May 15, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

The DMCRA Hearing - Post-Game Responses

A trio of responses to the DMCRA hearing on Wednesday:

Seth Finkelstein:

It would great if everyone could just take a loyalty oath at the start and thus get beyond the endless querying about whether they believe in some sort of heretical radicalism. Something like:

"I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party. I pledge allegiance to copyright, and to the intellectual property system for which it stands, one compensation, responsible, with property and profit for all."

That is, one deep issue is the conflict between the controls sought by the industry, and the effects those controls have in terms of inhibiting fair use in practice. This is a complicated problem. And it's a waste of time to go around "Are you some sort of Commie?" (paraphrased, not literal) all the time.

Matt of Matt Rolls a Hoover:

One thing I was surprised by was the tone of the questioning. I expected more information gathering, but the hearing sometimes had the feel of a court trial, with the Representative either asking a series of leading questions to build a case or essentially cross examining the witness in an attempt to discredit their arguments. I found myself wondering how useful that actually is.

Brian Flemming, taking Fred von Lohmann up on his suggestion that we contact our Congresscritters:

I just called the office of my Representative, Xavier Becerra. The staff member's computer went down as he tried to look up the bill, so while it started up again I got a good 5-10 minutes in, talking to him about the DMCA and why it needs reform, how this is a consumer vs. industry issue, and why I want Becerra to support H.R. 107.

My complaint that I wasn't legally allowed to copy a DVD that I own just in case the original got scratched seemed to hit home the most. That really does sound absurd when you say it out loud. The staff member asked me what I did. I told him I'm a filmmaker, and that I hoped he understood that not everyone in the motion picture industry agrees with the extremist attitude of Jack Valenti and the MPAA, even though they claim to speak for the "industry."


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