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Re: [tlug] GPL Quote

> Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 03:53:03 +0900
> From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
> That's right.  However, it's rarely a question of the kind of use
> (backup copies is one of those rare cases, occasioned by new
> technology).
-- snip --
>  > This may sound theoretical, yet there are a number of people being
>  > sued for using bit-copy images in order to play their legally
>  > obtained games without having to juggle CDs all the time.
> Do you have a citation for this claim?  AIUI, in the U.S. this is now
> protected fair use (like time shifting and other media translations),
> *unless* technical means are involved.  If technical means have been
> circumvented, then a lawsuit is the least of their worries.  This
> means jail, bro', and you knew you were doing something wrong when you
> circumvented.

I was wrong - there were no persons being sued for this, but there are
a number of companies sued for "facilitating":

Backing up a DVD, retaining encryption and preventing copy of copy is
claimed to be illegal (case in progress [1]).

Backing up a game, retaining the full content of the original,
preventing copy of copy and inserting a disclaimer is claimed to be
illegal [2], [3]

The act of extracting the textual content from encrypted PDF is
illegal, as it constitutes circumvention of technical measure,
irregardless of the actual content [4] (I believe that if you save
encrypted PDF with no text and then extract an empty text file out of
it by cracking the encryption, you are at fault). This has
implications for the accessibility software as well.

Also, consider this: If we assume that the average song size is 3mb,
filling up an 80G iPod would cost a whopping 26 thousand dolars. I can
safely bet that none of the people I know has spent that much on
iTunes, yet many have filled their iPods and have even more music on
their drives. I am not sure whether one can claim that in this case
Apple is encouraging piracy?

> Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 03:53:03 +0900
> From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
> This is quite different from what most people think
> of as "fair use," ie, "I'm poor so it's not fair to ask me to pay the
> ridiculously high price."  Naked greed, retail style.  Just as
> unattractive as the wholesale corporate style of greed, IMO.

Here is an article - one of many [5]. You won't find the word "backup"
inside, instead you'll see a lot of "crime", "theft" and "violating
the law". These rhetoric scare people into thinking they are criminals
for doing what everybody else is doing. I have ripped many of my CDs
(I would rip all of them if I weren't too lazy). I have also
downloaded a lot of music that I already own (and some that I don't,
for the lack of legal non-DRM'ed ways to obtain it in digital format).
I believe I am morally right, yet the aforementioned article says:

   "Beyond that, there's no legal "right" to copy the copyrighted
   music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a
   CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or
   your portable music player, won't usually raise concerns so
   long as:

   1. The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you
      legitimately own;  The copy is just for your personal use.
   2. It's not a personal use - in fact, it's illegal - to give
      away the copy or lend it to others for copying."

Note the rhetoric - it doesn't state that it is legal, but that it is
merely not prosecuted. Falling behind the Internet in terms of
attractiveness of the content, RIAA is trying to increase their
profits by scaring people into re-buying what they already bought.

> Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 03:53:03 +0900
> From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
>  > Having a precedent makes a case stronger, but a corporation big
>  > enough can still file a suit and force a person into settlement (or
>  > bankruptcy.)
> And what's the big deal about this?  The largest settlement that can
> be forced on you is retail price x number of copies.

Not if you subscribe to the "lost sales" doctrine. In that case, when
you upload your dancing toddler video on YouTube, RIAA just counts the
number of views, multiplies by the retail price of the track and
presents you the bill [6]. If it turns out to be fair use - they are
not obliged to check this in advance, so they just did their duty to
raise the concern. If you settled - it's your problem, you should have
known better.

> Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 13:47:30 +0900
> From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
> Sure, but (a) as everybody here knows, technology has changed
> dramatically (which actually is almost totally unimportant; the law of
> 100 years ago, updated to conform to Berne and to acknowledge the
> reality that retail copying is ubiquitous and unstoppable would be
> quite reasonable today in terms of enforceability and legitimacy to
> the vast majority of the population), and (b) economic effects are
> almost completely driven by the margin.

Agree. Though a huge part of the copyright-related changes are driven
by the needs of the publishing industry and not the authors. Here is a
gread quotate from an old article[7]:

   It is that the author who produced that book has had the profit
   of it long enough, and therefore the Government takes a profit
   which does not belong to it and generously gives it to the
   88,000,000 of people. But it doesn't do anything of the kind.
   It merely takes the author's property, takes his children's bread,
   and gives the publisher double profit. He goes on publishing the
   book and as many of his confederates as choose to go into the
   conspiracy do so, and they rear families in affluence.

Finally, here are two particularly ridiculous lawsuits from UK - sued
for playing the radio too loud [8], [9]


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