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United States

CNET Interviews Rep. Boucher 149

Eliot Van Buskirk writes "I interviewed Congressman Rick Boucher about the DMCA, copy-protected CDs, free speech, and the effects of RIAA/MPAA lobbying both in the U.S. and abroad. The transcript is available in the MP3 Insider column, and also as a downloadable MP3 , available under the EFF's Open Audio License, meaning that you can put it in your file sharing directory's upload folder completely legally. This is sort of an experiment. Boucher might be the leading defender in Washington of our right to Fair Use, so I figure it makes sense for the interview to spread around the P2P networks." Boucher's one of the smart ones.
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CNET Interviews Rep. Boucher

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  • page two (Score:1, Informative)

    Interview with a congressman--part one (continued)
    B: Well, the Sony vs. Betamax decision is a very valuable decision. It was rendered 20 years ago. To a large extent it was reversed by the DMCA. What the Sony vs. Betamax decision held is that any time technology can be used for two purposes--a minimum of two, but two anyway, one of which is infringing, and another
    I have very serious problems with punishing the technology. And that is precisely what the DMCA seeks to do.
    of which is noninfringing, that the technology is lawful technology as long as it has a substantial noninfringing use. And the court analyzed the Betamax and found that because it allowed time-shifting, it had a substantial noninfringing use (time-shifting is fair use), and therefore Betamax was found to be lawful technology. That's a very valuable legal principle: The presence of a substantial noninfringing use renders the technology to be lawful. Now unfortunately, the DMCA essentially reversed that, because it says that if the technology, even though it has substantial noninfringing uses, was primarily intended by the manufacturer to be used for an infringing purpose, then the technology is unlawful. Now the problem is, nobody's going to know at the outset what a court is going to rule about the intent of the manufacturer. How do you determine that extent? How does a court subsequently determine what was in the manufacturer's mind at the time that he produced technology that could be used both for infringement and also had noninfringing purposes? And so the Sony vs. Betamax principle was severely weakened by that provision of the DMCA. And then, of course, anybody who traffics in a device which is declared to be an infringing technology--such as Mr. Sklyarov from Russia--can be arrested for criminal conduct.

    M: Right.

    B: And I have very serious problems with punishing the technology. And that is precisely what the DMCA seeks to do. We should punish people who engage in acts of piracy. We should not punish the technology which can be used for infringing purposes but also for substantial noninfringing purposes.

    M: So along those lines, I just came across a very interesting quote from John Ippolito of the Guggenheim, and he's talking about Senator "Fritz" Hollings's bill, the CBDTPA, and Ippolito says about that bill, "To disable the Internet to save EMI and Disney is the moral equivalent of burning down the library of Alexandria to ensure the livelihood of monastic scribes."

    B: (laughs) Well, it's artful...(laughs) Well, without being quite that eloquent, let me endorse the general idea that he expresses. I think that Senator Hollings's bill is wrongheaded. It is inappropriate for the government to establish technical standards to be applied to digital media. The government is not a very good standards-developing body.

    M: Mmm-hmm.

    B: I do agree that we need to take some steps to assure that material which is, for example, broadcast across digital-television equipment should be protected in such a way as to disallow unauthorized copying and disallow uploading to the Internet. I actually endorse the idea of doing that. But I think that should be done in a collaborative process that involves the manufacturers of equipment and also involves the motion-
    It is inappropriate for the government to establish technical standards to be applied to digital media. The government is not a very good standards-developing body.
    picture studios. And that very process is underway. That group has already achieved an agreement that will protect television content--broadcast and digital format--and received in the home by either cable television or by satellite. What they have not achieved is an agreement in regard to material that is broadcast over the air for receipt by an antenna or by "rabbit ears." But they're working to do that, and we expect that within another six weeks there will be a private-sector agreement that produces a standard for protecting that content as well. Now, at the end of that process, after the equipment manufacturers are satisfied that the standard is workable, after the motion-picture studios are satisfied that it offers sufficient protection, after the various consumer groups that are also working in this process are content that the employment of that standard will enable people to continue to exercise their fair-use rights for appropriate home recording of the material--after all of those tests are met, there may be a role for Congress to require that equipment respond to that particular standard, and all of the external stakeholders will have endorsed the standard and say that this technology works, and that consumer rights are protected. Now, at that point, I would be willing to entertain a proposal that Congress act and require that equipment respond. The Senator Hollings's bill is way ahead of all of that. Senator Hollings's bill would require that all digital media immediately respond to a standard that the government would wind up setting. There would be no assurance that consumer rights would be protected. There would be no assurance that the fair-use right to home recording of digital content would be preserved. There would be no assurance that the technology as applied to consumer-electronics products and information-technology products would allow those products to function effectively. And I'm convinced that if his bill becomes law, which I don't think it will, but if it were to become law, I think it would probably inhibit the introduction of a lot of useful new technology.

    M: Exactly. I mean it seems to me that in fact it would incent people to buy used computer equipment from before the legislation were enacted...

    B: Absolutely.

    M: ...which is ironic because it's called the promotion of broadband and digital television, promotion of sales [Editor's note: The law is actually called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act], it seems to me that the exact opposite is true.

    B: I think that's right.

    M: Right. OK, so since the Internet is international, then there's the aspect of will the DMCA become the basis for worldwide copyright law, and do you think that's realistic?

    B: Well, that's a big problem. You put your finger on a major concern there.

    Note: Check back in two weeks for the second half of the MP3 Insider's interview with Rep. Boucher.
  • "However, I'm not in the habit of downloading music from the Web." - I mean seriously - even if they did do this do you think they'd admit it in an interview?
    • There's no reason why he wouldn't admit it. There's plenty of music that is legal by even the RIAA's definition at mp3.com, the labels sites, etc.
    • if were going to pick this apart he did specifically say "from the Web" this covers his trail somewhat because he never says hes not in the habit of going elsewhere..

      and even so, wouldnt you want someone with some first hand experience making meaningful decisions concerning issues?
  • by cholokoy ( 265199 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:19PM (#3444149)
    Maybe geeks should be more activists in elections and campaign vigorously for politicians who have positive views about rights in the digital age.

    We cannot expect to have them all but doing our share would give them a better chance of being elected. We can whine but unless we do our share in getting them elected we will will always be on the losing end.
    • That would require geeks to get off their fat asses and do something. Not very likely.

      Pardon my realism. You may mod this down but you know it is true, fatass.

    • Right on. It does my soul some good to read what this guy thinks and stands for. We need more in our leader pool who are not tools of the corporation . . . this is really just one (albeit a big one) issue of many that are quickly going to surface and which will very closely effect the way we live and work.

      Of course, I also think that the music industry will shift towards (not totally) independant lables that will not copy protect, as the market will demand this. Consumers need to be aware to make sure that they behave in a way that moves the market where they need it to be. A single consumer can do very little, but many consumers can do quite a lot, given some good organization, information, a way to disseminate it effectively, and, most importantly, time.

    • I agree with this in principle, but the problem is that there are many other issues I care about besides this one. No two people will agree completely about anything, much less so if one of them happens to be a politician.

      I wind up voting for whoever seems to best fit my perspective in the big picture instead of simply on one or two issues. As an example (and one that many people here will probably disagree with, but that's ok), I'm happy with the way President Bush has performed in office, although I do disagree with him on several issues I consider important (Microsoft being a key one). Sure, if Gore were President, he might have thrown the book at Bill Gates. But in the big picture, I disagree with Gore on far more issues than I agree with him on, so I couldn't vote for him, regardless of the Microsoft issue.

      Copyright issues are important. But they're not the only issues that are important to me when deciding who to support in an election.

      • Straight up, I'm fairly certain that any elected pres. would have pursued a vigorous war on terrorism. Other than that, what has Bush done to agree with?

        I'm not trying to be 'anti' about this... it just seems like a neat place to ask the question. Would you like to have seen drilling in the Alaskan Natl. Wildlife Refuge? Do you think that Cheny+Bush's ties to the oil industry give them unbiased insite into how to best meet the nation's energy needs? Are you in favor of a general roll-back of environmental laws? Does the idea of a brokered treaty on environmental issues offend you (Quito)? Have you been in favor of Bush's 'hands off' treatment of Israel&the Palenstinians until recently? Are you in favor of missile defence? Do you have feeling either way about deficit spending?

        And, to look at the other motivation, what stance of Gore's did you disagree with so strongly?

        I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that, based on your email address, some of this might have to do with general preference for overt Christions to prefer the republican right over the democrat left. If I am correct, could I get you to take a moment and explain to me why that is? And, if you feel qualified to answer, why aren't Christins more concerned with the environment?
    • Most geeks I know aren't interested in politics. Having said that I have been out this evening delivering political leaflets - but maybe I'm the exception! Politics just doesn't fit the loner mentality. Neither does doing something because "the party" says so - even though you disagree with it. This politician is in a minority in that they're particularly well informed on technology issues.
  • Amen! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Aardvark House ( 541204 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:19PM (#3444154)
    It is inappropriate for the government to establish technical standards to be applied to digital media. The government is not a very good standards-developing body.

    Absolutely. Why leave the technical specifications of standards to a group of people who largely do not have a clue to the technology involved?

    I never understood why the government gets involved in these technical matters at all.
    • Absolutely. Why leave the technical specifications of standards to a group of people who largely do not have a clue to the technology involved? I never understood why the government gets involved in these technical matters at all.

      Because they are clueless, they must rely on 'experts' to advise them; ergo, they can me manipulated into using their legislative power to
      set the rules to favor one party or the other.

      ...or at least that's what the folks who hire lobbyists are hoping for.

      BTW, in my opinion, this really sounds cynical, even though I don't think that is necessarily the case. U.S. law is adversarial by design. The forefathers valued both public debate and political pressure (and you though all politics was EEEE-VIL ) to make sure neither side got away with too much. What bothers me is not political lobbying, but governmental business being conducted behind closed doors, free of scrutiny.
    • Never mind why the marketing people (who largely do not have a clue to the technology involed) of various technology companies get involved in establishing technical standards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:21PM (#3444170)
    Why do I get the feeling that in this case, "Boucher's one of the smart ones" is really just a synonym for "Boucher Agrees with Me."
  • by GutBomb ( 541585 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:24PM (#3444208) Homepage
    And I have very serious problems with punishing the technology. And that is precisely what the DMCA seeks to do. We should punish people who engage in acts of piracy. We should not punish the technology which can be used for infringing purposes but also for substantial noninfringing purposes. Finally a man that understands that! With all of the talk about digital rights management stuff coming out of washington and MPAA/RIAA it is a refreshing change of pace to see at least one person in a place of authority with a little intelligence.
    • "Finally a man that understands that!"

      That was a rather sexist comment! I would say there are plenty of men (myself included) whom fully understand and agree with the stated postion on the DMCA... :-)

      In fact...aren't YOU a man?

    • That's a great quote.

      To me, passing laws that punish everybody because a few people are pirates would be morally equivalent to wiping the whole population of Afghanistan off the planet to get rid of the terrorists.

      Everybody agrees that we must be careful to avoid damage to civilians in our little war on terror. Everybody agrees that hurting civilians is wrong. Why, then, are people willing to tolerate the same sort of strategy when it comes to other issues? Just because it isn't a matter of life or death doesn't make the strategy any less wrong. There's no justification for punishing the innocent along with the guilty.

  • by rodentia ( 102779 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:25PM (#3444214)
    Please join me in welcoming Rep Boucher to the fold. To quote former President Kennedy regarding Pinochet: "He may be an asshole, but he's our asshole."
  • Congress vs. NIST (Score:5, Insightful)

    by southpolesammy ( 150094 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:28PM (#3444240) Journal
    I've always wondered why it was that we've let Congress decide on technological standards, when we already have a government body chartered to do just that.

    The National Institute for Standards and Technology [nist.gov] has done a fair job in the past of qualifying and quantifying standards in the past, why aren't we using them now? I don't believe that we need to regulate standards in this case at this time, but if others feel so inclined, then why aren't we, the voters, telling Congress to do their jobs?
  • Digital Television (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EtoDemerzel ( 324915 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:30PM (#3444260)
    Presumeably Mr. Boucher is refering to upcoming HDTV encryption. I do agree that we need to take some steps to assure that material which is, for example, broadcast across digital-television equipment should be protected in such a way as to disallow unauthorized copying and disallow uploading to the Internet. I actually endorse the idea of doing that. I wonder if he knows that this could render thousands of pieces of HDTV equipment nationwide obsolete, icluding TVs and set top boxes, that were not built with the new standard. Don't jump on this guy's boat too fast. It may be tempting to hear someone in Congress saying some things we want to hear, but we have to be careful. There is always the chance that he doesn't understand the reprecussions of the proposed standard.
    • aren't there allready a ton of competing HDTV standards which have been implemented or proposed? Last i read, that was one of the reasons for its less than widespread use so far.

      i wouldn't be at all surprised if many HDTV's and set top boxes are rendered obsolete sometime not too far down the road, even without any sort of legislation.

      that's the price you risk paying when you are an early adopter of a technology in which the standards aren't even close to being agreed upon.
      • by FreeUser ( 11483 )
        that's the price you risk paying when you are an early adopter of a technology in which the standards aren't even close to being agreed upon.

        First, I'm not an early adopter, so I have no vested interest beyond that of a potential consumer who might consider purchasing HDTV equipment in the future, provided it hasn't been crippled to disallow recording and archiving material I wish to put in my video library, like I've been doing with my VCR sinc e the 80s.

        The standard in the United States was agreed upon and legislated into law. Not everyone agreed, that is true, but not everyone ever agrees on any standard. As with virtually every other standard in place a consensus was reached and the appropriate standard stamped out.

        Now the copyright cartels of Hollywood want to rewrite the standard specifically to shortchange consumers and deny them the capabilities with which they've grown accustomed, such as the ability to tape on-air broadcasts and either time-shift the show or stick the tape on the shelf as part of a collection, to watch again a few years later (or quite possibly never again, as with most 'home videos').

        Having an agreed upon, legislated standard changed midstream, after consumer hardware is shipping, is not "a risk early adopters take," and if industries are going to be allowed to begin making such the order of the day you can kiss the entire phenominon of early adoption goodbye. There was a social, and in some facets legal, contract in place that people were buying equipment that complies with the HDTV standard as laid out by the FCC. Make all that equipment obsolete and you stand a good chance of killing the entire HDTV standard (in whatever form) dead, irrespective of whatever other merits it may have, and irrespective of how draconian the FCC becomes in trying to push it.

        No one with a shred of sense is going to spend a sizeable amount of money a second time to chase a standard that should not have been changed in the first place, and there aren't enough people with the pocketbook or desire to sustain a second wave of early adopters needed to finance such a change.

        Unless Hollywood is going to stard demanding government subsidized distribution of copy crippled HDTV equipment to the masses (who are unlikely to be interested at any price ... even $0 ... when they discover their $100 VCR does what that expensive equipment cannot), the change these fools are demanding is simply going to kill the medium dead, a la consumer DAT audio tape.

        Which may, in fact, be their goal to begin with, so they can start offering 10 channels of lowres, lowgrade tripe on the public airwaves congress criminally stole from us and granted them as part of this whole move to HDTV to begin with.

        Don't get me wrong, I lust after a good 1920x1080 image as much as the next person, but the price they are demanding in terms of relinquishing my rights as an A/V consumer just simply aren't worth it, by orders of magnitude. Nor to is the price of the equipment they are about to make obsolete, but that's another story.
        • i'm not trying to imply that rendering early versions of HDTV obsolete is a good thing, just that it struck me as very possible from early on.

          i would have certainly purchased one if i saw a stable standard that looked like it was going to remain rock solid. I didn't see that, and thus i haven't purchased one.

          If it ever hits the point that it is gaining widespread support, and the competin standards issue is ironed out i will jump right in (of course assuming that the "accepted" standard doesn't end up a copy protected crippled version)

          I was just stating that there does appear to be some risk for those who are "early-adopters" in this case, and it very well could happen all on it's own, without any screwy legislation from congress
    • Send him an email and find out.
    • It depends what you mean by standard. A True HDTV can display 1080i (1920 x 1080 resolution, interlaced), 720p (progressive scan). However, many HDTVs on the market, particularly LCD models that have only one native resolution, resample the high-res signal to their (high) native resolution. There is no standards issue here, only picture quality. (And anyone who has seen _true_ HDTV will report that it will knock your socks off.) The issue at hand is with the connector from the outbourd decoder box to the TV. Currently component video is used (like on your DVD player, which runs at max 480p) or a VGA connector. But the idea is to switch to Firewire (IEEE1394) and encrypt the signal so non-copy-protection compliant TVs, even HDTVs, display at ugly 480i (which is what you watch right now, standard NTSC.) Ubelieveable but true.
    • I agree. This particular statement seemed to contradict many of his other comments. He proposed that manufacturers, content owners, and consumers agree upon a standard that will protect IP rights while not infringing upon fair use rights. If you can make a backup copy/time shift/space shift/whatever, then you can upload it to the internet or do whatever you want with it. The only way to prevent something from getting to the internet is to prevent any uncontrolled copies from being made (via approved technology). There are mutually exclusive agendas at work here, consumers|manufacturers|ip owners will never agree on a format capable of protecting ip. Is this his way of pretending to be supportive of IP rights, by proposing a reasonable sounding plan that is destined to fail (not protect ip)?
    • I can't find any good links which explain it in detail. But essentially the equipment makers have worked together with the media producers to create HDCP(High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection)... or essentially another encrypted signal sort of like how DVDs are encoded. They are now promoting that future devices such as HDTV enabled video tape recorders, new HD versions of DVD, and so forth will only output a HDCP signal. They are even talking now of replacing the HDTV OTA receivers with new models that will only output true HD content using HDCP, the current receivers will be somehow limited to like a 480p signal.(not sure how they accomplish this)

      Currently most HDTV televisions and monitors sold over the past several years have Component Video inputs(three RCA jacked cables on the back of the set). They don't support HDCP. This new standard will be supported by yet a different cabling standard using DVI connectors.

      So what's this mean?

      Everybody who currently owns a HDTV, essentially all of the early adopters, will never be able to receive High-Definition content on them. The best you can hope for is the 480p signal like that which is output by Progressive scan DVD players. The hardware makers will not be allowed to output high-def signals to component video, nor will they be allowed to build conversion boxes to convert DVI to Component Video, despite the sets being capable of displaying that image.

      Anyway, I think it's pretty bloody stupid. Especially since it will probably severely cripple the introduction of those newer technologies like the video tape and HD-DVD, etc. since the earlier adopters won't adopt it.

      BTW, I own a HDTV set I purchased back in January. This news came out just a few weeks after I made my purchse. :(

    • Presumeably Mr. Boucher is refering to upcoming HDTV encryption. I do agree that we need to take some steps to assure that material which is, for example, broadcast across digital-television equipment should be protected in such a way as to disallow unauthorized copying and disallow uploading to the Internet. I actually endorse the idea of doing that. I wonder if he knows that this could render thousands of pieces of HDTV equipment nationwide obsolete, icluding TVs and set top boxes, that were not built with the new standard. Don't jump on this guy's boat too fast. It may be tempting to hear someone in Congress saying some things we want to hear, but we have to be careful. There is always the chance that he doesn't understand the reprecussions of the proposed standard.

      I bet few folks here have thought about some of the really long-range issues that are being worked out with this stuff. What if in 50 years (or less!) you can upload yourself digitally, and happily exist noncorporeally for as long as you wish. Now what if someone did something with a part of you that you didn't want? As the "owner" of a piece of "intellectual property" you would probably want full control over that information. So even though these corporations are acting in dispicable ways in the short term, they may be participating in a long-term evolution in ways they do not understand.

  • "The first legislation that I produced relating to the Internet was a bill to overturn a restriction inside of the law that prohibited the Internet backbone from being used for anything other than research and scientific and educational communication."
    It sound like Boucher deserves credit for enabling the dotcom boom, giving us all jobs.

    hooray for him!

    But the converse is also true: he is responsible for the dotcom bust and many repo'd BMWs.

    boo!

    I think it's great that there is at least one representative that seems to understand technology and its inherent risks and opportunities.

    Fair Use should be a right accorded along the lines of the right to privacy. It's not mentioned in the Constitution directly, but it's still defended in the courts.

  • Smart meaning....? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:40PM (#3444321)
    "Smart" in this case equalling "agrees with the average opinion expressed on Slashdot"?

    sPh

    • Oh, so you expect every poster on Slashdot to be perfectly biasless in all their posts. Give me a break. Everybody has a bias whether they choose to admit it or not. You portray an obvious bias against /. posters in your comment. If you don't like the bias of /. posters then why are you here?

      IMHO, in this case, "smart" equals "reacts against the hijacking of copyright law to prevent fair use". Alternatively, if you like RMS-speak, "smart" equals "understanding that information wants to be free".

      Ben
      • IMHO, in this case, "smart" equals "reacts against the hijacking of copyright law to prevent fair use". Alternatively, if you like RMS-speak, "smart" equals "understanding that information wants to be free".
        Not to be rude (overly rude anyway!) but this equates to "he agrees with my view". I guarantee you that the RIAA, the movie studios, and especially the law firms that represent their interests have some very smart people working for them. Who just happen to disagree with your view. Agree/disagree is orthagonal to smart/silly/dumb.

        sPh

    • Yes.

      Most people think that they are correct, even those who can accept they are wrong would think they have a few details incorrect as opposed to being completely wrong.

      It is also a tendancy for people to assume the reason someone else is wrong (or disagrees) is because they aren't smart enough, or they just don't get it.

      It is rare to find people who can accept they have different goals or opinions that are in stark contrast to your own.

      I admit it too, I think most people who don't agree with me are just "wrong" or "the whole picture" or any number of other concepts that suggest they are wrong, but it may not necessairly be their fault.

      Of course, I could be wrong
  • "B: The effect of that restriction, which was known as the acceptable-use policy, prohibited electronic commerce, and the first Internet-related legislation that I sponsored, which was in 1992, repealed the acceptable-use policy and thereby enabled the Internet to be used for electronic commerce. So I have been involved in Internet-related policy for approximately one decade, and I have been using the Internet myself for almost that period of time. "

    So this is the bastard that ruined the internet?
  • by bperkins ( 12056 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:43PM (#3444341) Homepage Journal
    Boucher Sez:

    I do agree that we need to take some steps to assure that material which is, for example, broadcast across digital-television equipment should be protected in such a way as to disallow unauthorized copying and disallow uploading to the Internet.

    This is interesting. Boucher does seem to be very clueful, but how in the heck can he say all of these things about being pro-fair use and then say something like this?

    What, exactly, are they planning on doing to prevent this? There is no way to "disallow uploading to the Internet" without something like the CBDTPA. Everyone who owns a copyright would like to "disallow unauthorized copying" why is digital television different? Are routers supposed to be intellegent enough to know that you're uploading a "Friends" episode? What if I digitize a VCR recording and upload that, do we need to prevent that too?

    I can only imagine what he means by this is more complex than he's letting on. OTOH It's discouraging for me to see this coming from our side of the fence. The whole problem with "digital rights management" is that it threatens to turn our society into some sort of copyright police state.

    You can't have it both ways, it's either allowing technology to run its course and people to generally obey the law or you have to regulate everything. Regulating everything is distasteful, if not entirely unrealistic. What's worse is that it will prevent above the board people (e.g. libraries) from doing what just about anyone will be able to do covertly (with black market equipment and so forth).

    • Well, first--its already not allowed. Copyright is exclusive to the creator of the work except for fair use.

      "I can only imagine what he means by this is more complex than he's letting on."

      You're right. More information can be found at http://bpdg.blogs.eff.org/ .

      The more I think about it, the more balanced I become. If you want to overturn copyright laws, there are means to do so but in this democracy the majority wins and you loose. But with existing law, you shouldn't allowed to distribute whole works that are under copyright. But we still need fair use. And thats the problem in my point of view. Without fair use, we loose far too much of our freedom and I would be blatantly opposed to it.

      So be a good fella and delete all them copyrighted songs that you haven't rights to off your disks or change the law.
      • Sorry.

        Copyright is basically still a good law, but the repeated extensions have changed the balance. Now I feel we'd be better off without a copyright. When it was only 20 years I was all in favor of it.

        And if there is something like CBPTMA or the SS amendment or whatever they're calling it this week in the offing, then copyright should be repealed immediately. Anything to kill the monster before it propagates.

  • ...to move to VA just to be able to vote for this guy?
    • He's my Congressman but I never voted for him. He's OK. Very pro-gun and good on internet issues. He was asked to lead the Clinton defense in the Senate and shot it down because he had to do his laundry. That said a lot about the guy.

      I would vote for him if he didn't CREAM his opponents every year. Running against this guy is an invitation to lose.
    • If you do move to Virginia, be sure to campaign to get this reversed.

      And if you can't manage that, try to get amendments embedded that will sanitise it. (If there is too much disagreement between the versions that the various states enact, it will be considerably weakened.)

  • Boucher's [yourcongress.com] PowerRanking is 77 of 437 [yourcongress.com] in Congress. Semi-high, but not high enough to make a difference without help...
  • "I do agree that we need to take some steps to assure that material which is, for example, broadcast across digital-television equipment should be protected in such a way as to disallow unauthorized copying and disallow uploading to the Internet. I actually endorse the idea of doing that. But I think that should be done in a collaborative process that involves the manufacturers of equipment and also involves the motion-picture studios."

    Let them create content and sell it to me, but don't let these greedy bastards control what I can do with it in the privacy of my own home once I've paid for it!
    • Uploading something to the Internet is not in the privacy of your own home. Last I checked, the Internet is not confined to your house.
      • Uploading something to the Internet is not in the privacy of your own home. Last I checked, the Internet is not confined to your house.

        Really?!! Thanks for the tip, man! Or maybe I was talking about the first part of the sentence:

        "...digital-television equipment should be protected in such a way as to disallow unauthorized copying..."

        Do you trust the MPAA/RIAA to decide what "unauthorized copying" really is?
  • is there a place where we can email our support to him? if he gets enough letters, word of mouth can spread amongst the repersenitive community without having to go through a mediary (such as an anal retentive secertary)
  • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:52PM (#3444399) Homepage
    Boucher seems to have his values in the right place, but no where does he say anything for the right of the consumer to make his own music, movies, or software.

    if a standard is reached by private industry that is endorsed by consumer groups, what assurences do people have that they will have the ability to use their home grown media and programs?
    • however he does say that even if the law says you can't copy things for personal use, that the restiction should be placed in lawbooks, not in the software or hardware itself, limiting the usefulness of your computer.
      • and you see that is why I thinkhe is confused on some points.

        you cannot have a system of protecting content and software with out making the hardware and software have an active role in the system.

        so he is basicly contradicting himself in this interview, and that is why I think it is importent for him to take notice of that fact and see what an effect such a system that is produced by the industry will have on home creators of content and software.
  • Smart? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sllort ( 442574 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @01:54PM (#3444425) Homepage Journal
    "Boucher's one of the smart ones".

    Personally, I believe this editorial comment reflects a common and popular myth in Slashdot folklore. I believe there is a tendency to assosciate a politicians' intelligence with his or her stance on issues. This myth strikes to the heart of a fundamnetal misunderstanding of how our political system works.

    When a Congressperson is interviewed, they speak the words that they believe will win them the most soft money contributions. Being intelligent does not make one moral, in fact many very intelligent people disagree with the viewpoints of the Slashdot audience. This does make them stupid. Senator Hollings is probably very intelligent. He may or may not believe that what Hollywood orders him to do is good. But by representing Disney he is ensuring a rich flow of political lifeblood: soft money. Soft money that can overpower and drown out a hundred thousand screaming geeks that society has already marginalized into triviality.

    Personally I'd love to know what Boucher's plans for financing his re-election campaign are, and who's funding his current viewpoint. If he's actually speaking from the heart, then he may actually be one of the stupid ones.

    • Re:Smart? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by danro ( 544913 )
      If he's actually speaking from the heart, then he may actually be one of the stupid ones.

      Or he might be a intelligent man with morals... but I guess that is considered stupid in american politics.
      In politics anywhere when I come to think about it.

      I think we just hit the real issue here.
      Thanks, now I am really depressed.
    • Think of how powerful media corporations are. They are truely the ones that make or break a politician.

      And how hard would it be to arrainge a few hookers, some hidden cameras, etc. and then save it 'til the next election. Or worse, blackmail him now.

      And how hard would it be to just digitally fake [whatisthematrix.com] the whole thing with blue screens and some graphics people.

      Scary these days. It's hard to know who's really telling the truth. Then again, it's always been this way. You just have to have blind faith that everything's going to work out.

      Look at AOL-TW. Hahaha

    • The point that each representative is an advocate for the views of his or her constituens is a good one. (though the "soft money" diatribe is a little off base)

      While, I am sure Rep. Boucher will not be getting any contributions from the entertainment industry, He certainly has been getting support from the Communications/Eelctronics sector (third biggest contributor to his 2002 campaign [opensecrets.org]). Just take a look at his list of top ten donors [opensecrets.org]. While he is obviously not a single issue candidate (big $$$ from Energy and Banking too, and nothing from the EFF...hmm), the list of donor reads like a whos who of telecommunications and techology. The baby Bells and cable companies are both represented alon with Slashdotter's favorie monopoly, Microsoft.

      So what is the point? Democracy works in spite of campaign finance. Rep. Boucher is representing his constituency, including getting more telecom businesses in his district, just like Rep. Bono was representing his constituents.

  • by afferoman ( 572026 ) on Wednesday May 01, 2002 @02:03PM (#3444491) Homepage
    If Hollings has his way:

    Dark Ages (old definition)

    1. the period in European history from about a.d. 476 to about 1000.
    2. the whole of the Middle Ages, from about a.d. 476 to the Renaissance.
    3. (often l.c.) a period or stage marked by repressiveness, a lack of enlightenment or advanced knowledge, etc.

    Dark Ages (new definition)

    1. the period in World history from about a.d. 2002 to 2100.
    2. the whole of the Binary Age, from about a.d. 2000 to the Open Age
    3. (often l.c.) a period or stage marked by repressiveness, a lack of enlightenment or advanced knowledge, a lack of advanced knowledge except for those who finance political campaigns.
  • Hmm.. one thing that kind of bothered me about this interview was that he is in support of protecting television broadcasts. Anybody else see problems with this? I mean, I don't have a problem with HBO doing this. But if I can't record That 70's show, well that just sucks.

    Maybe my imagination is a little overactive, but surely these guys would encrypt their shows, forcing me to buy the DVD...
    • I have a problem with HBO doing it. I pay for the content. I want to record it on a Video tape so I canwatchit when I get time to do so. (I am to cheap for Tivo)

      Content is what I want, and I want it when I want it.

      the day HBO gives on demand shows rather than scheduling for the cost of subscribing to them, I will not have a problem with HBO keeping folks from recording.

      unfortunatly, on demand TV is a LOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGG way off.

      what makes on demand TV:

      the ability to turn on your television, type the name of the show or movie, or say the name of the show or movie and have it come on for me.

      but as long as they schedule time slots for their TV content, cable stations, premium stations and broadcast stations, I will have the right to time shift.
    • As I understand the law, if it's a broadcast, it cannot legally be encrypted, because the airwaves are a public resource, and the use of a public resource has to be open to the entire public. IIRC, this issue was already hashed out in the courts with regard to analog TV broadcasts.


      This doesn't prevent cable-only content providers from applying encryption to their programming; I don't believe that any legal precedent has been set regarding whether, say, TBS's programming constitute 'broadcasting' for purposes of falling under the existing prohibition. I do think that the issue would be resolved fairly quickly if encryption were to be implemented by cable programming networks, because of the inherent inequality of the law between wireless and cable programming. The lawsuits should be interesting to watch.

      • Hmm... I think I used bad terminology when I made my original post. I should have said 'Copy Restriction" instead of encryption.

        What happens when everybody flips the "You can't record this." bit? As far as I'm concerned, that's not a whole lot different from censorship. If you broadcast it, it's fair game. Frankly, I don't think they have any right to say what I can and cannot do when I recieve that signal. If CNN runs a story that causes legal preceedings afterwards, they can too easily protect themselves if nobody can produce a recording to prove they did air it. (weak reasoning I know... )

        As for HBO, I don't think I was clear enough there either. I don't really want them flipping that bit either. But if they did, that's an easy enough problem to fix: Cancel your subscription to HBO. That's not so easy with a broadcast station.

        Anyway... I apologize for my original post. I didn't spend enough time clarifying my thoughts on it.
  • Now, maybe he'll actually do something? Hollings has introduced two shitty pieces of legislation and I'm still waiting on the Anti-DMCA one from Boucher. Where the hell is it? I don't give a rat's ass what he's for if all he does is sit on his hands.

    Mod me down if you want, but have the balls to face the truth.
  • Isn't it a bit ironic that download.com forces users to register their name, email, job function, etc to download this MP3?

    Free speech, not a free download...
    • Isn't it a bit ironic that download.com forces users to register their name, email, job function, etc to download this MP3?

      The parent was modded "+5, Funny" but it is also untrue. I am currently downloading the MP3 and did not have to fill out any forms. (One popped up but I clicked the [X] to close it and the download still started.)

      • Perhaps you registered with download.com previously? Or am I just unlucky? I've tried about 5 times, each time it prompts with the following:

        Please register with Download.com (Step 1 of 2) We recognize that you value both the quality and service our site has to offer. In order to gain access to Download.com's entire software library and submit your own User Opinions, we ask that you provide us with some information about yourself. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

        etc...
        • I'm using Mozilla 0.9.9. I don't think I've ever registered with them before. Checking my cookies... Yes, I just cleaned out a bunch but none of them were from download.com or cnet.com.

          So I installed Mozilla 0.9.9 in a virgin VM (W2K). I cut-and-pasted the cnet.com address, not even logging in to Slashdot to find it in the comments (perhaps a Slashdot cookie has an effect on the outcome?). Up popped the "Save File" dialog, as soon as I clicked on Download Now.

          What browser are you using?



          I figure I should try to answer that myself. So I launched IE in that VM (it had never been launched), pasted the URL in, and clicking on Download Now also gave me the "Save File" dialog.

          Which leaves two conclusions: you're using a very minority browser which cNet has targeted as marketing-mandatory, or you're trolling. (I've never used that word before. I feel so ... dirty.)

    • C. Montgomery Burns
      666 Mammon Lane
      Springfield , USA 12345
      044-171-555-1212

      Job: Evil Centenarian
      Political Affiliation: Republican
      Sex: Requires Drugs
      Marital Status: Single

      Comment: "I have billions of dollars, save on energy costs because I glow in the dark, and enjoy being bathed by my sensitive male Executive Assistant."
  • Rep. Boucher will hold a town meeting at the Blacksburg town hall on Sat June 15, 9:30am. I'll be there to make sure he's aware of MS' habit of extorting our schools with audit threats. Feel free to join in.
    • also, see what he is aware of home content and software creators concerns of being locked out of a system designed for big corperations to distribute content and software.

      see if he thinks that what ever system is created, home creaters should have free and open access to be able to use their equipment to create their own personal stuff.
    • Woo Hooo! Go Hokies!

      Oh, sorry, that just slipped out. If you have a chance you should go and try to meet him. I fyou can't make it the the B'burg event, try looking for him in smaller towns. His Newport appearance gathered about a dozen of us, and we each got a chance to talk with him for a coupld of minutes one-on-one.

      He is quite popular...even my "Rush Limbaugh - right" in-laws vote for him every time. I think the democratic levers in the voting booths actually leaves burn marks on their skin, but they vote for him anyway ;-)
  • Just so anyone with a short attention span knows, Boucher is better spoken than the opening dialog might suggest:
    MP3 Insider: So I really liked your article on CNET News.com, and it seems like we agree with each other on a lot of these issues.

    Rep. Boucher: Yeah.

  • Who says that companies are the only copyright holders.

    Every person alive has created lots of Intellectual Property. We do consume others, but we do generate our own, if only the discussions with other people.
    This information belong to us, and we should also get a say in how the law acts.
    Mailing list/usenet archives are wealths of information that WE created only due to the ease of copying and transmission.
    I think that the restrictions of discussion boards or mailing lists could prevent the creation of more useful content then comes out of the MPAA and RIAA.
    That isn't even factoring the small bands music, or amateur movies (Troops anyone)

    I just think the focus should be on the people who create the majority of the worlds IP, not the few companies who make a small sliver of it.
    • I just think the focus should be on the people who create the majority of the worlds IP, not the few companies who make a small sliver of it.

      But it's the few companies that make the most profit. And donate the most to political campaigns.

  • "And I have very serious problems with punishing the technology. And that is precisely what the DMCA seeks to do. We should punish people who engage in acts of piracy. We should not punish the technology which can be used for infringing purposes but also for substantial noninfringing purposes."

    Is this an instance where the government is scared of technology sipmly because they don't get a piece of the pie? You can look anywhere and get stereos which allow you to record tapes from the radio, copy tapes, cd to tape, and even radio to cd!!! You have dual deck VCR's , VCR/DVD combos, and no one is shutting down the manufacturers? No one has mentioned that these devices essentially perform the same function!!!! However, there are taxes paid on theses items, so that makes them ok? just my $0.02!!
  • http://www.house.gov/writerep/ [house.gov] - A form to find out who your representatives are.

    http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.htm [house.gov] - U.S. Representatives by State

    http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html [house.gov] - Representative's Websites
  • The transcript is available in the MP3 Insider column, and also as a downloadable MP3

    I love the CNET registration you have to go through to get the MP3. My entry says that I'm a database admin for the Albanian government which has over 10,000 people. :)
  • Rep. Boucher ... who called ... to talk with me about ... our right to the fair use of the content that we buy. This constitutional right, ... has already been severely damaged by the DMCA ... and could be obliterated by a new bill introduced by Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings.

    Repeat after me. Fair use is NOT a Constitutional right. It's barely even a legal right; as far as I know, its only explicit legal standing is in the Audio Home Recording Act. What it IS is a doctrine that is generally respected by the courts but as far as I know, there have been no rulings stating that Congress cannot take away fair use if they so choose. We have fair use today because Congress has so far not done so, and has codified fair use in the AHRA and perhaps a couple other laws. If it were a Constitutional right, Congress wouldn't be able to take it away or severely restrict it like they seem bent on doing.

  • I suppose it would be hypocritical for me to criticize the author pimping his own work to Slashdot (disclosure: as a tech writer, I've submitted stories that other authors on the site have written) though it's still disturbing. However, I'm a little concerned when a journalist/columnist starts trying to position himself as a man of the people. Submitting an interview is one thing, but this comes off as a guy trying to market himself as an insider, rather than letting his work speak for itself.

    I'm also amused by the restrictions put on the audio format (just one section, please, and register!) but I'll let that go.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

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