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RE: DMCA Alternatives

> Information is free, both intrinsically and as a matter
> of established jurisprudence, wherein the distinction between facts and
> expression has consistently been upheld.

In what meaningful sense is information "free," given that it exists only
as the result of human labor?  I would argue to the contrary -- that
information is invariably costly, and that the rights of those who labor
to create it can certainly be ignored, but do not disappear simply because
someone chooses to ignore them.  The same is true of costs -- you can
shift them, but you can't make them go away.  If information exists,
someone has paid for it either directly or indirectly.  (And what exactly
is the "established jurisprudence" to which you refer?  Can a legal
opinion make information come into existence magically, without the
investment of human labor?  If it can't, then how can it make information

> > which it does by making it possible for authors and artists
> > to profit from their work.  Give people a financial
> > incentive to create information, and you'll tend to get
> > more information.  Once it's created, you have to find a
> > healthy balance between spreading that information around
> > (which is both necessary and desirable, of course) and
> > preserving the financial incentive to create. A system that
> > only honors one side of that balance will fail.
> This way of looking at the issue is sure to mislead us, since it
> emphasizes a statutory principle over more essential ones.

I'm not a very smart person, so I confess that I find this statement
confusing.  Balancing the incentive to create information with the rights
of information users "will surely mislead us"?  How does such balance
necessitate an undue focus on statute?  Can't it simply imply a healthy
recognition that people should be able to profit from their work (even
when that work involves the creation of information) and that people
should also have reasonable fair use rights?

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
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