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RE: Finally hitting the core question (RE: DMCA alternatives)

I think I've answered some of Laurie's objections in earlier posts, and I
don't want to tie up any more bandwidth on this topic than necessary.
Just a couple of quick responses:

> One problem I have with locking up IP too tightly is that ideas and
> expression, perhaps particularly in non-verbal media such as images or
> music, have a tendency to merge.  Up until now, when that happened, the
> expression was to some extent forced into the public domain.  Under the
> locked-up IP model, the result of a merger is that the idea could be
> removed from the public domain.  That's the wrong result.

To answer this, I guess I'd need one or two concrete examples of what you
mean by ideas and expression that have merged and thus been forced into
the public domain.

> After all, even in your house, if there is reason to believe that you have
> created something that is a hazard to your neighbors, the state has the
> right to go in and look around and even confiscate the offending material.
> So sometimes housebreaking is OK.  The question is when, and under what
> conditions?

Well, right -- there's a legal distinction between a lawful search and
breaking-and-entering.  The same would be true if online databases were
given the equivalent of a legally-protected doorlock.

> I have great faith that the market will figure out a way to
> make a profit in this new world if it is not crippled at the outset.

I think you have this backwards -- talk to the players in the information
marketplace, and they'll tell you that what cripples them is the inability
to control their copyrighted material.  Few things would undermine that
control as completely as giving everyone in the world legal permission to
hack past security measures.  Now, it may well be that those guys want too
much control, and it may be that allowing lockpicking is really the right
approach.  But if we're going to allow lockpicking, why should we allow
coyright holders to lock their doors in the first place?  I still can't
get past the disconnect here -- either you have the right to lock the door
or you don't.  If you do, how does it make sense to say that someone else
has the right to pick the lock?

Rick Anderson
Director of Resource Acquisition
The University Libraries
University of Nevada, Reno      "I'm not against the modern
1664 No. Virginia St.            world.  I just don't think
Reno, NV  89557                  everything's for sale."
PH  (775) 784-6500 x273             -- Elvis Costello
FX  (775) 784-1328