Re: When is an MP3 file like a lighthouse?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Oct 29 2001 - 13:38:09 MST

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > > Why is protection of publishing industries more important to American
> > > politicians than ammendments I, IV, V, and X?
> >
> > How does the 1st Amendment apply? Your right of free expression does not
> > mean you have the right to express other people's expressions without
> > their consent.
> It also prohibits derivative works: I cannot produce a translation,
> adaptation, or a work in another medium based on a copyrighted work
> (such as, say, a book comparing short stories by different authors,
> or a rap song sampling differing tunes).

This is inaccurate. Sampling and referenced quotation are entirely
accepted 'fair use' exceptions. The problem is when you use so much of
someone elses work in your work that you are essentially creating
nothing new.

> I can't use a song as the
> soundtrack to a movie, or make a remix, or many other creative things.

Because if you use so much of another's work, your use is not original,
and therefore is not art, it is reproduction.

> And this is true even if the artist is long dead and cannot possibly
> benefit from copyright protection, because most copyrights are owned
> by publishing companies. Just ask anyone who has tried to make
> undergound cartoons with Disnet characters. Copyright stifles
> expression as much, if not more, than it encourages it. Likewise
> patents prevent me from making a minor improvement to an existing
> invention, or combining inventions in useful ways.

I do not oppose the elimination of corporate ownership of IP.
Corporations are not senient beings, and therefore cannot be artists.
The Constitution clearly states that Congress is to protect the
creators, the artists, not anyone else. However, as an artist, I highly
oppose the idea that you can take someone else's work and tweak it a
little to be able to claim it as your own.

> > The 4th? Considering an artist who never makes any money because his art
> > is stolen by millions of ungrateful fans starves to death, I propose...
> That one's been batted out of the park so many times I won't even
> bother with it, except to say that I'm surprized how many otherwise
> libertarians, who would otherwise never assume that a law actually
> accomplishes what the politicians who passed it says it will, are so
> willing to assume that copyrights and patents actually accomplish
> what they claim, or even that the real reasons for their passage
> are the same as the claimed reasons. And what do you say, Mr. Lorrey,
> to the former admins of, who used to run a popular
> anonymization service that was shut down by the feds at the request
> of the Church of Scientology over copyright issues? Was that a
> reasonable seizure of criminal taking money from the pockets of
> artists? What do you say to Dmitri Sklyarov, now in jail under the
> DMCA for publishing security information about a piece of software?
> Was that seizure reasonable?

Scientology is obviously trying to have their cake and eat it. They
claim their work is 'art' to protect its proprietary value in skinning
marks, yet also claim it is historical truth and religious dogma to
protect themselves against taxation and fraud charges. Using them as an
example has likewise been batted out of the park so many times that I'm
rather surprised you are using it here, Lee.

The DMCA is obviously a flawed law that needs legal precedents to
eliminate its problems. I personally wouldn't mind eliminating the right
of corporations to own IP.

> > The 5th? dont' see it
> I'm not sure I see his point there either.
> > The 10th? that is states rights.
> ...and the unenumerated rights of the people. Such as the basic
> human right to use the information in your head to improve your
> life, without having to know where every little piece of it came
> from or which uses are legal and which aren't.

Usage is fine. If you posess the information, you should know where you
got if from, and it is rather easy to understand what uses are legal and
which are not. Only con artists would try to claim otherwise.

> > One could say that
> > intellectual property rights, because they exist within the
> > constitution, are the 0th Amendment rights.
> That section of the constitution enumerates the rights of congress,
> one of which is the right to make laws estabishing intellectual
> property rights. It does not require them to do so, it only allows
> them to (and they have chosesn to pass such laws). The Bil of Rights
> enumerates those things that congress _cannot_ legislate away from
> the people, because they are basic human rights. When sections of
> the constitution conflict, the courts and congress are expected to
> compromise. It is not at all unreasonable to suggest that present
> copyright law should be re-evaluated in the light of its effect
> on free speech and other rights.

Uh, not quite. The Bill of Rights is not the only part which defines the
rights of individuals. The right to vote, for example, is defined within
the body of the Constitution. The preamble also defines a right of the
people to reconstruct the government, to replace one that has grown

Similarly, copyright is now recognised as a constitutional right of the
individual. You don't need to register a copyright in order to hold one
on your works. Getting your work notarized by any other means (Justice
of the Peace, court clerk, postmark, etc) also acts as an informal
registration, since in IP disputes, the date of creation is of key
importance (as is degree of exposure).

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