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Linux Journal: Copyright Strikes Back

Nov 23, 1999, 01:45 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bryan Pfaffenberger)

"The DMCA's defenders point out that the law's draconian restrictions apply only to digital media, in which--after all--it's just so darned easy to make copies. But readers of this column know that all media will soon be digital media. And when there is no longer any alternative means of distributing copyrighted materials for the purpose of commentary or criticism, laws such as the DMCA will strangle free speech."

"Viewed in this context, the copyleft movement bears a responsibility that goes beyond offering an alternative to copyrighted software. We must take the lead in restoring the rightful balance between the pecuniary interests of copyright holders and the public's right to know. If we lose the battles to come, our movement's successes may mean very little. You would be wise to figure out what's at stake. In what follows, I'll lay out the facts and let you decide, but I'll bet you'll never use the term "intellectual property" again."

"Shaped by lobbyists representing wealthy copyright holders and media conglomerates, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act extends copyright protections to new digital media--and with a vengeance. Ostensibly enacted to bring U.S. law into treaty-mandated conformity with the provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Act goes far beyond what would have been required (Samuelson 1999). For a good discussion of the Act and more recent legislative shenanigans, see Lutzker 1999."

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