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RE: A thought about H.R. 2281 - Anti circumvention


  A web site is already protected against "trespass" by Computer Crimes
acts.  The novelty of 2281 is that it protects a piece of digital content
AFTER is has been distributed and is no longer located on the copyright
owner's computer. (e.g. a digital book is sent to your computer and is
protected by a program which only lets you read it twice.) 

Hope that clarifies this a bit for you.



 On Fri, 29 May 1998, Rick Anderson wrote:

> Laurel Jamtgaard makes some very good points in her posting, I think.  But
> this one leads me to another question, or maybe just a clearer framing of
> what's been bothering me all along about this issue: 
> > I think of H.R. 2281's 1201(a)(1) anti-circumvention lanugage as a
> > "traveling law of trespass" - the information provider is given the right
> > to protect the information product it distributes in an analogous way to
> > protecting a house!  But with a house, there are even exceptions to the
> > law of trespass for reasons of necessity. 2281 doesn't provide such
> > exceptions.
> If I had written a bunch of books and were keeping them in my house, and
> someone broke in and made fair use of the content of those books and then
> left without bothering any of my other property, we'd all agree that that
> person was acting illegally.  I own the house and people aren't generally
> allowed in it without my permission, whether or not they intend to do me
> any harm.  Now obviously, an online presence isn't the same thing as a
> physical house and doesn't enjoy the same legal protections.  But I think
> that's the nut of the issue: *should* one's cyber-property enjoy any of
> the same protections as those enjoyed by one's real property?  If I've
> paid for a "place" on the web, ought I to be able to protect it from
> "invasion"?  I think we all agree that it's okay to run a web-based
> business, which means that we think it's okay for people to exercise some
> degree of proprietary control over their cyber-property.  But how far
> should it go?  We agree that it's okay to put password protections in
> place, but we apparently don't think it's okay to give those protections
> themselves legal protection.  H.R. 2281 will make perfect sense to anyone
> who sees a web site as a piece of real estate; it will be opposed by
> anyone who thinks that cyberspace isn't directly analogous to physical
> space and shouldn't be governed the same way.  I'm still not completely
> sure what I think. 
> ----------------------
> Rick Anderson
> Head Acquisitions Librarian
> Jackson Library
> UNC Greensboro
> 1000 Spring Garden St.
> Greensboro, NC 27402-6175
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