From: Dave Farber <email@example.com>
>From: "Chris Allbritton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>this is a horrible trend that seems to be accelerating--namely the
>privatization of ALL knowledge. It seems that copyright laws are being used
>not as an incentive for artists to produce new work, but revenue streams for
>multinational corporations. I can't imagine this is what the framers had in
>mind when they wrote that clause into ye olde Constitution.
>I enclose portions of a (copyrighted) story that appeared in Saturday's
>NYTimes on this subject:
>The Artist's Friend Turned Enemy: A Backlash Against the Copyright
>By PAUL LEWIS
>Shakespeare was great at writing plays but lousy at inventing plots. So he
>"Romeo and Juliet," for instance, was lifted from "The Tragicall Historye of
>Romeus and Juliet," a 1562 translation of a tale by Matteo Bandello, an
>Italian writer, soldier and monk. "Julius Caesar" came out of Sir Thomas
>North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's "Lives of Nobel Grecians and Romans."
>Nobody sued for breach of copyright because there wasn't any. By and large,
>the work of artists, inventors and scientists was available for others to
>copy, improve or improvise on at will.
>Of course, that hasn't been true the last couple of hundred years. The idea
>of a copyright -- to establish personal ownership of artworks, ideas,
>techniques and other intellectual property -- was included in Article 1 of
>the United States Constitution. In 1989 Americans took out 95,537 patents;
>in 1998 the number reached 147,521 and 72,395 more were issued to
>In 1998 Congress extended existing copyright protection for an additional 20
>years. Major beneficiaries were corporations like Disney, whose copyright on
>Mickey Mouse, for example, was to expire in 2004 but has now been extended
>Since then criticism has been building in the academic world, with many
>arguing that the growing privatization of knowledge will threaten
>traditional intellectual and artistic freedoms.
>"Industries and governments always favor strong intellectual property
>protection; academics tend to favor weaker protection," said Robert P.
>Merges, an expert on intellectual property law at the University of
>California at Berkeley. "If you took a poll of American academics, you'd
>find most believe the knowledge grab has gone too far."
>This year a group of Harvard University law professors asked the United
>States District Court for the District of Columbia to declare the Copyright
>Extension Act of 1998 unconstitutional. They argued that it violated
>guarantees of free speech by reprivatizing works that would otherwise have
>become public property. They also said it breached a constitutional
>requirement that copyright laws "promote the progress of science and useful
>"Extending a dead author's copyright won't encourage him to write another
>book," said Lawrence Lessig, one of the Harvard professors bringing the
>case. "Would Shakespeare have written 'Romeo and Juliet' if he had to get
>permission from Bandello and pay royalties?"
><I wish I could include more, but alas, I would be running up against fair
>use laws. But I can probably include a little more...>
>While some of the fastest growth in copyrights has been in the field of
>computer software (where the number of patents granted is expected to
>increase to 22,500 for 1999 from 1,300 in 1990), companies are increasingly
>patenting such innovations as methods of doing business.
>Amazon.com, the on-line bookseller, for example, has patented its "one
>click" sales system, allowing customers to place new orders with a single
>press on the computer mouse. And priceline.com has done the same for
>"reverse auctions," which enable buyers to name a price and find a seller.
>Applications for such "business method" patents have risen 70 percent this
>year, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
>Critics say that the current laws on intellectual property may shrink the
>pool of freely available artworks and ideas from which artists and inventors
>often draw their inspiration.
>In "Shamans, Software and Spleens: Law and the Construction of the
>Information Society" (Harvard University Press), James Boyle of American
>University argues that the present system overemphasizes the rights of the
>romanticized author at the expense of "the public domain necessary to give
>the magpie genius the raw material she needs."
><The "romanticized author" these days is too often a faceless corporation.
>To grant these immortal bodies with scads of money and power the same rights
>as (relatively powerless) individuals is a travesty, one that extends far
>beyond the issue of intellectual property. But another well-made point from
>Ronald V. Bettif, a communications professor at Pennsylvania State
>University, writes in his book "Copyrighting Culture: the Political Economy
>of Intellectual Property" (Westview Press): "The consequences of expanded
>intellectual property rights are always the same: the continuing enclosure
>of the intellectual and artistic commons.
>"More and more knowledge and culture are being privately appropriated and
>submitted to the logic of the marketplace."
><I only wish I could include a link to the article but it's buried in the
>premium archives now. Hm. That seems to prove my point even more. Anyway,
>the continuing corporatization of so many aspects of our lives threatens to
>erase the cultural and intellectual commons that allow people with vision to
>move society forward. Instead we seem content to place that vision in the
>hands of the 'free market,' which doesn't hold the common good as a value,
>but instead seeks--by law--to maximize shareholder value. In cases regarding
>intellectual property, shareholder value is antithical to a free and open
>Technology Reporter -- New York Daily News
>450 W. 33rd St., New York, NY 10001-2681
>(212) 210-2197 (v)
>(212) 210-2921 (f)
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: email@example.com
> > [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Dave Farber
> > Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2000 10:56 AM
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: IP: Author of DeCss Arrested
> > [ In my view this type of action portends serious serious problems in the
> > future. I wonder if, as a teacher, I had assigned a project to
> > explore the
> > security of some system and see how robust it was, if I and my studnets
> > would be arrested? djf]
> > >Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 10:48:57 -0500 (EST)
> > >From: Joe Greenseid <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > >To: Dave Farber <email@example.com>
> > >
> > >Jon Johansen, the 16 year old from Norway who cracked DVD encryption was
> > >arrested in a suprise raidyesterday after being named in a
> > lawsuit by some
> > >of the biggest companies in entertainment.
> > Police raid teen hacker's home
> > Police have raided the Larvik home of a teen charged by some of
> > the world's
> > biggest entertainment companies with ripping off their music and
> > films. The
> > boy broke the code protecting videos and CDs. \
> > Entertainment industry giants including Sony, Universal, MGM and Warner
> > have sued the 16-year-old Norwegian, accusing him of hacking his way
> > through the codes meant to protect their products from downloading.
> > They also charged he then publicized the code on the Internet.
> > The teenager
> > published the code on the home page of his father's company. His
> > father is
> > also charged.
> > <snip>
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:42 MDT