[svlug] Re: [nylug-talk] Bunch of Cuckoo's FoilingNapsterUsers??
Jeffrey B. Siegal
jbs at quiotix.com
Sun Aug 20 16:34:02 PDT 2000
Ruben I Safir wrote:
> Napstar is a traditional corparation guilty of traditional
> copyright infringment.
It is nothing of the sort. A traditional case of commercial copyright
infringement involves a factory which manufactures and sells unauthorized CDs,
etc. Regardless of whether or not you believe it is a good thing, Napster is
nothing like this.
Napster is simply a technology for sharing audio files. Nothing more, nothing
less. The audio files might be copyrighted music, or they might be
uncopyrighted music (or copyrighted music with permission), they might be my
daughter's piano lessons, or they might be Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandella or
Richard Stallman giving a speech.
Napster happens to be designed to share audio files, but similar systems also
share text, computer programs, images, video, etc. (Even Napster can do this
using a hack called Wrapster which makes the files look like mp3s.) The issues
are identical. An attack against the right of Napster, Inc. to create a system
for sharing audio files is an attack against the right of anyone to create a
system for sharing of *any* files.
I would agree with your statement that the DeCSS case and Napster case are very
different, in terms of legal analysis. However, the are *very similar* in that
they represent examples of a copyright oligopoly so intent on suppressing
threats to their control that they are willing to ignore the limits on their
power set both by the law and by good sense.
Linux and open source generally are similarly threatened, because computers and
networks are, by their nature, highly efficient copying machines. The copyright
industry would like to see manditory "rights management" systems everywhere,
which means an having an extraordinary degree of control over the hardware and
software in use. In the world they want to create, there will be no room for
being able to modify source code because that can easily be used to circumvent
"rights management" and even viewing source code will be viewed as a threat to
their security-by-obscurity (i.e. "trade secrets").
It is impossible for people to be rationally in favor of open source and not be
opposed to the actions of the copyright industry in both the DeCSS and Napster
cases, assuming they understand the technology and the issues well enough.
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