E-books and ‘the international whisper campaign against fair use’—plus millions in lobbying fees from PW owner Reed Elsevier
April 7, 2008 | 12:16 pm
Even now, it’s illegal in the U.S. to bypass DRM to convert e-books to another format, thanks to the current DMCA. Hollywood owned the Clinton administration, lock, stock and barrel, along with many in Congress, of both parties; and, yes, employees of certain publishing-related companies also have donated to politicians. What’s more, Reed Elsevier, Inc., current owner of Publishers Weekly, appears to have spent at least several million on lobbying fees in the States in the 2007 election cycle. Shown here is Hilary Rosen, ex-RIAA CEO, who, in her heyday, fought for the DMCA and other gems with the recording industry in mind.
Could things get still worse in e-bookdom, music and other areas? Techdirt and Google lawyer William Patry have the details on the copyright lobby’s use of treaties as a way to make U.S. laws even more anti-consumerish than they already are. Furthermore, remember—the issue with fair use isn’t just the ability to copy material, per se. It’s also free expression. Simply put, fair use is part of what makes America America. While it’s important for writers and others to be paid, the copyright interests are eager to go overboard, often with corporate earnings in mind rather than the welfare of individual creators.
Related: Sometimes you should just assume that fair use doesn’t exist, from a young law school grad named Mona Ibrahim. Agree with her conclusions? Some might say that the “just assume” approach weakens fair use. On the other hand, what to do when you lack resources for extensive help?