just put your guard dog to sleep, disabled your security system
and "circumvented" your front door lock. Its okay,
because Im not here for any criminal purpose. I just wanted
to come in and read your books and play your CDs and
watch your television. I would pay for my own, but that would
be inconvenient and expensive. You go back to bed, now. Ill
close up when I leave.
that scenario at all akin to what you are suggesting become law
for millions of Internet users who, as the Napster case so adequately
demonstrated, only want to engage in some academic research and
"share" fair use rights with all who have a modem?
not altogether sure of the purpose of your "Reaffirmation of
Fair Use Rights" speech, but it appears that you and other
members of Congress want to establish the Internet as a new entitlement
program. Every time we read one of these missives, we get the distinct
impression that someones intellectual property is going to
be worth less.
are First Amendment purists, and we support legitimate fair use
principles. We think academic freedom is necessary and libraries
are vital. But we also support free market principles and the ability
to protect intellectual property. We grow increasingly concerned
that the legitimate concepts of free speech, fair use and academic
freedom are being corrupted as a justification for mischief and
mayhem. Thus diminished, they will be far more difficult to defend.
technology and the Internet, while truly wondrous in their potential,
are justifiably terrifying to owners of intellectual property who
could be devastated by unauthorized copying. We doubt that much
fair use research will be applied to "The Mummy Returns,"
but we can guarantee the results of unprotected pure digital transmission.
do not doubt the intent of your speech, nor the need to frequently
revisit issues arising from developing technology. But some of your
premises are highly speculative, more of your analogies are false,
and all of your six principles are fraught with peril.
the recent case involving the Princeton-led research team instructs,
even the latest attempts at effective "watermarking" can
be decoded. Furthermore, the contretemps over that activity is,
shall we say, a bit too pungent to provide comfort in the arena
of academic research.
dilemma for all who stand to lose is that there simply are no codes
that cannot be cracked. Before you suggest that CDs be stored in
Internet "lockers" for the convenience of consumers, perhaps
you would consider putting all of your personal, private papers
in one and letting those Princeton guys have a go at your stuff.
is premature to address all of our concerns about your speech, some
of which can be better enunciated by technology authorities. Suffice
it to say that as it stands we would register significant opposition
should it become draft legislation. We hope you will think more
about it, including whether such tenets as consumer "convenience"
and "reasonable expectations" for time shifting truly
constitute a proper role of Congress. As Judge Newman, of the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals, asked earlier this month, "Have we
ever said that you not only get to make fair use, but you get to
make it in the most technologically modern way?"
Center for Individual Freedom is a non-partisan, non-profit organization
with the mission to examine and focus public, legislative and judicial
attention on individual freedoms and individual rights guaranteed
by the U.S. Constitution. Within that mission lies our commitment
to the fundamental rights of intellectual property owners. We believe,
as the courts have long held, that copyright is a vital "engine
of free expression."