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SJ Mercury: Digital Copyright Act comes back to haunt consumers

[ Thanks to Paul
Eggert
for this link. ]

“Two years ago, Congress passed a law called the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Many people warned correctly that
this legislation was an abandonment of constitutional principles
and the public interest — a grossly unbalanced law that would give
the owners of intellectual property vast new authority,
simultaneously shredding users’ rights.”

“The New York ruling, in particular, reinforces a reality
Congress tried to wish away in its deliberations over the DMCA. The
law, a virtual land grab of massive scale, all but discarded the
concept of “fair use” — the ability to quote small parts of
protected works for other purposes, including scholarship and
research.”

“Kaplan’s ruling in the New York case was sweeping and
deeply troubling for anyone who cares about fair use and,
ultimately, the First Amendment.
He likened software code to a
disease, implying that the people who used it were acting like
agents of germ warfare. He seemed to acknowledge the radically
anti-free speech nature of his banning of hyperlinks in this
matter, but then went ahead and did it anyway.”

“There’s little doubt at this point that the courts will
continue to rule in favor of the entertainment industry in these
kinds of cases. The DMCA, which has some temporary exceptions that
the industry wants to eliminate, is one of the most anti-consumer
acts of recent times. But it’s the law, unless the higher courts
re-read the Constitution and restore some balance.”


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