What Every American Should Know About Copyright
General IP Issues10/4/2000; 3:08:28 PM 'Another point that isn't very well known, that has, in fact, been buried into near complete obscurity is that the copyright owner does not own the work, only the copyright. The work, itself, is owned by no one. Intellectual Property, a very big issue in the modern world, has no owner. You can only own the right to copy a work, not the work itself. The difference between these two points is important, though of little practical value to the average person. The entity with the copyright is the only one who can offer the copies for distribution, or not. Here we arrive at what is known as "The First Sale Doctrine," which governs the ownership of individual copies. The Entertainment Industry and the Software Industry both want you to believe that you don't own the copy of the work that you have purchased. First Sale Doctrine disagrees. Once the copyright owner has been compensated (you paid for the copy) they have no further rights toward that individual copy. As owner of the copy, it is your right to decide what to do with it, with the obvious exception of making further copies....Think about this: under the original copyright law, Star Wars would become public domain in 2005. Old episodes of Bonanza and I Love Lucy would already be public domain. You could legally embroider pictures of Mickey Mouse onto T-shirts and sell them. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" would belong to everyone as would "Gone With the Wind." All of those great Rock 'n' Roll songs from the fifties and sixties would be public and no one could complain no matter how many MP3's you distributed of them. Basically, anything published before 1972 would belong to the people of America. Books, TV, movies, art and music all work through the copyright laws and all of them have been given what nearly amounts to a perpetual monopoly.'
Patent Combat Time
Personal Commentary10/4/2000; 2:42:25 PM As I've been writing iRights: The Essay, I've been exploring a lot of new territory, hopefully stuff that nobody's ever explored before. (At the very least, I haven't seen it from anybody else.)So I was talking about the recent bill before Congress to make MP3 "beaming" as implemented by MP3.com explicitly allowed (previous coverage), and I came up with an example of why the bill is shortsighted. I want to get this out in public before anybody patents it, so I don't want to wait until I publish the essay.Here is a description of a system to allow people to obtain digital copies of movies they already own a legitimate copy of via internet transmission.A company will obtain or create digital versions of movies, without the need for copyright clearence on these videos. Customers of this company will purchase or otherwise recieve a device that will in all likelihood have all the functionality of a TiVo, but will also include a broadband internet connections and the ability to play VHS tapes.When one of these devices is aquired and installed, it will go through some subscription setup that will enable the company and the user to maintain profiles of what movies are legitimately owned. When the user inserts a commercial videotape into the device, the device will read the codes encoded on the VHS tape and transmit these codes to the company's server, which will in turn either send back the movie in a digital form, or store that the user is now allowed to access that movie. (This depends on exactly which year this device is created, and whether you can bet on being able to watch a movie in real time. Either way, you'll get permission to download at will, as it will still be a long time before you'll have enough storage to dedicate it to all the digital video you can have.)(BTW, these codes on VHS tapes already exist. Listen to the end or a beginning of a commercial VHS tape, and you can hear them. They sound like touch-tone phone tones. Recordings off of the television lack these codes.)Viola, a movie "beaming" service, which unless someone has beaten me to is now not patentable (hopefully). Is the law going to then protect that, as Congress may be moving towards protecting MP3.com like activities, or not? Really, the law should either protect all media or no media, but the special-case for music is short-sighted and merely adds complexity to an already too-complex system.
Artificial stupidity: One-Half a Manifesto
10/4/2000; 11:05:24 AM
This is from a few days ago, but I think that the Salon article, which includes some of the replies to the One-Half of a Manifesto, is sufficiently interesting to merit posting here. I recommend reading the original manifesto, and I've heard the "printer friendly version" is easier to deal with, as it isn't broken into 16 pieces.
10/4/2000; 10:44:42 AM Isn't it sick that the one issue that can unify liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, rich and poor, basically everybody except those intimately involved in politics as a way of life, is how little we want to elect either Bush or Gore into our top office?
Armey Criticizes Carnivore Review
Surveillance and Privacy from Government
10/4/2000; 10:28:46 AM
'The Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute has barely begun its review of Carnivore, an electronic-surveillance system being used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but already a Congressional leader is branding the review a "sham."
Richard K. Armey, the Texas Republican who is majority leader of the House of Representatives, criticized the Justice Department on Thursday for selecting the research institute, a nonprofit affiliate of I.I.T., because one member of the institute's review team worked for the Clinton administration and another was once an employee of the Justice Department.'
Ok, who's actually surprised by this? Raise your hands...
That's what I thought.
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