Why Do DMCA Supporters Want To Rewrite Ed Felten's History So Badly?
from the this-again? dept
However, supporters of the anti-circumvention rules (read: the recording industry and their friends) have been working overtime to rewrite history and turn the Felten case into something entirely different. At the CATO copyright conference back in April, one of the speakers from the Progress and Freedom Foundation dismissed the worries over the Felten case, noting that it had a "happy ending." Felten promptly hit back at that claim, noting that it was "happy in the same way one is happy to recover from food poisoning." Either way, that misses the point. No matter what the ending was, the overall impact clearly is going to make researchers think twice about the research they do. If there's even the threat that the RIAA might sue them, it's going to make them go in a different direction.
Tim Lee is now pointing to yet another attempt by DMCA supporters to rewrite history with regards to Prof. Felten. In this case, Lee Hollar claims that Felten took the case to court after the RIAA backed off and did so to opportunistically try to strike down a DMCA law he didn't like. This is flat out false and does Felten a huge disservice. His lawsuit was filed beforehand, and was much more focused on allowing his paper to be presented. The effort to knock out the DMCA was in reaction to its use to chill potential research. The reason he tried to keep the case going afterwards was to help prevent those chilling effects for others (and for his own future research). Hollar's article also has numerous other misleading statements. He spends a lot of time on the totally bogus argument that we can't change the DMCA since it would violate international treaties (treaties which the US helped make) and also cites the small number of anti-circumvention cease-and-desist letters that have gone out. That, of course, is the wrong thing to look at. The chilling effects come much earlier, such that the research isn't even done. The cease-and-desists only come after the research is done and preparing to be published. It appears, though, that DMCA supporters really don't like the Felten example, and are working hard to rewrite history in their favor.