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RIAA President Decries Fair Use 486

Posted by kdawson
from the sheep's-clothing dept.
triskaidekaphile writes, "Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA, has an editorial on CNet responding to the Consumer Electronics Association's support of the Digital Freedom campaign for fair use. Sherman proclaims, 'The fair use doctrine is in danger of losing its meaning and value.' Like a true spinner, he indicates that fair use is indeed important, then states 'Let's be clear. The CEA's primary concern is not consumers, but technology companies — often large, multinational corporations which, like us, strive to make a profit... But to seize the mantra of "consumer rights" to advance that business interest is simply disingenuous.' Slashdotters, trollers, and pollsters one and all, what say you? Disingenuous or dissembling?"
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RIAA President Decries Fair Use

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  • by Cybert4 (994278) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:02PM (#16828636)
    zoi gy Well, this time I am really leaving. I will try to speak only Lojban, as much as possible. Doing so here would get me modded down to oblivion. Keep up the good work, everyone! The Singularity is near! Don't take my weapons and armor! Use Hexadecimal! Use Binary! Don't use decimal! Be an atheist! Be a libertarian! Wow. Let me make it somewhat relevant. I don't want to listen to non-Lojbanic music. This means I'll be getting by on a lot of instrumental stuff. Much of which happens to be non-RIAA. gy

    u'e sai

    fa'o
  • by RLiegh (247921) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:02PM (#16828640) Homepage Journal
    Just not one that I agree with.
    • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:07PM (#16828722)
      Actually you can't own points. A "point" is basically an imaginary concept and conveys nothing more than information. Noone in their right mind would come up with a system where you can own information. Oh wait...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Goblez (928516)
        Lawsuit from the RIAA for infringing use of their point in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .
    • He sharpened his fangs carefully, didn't me?
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:14PM (#16828862)
      Reading the whole article, I think his point was to mislead. In his whole time talking, he trots fair use out as a way to criticize, parody or comment on a work.

      For me, fair use is being able to backup my cds onto my harddrive and encode them in any format I please for my mp3 player.

      If it were up to the RIAA, they would determine exactly which format I would purchase and keep my music on, and that I would have to buy the same music over and over again everytime the next best thing came out.

      Given their history, their hypocritical actions against artists, I have very little reason to believe they are arguing anything in good faith, hence I have very little reason to listen to them at all.
      • He did lie.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by krell (896769) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:20PM (#16828978) Journal
        "Reading the whole article, I think his point was to mislead"

        He did lie about a couple of situations being theft, when in fact no theft was ever involved.

        "For me, fair use is being able to backup my cds onto my harddrive and encode them in any format I please for my mp3 player."

        That about does it for me, too. Add to this DVD/video content (including anything I download or view online) and being able to view such content on my DVD player.
        • Re:He did lie.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by zcat_NZ (267672) <zcat@wired.net.nz> on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:37PM (#16831272) Homepage
          "For me, fair use is being able to backup my cds onto my harddrive and encode them in any format I please for my mp3 player."

          You're confused;

              Fair use is an exemption that lets you make and distribute copies (for money or not) which would normally be prohibited by copyright. Thus, things like reviews and parody.

              Things like backups and media shifting which doesn't involve making copies for other people should never have been the subject of copyright in the first place. They're just "use". Reasonable, ordinary, non-infringing "use" of something you already paid for.

              I shouldn't need permission to "copy" a CD onto my mp3 player or recode it in different format, the same way I shouldn't need permission to put it in a regular CD player and have all the bits 'copied' from bumps on the disk to digital signals, to an analog representation of the music.

              Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes, this isn't about fair use. This is an attack on just plain "use" and if you let them get away with it this time, the next move will be a fee every time you play the disk.

        • Re:He did lie.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mark-t (151149) <markt&lynx,bc,ca> on Monday November 13, 2006 @08:53PM (#16832048) Journal

          Can it be agreed upon that theft is when you take something away, without permission, from someone else so that they no longer possess it, or as much of it, as they had before the theft?

          Then copyright infringement _IS_ in fact, a type of theft. One is stealing something from the copyright holder.

          What did the copyright holder stealing? Not money, certainly... as the copyright holder has no _less_ money than they had before the infringement. But there _IS_ something the copyright holder _does_ have less of: Exclusivity.

          Copyright is the _EXCLUSIVE_ right of its holder to copy a given work, and nobody else has any permission whatsoever without granted permission from the copyright holder. If one decides to copy a copyrighted work without permission, they are intrinsically lessening the amount of exclusivity that the copyright holder possesses over the right to copy the work (exclusivity of course meaning that nobody else was supposed to do it). Fair use copying is a concession to the general public that does slightly lessen the exclusiveness the copyright holder has without, in general, impacting the value or worth that it might have. Since such use is explicitly exempt from copyright infringment as outlined in the copyright act, the copyright holder can always be assumed to have agreed to this concession, or else he would not have copyrighted and published his work and nobody would know of its existence. Therefore fair use copying isn't stealing, since the copyright holder has implicitly given permission to copy for such purposes.

          But make no mistake.... copyright infringement is most definitely stealing.

          • by Lost Engineer (459920) on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:18PM (#16832304)
            How can you steal a concept, a feeling, or an idea? If I do an excellent moonwalk, have I stolen exclusivity from Michael Jackson? Do Robin Williams' impressions infring on the exclusivity of the impersonated? You can't steal an idea of exclusivity, only money associated with the loss thereof.

            I'm much more comfortable with the argument that piracy is stealing from the (mostly well lined) pockets of record companies and artists. This at least holds water when directed at those who could have/would have otherwise paid for the content.

            By your logic, artists could sue for the pain and suffering their loss of exclusivity caused them.
          • by krell (896769) on Monday November 13, 2006 @10:23PM (#16832864) Journal
            "Can it be agreed upon that theft is when you take something away, without permission, from someone else so that they no longer possess it, or as much of it, as they had before the theft? Then copyright infringement _IS_ in fact, a type of theft."

            No, since the taking away part you describe as necessary is not present in copyright infringement.

            "Therefore fair use copying isn't stealing, since the copyright holder has implicitly given permission to copy for such purposes. "

            Actually, it isn't stealing, since no form of copying is stealing (whether it is unfair use or fair use)

            "But make no mistake.... copyright infringement is most definitely stealing."
            BR Ermmm. yeah. Despite the fact that it does not meet the definition. Chalk this up to the weak argument: "copyright infringement is theft because I SAY it is, no explanation necessary."
      • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:27PM (#16829136)
        Given their history, their hypocritical actions against artists, I have very little reason to believe they are arguing anything in good faith, hence I have very little reason to listen to them at all.

        Yeah, their history sucks. But is what they're saying now unreasonable? If you push your opponent against the wall and he finally relents and gives you what you need (not saying he's giving everything, but he is giving something) do you just scoff at him?

        Hell, we need to be taking notes on what he's saying now and we need to stick him to his word. He says things should be balanced. Yes, they should. He says we should have some, but not unlimited fair use. Yes and yes.

        When your enemy gives you ground, you don't go hide in your bunker and call him names. You advance. I consider this an opportunity.

        TW
        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:02PM (#16829760) Journal
          He is attempting to portray the fair-use balance as the interestst of the content publishers versus the interests of the equipment makers. At one point he makes this explicit. At another he talks of balancing the interests of "all players". This is totally bogus.

          In fact the copyright balancing is the interests of the content producers versus the interests of the content users (of a number of types - including the content PURCHASERS who want to format-shift their property in order to player-shift or space-shift it, whom he carefully ignores).

          The makers of the equipment, software, and other insturmentality that enables the content users' exercise of their fair-use rights DO benefit. So they have a financial incentive to support the content users' position. (Indeed, the industry's activity is an effective way for the content users to fund the defense of their own rights.) And their profit is indeed part of the overall social benefit intended to be promoted by the copyright law. But (despite Sherman's FUD) the copying-equipment industry's interest is NOT the other side of the "balance" of fair-use.
        • by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:04PM (#16829798)
          I think you fell for his scheme when you basically accepted his point:
          He says we should have some, but not unlimited fair use.
          I want unlimited fair use! Why? Because it's fair!
          I'm not arguing that I should be able to get my music for free, but once I pay for it I can do with it whatever I want, as long as it's fair use. I'm not going to accept his version of "fair" - probably no media shifting, no format shifting, if possible no time shifting and hardware-locked to a specific player - I want the rights I deserve for having paid.
          You make the mistake of accepting his framing of the argument: he isn't "giving in" in the slightest, he makes an outrageous demand, and, when no one will fulfill it, backs down a little. It's the same as if I asked you to pay me a million dollars for using the same air that I breathe, and if you aren't willing to pay, well, I can back down to a payment of one dollar a month. I guess you would consider that a great deal, since I "backed down" so much...
          (I'm not accusing you personally, but every time I see something like this I wish people were more aware of basic manipulating tactics - these are old tricks, and, sad as it is to see, they still work).
          • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:12PM (#16829932) Homepage

            "Fair use" does not define a certain limited amount of copying that you have permission to do. It defines copying that you do *not have to ask permission for. You can try to prevent "fair use" technologically, but there is nothing in copyright law that prevents my circumventing that technical measure. Now I defer to a smarter man:

            (Moglen on the DMCA): "You never read a case, because there never was a case, in which under the copyright law, somebody was charged with a federal legal offence of any kind for writing a book about how photocopiers work or for distributing blue prints of photocopiers or for manufacturing and selling photocopiers. When you see a legal regime that is engaged in trying to charge people for doing those things, you can be pretty sure it's not the copyright law, it's something else. The fact that they put the word copyright in the title doesn't make it a copyright law folks"

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by syousef (465911)
            Well I know I'd have a lot more sympathy for these people if I could walk in and have damaged media replaced at cost once I paid for a license. I've already paid for a couple of my favourite shows more than once. (Entire 5 seasons of Babylon 5 first on video then DVD. Battlestar Galactica 1978 movie then 7 disc series including the movie). If I continue to be a fan of these shows and meet life expectancy I estimate I'll pay for them again 3 or 4 times before I die.

            But hell I won't even buy the latest Micros
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268)
          Yes, they should. He says we should have some, but not unlimited fair use. Yes and yes.

          NO!

          Fair use is fair use. Either you have it, or you don't. Why do you think the word "fair" is in there? If it shouldn't be allowed, then it's "unfair".

          Fair use should absolutely be unlimited.

          By your logic, if the government starts advocating severe limits on free thought, you'd think it would be a good thing if we complained and complained about this, and they relented, allowing some free thought, and you'd be here on
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by szembek (948327)
          "He says we should have some, but not unlimited fair use. Yes and yes." Well actually I would argue yes and no. We should have unlimited fair use. We should not have unlimited use. That is the point of fair use. If they limited our fair use it would not be fair now would it?
        • Warfare analogies (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pfhorrest (545131)
          Yeah, their history sucks. But is what they're saying now unreasonable? If you push your opponent against the wall and he finally relents and gives you what you need (not saying he's giving everything, but he is giving something) do you just scoff at him?

          Hell, we need to be taking notes on what he's saying now and we need to stick him to his word. He says things should be balanced. Yes, they should. He says we should have some, but not unlimited fair use. Yes and yes.

          When your enemy gives you ground, you do
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tkrotchko (124118) *
          "But is what they're saying now unreasonable? "

          Actually it's very unreasonable.

          I should be able to take music I purchase and move it anywhere. To my iPod, to my server, to my stereo, anywhere I want. Period. End of sentence. That's what I have now with CD's. Why would I give up anything? Who am I being unfair to when I buy a CD and move it to my iPod?

          Same with the MPAA. I should be able to take a DVD and copy it to my HD. That's not being unfair.

          Ask this guy..."When I take a CD that I bought and mov
      • by plover (150551) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:32PM (#16829224) Homepage Journal
        [ Warning: I am not a lawyer. That should be obvious after the first paragraph. ]

        I'm not sure that his use of "fair use" is that far off. For example, "fair use" means you can quote a few words from a textbook, but cannot repeat the whole book. "Fair use" also means you can play a few seconds of a song, or a few seconds of a movie without permission or penalty.

        Fair use does not mean they have to make it easy for you to make a copy of those few seconds.

        The real dissembling comes from him saying nothing about the doctrine of "first sale." That's the one that gives you the right to do whatever you want with a product once you've purchased it. For example, if you purchase a Spalding baseball the Spalding company cannot limit you to catching it only with a genuine Spalding glove. They can advertise the balls as "best caught with a Genuine Spalding Glove", they can print "WARNING: catch this ball only with a Genuine Spalding Glove or hand damage may result", and they can even print "Never sell your glove to anyone else" on your glove. But what they print on it has no legal bearing on what you are legally permitted to do with it.

        There are exceptions for certain materials, such as pesticides and herbicides, that prevent you from using them in a manner harmful to the environment. But unless a Brittany Spears disc is capable of producing an ecological disaster, I doubt strongly that they apply.

        • unless a Brittany Spears disc is capable of producing an ecological disaster
          yes it can. They must all be sequestered in stainless drums cast in concrete and shot into the sun.
          -nB
        • by WiseWeasel (92224)
          The right to time-shift and format-shift for personal use are well-established as part of the fair use exceptions to copyright law. As long as they don't grant this ability, copyright owners have nothing to complain about when their copy protection gets cracked, or people forego the distribution medium.
        • yer mistaken (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rodentia (102779) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:39PM (#16830384)
          For example, "fair use" means you can quote a few words from a textbook, but cannot repeat the whole book. "Fair use" also means you can play a few seconds of a song, or a few seconds of a movie without permission or penalty.

          You are mistakenly conflating two forms in the statutory basis for fair use: borrowing for purposes of quotation or criticism and limits on commercial exploitation.

          It is perfectly legal to spend an afternoon photocopying a complete book in your public library and lugging the reams of 8.5X11 home with you, if your purposes are scholarly or educational and you have no intention of commercial redistribution. Mr. Sherman is pleased by your confusion in this regard and your mistaken guidance to the hoi polloi. In fact, they are relying not upon the deterrent effect of a handful of lawsuits, but the great murk that this tactic generates around these questions in the public discourse.

          It is perfectly legal to make complete copies of any copyrighted work provided there is no commercial intent and no restraint of commerce (read: giving them out for free and destroying the market) and anyone who will tell you otherwise is mistaken or lying. Grokster died not because copies existed on its servers or servers it indexed, but because it had no way of guaranteeing that those copies were not commercially exploited or that restraint of trade was not occurring. It purposefully marketed this anonymity of purpose as a value-add.
          • by dustpuppy (5260) on Monday November 13, 2006 @08:08PM (#16831610) Homepage
            Actually you are mistaken as well. There are no hard and fast rules on 'fair use', but it is determined by:
            • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
            • the nature of the copyrighted work;
            • amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
            • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

            When I studied Copyright Law as part of my engineering degree, it was emphasised that you cannot copy the whole material regardless of whether it was for educational or non-commercial use.

            If you want to read more, you can do so at the US Copyright Office website:
            http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html [copyright.gov]

            From that site:

            The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: "quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported."

            Note that nowhere in those examples does it say wholesale copying of a document.


            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by d34thm0nk3y (653414)
              You guys are both a little off. Since Fair Use is an ambiguous concept it helps to look at precedent. Here is an excerpt from an article on the Sony Betamax case.

              Handing down its decision in October 1979, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Sony, stating that taping off air for entertainment or time shifting constituted fair use; that copying an entire program also qualified as fair use; that set manufacturers could profit from the sale of VCRs; and that the plaintiffs did not prove that any of th
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Zonk (troll) (1026140)
        Reading the whole article, I think his point was to mislead. In his whole time talking, he trots fair use out as a way to criticize, parody or comment on a work.


        Well, look who we're dealing with. The RIAA. The same people who claim letting a friend borrow a cd is the same as attacking a ship.
      • You don't entitle your article "The Farce Behind Digital Freedom". And you don't immediately open fire with loaded words like "extremist". I have little hope for the rest of TFA at this point...
    • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:14PM (#16828870)
      Just not one that I agree with.

      What part of it don't you agree with? He really doesn't say anything inflammatory at all. In fact, he goes on and on about a balance and different interests working together.

      In truth, I think he only does that because we pushed his group's unreasonable stance so hard that they have no choice but to come closer to the center. We should not let up. But what he is actually saying makes sense.

      Point one: We must balance interests. Yep, I like it.
      Point two: Downloading songs without paying for them is bad. I agree with that as well.
      Point three: There are fair use provisions in the copyright act that must be respected. How could I disagree?
      Point four: The group championing consumer rights is self serving and wrong. This one I don't know about. I'm honestly not very familiar with this particular org. I won't defend this.

      3 outa 4 aint bad. Do you care to elaborate further on the reasons for your stance?

      TW
      • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalkerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:25PM (#16829084) Journal
        Its the things that he doesn't say but implies that are the real sneaky bits.
        1) Fair use isn't about making personal backups (I'm talking putting the song on your favorite player not copying for your friend).
        2) CEA is self interest, but the RIAA is better than that..

        Also he never said that fair use rights "must be respected" he acknowledged they exist. But the RIAA and MPAA have shown disdain in the past for research and other fair use rights when they require breaking encryption to achieve them.
        • 1) Fair use isn't about making personal backups (I'm talking putting the song on your favorite player not copying for your friend).

          Umm, fair use IS about making personal backups. It's not about making copies for your friends.

          If you purchase the media, you can make copies for your own use, and change the format for your various listening/viewing devices. If you like, you can transfer ownership of said media to someone else. Once you transfer ownership, however, any other copies of the media you no lo

          • "Its the things that he doesn't say but implies that are the real sneaky bits."

            I was in effect quoting what the RIAA guy was trying to imply.

            NOT my opinions on the matter.
      • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:31PM (#16829218) Journal
        What part of it don't you agree with? He really doesn't say anything inflammatory at all. In fact, he goes on and on about a balance and different interests working together.
        Ah, the skill of the spinner (Mr. Sherman). What about the right to make my own backup copies and to share amongst my own family? These are legitimate fair uses that Mr. Sherman's organisation is working to eliminate. Why does he not mention these rights?

        The other problem with Mr. Sherman's statements is that it serves mostly publishers and not the artists -- while the goal of copyright law is the encourage the creation of artistic works, not to maximise the profits of publishing houses. Whether downloading is illegal or not ignores the real question, which is does it help artists and should it be illegal?

        • Ah, the skill of the spinner (Mr. Sherman). What about the right to make my own backup copies and to share amongst my own family? These are legitimate fair uses that Mr. Sherman's organisation is working to eliminate. Why does he not mention these rights?
          You're talking about two different things here: backups and distribution. One is fair use, the other is not.
        • Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NineNine (235196)
          Whether downloading is illegal or not ignores the real question, which is does it help artists and should it be illegal?

          Wrong. The question should be about respecting private property of all kinds, no matter who it belongs to. The alternative is a slippery slope on which the government tells you what you are allowed and aren't allowed to own.
          • Private property? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by phliar (87116) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:37PM (#16831264) Homepage
            ... Whether downloading is illegal or not ignores the real question, which is does it help artists and should it be illegal?
            Wrong. The question should be about respecting private property of all kinds, no matter who it belongs to.

            Copyright is not private property. Copyright is a limited-time government-granted monopoly on the reproduction of intangible works.

            I own a bicycle. I own it forever -- my ownership of the bicycle never lapses.

            I own the copyright to this message. 70 years [or whatever the Disney Corp. manages to extend it to] after I die, the copyright expires and this message automatically goes into the public domain.

            ...a slippery slope on which the government tells you what you are allowed and aren't allowed to own.
            Nonsense. With copyrights, the government is controlling what I can do with the book I already paid for. And the government already says you are not allowed to own some things -- like other humans.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:05PM (#16828690) Journal
    I don't think the CEA "invented" the idea that fair use is a consumer concern. Whether you will be legally limited in reprinting (reposting?) or sharing some copyrighted work is pretty much the definition of a consumer concern about IP.
  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Control Group (105494) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:09PM (#16828768) Homepage
    ...area rapist decries the right to bear arms, saying "the ability of a woman to defend herself is in danger of losing its meaning and value."
  • Riiiiiight! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:10PM (#16828782)
    "Let's be clear. The CEA's primary concern is not consumers, but technology companies"

    Which is why RIAA has gone for a lot of soft targets http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=35 669 [theinquirer.net]

  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:10PM (#16828784) Homepage
    "Like a true spinner"

    Let the guy make his points and disagree where you feel appropriate. But there is no need to preface it with a comment. You could say that about anyone trying to make an argument.
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      I see your point but I do not think calling the President of the RIAA a "Spinner" is out of line. I think there is a consensus here on Slashdot that nothing good has ever come out of the RIAA's existence. They really are anti-consumer and only exist to lock in profits for their customers (Read: The Record Companies). For them to say that another organization is anti-consumer is totally hypocritical.
    • I agree with the parent and would like to request that the Slashdot editors stop editorializing in the summaries. Editorializing is what the comments section is for. By saying "Like a true spinner" you have just spun the spin. You are no better than him (but I'm not sure he's bad, cause my reason for believing he is spinning is because of negative spin -- oh crap my head is spinning now). I've noticed this a lot lately and think it's ridiculous. If editors want to include some talking points to help di
    • You could say that about anyone trying to make an argument.

      If by "that" you mean "like a true spinner...", I disagree. Normal debate tactics are to emphasize your point's advantages and minimize it's disadvantages:

      We had to make some tough design choices, but we believe the consumers will like the finished product.

      Spinning, on the other hand, is the "art" of making your disadvantages look like advantages:

      Despite what reviewers are saying, the "random maiming" feature can be useful in many situat

  • by Anonymous Coward
    > Slashdotters,

    Information wants to be free.

    > trollers,

    First Goatse

    > and pollsters

    79%

    > one and all

    79% of information is goatse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jhembruff (996103)
      To more accurately represent Slashthink, I think maybe it should be:

      79% of information is goatse, whose original content should be provided free (as in speech) so that the public can improve upon it for future generations. Also, Fuck Microsoft.
  • Let me fix that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:11PM (#16828808)
    I think he meant to say:

    "Let's be clear. The RIAA's primary concern is not artists, but themselves -- a large, quasi-multinational corporation which strives to make a profit... But to seize the mantra of "artists rights" to advance that business interest is simply disingenuous.'
  • by krell (896769) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:18PM (#16828928) Journal
    he says: "don't believe their creations will be adequately protected from IP theft and other unfair...."

    Considering that it is impossible to steal IP (you can only copy it), he has no idea what he is talking about. Either that, or he is intentionally lying. He also quotes a Grokster judge who said that Grokster was theft, and says that this judge is tech-savvy. How can he be? If he knew a thing about Grokster, he'd know that no theft ever took place on it.
    • "Considering that it is impossible to steal IP (you can only copy it)"

      It's obvious that the RIAA hasn't cornered the market on "spin".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by krell (896769)
        "It's obvious that the RIAA hasn't cornered the market on "spin"."

        It is not spin to point out abuse of words and encourage accurate usage in accordance with actual definitions. Copyright infringement and theft are two different crimes. No one has ever shown even one example of anything being stolen via p2p.
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      It is proper to call the act of removing money from the content owner's pocket theft.

      If you put your hand in my pocket, take money out and walk away you have committed theft. Period. Why you thought you should do this is immaterial. You can say "I just made a copy" but that does not change the fact that you accessed something I should have been paid for to enable your access.
      • by krell (896769) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:49PM (#16829522) Journal
        "It is proper to call the act of removing money from the content owner's pocket theft."

        Yes.... which has nothing to do with copyright infringement.

        "You can say "I just made a copy" but that does not change the fact that you accessed something I should have been paid for to enable your access"

        Accessed? Like in your wallet example? Theft is theft. Period. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. Period. Sounds like you are discussing some sort of unauthorized access. There are other forms of unauthorized access which are also not theft (such as trespassing). The person who has "just made a copy" is guilty of copying, not stealing.
  • > The CEA's primary concern is not consumers, but technology companies -- often large, multinational corporations which, like us, strive to make a profit...

    (emphasis added by poster.)

    You know the Democrats are in power when the RIAA line is that fair use has to be eliminated due to "large, multinational corporations", instead of "freeloaders" and "free riders".

    I'll give Cary this much. He's smart enough to adjust the spin vector to best conform to the prejudices of whichever group of thugs ha

  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:18PM (#16828940)
    Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association has an intersting response. Below are some paragraphs from his response that I thought were intersting.
    Maybe it's because the RIAA's own attorneys argued in the Grokster case two years ago before the Supreme Court that consumers can legally make copies of their CDs that Mr. Sherman feels he needs to rewrite the history of fair use here. To say that the RIAA has moved away from the position they outlined for the Court is an understatement. They have attempted to turn the concept of fair use into a flaccid technical defense used only by journalists and obscure authors and creators.

    Mr. Sherman also takes great pains to incorrectly and deceptively quote from a speech I gave five years ago prior to the Supreme Court's Grokster decision, and in the process seeks to paint us as money grubbing extremists. Yet, the RIAA won the Supreme Court case and yet still wants more from Congress. This should come as no surprise. When technology companies agreed to limit technology by agreeing to pay royalties directly for each recording device and by restricting how those devices were built, they promised to end their costly and frivolous lawsuits against our companies. Yet, they still want more. We kept our half of the bargain and they sued XM for selling a recording device which can't even send a signal over the internet.

    Why shouldn't a student be able to use lawfully acquired music in a school project? Why can't my wife use the song she bought on ITunes on a DvD she is making of our photos? Why can't I make a favorite hits CD with music I lawfully acquired.

    Mr. Sherman paints us as downloading thieves. But the RIAA litigation machine, which has extracted millions of dollars in settlements from over 10,000 Americans, wants bigger tools and new laws.

    Enough already. Americans have rights to use lawfully acquired music for non-commercial purposes and the effort by the RIAA to paint them as pirates is unfortunate. That's why the Digital Freedom campaign is a movement whose time has come.

  • by PackMan97 (244419) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:19PM (#16828950) Homepage
    We'll give you fair use, if you give us limited times.
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
    You see, ever since the late 1920's Congress has been retroactively extending all copyrights every time they are close to expiring. The length of a copyright is currently at 95 years, which is far longer than the average author's life expectancy even if we assume they penned their work at the age of 1. Well past the lifetime of any human being if we assume they created their work after their teenage years. Every time copyrights are about to expire, congress extends them making them effectively unlimited. So, how about a compromise here? We'll grant that not everything we do is fair use (such as posting to youtube.com and file sharing sites) and you grant us a copyright term of around 50 years?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PackMan97 (244419)
      My bad! That was from 1920-1963.

      A work created today has a copyright term of the life of the author plus 70 years or for works for hire a term of 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation (whichever is sorter).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by turly (992736)
        This is because most works today are assigned to corporations. And corporations are in essence immortal persons, with no notion of "personal" responsibility. So obviously the corporation wants the Gravy Train to keep rolling for as long as possible. Watch the Corporate machine bribe congress in return for more than 95 years before the next Mickey Mouse Copyright Expiry in 2019.

        (The last Mickey Mouse Copyright Expiry was to have been in 2003, but after intense lobbying, Congress passed The Sonny Bono Co

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:20PM (#16828976)
    The bottom line for fair use is this:

    I should be able to make a copy, for personal use, of any content that I can receive, whether it is broadcast for free or (especially) if paid for.

    This is what Fair Use has always been understood to mean, in addition to being able to use small excerpts for review or educational purposes.

    It was about us popping a tape in our VCR or radio and making a recording.

    Now that the recordings are equal quality to the original, the RIAA and company want to renig on the deal. It's as simple as that.

    If you've paid to receive the content, or it is freely given away, you should be able to make a copy for personal use. Period.
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      Yes, but ...

      Today, the right to make a copy for personal use has been extended to making a copy to share with friends. And, because we're friendly on this planet, "friends" means everyone on the planet. Make no mistake, the more militant folks out there want to enforce "buy one copy, share with the planet."

      Electronics manufacturers have somewhat less to lose than content producers, but both are going to lose in the long run as long as fair use is translated to "free music and movies."

      Just exactly how do w
      • by krell (896769)
        "Electronics manufacturers have somewhat less to lose than content producers, but both are going to lose in the long run as long as fair use is translated to "free music and movies.""

        If things degenerate to free music and free movies, we'd still need electronics to play them on. How could the electronics manufacturers lose? Or are you referring to how if media because driven by the customers instead of by bizarre descrees from companies to buy everything all over again in a new format ever 8 years, the h
  • Disingenuous how? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shrapnull (780217) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:21PM (#16829002)
    The consumer electronics association has everything to gain from legal, clearly defined fair use; more goods sold to the user to duplicate, backup and store copies of perishable media such as those that the RIAA peddles. The RIAA loses ground because they can no longer force you to buy a new copy of your product if the one you purchased is no longer usable. My point is, of course the CEA has a lot to gain from it, but that only demonstrates that consumers aren't the only ones that want legal clarification of fair use statues, or stand to gain from it. This seems more to me like the RIAA standing up saying "Not Fair! He wins if the consumer does and we don't!" Go cry in another corner, emo boy...
  • by cobalts (1026762) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:22PM (#16829034)
    This is a classic ad hominem attack, which seeks to avoid addressing an opponent's main argument entirely by casting into question the person or entity who is making that argument. Thus, an ad hominem ("to the person") attack addresses not the argument on its own merits but the person making the argument, usually by attempting to undermine the person's true motivation or intention in making the argument. I think in contemporary developed society, this kind of ad hominem maneuver can't be very effective in actually swaying anyone. We're not very susceptible to the "they're just capitalists like us" argument. First of all, it's not a very strong counterargument to begin with. Secondly, consumers are VERY FAMILIAR with the fact that businesses are interested in making money, or, in general, that societal forces are composed of opposing interests and groups of interests that seek common ground in order to push forward an agreed upon agenda that meets the needs of multiple interests. So on the one hand, you have the RIAA, an entity that has demonstrated its own desperation, ignorance and sheer laziness, as well as a sense of entitlement and mean-spiritedness that does not stem from actually producing anything but merely licensing and distributing it. Remember when Creedence Clearwater Revival's recording company sued John Fogarty for stealing his own style of making music? (And lost?) They're essentially luddites; if they could get rid of the technological successes of the last 20 years, they would. And on the other hand, you have a bunch of companies that want to sell you some shiny bits of kit so that you can walk around with your tunes and feel cool. Oh, and a bunch of pissed off, anti-control, anti-corporate consumers. Who do you want on your side? Who is on your side? The RIAA counterargument is substanceless and ineffectual, just like their feeble anti-piracy countermeasures.
  • by tygt (792974) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:25PM (#16829096)
    I'm sitting here trying to find something "interesting" to write - I figured it shouldn't be too tough to find something "fair use"-ish aside from printed and viewable media - and I'm coming up dry.

    Is there anything else you can buy in the world, where there are such restrictions placed on its use? Stuff that's reasonably easy to duplicate, and has potential for such abuse, that it has protections?

    Looking around my (typically messy) desk, I see... hmm, my camera. Ok, I can pay $1300 for a lens on my DSLR.. Canon doesn't say "dude you can't put that on any other camera". Nope. Of course, there's no other camera to put it on, but I knew that when I bought it, and canon doesn't say that I can't do what I want with the results of the pics.

    Ah, there's a clip loaded with .22's (well, this is the country, and the other day a coyote tried to get at my chickens!). Remington doesn't say that I can only put these in their rifle. I bought the bullets, I can do what I want with them, as far as the originating company is concerned (Uncle Sam may disagree with me, of course, but you won't see Remington getting involved in that).

    So, is there anything produced where the manufacturer places specific use restrictions (not "suggestions", like a recipe which calls [let me exercise "fair use" in an excerpt here] for "1 bar (8 oz.) NESTLÉ CHOCOLATIER(TM) 62% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, broken into sections" or "2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin" as though something else is going to ruin the recipe - they're not denying you the right, or ability, to use their recipe unless you use their product!) other than media?

    Perhaps the special thing about media is that the company wants to sell you not "listen to this song" or "watch this movie" but "listen to this song only on this one thing". There's a clash between what the consumer believes himself to be buying, and what the company claims to be selling.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:28PM (#16829146)
    "Let's be clear. The CEA's primary concern is not consumers, but technology companies -- often large, multinational corporations which, like us, strive to make a profit... "

    But, unlike you, the CEA does not seek this profit through monopoly control over the products they sell (OK, with the possible expception of Sony...). A CD player is a CD player is a CD player, no matter who manfucatures it, but a new Death Cab for Cutie CD can only come from Atlantic. Because the electronics manufacturers don't have nearly the same amount of federal legal power to fall back on to protect their profits, they are far more inclined to (day I say it) cater to the whims of the customer (insert previous Sony caveat here).

    While there is always the danger of manufacuring cartels getting together to limit consumer choice in the realm of hardware (DVD-CSS), these cartels don't have the same kind of legal protections that copyright holders do, and are always susceptible to competitors making cheaper yet more functional devices (Wal-Mart won't try to sell bootleg movies, but will be more than happy to sell you a region-free DVD player).
    • " (Wal-Mart won't try to sell bootleg movies, but will be more than happy to sell you a region-free DVD player)."

      Which Wal-Mart is this???
  • Social Contract (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:29PM (#16829166)
    Copyright is a social contract. The government agrees to protect a monopoly for a limited time in exchange for an idea being released into the Public Domain. The Fair Use clause is a reminder that the materials copyrighted will become Public Domain and is an exclusion to benefit everyone for the limited time where the monopoly is in place. Of course they don't want Fair Use. For one, it is an excuse for users to be able to access the idea they bought in a convenient manner. The content providers want you to re-buy for you DVD/TV, DVD/computer, DVD/PSP, car, iPod, etc. Fair Use explicitly states that you do not need to buy multiple copies of the same thing. Additionally, Fair Use is a reminder of the contract. The Limited Time portion has already been forgotten by Congress. The more the content middlemen can get people to think that their ownership of copyright is a right, the more they can separate themselves and their tactics from the intention of copyright.

    I ask myself one question. Do the laws surrounding copyright encourage innovation? My answer is "no, they do not." With that answer, it means that I must necessarily think that the laws regarding copyright are unconstitutional. Innovation is not when Velcro's replacement is held back from public consumption until after the patent on Velcro has expired. Innovation would be releasing it when it is discovered. Many companies hold back the next generation of products until the previous generation patents have or soon will expire. Companies use patents to prevent competitors from making obvious enhancements to their own products. Copyright law is being used to prevent Fair Use and extending the copyright every time it get close to expiring indicates that it is not a limited time. Author's life + 10 or 25 years, whichever is shorter would be more than sufficient for protecting the creator for profit to encourage creation of new content.

    Oh, and "Science and useful Arts" does not include business processes.
    • Re:Social Contract (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BobSutan (467781) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:23PM (#16830120)
      "Author's life + 10 or 25 years, whichever is shorter would be more than sufficient for protecting the creator for profit to encourage creation of new content."

      I disagree. 10-20 years is all they should be given a copyright for. Its the expiration of income from a given work that inspires one to produce more works. If I come up with a good idea and got paids for it for the rest of my life, what's my inspiration for creating even more works? None. If I know that gravy train is going away soon you best believe I'll be working my butt off on coming up with a new idea to sell.

      That's how copyright came into existence. What we have today is an abomination and is in serious need of correction.
  • Sounds like the Pot calling the Kettle disingenuous!

    I have but one thing to say about that. If the consumer market did not want it, the manufacturers wouldn't make it! This premise has been shown again and again. They don't want to make things people won't buy. They buy it because they want it. They make it because people ask for it or they think the people would like it. (product failures are common, no need to cite examples...cue cat)

    Disingenuous indeed...
  • by AxemRed (755470) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:34PM (#16829272)
    Let's be clear. The CEA's primary concern is not consumers, but technology companies--often large, multinational corporations which, like us, strive to make a profit.

    Sometimes, all of these entities are the same company. Look at Sony for example. They own a record label, produce consumer electronics, and sell blank media.
  • All of the above (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maynard (3337) <j DOT maynard DO ... AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:36PM (#16829290) Journal
    Slashdotters, trollers, and pollsters one and all, what say you? Disingenuous or dissembling?

    All of the above. I have the right to use my media as I see fit. What, is he next going to claim that ripping my own CDs is illegal [eff.org]? Pesky "Fair Use", it's holding back commerce and hurting the economy. Hey, we have record executives to feed! They have children to put through ivy league schools! And Hummers to buy! The rabble is getting just too damn uppity, I say. Do you honestly think that's disingenuous?

    Sheesh!

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go download last nights Frisky Dingo episode.

  • The CEO of the RIAA claims: "We celebrate advances in technology and recognize the importance of finding new ways to deliver content." At the same time, the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group claims MP3 players are: "just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. [billboard.com]"

    It seems fairly clear that neither the RIAA nor their member companies really understand technology well at all. They try to stagnate music distribution in the mid-80's, and they disregard how easy it is to compare and contrast
  • Devices and technologies are only as good as the content they use. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted: "The coalition led by the Consumers Electronics Association is pursuing a self-defeating strategy. Demolishing the rights of creative artists will hurt consumers and technology providers, not help them. Musicians, artists, filmmakers and others won't produce rich, diverse content if they don't believe their creations will be adequately protected from IP theft and other unfair, illegal uses. Without con

  • by tqk (413719)
    The CEA's primary concern is not consumers, but technology companies.

    Uh huh. And the RIAA's primary concern is ...
  • In response to the RIAA President, this Slashdot user would offer the anaology of prostitution. Aristotle, I believe it was Aristotle, said that teaching was akin to prostitution because a prostitute sells love for money and a teacher sells wisdom for money. Aristotle wasn't necessarily opposed to prostitution, he was just pointing out the analogy.
    But the analogy hits upon a very important point. Love, knowledge and wisdom are all best when shared freely. A society composed
  • The IP Crusades (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fortinbras47 (457756) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:47PM (#16829484)
    Extreme #(1)
    On one far side of the IP continuum, you treat intellectual property almost EXACTLY like physical property. Lifetime ownership, lifetime copyright etc... This situation probably grants excessive monopoly power to the IP creator and creates inefficiencies.

    Extreme #(2)>
    On the other side, you have absolutely no rules whatsoever. Everyone is free to use/steal/whatever anything. ... This situation creates a variation on the classic tragedy of the commons. [wikipedia.org] Everyone has an incentive to use the common IP resources; no one has an incentive to create them. (And no, communism does not work and the broad population will not create free stuff for the benefit of mankind without compensation.)

    (3) The Fuzzy Middle
    Then there is some position in the middle that grants a time limited monopoly (copyright) with certain exceptions for "fair use." Where "fair use" has a strict definition. A brief quotation is "fair use," while a larger excerpt is not. the Anti IP group (2) people want to redefine "fair use" as "all use." (Switch US system from (3) to Extreme #2 by stealth.) Not that I'm an RIAA fan, but the opinion piece here has a point.

    • "Extreme #(2)> Everyone has an incentive to use the common IP resources; no one has an incentive to create them. (And no, communism does not work and the broad population will not create free stuff for the benefit of mankind without compensation.)"

      This is not about communism, since communism is all about brutal totalitarian dictatorship. Anyway, I'm getting happier and happier with this extreme. Why? More and more of the content I am finding and enjoying is made by people for the pure fun of it in the
  • by mpapet (761907) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:49PM (#16829516) Homepage
    Good Cop Bad Cop.

    Right now, this guy is playing good cop. While another part of the organization litigates the end-user into oblivion.

    The goal remains, Greater control for higher revenue, which naturally entails drastically limiting consumer usage.

    Microsoft's goal, RIAA members goal. All of them.

    That this is even being considered as thoughtful by some is just... astroturfing.
  • - of losing its meaning and value' - most excellent point, Cary Sherman.

    And you, yourself are one of the dangers.
  • by GogglesPisano (199483) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:58PM (#16829694)
    Seems like they're attempting to cast a negative connotation to the words "fair use", or at least confuse the term until it loses its meaning. If carefully done, this can take the strength out of their opponents' arguments.

    The effectiveness of this can be demonstrated by the conservatives' redefinition of the word "liberal", which nowadays is used pejoratively. Originally, the word had a positive meaning (one with liberal views, supporting individual liberty).

  • by ivanmarsh (634711) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:10PM (#16829912)
    If it wasn't for fair use rap wouldn't be legal.
  • What I buy is.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 3seas (184403) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:31PM (#16830252) Journal
    Music not the media it is on. As such I should be able to transfer the music to any media that allows me to listen to it.

    IS that to hard to understand?
  • by newsdee (629448) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:14PM (#16830916) Homepage Journal
    He is absolutely right in saying that there is a major conflict of interest between the content providers and the technology companies. Both are led by large corporations, and both serve "the public" to different extents (content producers and consumers). He is also right in pointing out that fair use is necessary for all, acknowledging that "so much of what we create is built on the art that came before".

    He also makes a couple of interesting points: first, that downloading is illegal and immoral (the opposite view being an "extremist position"); and second that the new fair use will stop artists from producing content because there would be no economic advantage. And IMHO both of these points are flawed and misleading.

    For the first one, there is no mention of what makes it an extremist view (other than his obvious agenda), and the opposite view is just as extreme. Downloading is not illegal everywhere, and it certainly is not immoral - there is no morality on the reordering of a bunch of 0 and 1s on magnetic storage. Nothing was lost on the other side.

    But the second one is more interesting. It is simply not true that artists will stop producing content if people are free to use the technology as they see fit. This is already happening, and the attempts to outlaw it is a proof of that. But the impact won't necessarily be worse than today if allowed to happen.

    I think that these are hiding another, deeper, threat for content companies: the fact that technology companies serve both consumers and content creators, and it scares the crap out of them because of the implications.

    In other words, technology massively lowers the barriers of entry for new artists. Massive distribution technologies allow users to bypass the traditional and oligarchic "means of production". Cheaper equipment means more talented people can reach the eyes and ears of listeners, which will cause money to be distributed more broadly, and more fairly - at the expense of the traditional players of the content industry. An example of this is how, given a specific content, some illegal copies manage to release something of a better quality (no ads, multiple subtitles in different languages, better size/quality ratio, etc).

    Content industries have a history of perverting technology for their own economic ends. DVD zoning is an example of this. I can understand the marketing drives to do it - artificial market segmentation, and so on. But in a increasingly global world they become as annoying as they are obsolete.

    So yes, the technology companies have a lot to profit from this. But guess what - their best economic interest is to allow the people (artist and consumers) to be able to do more with their gear, not less. So if I have to choose my side, I'll go with the technology companies, not with the people who would like to "license" things to a given item of hardware and still charge as much as possible.

    Some people are getting it... these guys [mariposahd.tv] are trying to offer a free HD TV show on the net. In other areas such as gaming, there are many examples [sourceforge.net] of freely available software [sourceforge.net], which are free yet fun to play [romhack.net]. This is the future, IMHO, and is arriving sooner or later. Yes, in part, I like it because I get a free ride, but that's because I'm given one by people who have the means of doing so. And those means are given by technology.

  • A dare (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bitspotter (455598) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:37PM (#16831270) Journal
    "Musicians, artists, filmmakers and others won't produce rich, diverse content if they don't believe their creations will be adequately protected from IP theft and other unfair, illegal uses."

    BULLSHIT.

    PLENTY of artists continue to create and release works under Creative Commons and other open license on a daily basis. Only artists and commercial publishers like the RIAA's clientele won't produce content without restrictive "protections". If they went away, the commons would only grow.

    "Threatening" us with the bankruptcy of proprietary artists does NOT serve you well as a useful argument. It makes me want to call your bluff. No more Britney or NSYNC? ...Promise?

    Of course, we both know you're not going away. So quit bullshitting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bitspotter (455598)
      And then he gives us this gem:

      "Without content, the market for technology designed to deliver it will dry up quickly."

      How can you say that when you've been claiming enormous losses from widespread online piracy for a decade? Obviously you do not hear the CEA's clients crying uncle (an observation you make in this very article!), so obviously all that piracy isn't hurting them in the least.

      Of course, you may have a point insofar as you, considering yourself the exclusive font of all content, are still supply

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