May 26, 2024

Another reason for reforming the DMCA

I’ll be signing off my guest-blog stint at Freedom to Tinker now. (Thanks for your hospitality, Prof. Felten.)

Before I go, I wanted to point you to a chapter excerpt from “Darknet” I just posted here It tells the story of how the vice president of Intel Corp. violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) without realizing it — by making a home movie of his son playing Pop Warner football and incorporating snippets of a Hollywood DVD.

As the VP, Donald S. Whiteside, told a Congressional delegation:

“This is precisely the kind of exciting consumer creativity that should be enabled. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Should I have to go clear rights to use ten seconds from Rudy in my son’s video, or does it fall under fair use? Should I have to pay pennies for every second of a snippet? I don’t know. But I do know that we have to figure out a way for consumers to do something creative without breaking the law.

“To me, this episode was a great way to frame the question: Should copyright law permit this or not? Should the DMCA criminalize this sort of thing? Or should the creative community, high-tech community, and lawmakers get together to try to stimulate this kind of innovative behavior?”

Well put.

— J.D. Lasica


  1. James Donahue says

    That should constitute fair use. If you copy a clip of a movie for fun purposes, as long as you don’t infringe on copyright (which is making copies of your movies and selling them, sharing them over the web, or making copies of rented material). I believe that the DMCA is a communist idea for the hollywood industry to fight piracy. There are other ways to fight piracy, and better security measures need to be inplaced. We need to put piracy protections on machines, not on disks containing data.

    Here’s how it goes, if you put your license on your machine, you are allowed to copy a movie for backup or personal purposes, such as “putting that 10-second clip of that video” in your brother’s picture. But if there’s copy protection there, I can’t do it, because there are laws which not allow you to bypass the security.

    This goes to video games as well. Our things don’t last forever, and I know you cherish your loved collections. The passing of H.R. 1201 DMCRA would enable us to use our media more flexibility. Not only that, this would be benificial to the electronic hardware industry, schools, libraries, and the future.

    If I can’t bypass the protection to make backup or personal copies of my cherished collection by law, than I tell you this about the DMCA:

    It’s unfair for you,
    it’s unfair for the tech industry,
    it’s unfair for the schools, because this limits the way we can educate,
    it’s unfair for the libraries, because this will lead to lay-offs and job cuts,
    it’s immoral,
    it’s unconstitutional,
    and it hurts our lives.

    And the RIAA and the MPAA wants to babby and lobby and they want to cry to us that piracy is costing this, costing that, costing this…,

    well, I have something to say. We, as consumers, will lash out at them saying: “Well, if I can’t play this on new players, than not only our freedom is going away, our value of our treasured album collection and our movies is…gone…(sniff).

    And with future laws, I may not be allowed to copy my familiy’s cherished vinyl collection. And if I can’t copy these copy protected CDs in the future, these CDs won’t have any value in them.”

    So, copyright owners have rules of law them selves. They need to realize that there is a rule of law. They can do what they want to do to present our albums, but the law’s the law. They need to bear the burdon that we have the rights to, once we buy the product, we have the rights to do what ever we want to keep the value of that cherished beloved album. And if I put that CD without the copy protection over the next machine (it’s actually a real origional CD), and it rejects it, saying that it’s a pirate, boy I am going to scream at them. I have MP3s on my computers that I copied from my CDs to be used on my iPod. Some of these MP3s were altered to my listening experience. and if I encountered anti-theft technology that kicks those MP3s out of there (some that I have enhanced), than there will be a nasty lawsuit, because of all the work I’ve done enhancing my music ripped from the CDs for my listening pleasure.

    And if I can’t put my music in my game system (i.e. I bought that RAP CD so that I can implement that song to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game), boy how mad I will be, and I won’t ever buy any more media until they act up and listen to our complaints.

    And the nature’s law is the nature’s law. The company can do what they want, but I want freedom. Putting such restrictions, such as not being able to copy my music to such devices, or not being able to copy my music to a new format should be unamerican, immoral, and unconstitutional. The historical balance in the copyright-consumers should be protected at all costs, so that new innovations can be allowed.

    I hope that the DMCRA passes, and I hope it goes through a swift process. I hope that they will take different measures so that they could add security without wreaking havoc on our freedom to use our music, games, and movies.