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From braintree!!!pipex!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail Mon Oct 16 11:34:47 1995 Path: braintree!!!pipex!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail From: nobody@REPLAY.COM (Anonymous) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Big Suprise Date: 12 Oct 1995 19:17:18 +0100 Organization: RePLaY aND CoMPaNY UnLimited Lines: 168 Sender: Message-ID: <45jm3e$> NNTP-Posting-Host: Content-Type: text Content-Length: 7620 XComm: Replay may or may not approve of the content of this posting XComm: Report misuse of this automated service to Net has capitalists aquiver Miami Herald Monday October 9, 1995 By Dan Keating For totalitarian systems, the photocopier was a frightening piece of technology. Fax machines were terrifying. Capitalism, on the other hand, is aquiver over the Internet. Information in electronic form can now be shared infinitely, for free. A document placed on the worldwide computer network is available to more than 30 million people, each of whom can make copies at no cost and spread it further. Some envision this fluidity of information creating a "universal intelligence" that could propel humanity to unfathomable heights. But capitalists warn of a fatal flaw: If folks get it free, no one makes a profit. Without the profit motive, nothing will be done. Electronic information, capitalists argue, must be protected from the Internet's inclination toward free distribution. The debate pits those who believe "Information Wants to Be Free" against advocates of protecting intellectual property rights. They're not just philosophical stances. The conflict will decide how everyone gets information. It doesn't mean just text or software. Digitized music, video, photographs and data all move across the information superhighway, so much of what you see, hear or read will be affected by the resolution of this debate. A report released last month by the Patent and Trademark Office ( painted a picture of what it called "unprecedented challenges." New computers and networks make it possible, the report said, "for one individual, with a few keystrokes, to deliver perfect copies of digitized works" to countless others in the online world. "Just one unauthorized uploading could have devastating effects on the market for the work," the report said. It recommended amendments to copyright laws to prevent unauthorized distribution. The report won quick praise from the Business Software Alliance (, an industry group trying to protect commercial programmers from piracy. "The industry strongly supports legislative actions that will ensure data security," said President Robert Holleyman. But others are concerned about a crackdown. "The research, education and library communities emphasize free sharing of information in the course of their activities," said a white paper called "Flow of Information" on the National Academy of Sciences Internet site ( Even if a legal compromise is reached, enforcing it could be impossible. Advocates of unlimited distribution via the Internet have said that restrictions are fruitless, because violating them will be so easy. Better to waive the laws than to have them flouted by the new technology, they argue. The Patent and Trade Office responded that international money laundering is eased by new technology, but it won't be legalized. The office supported a change in copyright law that would make it a criminal offense only if the unauthorized copies are worth at least $5,000. Someone making a duplicate at home wouldn't be a criminal, but professionals could be prosecuted. The application of copyright law shows that this debate has long roots. Copyright came into existence shortly after the printing press was created. The law prevents rogue printers from selling copies of someone else's work. Copyright was jolted in the 1960s by the emergence of photocopiers, which created a new world of reproduction. The new phase is vastly more grave, however. Photocopies and duplicated audio cassettes and videotapes are all inferior to the original. They all take some time and expense to create. But digital information can be reproduced infinitely at virtually no cost. And the copies are exactly the same as the original. "It's the virtual original," said Steven Peretz, chairman of the Florida Bar's Intellectual Property Law Committee. "Now, the means of reproduction have been brought down to the grass roots," said Peretz, of the Miami firm Kluger, Peretz, Kaplan & Berlin. "Will copyright be responsive to changes in technology where every computer operator is a mini-publisher?" He noted that you could make a photocopy of War and Peace, but it would be messier and harder to read than an inexpensive published copy. That's not true, however, with digital information. "Now with making a perfect clone," he said, "the duplicate is as good as the original." The first battle of this war was fought in the early 1990s over digital audio tapes (DAT). They offered the quality of compact discs with the copying ease of cassette tapes. Plus, each copy would be perfect. The recording industry was petrified. It lobbied and in 1992 was rewarded with a law declaring that all DAT equipment manufactured, imported or distributed in the United States must be disabled from making unlimited copies. It's also unlawful to make, import or distribute equipment to overcome that disability. And, finally, importers and manufacturers of DAT equipment and DAT tapes must pay a royalty to the recording industry for each unit sold. The Patent and Trademark report cited the DAT case as an example of effective protection for producers. But, in fact, DAT has failed to become a major product, barely amounting to a blip in the consumer market, even though it offers the advantages of CDs and cassette tapes rolled into one. And now the digital music battle has to be fought all over. Digitized music can be transported in electronic format over the Internet and stored on computer hard drives -- without any DAT equipment. So can video images, photographs, documents and other things. Unlike the DAT fight, the Internet battle for copyright protection cannot focus on a particular piece of equipment. Technological solutions are also suspect. Attempts were made to create photocopiers whose output couldn't be copied again. Software makers tried many means in the 1980s to prevent unlimited reproduction of their computer programs. But all of those techniques failed in the marketplace. They were found unduly burdensome to legitimate customers, and criminals were easily able to thwart them. The copyright laws are already being contested on the Internet. The Church of Scientology won a federal order to seize computers from a disgruntled former member after he posted copyrighted church documents and legal filings on the Internet. Elvis Presley's estate was upset to find an Internet site with his photographs and lyrics. The Florida Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee is lobbying and using public education to try to keep information from being choked by the copyright law. "Librarians feel it's their professional responsibility to interpret this law liberally for the reader," said Lawrence Miller, chairman of the committee and director of university libraries for Florida International University. "Whereas there should be respect for intellectual property, we would want to make sure there's no unwarranted intrusion into freedom of information." Meanwhile, the publishing, entertainment, banking, retailing and communications industries are rushing headlong toward the information superhighway, all the while wondering who will figure out a way to protect what they put there. Peretz said the free market should be able to resolve the tension, because it's in everybody's best interest to do so. "If the producers can't profit from creating this intellectual property, there won't be anything produced," he said. On the other hand, "the publishers have the incentive not to go overboard in the controls so they won't kill it."


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