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Re: Aliens (was: Re: [ox] Artikel zur Debatte um Urheberrecht)

(fwd. from the politech list)

Digital Copyright
Jessica Litman (Professor of Law, Wayne State University)
Prometheus Books 2001
ISBN 1-57392-889-5

The Internet has been hailed as the most revolutionary social
development since the printing press. In many ways its astonishing
growth has outstripped any historical analogy we can unearth.
What has fueled much of that growth has been the explosion of
new possibilities for connections -- among people, among different
formerly discrete packages of information, among ideas. Digital
media and network connections, it is said, are the most democratic of
media, promoting free expression and access to information wherever a
computer can be hooked up to a telephone line.

In this celebration of new possibilities, we tend to emphasize
the many things that become feasible when people have ready access
to information sources and to other people not practicably available
before. The scope and the speed of interconnected digital networks
make conversations easy that before were unimaginable. But the
technological marvel that makes this interconnection possible has
other potential as well. Digital technology makes it possible to
monitor, record and restrict what people look at, listen to, read and
hear. Why, in the United States, would one want to do such a thing?
To get paid. If someone, let's call him Fred, keeps track of what we
see and hear, that enables Fred to ensure that we pay for our sights
and sounds. Once information is valuable, an overwhelming temptation
arises to appropriate that value, to turn it in to cash.

Now that technology permits the dissemination of information
on a pay-per-view basis, we've seen the emergence of new way of
thinking about copyright: Copyright is now seen as a tool for
copyright owners to use to extract all the potential commercial value
from works of authorship, even if that means that uses that have
long been deemed legal are now brought within the copyright owner's
control. In 1998, copyright owners persuaded Congress to enhance
their rights with a sheaf of new legal and technological controls.
Armed with those copyright improvements, copyright lawyers began
a concerted campaign to remodel cyberspace into a digital multiplex
and shopping mall for copyright-protected material. The outcome of
that effort is still uncertain. If current trends continue unabated,
however, we are likely to experience a violent collision between our
expectations of freedom of expression and the enhanced copyright law.

Organisation: projekt

[English translation]
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