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Digital technologies require new copyright laws

Digital technologies require new copyright laws
By Rani Chohan

The Daily Cardinal <http://www.dailycardinal.com> (U. Wisconsin)

U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis. -- The 1980s Civil War miniseries "North and South"
is replaying in California with Hollywood taking on Silicon Valley. The
battle lines are being drawn around piracy, copyright and technology that
will ultimately decide if you will be able to copy music from your CD to
your MP3 player, or access library materials from your personal computer.


Any software with the ability to reproduce copyrighted works would not be
allowed to be sold in the United States after the regulations take effect,
said Declan McCullagh of Wired Magazine. Even programmers who distribute
their code for free would be prohibited from releasing newer versions --
unless the application included federally approved technology.


According to Siva Vaidhyanathan, a University of Wisconsin-Madison
assistant professor of library and information science" .. consumers may
have to purchase all new devices like VCRs, DVD players and televisions if
this law were passed because new copyright-protected media would not work
on old devices."

There would have to be dedicated data stations that would be devoted to
one database, versus a flexible and adaptable computer like the one used
at the UW library where users access several journal, newspaper and book
databases all at once


Companies are also looking at watermarking, which would put a digital
label in a song, TV show or movie that distinguishes the original from a
copy. VCRs, CD and DVD players would only play the watermarked materials.


Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that this law does
not allow for fair use and stifle the free flow of information. One group,
DigitalConsumer.org, is leading a letter-writing, fax and e-mail campaign.