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DMCA Creator Admits Failure, Blames RIAA 239

Posted by Zonk
from the how-to-make-friends-and-influence-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "DMCA architect Bruce Lehman has admitted that "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well" and "our attempts at copyright control have not been successful". Speaking at conference in Montreal (video at 11:00), Lehman lay much of the blame at the feet of the recording industry for their failure to adapt to the online marketplace in the mid-1990s."
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DMCA Creator Admits Failure, Blames RIAA

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  • by Travoltus (110240) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @08:58AM (#18469823) Journal
    I most certainly forgive you.

    To err is human, to apologize and publicly shoot one's own demonic brainchild in the foot is divine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jeremy_hogan (587864)
      > To err is human, to apologize and publicly shoot one's own demonic brainchild in the foot is divine.

      His recalcitrance doesn't repeal the law. The purpose of the system is what it does, and the purpose of his "demonic brainchild"--whatever it was originally--has become to allow the RIAA to bludgeon whomever they'd like. So whatever the RIAA has done with his baby, it's still his fault for spawning it.

      --jeremy
      • Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FatSean (18753) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:51AM (#18470463) Homepage Journal
        I was complaining to my congresspeople about the potential abuses of this law, long before it was signed into law. This jackass ignored a multitude of experts and bought the corporate line. To your hell with this guy, he's an even bigger bitch for trying to skate on his responsibility.
      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:12AM (#18470607) Homepage Journal

        What a load of crap.

        The RIAA hasn't used, for the most part, the DMCA. The two central tools the DMCA gave groups like those the RIAA represents were a legal backing to DRM (the laws against circumventing Access Control Mechanisms), and a set, established, procedure for taking down content hosted by third parties.

        Well, which have the RIAA used? In the former case, "DRM" used by RIAA members has tended to be of the kind of thing that isn't an Access Control Mechanism or a Copy Control Mechanism, instead a "Use bugs in certain popular CD driver implementations to make it easier to use the publisher's own special music software which causes all kinds of problems" variety. The RIAA and its members could, in the late nineties, have settled on an encrypted music format, just as the movie industry did with DVDs, and phased out CDs, but they didn't, and so their ability to use the DMCA to fight piracy was limited.

        (I might add I'm glad they didn't, because DVD CSS has proven only to be a burden to non-pirates, not pirates who copy it anyway. But the point remains that the DMCA is utterly irrelevent to the RIAA actions. The RIAA has never seriously tried to make use of the DRM related parts of the DMCA.)

        Then there's the take-down system the DMCA provides. Has the RIAA and its members made serious attempts to exploit this? Well, no, because they couldn't. The way the DMCA is worded means it doesn't really apply to distributed systems like the old Napster, and would, indeed, be toothless even if you could make it apply to Napster. So they've been unable to use it at all.

        So my question is: why are the words "RIAA" and "DMCA" being used in the same article? One might "criticize" (because, like, we'd all have been better off if the music industry had forced us to buy our music again for the umpteenth time, this time on encrypted DVD-Audio or something. Yeah. Right.) them for not making use of the DMCA, and thus the DMCA not helping them, but the implication they tried to, but it wasn't enough because of their business model or something is complete crap.

        The movie industry has made use of the DMCA, in both areas. DVDs were encrypted, much to the detriment of legitimate end users, and take down notices against groups like YouTube are frequent. If the DMCA is a failure, it should probably be measured on how much it has benefited the movie industry, without causing harm to the entire electronics industry, the customers of the movie industry, and other unrelated third parties. I think any reasonable person can call it a failure on the basis of all of these criterion.

        • by WiseWeasel (92224) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:46AM (#18470855)
          "The RIAA and its members could, in the late nineties, have settled on an encrypted music format, just as the movie industry did with DVDs, and phased out CDs, but they didn't..."

          You seem to be forgetting SACD and DVD-Audio, both heavily-laden with DRM. The market rejected them in favor of regular Audio CDs, and I would say the presence of DRM was an important factor in this rejection, since geeks knew to stay far away from those formats. DVDs were successful due to the drastic improvement in convenience and picture quality over VHS, despite the DRM. BluRay and HD-DVD won't have it so easy since they're not such a drastic improvement over DVDs as DVDs were to VHS, combined with the rise in popularity of electronic distribution in favor of shipping shiny discs... I guess my point is that DMCA or no, content distributors seem to have forgotten on which side their bread is buttered.
          • No, I'm not forgetting them, as even the most cursory read of the sentence you quoted would have made obvious. If I had forgotten them, the words "settled on" and "and phased out CDs" wouldn't have been there.

            The music industry looked at two competing formats and barely supported either, instead continuing to support the unencrypted CD format. As I said, the RIAA and its members could, in the late nineties, have settled on an encrypted music format, just as the movie industry did with DVDs, and phased ou

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by shaitand (626655)
              'As I said, the RIAA and its members could, in the late nineties, have settled on an encrypted music format, just as the movie industry did with DVDs, and phased out CDs, but they didn't.'

              Yes it isn't the content producer that chooses what format to settle on and whether they can phase out the old. Its the market. Even the music industry can't just drop a new format in place, they have to phase it in. If nobody buys your new encrypted format but they are still buying cd's then there is no money for the mass
          • by OmegaBlac (752432) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:24PM (#18471121)

            You seem to be forgetting SACD and DVD-Audio, both heavily-laden with DRM. The market rejected them in favor of regular Audio CDs...
            More like the market (the public in large) never was aware of SACD and DVD-Audio or saw no real value it buying those 2 formats over regular old compact discs; drm had little or nothing to do with the failure of those two previously mentioned formats.
          • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:37PM (#18471221) Homepage Journal

            DVDs were successful due to the drastic improvement in convenience and picture quality over VHS, despite the DRM.
            VCRs had as much DRM as DVDs by then.
            • I assume you're referring to Macrovision. Macrovision was easily removed by a $30 device. Of course, CSS is easily disabled by free software, so I'm not sure that either really did anything for the content producers.
            • by Mr2001 (90979)
              Not quite. A VCR doesn't prevent you from fast-forwarding over the commercials and FBI notices at the beginning of the tape.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by evilviper (135110)

            DVDs were successful due to the drastic improvement in convenience and picture quality over VHS, despite the DRM. BluRay and HD-DVD won't have it so easy since they're not such a drastic improvement over DVDs as DVDs were to VHS,

            Yeah, VHS to DVD was a HUGE 3X improvement, while DVD to HighDef is a MEASLY 6X improvement.
            • by orcrist (16312) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:06PM (#18475619)

              Yeah, VHS to DVD was a HUGE 3X improvement, while DVD to HighDef is a MEASLY 6X improvement.


              Wait a sec... are you calculating the amount of improvement by just comparing the resolutions differences in the formats? You can't possibly be that simple -- can you? Or do you not remember what it was like to watch VHS? Picture quality was a distant 4th place or lower in my list of things that made DVDs better than videocassette.

              1. Do you remember rewinding/fast-forwarding? I mean I hate having to wait for that FBI shit (when watching on my consumer device, as opposed to e.g. Linux where it's not a factor) but that's still quicker than when I would have to rewind the tape because I forgot to the last time.
              2. Do you remember how quickly even the best tape would degrade and streeeeetch in certain spots, especially for those favorite parts of a movie which you wanted to see again (this is especially nice for musical stuff: "Blues Brothers" anyone?).
              3. Do you remember having to fast-forward to that certain funny scene to watch it or show it to a friend ("wait just another minute; it's almost there").
              4. Do you remember lugging around a whole video recorder and TV with you, so you could watch a flick on the train.... wait a sec: we couldn't do THAT at all!
              5. Do you remember how much room all those cassettes took up in even a moderately-sized collection.
              6. Do you remember being not being able to choose whether to have subtitles on for a foreign language film, and being able to switch the subtitles... even to the language of the film, e.g. for just a little help understanding the language, while still forcing your brain to practice/learn that language. My wife does this with English language films since her English isn't *quite* good enough to follow a fast, spoken dialog, but she can get by if the words are also being shown; for the really difficult parts she can rewind and switch to German or Hungarian subtitles for just that scene.

              Oh, and:
              7. The picture and sound are significantly better than cassettes. Presumable 3X better according to your calculations.

              That's just off the top of my head. I'm not sure how to quantify 1-6 since they were essentially 0 before and 1 after, meaning infinitely better numerically-speaking.

              Then we have DVD -> High Def:
              1. Significantly better picture and sound (6x presumably, according to your calculations)
              and.....
              ummmmmm.....
              What was number 2?

              I'm sorry I just don't see what the big deal is. I mean, sure all other things being equal, I'm sure I'll like the whole high-def thing better than the 'legacy' DVD, but frankly It's not going to revolutionize my movie-watching experience; it's an upgrade nothing more. To use the tried-and-true car analogy:

              VHS -> DVD = Horse and Buggy -> Modern car = revolution

              DVD -> High def = Toyota -> Porsche = upgrade (an expensive one at that), but just a matter of degree.

              But I'm thinking you weren't around for the horse-and-buggy days of home video, to have made the statement you did :-P

              -chris
        • by jZnat (793348) *
          Didn't the DMCA make non-commercial copyright infringement a criminal offence?
          • If you mean, did it make fair use illegal, I'd say no. It just made fair use potentially impractical, because trafficking in the tools to remove encryption became illegal.
        • "Critereon", single.
          "Criteria", plural.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think he's sorry he did it, I think he's sorry it didn't work.
    • by Skevin (16048)
      But I seem to recall some proverb here about a horse leaving a barn? Maybe a genie being back in the bottle?

      Solomon
  • Finally!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ptbob (737777)
    Could it be possible that somebody has come out of their hole and realized that they were wrong on this whole DMCA mess?? Now, how long will it be before the RIAA comes around and changes their attitude on downloading music?
  • by octalgirl (580949) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:06AM (#18469851) Journal
    We may have a long way to go, but it is worthwhile to take notes on this now, so when the FTC request for public comment [copyright.gov] regarding the DMCA happens again in 2009, we will be ready.
  • Passing the buck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:07AM (#18469855)

    Lehman lay much of the blame at the feet of the recording industry for their failure to adapt to the online marketplace

    That's rich. The RIAA can't make law. The RIAA aren't charged with doing what's best for the USA public. That's your job, and you failed miserably at it. You can't fuck over the public because a corporation told you to, and then blame the corporation. It's your fault for listening to them instead of the public in the first place. The RIAA could "fail to adapt" a million times over and it still wouldn't make it any less your fault for pandering to them.

    • Re:Passing the buck (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Checkmait (1062974) <byron AT phareware DOT com> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:24AM (#18469913)

      It's your fault for listening to them instead of the public in the first place

      I have to say I agree.... Congress isn't exactly intended to represent the RIAA. And now that they've gone down that path and realized it was a mistake, they want to blame the RIAA?

      That makes even less sense because it was clearly in the RIAA's best interest to promote the DMCA and that's why they pushed it so hard. In the end, even the RIAA has a right to lobby Congress (for all their other faults). It is entirely Congress, and more specifically Lehman's, fault that this happened and that everything got screwed up (and that it hurt the American public so much).

      You know, this reminds me of the fact that in the 1920s, the politicians passed laws which only helped really large, often shady corporations. What ensued was the Great Depression....

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sure, they screwed this up but their deregulation of the radio industry worked out so well....for a few corporations.

      And the War on Drugs (read marijuana) that they kicked into gear in the 90's and has netted 750,000 pothead arrests a year since ahs worked out well. The prison lobby, police and drug testing and rehab fields are booming.

      Yup, dem dems did real well for their friends.
      Now tell me the story about how both parties are somehow different and are not in the pockets of lobbyists and multinationals:
      I
      • by aurispector (530273) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:58AM (#18470115)
        Hooooray! Someone gets it right for a change!

        The US government/constitution had two things going for it that are now in the toilet. The first was an independent press to expose wrongdoing. Since giant corporations control the media what we get as "news" is now heavily filtered. The second is the ability to vote out bad leaders. Since the political process is controlled by political parties that are two sides of the same coin, funded by the aforementioned giant corporations, we don't really get a choice as to who we elect or what the so-called "issues" are. Pretty much the same thing is happening in europe.

        Bottom line: as the western governments squabble over which corporation gets to screw the most people, the chinese are slowly and carefully assuming real power in the world.

        Welcome to the dawn of the totalitarian era.
        • Hooooray! Someone gets it right for a change!

          Remember who got it wrong. From the artice, the DMCA is from the Clinton Administration. Let's not do that again.
          • Also remember which grand old party controlled Congress and the Senate at the time. Both parties are complicit, denying that shows either ignorance or partisan foolishness.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          The US government/constitution had two things going for it that are now in the toilet. The first was an independent press to expose wrongdoing. Since giant corporations control the media what we get as "news" is now heavily filtered.

          Here in the real world - we've never really had a truly independent press. They've always been beholden to their advertisers. The situation now for the mass media is truly better than it was - as little as thirty to forty years ago they were also much more heavily beholden to

    • by pavon (30274) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:35AM (#18470763)
      Note that he never actually said that he thought that the goals or methods of the DMCA were a bad idea and never apologized to the public for passing it - he simply pointed out that it failed to achieve those goals. In other words, his repeated attempts to pander to the RIAA failed because the RIAA members refused to help themselves.
  • by Sodade (650466) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:07AM (#18469857)
    An open Letter to the RIAA

    What follows is a short history of my economic experience of music and a simple business model for the labels to recapture my wallet:
    Back in the old days, when I had my first CD player, I went out and replicated my sizable record collection at $12-$13 a pop (note that I lived in Berkeley, which was blessed with two awesome non-chain retailers - Rasputins and Ameoba) - this took all of my struggling-student-with-no-loans spare cash. Over the course of a year, I bought 80+ CDs. It sucked hard, but I hated records and tapes (no vinyl nostalgia for me). Back then, the rumor was that the price of CDs was inflated to cover the cost of retooling manufacturing and would come down below record prices because they were cheaper to make.

    Five years later, the prices didn't go down and my 200+ CD collection was stolen from my ghetto apartment. I was literally in tears. That was more than $2500 and I was still pretty poor due to the early 90s recession. The upside was that stolen CDs were valuable because there was a budding used CD market in the Bay Area. Once Rasputins & Ameoba started selling used CDs in quantity, I stopped buying new CDs altogether. This is early 90's and I already dropped out of the label's direct market. Here I was, a 20-something kid that was so in love with music that I would spend the better part of my expendable cash on CDs and I dropped right off their books because I could buy "Nevermind" for $9 if I waited a month after it came out.

    Funny thing is that I started making serious money. I still wouldn't buy new CDs. I was used to paying $6-9 and there was no way I could go back. I probably missed out on a lot of music, because I was limited to what college kids would buy and return.

    Then came burners - I spent many hours burning all of my friends CD collections. Shortly thereafter came MP3s. I was already pirating software on the FTP scene (another economic lesson to be learned for the SW companies, but I'm not gonna stray there), so suddenly, I'm not even buying used CDs anymore.

    So where does this leave us? Well, I'm in my late 30s, make 6figs, and I like a huge variety of musical genres. I could spend $100 a month on music and not bat an eye, but I don't. The labels have alienated me. I virulently despise them, but I am a music addicted consumer. If they offered me something that had value to me, I would embrace the bastards with loving arms.

    So, what can they do for me that would convince me to give them my money again? Simple:

    A reasonable service at a reasonable price. Look to the Russian sites. I select the quality and pay a reasonable price for it. The bottom line here is that I'll pay up to 4 bucks for a CD encoded at 256k VBR with no obnoxious DRM crap - no less quality and no more money.

    Give me FTP access to a full catalog (all labels in one place)of high quality, verified, DRM-free and properly tagged MP3s. How much would I be willing to pay for this? Figure 2-4 bucks for 10 songs. That's $.20 - .40 a song. Bill me based on bandwidth - that's 5-10 cents per MB (assuming an average of 4min songs). The only real limit to my spending at this price is the availability of good music - better go find some talented new artists fast!

    Ease my conscious - I admit it, I feel bad for screwing the artists by downloading mp3s off Russian websites. The problem is, they are already getting so screwed by the labels. It's kinda like buying Nikes - hard to say whether it helping the poor little Indonesian kid or not. Besides, the less that people give the labels, they less they have to offer the artists who should really all jump ship anyway. I buy Timberland clothes 'cause they make a big deal about how their sweatshops are less satanic than others. Treat the artists well so I don't feel bad about promoting your exploitation of them. Tax the superstars a bit to feed the starving artists - music should be a middle class profession.

    This would keep me from downloading music "illegally" - I prom
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SlayerDave (555409)
      While I have no love for the RIAA, I also have absolutely no sympathy for the views expressed in your post. Basically your "argument" goes like this:

      1) You were poor in the 1990s, buying CDs at retail price, but discovering cheaper used CD prices.
      2) You soon refuse to pay higher retail prices, but are still willing to buy used CDs.
      3) You, for unspecified reasons, develop a taste for software piracy.
      4) Morally comfortable with piracy in general, you move on to music piracy.
      5) You would be willing
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:35AM (#18470341)
        How spelled out do you need a person to make his statements for you so that you can understand a simple letter? He shouldn't have to put his thoughts into PowerPoint slides to give nerds the ability to figure them out.

        1) CDs are of no greater value new at the $12-$15 price to him than they are used at the $6 price. This is the fulcrum of his entire argument. If he accepted the price of new CDs because they were set at that point to help overcome starting costs for a new medium, why should he accept it after the medium is fully adopted?

        2) He found other means of getting songs and shows that he knows it isn't right but that he is also willing to spend money on them if they were delivered in a way that reflected the value he has set in his own purchasing already.

        3) He proposed a reasonable system to meet his value with their product and that's a very helpful data point for any company. They try to set their prices at a place that will capture their core audience. (ignore the iPhone, Apple knows they pwnzor joo)

        If you're confused as to how the RIAA could be blamed for any of the reasons he stated, implied, or possibly could have had for his decisions, you really should hand over your Slashdot account to someone who actually reads this site. It is practically the primary theme of any music-related post. Look up what a "meme" is and you're questions will all be answered. And don't worry, he does NOT need to spell out why the RIAA is at fault to the RIAA itself. Using logic is always your first mistake when dealing with hegemonic a-holes.
        • 1) CDs are of no greater value new at the $12-$15 price to him than they are used at the $6 price. This is the fulcrum of his entire argument.

          Certainly - but where his argument fails is when he uses it as a justification to steal rather than as a reason for not buying the music. There is a vast difference between the two positions.

          2) He found other means of getting songs and shows that he knows it isn't right but that he is also willing to spend money on them if they were delivered in a wa

    • by inflamez (885475) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:17AM (#18470231)
      Very interesting comment and I completely agree with your view on how the music industry needs to adept to consumers needs. The situation here in Europe (Switzerland) where I live is the same as in the USA. Even though the RIAA does not have such a strong influence here (yet) you still feel and experience their less then consumer friendly way of doing business. (radio stations playing the same songs over and over, CD stores with 1000 copies of some over-hyped band but not one alternative / unsigned group, etc.)

      Normally I am not one to promote any online stores, but I think you might enjoy cdbaby.com. They currently have a 5$ per CD sale, mostly unsigned and unknown bands but absolutely great music from many different genres and you get the physical media which you may rip / encode to your liking. No DRM, no copy protection, ... They also have a very interesting and simple business model, which makes groups like the RIAA obsolete. Worth a read even if you don't plan to buy any CDs there, it really opened my eyes how the music business can be both, commercially viable and still leave enough room for indie / alternative bands.

      Disclaimer: I do not work for this store, I am just a happy customer. And pleeez excuse ze bad English, I normally talk German or French.
    • Burning a CD of songs for my friends is fucking fair use to me.

      Think about that for a minute. You've got such a convenient way to rationalize this:

      but that is usually stuff that they wouldn't have bought anyway.

      You sound as if you're nothing more than a spoiled child, screaming that "it's not fair" that you can't get what you want. Then you're attempting to justify it on economic (not moral or ethical) grounds. Think about how this could be abuse. Consider a philanthropist deciding that all relatives, in-laws, co-workers, and so forth are "friends" and that the entire population of Berkeley were really just extended "friends"

      • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:41PM (#18471253) Journal

        Burning a CD of songs for my friends is fucking fair use to me.
        Think about that for a minute. You've got such a convenient way to rationalize this:

        And where I live, it is LEGAL. I have 20 gigs worth of MP3s, all legally downloaded from P2P networks, ripped from CDs borrowed from friends or the public libraries.

        And the best thing is that it allows me to do my little part to destroy those big music companies, all legally.

        • by Kjella (173770)
          Well, the method described in your sig link certainly isn't legal. In order to have fair use you must own a copy in the first place. Signing up for Napster's subscription service, then making permanent copies of it is a contract violation, plain old copyright violation and whatever copies you make from an illegal copy are illegal as well. In the US it's a DMCA violation, in the EU a EUCD violation on top of that. But if your interpretation of legal is "I can get away with it", knock yourself out.
      • by DannyO152 (544940)

        Making a mix tape for friends, relatives and loved ones should be fair use, as far as I'm concerned, and I don't really see that as a slippery slope. You ask what happens to those cds, well, if I'm any indication, they get listened to once or twice and are thrown in a closet where they stay until it's time to move. (Though, despite the languishing in the closet, some of the music on the mix tapes led to purchases.)

        I also think it should be fair use to stream, a la radio broadcasting, a program of music and

      • by Mr2001 (90979)

        I want to make a difference, so I'd simply and respectfully ask that you keep your twisted view of the world of copyrights to yourself, for now, and let those of us who understand and respect the laws to put up the good fight on your behalf.

        On the contrary, the "twisted view" of copyrights is the one enshrined into law. The one that says that if you're the first person to come up with a particular string of bits, then you "own" it, you're the boss of those bits essentially forever (relative to the human lifespan), and you're morally entitled to silence anyone else who communicates those bits to anyone else without your permission.

        Copyright law doesn't deserve respect. If you want help with your fight, then fight a better fight: the one agains

      • justify it on economic (not moral or ethical) grounds.
        Capitalism is built on economics, not morality. In a capitalistic society, such an argument is more valid than a touchy-feeling 'do the right thing' argument.
      • I'm trying to keep this from being personal, but it's people like you who cause people like me to lose credibility when fighting for actual reasonable fair use.

        I've been saying that off-and-on here on Slashdot for years. The biggest obstacle to obtaining actual reasonable fair use is assholes like the OP (who are in a majority on Slashdot) who define fair use as "mine, mine, mine" - like a petulant four year old.
        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          I've been saying that off-and-on here on Slashdot for years. The biggest obstacle to obtaining actual reasonable fair use is assholes like the OP (who are in a majority on Slashdot) who define fair use as "mine, mine, mine" - like a petulant four year old.

          And I've been saying it for years here on slashdot that the real problem is ignorant folk like you who have bought the [RIAA/MPAA/etc] party line and don't realize that these artifacts of our common culture are indeed "ours, ours, ours". The songs and stories, once shared with the public, belong to all of us. It is only an artifice of government that permits them reserve an artificial monopoly on copying, and it's an act of evil that they've extended this supposedly limited time monopoly into effective per

    • by nuzak (959558)
      > Look to the Russian sites. I select the quality and pay a reasonable price for it.

      Yeah, I paid a pretty reasonable price for the stereo sold out of the back of this one guy's truck. You know damn well what you're doing. The RIAA is no saint, but you're in no position to pin this one on them.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:13AM (#18469873) Homepage Journal
    "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well"

    Considering that Orrin Hatch (R-Idiot-Utah) wrote the damn bill.

    Republicans are best at passing the buck, they take responsibility for nothing. EVER.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Republicans are best at passing the buck, they take responsibility for nothing. EVER.
      What?! Come on... seriously...

      I make a point of not being political - politics makes people stupid. It does. I am certainly NOT a Republican.

      Passing the buck? What is the biggest issue of all that is the locus of hatred of Republican policy in this day? Iraq.

      Who voted for it? Which party (that voted for it) now tries to jockey with one another over how "anti-war" they are? Joe Lieberman (one time Vice Presidential candidate
      • by nagora (177841)
        The Party ostracizes him. John Kerry, who voted for it, runs for President as "anti-war". Hillary Clinton, who voted for it, now wants the Party nomination to run for President whilst paying lip-service to the "anti-war" crowd.

        I think this is ignoring the number of people on all sides who were fooled by the fake WMD info. Dems and Reps both believed Colin Powel's presentation to the UN, including such gems as the UK-made hydrogen trucks - with US DoD export approval - being presented as mobile WMD factori

    • by earthforce_1 (454968) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `1_ecrofhtrae'> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:06AM (#18470163) Journal

      That troll Orrin Hatch may have initiated the bill, but it was passed under Clinton's watch. I am not an american, but I do know he has something called a VETO which is pretty damned hard to override if he had used it. At very least it would have been a strong symbolic guesture of disapproval. No veto = Clinton approves.

      If you go to opensecrets.org and look at where the $$$ for both parties comes from, you will see the #1 contributor to the Democratic party is Hollywood.

    • Considering that Orrin Hatch (R-Idiot-Utah) wrote the damn bill.


      which was passed by the Clinton Administration.. Orrin Hatch get's the autorship blame. There is a lot of stuff that gets written, but doesn't get passed.
    • by shma (863063)
      That's the Democrats fault.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:22AM (#18469909)
    Well DRM has been an unmitigated failure, there isn't a single DRM system that can't be bypassed and customer hate it. But because of the DMCA anti-circumvention people are not able to publicly challenge crappy DRM by making tools for joe sixpack to break them.

    So we have the worst of all possible worlds, the makers of DRM turf around pretending that their broken DRM still works and spread fear that if a publisher releases anything without their DRM it will be instantly stolen. But their DRM is already broken!

    It's turned a simple clean purchase into a complicated 'license' where the user is getting totally screwed over.

    It's caused a massive loss of sales. All the sales they could have had if they hadn't gone the DRM route are lost. It's going to take them a long time to recover.

    It's given the luddites in the copyright industries a means to hold back time. It only takes one shortsighted Valenti to separate an entire industry from it's VHS profits.

    It's led to fake claims, a person making a DMCA takedown claim does not need to show any evidence that they are the copyright owner and because the DMCA claim is made to a third party, there is no interest in that third party ensuring the claim has even the basics of legitimacy.

    Dumb shit has been slotted in as copyright clauses, like the UK's no parallel imports, so I can't import Vista from the US, even though its half the price, because it's been made an offence under a copyright statute! Now everyone if claiming copyright to block imports of their products from cheaper markets and UK consumer is getting screwed over paying inflated prices. /rant
    • by Animats (122034)

      there isn't a single DRM system that can't be bypassed

      How's your XBox 360 emulator coming?

    • by Kjella (173770)
      It's led to fake claims, a person making a DMCA takedown claim does not need to show any evidence that they are the copyright owner and because the DMCA claim is made to a third party, there is no interest in that third party ensuring the claim has even the basics of legitimacy.

      Well, there's no real standard of evidence but there's this:

      (f) Misrepresentations. Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section
      (1) that material or activity is infringing, or
      (2) that material or activity was
    • by evilviper (135110)

      It's led to fake claims, a person making a DMCA takedown claim does not need to show any evidence that they are the copyright owner and because the DMCA claim is made to a third party, there is no interest in that third party ensuring the claim has even the basics of legitimacy.

      Now you've moved from DRM to the DMCA. And you've hit on the one single benefit of it. It's only the DMCA that makes sites like Youtube possible, as the infamous DMCA take-down notices limit legal liability to common-carriers. It'

  • "DMCA architect?" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:57AM (#18470105) Homepage
    Like most tools of Big Media, he just ripped off someone else's work, namely the English Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 [opsi.gov.uk].
  • by hhawk (26580) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:00AM (#18470133) Homepage Journal
    I loved the quote, " we are entering the "post-copyright" era for music"

    This from the guy who is head of the International Intellectual Property Institute.

    I have maintained since the late 80's that the road to the future on this issue is paying a few cents or a few dimes to verify that your copy is a good copy... and doing that direct with the labels or the bands... but some doing it with anyone they "trust."

    When street "kids" can sell a terabyte of music on a corner like they used to sell crack, then my friend, copyright for this sort of thing will be dead.

    There is one other "blame" besides the two headed griffen of DRM and bad Major Label Music, and that is the Sonny Bono Act and those acts that came before which have strenched out copyright protection so far into the future that let's be honest none of this stuff will ever see the light of the public domain; they killed public domain's cousin too, sweet little Fair Use (but then you knew that!!).
  • by sdo1 (213835) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:10AM (#18470185) Journal
    The DMCA was written to attack the issues that lobbyist were paid to attack. I'm sure their handlers conceived of the ways it would be abused. That's WHY it was written the way it was. But the onus should have been on the lawmakers to ALSO perceive the ways it could have been abused and to make sure that couldn't happen. Of course, all to many of them (most?) are in the same pockets as the lobbyists are.

    Fair use is (was) already well established doctrine. Any new law regarding any perceivable restrictions to fair use should be framed from the perspective of the end user (of the people, by the people, for the people) rather than from the perspective of the copyright holder. I BUY a DVD and it's ILLEGAL for me to rip it and put it on a server in my own home or to compress it and put it on a laptop. That's completely absurd. It's what happens when lobbyists write laws and lawmakers pass them without reading them and understanding the consequences.

    We've heard what Senator Stevens has said about technology. Can you just imagine the things that get said in those committees discussing laws like the DMCA? I can't even fathom the level of stupidity that goes on when they're discussing complex technological issues.

    -S
    • by evilviper (135110)

      I BUY a DVD and it's ILLEGAL for me to rip it and put it on a server in my own home or to compress it and put it on a laptop.

      No it isn't. Not under the DMCA, or any other law.

      The DMCA makes it strictly illegal for anyone to sell you the tools to perform that task, since they can equally be used for illegal purposes, but that's really not very different than the situation with Macrovision in the analog era.

  • by occam (20826) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @10:27AM (#18470285)
    Assuming this Bruce Lehmann is the same guy who ran the USPTO under Clinton, I seriously do not trust him. If so, he's the same guy who institutionalized software patents using a panel of self-serving lawyers, and did so in a what I consider a blatant (to me) railroad of predetermined hearings. IMO, he is pure politician, claims you can have your cake and eat it too, and uses politics not to serve the public, but to serve the legal industry. IMO, he dismisses the obvious when it matters (policy making) and now is trying to feign innocence.

    If this is USPTO Lehmann, then IMO he's a total joke, and a lackey for the legal industry to create law which taxes other industries to the benefit of... the legal industry.

    So, he did the DMCA too? Amazing. He is "the architect of the WIPO Internet Treaties". Wow. I didn't know he also "did" the DMCA and WIPO (cast US patent law into global stone), but it makes sense. And I didn't know he was still "in business" ("who now heads the International Intellectual Property Institute"). The more things change, the more they stay the same. I guess Lehmann is getting his dues from the legal industry for all the "work" he did on behalf of the legal industry.

    Good to know he's still out there. Amazing to know he did the DMCA, WIPO, _and_ institutionalized software patents. What a joke.

    I suggest taking anything Lehmann says with a huge grain of salt, even any apologies. He has known what he has been doing for decades, and to feign ignorance now is unconscionable IMO. I do not buy it, and it's not his style. He's more of a "have your cake and eat it too" kind of policy-maker, which is to say he'll ignore the obvious to forcefeed policy despite all public interest(s), IMO. Again, I'm not buying.
  • So, Brucee.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:11AM (#18470587) Homepage
    Have you given them back their filthy lucre?
  • by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:22AM (#18470671)
    FTFA: "While he says that teens have lost respect for copyright, he lays much of the blame at the feet of the recording industry for their failure to adapt to the online marketplace in the mid-1990s."

    This is the entire RIAA problem in a nutshell and I completely agree that *this* is the root of their problem *and* our problem.

    They made a choice. They made this choice when Napster (the old Napster, not the castrated one) showed the world how to share, point, click, and download.

    The choice was to hold on to their legacy distrobution cash cow and go screaming, kicking and clawing their way into the internet age instead of seeing the digital tsunami heading their direction.

    Their problem now is that theyre loosing their brick and mortar base *and* the digital distrobution war and the only way the can maintain any semblance of their arcane business model is to sue the masses into submission, which of course will never work.

    The entire DRM/DMCA/RIAA battle was lost before it began. Those who cant evolve become irrelavent and extinct sooner or later...
  • by Garwulf (708651) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:39AM (#18470807) Homepage
    Well, while some of Lehman's comments are interesting (and promising), and I certainly believe that a lot of this current situation is very much the fault of the RIAA, I'm seeing a pendulum effect here. Having failed to control copyright using extreme measures on one end, he's now talking about the end of copyright, which is basically the extreme on the other end. The truth, like so many truths, is somewhere inbetween.

    I'm speaking as a published and agented author here - I need to know what copyright is, and how it works. My livelihood depends on it, partly when dealing with publishers (knowing what rights I'm signing away) and partly when it comes to dealing with agents (making sure that they know what rights of my work to keep from being signed away). A bad contract can nail an author to the wall, and there are very bad contracts out there. So I am very much aware of what copyright is, what it does, and how it works.

    And here is the problem - most people in the grass-roots movement don't. And the fault for this lies very firmly in the hands of the RIAA. Frankly, our society needs copyright - it is the single most important tool our culture and society has to advance itself. And, I'll explain why (even though it will take a while, and probably put a few readers to sleep).

    We have a society that is very unique in many ways. First of all, literacy is the norm, not the exception. Secondly, we have the technology (and have had it since about the 15th century) to efficiently reproduce the work of creative artists (first literature and visual art, now music and film). Third, we have a capitalist system where the success of an artist is based on the sales of his/her work (rather than a system of patronage). It is, broadly put, a literate meritocracy.

    What this means is that there are a lot of creative people out there, and they are able to distribute what they create through a variety of means. We are drowning in content, which is good - the more content there is, the healthier our culture is, and we have a very healthy culture, make no mistake. But, how is this content to be dealt with? Many of these creative artists want to do different things with their creations. Some want to sell it, others want to share it. Some want to keep their characters to themselves, and others want to create shared worlds that anybody can write in. Even in software development, there is a disparity. And there needs to be protection for all of these creative artists, so that they can do what they need to. And that is where copyright comes in.

    Copyright is the broad tool that allows the various creative artists to do what they want with their work. It really is amazing in its simplicity - if you don't believe me, look at the Berne Convention. The creative artist owns the copyright to their work until such time as they die and it runs out, or they sign it away. And that copyright simply allows them to say "this work and what is in it will be copied in X way." It provides protection for the specific implementation of an idea, but not for the idea itself. And, it requires reasonability from the creators - hence fair use and the public domain. It's this tool that allows the Creative Commons to exist, that allows the Open Source movement to fight against SCO, and that allows an author to receive royalties on his work from a publisher for copies sold. And the success of the created work is determined by the market, and nothing else.

    And this is where the RIAA is so troublesome - they have spent quite a long time abusing both the letter and the spirit of copyright law, and doing it very publicly. So, while I've just described the literal truth of what copyright is, there are a lot of people who just won't believe what I've written. Why won't they? Because while copyright law is about balanced rights of the creator, the RIAA is using it to sue dead grandmothers, students, and welfare moms for copying insignificant amounts of music. And actions do speak louder than words. The irony is
  • Lehman lay much of the blame at the feet of the recording industry for their failure to adapt to the online marketplace in the mid-1990s.

    Not to defend the likes of the RIAA, but big business has always tried to influence government at all levels. That's nothing new, it happens all the time, in every nation on the planet. Much of the blame (well, all of it really) can be laid at the feet of Congress for permitting the recording industry to exert undue influence upon them. Once, just once, I'd like to see

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