The SSSCA, a copyright fiasco.

I’d read about this proposed law late last year (in Wired), but promptly forgot about it. Tonight, while reading a local rag, I came accross this;
Is annalee crying wolf, or is there real concern for us ordinary folks. What if I want to give away my own original software?
Or yours? :stuck_out_tongue:

There’s definitely cause for concern.

The SSSCA would virtually eliminate ‘fair use’ in the digital realm, but then we already know that.

It would also cripple American technology companies. Our government might be able to force Americans to use devices with sleazy copy protection, but which hard drive will Joe Foreigner buy: a Japanese drive that lets him move files around freely, or an American drive that costs more and won’t store MP3s?

I hope that the public gets hold of this issue and actually grasps how wrong this law would be. Too many already equate MP3s with theft. I have gigs of MP3s that I ripped or downloaded legally. is really a good deal for me.

Eisner really deserves to be villfied for equating fair use with theft. I hope he loses big on this and I hope the Eldred case goes against his desires too.

SSSCA is such a farce. Luckily there is mounting opposition to this joke.

It wouldn’t just affect MP3s, though… millions of Americans use VCRs to record a show at 8:00 and watch it at 10:00, or record a movie off TV to watch it again. Under SSSCA that would be not just impractical (especially with the advent of digital video recorders) but illegal.

I understand that this will be much more far reaching than MP3 control. I am sick of people telling me I am a thief because I have MP3s.

I just heard that Japan and South Korea like the proposed bill a lot. That means more international business for them. Of course: the bill could single-handedly spur Asia’s recovery from their economic depression. Way to go, Senator Hollings.

I was freaking out over this bill when I heard about it. I’m an MP3 fanatic and was incensed that I wouldn’t be able to make copies for my own use. The bill has changed a bit that makes it easier to swallow for me. It has become Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act .

Go to Thomas , which is an excellent pipeline to Congress. Do a search for bill number S.2048.IS

There is a section that reads:

Unless I’m misreading the bill, I get the sense that it is an effort to stimulate digital distrubution and fight piracy.

I am all for the distrubution of content over the internet, but cannot condone piracy. One of the findings was that many content holders are skittish about releasing all their stuff to the digital domain is that people will redistribute it unlawfully. So they’ve been holding back.

Since what I’ve read doesn’t address MP3’s directly, I plan on writing my representatives asking to clarify that CDs are made to be transferrable to MP3 format so that I can make copies for my own use to play on my personal MP3 player, so long as there are measures in place to prevent unlawful REdistribution over the internet.

Unfortunately, **hey you[/], I’m pretty sure that what you’re asking for will [n]not be allowed. Partially because mp3s have got such a bad rap lately, but more because the sponsor of this bill (the RIAA) would no doubt prefer to sell your own music back to you in some format they know they can control. Even with protection of taping off the air (which exists, no doubt, to help this bill stand up to SC examination in the light of the ruling about time-shifting), it doesn’t change the bill much. It will still cripple the industry, barely stop the real pirates, and finally give the deathblow to fair use that I have no doubt your shadier “copyright protection” organizations have been aching for for years.
On the plus side, it might be the boost the Japanese economy needs.

ack. Um, the “B” is missing there.

<Demosthenesian smacks self> Preview, dammit!

Time-shifting is just one aspect of fair use, but it’s the only one protected by that bill.

There are plenty of good, legitimate reasons to make backup copies of your media, such as a 3-year-old at home who likes to put CDs in his mouth or in the microwave. Or to protect your investment in case you (legally) lend that second Command & Conquer disc to your friend and he loses it.

If you aren’t actually buying the information (music or software) when you purchase a CD, you must be buying the right to use it, right? But the record companies only agree with that logic when it suits them - try asking for a replacement copy when your CD gets damaged or lost. Therefore, you must be able to protect your investment by making backup copies.

If this bill passes, do you think the record and software companies will start replacing damaged/lost media for free? Or will they say “Sorry, can’t help you, but we’d be happy to sell you another copy for just $25. Sure you paid $15 for the CD, but these new ZDs with copy protection cost more to make. Don’t worry, the price will go down in a few years, just like CDs! stifled laugh

Any law that requires copy protection, or makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection, only serves to make record/software companies richer at the expense of consumers, unless it guarantees consumers’ rights to make backups for personal use. And to make personal backup copies of those backups. And so on.

I had read only that Disney is the primary sponsor of this bill. Definitely in the same family as the RIAA, but still a minor distinction.

However you feel about the bill, you should write to your representatives, tell them how you feel, why you feel that way, and how you will vote next election based on their decision on the matter.


My position on digital media is artists deserve payment for use of the product they work on. That is what they do for a job. I’m not just talking about the uber-rich Paul McCartneys of the entertainment world but everyone else whose only source of income is the words they write, the music they play, or the images they create.

An up and coming musician can do themselves a lot of good promoting themselves using free digital downloads. Beyond that important part of the picture, how comfortable can they be knowing that people can listen to their songs without paying for it some way.

Yes to digital distribution! No to Piracy!

How do you guys feel about this part of the topic?

I think we could definitely use some copyright reform.

The purpose of patents and copyright is to benefit society by granting a limited monopoly to inventors and authors - “in exchange for giving you exclusive rights to sell your invention for the next 17 years, you have to let everyone else manufacture and sell it after that.”

But as it is now, music and movies produced today won’t enter the public domain until we are all dead. Copyright terms should be closer in length to patent terms: you register, receive a copyright for 15 years, you can renew it for another 5 years, and then your work enters the public domain.

Imagine if patents lasted as long as copyrights do… you could only buy aspirin from one company, and it’d cost $20 a bottle because they’d still have a monopoly. The same would be true of adhesive tape, aerosol cans, light bulbs, Lincoln Logs, smoke alarms, Silly Putty, etc.

A plumber doesn’t get to charge you royalties every time you flush the toilet he installed. A car dealer can’t sue you if you change your own oil instead of taking the car back to the dealer for service. Why should it be different for creators of intellectual property?

Now, I agree that authors should be able to make a profit. But we shouldn’t cut society at large out of the equation. Copyright terms should be much shorter, and the law should guarantee consumers’ rights to make copies for ‘fair use’ purposes: backup, time-shifting, format-shifting, parody, criticism, and education. It should also guarantee consumers’ rights to legally bypass any copy-protection that prevents them from making fair use copies, or using a product they have legally obtained (for example, modifying an American DVD player to play Japanese discs, or decrypting a DVD to play it on your computer).

Well, you see, that’ll be tricky, as I’m Canadian. I could go chat with my local MP, but I doubt he has much sway in Congress. :wink:

I am concerned about this bill, though, because the current Cuba trading case and the DeCSS debacle show that foreign nationals can and will get prosecuted for violating US law. That means that The Rest Of Us are concerned as well.

As for the RIAA thing? The Register had done several bits about how closely the RIAA is tied into this. Although The Register is hardly an authoritative source, it’s a pretty damned logical supposition to make and I’d be pretty hard pressed to come with a reason why the RIAA wouldn’t be intimately involved.

A classic yesbut…

Artists deserve the opportunity to make money on this. (Notice I said “opportunity”… they should have the same right to succeed and fail as anybody else; nobody should be guaranteed a profit, as risk is integral to the concept). They do not, however, deserve the kind of indefinite control of the work, any derivative works, any similar works, etc. that they do now. Copyright law was originally conceived as a way of aiding the public domain; people were keeping too much information secret, and there was a lot of wasteful duplication of effort.

More to the point, artists do not deserve to be forced into work-for-hire arrangements by music corporations. Why musicians put up with that is beyond me: Authors would sooner become journalists, comics was crippled by that for years, and an album is rare the kind of large-scale collaborative effort that, say, a film or television show is. I’d much prefer a copyright scheme that ensured that artists retain their rights and a regulatory scheme that ensured that artists don’t get suckered by the industry the way they do now. Artists also don’t deserve to live in fear of lawsuits whenever they create a song that shares more than five chords with another. Remixing, altering and sampling other works to create new ones is a right that shouldn’t be reserved only for parodists.

Nor do consumers deserve to have their rights as consumers taken away due to corporate fear. If technology makes current copyright law unenforcable, then that is tragic- but not a reason to gut consumers of their rights.

Therein lies the problem. How do we define piracy vs. digital distribution? Is creating a backup piracy, or just distributing it to others? Is creating a derivative work piracy, or an artistic endeavour in its own right? Are bootlegs just another kind of piracy, or a legitimate way of capturing an event that would otherwise be lost for ever? What about emulation? Is emulation piracy? How does money fit into it? Is it only bad, or worse, if people make money off it? Does it even matter?

These questions are tricky and contentious, especially in light of the simple fact, shown by Napster/Morpheus/Kazaa/et al that people don’t respect IP. If the law cannot be enforced, and does not have the support of the people, it is not a law.

(And that stupid term “Intellectual Property” only muddies the waters further)