No subject

Fri Jul 8 22:00:42 PDT 2005

First, the recognition that the DMCA is flawed in several
respects and needs to be substantially amended so as to
provide for the *real* needs of intellectual property
protection in the digital era, in conformance with a strict
civil-liberties view of the Constitution, especially a
robust affirmation of traditional Fair Use and reproduction
rights for legitimate personal and archival use, as well as
not impinging upon free inquiry and research.

Such a balance is not only possible, but in my estimation
preferable for the long-term strength, stability and
integrity of the ebook industry. I am not against laws
*like* the DMCA when properly crafted and balanced -- I am
opposed to *the current* DMCA since it is neither,

Second, the recognition that in dealing with the protection
of intellectual property, the actual implementation using
DRM technologies (which may include anti-circumvention
technologies) must equally balance between the needs, wants
and most importantly expectations of the end-users with the
needs and wants of the owners of the intellectual property.

This is good business sense since the end-users *are* our
customers, the source of the revenue stream to build our
ebook future. Until now, the momentum and focus in the ebook
industry has been overwhelmingly skewed in the direction of
content owners with total obliviousness to the end-users and
their expectations, as if they didn't matter (this skewed
view is reflected in several provisions of the present DMCA.)
I assert this lack of balance works against the long-term
interests of content owners (both publishers and authors)
to adequately profit from their content, as I've argued
before in more detail. Publishers especially need to
realize the importance of meeting the expectations of
the book reading public.

Third, and again related to the above, the recognition
that the ebook publishing industry needs assurance that
their intellectual property is reasonably protected by
state-of-the-art technology. This assurance cannot be met
with "security by obscurity", nor with "security by Federal
Marshals". Thus it is important to ebook publishers that
free and independent, peer-reviewed and published scholarly
research and inquiry into digital security technologies be
encouraged and completely unencumbered by the onus of law
or license -- true academic freedom of the highest order.

I believe ebook publishers fully understand the infancy of
present DRM technologies, and thus want to see the prime and
sole focus of technology providers, such as Adobe, in
improving the technology, using the findings of independent
research and even from the "blackhat" crackers as a yardstick
to measure progress and to learn from, and not to focus
efforts and energy in maintaining the obviously inadequate
status-quo via the force of law and government -- an
unintended result of the present DMCA.

I also believe ebook publishers have no illusion that a
perfect DRM can be built which will reduce copyright
infringement to zero while meeting the needs, wants and
expectations of the end-user -- all they want is reasonable
protection that keeps honest people honest (or even
*rewards* people for being honest -- such business models
have yet to be explored) and keeps piracy mostly underground
through diligence and enforcement of well-written and
balanced laws that focus law-enforcement activity on actual
infringing activity, such as an amended DMCA I mention above.

I offer these opinions for constructive reasons. Certainly
many in the various sectors of the ebook industry (the
"stakeholders") will disagree with one or more of the views
expressed above. That's expected, but let's focus on a
constructive dialogue -- I do believe that with a community
effort, possibly as part of an organization dedicated to
effecting that dialogue which includes the *full* spectrum
of stakeholder interests (from the civil libertarians to the
traditional content owners), we will be able to come to a
common and balanced consensus, with a clear vision for the
path we should take, both business-wise and in the legal

At this moment in time, we do not have this clear vision nor
a consensus. Regarding consensus, if Adobe and EFF can come
to one in only a few hours under a pressure-cooker situation,
separated by a quite wide chasm, there is great hope that
all the various stakeholders can do likewise.

Jon Noring

TeBC Administrator
Chairman and co-founder of Windspun Inc.

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