>From: John Young <•••@••.•••> Date: Sun, 31 Mar 1996 To: •••@••.••• Subject: PIR_ate 3-31-96. NYT: "Sold Out." By James Boyle, American University law professor We are in the middle of an information land grab and no one seems to have noticed. Congress is now considering the Administration's proposal for intellectual property on the Internet, aimed at "saving" this thriving medium. Using a far-fetched theory of what constitutes "copying," the proposal would turn browsing an Internet document into a copyright violation. It would effectively privatize much of the public domain by transforming the current law of fair use. It would make on-line service providers strictly liable for their customers' copyright violations, thus giving providers an incentive to monitor what you do in cyberspace. "Poetry can only be made out of other poems, novels out of other novels," as the critic Northrop Frye famously put it. The same goes for computer programs, which build on the contributions of earlier hackers. Every intellectual property claim is a chunk taken out of the public domain. If we give someone a software patent over basic functions, at some point the public domain will be so diminished that future creators will be prevented from creating because they won't be able to afford the raw materials they need. An intellectual property system has to insure that the fertile public domain is not converted into a fallow landscape of walled private plots.