Dear FCC:
[This version replaces the version posted early 6 December.]
Your goals need to be consonant with the framework of our society.
Progress has made some business models obsolete, and artificially
prolonging them is causing enormous damage, both psychic and material.
Copyright Locks
Possession is in effect consigned to the distributor, further shifting
the calamitous unbalance between the creators of copyrighted material and
large distributors. Some seek to create a ``content industry'', where
misapplication of copyright will underpin a business plan based on ransom
of overly-broad-but-applied-selectively-to-influential-corporations
copyrighted materials, rather than on payment for use or for material
copies of work. That is, a model based on access controls rather than on
rewards for creation.
Bear in mind that the Constitution (Article I, Section 8) grants
Congress the power only to grant copyright to the creator, not to
subsidiary entities. U.S. copyright exists only for the promotion of
progress; any profit to be gained is secondary to that purpose and is
not guaranteeable by the government or society.
Copyright Ownership is transient
All protection schemes must include the capability of copyright
transfer and protect the interests of the future holders of the
copyright. A lock that cannot be lifted on command, or for which the
``key'' cannot be found or administered by outside (proper) parties
fails this test, thus seriously infringing the copyright of the later
holder. If I buy a book or recording, I am buying an object whose
copyright is headed toward public domain.
One of the fundamental properties of books, recordings, broadcast media,
newspapers and other objects upon which expressions of thought are fixed
in a tangible form is that perusal of the object, and usually its
purchase, can be done privately.
No `copyright management' scheme should force either the identification
of the owner (or viewer) or of what contents are being viewed/accessed
except with the explicit, voluntary, revocable, severable consent of an
informed adult.
Any proposed delivery system that can track the identity of the user or
the payer (without the usual legal safeguards), so that a private or
governmental entity can claim to infer interests or predilections without
the consent of the consumer is UNACCEPTABLE. Any ``solution'' that does
not allow parity of access through anonymous means, is UNACCEPTABLE.
Copyright is not a right. Copyright is not a means to acquire
marketing information.
This proposal is best thought about in terms of principle and future
extensions, rather than in terms of some particular device or
Michael E. Smith,
General Manager
On behalf of LXNY - New York's Free Computing Organization
See also the LXNY submission to the FCC on Docket No. 00-67
LXNY submission about copyright DMCA: and at