Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Rep. Rick Boucher explains what's wrong with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, basically describing it as a Congressional sellout to the "content industries" (record companies and movie studios), which effectively annihilates the public's right to use copyrighted materials which they've purchased as they see fit, without having to beg permission from the copyright holder for each new use even after they've already bought it.

The sad thing is that the legislative history of this bill is actually worse than Boucher makes it out to be --- while there weren't serious, substantive changes to the "content community"'s proposal once it hit Congress, there were serious negotiations between the "content community" and other business interests --- the electronics manufacturers, among others. That negotiation resulted in the "content community's" proposed bill, which they then, as Boucher describes, effectively rammed down the throat of Congress as a fait accompli. There's an only mildly sanitized account of the negotiations here, by one of the participants.

The upshot is a bill written through a process in which the private interests of various big businesses were considered, but the public interest was handwaved away.

So once again,

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.


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