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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Defend Fair Use Initiative

Defend Fair Use is a new website by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which is backed by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others. “Fair use” is a law concept in the US allowing you to copy and remix smaller parts of any media, whether you own the rights to it or not. “Tell us what you think about Fair Use - We will gather all comments into a complete record, submit them to the Commission and demand action on behalf of everyone who ever bought something with an exaggerated copyright notice,” the site (which bars a © sign instead of a friendlier Creative Commons license) proclaims.

What’s ironic is that the three aforementioned tech players backing the campaign worked with “Digital Rights Management” technology before which harms the fair use rights of consumers. Yahoo Lyrics for instance won’t allow you to copy even a single sentence of the lyrics results to your clipboard. Google Video was DRM’ing the videos you paid to own (you do, in fact, not own them, and Google announced they will stop allowing you to play them in the future, giving you a refund instead). And Microsoft was misleading their users by branding video restriction software under the name “plays for sure.”

The extended copyright warnings preceding much of today’s media content, one of the main targets of the Defend Fair Use initiative, are ridiculous of course and worth attacking. Which car owner sitting down in their car to start driving would want to be forced to watch through a 15 seconds or so movie clip telling them it’s bad to steal a car?

[Via Search Engine Land.]


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