speaking of copyright issues...
Columnist Dan Gilmor interviewed Jack Valenti of the MPAA, and then devoted a follow-up column to trashing Valenti's arguments.
The major media/entertainment companies believe that control of information -- absolute control over how it can be used -- belongs to the owner of the copyright. They insist, moreover, that copyrights should be able to last indefinitely.
[W]hat's legal today is already limited, thanks to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which sailed through Congress at the behest of the entertainment cartel. That law, as more prescient observers warned, turned copyright owners into despotic rulers of their domains. It allowed the entertainment companies (as well as software companies that have been among the chief abusers) to create digital tools to thwart unauthorized use, and then criminalized users' attempts to tamper with the controls even, in many cases, for traditional and highly legitimate purposes.
Here is what it all means. To protect a business model and thwart even the possibility of infringement, the cartel wants technology companies to ask permission before they can innovate. The media giants want to keep information flow centralized, to control the new medium as if it's nothing but a jazzed-up television. Instead of accepting, as they do today, that a certain amount of penny-ante infringement will occur and then going after the major-league pirates, they call every act of infringement -- and some things that aren't infringement at all -- an act of piracy or stealing. Saying it doesn't make it so.
Not content to have total control over copyrighted material, the cartel has persuaded Congress to keep extending copyright terms. The companies that wail about ``stealing'' have themselves hijacked billions of dollars worth of literature, music and film from you and me. The public domain hasn't grown lately, and that's a betrayal of everyone but the tiny group of mega-companies that owns copyrights to old classics.