Politicians Who Think Fair Use = Theft

from the scary-stuff dept

Earlier today we talked about Rep. Cliff Stearns’ comments concerning copy protection, which suggested he didn’t have a very good grasp on technology. However, at the same hearing, it seems like Stearns’ comments were the least worrisome. The hearing itself was about the potential to make some changes to the DMCA along the lines of Rep. Rick Boucher’s views guaranteeing fair use provisions. However, to hear some of our elected representatives speak, you’d think that fair use was a dangerous thing. Rep. Mary Bono, of the famed Bono Copyright Extension Act, is quoted as saying that the entertainment industry will stay out of the digital world “if the federal government decides their intellectual property is free for the taking under the ‘fair use’ doctrine.” This shows a huge misunderstanding of fair use, intellectual property and free markets. As we’ve said before, it’s time to call this bluff. If the entertainment companies don’t want to go digital, that’s their problem — because plenty of people will, and new companies will show up with new business models that meet people’s needs. Also, “fair use” isn’t about “intellectual property being free” at all — and Bono is clearly being misleading in her statement. Fair use is clearly limited. The other scary statement comes from Rep. Marsha Blackburn saying that such changes making fair use clearer, “codifies something that condones theft.” This shows a misunderstanding of the law, which you would think she should know about. As we’ve pointed out before, copyright infringement is very much illegal, but even the Supreme Court says it’s not theft. So, is there any hope at all when the politicians debating this issue don’t seem to know much about what they’re actually creating laws about?


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Comments on “Politicians Who Think Fair Use = Theft”

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8 Comments
Dennis says:

Fair Use MisInterpretations

If you follow the supposed logic of some of these folks – they would try to force us to only play CDs on the one player we used immediately after cracking the wrapper. Ditto DVDs etc. How’s that fair use?
There seems to be either a decided concentration of stupidity on the part of these politicians OR they are parroting special scripts from their RIAA amd MPAA masters.
Definition of an honest politician: one who STAYS bought!

Jimmy Bear (user link) says:

Without fair use...

Without fair use, lots of music from the 50s and 60 would never have happened.

The Mamas and the Papas would listen to another band (like Yardbirds or someone) and hear a tambourine beat based on the clave beat, and then put it in their tune. Sometimes the little beat or musical sound would be the real hook of the tune.

Musicians have been integrating pieces of others’ works as long as there has been music. The same is true for visual and performance arts.

Andy Warhol, anyone?

Etchy says:

Idea time!

Why doesn’t the RIAA and MPAA simply make a new machine that will only play RIAA and MPAA movies, perhaps on a disc that cannot be mounted by a computer, and stop releasing standard DVDs?

There wouldn’t be any loss on their part, since they don’t think we should be using computers to play their DVDs anyway.

Oh wait, that would require innovation, forgot.

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