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Donna Wentworth
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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August 17, 2004

NYTimes Publishes Anti-INDUCE Op-Ed

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Posted by Jason Schultz

The New York Times has a wonderful Op-Ed on copyright this morning (In-House Advice) praising the recent Congressional Budget Office report on Digital Copyright for its even-handedness and slamming Congress for kowtowing to the RIAA on the INDUCE Act:

Last week the Congressional Budget Office released a new report called "Copyright Issues in Digital Media." It should be essential reading on the Hill. The report upholds exactly the kind of evenhandedness that has been missing in much copyright legislation so far.

"Revisions to copyright law," the report argues, "should be made without regard to the vested interests of particular business and consumer groups."

The real test should be the economic efficiency of the marketplace - finding a way to balance the social benefits of a technology, like videocassettes, against the fears of copyright-owning movie studios.

The best way to accomplish that is to remember that copyright is an instrument "for allocating creative resources," not "an absolute, inviolable set of rights to which either creators or consumers are entitled."

That is not how Congress usually thinks about it. A good example is the so-called Induce Act, now under consideration, which would make it a crime to aid or induce copyright violations like illegal file-sharing.

But the bill is so loosely worded that it could threaten a host of legal information-sharing practices and technologies. That includes everything from the iPod to automatic online translation. Critics claim, with reason, that this overreaching bill would have deeply chilling effects on technological innovation.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Branko Collin on August 17, 2004 11:55 AM writes...

Perhaps the NYT did not particularly like being on Hatch's Hit List. ;-)

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2. Rolo Timassie on August 17, 2004 1:02 PM writes...

It's actually not an op-ed, it's an ed.

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3. Alexander Wehr on August 17, 2004 3:17 PM writes...

"The best way to accomplish that is to remember that copyright is an instrument "for allocating creative resources," not "an absolute, inviolable set of rights to which either creators or consumers are entitled."

Actually, consumers ARE entitled to "inalienable rights", paricularly to govern personal property.

In this case, the CBO report suggests that DRM is the way to go, which violates that inalienable right to personal property.

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