On the rec.arts.tv newsgroup there is an ongoing spirited debate about
the rights of copyright holders vs. those who feel they have a "right"
to download copyrighted works for free from the Internet.
I do believe the property rights granted by a copyright--which is
explicitly provided for in the US Constitution--are very important. I
do not think it is right for people to download such works for free.
That is stealing. I am no fan of "greedy corporations", but they do
have very legitimate ownership rights.
On the other hand, the US Constitution provides that copyrights are to
last only a "limited" time. Recent changes in the law have extended
this limit. (I don't know exactly the terms). In one sense, I can
understand this because of the enormous cost and risk to create modern
However, I am concerned about industry controls as mentioned above
because they may intefere with my legal rights as a consumer. I have
a DVD/VCR machine, but it won't let me make a VHS copy from a DVD.
The law says I can make a backup copy yet I am denied the means to do
so. Considering I take CDs in my car, there's a chance they'll get
damaged or lost and I should be able to protect myself with a copy.
I don't want future electronic equipment to be so "tight" that it
adversely impacts my freedom to use it as I please.
I also am a big believer in "fair use" and am afraid the industry may
tighten up on that.
[public replies, please]
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I strongly believe in acknowledging the
copyright holders and their work. I also strongly believe in making
liberal 'fair use' of material as I wish. But I am also old enough to
remember -- and unwilling to forget, as Hollywood and the music
industry wishes I would do -- when the _intent_ of the internet was a
'share and share alike medium'. People developed whatever, their art,
their writing, their thoughts, and put them on the net for anyone who
could benefit from what they had done. It _still_ is that way over
much or most of the net. Click on a link, or go FTP to some site, see
what you need and take it. I've a quarter century of files on line
here for people to use; just help yourself, and I will do the same
with yours. But I do not forget where yours came from, and I hope
you do not forget where mine came from.
But then, in the middle 1990's, along come the latest interlopers into
our village, the music and video producers. _They_ seem to feel the
rules should be different for them. _They_ feel we all have to play by
their rules. We were here a long time prior, and had our own informal
rules to play by; _they_ say forget all those rules, our rules will
now apply. And _they_ have the money and the mouthpieces (who by and
large gobble up all the money) to get their way. _They_ love the idea
of scattering their stuff all over the sidewalk and public way, to
make it easy for the users they favor to get the stuff they want; but
the rest of us had better not get into their stuff without their
permission. Our stuff is all out there also, to make it easy for other
users to find what they need, but that's not what the movie and music
people have in mind. We were here long before them; _they_ should play
by our rules or find somewhere else to play. But like bullies
everywhere, they do not intend to be moved. PAT]