Ever since Obama picked Joe Biden as his VP, it was clear what his administration's default stance on copyright issues would be. If you wonder why I say that, https://www.google.com/search?q=joe+biden+copyright provides lots of starting places to learn more.
Am I the only one around here who actually researches the candidates that I'm presented with to see what they think about issues that I care about? I thought (and still do) that Obama was the lesser of 2 evils both times. But I'm well aware that I do not agree with this administration on a number of issues, and copyright is one of them.
The US copyright law has been dictated by the media industry for a long time in something akin to regulatory capture. Their lobbyists and lawyers literally write the law. A revolving door sees former senators heading to cushy jobs at the MPAA pass RIAA litigators headed to the Copyright Office.
This is why the failure of SOPA was so shocking to the political and media establishment. Instead of the general public being fleeced for a few extra dollars every time they bought a movie or album, large businesses like Google had billions of dollars at stake and they wanted their interests to be taken into account.
My point was that this is obvious to anyone who does a little research. Therefore seeing the government serving copyright-holders' interests is no surprise.
There would have been few you could pick that would have made me less happy than Biden. Unfortunately two on that short list are Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan.
As events since have shown, awareness is still spreading.
In other words, a typical Mike Masnick piece. I do not understand why anyone takes Techdirt seriously.
"Two out of the three publishers are foreign publishing giants"
"funding some foreign publishers"
"supporting foreign publishers"
"Two out of the three publishers are foreign publishing giants..."
Fair use is decided by a judge; there is no specific rule about it. You have no better understanding of how fair use "works" than the author of the article does, because two seemingly identical actions can diverge on fair use.
The real problem here is that we have a President whose administration thinks a university is doing something wrong by making information available to its students using the best resources it has at its disposal. Yet somehow, mass numbers of the university students I encountered last fall were campaigning for that President and his administration...
The xenophobia comes from the several needless mentions of the fact that some of the publishers are foreign owned.
The conspiracy theory stuff comes from the part about someone who once worked for the RIAA now being at the Copyright Office. If you follow the links, you find that the former RIAA person was a litigator for the RIAA. Yawn. Litigators are the hired guns of the legal profession. You can't tell much about a litigator's views on policy issues from who they have litigated for.
Before the RIAA, she was a litigator at a private firm. Before that she worked at the DOJ working on civil rights cases. Before that she was a clerk for a Court of Appeal judge. Before that she was editor of the Columbia Law Review.
The main reasons a litigator would typically jump from a private law firm to an in-house position would be (1) more frequent or challenging cases, and (2) money.
This is a frequent misunderstanding...and one that seems to keep escaping TechDirt writers over the years. "Fair" in this case does not mean "noble"...as in, "well, educating inner-city schoolkids is noble, so it's OK for me to torrent the latest Harry Potter movie as part of our fiction reading unit."
That may be indeed a noble use, and I bet you could get any number of people/companies to donate you the DVD for it, but it's not a "fair use."
Also, usually, xenophobia is directed at people, not companies. But I suppose that can be a blurry distinction where law is concerned :) You are quite fair to point out that we don't know exactly what they will say yet. Ironically, when we do know, it will be far too late for outrage to change things.
Finally, I should point out that way back at the start of Obama's administration, there was an influx of litigators going from the RIAA to the DOJ. I believe you can find posts by one Ray Beckerman on that subject if you look for them and people have been noticing a trend ever since. I think people became more sensitive to the politics of hiring people at the DOJ after all the Bush-era controversies over that.
EDIT: Found one of the articles. Here's a post about that issue from 2009 -
From that article: "[Ed. note. I now know of 6 RIAA lawyers who have joined the Justice Department under the new administration. Under the law, these lawyers are all recused from involvement in any matter involving the RIAA or EMI, Vivendi Universal, SONY BMG, or Warner Bros Records. -R.B.]"
(the OP links to here:)
> Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
It appears to me that the OP is misreading the law. From what I can tell, the law says that if a copy/reproduction of a work is fair use...including for classroom purposes...then it is not an infringement of copyright.
The OP interprets this as: "If something is reproduced for classroom use, then it is fair use"
That is not at all correct. Check out this primer about fair use and education:
The short summary of it is: You can't just copy whatever you want for purposes of teaching and assume that it is "fair use".
Maybe someone more well-versed in the law can correct me, but from what I can tell (I've had some education in this, but not a formal law degree), the OP is quite a bit wrong in his assumptions.
Incidentally, there are many sets of guidelines like the one you cite. Here are a couple others:
I'm not saying that it's easy to define fair use. I'm saying the OP seems to have a dishonest reading of the law if he's trying to assert that "fair use" means academia can reproduce copyrighted work and consider it "fair" because it's for educational purposes. That is completely missing the entire concept of "fair use".
In any scenario where a teacher was copying educational materials for a class, I would have a hard time seeing it as anything but fair use barring unusual circumstances. Which was, I think, the point they were trying to make.
What copyright reform needs is someone with deep enough pockets to be able to b̶r̶i̶b̶e̶ lobby politicians effectively. Or perhaps a general public that understands and cares about the issue...
What copyright reform needs is better software and a healthy mocking of those who think supporting a cartel is hip when it involves iToys.
Right there is the issue and America is going to continue to get ridiculous laws while the lobby system exists.
Clearly such actions are not fair use.