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Washington Post: Chasing Hollywood 'Pirates'

Aug 10, 2000, 08:37 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Streitfeld, Ariana Eunjung Cha)

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"We're putting a stake in the ground and saying you can't do this," said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. "You can't break this code, you can't put the code on the Internet, you can't have file-sharing with movies the way you do with music. We're going to protect our copyright...."

"People think of copyright as prohibiting certain actions," said Duke University law professor James Boyle. "You can't copy too much of something, you can't perform something without permission. What the content companies are starting to do is use copyright to regulate devices and research and communication. So now you can't communicate about a computer code...."

"Boyle, the author of a forthcoming book on law, politics and privacy in cyberspace, sees the DVD cases as part a broader movement to control the Internet. "Now you can erect a digital fence around your intellectual property," he said. "And once you do that, the idea of the public's 'fair use' is abolished...."

"This is a culture war, between the powers that were and that will be," said John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the cyber rights group Electronic Freedom Foundation."

"Human beings want to share ideas, to share expression," he added. "Unless you are running a dictatorship, you can't get the people to behave in a way they no longer feel is appropriate by passing more and more laws. What are the entertainment companies going to do, arrest everyone?"

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