[linux-elitists] More on town meeting and DMCA reform

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Sat Jun 28 22:37:50 PDT 2003

Some of you showed up for the Anna Eshoo town meeting today, which
is good.  For those of you who didn't, mmm, pancakes taste extra
good when you work up an appetite doing something for _freedom_.

Rep. Eshoo said she thinks she's already a cosponsor of the Lofgren bill
(reintroduced as the BALANCE Act, HR 1066

not the Boucher bill, the DMCRA, H.R. 107.

However she is not yet listed as a cosponsor of either on thomas.
I plan to follow up on this issue with her.  The rest of you write
letters, too, if you're in the 14th district, or at least fill out
the web form.


Rep. Eshoo is not just paying attention to DMCA reform because I
am some big cheese who people pay attention to.  This is working
because she's getting enough letters from enough people.  So keep
it up.  Feel free to borrow from my letters, if you can't think of
anything to write, though.

Richard Stallman told me earlier this year that he thinks the
Lofgren bill has a flaw in that it only allows circumvention
devices to do what the official player won't -- "Only if a
copyright owner fails to make a solution publicly available,
can a lawful consumer circumvent technological protections."
(http://www.house.gov/lofgren/news/2002/021002_detail.htm)  So this
could be interpreted to mean that if there's a proprietary player
that provides the functionality you want, you can't write a free one.

Usually when people argue with Richard it's because they're two
steps behind him in reasoning through the consequences of something.
So I'm inclined to follow his recommendation of the Boucher bill
over the Lofgren one, even though the Lofgren bill says:

   any other provision in this title, a person who lawfully obtains
   a copy or phonorecord of a work, or who lawfully receives a
   transmission of a work, may circumvent a technological measure
   that effectively controls access to the work or protects a right
   of the copyright holder under this title if--

       `(A) such act is necessary to make a noninfringing
       use of the work under this title; and

       `(B) the copyright owner fails to make
       publicly available the necessary means to
       make such noninfringing use without
       additional cost or burden to such person.


and I don't see why having to run a proprietary program doesn't
impose a "burden" on the user in the form of license compliance
and keeping old versions of libraries around just to run Digital
Rights Mangler 0.1 Beta.  But why risk it?

At any rate, Rep. Eshoo hasn't yet sponsored either (unless
webmaster@thomas is just late adding her name to 1066) so I will
ask her to consider 107.

By the way, one more great line from the Lofgren page above:

    [A]n individual [should] not be able to circumvent in order
    to gain unauthorized access to a work, but should be able
    to do so in order to make fair use of a work which he or
    she has acquired lawfully.  House Report 105-551, Part I,
    Section-by-Section Analysis of section 1201(a)(1).

I highly recommend the "town hall meeting" process to those of
you in other jurisdictions in the USA, and would encourage you to
declare yourself the local DMCA Reform Advocate for your area,
"adopt" your own Representative, write letters, and show up and
ask questions about DMCA reform.  The time investment is small,
and freedom is good.

If I see one more free software freak arguing about the DMCA with an
irrelevant, half-literate Internet wanker on a message board when
it costs no more in time and carpal tunnel damage to communicate
with Congress, there will be trouble.

Off to write my follow-up letter to Rep. Eshoo now.

Don Marti                Reform copyright law -- return abandoned works
http://zgp.org/~dmarti   to the public domain after 50 years:
dmarti@zgp.org           http://www.PetitionOnline.com/eldred/petition.html

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