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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Linux users in DC plan protest of U.S. copyright law

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Fri, 24 Mar 2000 11:19:37 -0500
To:             	politech@vorlon.mit.edu
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: Linux users in DC plan protest of U.S. copyright law
Copies to:      	dmca-press@tuxers.net
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com



         Linux Users to Protest New Copyright Law in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2000 -- Members of the Linux user groups
in the Washington, D.C. area have announced a protest against
provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  It will be
held on the west side of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, March 28th, from
9-12 AM.

The DMCA was enacted in 1998, and its most objectionable provisions
took effect as Section 1201 of U.S. Code Title 17. The DMCA grants
copyright holders sweeping legal protection for technological access
control measures, regardless of whether those access control measures
are reasonable, fair, or justified by legitimate copyright enforcement
concerns.  In effect, it lets copyright holders write their own
arbitrary copyright laws which are nominally enforced by these access
control measures (such as weak encryption).  The DMCA then outlaws
circumventing these access controls for virtually any reason, even by
legitimate paying customers engaged in "fair use" activities.

A portion of the DMCA is not yet in effect and is in a comment period.
But other provisions which prohibit the distribution of circumvention
technologies are already in effect and are being used by the Motion
Picture Association of America (MPAA) to threaten parties who are
attempting to develop Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) player software for
the Linux operating system -- a case in which no actual copyright
infringement has even been alleged.

As it now stands, the DMCA could permit a few large organizations who
hold copyrights and also control distribution technologies (such as
the MPAA does with DVD video) to gain an unassailable stranglehold
over their respective markets -- to the detriment of both independent
content producers and consumers.  In order to make the law balanced,
the provisions which grant protection to technological access controls
need to be revised to be strictly confined to protection against
copyright infringement.  Even then, no special legal protection should
be granted to access controls which stifle free market competition,
preclude technological innovation, curtail "fair use" by legitimate
consumers, or raise barriers to independent distribution of artistic

For more information, please see:  http://www.tuxers.net/dmca/
DCLUG Home Page (Bethesda, MD):    http://dclug.tux.org/
NovaLUG Home Page (Chantilly, VA): http://novalug.tux.org/

Email Press Contact:               dmca-press@tuxers.net
Email Contact for Volunteers:      dmca-protest@tuxers.net

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