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Google and Microsoft Help To Defend Fair Use 122

Posted by Zonk
from the fighting-the-good-fight-via-proxy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed a complaint this month with the FTC 'alleging that professional sports leagues, Hollywood studios, and book publishers were all using copyright notices that misrepresented the law'. That is, they were aggressively pursuing 'right' that they were not entitled to. Now a group, backed by companies like Oracle, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Sun, and Red Hat, has launched a web site called Defend Fair Use that shows they are serious about making the complaint stick. From the article: 'In contrast to copyright notices that take no account of fair use and claim control over "all accounts and descriptions" of a game, the CCIA offers a different copyright notice of its own. "We recognize that copyright law guarantees that you, as a member of the public, have certain legal rights," it says, "You may copy, distribute, prepare derivative works, reproduce, introduce into an electronic retrieval system, perform, and transmit portions of this publication provided that such use constitutes 'fair use' under copyright law, or is otherwise permitted by applicable law."'"
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Google and Microsoft Help To Defend Fair Use

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  • About... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by netscan (1028690) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @01:51PM (#20414077)
    God damned time
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Hmm, looks like ProtectFairUse.org [archive.org] went away in the tail end of 2005. Last update appears to have been one month after its sponsor, 321 Studios [wikipedia.org], maker of DVD X Copy [wikipedia.org], closed its doors, then disappeared about year later.

      Meanwhile, unsolicited commercial e-mails (spam) to unique addresses given only to 321 Studios have continued.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        Incidentally, I've taken to putting their fair-use text as boilerplate footers on every page of my site in default font size.

        Gee I... hope using that, and a copy of their site logo converted to GIF next to it linked back to their site, is considered by them to be fair use.
    • by quixote9 (999874)
      Seconded! Or, considering that this is /., probably millionthed.
  • Of course.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @01:52PM (#20414093)
    Of course, at least one of those companies is selling/making money from systems that won't allow you to exercise your fair use rights...
    • Re:Of course.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:02PM (#20414213)

      I have the right to print a publicly distributed newspaper; however, I can't do that, because I don't own a printing press or the means to rent the use of one. Just because you have the legal right to do something doesn't mean you have the resources or tools to make good on that right. There is no logical conflict between a company defending a legal right for a customer to do something, while also failing to provide the technical means to exercise that right, or even placing technical hurdles to exercise it.

      Nobody said it would be easy.

      • Re:Of course.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:25PM (#20414551) Homepage Journal
        There is no logical conflict between a company defending a legal right for a customer to do something, while also... placing technical hurdles to exercise it.

        How is that not a conflict? They're countering their own defense of the right. I agree they have no obligation to provide the tools, but they intentionally (actively) cripple the tools they sell to prevent fair use. They spend money creating the hurdle. They also attempt to counter fair use rights in their own software licenses (i.e. legal hurdles on top of technical hurdles). Seems like a logical conflict to me.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Elemenope (905108)

          Not at all. Microsoft undoubtedly realizes that (as some other posters have noted) they themselves may only benefit from the fair use doctrine if it exists, perhaps to wiggle around the GPL for example, hence it must apply to everyone. Thus they would logically act to bring pressure so that the fair use doctrine remains intact.

          However, it is not necessarily in their own best interest to make it easier for you to use their software to engage in activities that would traditionally fall under fair use, becau

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Hence, Microsoft's actions here are, conceivably, entirely consistent with one another.
            Consistent, but hypocritical.

            Consistent in that the actions both lead to more profit.

            Hypocritical in the sense that the rhetoric they use to defend one set of actions contradicts the rhetoric they use to defend the other set of actions.

            Microsoft's action are logically consistent, but their rhetoric is not. (Also known as being a liar.)
        • by coryking (104614)

          They spend money
          Simply put, they don't want to have to spend the money anymore.
      • Re:Of course.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:31PM (#20414617) Homepage Journal
        I'll believe it the day Microsoft includes the above language in Vista's EULA, not before.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I have to wonder what use of software would fall under "fair use" guidelines. Then again, I have to wonder why we treat software as similar to music and literature by placing it under copyright scope in the first place. If software needs a form of IP protection, copyright is the wrong fit, and fair use just makes that all the more evident.

          To the broader topic: That a company is not required to provide for your fair use is established law, true. Of course, that concept predates the DMCA. The DMCA takes
          • Re:Of course.... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday August 30, 2007 @03:00PM (#20414963) Homepage Journal
            I have to wonder what use of software would fall under "fair use" guidelines.

            Educational & backup copies, of course. And of course, derivative works, for stuff that is open source to begin with.

            Then again, I have to wonder why we treat software as similar to music and literature by placing it under copyright scope in the first place. If software needs a form of IP protection, copyright is the wrong fit, and fair use just makes that all the more evident.

            That's strange, I'd argue exactly the opposite- that patents are a wrong fit, as evidenced by the LACK of fair use since software patents have been applied.

            To the broader topic: That a company is not required to provide for your fair use is established law, true. Of course, that concept predates the DMCA. The DMCA takes us out of balance by introducing the infamous anti-circumvention clause. Under this clause, not only must I respect the rights of the copyright holder, so must any technology in which I traffic. Not so with fair use -- I can traffic in technology that tramples the consumer's fair use right (per prior law), but not in technology that might be used to trample the copyright (per the new law).

            Correct. But also, given fair use (as predated the DMCA, which completely trampled fair use) the consumer's right to fair use should give them the ability to say, make an ISO file of any CD they own.

            Most fair-use advocates assume that the best solution to restore balance is to elmiinate the anti-circumvention clause. This returns us to the world of yesterday, where the most technologically capable among us have exercisable fair use rights and the rest of the citizens don't; except that DRM schemes are ever more complex, resulting in an even higher technical barrier to entry into the world of the fair-use "haves".

            True enough, though I'd argue that for the widest form of fair use (multiple copies supplied to a classroom for educational purposes) any reasonably well-funded school should be able to circumvent easily (by using nearly identical hardware, thus defeating the "license keyed to specific hardware" algorithm), and have done so for non-circumvention reasons (for ease of maintenance- every computer in a classroom should have identical and interchangeable parts).

            But there's another way. Keep the anti-circumvention clause, but add a new clause. Make it illegal to traffic in technology that abridges fair use. If it's illegal to make tools that violate one right, make it illegal to create tools that violate either right. Restore balance. And at the same time, give everyone the ability to exercise their fair use rights, regardless of individual technical knowledge.

            Interesting idea that- which would make Windows Genuine Advantage illegal tech....
            • by Pofy (471469)
              >Educational & backup copies, of course.

              Another example is copies needed to actually use the software. Sure, there is such a provision in the US copyright law, but it seems to have a requirement of ownership of a copy of the work which many other countries lack. Cases were one is in a posessio of a copy in legal ways (yet not nessecarilly the owner) should not require special permission.
              • Another example is copies needed to actually use the software. Sure, there is such a provision in the US copyright law, but it seems to have a requirement of ownership of a copy of the work which many other countries lack. Cases were one is in a posessio of a copy in legal ways (yet not nessecarilly the owner) should not require special permission.

                I thought that's what the whole Educational thing was about- when teaching a class in a piece of software, that requires a CD key to run, then it's perfectly l
      • Logical, cynical. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Scrameustache (459504)

        There is no logical conflict between a company defending a legal right for a customer to do something, while also failing to provide the technical means to exercise that right, or even placing technical hurdles to exercise it.

        Yes there is a GIGANTIC logical conflict between defending a right and going out of your way to make it as hard as possible for someone to excercise that right.

        If someone says that they defend my right of way, but place their car in my path so that I cannot proceed, I will not believe their statement, because actions speak louder than words and their deed is incompatible with their words.

        And when a company who has invested their precious money into assuring that only geeks can enact their rights by using t

    • And taking all kinds of flak for the bugs those copy-control systems introduce.

      I'm pretty sure Microsoft is well aware that simplifying their codebase will make it more stable. They just can't do it without stomping on the DMCA and pissing off several licensing authorities (MPEG-LA, AACS-LA, etc.). Thus they have a vested interest in relaxing the restrictions placed upon their system by the assholes in "big media".

      1) Simplify Windows' codebase by removing copy-control shit
      2) ???
      3) Profit!!!

      Even underpants g
    • Re:Of course.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by coryking (104614) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:30PM (#20414609) Homepage Journal

      Of course, at least one of those companies is selling/making money from systems that won't allow you to exercise your fair use rights...
      You think any of them want to do that? You think Microsoft is happy they had to pour a gazillion dollars into some cockeyed DRM scheme dreamed up by coke snorting clowns?

      Microsoft would be pleased as punch if customers could buy hi-def capture cards from Fry's that can plug into any computer and work with MCE. They would be giggling like school girls if a beige-box PC could record hi-def HBO without a set top box like Tivo. Google would be pleased as punch if you downloaded the show from them instead of used the hi-def capture card. Apple wants you to buy the latest "New Kids on the Block" single from their online store. RedHat wants all of the above to work on Linux.

      All these companies are pissed because they cannot get access to the media their customers desire. While it may seem like all these companies, especially Microsoft, "support" DRM schemes, trust me they don't. Would you want to piss away a bunch of your developers time writing in crazy DRM crap that only keeps your company from innovating?
      • by mattgreen (701203) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @04:20PM (#20415955)
        That explanation is REDICULOUS(sic). I have a far more reasonable one, so allow me to elaborate.

        Everyone *KNOWS* that Microsoft enjoys being evil precisely because they are evil! Or, at least, that is what people around here have told me. I have a feeling the people in Redmond drive into work like everyone else, but once they get into work, they start smiling. When they finally start working, they are chuckling to themselves: "Haha, its time to SCREW OVER THE WORLD! I can't wait to subtly break everything we've made, and inconvenience hundreds of thousands of users!" Because evil has this amazing ability to attract other forms of evil, thus allowing it to compound faster than one would expect, evil alliances are formed with alarming regularity: "Hmm, its Thursday, we should find a KKK club to sponsor since its been rather quiet this week." Naturally, everyone drives cool cars around the campus. Bill Gates is known to be able to fly, teleport, and destroy someone with a single thought of the mind. But few actually get close enough to him to observe these things, unfortunately.

        I am sorry that this information is so long in coming. But I am glad I decided to post it on a site that is a beacon of truth, logic, and unbiased opinions.
        • by sankyuu (847178)
          You had me at REDICULOUS(sic).

          No thanks for making me snort my big mac (tm) out of my nose.
      • by dwandy (907337)

        You think Microsoft is happy they had to pour a gazillion dollars into some cockeyed DRM scheme dreamed up by coke snorting clowns?
        Then I guess they should have listened to Cory [dashes.com].
      • "Would you want to piss away a bunch of your developers time writing in crazy DRM crap that only keeps your company from innovating?"

          Are you saying that all this DRM crap is stalling the development of Clippy 2? ;-|

        SB
      • by dannannan (470647)

        Would you want to piss away a bunch of your developers time writing in crazy DRM crap that only keeps your company from innovating?

        If I had a few billion $$$ in the bank but I was short on good ideas... maybe I'd rather keep the developers busy writing crazy DRM crap than innovating for a competitor.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Then why do they do it? There player doesn't need DRM to play a movie or a CD. It just needs to read the stream.
        • by coryking (104614)
          The stream is encrypted and the media industry doesn't want anybody to decrypt it without their blessing. Now. How do you get the blessing of the media industry? You agree to take it in the ass, basically. Microsoft felt they could afford the ass pillage and jumped through the hoops to get MCE blessed. In fact, I'm not sure if a beige-box MCE can do hi-def, let alone blu-ray or hd-dvd. All I know is us Myth/SageTV people are screwed out of hi-def.

          Lets not even start with Google. Google (and netflix,
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        You think any of them want to do that? You think Microsoft is happy they had to pour a gazillion dollars into some cockeyed DRM scheme dreamed up by coke snorting clowns?

        Yes, I think that they are.

        1. as a monopoly OS supplier, they can tell the media companies where to go.

        2. DRM == proprietary lock in. While MS controlls the DRM dominant schemes, they can force people to buy MS products in order to access the content that MS has locked in.

        The problem with your example of buying a hi-def card at Fry'

  • by garnetlion (786722) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @01:53PM (#20414103)
    Google and Microsoft? Going above and beyond the call of "Don't be evil"? Together?

    Wonders never cease. Nice work.
    • by BoberFett (127537) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @01:58PM (#20414175)
      It shouldn't really be surprising. Neither Google nor Microsoft have much of a stake in content creation. What they have in common is creating systems which aggregate and display content. If the NFL had it's way you wouldn't be able talk to your co-workers about the previous nights game. That would definitely get in the way of both companies' business model.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by oatworm (969674)
        Dr. Peter Venkman: This thread is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
        Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
        Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
        Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
        Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
        Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes...
        Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
        Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, Google and Microsoft working toget
      • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:32PM (#20414637) Journal
        If the NFL had it's way you wouldn't be able talk to your co-workers about the previous nights game.

        It seems that major sports leagues are given special legal status in general. For one, they're exempt from antitrust laws. (Not that I like anti-trust laws, but selectively enforcing them can be worse.) For another, they seem to have additional rights to the content of their games beyond what IP law normally grants. Like, if I watch a game and stream my commentary about it so people can listen as they watch with the official broadcast's sounds muted, I'd be shut down in a heartbeat. But if I did the same thing to the e.g. Kasparov/Deep Blue chess match, IBM couldn't stop me if they wanted to.
        • IANAL, but I was under the impression only Baseball is exempted from Sherman Antitrust Act by an explicit act of the Congress. Other leagues don't have the official protection, but might enjoy de-facto protection which they are not really entitled to. But anyway all parts of this posting is for the exclusive benefit of Slash readership only. All other uses are prohibited by me.
        • If the NFL had it's way you wouldn't be able talk to your co-workers about the previous nights game.

          True, and it does tend to Madden(c)(tm) one, doesn't it?

          On a tangent type note, I think Mr. Vicks had the right idea, but instead of dogs he should
          have used lawyers. Likely far more entertaining, just as bloody and who cares what the
          result is...not like you'd get attached, eh?

          I suppose they'll go after EA first...y'know to *coff*ahem*coff* "challenge everything".

          Ok, I'm done with the digs/puns.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kebes (861706)
        Well, it is a bit surprising.

        Neither Google nor Microsoft have much of a stake in content creation.

        Google's entire business is based upon fair use, so they have a stake in defending "reasonable" copying (fair use, indexing, etc.). Microsoft, however, have a business model that relies on people paying for copies of their copyrighted software. For instance, they make money when restrictions force a person to buy multiple copies of software. (E.g. lost your backup copy, it's illegal to download a copy off the

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Only if make money counts as not being evil.

      Google and Microsoft both want to rule the internet search. If you can not store you can not search effectively. If you can not search you can not sell ads.
      Google wants people to upload junk to YouTube and for you to download it along with the ads they put it in.

      I doubt that Microsoft will push the record companies to drop DRM.

      This is just enlightened self interest.
    • by RobBebop (947356)
      Sounds like a Technology Company Superhero Group... Oracle + Microsoft + Red Hat + Google + Sun Microsystems = Fantastic Five [wikipedia.org]?
  • "We recognize that copyright law guarantees that you, as a member of the public, have certain legal rights," it says, "You may copy, distribute, prepare derivative works, reproduce, introduce into an electronic retrieval system, perform, and transmit portions of this publication provided that such use constitutes 'fair use' under copyright law, or is otherwise permitted by applicable law."'"

    IANAL but that sure sounds a lot like "tape recording/ripping movies and putting them on the internet" to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Silver Sloth (770927)
      You might have one or two minor problems persuading a court that "tape recording/ripping movies and putting them on the internet" is fair use
      • Actually, it depends. "Ripping movies and putting them on the internet" is simply format-shifting, which reasonable people consider fair use. "Ripping movies and putting them on the internet... for everyone to access" is distribution, which is a copyright violation. If you were ripping movies and putting them in a secured server that only you had access to, that would be considered fair use.

        Of course, this doesn't take into account that the act of ripping the movies, (at least, from DVD) is a DMCA viol

    • So far the RIAA would object that "... such use constitutes 'fair use' under copyright law, or is otherwise permitted by applicable law."

      So, no luck there.

      Except Microsoft is the 21st Century Enigma. Nothing they do is without sneaky intent.
    • You probably should have used that bold tag for this phrase also, but then your post would contradict what you were trying to say.

      provided that such use constitutes 'fair use' under copyright law, or is otherwise permitted by applicable law."'"

    • by GeckoX (259575)
      Fair use part...ie: It's ok for personal use.
      It is not ok to distribute it via an electronic retrieval system however.

      This actually gets right to the root of the real problem we've been having...RIAA et al have been arguing that ANY copying/storing/ripping etc is illegal, when the law gives us the provision to do whatever the hell we want with them...for our own personal use. Just not distributing them.

      This could go a long ways towards clearing things up and giving us back our legal rights.
      • by BoberFett (127537)
        Yep, it might bring DVD ripping and disc free media servers back into the spotlight. If I recall there was one company who was able to away with it through a loophole in their contract with the DVD consortium, which was promptly sealed. Though that may have changed, I haven't stayed on top of that area. Thanks to DVDDecrypter and AutoGK all my movies are sitting on a server and the DVDs are sitting in a box in the basement.

        And once media servers become widely accepted, maybe we can stop worrying about crap
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          Thanks to DVDDecrypter and AutoGK all my movies are sitting on a server and the DVDs are sitting in a box in the basement.

          I plan to eventually set up such a media server as well, but... I like seeing the DVDs in their packaging. Part of what you're paying for is the artwork on that packaging and the printed inserts (if any). I like having that on display. Having scans and photos on screen isn't the same as being able to pet the head of a Planet of the Apes ape-bust, stare down a Cylon head, or have a DVD box set in the shape of a Police Box.

          So my DVD collection is along three walls of my basement in enough rack space to ho

      • by tc3driver (669596) *
        Don't forget about the DMCA(Digital Millennium Copy-right Act) [wikipedia.org], the one that the RIAA and MPAA are all over like white on rice.
        That same one that made it illegal to copy your own dvd's because of the decryption method that was used.
        While ""Fair Use" has been clearly defined for years(well before the dvd was in the picture), the RIAA, MPAA, and the DMCA have all done their best to squash that movement, god forbid you ever think of copying something you purchased.
        Just to make things worse, they introduce HD
    • by phorm (591458)
      Sounds like it could also be a TIVO, or a local fileserver with rips of DVD's (I know people that have Terabyte storage just for ripping+archiving movies in a convenient manner)
      • /me waves.

        Yeah, terabyte media servers are cheaper and nicer every single day. And so easy to get, too. If you know where to look [chiefvalue.com], a pair of 500GB IDE drives will run you about $200. Throw those in an older computer [dfsdirectsales.com], make sure you've got plenty of cooling in the case, and top with a Linux distro [ubuntu.com] of some kind. For best results with a Windows client PC, get DVD43 [dvd43.com] and the latest Handbrake [m0k.org] to rip your collection. OSX just needs Handbrake, and Linux, I imagine, just needs dvd::rip [exit1.org].
  • It's a trick... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Loosifur (954968) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @01:56PM (#20414135)
    "Self-interest might well be among of their motives, too, as companies like Google and Microsoft are routinely sued over copyright-related issues. Defending fair use might be good for consumers, but it might turn out to be good for business as well." ....get an axe.
    • It's not like they haven't violated copyrights... they just got better attorneys.
    • So wait, you think or expect that companies do things for reasons other than self interest? Beside the fact that their CEO is required to do things in the interests of the company for publicly traded companies, who cares why they're doing it? If their interests align with yours, be glad.
      • by Loosifur (954968)
        Absolutely not, in fact one of the arguments I use against a Libertarian friend of mine in favor of public regulation is that corporations are generally required by the terms of their incorporation to act in the best interests of the shareholders, not of the consumers, employees, or society at large. It was actually an Army of Darkness reference that has apparently been lost on a lot of people... ...damn, and I thought it was pretty funny...
  • This Microsoft + Google alliance reminds me of that episode of He-man, where He-man and Skeletor have to join forces to save Eternia from this interdimensional monster - or when the guys from Dungeons n Dragons have to help Venger defeat Tiamat.

    This is getting sooo interesting! *grabs some popcorn and enjoys the show*
  • by argmanah (616458) * <{moc.oohay} {ta} {hanamgra}> on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:00PM (#20414189)
    It sounds like those entertainment lawyers DCMA'd one too many people. The lawyers start letting the fact that they were able to trample on the little people get to their head and eventually piss off someone big enough and with enough teeth to fight back. When SCO declared they were going to start charging $699 Linux licenses, it was the little guys who were concerned. Then they picked on Novell and IBM and look where they are now: Litigated into oblivion.
  • ZOMG THE IRONY! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:01PM (#20414207) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one finding it ironic that Microsoft is demanding that Fair Use be recognized, while shutting down Autopackager [slashdot.org] and infringing on the right of first sale [blogspot.com], even in cases where the software isn't even opened [applelinks.com]?

    Sorry, I'm just frustrated that I spent thousands on two MSDN subscriptions and have been trying to activate them for a week, and have spent over 115 minutes on the phone, with the last two calls assuring me with 100% certainty that the problem is now resolved, only to discover they are STILL not activated and I have to call them yet AGAIN. GRRRRRRRRR!!! This is why I run Linux for everything except for client projects. Ugh.
    • by Faldgan (13738)
      They are a huge company. It's not a problem of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, it's hand #27FH53 not knowing what hand #9CJ46DH is doing.

      For all of the organizing principles behind this cathedral, disagreements between what one sub-organization wants and what another sub-organization wants are bound to arise.

      The people actually selling product, they want to retain ALL rights. This will allow them to generate more profit with 0 additional expense.

      The people making the media player
    • This is why I run Linux for everything except for client projects.

      Hey! Why screw your clients over?
      • by kimvette (919543)
        Most of them insist on running Windows. Why? Because if it's free, it can't possibly be any good. After all, everyone else runs Windows, right?

        However, I have been able to get a bunch of them to try and switch to OpenOffice from MS Office, and get clients who were previously "pirating" Acrobat Distiller to try a LEGAL free alternative -- PDF Creator.
    • by Eskarel (565631)
      Neither the right of first sale or the autopackager issue are related to fair use. Whether they're morally correct, or even legally correct is really rather immaterial.

      Autopackager seems(as far as I can work out from the generally biased information I've found) to be an issue of distribution rights as opposed to usage rights. Anyone is free to use Microsoft patches, they aren't allowed to set yourself up as a software mirror for them. This is a copyright issue, but it isn't as far as I can see an issue of

  • by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:03PM (#20414237)
    If everything were copyrighted (most things sort of implicitly are), and we upheld MLB's version of Fair Use, then lawyers' motions would be copyrighted and as such could not be discussed by other lawyers or judges. Nobody would be able to talk about anything that had been written down or produced in any way. One could even claim that all speech is a derivative work and we could only use words and letters that hadn't been used in the same combinations anyone has used in the last half century!

    Nobody would be allowed to do anything because they would be sued by people who wouldn't be allowed to sue!

    Now that I think about it, such inability to enforce anything would be like having no copyrights at all. One end of the spectrum is exactly the same as the other. Too bad circles are copyrighted.
  • by t0qer (230538) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:05PM (#20414277) Homepage Journal
    Quick summary...

    Karaoke is about 10 years behind the music industry, we *just* started getting PC based karaoke systems rolling.

    2 karaoke companies have decided that copying a karaoke disc to your PC isn't covered under fair use laws. Below are their press statements.

    ANTI-PIRACY CAMPAIGN STATEMENT 12/28/06

    Stellar Records in a collaborative effort with some of its clients,
    customers, law enforcement agencies, and in some cases even its competitors has
    stepped up its campaign against piracy. As part of this campaign, Stellar will be
    directing much of its attention at the venue level and soon will be taking
    steps to notify suspected venues as to the potential risks and hazards
    involved when using unauthorized copies of Stellar Records products.

    Stellar Records, its customers, clients as well as several of its legitimate
    competitors have been damaged considerably through the illegal copying and
    distribution of their products, as well as other acts of piracy, some of which
    pertain to the violation of trademarks that are also the property of
    Stellar Records.

    Prior to pursuing any further action, we do recognize the possibility that
    at least some venues may not be aware of these violations and may be engaging
    in these activities unknowingly. Hopefully this communication will provide
    the information necessary in helping to determine if the use of a Stellar
    Records product is authorized, or in any way infringes on its copyrights and/or
    trademarks. At the very least, we hope this will provide the impetus to seek
    legal advice on these matters before continuing to engage in these practices.

    To be more specific, it has been brought to our attention that there are
    several venues in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area that have been promoting
    karaoke shows which are using unauthorized copies of karaoke products either
    directly through the use of in-house systems or vicariously through the
    contracting or employment of KJ/DJ hosts and/or hosting companies. Some of these
    products have been identified as karaoke products containing the copyrights and/or
    trademarks of Stellar Records including products bearing the trademarks "
    Pop Hits Monthly", "Top Hits Monthly", or "Stellar Records". In addition it
    has been suggested that there could be other products containing Stellar
    Records' copyrights and/or trademarks being illegally distributed, and an
    investigation is currently under way in an effort to identify those products as well.

    In order to assist those in determining what constitutes an unauthorized use
    of Stellar Records' products, please be advised that Stellar does not
    support nor does it have the authority to support (due to contractual limitations
    in its licensing agreements with various publishers) any device which stores,
    and/or plays karaoke products from a hard drive or any device other than a
    device that plays directly from a CD+G disc. For example products include but
    are not limited to the CAVS JB199 as well as the RSQ-500 when play back is
    not directly from a CD+G disc. There are a number of software based products as
    well like MTU's Hoster, PCDJ, CompuHost, TriceraSoft, Sax N Dotty Show
    Hoster, and Dart just to mention a few, when play back is not directly from a
    CD+G disc.

    Stellar Records does empathize with the concerns of some of its customers
    who may want to make copies of their legally purchased products for the
    purposes of making back-ups or to rip them onto a hard drive in a more convenient
    format. However we do not have the authority to grant anyone the right to do
    so. Most if not all of our karaoke products contain the copyrights owned by
    parties other than Stellar, namely the writers, authors and/or publishers of
    the work (song) itself to which we must seek prior approval for use in
    producing our final karaoke products. The licenses and/or approvals that we secure
    from these publishers do not include the right to distribute t
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:06PM (#20414301)

    It's great, but a long way from anyone defending personal fair use. This is just corporations fighting over who gets to disseminate sports scores. In short, companies fighting over money. Just using fair use as the angle of attack.

    Wake me when the megacorporations start fighting for my right to rip my CDs and play them on my MP3 player.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Fair use for people is in Googles and MS best interest.
      Of course, I still can't figure out why MS cares about the entertainment industry. They would save a lot of money if they just said "Screw DRM it's not worth it." Let the entertainment industry deal with it.
      • Fair use for people is in Googles and MS best interest.

        How so? I could maybe see Google but have a hard time thinking of why MS would care about fair use rights. If anything, I would guess they would be doing their best to work against fair use, seeing as how they are currently partnered with the entertainment industry. The entertainment folks see fair use as a lost sale. If they can forbid you from ripping your CD to MP3, that means they can sell you the CD and then turn around and sell you the MP3

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eison (56778)
          They are trying to make a bazillion dollars on a search engine. Search engines live or die on fair use, because they need to cache and quote other people's copyrighted work in order to get their job done and make $$$.
      • by coryking (104614)

        Let the entertainment industry deal with it.
        1) Windows Media Center Edition
        2) XBOX
        3) Zune
        4) Windows Media Player
        5) Hi-def hardware (capture cards, TV's, etc)
      • by ChatHuant (801522)
        Of course, I still can't figure out why MS cares about the entertainment industry. They would save a lot of money if they just said "Screw DRM it's not worth it." Let the entertainment industry deal with it.

        Well, how do you think the entertainment industry will deal with it? Very probably they'll start with a big lawsuit, accusing MS of aiding and abetting the pirates, followed by a set of licences and/or technological attempts to disallow or make difficult the playback of DVDs and other media items on P
        • by geekoid (135745)
          "...accusing MS of aiding and abetting the pirates,..."
          which would fail.

          "...followed by a set of licences and/or technological attempts to disallow or make difficult the playback of DVDs and other media items on PCs..."

          which isn't possible.
          But if they use a completely different technologyu, say cartiges, then fine. They can do that, bfd. Of course we both know it could still be put in a computer.

          "Since MS wants to make things easiest for the not very sophisticated home user, they need to take the requiremen
  • I found it interesting to note that MS was backing a complaint against Dreamworks, you think they could sort that one out in-house.
  • thats what it should have been all along from the start !! great job you internet giants - now we can join in on this as the public and get things in their right places.
  • I'm tired of companies and organizations launching websites and being completely ineffective thereafter, as if the launch of the website itself was the brunt of their effort. I seriously hope they do something about this, but in my mind, just launching a website proclaiming your objective doesn't cut it. Let's see some results.
  • Could this be a reversal of Microsoft's prior stance on DRM, wherein they fellated the movie and music industries despite the consumer electronics industry being far larger and far more consumer-friendly?

    Nah.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Could this be a reversal of Microsoft's prior stance on DRM, wherein they fellated the movie and music industries despite the consumer electronics industry being far larger and far more consumer-friendly?

      Nah.

      Speaking of DRM and the like...I'd be interested in hearing the official CCIA position on the consumers right to backup CDs and DVDs, especially given that the DMCA frequently seems void fair use in that case. It'd be really disappointing if their position was in support of fair use only when it doesn't violate the letter of the DCMA. That would be pretty hollow at best.

      • Your rights to fair use aren't legally revoked by the DMCA. If you can obtain the content in an unencumbered format without violating the DMCA, you can make fair use of that content without problems. The DMCA only provides the practical hurdle of obtaining the unencumbered content in the first place, wrapped up in a legal package.

    • "Could this be a reversal of Microsoft's prior stance on DRM, wherein they fellated the movie and music industries despite the consumer electronics industry being far larger and far more consumer-friendly?"

      The "consumer electronics industry"? You do realize that the HD-DVD and BR players that the "consumer electronics industry" sells implement the very same DRM that Vista does don't you?

      Slashdotters are so damn ignorant.
  • "You may copy, distribute, prepare derivative works, reproduce, introduce into an electronic retrieval system, perform, and transmit portions of this publication provided that such use constitutes 'fair use' under copyright law, or is otherwise permitted by applicable law."

    They appear to be taking a step in the right direction, until you take in to account that legislators go to the highest bidder... There is no question that M$ and Google have deep pockets and both company's lobby congress, its certainl
    • ... or did MS and Google just say that I have the right to do what the law says I have the right to do?

      Um... thanks, guys, and it's nice of you to say so publicly and all that, but I already had those rights, because the law said I had them. I don't need your say-so, or any corporation's. Just the law. Hard as it is to believe, the law is actually what gives us the right to do stuff, not your permission.

      • by Don_dumb (927108)

        I don't need your say-so, or any corporation's. Just the law. Hard as it is to believe, the law is actually what gives us the right to do stuff, not your permission.
        I think recent evidence would seem to show that you *do* need their help. You shouldn't but you do.

        The dollar is mightier than the rule of law.
  • After they clean up the over-reaching copyright notices, maybe they could go after the EULAs next?
  • Finally some corporations recognize that the madness of the current abuse of IP rights has to stop. Perhaps their deep pockets will "convince" politicians to fix this (since they really don't give a rat ass notice of what people want).
  • People can go back to blogging sports events without getting thrown out of them. IIRC, the blogger from the paper in Louisville managed to get tossed out of the College World Series this year for blogging...
  • A site sponsored by MS, Google, and others and it looks like that? Must not be high on their priority list.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Has anyone actually looked at the website [defendfairuse.org]?

    There's a link labelled "Tell us what you think" about fair use, overreaching copyright notices - but when you click it, the only option is to sign their pre-drafted petition. There's no way to actually convey your views. Much what you'd expect from these companies, really.

    Then try reading the petition itself. Some idiot has failed to specify a proper charset for the web page, so it's peppered with weird characters.

    Freakin' amateurs.
  • Keep in mind that Microsoft is a huge violator of your privacy with the 47 spyware programs they put into Vista. Also the major WGN/WGA crap they put into Vista and XP. Bottom line is that they are not here to defend the rights of the people. Microsoft is doing this to defend their position alone so they don't get sued right and left. In fact, Microsoft years ago started buying up the rights to all sorts of digital works. They didn't do this to have them they did this to defend their rights. Nothing w
  • These are all great sentiments. But the average person isn't a lawyer and doesn't understand exactly what is fair use. So just to be safe, they respond to any threat or reported threat and end up giving up their fair use rights. Nor do they have time to do the research to figure out whether a particular use they are contemplating is safe. Hmm, spend time with the family, or research fair use?

    The only way this is going to be solved is to spell out in very concrete, specific examples, what is clear fair u
  • On my blog I have a link to the actual complaint here [blogspot.com] and a link to a good article by Maura Corbett on C/Net News about the case here [blogspot.com].

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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