And on a topic close to all our hearts: MIT Student Grills Valenti on Fair Use, discussing Real Dialogue: The Tech interviews Jack Valenti — a look at the dialectic of copyright today
T[he ]T[ech]: Indeed, but are you doing that when you rent a movie from Blockbuster and you watch it at home? … I run Linux on my computer. There’s no product I can buy that’s licensed to watch [DVDs]. If I go to Blockbuster and rent a movie and watch it, am I a bad person? Is that bad?
J[ack ]V[alenti]: No, you’re not a bad person. But you don’t have any right.
TT: But I rented the movie. Why should it be illegal?
JV: Well then, you have to get a machine that’s licensed to show it.
TT: Here’s one of these machines; it’s just not licensed.
[Winstein shows Valenti his six-line “qrpff” DVD descrambler.] [Ed: a description]
TT: If you type that in, it’ll let you watch movies.
JV: You designed this?
TT: So the question is, if I just want to watch a movie–I rent it from Blockbuster–is that bad?
JV: No, that’s not bad.
TT: Then why should it be illegal?
Rich Taylor, MPAA public affairs: It’s not. … You could put it in a DVD player, you could play it on any computer licensed for it.
JV: There’s lots of machines you can play it on.
TT: None under Linux. There’s no licensed player under Linux.
JV: But you’re trying to set your own standards.
TT: No, you said four years ago that people under Linux should use one of these licensed players that would be available soon. They’re still not available — it’s been four years.
JV: Well why aren’t they available? I don’t know, because I don’t make Linux machines.
Let me put it in my simple terms. If you take something that doesn’t belong to you, that’s wrong. Number two, if you design your own machine, you can’t fuss at people, because you’re one of just a few. How many Linux users are there?
TT: About two million.
JV: Well, I can’t believe there’s not any — there must be a reason for… Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question — I don’t know the answer to that… Well, you’re telling me a lot of things I don’t know.
And here’s the Slashdot comment that points out that the problem is that copyright control has come to mean access control — and that, as an architecture of control achieved through the exploitation of the fact that we have set up a distribution system that depends upon technologically mediated use, a new kind of copyright power is being asserted, largely on the basis of an argument based on metaphor and a peculiar concept of theft as opportunity cost:
Re:Best. Excerpt. Ever. (Score:5, Insightful)
by RedWizzard (192002) on Wednesday April 28, @04:33PM (#9000541)
Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box.
The point is that they should. A purchaser of a DVD should be able to do whatever they like with the DVD and it’s content provided they don’t break any copyright laws. They should be able to access the content however they like, they should be able to transfer that content between devices and media they own, they should be able to edit it for private viewing, and they should be able to quote small parts of it as fair use permits. You are allowed to do all these things with other media such as books and CDs, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do the same with DVDs (or TV broadcasts). Prior to the DCMA you could, but the DCMA removes all of these rights in an underhanded way. The DCMA removed the country given right that Linux users used to have to watch American Wedding on their Linux box. That is why we hate it.
Update: Donna at CopyFight – Valenti on the Little (Engineer/Linux User) People, referring to Cory Doctorow – MIT makes Jack Valenti look like an idiot