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To everyone still coming by for Perils

Thanks for the attention, and I hope you enjoy the Perils of Strong Copyright. I’m somewhere over 1500 hits since this time last week, so I thought maybe people felt funny about jumping in in the middle of the original posts below.

If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it. I thought it would be easier for people just reading it to leave comments here, rather than getting buried in last weeks dialogue. So feel free to let me know what you think….good or bad. Both will help when I try to work this into an article for publication in some (open access) journal.

4 replies on “To everyone still coming by for Perils”

Ooh, feedback.

I do have one comment/question. You discuss four cases revolving around copyright, ALA’s stance on these cases and your critique of its stance. One of the cases is RIAA v. Verizon, where ALA filed an amicus curiae brief over privacy concerns, and you felt that wasn’t strong enough. You first describe the issue of the case as “revolv[ing] around a specific portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allowed copyright holders to request a subpoena from the court forcing ISP’s to reveal the identity of the end user.”

But at the end of your commentary about that case, you say:

“This is not to say that privacy is not an important issue for libraries, but when given a chance in the amicus brief to make a statement about time limits of copyright, the ALA instead makes it very clear that they will do nothing to ruffle the feathers of the major copyright holders.”

I must admit that I haven’t read up on all of the various nuances and arguments coming out the RIAA actions towards P2P file-sharing. But from what I’ve read, I’ve never heard of the RIAA making any sort of argument about the timetables for copyright. The music industry might care if there was a rash of file sharing of music from Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday, but right now, their biggest concerns are downloads of Britney Spears and Eminem.

Issues emanating from CTEA doesn’t seem legally germane to the issues surrounding DMCA (practically, you do have this not-so-nice spiral effect going on from both). And not being a lawyer, I don’t know the standard of what can and should be discussed in an amicus brief, but I’m being conservative for one and assuming that any brief, even for someone technically without standing, cannot/should not go into issues that have no bearing on the facts or the issues of the case.

But, you know, my $0.02.

I had a huge comment about this yesterday that didn’t manage to post. This time, I’ll be more succinct.

Re: RIAA v. Verizon. You described the main issue of the case (regarding enforcement and liability arising from alleged infringing behaviour, and you described ALA’s amicus brief protesting the RIAA’s stance on the grounds of privacy/confidentiality. But then you fault ALA’s brief for not taking a stronger stand and not decrying increasing copyright term limits.

But the RIAA’s case is based on DMCA, which doesn’t address copyright term limits, and functionally, the RIAA isn’t taking a lead on extending such limits (although it’s not much of a stretch to suppose that they support whatever controls end up being in their favour as rights owners/psuedo-owners). So, bringing up CTEA concerns would have brought in facts and issues not in dispute in this case. I don’t know the latitude to which one can address amicus briefs on facts/issues not being argued by either side with standing in the case, so maybe there was room to do that. But I don’t think such an argument would not have been considered germane in this particular case. At least from a legal standpoint … from a practical standpoint, of course, CTEA and DMCA are the functional equivalents of Scylla and Charybdis when it comes to digital works and the public domain.

Just my $0.02.

Ack…that’s a great catch, Eli. Just re-read the section, and you appear to be correct. That might have been a bit of a cheap shot at the ALA given the topic of the case. You’re right…I’m not sure how much leeway is given in an amicus for “outside” statements.

Probably gonna be removing that in the article…a good example of a situation where in the writing I just missed that I conflated something. One good reason for the re-working, I suppose.

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