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Online Newshour Tackling Digital Copyright 173

dmabram writes "The online version of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is tackling copyright in the digital age. They are sponsoring a forum where Lawrence Lessig will square off against RIAA executive Matt Oppenheim. Anyone can submit questions, and the best questions or comments will be posted to Lessig and Oppenheim for debate and discussion. I know that the producers understand the importance of this debate, and would love insightful questions." Looks worth tuning in for.
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Online Newshour Tackling Digital Copyright

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  • w00t! Hurray, we get more representation!
    • No taxation without representation?
    • PBS has a long history of reporting events that have been popularized by other media. Notice how the NewsHour had fewer reporters in the field during the Iraq war. CBS, NBC, CNN, etc. made the war popular, but PBS is the station that keeps rehashing the issue. Now that the shock and awe is over, most of the other stations have moved on to other things. Like when will gas prices get back to a dollar!!!

      Anyway, /. has been busy questioning the copyright and patent laws long before PBS. I think it is time fo
  • Yay (Score:3, Interesting)

    by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:36PM (#5968922) Homepage
    Does squid violate copyright laws, if you sell access to your cache? :)
    • Re:Yay (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a matter of fact, it would. Selling access to another person's work without their permission is illegal. Not only is it illegal; it's also wrong.
  • Free Advice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:38PM (#5968936) Journal
    Don't post your questions here. Post them at the link.
    • by qortra ( 591818 )
      Or, you can post them at both places and thus start a discussion at Slashdot. I'm sure some of the lamer question don't even have to be debated; I can answer them for you...
  • DVR (Score:3, Funny)

    by ArsonPanda ( 647069 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:39PM (#5968937)
    Better Fire up my Tivo so I can steal this by skipping over the ads!!
    • Of course, this program is on PBS, so all the ads are at the end anyway..
  • Is this from the same Jim Lehrer that allowed Harry Browne and Ralph Nader to be disincluded from the 2000 Presidential debates? Who stood by and joked when Secret Service thugs carted Mr. Nader off the Michigan campus, where the 1st debate was being held?

    The only reason PBS exists is so that the corporate fatcats can pretend that there is real diversity in the airwaves. This stifles any type of comprehensive public access before it can start. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting stood right along Cl
    • by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:53PM (#5969001) Homepage Journal
      Obviously someone doesn't think it's important for Slashdot readers to know the context in which this discussion on copyright will be presented.

      I'd like to be an optimist, but notice this is online only. It's not even gonna hit the radar of the average PBS-watching yuppie, let alone the mainstream audience.

      Perhaps you should encourage Mr. Lehrer to move this copyright discussion into a broader arena. I doubt he will be convinced, but you never know.
    • It's almost as if you believe that the presidential debates have some sort of validity without Jim Leher. First off, consider who was paying for and hosing the debate, the very same "evil corporations" you seem to dislike. Leher's position in the debates was as a simple figurehead, asking questions both parties pre-approved as both candidates gave their rehearsed answers (what, you think Gore's little hissy fit was spontaneous?)

      "Unfortunately, the US government runs its own elections, rather than a tru
    • I think PBS and NPR have done some great content and are still valuable, but I have to agree to an extent that the public airwaves stuff is crap when NPR won't let you download MP3s and PBS doesn't offer digital time shifting formats either. They have no right to call themselves public in the digital age with their restrictive polices. They're no better than any other corporate network.
      In the Watergate era they were absolutely essential as an alternative media both polticially and in the society at lar
    • NPR stood up and said that we don't need Low Power FM- all the community and public radio we need should be provided by them.
  • by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:47PM (#5968970) Homepage Journal
    Anyone can submit questions, and the best questions or comments will be posted to Lessig and Oppenheim for debate and discussion.

    If I ask a good question, do I get to claim the copyright on it? And how will I enforce payment?
    • Balance of Power (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:59PM (#5969031) Homepage Journal
      If I ask a good question, do I get to claim the copyright on it? And how will I enforce payment?

      I decided to be a little less flippant and submitted a question quite like this one to the site.

      One thing that occurred to me and that I asked in the extended question was this:

      In the new world of license enforcement, every time I make a tiny use of a song I end up having to seek a license and pay for it. But here I am the little guy submitting a question to the big guys in Television Land and I have no mechanism for forcing them to pay at all for a BIG use of my words if they decide they are important enough to use on their show. Something seems unbalanced about that.

      As a straw man, shouldn't they be forced to offer me royalties and trickle out money to me every time they rerun their show? In a world that's becoming increasingly peer to peer, why should an individual do all the paying and none of the receiving?

      I suspect the answer is "Because we can" from the big guys. That doesn't seem very fair though.
      • I have no mechanism for forcing them to pay at all for a BIG use of my words if they decide they are important enough to use on their show. Something seems unbalanced about that.

        Its called an implied license. By submitting a question for them to ask on their show, and by doing so without any suggestion of compensation, you impliedly give them a license to use your copyrighted work on the show, for free.
    • Are their answers derivative works? After all, they don't make much sense without the context you provided. (Well, assuming they answer the question at all, as opposed to going off on a tangent.)
  • by I'm a racist. ( 631537 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:51PM (#5968989) Homepage Journal
    Just like in a debate between political candidates, the issue isn't so much about what the good questions are. Afterall, they're each pushing an agenda, and will try to get their point across in every question.

    The real problem is getting them, specifically Matt Oppenheim, to actually answer the question that is asked. Just like a politician, I assume he's going to go off on a tangent, sidestepping and dodging anything that would make the RIAA smell like shit.

    Here's an idea - Give me a camera, a room with a locked door, an RIAA executive (or any politician or lawyer), and I'll show you how it's supposed to be done.

    You have to keep pressing them, don't let them change the subject. If they start to go off on a tangent, you need to "violently" (physical violence is good, but just being forceful is enough) bring them back to the point. Also, watch out for doubletalk, make sure they define their terms clearly.
    • My questions that I posted are hard to sidestep.
      Here they are:
      "Is copyright more important than plaigarism?"
      "What do you think would happen if copyright law no longer existed, but plaigarism laws did?"

      It would be hard to just go off in some other direction with these. Then again, they may have experience in dodging the question asked.

      • "Friend, you raise an interesting point there. Nobody can deny the significance of plaigarism. In some ways modern technology is making it easier and easier to plaigarise. In fact, due to plaigarism concerns, a significant college admissions exam was cancelled recently. Often the same technologies that make plaigarism easy make copyright violation easy. A search engine can be used to find essays just as easily as it can be used to find copyrighted music. Now artists worked hard to produce that music,

    • Yup, there's all kinds of ways to dodge questions. The most effective way to fight that is to point out that they dodged the question and make them look bad.

      But if you really want to see them squirm you have to ask the right question. Ask about fair use for example. As a question where every reasonable person who's listening knows what the answer should be, yes. But where you expect the person to answer no. Then you get to watch them squirm because they know what everyone wants to hear as well.

      You have to
      • The DMCA doesn't eliminate fair use, it just begins to properly define it.

        How's that for a nice spin? :)

        • That's so dead on to what I'd expect them to say it's scary.

          Last night on the News Hour they were talking about the upcoming FCC ruling on expanding monopoli^H^H^H^H^H^H ownership of tv/radio markets. You should've seen the VP of NBC stutter his way through it... Hahaha...
      • "If you support fair use, how can you justify draconian laws like the DMCA that are headed to destroy that?"

        It's a good question because there's no cracks that weasel words can get out of.

        That's not a good question, it's a horrible question. You've loaded it in such a way that anyone who tries to respond directly must first assume your premise, which happens to be at the very center of the debate itself. I personally agree with what you've said, but there's no way in hell the producers of the show would
    • How does the RIAA reconcile its support of the DMCA's provisions against the publication of documents detailing the defects in copy restriction systems with the following part of the first amendment of the US Constitution: "Congress shall pass no law abridging freedom of speech; or of the press."

      Also how does the RIAA reconcile such language in copyright law with the legal fact that the 1st amendment is supposed to supercede, Article I, Section 8 which was in the original body of the Constitution amended b
  • by McAddress ( 673660 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:53PM (#5969003)
    but then they would have had to call it GNU/NewsHour or would that be GNUshour
  • by macshune ( 628296 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:56PM (#5969013) Journal
    I know this is slightly OT, but damn, can you imagine any of the big 4 broadcasters doing a piece on this? They are all tied at the hip to conglomerates that have deep interests in the music industry.

    Well, I can imagine Fox News doing a piece in 2005...

    When Copyright Kills: RIAA sniper bill signed into law

    • PBS is the voice of Big Brother and he has a big intrest in IP ownership. Copyright are created rights which require positive government action to exist. One of the reasons we have such screwy copyright and patent laws is that they feed the federal government. You realize, of course, that property that's only owned by virtue of govenment intervention belongs to the government, don't you? The more locked down IP gets the more powerful Big Brother is and the more the government can charge to fool with it.
  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:56PM (#5969021) Homepage Journal
    One of the big issues with musicians is that for decades, the distribution channels have been held by a small groups of corporations that enforce a "standard contract" requiring that a musician assign the copyright to the corporation. This has meant only a handful of musicians can actually make any money selling recordings. This is also why so many people don't consider copying music to be stealing. After all, the music was already stolen from the musicians, and nobody who understands the issue has any sympathy for the thief, i.e., the recording industry corporations.

    The Internet poses a serious threat to this. However, ISPs have been working to take control themselves. Most of them in the US now block port 80, so most musicians can't legally run a web site on their own machines. The ISPs then offer web space on their machines, but the license states that all files on such a web site belong to the ISP. The result is that, once again, musicians must give the copyright to the corporation that controls the distribution channel. The most notorious of these is, of course, but others have been doing the same thing.

    If they succeed with this approach, it will mean the end of the recording industry, since the ISPs will own the copyrights to everything on the Web. But it will be just as big a financial disaster for musicians, who will still live in a world in which the local internet monopoly controls the distribution channels and can demand the copyright in exchange for making files available.

    Is there any solution to this?

    • My (cable) ISP blocks port 80, so I run my HTTP server on port 83. Then I went to dot tk [] and got a free forwarding domain (it opens the page you tell it to point to in a frame). There: I have an easy to remember domain (no colon at the end) and it's running off my own server. (Link is my homepage)
    • See last paragraph for my take on stopping RIAA theft... but meanwhile:

      The last time the subject came up here and created a great public outcry -- turned out no one had actually READ what the ISP's TOS *said*. In the case I refer to, the ISP's TOS had words to the effect that "you grant us the right to *distribute* whatever copyrighted material you put in your webspace". This is precisely so you CAN'T sue your own ISP for "copyright infringement" thru "unauthorized copying" -- because technically, the web
    • The artists could buy a business account, get a static IP, serve their own website. Sure, it would cost more than a home DSL account, but it could be done.

      Just because it isn't cheap, doesn't mean it couldn't be done.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:00PM (#5969044) Homepage Journal
    Let's see them answer this one or one similar:

    Microsoft's new EULA demands the use of "Windows Updater" and grants Microsoft the ability to search for and remove files they consider copyright infinging. The music and film industry has demanded the same "protection" for all digital devices. Do I really own a computer that I can't write files on and that's run by someone else? What does this kind of ownership do to journalism and free press?

  • When I fill my form out, and enter it, I get a 404. What's the juice?
  • my questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by renard ( 94190 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:10PM (#5969093)
    1. If I own a music CD, is it all right for me to download the digitally compressed version of the songs on that CD via a peer-to-peer file sharing service?

    2. Is it all right for me to make and distribute, to my friends and non-commercially, "mix CDs" that consist of compilations of music from my collection?

      If not, please reconcile explicitly with the language of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992.

    3. Under current law, is online file-sharing both illegal and punishable?

      If not, then why is the RIAA pursuing legal action against so many individuals and their ISPs?

      If so, then why is the RIAA lobbying Congress for legislation allowing them to, for example, commit cybercrimes against suspected file-sharers?

    • Re:my questions (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If I own a music CD, is it all right for me to download the digitally compressed version of the songs on that CD via a peer-to-peer file sharing service?

      No. It's not okay for the same reason that walking out of a store with a CD is not okay. Buying one instance of a thing does not entitle you to a second instance of that thing. (Unless your agreement with the seller so stipulates, of course.)

      Is it all right for me to make and distribute, to my friends and non-commercially, "mix CDs" that consist of comp
  • Does unauthorized copying of copyrighted works fit the legal definition of theft? The UK laws define theft as "the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving that person of it (reference [])." If US laws are similar, it seems that "theft" is the wrong term to be using for the act. Similar questions could be asked about other terms such as "piracy."

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

    I'm bothered by the abuse of language for purposes of propaganda

  • I don't expect an answer but here are the questions I asked:

    If the RIAA is going to say that they won't go after people and then change directions and then sue Verizon for access to private information about its users then sue four college kids for operating Windows file sharing search engines, why would consumers continue to support the RIAA (an organization that obviously goes back on its own word) by purchasing music or other media from the organizations that support the RIAA?

    Also, with the increase

  • The people who are to argue against the RIAA in this debate must stick to the real relevant issues. If they start babbling on about how music should be free and downloading whatever you want is a basic human right and needs to be liberated, coming off sounding like some retarded never had a job high school smuck, they are going to look really stupid and miss an opportunity to deal with the real issues. They need to talk about how the legnth of copyright has basically turned into eternity, how the RIAA tries
    • Well, there is the other concept too... the concept of ownership, which has nothing to do with free music or building new a utopia.

      Let me go into my closete.

      I have a copy of "John Denver's Greatest Hits vol 2" on 8 track. I'm not proud of this fact, but never the less, at some point in my life I just wanted a copy of, "thank god i'm a country boy".

      Now, do I own a copy of the song for personal use, or do I just own the physical cartrage and have no rights to play the song what so ever?

      Until recently, I'
  • Looks worth tuning in for.

    Ain't that an understatement.

    Money says Larry makes him look like a fool inside 5 minutes.
  • by smiff ( 578693 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:38PM (#5969223)
    The question I want answered, how do Lessig and Oppenheim feel about this argument []? Forty-six professors of intellectual-property law argued that the DMCA's anti-device provision creates a modern Stationer's Guild. It allows copyright holders to control technology, much like the Stationer's Guild controlled the printing press. The court declined to address this argument and I have been itching for a good response to it.
    • Laws controlling devices are nothing new. There are laws about automobile safety that requires cars to meet certain standards and this allows the government to control technology. There are laws about FCC compliance and this allows the FCC to control devices. Etc. etc.
      • Laws controlling devices are nothing new. There are laws about automobile safety that requires cars to meet certain standards and this allows the government to control technology. There are laws about FCC compliance and this allows the FCC to control devices. Etc. etc.

        The constitution enumerates 18 powers (plus several amendments) which congress may exercise. In order for congress to do anything, they must exercise a power that the constitution grants them. With regards to cars and the FCC, that power i

      • "Laws controlling devices are nothing new. There are laws about automobile safety that requires cars to meet certain standards and this allows the government to control technology. There are laws about FCC compliance and this allows the FCC to control devices. Etc. etc."

        True, but with very few exceptions, once you buy a car there are no restrictions on what you can do with it. If you want to remove the catalytic converter or drive around without a safety belt, you can do that as long as you don't take it
  • Extending copyrights to life +70 will keep much of our literature, film, and culture out of the public domain where it belongs, creating massive distortions in our educational and cultural fabric. Kindly explain to the world (much of whom find American Copyright Law onerous and absurd) 1. how sequestering said culture in the hands of giant for profit publishing conglomerates is fair, just and reasonable and in the best interests of the free growth of human society and culture? 2. How it's not just a typi
    • Well said. This, more than anything I've read in this discussion, strikes to the heart of the problem: what gives them the right to lock up our culture like this? A short period of profit taking is acceptable (20, 30 years, but no more), but then such works should become the basis for further development and growth.

      And if I may just add one question of myself: strong copyright enforcement has the effect of criminalizing huge parts of the population. These are not wicked crooks, but normal, friendly people

  • Yay Public Television! Take it onto the TV as well, please!

    Man, could you imagine this type of debate on Fox News? The host would be interrupting Lessig every second while letting the RIAA spokesperson speak for days...
  • Can someone please point me to where (on tv, or online) this will be?

    And WHEN will it be on?

    I looked over the linked pages briefly and cannot find it.

    thank you.

    • Nah, just post a link to the transcript (or mp3) of the program here. Then those of us who rarely watch tv will find out about it.

      If it's on NPR, I might hear it, but probably not. But if there's a followup here that links to it, I and all the /. geeks will read it.

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:51PM (#5969302) Journal
    Here's the question I submitted:

    If lawyers can't even define it, technology can't possibly contain the intelligence necessary to determine the difference between fair-use and illegal copying in every case; so how can the RIAA hope to enforce copyright without violating the fair-use rights reserved to the public? Is there a market for a piece of software that files a lawsuit against the RIAA every time a person tries to make a rightful copy of a recording and is prevented from doing so?
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:00PM (#5969368) Homepage Journal
    Things have gotten so bad with the RIAA now, I almost fear I'll get sued for admitting this, but:

    I sing along with the radio, cds I play, and sometimes...well, I don't *KNOW* the lyrics, so I'll look them up on the internet!

    I can't help it! Honest! It is the Artists!! They made me do it...why, just look at Mick Jagger (ok, bad Idea)...consider Mick Jagger and the Stones in the song "Miss You" with:

    what's them matter man..{something, something} with some Puerto Rican girls just diiieeng to meet-chu. We gonna bring a case of wine {long string of words...I think} like we used to!

    And the woohoo-hooo-hooo is just so damn fun to sing I don't know when I'm over the line with; Copyright Infringment, Public Performance and Wreckless Endangerment and Public Indecency.

    See what happens when you "Start Me Up"(c)(r)(tm) of Microsoft Corp (right?).

    /where's that sarcasm tag in the HTML specs?
  • I know I just got back from the bars and am a bit drunk but when the hell is this episode airing? I can't seem to find a time or date listed anywhere....
  • by Catiline ( 186878 ) <> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:02PM (#5969383) Homepage Journal
    "With online sites such as the Baen Free Library (Link: []) or as well as online projects such as the Linux operating system showing that unrestricted distrobution of a work does not always diminish the monetary value and may instead increase that value, has the legal definition of copyright become outdated? If so, what would you see it redefined as and if not, what do you see as keeping copyright relevant to the digital era?"

    In other words: Lessig, explain to me what you really think about copyright and Matt, don't just give me your organization's standard rhetoric, please try to find a convincing argument for once.
    • "With online sites such as the Baen Free Library (Link: or as well as online projects such as the Linux operating system showing that unrestricted distrobution of a work does not always diminish the monetary value and may instead increase that value,"

      I think your premise here is a bit flawed. The Baen Free Library and do not represent the unrestricted distribution of a work. In Baen's case, the work is being released in a format that's often noticeably infer

      • I think your premise here is a bit flawed. The Baen Free Library and do not represent the unrestricted distribution of a work.

        While these works are not 100% "speech" free, they are "beer" free -- and that is the in context meaning, as I am talking finances. I will agree that while they aren't "libris" releases along the lines of the GPL or a Creative Commons license, they are not Rights Manglement crippled, and that is the minimum standard for copyright IMO.

        As for Linux, that's a completely differ

  • This is what I posted:

    With the recent Grokster ruling it is legal to operate a search engine which catalogs public INTERNET shares indiscriminant of content. That being said 'search engines' such as Phynd and Flatlan are then legal to operate since they indiscriminantly catalogs user shares without reguard to content on an INTRANET.

    Mr. Lessig: Do you think that along with fair use, the definition of 'legal file sharing within an INTRANET' as opposed to the 'legal file sharing within the INTERNET' is an im
    • With the recent Grokster ruling it is legal to operate a search engine which catalogs public INTERNET shares indiscriminant of content.

      Guess again. That's NOT what the Grokster ruling was.

      First there's the fact that the Grokster ruling was the act of merely a district court and thus doesn't necessarily carry a great deal of weight.

      Second, the actual ruling was this: if you create a search engine, but are totally unable to control its use (i.e. people run the software on their own computers, not your ser
  • My Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:04PM (#5969616) Journal

    In 1790, the first US Copyright Act was created by George Washington and enacted by Congress. It gave creators ownership of their work for up to 28 years. Today, the period is the lifetime of the creator plus 90 years. Given that methods of distribution and mass marketing have only improved, it seems that time period should have been decreased if it were to be changed at all. Could you explain why copyright holders have been granted more than three times that original amount of time to allow for just compensation of their contribution to the public domain?

    The RIAA might dodge the question, but if it is even posed, I will have made my point :-)

    • And to go along with that one, what about the countries besides the US who don't belong to intellectual property treaties with the US and who have copyright laws that are still thirty or fifty years.
      Since the Net is borderless, how can anybody expect to enforce American copyright overseas? And if it's not enforced overseas, how do we stop Americans from accessing overseas addresses?
    • The problem is that DRM makes copyright terms effectively infinite! It doesn't matter when it becomes legal for you to do something you can't physically do.

      Maybe that would be the basis of a better question:

      "Do any of the current or proposed methods of protecting digital rights expire when the corresponding copyright term expires? If not, don't they effectively provide an infinite copyright term? How do you square this with the spirit of the `limited terms' clause of the Copyright Act?"

      (Assuming I've got

  • by stock ( 129999 ) <> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:16PM (#5969664) Homepage
    The principle of a digital copy is thats a exact copy with the same quality's as the original. in fact they are the same by the last digit. All you need is a computer and a copy or cp command. So cp msoffice1.iso msoffice2.iso can be done on any PC. It shouldn't be illegal. Next the copy command can be used to copy and burn that iso on a CDR recordable. We go ahead and do it and place it on the shelf next to the orginal. Thats not illegal. Next we buy a 2nd PC and install msoffice1.iso on the 2nd PC. Well according to that big software company, thats illegal. I say it isn't if you can just do it without more effort as just inserting the office cdrom into the 2nd PC. Now what efforts did we have to take here? Yes we paid $1500,= for the 2nd PC.

    Now another scenario. We have again a 2nd PC , however its the neighbour's PC. This time he paid the $1500,= for his PC. He wants to run that msoffice too. I give him that CDR with msoffice on it. He inserts it and install/runs MS Office completely without extra efforts than inserting that CDR. Now we ask again, is this illegal??? Some say yes, some say no. It depends. lets assume that the $1500,= covers also the expenses for running msoffice, then its completely ok. If the $1500,= does not cover running msoffice then it is not ok to give your neighbour that CDR. But then again. What value does the msoffice CDR represent? The CDR itself is just a lousy $0.25 media costs. If you find it in a desert with no PC's for over 5000 miles, you can only use it as a coaster. The msoffice CDR will only be of use if you have a running PC.

    Bill gates said exactly the opposite to the director of the Altair factory : "Without my software your Altair is completely useless". Well that is just not true. You can always find some other version of a office package or OS to run on your PC. There's expensive ones, cheaper ones and even free to download iso versions which you then burn and install.

    What i want to make clear is that for a digital copy to work one needs some sort of a materialized copy to go along too. Staring at a directory and watching at two files : msoffice1.iso and msoffice2.iso ain't a real copy. It takes a extra CDR to burn and a 2nd PC to install/run msoffice also on that one.

    Now comes the Internet. suddenly people don't need CDR's anymore to transport iso's from Joe's PC to Jack's PC. Jack anyway burn the msoffice2.iso on a CDR and installs/runs it. Jack also paid $1500,= for his PC. If that price covers running/installing msoffice its ok. If not, then Jack is the bad guy. Not for having a $0.25 CDR with msoffice2.iso on it, but for installing/running it.

    Oh what a mess. In the old days making a copy was technically also easy, but media, harddisks and tapes were way more expensive. What i want to point out here, is that a digital copy technically takes no effort at all. its sometimes just 1 command on a prompt. There's no regulations i can think of that can prevent that from happening. Its a digital cyberspace thing. What matters in the end is the materialization efforts/costs which are needed to run a copy on a different street address. That would take a 2nd PC and CDR. if we want to have a sane digital copying act , let it act on the extra materalization efforts needed to run it on a different place.

  • In my mind, both copyright and patents can be appropriate in some situations, while problems come in when the range of those situations are overextended and enforcement is overzealous or infringes on other important rights. But at core, the very notion of copyright, even digital copyright, is so much more ethically benign than the notion of patent that it's hard for me understand advocacy against the former in absence of advocacy against the latter. Even a digital copyright only applies to a specific, or
  • by CPgrower ( 644022 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:08PM (#5969867)
    If the RIAA forbids the copying of CD's, why do they receive a royalty on blank casettes and recordable CD's? Specifically, why does the RIAA assume I will be using the recordable CD specifically for recording copyrighted material. What if I were to record my *own* music? It seems like a double standard to me.

  • Some questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bryan1945 ( 301828 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:08PM (#5969870) Journal
    Mr. Lessig and Oppenheim,

    There seems to be a disturbing trend towards more restrictive uses for legitimate users, i.e. non Redbook CDs that will not work in purchurser's CD drives. Also in this vein, "CDs" that do not follow the Redbook format but do not loudly proclaim that this is not a CD (just not putting the CD logo on the case is NOT sufficient in my opinion, but this is just my opinion).

    How do you feel about the success of Apple's new online music store? Though some people are critical about certain features of this service, such as only being able to make 10 copies of a single play list (personally I think this is an argument of someone who just wants to rip free music), the majority of users love Apple's music store. Do you think that this could be a new and profitable business model?

    Could you explain the payment model that an artist gets for a standard CD vs. what an artist gets from the Apple Music Store? Further, could you give us a rough idea of how much profit an artist gets from a current CD sale?

    Do you think if you reduced prices on CDs that piracy would diminish? Also, when CDs were first introduced there were comments of prices lowering because CDs were cheaper to make, yet there has been no lowering of prices. Can you explain why?

    I've heard quotations of how the music industry is losing x amount of money to piracy. How do you compute this amount? Specifics would be preferable because some of the formulas I have seen are rather laughable, such as the number of mp3s of some group on some (or all) p2p network(s) vs. the official number of sold albums by that group, especially considering the Penn State case where a professor was wrongly accused of sharing some music file (and the RIAA issued an apology for the wrongful accusation).

    One question is, is that number (x, from above) still valid now that fake mp3s are being distibuted on p2p networks (some of those being placed by RIAA memebers) to try and curb the pirates?

    What do think that the future of DRM is? Most DRM seems to hurt the most non-pirate regular users that usually just want to backup their CD, mostly because if the CD gets scratched, you (RIAA companies) WILL NOT provide a free (besides media cost) replacement. If we bought a license to the music, then you are required to provide a replacement at the cost of the media. If we bought a product, we are allowed backups. Could you please explain which of these 2 positions we consumers occupy? How does your stance compare to the concept of "fair use" according to the US Supreme Court?

    There is a CD media tax for recordable CDs. This is supposed to offset the losses for piracy. If I/we are paying this "piracy tax", why can we not make one copy for personal use? A backup copy of a CD is not piracy, so if I do not copy my legally bought CD for anyone else, do I get a refund of this "piracy tax"? If not, why? I have been assumed to illegally pirating music, but if I have not, why do I not deserve a refund?

    Thank you for answering my questions.

  • What I wrote... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Soko ( 17987 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:09PM (#5969877) Homepage
    Good evening, gentlemen.

    Firstly, I don't download music, nor do I share my CD collection on-line. Downloading content I haven't paid for, or that isn't given to me by the rightful copyright owner, in my opinion is wrong to do.

    That being said, I also believe that the "technological cat is out of the bag", so to speak.

    I haven't bought a CD in over 2 years, since they are outrageously priced, and there just hasn't been anything out there that I feel warrants such an expense. There have been a few songs that I wouldn't of minded getting, but I would be paying the full CD price for a song or two. I have spoken to many, many people who feel the same way - not enough quality content to justify the full price of a CD. Add to this the onerous copy protections that the Industry wants, their seeming hatred of Fair Use doctrine (I have each of my CDs backed up in MP3 format on 2 separate computers in case the origionals are damaged in some way), the well known fact that very few artists actually make money from the sales of CDs and the way the RIAA has tried to stifle technological advances, you end up with many, many people who are angry at the record companies and feel justified in acquiring thier content via P2P networks. This trend started quite a few years ago, and since the music industry did little to re-close the bag back then - by addressing what thier customers now wanted, not how to prolong the status quo - the cat left.

    Sharing of content is taken as a misdemenour at best, and an inherent right when you're connected to the Internet at worst. You are no longer serving your customers, you are fighting them. This being the case, any Economics undergrad can tell you that the current business model of the Music Industry is now fataly flawed.

    Seems to me that people are just voting with thier dollars. If it were easier and less expensive to acquire the content that customers of the RIAA actually wanted on a CD, rather than putting up with the hassles of downloading said content, this issue would just go away.


    Ron Sokoloski
    • And yet is doing well enough that they saw fit to run a 30 second spot during the NBA game tonight (had to be mondo expensive). Goes to show the market is there, if only they'd get off this idea of "one CD, one ear, no archiving" (next they'll want us to buy a copy for each ear, or make do with mono ;)

  • Expose the current state of copyright law for the fraud that it is! We need to ask questions that give Lessig the chance to point out how copyright law has been perverted by corporate lobbyists.


    It cannot be. There would be no need for 'copyright' if it could be. Yet corporate lobbyists have hammered the word 'intellectual property' into dozens of laws over the past couple of decades and have managed to replace copyright law with a fraudulent redefiniton of the concept of 'prope
  • by rjnagle ( 122374 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @03:31AM (#5970728) Homepage
    For Mr. Oppenheim:
    1.The value that the entertainment industry has traditionally brought to the artist has been production and marketing. But costs of producing artistic works has plummetted, and many would say that "viral marketing" (through the sanctioning of alternative/free distribution channels) is cheaper and more effective anyway. Given the ever-shrinking royalty percentages and restrictive nature of entertainment contracts, why does it still make economic sense for artists to sign up with major media companies?

    For Mr. Lessig:
    2. Nobody ever put a gun to an artist's head to sign an unfair contract with the entertainment company. These contracts are freely entered into because both parties believe it in their respective self-interests. Why then is legislative tampering necessary? Isn't the problem self-correcting? If enough artists get screwed or perceive themselves as getting screwed by signing up, they won't sign up, or they will insist on more favorable terms. Why then should Congress hamstring the ability of artists and companies to enter into contracts? To justify legislative intervention, it seems to me that you would need to demonstrate that entertainment contracts are instrinsically predatory and exploitative.
  • by budalite ( 454527 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @07:53AM (#5971382)
    Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
    - Mark Twain

    They always talk handsomely about the literature of the land....And in the midst of their enthusiasm they turn around and do what they can to discourage it.
    - Mark Twain Speech in Congress, 1906

    I wonder if I can copywrite my own genes? or that cute thing I do...

    Something we'll look back at this all and say 'WTF?'
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:55AM (#5972015) Homepage
    In an effort to enforce copyrights, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has made it a crime to descramble a scrambled work (circumvention). Anything a computer can descramble can also be descrambled by a human brain. Is there any reason the Digital Millenium Copyright Act would not apply to circumvention done by a human brain? Doesn't this make it a crime to think certain thoughts? Is this law unconstitutional?

  • I highly doubt they will answer, but here's what I submitted. This is a multi-part question. Part 1) Which is more important the draconian DCMA or Fair Rights policy? Why would you want to stop your client base from listening to what they have PAID to OWN on whatever they want to? Part 2) How can you blame only file sharing for the declinei n business? Can't yo also contribute it to a)The economic downturn we have been in the past couple of years? b) The fact that overall the studios have released 25% less

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan