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August 04, 2004
DMCA Executioner Strikes Again, Prepares for Next Victims
WIRED reports that 321 Studios has closed it doors thanks to multiple DMCA lawsuits and injunctions against it (321 Studios Shuts Its Doors). From 321's website:
Thank you for visiting 321 Studios. 321 Studios regrets to inform you that it has ceased business operations including, but not limited to, the sale, support and promotion of our products. Despite 321 Studios best efforts to remain in business, injunctions entered against 321 Studios by three US Federal courts earlier this year has resulted in 321 Studios no longer being able to continue operating the business.
The company had been most famous for selling DVD backup software. [via We the Media
C|Net News has an even more distressing report on the future of open source software (Linux, digital rights on collision course). Martin Fink is the Vice-President of Linux for Hewlett-Packard and responsible for the Linux and Open Source strategy across the entire company. From the article,
Right now there is a risk that DRM adoption will lock out Linux and open-source software, Fink said. "Unfortunately, DRM and open-source software are today largely incompatible because of an extension to copyright law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," Fink said.
Critics of the DMCA have been saying this ever since the seriously flawed bill was passed. Of course, I wonder how Fink feels about working for a company whose president declared fealty to DRM and the DMCA earlier this year (HP Goes Off the Rails
Tim Wu continues his guest blogging on Lessig's blog with a post about the lack of controversy regarding adding the DMCA and copyright term extension to international treaties (The DMCA: Not controversial). The complaint is that the DMCA and term extension are not seen as controversial. Here are two of the reasons for this:
First, there is public choice theory. For example, the interests of the copyright cartels are concentrated and relatively easy to coordinate, while the opposition's interests are diffuse. Moreover, our politics are tilted to favor the business interests of the large media conglomerates. For too many reasons to go into here, fighting the copyright cartels is naturally going to be an uphill battle.
Second, those involved in these negotiations are well aware of the controversy, but they don't care. For example, the intellectual property negotiations for FTAs include representatives of the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office likes the DMCA. Heck, the Copyright Office supports the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, née INDUCE Act) and even wants Congress to overturn the Sony decision (Copyright Office on INDUCE Act (IICA): It isn't Strong Enough). Despite calling to make the next generation of VCRs illegal, Mary Beth Peters, Register of Copyrights, still has her job.
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