David Berlind on the Digital (Rights) Future

How to stop Hollywood and Congress from trampling on your constitutional rights

Between broadcast flag-type legislation and other laws that prohibit the sale of products that can make uncopyprotected, unDRM’d, redistributable copies of digital content and analog hole-plugging legislation, recording technologies as we’re used to knowing them could become a relic of the past (as too would our constitutionally granted fair use rights). But just in case that doesn’t get the message across to the innovators and Americans who are determined to preserve their fair use rights — the message that Tellywood and Congress will control the horizontal and the vertical (and the audible) — there’s also the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the DMCA) which basically outlaws your right to exercise your constitutionally granted fair use rights by circumventing any technological measures that the manufacturer-side legislation puts into place. […]

[…] Along those same lines, and in the spirit of public outcry, write to your Congresspeople and ask them to oppose the three forms of legislation — any broadcast flag laws, the HD Radio Content Protection Act, and the Analog Content Security Preservation Act — currently under consideration by Congress. While you’re at it, remind them that your not at all too pleased with the DMCA either. Threaten to vote them out unless they not only respect your rights, but stand up for them for them as well. After all, isn’t that what our system of representation is all about?

i2hub Next To Close

I2hub latest P2P service to shut down [pdf]

I2hub, the superfast Internet service popular with college students, shut down Tuesday.

Logging onto i2hub.com (http://www.i2hub.com/) brought up a Web page with a ghostly image of a man walking away, with the words “Remember i2hub” superimposed over the image and “RIP 03.14.2005-11.14.05” written below it. I2hub was one of seven peer-to-peer services that received a cease-and-desist letter from the

Recording Industry Association of America.

The dates in the i2hub screencap above go to the following bookend articles from CNet: File-swapping gets supercharged on student network and Supercharged college P2P network closes. The other link goes to Pacific Northwest Software.

Also in today’s yesterday’s Tech: RIAA Suits Continue; i2hub Server Shuts Down

Related from Inside Higher Ed: After ‘Grokster,’ the Battle Continues [pdf] (Note that Dartmouth government majors apparently can be as confused as anyone when it comes to copyright policy and fair use.)

Joe Malchow, a government major at Dartmouth College, is concerned about moral issues stemming from the i2hub shutdown.

“The idea that a few students can come up with a highly effective medium of data transmission — which doesn’t use central file storage and doesn’t in any way advocate copyright violation — and then have their invention threatened out of existence is demoralizing to would-be college programmers,” he said. A contributor to dartblog.com, Malchow added: “To say that i2hub cannot exist because it facilitates piracy is no more rational than saying the Second Amendment ought to be repealed because guns are sometimes used for crime, or that Movable Type or Blogspot.com ought to be banned because bloggers sometimes quote, technically illegally, The Wall Street Journal.”

Even if well-publicized peer-to-peer services do continue to fold, some students argue that the ability to download free music will be a way of life for the foreseeable future.