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June 9, 2005

Rep. Barton Defends Fair Use

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Posted by Jason Schultz

Via Roll Call, an interview with Rep. Joe Barton, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committe:

ROLL CALL: And copyright infringement?

BARTON: Are you talking about fair use?

ROLL CALL: Yes, I'm taking about the ability of people to steal movies,
music, all that stuff. Do you think you've done as much as you can do?

BARTON: Pure copyright infringement is Judiciary and some Energy and
Commerce. I want to protect our creators, the creative talent in this
country, the movie producers and the television producers, and the
musicians. I have great respect. ... I wish I had that talent. I don't, so I
respect those that do. And anything we can do to go against piracy I'm for.
Where I'm a little bit different, I believe that [Rep.] Rick Boucher
[D-Va.]; you buy a video, you buy a CD, you do have the right to make one or
two copies for your own personal use. That's called fair use. And we've
always allowed people, under the older technologies, to make one or two
copies. The problem when you get to the digital technology is that you can
make a thousand perfect copies. So, the Judiciary Committee ... their
solution has been to outlaw the act of copying. So you just can't make any
copies. That's the Motion Picture Association ... that's their position. No
copies. And so Boucher and I's position is, let's find a way to make a few
copies and then that's it - not for commercial purposes, not for resale -
just for your own personal use. And the technology is debatable. Some people
think the technology is there to do that. The CD people are putting that
technology in their CDs. The video people have not yet agreed that they can
do it, although I think they can. So that's an in flux issue.

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


1. one or two copies? on June 12, 2005 9:10 AM writes...

"And we've always allowed people, under the older technologies, to make one or two copies."

Who is the "we" Barton refers to?
And what does he mean by "always allowd"?

If "we" is congress Barton is wrong. The Copyright Act says no such thing, that one or two copies of anything is legal.

"Always allowed" actually means that the law (Copyright Act) as written was absolutely uneforceable without big brother monitoring of all personal activities and monitoring the use given to printers, copiers, blank media, etc.

Rafael Venegas

Permalink to Comment

2. Mike Chrysler on June 12, 2005 3:48 PM writes...

[quote]Fair use makes copyrighted work available to the public as raw material without the need for permission or clearance, so long as such free usage serves the purpose of copyright law, which the U.S. Constitution defines as the promotion of "the Progress of Science and useful Arts" [/quote]
Yes Fair Usage is part of the copyright law.
Amazingly allowing me to quote from a source.

Old technologies. Audio and video
Betamax, VHS, Cassette, Reel to Reel
Printing. All used legally to reproduce
works and sections of works.

Permalink to Comment

3. fair use on June 12, 2005 5:44 PM writes...

"so long as such free usage serves the purpose of copyright law"

Sorry, but but the American Copyright Act says no such thing.

The Copyright Act, in the part that covers fair use, makes no mention that "one or two copies" are allowed as Barton said. Sure, some copying under described situations (church, education, non profit, for research, fractions of a work, etc) are (confusingly) allowed as fair use, but that is very different than saying outright that one or two copies are allowed.

If one or two copies were allowed (per person), as Barton said, then p2p would not be an issue, since for downloaders have no need for more than two copies of the same song or recording and infringement is on a per song basis. Let's see: If one downloads 1,000 songs and all are different and "one or wo copies" are allowed, then there was no infringement if none of the songs was copied more than once, per Barton.

As for uploaders,the persons that makes available files so that others download from their p2p enabled hard disks, these may not be infringers if each downloades copied 1,000 different songs once or twice, because under the Barton (or fair use)theory that one or two copies are allowed for the actual infringer, the downloader.

The argument that copying, wether through p2p or CD burning, should be allowed because it is fair and is thus allowed is a looser.

The best reasons for allowing copying is that it is technically imposiible to stop it (or to enforce the law) or if "we the people" do not want to criminilize copying and "we the people" are sovereign over the interest of a minority of shareholders or the publishing industries, or even legislators, then copying should be made legal as long as the copies are not sold.

The needed rule is simple: To sell or profit from the copying or displaying or performing, you need a license.

Just remember the prohibition.

Rafael Venegas

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