Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bunk and garbage


The DMCA is a horrible piece of legislative garbage that has given a litigious backbone to agencies such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America.  These are the same groups that have taken to bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits against individuals who they suspect but cannot prove have committed a crime.  Further, they have petitioned the US Supreme Court that they do not need proof of the crime to demonstrate damages related to the crime.  

Simply putting the songs into a shared folder is enough to make you a criminal, in the eyes of RIAA.  So, if I create a synchronized folder on my desktop and laptop, which has copies of my music, then this is illegal?  Even though iTunes says I'm ok?  (I'm not saying that I do this.  I don't need the RIAA coming after me)

Let's take it one step further:  
I have an iPod Touch.  Cool little piece of tech that many would argue is a mini-computer in its own right.  I have a ton of music, both from iTunes and from my CD's.  I routinely synchronize the iPod from my computer.  I'm sharing the music from one computer to another.

Now, I believe that under "Fair Use" doctrine, I'm in the clear.
I also believe that in order to be nailed in a court of law, the plaintiff has to prove proximate cause of their damages.  They have to prove damages, and they have to prove that I caused them.  I'm not going to argue that there is damage occurring (I think the RIAA has caused more damage to itself than it has prevented), but I will argue that merely having songs in a computer system that is capable of sharing the files, is not sufficient proof of damage.

A quick synopsis of my previous ire.

Now onto my current annoyance.

Author David Kravets (http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/10/ten-years-later.html) is pushing that the DMCA has opened up the freedom of the web.  


The DMCA is a morass of bills hung on to one label.  The idea that sites like YouTube, Google, and other user-generated-content sites (like this one) would not have been able to flourish without the DMCA is pure rubbish.  These sites are an inevitable extension of the internet.  If they had become popular before the DMCA, I'll contend that we would have had a much better piece of legislation.

His final quote from an MPAA employee: "The ISPs wanted safe harbor provisions in return for their support for the anti-circumvention provisions, which was one of the major and most important compromises in this legislation," he says. "It's not perfect. But it's better than nothing."
This type of belief is moronic!  We can't afford blatantly damaged, distorted legislation.

This is the same mentality that screams out "There ought to be a law!"

People, we don't need or want the government legislating our behavior.  
We didn't need the DMCA to tell us:
It's ok to copy your music from your CD to your MP3 player.
It's not ok to give all of your friends, their friends, and their friends friends copies of your purchased music.
It's really not ok to sell it to them illegally.

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