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What about My Copy Rights? Towards a declaration of digital independence.

David Berlind continues to fight the good fight against DRM, the digital lard clogging up the arteries of our digital lifestyle. Big media calls it Digital Rights Management. Berlind dubs it Digital Restrictions Management.
 
Bill de Hora expands on a theme, “non-interoperability by design”, called out by Russ Beattie, home media in complete chaos. How come none of my digital devices work together?
 
David clearly understands the importance of language in making an argument. Rhetoric and framing require strong simple images to fall back on. So where do we go from here? 
 
It strikes me that the keystone of a consumer argument for reducing technical encumberences, to take the fat out of our digital lifestyles, is Fair Use.
 
Why not appropriate the language of Copyright, by reappropriating the meaning of a phrase? By paying an artist or rights holder we must have some rights in turn.
 
We need a declaration of content and service independence: A Declaration of Copy Rights.
 
Think about it. Why don’t we have any copy rights? Why do we allow content taxation without representation? Technical encumberences are effectively taxes on our commonwealth. Isn’t listening to music one of the most important elements of any pursuit of happiness?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So lets throw off the shackles of the DMCA. However, if we do throw off such government, what are the “new Guards for their future security”? One obvious mechanism is the creative commons license. The genius of Lessig is to realise that it is not sufficient to try and knock down copyright and intellectual property protections. No jury or business will buy a purely negative argument. You need to put forward an alternative.
 
We as a community must offer “alternative Guards”. 
 
Any contract though must have two parties, whatever the one way vehicle the DMCA may allow.
 
The notion a service or content provider can use listening to licensed music as a justification for installing a user agreement via trojan horse has just been nixed by the good Mr Spitzer, just a few months after slamming Sony’s payola practices. Thanks Eliot. the GPL is another example of a positive framework for intellectual property protection, rather the a negative complaint.
 
So…
 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people that pay for digital content are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Copy Rights, that among these are the right to play licensed content on any device, to backup said content as the licensee sees fit, and the pursuit of digital happiness. That to secure these rights, social contracts are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of those that pay. That whenever any Form of content protection becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new protections, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Digital Freedom and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Fair Use, long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Digital Rights Management, a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Digital Restrictions, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Big Media as George III: scope creep and top down law making by lobbyists and major corporations….

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

That sounds something like the DMCA, which underpins tieing arrangements by copyright and technology holders, doesn’t it? DMCA enlarges the boundaries of copyright protection far beyond their original intentions.

If anyone out there likes the idea of a call for Copy Rights, then let me know or blog about it or whatever. If the snowball rolls downhill then we can perhaps formalise a declaration of some kind, rather than the (slightly humourous) placeholder above.

 

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4 Responses

  1. Good stuff, james.

    Jon HusbandJanuary 16, 2006 @ 6:35 pmReply
  2. Yes! I agree that we have a right to share, and a right that it be presumed that we wish to share, unless we make clear otherwise. In other words, Public Domain except as noted. So I have set up http://www.ethicalpublicdomain.org I think it’s great that you note these are constitutional rights, they are implicit in the fact that the Constitution explicitly allows for limited copyright (so that must be balancing an unspoken right that we have) as David Weinberger pointed out, which is how I found you. Peace.

  3. do you guys have a play script about declaration of independence?
    if you do can you post it before june4,2006
    THANKS-YOU!!!!!!=]=]=]=]=]=]=]=]=]



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Digital Rights (Mis)Management

    Hmmm… this person may be onto something here.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people that pay for digital content are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Copy Rights, that among these are the right to p…