New Yorkers For Fair Use

© Copyright for the Digital Millennium

Wendy Seltzer: Harvard graduate lawyer and founder 
of the Open Law Initiative

Noah Sussman - Senior web designer for Deltathree

Sean Aurita

Joe Katz

Forest M*rs

Vagn Scott - Regular NYLUG member and co-leader 
of the Free-Dmitryanti-adobe protests

L O - Regular NYLUG member, founder of GNUBBIES,
graduate of NYU, Japanese translator

JoeAnn Cripps - Regular NYLUG member

Seth Johnson

Ruben Sair - Regular NYLUG member, 
founder of
CEO of Brooklyn Linux Solutions


Ruben Safir presided over the meeting until the issue of
officers and leadership can be decided upon.

The meeting was called for a 7:30PM but came underway at
around 8:00 PM.

Introductions were made, and each attendee was asked what
they thought was an apropriate means to lobby for
the defeat of the DMCA.

The following is a summary of the initial comments by
attending members:

Wendy Seltzer -
We need to explain the problem to people and its effect on 
the libraries and public culture.  Wendy noted that she feels 
that a repeal of the DMCA is very unlikely, and that she has
more faith in the courts to disembowl the statute.

Noah Sussman-
Agrees with Wendy.  He adds that the arguments need to be 
simplified.  They need to be done in 3 paragraphes or less.

Sean Aurita -
We need to get help from EFF, and other organizations
currently working on similar issues.

Forest M*ars -
Idenfity commercial interests that are opposed DMCA in order
to mobilize broad support for its repeal.

Joe Katz -
The First Amendment is the most important aspect of the DMCA's
violations.  Computer code is speech and needs complete freedom. 
Without this, large powerful corporations and government will 
control all speech.  He wants to oppose the DMCA in terms of 
the first amendment and he sees this as the key to opposition.

Ruben asked Wendy how the Southern District Court ruled on 
computer code as speech argument in the DeCSS case.

Wendy explained that in the DeCSS case Judge Kaplan said that 
while computer code is speech, when it's functional and can be 
used for a purpose other than pure expression, then the speech 
can be curbed.

Vagn Scott -
Raising the profile of the issue is very important and he 
suggests a degree of street theater.  He emphasised that the 
public needs to know who we are, and we need a constant public 
presence.  Press release memos need to be developed. Repeat 
the same information over and over again, and then check for
credibility, do metrics, reevaluate tactics and pamphlets for 

L O-
L has several specific ideas and a complex idea on how we can 
be effective.  It will take some time for her to fully explain 
it, and Ruben felt the need to shorten her presentation from
what was needed to do a full explanation of her idea.  He owes 
her some time on the floor.  However, the essential details of 
her presentation include:

1) Lobbying - Many groups are lobbying on seperate issues, and 
we should try to be the technology wing of these groups: such 
as the American Library Association, etc.

2) We want to start tying things under an umbrella tecnhical 
spokesperson.  Expand our circle of people and contacts.

JoeAnn Cripps-
Money needs to be raised to buy advertising.  We should see 
what is possible with public service anouncements, postings..
and a possible weekly comics strip to help push the agenda.

Seth Johnson -
Seth started Information Producers Initiative to try to 
encourage the people to become producers of information, 
intellectual works, and culture.  He sees this as dovetailing 
with the Anti-DMCA Lobby. Public interest is that we all 
become producers, instead of consumers.  The DMCA encourages
us to become consumers.

In writing these minutes, I would add to this that I have 
previously stated that the difference between a consumer and 
a citizen is "Fair Use".

Ruben -
When Ruben begins speaking the meeting momentarily breaks 
down.  Ruben states that the purpose of the meeting is to focus 
on the practical steps needed to repeal the DMCA or to 
legislatively enhance Fair Use.

The group has trouble agreeing if we are organizing for 
lobbying.  This puzzles Ruben.  Joe Katz disagrees with an 
agenda focused on Fair Use and sees only a possible Free 
Speech issue.  Ruben reitierates that the reason for the 
meeting is to promote a legislative agenda, and explains that
if members are not present to help evolve a practical lobby 
with a legislative agenda to weaken the DMCA, then they are at 
the wrong meeting.

The causes a varied amount of posturing amoung people at the 
table.  Order is restored and Wendy is asked what she thinks is 
obtainable goals in defeating the DMCA.

Wendy does not think repeal the DMCA is an obtainable goal. 
She points out that other groups exist which prove that either
the goal is not possible or that they are not working on this 

L responds that this is why it is necessary to find allies in 
these other groups, especially the libraries.  The libraries 
are trying to carve out protections for libraries, and other 
groups for their focus, but we need to create an umbrella.

Ruben points out that the Home Recording group has had various 
victories in their lobbying efforts, including some clauses 
being added into the DMCA, especially the Fair Use clause 
(which is being ignored by the courts).

Ruben now throws the following question out to the group:

What practical steps and arguments can we make which would 
convince Congressmen in our area that it is in the best 
interest of their constituents to oppose the DMCA?

Wendy reminds the group that the Senate passed the DMCA 
something like 90 to 1.  Ruben reminds Wendy, that while this 
is true, Ashcroft, one of the bills sponsers, clearly thought
he was passing a bill with stronger Fair Use protections.

We then had a moment debating if Napster was good or bad for 
our cause.  Happily this was brief.

We decided that the organization should adopt the name New 
Yorkers for Fair Use.

We plan to start outreach to Congressman Boucher.

We are going to try to align organziations which have 
financial reasons for opposition to the DMCA.  Amoung possible 
groups are newspapers, libraies, software developers, ISP's.

We need to release monthly new releases and the protests need 
weekly material for handbills.

The group generally agreed we need to focus on freeing Dmitry.  
Ruben asked, what do we do if he's released this week?