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Boston Globe: Copyright Should Be Balanced

Oct 05, 2000, 15:45 (4 Talkback[s])

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"Jack Valenti believes in the unlimited right of movie studios to control the distribution of their work. But professor Lawrence Lessig says, "I believe in the right to hack," even if that results in breaking codes that safeguard new movies on DVD discs. Somewhere between those positions is a middle ground that fosters the creation of new intellectual property, while protecting the public's fair use of older works."

"Classic movies and other venerable material ought to be out from under copyright so they can be freely enjoyed and adapted to new technologies. (Snow White, after all, is an ancient fairy tale - out of copyright - that Walt Disney shaped for a 1930s audience.)"

"Lessig is performing a valuable public service by taking up the cause of Eric Eldred, a Derry, N.H., man who reprints books on the Internet at Eldred.ne.mediaone.net. Eldred contends that the 1998 law is far too restrictive, and although he has lost the first round in US District Court, he is fighting on with the help of Lessig and lawyers from Harvard Law School. His case will be heard by the US Appeals Court in Washington today."

"It will take years for courts to delineate the boundaries of copyright law in the Internet age. They would be wise if they emphasized protections for recently released movies, books and other material while allowing the works of past generations to freely enter the public domain."

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