[free-sklyarov] adobe DMCA letters

Matthew T. Russotto mrussotto at speakeasy.net
Sun Dec 23 09:11:01 PST 2001

 > I'm not saying this is the *right* status for fonts and typefaces, but 
 > is the current legal status.  (I think that typefaces should have the 
 > legal status as other works of art - whatever that status is - but the
 > Supreme Court has held that since the alphabet is in the public 
domain, a
 > typeface can't be protected.  Obviously, there's no creativity 
 > represented by a Palatino, Poetica, or American Uncial take on the 
 > concept of "A".)

Sarcasm aside, if typefaces or letter forms were copyrightable, every 
work set in them would automatically be a derivative work of those 
typefaces.  You really don't want to go there.

As for the DMCA notification provisions, they're disgusting.  They allow 
a company to force ISPs to take down anything the company wants, with 
essentially no recourse.  The so-called recourses included in the law 
are a joke

1) The company has to swear under the penalty of perjury they aren't 
lying.  Yeah, sure, but who is going to prosecute them if they _are_ 
lying?  No one.  Even if someone does, they claim it was an honest 
mistake and get off scot free.

2) Counternotification.  Almost worthless for several reasons
   a) ISPs are not required to respect them.  Sure, you can sue the ISP 
if they don't, but since you as an individual don't have the massive 
lawyerly resources of Adobe, the ISP might decide to take the safe road 
and ignore counternotifications entirely.

   b) Counternotification involves telling the ISP you'll be willing to 
meet the copyright holder in Federal Court if they'd like.  Essentially 
telling Adobe's lawyers "Go ahead and sue me, you bastards" is not 
something to undertake lightly.  You'd have to find a lawyer of your own 
first.  How many individuals have the resources for that?  I wouldn't 
even know where to find an IP lawyer.

   c) Even if you and your ISP are willing to brave Adobe's lawyers, 
there's an automatic and indefinite gag.  First, there's the delay built 
into the law before your stuff goes back up.  Then, if the copyright 
holder says they are going to sue, the stuff stays down.  Even if they 
never do actually sue.  Neat, eh?

What it comes down to is that there was already a disparity of power in 
that the big copyright holders have money and lawyers and individuals 
don't.  The DMCA made this even worse, by allowing the copyright holders 
to actually apply that power without any cost (such as filing a lawsuit) 
to themselves.

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