New Yorkers For Fair Use

© Copyright for the Digital Millennium
NY Fairuse members, and NYLUG members:

It seems that quite a bit of coverage of the DVD trail is taking hold in the media. I even saw an article on this in the NY Post, although it failed to mention the protest.

We got fairly lucky on the protest because I ran into Jerrold Nadler, who is the Congressman for the Upper West Side and Boro Park in Brooklyn. He may be the Representative of many of you in Manhattan. I used to live in his district, but I no longer do.

We need to now strike a legislative dialog with Nadler. To me, he's one of the best representatives in the state. He's usually informed, bright and and unafraid to take a position.

We must start a legislative movement to protect Fair Use. Clearly, the provisions in the DMCA of 1998 designed to protect Fair Use and property rights are being run roughshod by the Kaplan Court. Most importantly, this quote by the MPAA is offensive. It is reported by CNET at:

"DeCSS is simply the 'lock pick' in the high-tech crime of breaking into another person's digital property," the MPAA said in a statement posted on its Web site. "The First Amendment (the legal right to free speech) provides no protection for such conduct."

We need Congress to pass a law and for Nadler's office to put forward a bill which reinforces "Fair Use" in statutory law, reinforcing its constitutional status as the rights of the public.

First, we need a law which explicitly makes clear that a normal retail transaction for a physical copy of any media gives possession as property of that disk to the purchaser of the disk, just like it does with a pair of shoes. Therefore, the analogy that someone picks a lock of something that they actually own can be ended both legally and philosophically. One is allowed to pick the lock of something they OWN. Since a DVD is purchased without a negotiated contract, in a simple cash transaction, the ownership of the lock of the DVD is in the hands of the disk owner.

Secondly, we need a law which explicitly gives the owners of media which contain copyrighted material, explicit "Fair Use" protection and "Reverse Engineering" protection which explicitly takes priority over any DMCA protections, or any other protections. Despite the attempt of Congress to include "Fair Use" protection in the DMCA, without which the law would not have been passed by Congress, the law was written against itself in section 1201 and Judge Kaplan is ignoring these protections in the Courtroom. As such, these "Fair Use" protections must be reinforced and made clear. It must be clear that prior authorization of the Copyright holder is not needed by those attempting reverse engineering of Fair Use.

Thirdly, we should empower the Copyright Office to remove Copyright protection from any individual who abuses Copyright to the detriment of Fair Use through frivolous lawsuits. Copyright should be removed from any company which has abused its limited license to monopoly control of Copyrighted material by preventing the educational process or economic development through reverse engineering. Teeth need to be put into the law to prevent abuse of power.

Lastly, we need a change in Copyright which allows for the ending of Copyright of software and content which is no longer available from the Copyright holder at a fair market price. This will force software companies to continue to make available important business software and end the unfair forced upgrade of working products and games, or to hand over control of them to people who see a reason to do so.