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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @
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August 03, 2004

A Copyright Fable Relevant to the INDUCE Act (IICA) and Other News

Posted by Ernest Miller

Andrew "Werdna" Greenberg is the Vice-Chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee for the IEEE, and he testified about the Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, née INDUCE Act) during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing (Protecting Innovation and Art while Preventing Piracy). A summary of his testimony here: Shredding the INDUCE Act (IICA) - CEA, IEEE-USA, NetCoalition.

I only recently discovered that Greenberg has a blog, Hacking the Law (motto: The world through the eyes of a technologist turned lawyer). The posts are infrequent, but that is what RSS is for. Anyway, last May, he posted a fable that seems rather prescient now that the INDUCE Act has been introduced (The Luddite's Lawyer and the Perils of Technology Regulation). Here is but a small sampling:

"First, you paint," said the lawyer [to the Luddite], turning a knowing smile. "Then, I write writs."

Confused, but trustful, the Luddite painted. He painted furiously. He painted from his heart and soul. He painted with his all, trying to express how the machines have ruined us. Alas, he was no artist.

The Luddite bowed his head in dismay. Despite his passions, the works were vapid, dull and derivative. He knew this at once. Every theme, every motif, every stroke came from the far more enlightened works of those who have come before him. Every idea embodied in the work was that of another.

"That does not matter," said the Lawyer. "All of that may be true, but these works are original, at least in the technical sense of originating from you. Since you have put them on that canvas yourself, we have done what we set out to do."

A work of original authorship was fixed in tangible media. A copyright was born.

The Luddite's lawyer wrote writs. He sued machines. He sued the makers of the machines, and he sued the sellers of the machines. He sued and served them all.

Read the whole thing.

In other INDUCE Act news...

EFF has written a letter to the Senate that argues in favor of business solutions to the filesharing problem, not new legislation (EFF's Letter to United State Senators). Actually, I think we need both. Not the INDUCE Act, of course, but I don't think we can really solve the filesharing problem without fixing copyright law, which (it is increasingly obvious) is broken.

An eWeek column calls for more lobbying coordination by the tech industry (IT Advocacy Group Still Needed). He has a point. I haven't even found a website for the new Personal Technology Freedom Coalition that was founded last June. Come on guys, you should be doing better than that.

Want to know more about the INDUCE Act?
Please see LawMeme's well-organized index to everything I've written on the topic: The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: INDUCE Act


COMMENTS

1. Alexander Wehr on August 4, 2004 05:16 AM writes...

Well, we are apparently in league with binladen now if we use p2p networks!

the DOJ is trying to label us as "OVERSEAS TERRORISTS" so they can misuse the patriot act on behalf of large copyright industry groups.

Permalink to Comment

2. tatere on August 5, 2004 03:57 AM writes...

Werdna's posted the sequel to the fable:

The Luddite's Lawyer and the Circumvention of Progress

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