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Copyright Alliance Says Fair Use Not a Consumer Right 504

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the no-rights-make-a-wrong dept.
KingSkippus writes "In response to a complaint to the FCC filed by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) to change copyright warnings before movies and sporting events, Executive Director Patrick Ross of the Copyright Alliance tells us in an editorial that 'fair use is not a consumer right.' The Copyright Alliance is backed by such heavy-hitters as the MPAA, RIAA, Disney, Business Software Alliance, and perhaps most interestingly, Microsoft, who is also backing the CCIA's complaint."
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Copyright Alliance Says Fair Use Not a Consumer Right

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  • by the_rajah (749499) * on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:15PM (#20502969) Homepage
    It's the new axis of evil. MPAA, RIAA, Disney, Business Software Alliance, and Microsoft. It's a rogue's gallery of the companies that we hate for their jack booted tromping on the little guys. I guess they are conveniently ignoring copyright law as written when it comes to fair use. Next step massive lobbying in congress to change it. Naw, they'd never be able to buy our upright legislators...would they?
    • Cause Sco's dead. Being a penny stock means you don't have the wads of cash to support many evil organizations.
    • by MiKM (752717)
      Not that it doesn't excuse Microsoft from its other problems, but wasn't there an article earlier about how Microsoft was helping to *defend* fair-use?
      • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:51PM (#20503279) Homepage Journal

        Not that it doesn't excuse Microsoft from its other problems, but wasn't there an article earlier about how Microsoft was helping to *defend* fair-use?

        Yes, and it's the same bloody case, too! From the summary:

        The Copyright Alliance is backed by such heavy-hitters as the MPAA, RIAA, Disney, Business Software Alliance, and perhaps most interestingly, Microsoft, who is also backing the CCIA's complaint [slashdot.org].

        So. no matter how this ends, Microsoft wins. But wait - no matter who loses, Microsoft loses, too!

        Wow, someone give me a magnet and some copper wire. My head is spinning so fast it feels like a perpetual motion machine.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Does it really surprise you that all these companies are in bed together? Axis of evil?! More like the Fourth Reich! This is a war damn it!
      • Actually fine... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thej1nx (763573) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @11:19PM (#20503499)
        Fine, let them win. Okay, fair use is not a consumer right!


        And copyright protection is not a producer right either then.

        There is zero reason why they should be given any extra protection by law then. It should be the companies' responsibility to think of the methods of protecting their idea/IP. If joe public is not allowed to have fair use, no reason why *our* tax money should go towards wasting time of courts funded by us, to help out these companies. Let them spend their own money on trying to devise methods to prevent competitors from copying off their idea.

        The whole idea of copyrights and patents was for the benefit of the public, not for the companies, by encouraging invention and arts for the benefit of public. the whole deal is null and void if they want to renegade on their part.

        If the joe public must pay for everything, so must they.

        • Re:Actually fine... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2007 @01:03AM (#20504157)
          Fine, let them win. Okay, fair use is not a consumer right!

          And copyright protection is not a producer right either then.

          There are some issues you should likely become familiar with.

          Let me preface this by saying I once saw a discussion of the fair use issue by a practicing IP lawyer on a photography usenet newsgroup. No, that doesn't make him evil -- he claims that most IP action is not the **AA stuff we hear so much about. Some 95% of the practice is dealing with B2B claims of infringement, not corps vs. individuals. He also said the goal is generally to come to a settlement between businesses (cross-licensing, etc.) instead of dragging cases before judges. FWIW, he also said he's not fabulously wealthy and has to work hard to keep up with a moderate-sized mortgage. Over some time, I found his input to be useful, non-hysterical and generally reasonable.

          With that background in mind, his analysis follows.

          Fair use is not actually a defined right. It is, instead, an"affirmative defense" against a charge of copyright violation. That's a difference, however subtle. That is to say, IF you are charged with violation, you may assert FU as a defense.

          An analogous case _might be_ if you're being chased by someone with a gun and if you run through my front yard and trample some extremely valuable shrubs and flowers, you could possibly (if I were a jerk and had a compliant cop friend to push the issue) be charged with trespass and destruction of property. You might then assert, as an affirmative defense, that your life had been in danger. Though you might eventually have to reimburse me for my loss, the charge of trespass and property destruction would be dismissed.

          From wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_defense [wikipedia.org]

          An affirmative defense is a category of defense used in litigation between private parties in common law jurisdictions, or, more familiarly, a type of defense raised in criminal law by the defendant. Affirmative defenses operate to limit or excuse or avoid a defendant's criminal culpability or civil liability, even if the factual allegations of plaintiff's claim are admitted or proven.

          Hence, while not the same as a right, an affirmative defense can mitigate or remove a great deal of liability.

          Standard disclaimers apply to anything I have said above.

          • Fair use is not actually a defined right. It is, instead, an"affirmative defense" against a charge of copyright violation. That's a difference, however subtle.

            That was a really good post. I will say, from a non-lawyer point of view, I'd say the distinction doesn't make much difference because of the established court decisions. Gray area abounds, but if they try to bust me for simply making a personal backup copy or something, I've got a wealth of precedent and such to rely on. So it's not codified, b

            • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:31AM (#20506163)

              I will say, from a non-lawyer point of view, I'd say the distinction doesn't make much difference because of the established court decisions.

              Perhaps you're right to date and in your jurisdiction. However, it seems to me that the difference between fair use being a consumer right and an affirmative defence is a simple principle: in one case, it would be against the rules for them to try to stop you, while in the other, they can try but it's OK if you succeed anyway. This is pretty significant when it comes to issues like DRM. (It's arguably off-topic here, but a similar principle might apply when considering what is known in some places as the doctrine of first sale, and how that matches up to on-line product activation.)

              The sad thing is, I suspect that in this case, the copyright lobby guy is actually correct. I believe that the law should be changed so certain provisions of fair use/fair dealing/whatever your jurisdiction calls it are given the status of consumer rights, such that actively undermining them is against the law. For example, if you want to DRM your product because you believe this will help to protect your business interests, that would be OK, but only if you provided alternative means for people to exercise what wound then be their fair use rights. (Again, the parallel is that you could require on-line activation as an anti-piracy device if you chose to make that business decision, but only if you provided the means for people to resell a legitimate copy of your software under the doctrine of first sale without the new owner finding they couldn't use it effectively, and a means for someone to activate the software if they had to restore from a back-up after your original on-line activation scheme had shut down.)

              • Re:Actually fine... (Score:4, Informative)

                by coats (1068) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:55AM (#20506381) Homepage

                I believe that the law should be changed so certain provisions of fair use/fair dealing/whatever your jurisdiction calls it are given the status of consumer rights...
                Actually, that is supposed to be the law right now: "fair use" arose as the result of a Supreme Court decision that said "Congress may not pass copyright protection so stringent as to abridge free speech and freedom of the press. The codification of specific "fair use" language into the Copyright Act came much later.

                So the NFL [baseball, olympic, ...] claim to own reporting of their events is specifically illegal in the US, according to the original Supreme Court decision.

            • by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday September 07, 2007 @09:04AM (#20507181) Homepage
              When you have to use an affermative defense, you have to go to the expense of going through the courts. When it's codified as a right, it can't be sued over to begin with. In many cases, you can 'win' at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars - and just not have to pay more. You don't actually get any money back from the people suing you to cover your lawyer. Yeah! that was a wonderful win now wasn't it.
          • by indifferent children (842621) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:49AM (#20505833)
            That is to say, IF you are charged with violation, you may assert FU as a defense.

            I tried that. When I got my day in court, I said to the judge, "Here's my defense, your honor...FU!" It didn't help my case.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rtechie (244489)

            Fair use is not actually a defined right. It is, instead, an"affirmative defense" against a charge of copyright violation. That's a difference, however subtle. That is to say, IF you are charged with violation, you may assert FU as a defense.

            Actually, no. IP lawyers and defenders of IP law very much wish this to be true. But it's wrong. Copyright law includes specific exemptions for fair use, so it is a "right" in the same sense copyright is a "right". The issue here is that "fair use" is not clearly defined. The IP lawyers very much want to keep it this way because it means they can argue in court about what qualifies.

            To it simply: IP advocates want fair use determined and argued on a case-by-case basis as that favors THEM, in part because th

    • Is it just me, or is being a lying sack of shit a prerequisite to operating with the big corporations in the US? I'm puzzled and disturbed by what appears to be an increase in skullduggery and flat-out bullshitting. Sure, it's always been there, but the stench seems to be getting stronger...

      • by turing_m (1030530) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @11:02PM (#20503355)
        "Sure, it's always been there, but the stench seems to be getting stronger..."

        The only difference is that the conduit by which that stench gets communicated to the public now has greater bandwidth, thanks to the internet. For now.
      • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:02AM (#20505931)

        Any public relations position's job is to present their company in the best possible light given whatever policy is dictated to them from above. Sometimes you are given dickhead policies and if you want to keep your job, there's not much you can do to defend it short of lying or ignoring counter-arguments. (See pretty much all political discourse as a perfect example.)

        In the past, and still in a handful of cases today, presenting your company in the best light was done by treating the consumer well. I think the iPhone rebate announced today is an example of that. (For the record: I am not an Apple fanboi and hate those who are. I do not own an iPod, iPhone or any Apple computer; I do not have iTunes installed and have never bought a track from them, etc.) The idea there is simple: Treat them right, give them a decent product and they will return to buy from you again in the future.

        This is only necessarily in competitive markets where there are nearly identical replacements. Being an ass in that context will drive your customers away.

        In limited circumstances--movies, music, Windows, and more--there are monopolies or cartels that make it much harder to switch away. Yes, there is a lot of music outside the control of the RIAA, but it's not what you tend to hear when you turn your radio on in the car and that's what people are going to want. It's also not a real replacement; if I want a song by an artist from a major record label I have to play by their rules, a song by a random indy artist isn't the same thing. (It may be better or worse or even the same level of enjoyment, but it is not the thing I wanted.) Yes, you can install OS X or Linux or some alternate operating system, but if your applications don't run on it or you don't want to relearn things you're a bit stuck. Movies are probably the worst, in part because we've become accustomed to big-budget flicks with huge special effects that can't really be duplicated in independent films.

        Since there isn't such a clear-cut replacement in these cases, they can afford to dick their customers around. They have what we want, and our choices become buy it anyway, go without or turn to illegal means. Since increasingly people are choosing #3, you see a concerted effort by groups such as them to control the law (DMCA) to their advantage.

        So, no, you don't have to be a dickhead as a PR guy necessarily. You do, however, have to be as big a dickhead as the decision-makers in your company are.

        • by salec (791463)

          In limited circumstances--movies, music, Windows, and more--there are monopolies or cartels that make it much harder to switch away. Yes, there is a lot of music outside the control of the RIAA, but it's not what you tend to hear when you turn your radio on in the car and that's what people are going to want. It's also not a real replacement; if I want a song by an artist from a major record label I have to play by their rules, a song by a random indy artist isn't the same thing. (It may be better or worse

    • I find this amusing. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DaedalusHKX (660194)
      Why does a government agency get to dictate what is and isn't true?

      As far as I see it, and any so called "consumer" should... if a GOOD is sold... then claim to it is relinquished for that object/service. Whether its an apple, or a DVD, if I give it to you in exchange for your cash, I can't tell you what to do with it or whom to show it to. Neither can you tell me not to use your cash to strengthen my own assets. Oh well, free markets aren't free in this world and will not be for at least a few more ye
      • by Xiaran (836924) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:08AM (#20505289)
        I think the worst thing all this business does is tarnish the *AAs reputation and annoy consumers. A case from a recent purchase I made. I found The Simpsons season 4 DVD set for cheap a while ago at a sale. As it has the monorail episode I decided to buy it :) Its all great except when I load it into my home DVD player I am force to watch the copyright violation scare message in 14 odd languages(Im in the EU) and I cant skip any of them. Slightly annoying. But then I find that *every* time I watch an episode I have to watch thew scarcy copyright message *again* in english for a good 40-50 seconds!

        What the hell is up with that. Why did I not just bit torrent it and burn it myself? I did the correct thing and bought the product. So I ripped the thing and stuck it on a hard disk and took out all the nonsensical messages.

        I don't really advocate mass copyright infringement but little things like that make me thing... what the hell... BT and burn away people.
        • Actually you did what any consumer should but won't. You used YOUR property YOUR way. Don't feel bad. Of course if you're in England, you can choose to bow your head, but again, you don't have to, even there.

          There is such a thing as the old law of contracts and according to that, there are VERY direct rules to contracting. Funny part about that is that the person at the SHOP is the one that is in charge of entering into that sale contract with you.

          There's more to it, but some has been codified again int
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:15PM (#20502971)
    Fair use is a defense against copyright infringement suits. It is not some "inalienable" God Given right like free speech or freedom of religion. Meaning you can exercise fair use, and if someone sues you and court determines it was fair use, you're OK. However - you have no "right" to it in that if a company, say, prevents you by means of technical steps from making "fair use" of materials, you can't sue them and in fact can't do anything about it.
    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:19PM (#20503003)
      You're absolutely right. As much as people may hate it, the companies can use all sorts of means to prevent you from accessing their copyrighted material in any unapproved manner, and there's nothing you can do about it.

      Well, there is one thing: don't purchase it. As enraged as people seem to get about these things, though, nobody actually stops buying.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Omnifarious (11933) *

        Not enough people do. Not many people even fully realize what's going on or what's really at stake.

      • by SeekerDarksteel (896422) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:40PM (#20503181)
        Just like we as consumers can use all sorts of means to circumvent access restrictions that keep us from using the material in a method deemed fair use.

        oh wait...
      • by bensafrickingenius (828123) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:50PM (#20503271)
        "nobody actually stops buying."

        Sorry, but you're mistaken. *I* stopped buying ebooks. And I was HOOKED for a long time. When I figured out that Adobe was going to steal the books I'd purchased back from me after I bought my 3rd laptop (they limit the number of devices you can read their books on), and after I spent hours on line with their "tech support" (sorry if milk just squirted out your nose at the notion of Adobe providing tech support), I decided I was done. Cold turkey. This was about 3 years ago. I'd love it if I could go back to ebooks, but I will not until they fix (or eliminate) their horrible DRM scheme.
        • by eht (8912) on Friday September 07, 2007 @12:05AM (#20503829)
          If the titles appeal to you, check out Baen's books, never had DRM, never will, one purchase gives you the ebooks in many formats usually HTML, RTF, DOC, RB, PRC, and LIT.

          Many of the authors who deal with Baen even give them away, either through the website or with CDs distributed on first run hardcovers. The CDs while copyrighted are freely redistributable and are all found at BaenCD. [thefifthimperium.com]
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by paganizer (566360)
            I go out of my way to spend money at Baen; a lot of the stuff i read comes from them anyway, but they are just so flipping COOL about things I feel bad when I don't give them my money; when I'm buying at brick & mortar stores, that is one of the things I use as a tie breaker.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Kymri (1093149)
              Seconded and thirded; I've bought multiple copies of books from them - half the time, if I can't find the bok and I thought I bought it, I'll just re-buy it. A few bucks is well worth it to support Baen's endeavors in this realm. They're good like that. And it helps that I like sci-fi and military sci-fi, of course.

              I started back some years ago when I bought (geek-purchase, not any real need) a Rocket eBook reader. Baen's authors were ones I'd been reading for a while, but it turns out they supported th
        • Baen ebooks: no DRM (Score:5, Informative)

          by steveha (103154) on Friday September 07, 2007 @12:17AM (#20503897) Homepage
          I'd love it if I could go back to ebooks, but I will not until they fix (or eliminate) their horrible DRM scheme.

          I am a very satisfied customer of Baen ebooks. Baen does it right.

          You can download in any or all of five different formats: HTML, RTF, Palm ebook, Rocket ebook, or Microsoft ebook. The book is not under any sort of DRM. They have all their new releases, not just some weird out of print titles. And they have a deal where you can buy 5 or 6 books at a time for $15!

          That latter deal they call "Webscriptions". If you buy a really new book, the webscription might include only part of the book. Over time, more of the book is revealed, and finally the whole book is available. But as long as you are buying a Webscription monthly selection that is old enough (which is most of them) you get all the books at once.

          And, I believe they are still doing the deal where you buy a monthly Webscription selection and you can give a Webscription selection to a friend. You do this by providing them with the friend's email address, so check with the friend to make sure he or she is cool with giving out the email address. (I made a test email account on my server, and gifted it with a monthly selection; it has never received any spam, so I believe Baen when they say they do not give out your email address to spammers.)

          I have spent over $300 at Baen, and my collection of Baen ebooks is up to 200 books! That includes titles from the "free library". Yes, Baen also just plain gives away some ebooks.

          Baen free library:
          http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]

          ebooks, and monthly Webscription selections:
          http://www.webscription.net/ [webscription.net]

          Here are a few free ebooks to get you going. These are some of my favorites; perhaps you might like them too.

          The best of Keith Laumer's classic "Retief" stories!
          http://www.webscription.net/pc-347-1-retief.aspx [webscription.net]

          A book in the style of the old "pulp" novels, with magic and mad science thrown in.
          http://www.webscription.net/pc-110-1-doc-sidhe.asp x [webscription.net]

          Humans stranded on a planet with large intelligent large molluscs. The humans need help just to digest the local food, but they can do some things the locals cannot, also.
          http://www.webscription.net/pc-287-1-mother-of-dem ons.aspx [webscription.net]

          The first of the "Honor Harrington" series, and my favorite of them.
          http://www.webscription.net/pc-304-1-on-basilisk-s tation.aspx [webscription.net]

          I hope you will enjoy reading some of these ebooks!

          steveha
      • by Randseed (132501) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:56PM (#20503315)

        Well, there is one thing: don't purchase it. As enraged as people seem to get about these things, though, nobody actually stops buying.

        Actually, it's the precise reason I haven't bought a CD or DVD since the RIAA and MPAA, respectively, started this little anti-fair-use jihad of theirs.

        Here's an example: I subscribe to HBO. HBO shows, say, "Superman Returns." I can watch it legally on HBO. I can record it and rewatch it. The MPAA is arguing that I can't "context shift" that material so that I can watch it when I'm stuck on call at work. (Doctor. Lots of down time in the middle of the night.) What has the MPAA lost? Nothing. What has HBO lost? Nothing, because I already subscribe to that channel.

        Now, I can see the MPAA's argument if I don't subscribe to any of the "premium" channels and am doing this, but regardless of HOW I get the material, I'm paying to view it. Frankly, the more the MPAA argues these points, the greater the chance that people like me are just going to stop subscribing to the "premium" channels in the first place. They've already done great strides for this with CableCard. (i.e., I'd love to record my favorite programs to my PC, then load them on my laptop and watch them during down time. Unfortunately, idiotic encrypted QAM prevents that.)

        The same goes for the RIAA. If it's "fair use" that I record a song off the radio, then how is it any different if I obtain said recording through a different means? Sure, I *could* go set up a recording rig and hook it to an FM receiver. I have the equipment to do it. In that case, I have the content, and it's "fair use." So if I obtain it through different means, it's the same data. How is that not "fair use?"

      • by Doctor_Jest (688315) * on Thursday September 06, 2007 @11:13PM (#20503447)
        Very true, since it's their crapola...

            Or, you can circumvent it yourself without consequence because you are not doing anything to deprive them of any revenue or infringe on their copyright making 10000 copies for your closet stack of DVDs. Simply put, Copyright's never been about guaranteeing revenue... but it's turned into that... and copyright's "limited time" has been assraped so much that it's probably unable to even fart. Their idea of telling you what you can and can't watch/listen to your purchased content on is their desire for a pay-per-view universe... where you pay for every viewing, listening, reading of something... not just once in the case now... like we're all in their own private little theater and we have to pay the fee each time we use their crud. It's their orgasmic dream to do that... and they are working _VERY_ hard to make it happen... harder than they work even to sue the pants off college students who trade music.

            I don't purchase crippled CD's (or those from major labels, for that matter... not that it matters much, since major labels really _do_ produce dog shit music.) I also don't purchase anything Disney has anything to do with, since they are instrumental in raping the corpse of the public domain... the goddamned vultures need all to die... It means I miss most Pixar movies... well, all of them, actually... unless of course someone else loans me their copy. :) (in the case of the Incredibles...)

            Since the "digital age" (as if it somehow has put the western world in "jeopardy") is now an attempt to force even more controls on _ME_, rather than the works themselves... I find it laughable that they can make a distinction between fair-use _now_ and in the _past_ simply because it's on a computer rather than a VHS tape or audio cassette. Because it's "bits" now instead of magnetic media (or whatever), they somehow believe all the provisions that were set forth in court case after court case in hundreds of years of law don't apply because the word "digital" is attached to it. Fuck you... to put it in terms they can understand.

            The problem with people in general is their incessant desire to be entertained, because they've known nothing more over the last few decades... people of a previous generation are less likely to hoard useless entertainment materials and seek out all kinds of entertainment because their upbringing was work until dark, then sleep so you can do it all over again tomorrow. We (and I'm including me in this one, so keep those cards and letters) are lazy, Pavlovian experiments gone wild. Ring bell, fork over money, get treat. It sucks. I figure it'll get worse before it gets better... that the moguls and idiots in charge will find a tipping point past which NO one will bother with the hassle of movies or music... and they'll have made such a mess of the legal and technology sectors because of it that it'll take two generations to fix... and then it'll go RIGHT back to the way it is now... as if the Marx cycle has an "entertainment division..."

        I sometimes feel like part of the problem... and I'm not even the worst "consume more" person that I know...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)
        Well, there is one thing: don't purchase it. As enraged as people seem to get about these things, though, nobody actually stops buying.

        They don't stop watching or listening, but I'm pretty sure there's many that's stopped buying. Pirated material is cheaper and bandwidth is increasing and getting cheaper every day. It has higher quality (HD with no blu-ray/hd-dvd player, HD broadcasts you can't get here), it's more flexible (timeshift, spaceshift, formatshift, HTPCs, backups), faster and more available (onl
    • by Hooya (518216) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:19PM (#20503007) Homepage
      > [Fair Use] is not some "inalienable" God Given right like free speech or freedom of religion

      Kinda like the right for copyright protection itself huh?

      • by kebes (861706) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:30PM (#20503097) Journal
        Actually that's precisely the imbalance we now see in copyright law: their "rights" have been enshrined in new laws (DMCA) whereas our "rights" have not.

        Previously, there was some sort of tenuous balance, though it wasn't specified by law: people could use copyrighted materials in certain ways (fair use), and companies were pretty much guaranteed that widespread infringement would be easy to deal with (since printing presses were big and expensive). In the modern age, the companies see their previous comfortable position being eroded (by copying and distribution becoming trivially easy). So they get new laws to give them back the comfort they previously had. They claim that this is their "right" and so now we have the DMCA, granting them these "rights."

        The people, meanwhile, are seeing fair use eroding more every day (DRM, etc.). However, fair use has not been protected by any new laws. So companies can use technical measures to prevent fair use, and there's nothing we can (legally) do. The balance is gone.

        Personally, I think the means of restoring the balance would be to repeal the DMCA and even scale back copyright law, rather than creating yet more laws.
        • by OECD (639690) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:57PM (#20503321) Journal

          Personally, I think the means of restoring the balance would be to repeal the DMCA and even scale back copyright law, rather than creating yet more laws.

          Even better, just do it. (sorry Nike, track my ass down.)

          Seriously, the current copyright regime has twenty years tops before people realize that it's counter-productive. More significantly, the (jargon alert) MAFIAA will have reduced itself to a shadow of its former might by its heavy-handed tactics.

          There's a beautiful symmetry to all of this. The copyright holding companies wanted to make sure a fluke like "Night of the Living Dead" never happened again. So they made everything copyrighted. Problem solved? No, since everything is copyrighted, everything was potentially infringing. The achillies' heel in all this is that if everything is sacred, nothing is sacred. You've debased the term to a meaningless point.

          Now, they're trying to deal with the fact that they're a victim of their own success.

        • Your solution violates the second law of legislative dynamics: Legal entropy increases for all bills. It's an unwritten prime directive of the lawyers' guild, which unlike all other guilds, stubbornly refuses to strike.

          Try again when you've got something that's needlessly complicated, trounces a few unrelated rights, and funds an unnecessary bridge somewhere.
    • By that same token, if I happen to circumvent their attempts to impede my fair use of the product, and I do so in a manner that does not infringe their copyright, then they have no legal recourse.

      It seems to me that they are lobbying to change this.
    • by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:27PM (#20503057) Homepage

      It is not some "inalienable" God Given right like free speech or freedom of religion.


      Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are as much socially-granted rights as fair use. (And happen to be damn good ones.) All three share the quality of being relatively new ideas in society, in the grand scheme of things. You might say we'd like to think that all three of these rights are vast improvements over how things used to work in historical times. I don't see the distinction you are trying to draw here at all.
      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:35PM (#20503141)
        Yeah, I wouldn't quite say that freedom to choose whatever religion you want is a God-given right.
      • by kebes (861706) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:40PM (#20503187) Journal
        Indeed. Many of most our highly regarded social values/goals (freedom of speech, racial equality, etc.) are rather modern concepts. I would argue that in addition to the "moral high-ground" of such concepts, they brought with them considerable peace, progress, and prosperity (both intellectual, and even economic). The conclusion I hope people draw from this is that we must be on the lookout for new social values which will "elevate" our society.

        Perhaps one of the hardest ideas to get across in the whole "intellectual property" debate is that, perhaps, there is some social value currently being ignored. Many people decry the "information wants to be free" rally as nothing more than "greedy pirates justifying their selfishness." While I will not deny that many people violate copyright law for purely selfish reasons, I again want to emphasize that there may be a deeper moral question... and that many opponents of the status quo may be deriving their opinions from that question.

        I do not really think that a "no copyright" world is the right way to go... but there is a social value of "digital freedom" (or whatever you want to call it) that is not yet taken seriously, but I believe will be crucial to our advancement, as a society, in the coming years. I think we need to learn to accord fundamental respect to the pursuit of knowledge, to the free distribution of knowledge and culture. Yes, this needs to be balanced against incentives to artists and reward for contributing to society. However I believe the present climate where all ideas are "owned" is untenable and, ultimately, immoral.
        • by OECD (639690) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @11:17PM (#20503483) Journal

          I do not really think that a "no copyright" world is the right way to go...

          I'm not quite there (yet,) but the thing that I can't figure is:

          The Founding Fathers (if I ever do a superhero spoof, that's the one) figured that fourteen years was enough.

          In the interim, We figured out how to do printing much faster (that's my industry, so trust me on this one)

          On top of that we figured out how to get copies out to potentially unlimited individuals (c.f., SPAM.)

          So, why is copyright now longer (and more inclusive) than it was when the country was founded?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by quokkapox (847798)

            So, why is copyright now longer (and more inclusive) than it was when the country was founded?

            Because the people who own the copyrights also own the people who write the copyright laws.

      • Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are as much socially-granted rights as fair use.

        No they are not. In the sense that "inalienable" means a "natural right" the natural state is freedom of religion and freedom of expression. In other words, those rights are the default condition if nobody comes along and tries to fuck with you. The same thing goes for real property - because real property is rivalrous (only one person can use and/or occupy any particular place at a time) private ownership of real property is also a natural right. Just because people have been fucking with each other

    • I think you basically summarized the column.
    • I think there's a hair that needs splitting here. Access isn't a right, but once you've secured unfettered access, fair use of the material is a right, closely connected to free speech.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tshetter (854143)
      Fair use is part of of Freedom of Speech/Press.

      I am Free to use parts of copyrighted works as part of my commentary, aslong as it abides by the principles setforth in the Fair Use Doctrine.

      'No part of this broadcast may be diseminated, reproduced, or rebroadcast without the express written permission of major leage baseball....'*
      Is a LIE!

      Yes I can diseminate information about it, and yes, I can rebroadcast part of it.
      I can talk about Barry Bonds being a douche at the water cooler, and I can als
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dilute (74234)
      What in the world are you talking about? Fair use is based on the constitutional RIGHT of free speech. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use [wikipedia.org].

      The "defense" aspect just concerns procedural stuff - who has the burden of proof, etc. So what? It remains the case that free speech is very much your "right" and that copyright law does (and must) have an exception (called "fair use") to allow for the exercise of that right.
    • "It is not some "inalienable" God Given right like free speech or freedom of religion."

      Actually, I think the "inalienable" rights are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Those are pretty broad, but a reasonable person would conclude that that copyrights don't fall into that realm. So if we're talking philosophically (and we are, since probably neither of us is a lawyer), then if fair use can be argued away so casually, so can copyright.

      I think the corporations being pretty shortsighted, but corp
  • The CCIA is scum, and there's no point in mincing words about it.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:27PM (#20503061) Journal
    The only reason that we issue copyrights and patents is to encourage producers to create and invent new works. Copyright isn't a right at all, it's a privilege which we the people grant to copyright holders, for limited times, for the benefit of the public.

    -jcr
    • Is it possible to believe that reasonable copyright protections can benefit society, while at the same time support a citizens fair-usage of those same materials? Because I don't care much for the either/or extreme positions, that of DRM lockdown of everything, or that of zero protections for ones work.
  • It could be that he is a flat-earth adherent, stating something that quite obviously isn't so.

    Or

    He could be a fifth column, the leader of an organization, sabotaging their PR from within by his foolish arguments.

    I'm leaning towards the former.
  • You know we here at slashdot see all sorts of these stories, about how the laws are being made by corporations, about how they want to take as many rights away from consumers as possible and so form an "evil" alliance with the government. While I do think that corporate lobbying is a horrible flaw in our legislative system, I have hope through the judicial system. As long as our peers are the ones to determine if Mrs. Johnson should pay 1.2 million for listening to a song she couldn't find anywhere else we
  • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:30PM (#20503083)
    Seems to me that "fair-use" is an important part of the balance that's been struck between the copyright holders and the public. If they're saying that it's not included in "copyright," then perhaps we all should consider the whole deal is off. Hollywood is pulling the typical negotiation game here. First, they get the extensions in copyright length. Then they try to pull "fair-use" off the table and expect all of the other negotiated points (extensions, DMCA, etc.) to stick.

    If they want re-negotiate, perhaps we should go back to the way it was originally setup in the constitution and start back from there. Full and exclusive copyright only lasts 17 years. Period. No extensions of any type. That's my best offer.

    Hollywood is playing a very dangerous game here. Public opinion is pretty much against them, while we're re-defining copyright perhaps we should put this up for a referendum?
  • And it will certainly sound like the truth.

    Which meets the objective of the whole cartel.
  • Pardon me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:33PM (#20503125) Homepage
    Last time I checked, Copyright, was not a "god-given" or even constitutionally guaranteed right. Copyright is a right granted by the people, and it is a right that can be revoked by the people. The right was granted for a temporary (repeat, temporary) monopoly to a given work, in exchange for a public record to be kept in the library of congress, stored for future generations. In addition, copyright included provisions to not harm the common citizens for utilizing their own copies of such works as they see fit. Otherwise, copyright holders could impose ludicrus and rediculous limitations, such as "if you watch this... no, if you even recieve a copy of this, watched or not, you must agree to sleep with the director" and, if these guys have their interpretations of copyright forced on us, we would be obliged!

    So, I shall be publishing a short copywritten piece shortly with just this provision in it, and if anyone knows the guys behind this push, feel free to send copies to them, I insist....
    • Re:Pardon me? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by belmolis (702863) <billposer AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:46PM (#20503243) Homepage

      Actually, the authority of the federal government to issue copyrights is directly provided for in the Constitution. One of the powers granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8 is: (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;
    • Re:Pardon me? (Score:4, Informative)

      by IvyKing (732111) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @11:34PM (#20503611)

      Copyright is a right granted by the people, and it is a right that can be revoked by the people.


      The origin of copyright was the king granting the right for printers to print copies of a book and that's why the term 'royalty' shows up when talking about payments involving copyrighted works. The idea that ordinary people, as opposed to the landed gentry, can own property is a relatively recent one (ca. 1700).

      Now what makes all this a farce is that it is virtually impossible to create an all but the simplest copyrighted work without making use of works copyrighted by others.


      Slightly off-topic rant: One of the examples used in favor of extending the term of copyright was to allow Harold Loyd's granddaughter(?) to earn some money by re-releasing his movies. At the same time, Hollyweird basically told the widow of the captain of the boat that inspired "The Perfect Storm" that she was SOL in regards to mis-portrayal of her husband in the movie.

  • Copyright Progress (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:34PM (#20503131) Homepage Journal
    Here's all the power there is to deal with our rights to free expression:

    Amendment I [cornell.edu]
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

    Article I.8 [cornell.edu]
    The Congress shall have power 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;


    Congress can make an exception to protecting our rights to free expression (like copying someone else's expression) where economics requires exclusivity of some expressions to promote progress in science and useful arts. But only where necessary for that promotion of progress, and only for limited times - and only to authors and inventors. Not when economics doesn't require the exemption. Not for unlimited (or so long that the limits are effectively meaningless, or renewable) times. And not to record labels, which are neither authors nor inventors.

    The "fair use" isn't some exception to copyright. It's the basic right, to free expression. In recognition of its nonthreat to progress, the exclusivity, the artificial monopoly that Congress can create, doesn't apply to that free expression.

    The whole copyright exclusivity is obsolete. There's a case for very short times for exclusive exploitation, different lengths for different media, before the content becomes folklore. But these Copyright Alliance creeps are just thieves. Using our government against us. Trashing the First Amendment we use to get our government to protect us. And exploiting beyond any defensible reason their license to mint money that they find in Article I.8.

    Let's take them up on their offer to start over. And strip down these artificial government monopolies to actually promote science and the useful arts. 17 years for books and songs, shorter for the rest, maybe a day for news, maybe 15 minutes for financial news. That's progress.
  • by rlp (11898) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:37PM (#20503157)
    Copyright is a temporary suspension of the free speech rights of others. It was intended by the founders as a short-term suspension of free speech in order to encourage authors / artists and provide them with a livelihood during their lifetime. It's long past time to reign in perpetual copyright and return it to that original limited form.
  • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:37PM (#20503161)

    I don't think we want copyright warnings to become a fair use public service announcement.

    Actually, yes we do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:39PM (#20503173)
    I'm kind of worried about the sort of language being used nowadays. In the media, and by corporations, people are increasingly being referred to as 'consumers', whereas in the past they were more referred to as 'citizens'. I think this kind of language subtly displays a sort of attempted disassociation of people with their rights through getting them to think of themselves not as citizens, with all their inalienable and somewhat inconvenient (for corporations) rights, but mere consumers of products with somewhat more alienable "consumer rights", belittling them in the process. Merely using the term "consumer rights" implies that they are somehow separate from "citizens rights". This has shades of the somewhat fascist book "Starship Troopers" IMHO, with its distinction of citizens and civilians.
  • Got lube? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Orange Crush (934731) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:41PM (#20503199)

    Because I *so* enjoy being told to bend over and brace myself. As a consumer, I work to get money. Then I hand that money to companies that make things I like. Some of these things are intangible--like music and movies and in some rare cases . . . art. Since it's hard to make money off of intangible things (since media and transmission is relatively cheap) I'll allow laws to grant companies exclusive distribution rights so they can make profit and keep making stuff I like.

    *My airwaves* *My nation's laws* *My consent* *My money*

    #1 & #2 were long since auctioned off. #3 has been rendered imaginary. I still have power over #4, and guess what I'm not shelling out for crap I don't want anymore?

    (and why the hell doesn't slashdot have a +1 drunken rant!? Or -1 drunken rant . . . or even Z@!I#NV j60o

  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:42PM (#20503211) Homepage

    The argument that Ross appears to make is a non-sequitur. He says that fair use is not a consumer right because it is an affirmative defense to copyright infringement. There's no connection between the two. For those who don't know, an "affirmative defense" is a defense that does negate an essential element of the charge. For example, if you are charged with murder, one defense that you could offer is the prosecution hasn't demonstrated that you were the one who committed the murder. Another defense would be that the prosecution has not shown that a homicide occurred (if, say, there is no body). These are non-affirmative defenses because all the defense has to do is to argue that the prosecution has failed to meet some part of its burden. Another defense to a murder charge is self-defense. Self-defense is an affirmative defense. The defendant admits that a homicide occurred, that he or she did it, etc., but argues that he or she is nonetheless not legally responsible.

    In the case of copyright infringement, civil or criminal, fair use is an affirmative defense because the defendant admits the elements. He or she says: "Yes, I copied material whose copyright does not belong to me", which is the essence of copyright infringement, but its okay because the use was of a type that the law acknowledges as acceptable, just as self-defense is an acceptable reason for killing someone.

    There is no reason to suppose that there should be a connection between whether a defense is affirmative or ordinary and whether it is a right. For example, surely self-defense is a right, but it is nonetheless an affirmative, not ordinary, defense. So the mere fact that fair use is an affirmative defense does not show, as Ross seems to think, that fair use is not a right.

    The possible grain of truth in what he says is that the fact that fair use is a defense to copyright infringement does not mean that it is a right whose violation is actionable. Statements that describe copyright infringment in absolute terms, without mentioning fair use, are inaccurate, and possibly constitute deceptive advertising, but whether consumers have a legal right to fair use that makes technical measures, such as DRM, that interfere with fair use, actionable, is unclear. There is a colorable argument that there is a fair use right in this sense, which is what the plaintiffs are arguing, but it is also true that this has not been established in court.

    So, insofar as Ross is claiming that there is some sort of connection between the kind of defense provided by fair use and whether it is a right, he is wrong, but insofar as he is just claiming that the provision of fair use as a defense does not make it a right, what he says is true. I personally think that fair use is a right, for First Amendment reasons, but this right flows from the First Amendment and not from the fair use provisions of the copyright statutes.

  • Finally!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cunamara (937584)

    It's about time that these folks laid out their agenda explicitly. No need for conspiracy theories when it's out on the table.

  • music is evolving (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erauqssemitelcric>> on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:44PM (#20503219) Homepage Journal
    movies aren't. the movie house business is going gang busters, but the dvd after market will fizzle (which evolved from the vhs aftermarket, which these same morons fought with the same rationalizations you hear now, 30 years ago, lost, and came to embrace the vcr as a cash cow. nice foresight, x2)

    music will become something people only pay for to go to live concerts. all other music will be freely traded, and musicians will make money from advertising and abovementioned concerts. no, it's not jayz money. as if that was ever a prerequisite for the desire to make music

    the only people who are losing are the economic middle men. all we hear are the cries of their death throes. zzz

    let them lock up their copyrighted works with all of the advanced tools of copyright protection they want. #1: it's easily defeated anyway. #2: much like newspapers have learned, it's all about accessibility. so let the morons make their product inaccessible, and reap the fruits of that genius strategy in a new world with new rules

    all we hear are from idiots in media companies who don't understand what the internet means to their business, or desperate men who do understand what the internet means to their business: it's killing it

    oh well, who cares. sucks to be on the losing side of history

  • It's idiocy like this that makes me no longer respect copyrights. Yes, I want artists to get paid, but I'm no longer willing to go through a leeching middleman.
  • Legal advice? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pearson (953531) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:45PM (#20503231)
    FTA: "So, how exactly would the FTC rewrite these copyright notices to reflect a consumer's ability to attempt a fair use defense? Should they paste in all of the above language? We're wading into the area of providing legal advice"

    He is basically arguing that Fair Use is so complicated that explaining it to people constitutes legal advice. Yet he admits that the notices currently in place are simply scare tactics.

    "these warnings do exactly what they're meant to do--notify consumers in a succinct fashion that infringement has legal consequences."

    In essence, he's saying "Our rights are easier to describe than yours, so we'll forget about yours."

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Thursday September 06, 2007 @11:15PM (#20503463) Homepage Journal
    Dear God, I pride myself on being a right wing troll, and I am capitalist to the core, but when companies start a public campaign to deceive citizens into thinking they have no rights in order to make a buck, then a line in the sand must be drawn.

    The fact is very simple - corporations have less of a right to exist than consumers have of a fair use in copyright, and, even more importantly, the desirability of corporate profits does not entitle them into twisting laws to create an oligarchy. Capitalism exists as an American system to benefit the American people, and not the other way around. Corporations are no more entitled to rent seeking and guaranteed profits than a lazy man is entitled to a government check. If corporations want to earn more money, then they should be compelled to invent new products and new services, not attempt to bend the will of the government and the soul of the people into being enslaved into old products, old services, and worst of all, old ideas.

    My fellow Republicans need to be reminded that to be a genuine conservative is to value freedom first and foremost. From that freedom we do have a prosperous society, yes, but prosperity is not why we value freedom and we should not let our greed rule deceive us into believing that the point of freedom is profits for someone else. There will come a time, and it may be soon, when we have to choose between freedom versus wealth, and we can only hope that men of good conscience will have to see that the former is always priceless.
  • by taustin (171655) on Friday September 07, 2007 @12:29AM (#20503969) Homepage Journal
    Whether or not fair use is a "right" is irrelevant. Fair use is explicitly spelled out in Title 17, section 107 [cornell.edu] as a "limitation on exclusive rights." Not only is it irrelevant whether or not fair use is a right, it is explicity, statutory law that the rights given to copyright holders are limited by fair use. The law is nearly the exact opposite what these thieves are claiming.
  • by rts008 (812749) on Friday September 07, 2007 @01:37AM (#20504317) Journal
    Wasn't this already covered? Wasn't this setting the 'Fair Use' argument in favor of the customer? (I refuse to use the word consumer unless it applies to a customer, hireling, pet, livestock,slave or chattel actually eating/drinking the afore mentioned 'product')

    If this is left up to the parties pushing this brainwashing, then soon you will have to give up your credit card/banking info to the MafIAA, and be willing to be charged for even thinking of a snippet of some advertising jingle, much less a line from a covered song, or a memory of a movie scene.

    Near Future Scenario: (I am skating as a clerk in a 'Shit-N-Git' in OK-long story, but in this town if you want gas/petrol, you either use a credit card at the pump, or prepay inside at the register.):

    Me: Can I help you? *100th cusomer this hour*
    Customer: Twenty in gas! *throws $50 bill on counter and starts walking out; there are 8 vehicles at our 12 fuel pumps-all can deliver gas...4 can deliver diesel...(WTF is up with this throwing money thingy?!?!?*)
    Me: Which pump are you at?
    Customer:*still walking out of door...(There are 2 cash registers with approx. 4-6 people at each register at this time)..THE WHITE TRUCK,YOU DUMBSHIT!!!
    Me: *looks out front window to see 10 of the 12 pumps occupied....5 of them are white trucks?!?!?!- the credit/debit fuel purchases show up different on the register, but there are still 3 'white trucks' at the pump, with no fueling activated...tour bus towing an SUV pulls up blocking view of the pumps...OPPORTUNITY HERE!..Hmmmm...Fsck it! Wanna play asshole with me? Heh! Heh! Heh!, I can't ignore the customers in line that do have their shit together.
    *runs 6 people inside through checkout...looks out window- tourbus pulling away, not much else happening except for a group of guys back by the beer cooler have stopped to sniff asses/bullshit-they own 2 of the 3 white trucks at the pumps...Heh!, Heh! $50 bill, $20 IN GAS AT one OF THE THREE WHITE TRUCKS?hEH! hEH!...tOTALLY IGNORE HIM AND HIS TRUCK..do I pocket the $50?

    Me:* keeps waiting on customers in line in the store- just sets $50 bill on top of register*
    10 minutes later: 'By now pissed off, arrogant asshole' comes back in.. still 2 customers in line...Ignore asshole as he's shouting about not getting fuel...take care of last two customers, then:
    What's the problem? Can I help you?

    Asshole (was customer): Where's my fuel?
    Me: What fuel?
    Asshole: In the White Truck!
    Me: Which White Truck? (still three out there)
    Asshole: THAT WHITE TRUCK!!!
    Me:*throws $50 bill across, and off of the counter* Which white truck, or you just an asshole?
    Asshole: Huh? *picks up $50 bill from floor* I want 50 in gas on pump #6, dickhead!
    Me: I'm sorry you cn't express yourself in a polite enough manner to conclude this transaction....NEXT!
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Friday September 07, 2007 @01:53AM (#20504397)
    Ok, I know this is Slashdot and all, but I just had to R This FA. And you know what, Ross is technically right, but in a practical sense is dead wrong. Let's go to the videotape...

    Fair use, as CCIA must surely know, is not a "consumer right," but rather an affirmative defense. And this is an important difference.
    As a lesson in terms of art for lawyers, this is correct. From any practical perspective, it is incorrect; there is no practical difference between an affirmative defense of fair use vs. an affirmative defense of freedom of speech (for example). Calling something an "affirmative defense" is mostly a matter of when it is (or must) be raised in trial proceedings. Applying the term does not somehow reduce the strength of what it's applied to.

    It's true that copyright law contains some exemptions, such as commentary and criticism, where one may be able to use a copyrighted work without authorization, but the full extent of those exceptions is intentionally not defined in the statute...Court decisions have further delineated what some of those cases of fair use might be.
    Here we see Ross explicitly admitting that there are exemptions to copyright protection enshrined in legislation and case law. For all practical purposes these constitute "rights"--the "right to privacy" or "right to vote", for instance, enjoy no greater levels of definition.

    This should be the beginning and end of this argument. The broadcast warnings clearly speak in absolute terms, and here we see Ross admitting that he knows that the copyrights referred to in the warnings are not, in fact, absolute. Thus the warnings are not just vague, they are factually (and willfully) incorrect.

    Many unauthorized uses of copyrighted works are criminal and infringing, and copyright notices help remind people that there are consequences to these uses.
    To which uses? The warnings make absolutely no allowance whatsoever in their wording for non-infringing uses. Again: that is simply factually inaccurate. If this was really what the warnings were for, they would say "Some uses of this broadcast are prohibited," not "Any use of this broadcast is prohibited."

    So, how exactly would the FTC rewrite these copyright notices to reflect a consumer's ability to attempt a fair use defense? Should they paste in all of the above language? We're wading into the area of providing legal advice, and these examples aren't sufficiently detailed for that."
    We're supposed to believe that inaccurate warnings about legal consequences do not constitute "legal advice," but more accurate warnings would? Sorry, that is a meaningless distinction. You are either advising consumers or not.

    There is no question that in the Digital Age, consumers need a better understanding of both the rights of creators as well as the limits on those rights through fair use. Education is the right approach, and one to which the Copyright Alliance is dedicated. But asking the federal government to regulate free speech is not the best way to proceed.
    This is not a free speech issue, it is a commercial speech issue. That is why it is being argued before the FTC and not the Supreme Court. Commercial speech can be held to a standard of factual accuracy and that is what is at stake in this case. The entire thing could be settled easily by simply softening the absolute language--reduce "Any use" to "Many uses" or "Some uses."
  • It's very simple... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cycline3 (678496) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:16AM (#20506623) Homepage
    ... OK, fair use is not a right then. Take it away. One right they can't take though is if I choose to purchase their movies and music. Which, if they do this, I won't. I will choose to steal them or simply refrain from purchase and viewing entirely. If everyone does this, it will solve the problem entirely.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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