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Technology Review: Richard Stallman: Intellectual Capital - Freedom Or Copyright?

Apr 17, 2000, 03:41 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Stallman)

"Then a new way of distributing information came about: computers and networks. The advantage of digital information technology is that it facilitates copying and manipulating information, including software, musical recordings and books. Networks offered the possibility of unlimited access to all sorts of data-an information utopia...."

"That is the publishers' dream, and they prevailed upon the U.S. government to enact the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. This law gives them total legal power over almost anything a reader might do with an e-book. Even reading it without authorization is a crime!"

"We still have the same old freedoms in using paper books. But if e-books replace printed books, that exception will do little good. With "electronic ink," which makes it possible to download new text onto an apparently printed piece of paper, even newspapers could become ephemeral. Imagine: no more used book stores; no more lending a book to your friend; no more borrowing one from the public library-no more "leaks" that might give someone a chance to read without paying. (And judging from the ads for Microsoft Reader, no more anonymous purchasing of books either.) This is the world publishers have in mind for us."

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