Thursday, October 26, 2017

DMCA, DRM, and the destruction of creativity and human rights

The courts are overdue striking down the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It has been the most destructive impediment to human rights and modern culture ever passed into US law in my generation, and it has created an outrageously out-of-control monster of the entire entertainment industry. I don't see how its excesses can be corrected without breaking up most corporations in the entertainment industry. If our courts won't strike it down, then our legislature must replace it.

Copyright law is supposed to reward those who create, but instead, it throttles creativity as it rewards corporations that continually push the limits on how debased our culture can get. Media companies strangle creativity by enforcing lowest-common-denominator principles that put short-term profitable fads over enduring artistic endeavors. Culture, art, and short-term corporate profits are mutually exclusive.

I want to see new copyright laws that focus primarily on protecting authors and artists from the creativity-crushing media corporations. Media corporations should not be allowed to own copyrights. The corporate ownership of copyrights conflicts with the public interest. Only individuals who create, and possibly limited partnerships representing groups of people who create should ever be allowed to own copyrights, and copyright restrictions should die a natural death with the creator(s) of the content, with only a short (20-year) extension provided for the estate of a creator who dies prematurely. All other corporate entities must license such rights from those who create media content via short-term (5 to 10-year) contracts that must be periodically renewed.

I don't have the same definition of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) software that is generally understood by most people. In my mind, its a synonym for all Government-backed Corporate theft that is perpetrated on innocent citizens via software.

DRM is the legally protected malware that preemptively deletes files from your computer that you may have paid hundreds of dollars and spent thousands of hours to acquire on the theory that everyone is guilty until proven innocent if a bit of software code mistakes your files for something owned by one of those big out-of-control corporations that published it or something similar to it.

DRM is the robo-sheriff that steals from the poor and gives to the rich, but cannot be held responsible for any personal property it might destroy in the process.

DRM is the software that marks the video of your baby's first steps the property of a pop singer whose music might be playing in the background, but cannot be distinguished from normal background noise by any human ear, yet it makes mothers spend thousands of dollars and risk punitive civil court fees if they go to court to get their home movies back.

DRM is the software that takes down original performances of music written in the 1800s and if the takedown notice is successfully disputed, automated software issues a new take-down notice within a few hours, starving the legitimate owner of any benefit of his creation with impunity. Even then, if it is eventually restored, it is likely that the artist's royalties will be diverted to some wealthy music company with no legitimate claim to the work that is too big to fear your warnings they may be sued, because it's cheaper for them to use more automated software to shut down their detractors than it is for them to pay attention to individuals fighting their Government-protected piracy.

DRM is the way in which big corporations can encode rules into software that could never be legislated because they would violate the US Constitution. DRM is legislation by the rich that by-passes the legislative process and all accountability to the public on whom it enforces its actions.

DRM is the software that can get you put in jail just for tampering with it when it glitches, regardless of whether that tampering actually stops a big corporation from stealing from you.

DRM is how wealthy corporations pirate the royalties earned by individuals who post their work on YouTube just by making false claims of ownership that the law makes nearly impossible for individuals to be able to afford to dispute.

DRM is how wealthy corporations can ignore the expiration of copyright dates and still demand payment for something they no longer own.

DRM is how wealthy corporations can penalize people for making fair use of copyrighted material in violation of the principle that all information belongs to the public, and that copyrights exist ONLY as a temporary and narrowly limited exception to that principle.

Software should never be a substitute for law-enforcement, but until this travesty of human rights has been dismantled, its victims must be compensated lavishly for every property rights violation it commits with all property fully restored or compensated at several times the cost of any damaged equipment and license fees paid plus punitive damages for the destruction of personal recordings (sounds, pictures, and other media) that cannot be replaced, with the burden of proof and all technical and legal fees placed entirely on the publisher of the offending DRM software.

Information is NEVER ANYONE's property. It can only be leased for a short time from the public domain.

Wow. Now I think I should post an equally long response to what I just said with all the court records that back up my comments. I have all that documentation filed, but legal citations break all the normal citation rules, and I spend hours fighting with my software to get it to properly cite laws and court decisions. Still, as always, I maintain documentation of every claim I post, so if anyone wants the citations, I'll be happy to look them up for anyone who posts a question.

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