Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kindling Copyight Controversy

The L.A. Times, which is hardly an anti-copyright publication, has a good editorial today that comes down against the Authors Guild position and Amazon's "capitulation."

It concludes:
Innovators such as Amazon are and should be free to create devices that help consumers exploit all of the rights they obtain when they purchase books and other copyrighted material. And by the way, Authors Guild: Amazon sells e-books. The Kindle makes those products more appealing to consumers, which makes them more valuable to authors and publishers. If authors hope to compete in the digital era, they need the e-book market to succeed. Stripping features from the Kindle 2 won't help.
The real issue here is that the Authors Guild is forcing Amazon, which is not exactly a weakling, NOT to innovate and to deny users' rights. The Authors Guild argument is based upon specious legal arguments for rights that do not exist. Amazon caved for its own business reasons.

This is yet another example of users' rights being blocked off by TPM and DRM, imposed for "business" and not legal reasons. That's why its very difficult for most non techie people to snip out portions of DVDs for perfectly legal purposes - such as research or criticism.

If antitrust enforcers ever awake from their long sleep filled with dreams that IP owners rarely if ever do more than merely enforce their IP rights, things might get better before they get worse. In any event, Canada must consider legislation that expressly enables the circumvention for legal purposes of DRM and TPM locks.

Otherwise, we will sooner rather than later live in a world of perpetual copyright, with no effective fair use/dealing rights and no ability to copy insubstantial portions of works. These are users rights that have been enjoyed since the earliest days of technoloy. New legislation should guarantee these rights - not guarantee their elimination, as Bill C-61 would have done.


No comments:

Post a Comment