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Lawmaker Revs Up Fair-Use Crusade 254

peipas writes "Wired News has posted an interview with Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA). In it he defends his stance in support of fair use and against the DMCA and other measures sought by the entertainment industry. The interview also touches on universal broadband and the recent overturning of the broadcast flag."
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Lawmaker Revs Up Fair-Use Crusade

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  • by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:06PM (#12834098)
    Bainwol to Valenti: I told you to up your allowance on him. We can't afford this.
    • Reply (Score:3, Funny)

      by ravenspear ( 756059 )
      Glickman to Rosen: You seemed to have better luck with this. Should be just keep pouring in money or appeal to the children?
  • Lossed vs. Spent (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bodester17 ( 892112 )
    Does anyone know of any figures on how much the entertainment industry has lossed due to piracy versus how much they have spent trying to stop it? My guess is that they have spent way more on trying to stop it. What a great business model.
    • Well, according to their math, every copy pirated is a sale lost, so they've "lost" trillions of dollars.
      • by Strawser ( 22927 )
        > Well, according to their math, every copy pirated is a sale lost, so they've "lost" trillions of dollars.

        Yes, and that's silly. They make the assumption that increases in price don't affect demand. Then again, when you're talking about monopolies, they tend to think that way.

        If the cost of the average CD went from $0.00 over a P2P network to $20.00 at the local mall, I wouldnt' buy the average CD. They don't seem to grasp the concept that demand and price have a generally inverse relationship.
        • Yeah, no kidding. One thing they also don't get is that, P2P or no P2P, if a CD is $20, I simply won't buy it, and neither will a lot of other people. Entertainment is something we can do without if the price is too high. It would have to be an extremely good CD for me to go out and pay $20 for it. If the price were much higher, it could be the most sublime music in the world and I wouldn't buy it.

          I actually don't mind at all paying a reasonable price for a CD or a movie. Unfortunately, a lot of peopl

        • Re:Lossed vs. Spent (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CatMan79 ( 788170 )
          No kidding. When a new CD is $20 and a new DVD is $14, something is VERY wrong.

          How many people does it take to make a music CD? Twenty? Maybe thirty tops.

          Now how many people does it take to make a movie? Let's assume a modest 200. Now how much more does it cost to produce a movie? Well, probably on the order of many tens of millions of dollars.

          Sure people will listen to a CD over and over again, but these music companies are out of their minds with their pricing and bad "piracy math".
          • by SirSlud ( 67381 )
            For what its worth, a wide release movie has already made money (well, most) by the time the DVD comes out.

            The CD has to pay back for the entire cost of the production, since the revenues earned on tour dont go to the studio.

            I still think its retarded tho. What the actual musicians make from the cost of that CD is tiny, and the money used to make the CDs is actually in the form of a loan the artist.
    • Ahh! But just think of of the amount of money they have saved by artifically inflating the price of their goods in the digital age.

      Without their anti-piracy belligerence, the cost of music and films would be dramatically lower, closer to their true worth value. ~5c per song.
    • Ok, but how much revinue would they lose to piracy if they did nothing at all? My guess is all of it. What a great business model.

      BTW, what do bodesters 1-16 think about your nick choice?
  • that isn't a puppet with the industry lobbyists hands jammed up his ass. Imagine what a world we'd be in if politicians used common sense and did what's right?
  • by kajoob ( 62237 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:11PM (#12834160)
    This is the guy that wants to trade the broadcast flag for our fair use rights []. Our representatives shouldn't be trading one set of our rights in order to keep a right we already have. Fair use means nothing if everything is controlled with a broadcast flag and there is nothing for us to share.
    • by Feynman ( 170746 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:21PM (#12834274)
      I was struck by this, too.

      Frankly, so what if "high-value television programming delivered over the air...[is] going to get recorded and uploaded to the internet" [TFA, 4]. It was delivered over the air. Couldn't just about anybody have recorded it anyway?

      • over the air you are more likely to watch commercials. i have never seen commercials in a torrent of a tv show. that is the rub. that is the view of the execs - i agree with you.
      • There was a letter to the editor written to the Chicago Tribune last week (I would link to it if they still had it up) by some MPAA stooge that was trying to convince the public that the broadcast flag is some sort of consumer benefit. He argued that if digital content cannot be protected, it would not be broadcast. He even went as far as saying that MLB baseball games would no longer be broadcast because of "piracy". Like anyone is going to believe this. Broadcasts will continue to be protected in the same
    • Did you actually RTFA that you linked?

      Part of the point of the DMCRA is to revoke the provisions of the DMCA that made it illegal to produce devices that bypassed copy protection features, as long as the uses of the content are fair (e.g., not sharing it wholesale over the Internet). Boucher wants to ensure that we can do things like time-shift television shows, skip commercials, watch it backwards or extra-fast, or keep an archival copy, not to mention all the things that libraries, journalists, and acad
  • Might this mean that the DVD X Copy people can go back into business again? Say what you will about the quality of the software and all (it sucks, "#####" is better anyway, etc) they represent a legitimate software product that did a good job for consumers who wanted to protect their media purchase. It was simple and effective and definitely provided the tools necessary for people to exercise their fair use rights.... rights that still exist even while the tools to make use of them are illegal.
  • Mixed up? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tezkah ( 771144 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:21PM (#12834278)
    Skype is a file-sharing application and that's used by millions of people. (Universities) are using file sharing as a way to disseminate research papers and other legitimate items. Getting away from centralized servers and going to peer-to-peer communications all across the map means the communications are faster and much more user-friendly. I will predict that within a number of years, most of the uses of file sharing are going to be legitimate.

    I think you mean Peer to Peer, not "File Sharing", which is one kind of P2P. Using Skype for internet telephony and downloading legit files from bittorrent are completely different things. The first is at risk from phone companies, the second is at risk from **AA organizations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:31PM (#12834357)
    ...and he's still pissed at me. I don't see what the problem is. I only used her for one night while he was at a family dinner, I did not intend to permanently deprive him of use of her, and she still loves him and everything.

    But he's still all hung up about the whole issue. Jeez, some people are so narrow-minded. Guy's as bad as the RIAA. I guess I should be glad he isn't litigating.
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:31PM (#12834362)
    I think we have seen a reversal in the roles of the Democratic and Republican parties within the United States. Traditionally this sort of thing would have been done by a true (ie. not neoconservative) conservative Republican, fighting for the individual rights of the American citizenry. Indeed, I find it odd that a Democrat is now the one leading the charge for individual rights.
    • No No No, we've ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia!

      See even the newspaper says that much!
    • think so? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BitterAndDrunk ( 799378 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:56PM (#12834555) Homepage Journal
      I don't really think it's much of a role reversal for the dems . . . historically they've championed rights of the individual over rights of businesses. After all, what do you think most social programs revolve around?

      Individual assistance to those who otherwise may fall through the cracks.

      Plus, both parties at this point seem to bow to their corporate masters rather than champion anything based on their ethical/moral considerations.

    • Traditionally this sort of thing would have been done by a true (ie. not neoconservative) conservative Republican, fighting for the individual rights of the American citizenry.

      I call BS.

      Not since the 19th century has the republican party given hardly any thought to the individual rights or welfare of citizens.
      I sure as hell dont remember hearing about the republican party being particularly active protecting civil rights of disenfranchised minorities during the sixties.

      More accurately, Bouchers actions represent the type of actions that gave the Democratic party a reputation of being the champion of the 'little guy' in the first place.

      Its too sad he is the exception rather than the rule, IMHO both the Republican and Democratice parties are essentially corporate whores these days.
    • by LetterJ ( 3524 ) <> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @03:25PM (#12834815) Homepage
      Given that the Clinton administration brought deficits under control, oversaw a huge increase in GDP, etc. and the current Republican administration has introduced some of the largest military spending increases in US history (new levels are higher than at ANY point during the Cold War),

      "Conservative" as a political label used to mean (among other things), that "the way things are" is good. That meant that conservatives tended to reject radical changes in policy, spending habits, etc. Combined with some of the only tax cuts EVER put forth during a "time of war" (during previous wars, like WWII, the upper tax bracket was increased to 90%, not dropped), the current set of conservatives in power are hard to describe as traditionally conservative. I've even heard some of these conservatives complain that people who are concerned about the current war aren't making the sacrifices needed during a time of war. Maybe if they hadn't exempted the wealthy from sacrifice, those folks would be complaining too.

      Over time, the meaning of conservative has morphed into "morally uptight" and has more to do with a politician's stance on 2-3 social issues than on any sort of fiscal conservation.
    • The war of intellectual property versus fair use seems to be fairly non-partisan. Of the current federal legislators endorsed by IPac, two are Democrats and three are Republicans. The chief enemies of fair use (Ernest Hollings {retired}, Howard Berman, Orrin Hatch) also come from both sides of the aisle.

      • the only one who makes sense admid the partisan bickering. The desire to take away rights from the populace knows no political party.
    • I don't think that's a fair statement to make, though I sorta wish it were true. It implies that "traditional" Democrats don't/didn't fight for individual's rights. I think that most political parties have had their shining moments and great leaders. They also have their turkeys, who think that protecting rights involves things like PATRIOT act and arresting people for taking pictures of bridges. I'm just glad that *any* politician has the guts to stand up for what he believes is right. I wish there we
  • The Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act for the Broadcast Flag?
    • Reasonably speaking, yes. The Digital Media Consumers Rights Act allows me to remove the broadcast flag for fair use.
    • The broadcast flag - that has something to do with television programs, yes? Am I supposed to give a rats ass about television programs? Anyway, as someone else pointed out, the broadcast flag would only be effective with the backing of the DMCA. Otherwise, it's as stupid and useless as the rot13 "encryption" used by Adobe e-books. (Whoops, I think I just broke the DMCA with that last sentence.)
  • Fair use is a great idea, and is worth fighting for. But frankly, in the present legal and political environment, anybody who tries to use it has a hole in his head. If you look at the rules [], they're extremely vague. It's virtually impossible to predict whether a particular instance of fair use will be upheld in court. And do you really want to go to court, and fight against the kind of legal team Disney can afford? No, realistically you will cave in to their demands as soon as they send you a nastygram.


  • From TFA:

    Most other countries in the developed world have made it a national priority to deploy broadband and they are putting public resources behind the effort. I think we should.

    So this guy wants the gov to rollout broadband. And his justification for this? Because others have done it. Because other countries have more broadband thus. Wah wah wah. Suddenly "keeping up with the Jonses" (or in this case South Korea?) has become a reason to nationalize an industry? What country do we live in? Was thi

  • Mark Cuban just commented on Macrovision [], and wondered what its purpose was. Obviously the answer is: copy protection, however bad, exists so you can sue people who make things that allow consumers to circumvent it and exercise their fair use rights.
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @03:32PM (#12834879) Journal
    Boucher is the free-speech side's token politician. He never actually manages to get anything through committee, and certainly never gets it passed, and he never actually intends to.

    Rather, he's there to maintain the fiction of balance, and the hope of possibility of change for the better through the established political process. By doing so, he siphons off efforts which would be better put towards forcing change through other means, AND provides an excuse for fans of the system to tell those who are violating the laws to just simmer down and work through the political process.

    Remember, he voted for the DMCA.
  • Please tell my this guy is not related to Bobby Boucher []
  • The same old BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @04:01PM (#12835148) Homepage
    Rick Boucher seems pretty smart about the issues until the very end, when he repeats the same industry bullshit lie, namely that "the only way that I think we are going to have high-value television programming delivered over the air in digital format is if the motion picture industry has some level of confidence that it's not going to get recorded and uploaded to the internet."

    That is PURE bullshit for one simple reason: Broadcasters ARE currently delivering "high-value" content in HD format "over the air"!!!! You can't say that broadcasters won't do something unless we take action, WHEN THEY ARE FUCKING DOING IT RIGHT NOW!!!

    That bullshit lie is just a ploy to get broadcast flags in place to make sure we have absolutely no fair use rights left.
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @04:28PM (#12835501)
    Why don't you put your entire inventory up on the web and make it available in a user-friendly format for a reasonable price per track and get away from clinging to this old, outdated business model of selling the whole CD?"

    Well I can see a couple of problems. First the music industry currently sells the entire CD as if each song had value. Unfortunately most albums have a couple of good songs bundled with crap. Twenty songs for fifteen bucks sounds reasonable but fifteen bucks for two songs doesn't. Never mind that eighteen of the songs are unwanted.

    Allowing people to pay only for the content that they really wanted would only be possible, from a corporate point of view, if the content industry could be sure that a few legitimately purchased copies would not be given away to the masses thus reducing their profit. This might be possible with the use of DRM. However DRM, if unchecked, could completely destroy fair use. If a corporation can eek out even a little profit by denying consumers their fair use rights they will. It's in the corporate nature to do whatever increases their profit margins.

    "Do I have sympathy for them? Not when they're clinging to a relic and when that's getting in the way of making good current business decisions.... They can make a fortune if they do that."

    I'm not sure which "good current business decisions" Rep. Boucher is talking about. I would like to think that making their content available at a reasonable price would be wildly profitable for the music industry while giving consumer's value for their dollars. The model is, however, largely untested and counter intuitive. Remember that corporations want profit. The more the better. If they can sell their product while grossly over pricing that product all the better. In a normal market supply, demand and competition keeps prices bearable for the consumers. It is only when the economic environment can be controlled that corporations can get away with grossly inflated pricing. Many times this can occur if a corporation can obtain some kind of monopoly, mostly through the use of copyrights, patents or laws tailored for this purpose.

    The business model that I think Rep. Boucher is talking about would threaten the monopoly that the recording industry has on distribution and is therefore a very scary model for them, I'm sure.

    At the end of the article Rep. Boucher seemed to be talking about cutting a deal with the MPAA. He suggests that he may support the broadcast flag if they support the Media Consumers' Rights Act.

    "The circuit court for D.C. has invalidated broadcast flag rulemaking, saying that the FCC lacked statutory authority (to create the broadcast flag). Not surprisingly, the MPAA has now come to us and said, "We want you to legislate."

    I don't think we are going to do that. I have been waiting for a long time for Hollywood to come to us and say, "Here's something we want" because there is something I want. And it's called the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act."

    I haven't read the Digital Media Consumers' Act but I'm smart enough to know that many times the name can be deceiving. For example the "Patriot Act" which is anything but patriotic if one would take the time to actually read it. I also know that legislation that start out good can be perverted at the last minute by congressmen who are not acting in the public best interest.
    Call me a radical but I think we should legalize the killing of lawmakers who act against the public interest. Not random killing, of course. What we should do is have a vote every five years or so for the politician that has done the public the most harm and then take that person out into a public square and hang him/her by the neck until dead. Just a thought.
    • I haven't read the Digital Media Consumers' Act but I'm smart enough to know that many times the name can be deceiving.

      In this case it isn't. I've read it. It says three things:

      (1) You no longer go to prison for defeating DRM (unless you actually commit copyright infringement).

      (2) You no longer go to prison for offering a product to defeat DRM that enables the above noninfringing uses.

      (3) DRM crippled CDs must be labeled.

      Rep. Boucher seemed to be talking about cutting a deal with the MPAA. He suggest
  • Defending Fair Use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @04:28PM (#12835506)
    To defend Fair Use, you have to defend concept of the Public Domain.

    To defend the concept of the Public Domain, you have to be against insane copyright extensions.

    To be against insane copyright extensions you have to not take money and favors from those seeking to kill the Public Domain through insane copyright extensions.

    What did you say your job was again, Sir?

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson