Press Releases: August 2002
Hollywood Tries to Skip Over Consumers' Concerns
Los Angeles - Judge Florence Cooper today granted five ReplayTV owners a voice in the court debate over their rights to record television programs and to skip commercials using digital video recorders (DVRs). The federal court denied the entertainment industry motion to dismiss the ReplayTV owners' lawsuit and agreed to combine the consumer lawsuit with an entertainment industry lawsuit filed last fall to ban ReplayTV DVRs.
"We're pleased the court has recognized that the debate about digital video recorders must include the customers who purchase and use the devices," said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Intellectual Property Attorney Robin Gross.
"[T]he issue of whether the Newmark Plaintiffs' use of the ReplayTV DVRs' send-show and commercial-skipping features constitutes fair use will most likely figure prominently in both the ReplayTV action and the Newmark action," wrote Judge Cooper in her opinion.
Responding to the entertainment industry's lawsuit against DVR manufacturers, EFF petitioned the court on behalf of the five ReplayTV owners to declare legal their use of the digital devices also known as personal video recorders (PVRs). EFF seeks to ensure that the legal debate over DVRs will include consumers' concerns along with those of the entertainment and consumer electronics industries.
The entertainment industry claims that commercial skipping infringes copyright and digital recording aids piracy.
"I'm not a crook if I skip commercials or share a news interview of myself with my mom using the SendShow feature rather than sending her a videotape," said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org and a ReplayTV owner. "I shouldn't have to worry about getting prosecuted, but the Turner Broadcasting CEO tells us that taking a bathroom break is criminal. We even have Senators urging Attorney General Ashcroft to prosecute people who share files."
Along with Newmark, ReplayTV customers filing the lawsuit with legal representation by the EFF are: Keith Ogden, owner of a financial broker firm in San Francisco; Shawn Hughes, a small business owner in Georgia; Seattle journalist Glenn Fleishman; and southern Californian video engineer Phil Wright.
Janis Ian Urges Artists Speak Out, Support Free Downloads
San Francisco - Grammy-winning songwriter and recording
artist Janis Ian today challenged the music industry by
celebrating peer-to-peer (P2P) music sharing as a boon to
Ian, who is in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of her
current concert tour, recently published "The Internet
Debacle," a pointed critique of the music industry's
disregard for musicians and consumers who want to
distribute and acquire music online. The Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) applauds Ian's actions and hopes
that others will see the Internet as an aid, not a threat,
In the article, Ian assails the major record labels'
argument that P2P file-sharing is harming artists.
"Free Internet downloads are good for the music industry
and its artists," explains Ian. "Every act that can't get
signed to a major, for whatever reason, can reach literally
millions of new listeners, enticing them to buy the CD and
come to the concerts."
She adds that during the heyday of Napster she saw a
marked increase in CD sales from her website. She attacks
technological and political measures meant to harm
consumers by restricting their right to copy and back up
their legally purchased music.
Ian will play tonight in Saratoga, CA, and on August 17 in
San Rafael, CA.
During her 17 album career, Ian has earned nine Grammy
nominations and three awards. Her best known songs include
1967's "Society's Child" and 1975's "At Seventeen." More
recently, her 1993 album "Breaking Silence" was nominated
for a Grammy Award as Contemporary Folk Album of the Year.
Her songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Bette
Midler to Cher, from Glen Campbell to Vanilla Fudge, and
from Joan Baez to Etta James.
For this release:
Janis Ian's "Internet Debacle" article:
Janis Ian's follow-up article:
Janis Ian's tour information: