August 06, 2003

Peter Davies, DMCA, and public domain

John Palfrey nicely closes the blog circle with a post Felten replies to Davies, with thanks to Finkelstein

I have one more, less personal, note on Peter Davies IP paper. The following section seemed odd to me:

There is little UK specific work in this area, but when the US Congress was considering the relevant legislation in that country, the Librarian of Congress was asked to investigate the fears and allegations of the kind I have just set out. After a year studying the issue and asking for examples of the problem, it was reported that it had not been demonstrated that access to public domain information was hampered in the ways alleged. The view was also expressed that fears about controlled access and a pay-per-view regime were "speculative and alarmist" and that contributors to the debate had failed to show any hard evidence of the model in operation.

That's taken from the excerpt of the DMCA 2000 rulemaking. It turns out that the much more interesting full quote is from Siva Vaidyanathan 2000 DMCA testimony:

Yes, my fears are speculative and alarmist. But they are not outlandish nor inconceivable. Not every media company is as harmless as a mouse. Not every government is invested in the free flow of ideas and information.


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act grants complete power to allow or deny access to a work with the producer or publisher of that work. The producer may prohibit access for those users who might have hostile intentions toward the work. This power could exclude critics and scholars. Most likely it would exclude parodists and satirists as well.

The anticircumvention provision shifts the burden of negotiating fair use from the user, and the courts in the case of likely infringement, to the producer. The producer has no incentive to grant access to any user who might exploit the work for fair use -- including scholarship, teaching, commentary or parody. Under this regime, a user must agree to terms of contract with a monopolistic provider before gaining access. One must apply to read, listen or watch.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in dmca | on August 06, 2003 11:58 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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