One side calls it piracy. The other side calls it fair use. As one commentator points out, the DMCA does little to prevent large-scale for-profit copyright infringement (e.g. producing bit-for-bit copies of DVDs and selling the copies) and does lots to create the presumption that every use — including what was previously fair use — is infringement.
But it doesn’t do the MPAA any good when its spokesperson displays a lack of understanding of technology and fair use terminology.
And it doesn’t do the RIAA any good when it claims to stand for artists’ rights but forgets to pay royalties recording artists, finds that its own artists do not support lawsuits against file sharers, and deals with data showing sales increased from 2003Q1 to 2004Q1.
And it does neither side any good when debates degenerate into ad hominem attacks, which, although entertaining, tend to obscure the real issues. Consider this exchange between Forbes columnist Stephen Manes and copyright commentator Lawrence Lessig.
Despite all of the rhetoric — or perhaps as a result of it — a Congressional hearing was held on the proposed Digital Media Consumer Rights Act (DMCRA) (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.R.107:), which would restore some of the consumer rights removed by the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
321 Studios, whose DVD X Copy copying/backup software has been at the center of the debate, supports either piracy or fair use, depending on the terminology you choose. Save this ad. It may be a collector’s item — depending on the outcome of this raging debate.