[free-sklyarov] DMCA misuse hurts consumers and news reporting

Robert A. Knop Jr. rknop at pobox.com
Thu Nov 21 10:09:15 PST 2002

On Thu, Nov 21, 2002 at 10:52:43AM -0500, Richard M. Smith wrote:
> Retailers Wield Copyright Law Against Shopping Sites 
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17253-2002Nov20.html

AAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!  This article contains the capsule description of the DMCA:

   Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams said the company's actions were
   justified, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998
   statute that extends traditional copyright protections to the Internet. 

That is so wrong that it's frightening.

Misconception #1: the Internet had previously been exempt from copyright
law.  Very wrong!  We didn't need a DMCA to make violation of copyright
illegal over the internet.  Violation of copyright is violation of copyright
wherever it happens, and part of reason the DMCA is so damaging is that
there is a popular perception that "new laws were needed for this special

Misconception #2: the DMCA didn't just bring traditional copyright
protections to the internet.  It extended them in the sence of making them
much more than what traditional copyright protections were.  It gave
copyright holders new clubs, and outlawed actions previously legal
(irrespective of whether the Internet is involved or not).


With soundbytes like these in the popular press, the citizens at large will
never understand why some of us get so worked up about the DMCA.

(Everybody has explicit permission to distribute this post anywhere for any


-=-=-= Rob Knop =-= rknop at pobox.com =-= http://www.pobox.com/~rknop =-=-=-
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