cr> James Boyle: “Sold Out”


Richard Moore

>From: John Young <•••@••.•••>
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 1996
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: PIR_ate

   3-31-96. NYT:

   "Sold Out." By James Boyle, American University law

      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