"Editor: Here's an editorial by Grateful Dead lyricist and
co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry
Barlow. Thanks to anonymous for passing this on, I checked
with Barlow for his permission to run it here. - Bruce Perens"
"I expect most of you are aware that the Recording Industry
Association of America has been fighting a desperate struggle
against technologies that would end its century-long enslavement
and exploitation of musicians. One of these developments is
something called Napster.com, a system that indexes and makes
available digital music files that are stored on the private hard
disks of its subscribers."
"About a month ago, the New York Times asked me to write an
editorial about Napster and the general state of copyright in the
world of music. I jumped at the chance and only after nine drafts
and a lot of nocturnal hair-tearing did I realize how impossible it
would be to both describe the situation in sufficient detail and
comment on it in no more than 700 words. I eventually gave up, but
I did write something that I would like to pass on to you, in the
interest of stimulating your thoughts on the subject. (If it
resonates, feel free to pass it further on.)"
"...the recording industry, like other traditional publication
media, was already suffering a likely terminal illness. Because of
the Internet, almost any informational product can be infinitely
reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet
without cost. This obsoletes the material containers previously
necessary for information transport as well as most of the
industries that manufactured them. The biggest remaining obstacle
to this free flow of digital liquid is legal, not practical."
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