Weaken DMCA, not extend it! (April 25, 2006)

Americans should not extend the copyright protections of the DMCA. Leaving aside philosophy for a moment, just consider a couple of practical problems:

  1. All computers are copying devices. On a computer, it is actually easier for the machine to copy content than to view it. Therefore, any legislation that targets copying devices, essentially targets computers in general. Everyone becomes guilty.
  2. We have reached the absurd position where, for many people, it is against the law to play their own DVD's on their own DVD players. This is a basic sort of fair use that a free country should allow.

More philosophically, we should not be surprised to see the march of progress render some industries different or even non-existent. Automobiles have replaced horses and carriages, and that is perfectly normal. We should not legislate horse and carriages back into economic relevance, and nor should we clamp down on private computing just so that content providers can avoid change. Fighting progress is no reason to give up our freedom.

For more information, go visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Particularly interesting to me is their enumeration of fair use rights that are under threat by DMCA. We need less of this, not more.

Lex Spoon