read my reply to my reply - the about Harriet Tubman. Here too defiance causes more change then participation.

Decide without understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097389)

Whoever makes an immediate decision without reading the DMCA in full and the 107 bill is a fucking idiot.

distributes mirroring anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097446)



wget -m http://capwiz.com/ppaworld/issues/alert/?alertid=5 773461&type=CO >/dev/null

ahh I love the flow of data into my system hehe

PPA, what do they have to do with this? (4, Interesting)

Chr1s-Cr0ss (743037) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097455)

After reading the entire text, i have to say i have no clue why a photographers association would have anything to do with this. Pretty much the entire thing is about mislabelled CDs.
The only thing that might pertain to photographers is the section about fair use:

SEC. 5. FAIR USE AMENDMENTS. (a) SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH- Subsections (a)(2)(A) and (b)(1)(A) of section 1201 of title 17, United States Code, are each amended by inserting after `title' in subsection (a)(2)(A) and after `thereof' in subsection (b)(1)(A) the following: `unless the person is acting solely in furtherance of scientific research into technological protection measures'. (b) FAIR USE RESTORATION- Section 1201(c) of title 17, United States Code, is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the period at the end the following: `
and it is not a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in connection with access to, or the use of, a work if such circumvention does not result in an infringement of the copyright in the work'; and (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: `(5) It shall not be a violation of this title to manufacture, distribute, or make noninfringing use of a hardware or software product capable of enabling significant noninfringing use of a copyrighted work.'.

Not coincidentally, this is my favorite part of the bill.

Write your representative! (3, Informative)

vyrus128 (747164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097458)

If you support this bill, please do what I just did and write your representative [house.gov] ! If you don't, perhaps you should read it more carefully [loc.gov] , instead of relying on others' representations about it; I suspect you'd change your mind. There is absolutely nothing objectionable in this bill, if you don't make copy-protected CDs or object to fair use...

Notes:
If you're not sure what to write, you can start with my letter [nerdnet.org] to my congresscritter.
If the bill link above stops working (Thomas doesn't seem to like direct-linking bills), just go to Thomas [loc.gov] and enter bill number HR107.

Re:Write your representative! (1)

Temfate (753891) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097550)

Thank you for posting this, for those of us who like to be lazy and who only enforce the slashdot effect by point and click, you've saved the day!

The View From Washington (2, Insightful)

Illix (772190) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097460)

I'll definitely try to get the word out to anyone I know around this strangely-company town; but I have known a few Congresscritters and the main reason that I've found for so much FUD and "copyright protection" law being passed is that most of the people elected don't understand what they're making a law against.

Let's face it: they know a lot of things, but some of them are lucky if they can get Microsoft Word to start up. A sufficient amount, especially the ones without much seniority or facing tough election campaigns, are going to go with what big-money associations such as the RIAA and MPAA say because they a: don't see why it's worth it to fight such powerful lobbying groups and b: are only being provided information by one side.

So the long-term solution might be two-fold: a little lobbying of our own, in terms of presenting our side of the argument and why it's worth the blood and sweat programmers pour into it; and some basic coursework in Internet 101.

More Information (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097461)

Actually, you may find more information about this matter from a activist website, such as The Weird Network,Which can be found here [weirdnetwork.com] .

Lobbyists bad (1)

svenvder (778211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097531)

Maybe I'm just old fashioned or naive but i think that congressmen should vote the way that they feel is right. If we as people don't like this then we'll boot them out come election time. Now back to lobbyists I know that technically all they're supposed to do help "persuade" the lawmakers to their side. Now you would have to be incredibly naive to think that no money or other "services" are being exchanged. Which brings me to my point if these bigwig companies need lobbyists then maybe what they're doing is wrong, and they know it. So therefore i hope these lawmakers ignore the lobbyists and vote the way they feel they ought to.

DMCRA strengthens DMCA in a good way (4, Informative)

Aire Libre (603106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097561)

An interesting analysis of the DMCRA [interactionlaw.com] argues that the DMRCA strengthens the DMCA -- but in a good way.
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