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Your right to own and operate a computer is under attack!
Immediate action is needed!
Can't Quote the Law without Permission of a Copyright Holder. That's right - The Law
under is prohibited to be copied or distributed according to these legal
Don't say "We the People" in Public....
Who We Are
New Yorkers for Fair Use is a group that supports copyright law as
Congress originally framed and implemented it. Congress first
conceived of copyright law as a limited term protection for authors
and inventors. This limited term protection was meant to be an
incentive to creators of original work to distribute their inventions
as quickly and as widely as possible. Congress hoped that this
distribution would facilitate scientific and artistic progress. Today,
the extension of copyright to 70 or more years past the death of the
author and the passage of laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act, support the interests of corporations in maintaining monopolies
over their creations at the expense of scientific and artistic
progress. The DMCA is a particularly egregious example of this trend
in copyright law. The DMCA grants the authors of digital works the
ability to specify how their work my be used in perpetuity. Moreover,
the DMCA even allows authors to prohibit the copying and quoting of
their digital work for the purpose of education -- a use of
copyrighted works which has traditionally been allowed under the
doctrine of fair use. Because the DMCA allows authors to prevent
other members of the public from using their work as a basis for
further creative endeavor, we believe the DMCA fatally harms the
original intent of copyright law, which was to promote progress in the
useful arts and sciences. As such, we support the revocation of the DMCA in
the interests of scientific and artistic progress. We also support
the extension of the fair use doctrine into the digital domain so that
some balance is restored between the interests of the public and the
interests of authors and inventors.
What is Copyright?
Copyright is like love - everyone thinks they know what it is, but few actually understand what
it really means.
Historically, Copyright did not exist in western civilization. At the time of Shakespeare,
there was no Copyright.
At that time playwrights, poets, and artists would vigorously hide their works until playtime
for fear of piracy.
All poets and playwrights borrowed from each other. Shakespeare' Macbeth is a largely a copied
previous versions. It is altered by Shakespeare. He added original verse and molded the play
come down to us. Original elements are intertwined into previous versions from other
works. This was not only commonly done by playwrights, but accepted practice.
Prior to the Guttenburg Bible and the mass usage of the printing press, the reproduction of
cultural artifacts such as
literature and books of learning, was largely controlled by religious institutions like the
Catholic Church. The decreasing cost
of education and the obtaining of information challenged the political control of the Church,
and caused a social revolution. The Protestant revolution was the most visible, but not the
only result of the decreasing cost of information.
With increasing literacy and access to information, the middle class began to swell from the
ranks of peasantry.
They brought with them practical demands for works of art and learning, and the need to
produce original works of arts and sciences for business and spiritual reasons. People
started to demand control over the original creations they produced.
Copyright in Europe and Colonial
The first Copyright laws developed in Europe in response to the
increasing needs of this middle class.
By the 1600s in England, it was apparent that it was a benefit to the British nationstate
to have some control over the distribution of
certain works. Absolute control of original materials was given to Copyright holders.
Copyright was established in the law,
along with trade secret and patent laws, all designed to assure English dominance in the
industrial revolution which was slowly
taking hold. Copyrights were issued by the government on a case to case basis. Copyright
law and patents became an arm
of British colonial policy. Works on industrial processing and other areas were prevented
from being transported
out of the native isles of English Crown. This helped assure the colonial relationship of
England to her colonies,
and helped assure British sea power as well.
After the American Revolution, our Founding Fathers looked closely at the issue of Copyright
and patents. They determined
that an unlimited Copyright was inherently contrary to their aims to create a democratic
society. They recognized the need for
free association and free speech, which Copyright inherently limits. They recognized the
intrusion that Copyright presented
on individuals property rights. And most importantly, they realized that unlimited Copyright
would erode the principles of a shared
cultural heritage which we enjoy as a free people in a common civilization. Unlimited
Copyright would surely undermine a free
American Copyright is based on the constitutional precept of a limited Copyright license
designed to promote the public well being.
All Copyright law is an extension of Congressional power to limit property rights and freedom
of speech of the public through a
limited Copyright license. This power is granted from the following paragraph in the
without which Copyright would be unconstitutional:
Key to Copyright was the concept that Copyright is limited. This was a break in American law
and English common law. Congress has the power to grant Copyrights, or to not grant
Congress can revoke all Copyright protections tomorrow, and Copyright owners are without
This is different than Freedom of Speech, which is guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. Congress
can never suspend Freedom
of Speech or Freedom of the Press with the passage of a bill. The institution of Copyright as
defined by the Constitution meant
that by constitutional law, and as uphelded repeatedly in the Supreme Court, Copyright does not
supercede the constitutional
guarantees of the citizenry. Their property and freedom of speech are protected under the law.
The balance between the
exclusive rights of authors and inventors who have obtained Copyright, and the public's
inalienable rights is called Fair Use.
Fair use is the constitutional rights of citizens in respect to their legally obtained
property, which happens to be of copies
of works granted Copyright. Copyright is a privilege that is superceded by Fair Use
constitutional guarantees. Copyright
can never supercede Fair Use. Without Fair Use, Copyright makes a criminal of citizens using
Copyrighted works in support of a
free society and a free government.
|[Congress can pass Laws]
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for
limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their
respective writings and discoveries;|
This is further codified into statutary law under the Copyright Act:
Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A,
the fair use of a copyrighted work,
including such use by reproduction
in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified
by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news
reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use),
scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.
In determining whether the use made of a work in any
particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered
shall include -
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether
such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in
relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or
value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is
unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such
finding is made upon consideration of
all the above factors.
Recent trends in the law in response to the internet and the advent of digital medium have
Among the recent laws passed which threaten Copyright is the Digital Millennium Act which
in 1998 in response to pressure from the broadcast and mass media industry in the US.
Another law recently passed which attempts to destroy Copyright is the Sony Bono Copyright
Since Copyright can not be legal without Fair Use, both of these laws, among others making
rounds on the Federal and State level,
are undermining the legal and moral foundation of Copyright. New Yorkers for Fair Use is an
organization which is determined
to protect the validity of Copyright law by protecting Fair Use and dispelling misinformation
We would like you to know, first and foremost what is a legal use of Copyrighted material and
what is not.
First of all: Can I own an idea,
song, work of art, writing or other creative work of abstract human intellect?
No - One can not own an idea, even if you created it. You can only own a limited license
Copyright or patent to exploit your idea for comercial purposes, or not to exploit it if you
Intellectual Property is a misuse of language often used to confuse people about their rights
and responsibilities. It is similar to "The Democratic Republic of China" By supporting
Copyright legislation, you can best protect your rights under Copyright.
Legal Actions with Copyrighted Works
- Copying a Copyrighted work.
- Making an archive of Copyrighted works.
- Editing a Copyrighted work.
- Distributing a quote from a Copyrighted work within an original work for the purposes of
discussing that work.
- Giving a copy of a Copyrighted work to a friend without a charge or other monetary
- Using the Copyrighted work without permission of the Copyright holder in a way the
Copyright holder did not initially approve of in its sale of the work to you.
- Destroying your copy of the Copyrighted work.
- Travelling with the Copyrighted work into a different jurisdiction.
- Selling your copy of the Copyrighted work.
Illegal Uses of a Copyrighted Work
- Making a copy of a Copyrighted work and selling it.
- Charging for the viewing a Copyrighted work without permission of the Copyright holder.
- Amassing a database of Copyrighted works and charging for access to that database.
- Mixing together Copyrighted works and selling your services for reading or playing that mix.
Some specific issues with Copyright:
- FBI Warning on Video Tapes.
- The FBI Warning about copying a video tape is a lie. Owners of Copyrighted
material are allowed to copy the VHS Tape for their personal use. Copying is not a crime.
- Ripping CD's to MP3 files.
- This is LEGAL. Copying legally purchased Copyrighted material is a protected act
under the Constitution.
- Making copies of a Copyrighted article for a class discussion and distributing them to the
- Legal and explicit under Section 107 quoted above.
- Sharing an MP3 music file, or a cassette tape of music without charge.
- This is LEGAL unless your doing this as part of a business plan or promotion. You can have
a website full of MP3's as long as it is not a business site, you are not selling ad space etc. If you can afford it, have fun.
- Copying software in a business.
- Illegal - Don't do it.
- Copying software you own for personal use.
- Legal if no money is passing hands.
- Sell copies of software you own and no longer use.
- Legal as a second sale.