[linux-elitists] What to do about RIAA?

Ruben I Safir - Brooklyn Linux Solutions CEO ruben@mrbrklyn.com
Sun Feb 25 17:07:28 PST 2001

Hello Deirdre:

After rerading your message, I feel that some things should be pointed
out to help relieve your feelings of conflict.  Some of your core 
assumptions leading to feelings of conflict can be re-assessed.

> 1) I don't believe RIAA has an inherent right to make a living;

This is granted, especially in light of the fact that the RIAA is not
even a person.  And even if they have some quasi-moral right to "make a
which clearly they do not...it doesn't have to be in a business which controls
the access of cultural artificats through publically licensed monopolies.

They are welcome to go into the ice cream business....

> 2) I do feel that a lot of the contracts in the music industry are unfair;

Which is an excellent point.  The contracts are more than unfair.  The
contracts are largely exploitative and abusive to the creaters of 
cultural artificats.  Contracts which are abusive can be also illegal
under the law.  Contracts in which the two parties are not equal partners
in agreement have been thrown out of court, and SHOULD BE.  This general
priniciple has undergone amazing erossion in the last few years and
the our fundemental political freedoms.  We are all increasingly like Pinocheo
being sold into bondage by the circus master in the Disney animation version
(Which BTW is an example of fair use).  We enter into agreements with great
expectations and promises, and end up unpaid, exploited for profits, and
locked behind bars.  Any contract which abuses one partner has to be examined
as to it's validity.

> but:
> 3) I also believe that copyright holders have the absolute right to have
> an interest in how their stuff is distributed.

Have an interest in the distribution of cultural artifacts which they create,
or absolute control.  And are we speaking of the creators or the copyright
holder?  American Copyright never gave creaters exclussive control of 
cultural artifacts.  This a legal truth which has been outlined from Jefferson
through multiple court decisions, through to today.  As the framers of the
Constitution made clear, cultural artifacts can not be 'property' accept as
they exist in the real world as paper or stone.  The idea's expressed recorded
by inventors and artists have always been considered public property.  The
creaters of these works mearly have limited public franchises in the comerce
those cultural artifacts and ideas.  The term intellectual property is
as cultural artifics are owned by the public at large.

Until about 1976, there had been a rightful balance between our guaranteed
constitutional rights, the freedom of speach, the guarantee against illegal 
search and siezure, the security in our property, and the rights of franchise
holders to copyright monopolies. The arguement has been put forth that
changes everything and alters the rightful balance. This in fact can not be
case.  Individual rights are a sacred guarantees of legitimate governments
it's citizens.  Nothing a technology can do can alter an inalienable right such
freedom of speach etc.  If technology makes the distribution of copyrights
so inexpensive and easy, such that it would require government sactioned spying

on the individual, invassion of their home, and the prevention of their use of

legal aquired merchandise (of any kind), then the franchises interests must be
sacrificed for the protection of the citizen....just like it always had.

Anything less is an unacceptable encroachment of the necessary political
which our nation needs to expand it's economic and educational opportunities
are necessary in order to grant each member of our society the ability to

If in 1970 we had passed a law where the New York Times was givin an
powers to protect it's copyright by being allowed to enter any home or
in the United States and seize file cabinets and desks, without warrant, and 
search for NY Times new clippings and quotes in term papers, the public would
outraged.  Even a threat of the Times having to close it's doors and never
print again
unless it received such protections  would not have compelled the governemnt
grant such powers.  In fact, we lost a good number of News Papers over the
every bit as good as the Times, to competition from other news sources like

Yet, we allow this same arguement to pass by with a serious examination with
the DMCA.

The public has never even HEARD of the DMCA of 1998..despite that under this
the entire worlds knowledge base of Dental Medical knolwedge is being lost too
controlled DVD's which are preventing public discourse on important Dental
And the device is seeping into other areas of Human knolwedge until we will
reach the
point where the knowledge needed to cook a hamburger rare will be under
control of copyright holders and available on a limited pay as you go basis.

This is EXACTLY the conditions Jefferson and Madison desperately wanted to
when they made copyright a privilege instead of a right.
Today, we have click wrap licenses which we don't even agree too, and which
clearly be non-binding a few years ago, controlling the legal access to our
as our computers are being designed to allow coperate intrussions of our
though the network connection, and the theft of our property through the same

Needless to say, Linux is being painted as unamerican as everything else in
debate has been turned upside down through Owellian use of language and mind

A hacker trying to make fair use of his media is decribed by the Department of
as a rouge hacker not worthing of protection of freedom of speach...as if the
has a right to make that accessment of who gets free speach and who doesn't!

So I hope I've cleared up some of your conflicted feelings as to this issue.

CD prices and taxes are not the issue... the issue is who is going to protect
the innocent citizen from the unfair intrussion of their personal rights, and
who is going to protect the public interest.

Brooklyn Linux Solutions


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