New Yorkers For Fair Use

© Copyright for the Digital Millennium
Notes from the meeting of NY Fair Use August 1, 2001
Killarny Rose Pub
82 Beaver St., Manhattan
AUTHORS: Joanne, Noah, Ruben




8:15 The Meeting Begins

Jay Sulzberger is accepted as moderator for the meeting.  He suggests that
each of those present describe specifically what they have been doing for
the last week.

L O: Researching possible allies in the fight against the DMCA.  Displays 
a button with "Free Dmitry" printed with mirror writing on it, and suggests 
the production of more buttons with similar designs.  No one present knows 
where to get buttons printed.

Noah: Printed stickers with the slogan: Programming Is Not A Crime, and the
URL, which points to

Seth: Seth is trying to organize the Informations Producers Initiative -
Its principles are:
1- Content control is a dead end for content producers
2- International Treaties hinder content producers 
3- The Supreme Court Feist Decision is a good basis for
   much copyright common law
4- Contact Information Tech Pros (what is this?)

Forest - Updated

Loenid: Organize protest - people turned out, and he liaisoned with the
Free Leonard people.  He worked on producing the on-line petitioning 
system which will help people discover their representitives and deliver 
snail mail to them on the subject.

The importance of actually printing the petition out and getting people 
to sign it is stressed, as email petitions are ignored by politicians.

Vagn: Encourages those who will attend Monday's protest to build signs on
poles, which can be seen from farther away than the cardboard plaques 
we've been using.  He is working on an "activist's kit" which will contain
instructions for sign-making, etc.  Vagn also says there are too many
messages being displayed on the signs.  It is generally accepted that we
need to display a unified message or set of messages, but no conclusion is
reached as to which message that is to be.

Rachel: Proselytizing.  Suggest printing java jackets with protest slogans 
on them, since there is a coffee stand right next to the protest area (java
jackets being the little cardboard thingies you slip over your coffee cup
to keep it from burning your hand).  Printing matchbooks is also suggested.

Joanne: I've replied off-list to numerous ppl who asked questions on the
free-sklyarov list, mailed several articles and URLs to the anti-dmca
webmaster/admins, marked up e-mail letters for display on the freesklyarov
website, sundry other postings and posted announcements of rally to
nyc.general. (Just for the record.)

I also priced postcards at a local printing shop.  The card would have a 
msg printed on the front but ppl would be instructed to write their own 
msg on the back.  Individual messages get by far the most attention.

Ruben: Ruben as formulated the political roadmap for NYFairuse.  Created
the nyfairuse anouncement list.

Made political inquiries.  Compiled a list of volunteer positions needed 
to move the organization forward.  He stressed the need to create a 
political machine, which will acquire its own momentum and attract more 
people as it goes along.  Gaps in our specific knowledge of copyright law 
and its effects are also raised.  Specifically, Ruben wants to know how 
much eBooks might cost the NY City school system over several years.

Jay: Board of Ed is interseted in these issues.  Levey has interest.
The Board of Education is interested in reducing books cost, and have 
hoped electronic media  should make the cost less... but this process is
being blocked.

NYU Medical and Dental Schools are switching from printed textbooks to
eBooks.  The schools feel that this switch will reduce book costs, but 
they may well be wrong.  The digital divide is discussed.


Specific reports end, and a general discussion period begins:

The demise of the Communications Decency Act is discussed.

The need for famous spokespersons is raised-- we try to think of recording 
artists who oppose the DMCA and support Napster.

The difference between fair use and free speech is discussed.  Ruben feels
that free speech cannot exist without fair use.

We discuss the 1998(?) law which requires that a microchip be installed in
all consumer-grade VCRs to prevent copying of videotapes.  Jay explains 
that consumer Digital Audio Tape law was also criminalized by the RIAA.

He also noted recurring similarities with other periods of techno change, 
printing presses, VCRs... some battles won, others don't know details.  
Hardware control is always proposed and sometimes succeeds when new 
technology threatens the status quo.

Dmitry Sklyarov's software is illegal in the US, but Adobe's eBook software
is illegal in Russia (because it prevents the user from making at least one
backup copy).  We wonder if programmers from Adobe are subject to arrest in
Russia.  An exchange of hostages is contemplated :)  The irony of software
now being more free in the former USSR than in the US is not lost on us.

We also discussed in some detail possible variations in rallies,
General consensus (that *is* the spelling) was that volume of any activity
outside NYPL should be low, so we should not get a sound permit for that


General discussion period ends.

Some volunteer positions are filled.  (Sorry, but I don't have all the
positions in my notes, as I was only made secretary at the very end of the
meeting.  I'll write down what I remember):

Leonid will continue to write a petition, and will also write an exposition
regarding copyright law in Russia, also the Russian angle of Fair Use and   
book smuggling during Communist rule.

Vagn will tentatively act as political liasion.  He will begin by finding 
out who his representatives are.

Noah is made secretary, and will publish the meeting notes to

Ruben's proposal to appoint a press spokespeson.  Many thought that this 
would not be a good move, since persons with that title are not well 
regarded. (ask Jay for more.)   

Proposal to appoint a legislative liaison was received with enthusiasm,
albeit somewhat abstract.  (no immediate volunteer)  It is also suggested 
that each of us meet with their rep.

The Digital Divide.  Discussion of the NYC school system and current Board 
of Education.  All members of the current board are honest and
well-intentioned, but level of technical sophistication varies quite a bit.
We attempted to particularize of Ruben's proposals to create a presentation
of the costs, hidden and otherwise, of using proprietary software and
specific (non-commodity) hardware, to the NYC city school system. Procedures 
of the Board (for RFPs, etc.) were outlined by Jay S, who emphasized that 
these are mandatory and rigorous.


11pm, Meeting is adjourned.

A: Congressional Liason Officer -
We need someone who is willing to be the point man for interactions
with members of Congress.  This would entail answering questions that
the members might have about our orgainzation, and to develop personal
relationships with Congressional Staff memebers.


B: Writer -
To edit the Minutes of the meetings and publish them on  
This is an ongoing task which needs to be filled monthly.

Rachel Writer

C: Whip -
This individual will be the lynch pin to organization communications in
mobilizing our group for protests, meetings, and lobbying calls.


D: Spin Doctor -
This individual will write our month press releases.


E: Researcher -
This individual with research economic allies which we might approach 
for funding and/or political alliances.  They need to start by compiling
a list of potential commerical organizations which are sympathetic to 
the DMCA.