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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.

	Doesn't current copyright law exist to protect all information
(digital or otherwise) both before and after it's been distributed?  And
if a digital book is sold with the understanding that it will only be read
twice before it self-destructs, it sounds to me like what you've got is a
rental agreement, not a purchase. 

	In any case, my question isn't whether copyright law covers
digital content.  It's whether it ought to cover digital content in the
same way it would the physical contents of someone's home, by making it
illegal to surmount the barriers lawfully erected by the copyright owner. 
Again: breaking into someone's house is illegal, even if you don't want to
commit a crime after you get inside.  Should breaking into a web site be
illegal, even if you only want to make fair use of the information to
which the site acts as a gateway?  The question isn't whether the content
is protected by copyright law, but whether we ought to protect the
barriers themselves with a new law, the way we protect the integrity of
household barriers with existing laws. 

Rick Anderson
Head Acquisitions Librarian
Jackson Library
UNC Greensboro
1000 Spring Garden St.
Greensboro, NC 27402-6175
PH (336) 334-5281
FX (336) 334-5399

"A wise man knows that all gold is fool's gold.
The irony is that such knowledge rarely comes
                    -- Anon.
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