Copyright Czar: DMCA Is A Good Law

from the for-whom? dept

Marybeth Peters is our nation’s “copyright czar,” and over the years has tended to side with the big copyright firms over and over again, as if they need her special protection. It’s not entirely clear why this big, successful industry needs increasing government protection, rather than learning how to adapt to a changing marketplace on its own (you know, like most other industries), but that’s the way it is. In a recent talk, Peters repeated a familiar stance that the DMCA is a good law because it adds to “copyright owners’ quiver of arrows to defend themselves.” Of course, Peters doesn’t discuss who those arrows are pointed at, and the fact that things like the DMCA have put a big fat bullseye on fair use, the public domain and what the general public can do with content. So why should a government official be supporting policies that help a particular industry at the expense of the very concept of copyright that she’s supposed to be protecting?

The article actually offers one suggestion as to why: Peters is a self-declared “Luddite” and admits that she doesn’t even have a computer at home. In other words, one of the people most responsible for setting up the rules that impact copyright in a new digital age has almost no clue how the market is changing thanks to new technologies. Combine that with putting Hollywood’s own politician in charge of the Congressional committee that deals with copyright laws and guess what you get? It’s certainly not an approach to copyright that acknowledges what’s actually happening in the marketplace. Instead, it’s an approach that focuses on setting up artificial rules and barriers designed to enforce a business model from two decades ago that has long since been made obsolete by new technologies. And, in fact, the end result isn’t even helping the very industry she so thinks needs protecting. Instead, the old record labels that rely on the DMCA are dying, and it’s those who are embracing new business models who are figuring out ways to profit and aren’t screaming over the threat of piracy.

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Comments on “Copyright Czar: DMCA Is A Good Law”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Marybeth Peters

Whoa, easy there. Saying she was “Paid-off” makes it sound so bad, almost corrupt even. Don’t you mean to say that she was “lobbied” or that someone made a campaign donation?

There we go that sounds better, and I feel at ease knowing that that sort of thing doesn’t go on here in America… /sarc

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

Fair use is part of it and needs to be supported, but shouldn’t govt. officials support the laws of the land?

Obviously copyright laws are violated quite often, shouldn’t the govt. move to actually do something about that?

Saying “let the content be free because you can’t stop it anyway” is akin to Bobby Knight saying “if rape is inevitable, sit back and enjoy it”

Not to say that copyright is the same as rape, but hopefully you get my point.

imatek says:

Re: laws of the land

When the law of the land says that I cant determine how I use the items I purchase, then I would disagree thatthey need supporting. When the person who is the “go to” for recommendations as to changes or charges is not an avid intelligent use of technology, we end up with laws that say throw the baby out with the bath water, like DMCA.

dennis parrott says:

...just follow the $$$$$...

the subject says it all…

you have a Hollywood/Big Media-friendly lawmaker in charge of legislative copyright committees? follow the money. who paid for him? wasn’t us who support fair use, public domain and think that the DMCA is the very incarnation of evil, was it?

got a schmuck in charge of the copyright office who supports citizen-unfriendly rules in her job? who appointed her? who _PAID_ to have her appointed? FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

this garbage got rolling under President No-Zipper-Left-Up, has accelerated under President I-Make-All-My_Buddies-Richer-Than-Ever-While-Letting-Good-Soldiers-Die and people wonder why I could never support that other Clinton…

let’s all face the facts. until we (that is, people with a serious interest reversing these ugly trends) can engage the non-copyright-savvy public in ways that they will understand and then get them to vote differently AND (more importantly) get the money together to fund better candidates who will support “we the people” we might as well just find something else to bump our gums about because right now, the deck is stacked against our side of the argument… these “content owners” are practicing the real golden rule — they have the gold and they are making the rules…

oh you say you want a revolution, well you know, …

JimO says:

Let this set the trend!

I think this is a bold step in the right direction! Let’s make sure we put people who have a fear of flying in charge of the FAA, and how about a pyromaniac in charge of Parks and Recreation… maybe a pacifist hippie in charge of national defense… The last thing I want to hear my surgeon say as I go under: “Oh no, I don’t believe in the modern education system… Pass me that sharp thingy…”

Anon says:


I fantasize about a consumer rebellion. Millions of non-Luddites strapped or clipped with iPods, Bluetooths hooked over their ears, somehow crippling the archaic institution and freeing technology. My mental image resembles the marches of women in France, back before the Revolution, when they’d march for bread with the big ol’ kitchen knives stuck in their belts. And then they’d beat the greedy merchants up. Fun.

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