Ramblings & ephemera

Good description of Fair Use & 1st Sale

From Scott Kleper’s “An Introduction to Copyfighting“:

I think a lot of people incorrectly assume that Copyfighters are people who believe that copyright should be abolished and that everything should be free. Copyfighters aren’t saying that all media should be freely distributed. We are saying that as consumers of media (film, television, software, literature, etc.) we have certain rights that we would like to protect. One of these rights is Fair Use. Fair Use means that you can reuse copyrighted work without permission as long as you are commenting on it, or copying/parodying the original. Fair Use is what allows you to quote song lyrics when writing a review of a new CD. Another right is First Sale. First Sale means that when you buy something, you own it and are thus entitled to sell it to someone else. First Sale is what allows you to buy a book, read it, then sell it on half.com for someone else to enjoy.

Most of all, we simply want the right to use the products we buy in the way that we see fit. We don’t want to be sued by a manufacturer for opening up a product to see how it works or sued by a media company for moving a file from one device to another. We believe that when we buy a CD, we should be able to convert it to another format to play on another device. We shouldn’t have to pay again to turn it into a ring tone. …

Songs bought on the Apple iTunes music store can be played only on a fixed number of devices that you have unlocked with your iTunes ID. Sounds reasonable, but after a few system reinstalls, maybe a replaced motherboard, a change of jobs, etc., all of a sudden, you no longer have access to any of your “authorized computers” and you have to get Apple to remove them all so you can start again. You can’t play iTunes purchased music on your non-Apple portable music player and you can’t play Windows DRM files on your iPod. Consumers are supposed to understand and care about this?

The worst part is that these schemes end up only hurting the people who are trying to be good. If you use a commercial downloading service, like iTunes Music Store, it means that you have rejected the dubious legality and poor user experience of the “illegal” services. You have paid your 99 cents and been handed something that is less valuable than what you could have gotten for free. You get a file with complex and arbitrary restrictions in a proprietary format. Meanwhile, the people who decided to keep on infringing aren’t suffering — they get unrestricted files.

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