[sixties-l] Just Like Old Times in Berkeley

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 21:24:10 CUT

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    Just Like Old Times in Berkeley
    by Y. Peter Kang
    1:50 p.m. Jul. 11, 2000 PDT

    It looked like a nostalgic scene from the past, but a gathering of free
    speech advocates and a
    songwriter for the Grateful Dead, along with some conventional suits, were
    looking toward the future.
    Specifically, the Internet's impact on the First Amendment.

    Thursday night, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sponsored a rally at
    UC-Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law to garner support in defense of a
    landmark court case involving the DVD-descrambling utility called DeCSS.
    "We will either have a world where people will speak freely through songs
    and films or we will have a world where very few industry powers will own
    it and control it," Grateful Dead lyricist and EFF co-founder John Perry
    Barlow told the standing-room only crowd.
    The rally came on the eve of the trial that begins Monday in New York. The
    trial pits the Motion Picture Association of America against the hacker
    newsletter 2600, which has supported DeCSS by making it available for
    The MPAA is suing 2600 under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which
    prohibits the distribution of any technology that bypasses copy protection
    The defendants are 2600 and its publisher, Eric Corley, aka Emmanuel
    Goldstein. They are being defended by Martin Garbus.
    The plaintiffs in the case are eight major film studios, including
    Universal, Paramount, and Disney. They are suing to stop the publication of
    and linking to DeCSS software, which breaks the encrypted code on DVDs.
    So far, the movie studios have had the upper hand after winning a
    preliminary injunction in January that forced Corley and 2600 to remove
    DeCSS from its website.
    "After I read the initial ruling I was depressed, it was as if the judge
    didn't hear anything," cyberlaw and intellectual property professor Pamela
    Samuelson said.
    "We have a big education job ahead of us to make everyone realize the
    implications of this case, so I think it's very profound."
    Samuelson said she was "optimistic" about the defendants' chances in the
    case, despite U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan's January ruling, and
    believes that the real battle will be fought in the court of appeals.
    "I don't hope for a lot from the trial judge," she said. "I think the
    Second Circuit will take a closer look at ... the speech issue."
    Samuelson discussed the ambiguous nature of the controversial DMCA, which
    is at the heart of the plaintiffs' suit, and emphasized the free speech
    aspect of the case.
    While Samuelson addressed the legal implications, Barlow focused on the
    bigger picture, expressing fears that the recent DVD and MP3 lawsuits will
    result in a threat to artistic creativity and a "crippling" of the new
    information economy.
    Sporting an all-black outfit, the former scrivener for the Dead was the
    crowd favorite. Barlow mingled one-liners with serious comments about free
    "The expression of the idea is something that we can all take credit for
    and we can't let people lay claim to it. You cannot own free speech."
    Barlow poked fun at Congress, in addition to chastising Al Gore as the
    so-called "father of the Internet." "But I guess the Internet is based on
    Al-Gore-rithms," Barlow quipped to a combination of groans and laughter
    from the audience.
    Barlow called for "fundamental change" in the current legislation that
    deals with cyberspace. "There is an effort underway to see that the stuff
    they own is not digitized. If it's not digitized, it will be lost. We have
    an enormous responsibility to see that these works are not lost."
    "If (artistic) creation is going to expand, we have to understand (that) we
    have to fertilize creativity; that means fair use."
    But Barlow thinks that legal complexities and fine print, in addition to
    the roguish nature of the defendants, Corley and 2600, will prove to be
    difficult in the trial.
    "One of the problems that we have is dealing with a gray zone," he said,
    referring to the lack of precedents and the legislation that is still in
    its infancy.
    Barlow agreed with Samuelson that the real battle will most likely be
    fought in the court of appeals. "It will be much easier to win this case
    on appeals, that's where it really counts," he said.


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