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Submission from Ryan McDougall received on July 30, 2001 10:52 PM via e-mail

Subject: Maintaining a balance between private and public concern

Maintaining a balance between private and public concern

     The concept of represenational government has evolved from the pragmatic reality that Direct democracy is organizationally impossible, therefore we elect people to represent our values in government -- we can't be there ourselves. However we can and must demand that our elected officials repsect our wants and rights, failure to do so will undoubtably lead to a withdrawl of the mandate of executive power:

      While goverments have always been suseptible to corruption and private interest, the increasing volumne of cash needed to buy victory on election day has never made this problem more glaring. The latest manifestation of private interest in public affairs can be seen in the WIPO treaty and its resultant incarations in law, such as the notorious DMCA. These onoerous and unproven ) new laws have, under the guise of "new" technology, given sway to large multi-national media conglomorates such as the MPAA and RIAA who often dont actually represent the people who produce their copyright ) in unbalancing copyright law out of public favor.

      Specifically, "anti-circumvention" clauses in the WIPO treaty effectivly regulate Thought Crimes, since they dont actually prevent copyright abuses which are already illegal ), but rather prevent creation of 'devices' which may have perfectly legitimate or even previously protected uses. Much like the analogue "circumvention" devices like a VCR or Xerox machine -- while they may be used to abuse copyright, they have PROTECTED uses under the doctrine of Fair Use. There is no difference: a Pirate is a Pirate, and a Device is a Device; the internet as a "new thing" is simply a tool to change laws while the public doesnt yet understand the technology well enough.

      For a specific examples I refer you to the cases of "MPAA v.", "USA v. Dimitri Sklarov" and "Prof. Felten v. RIAA", for researching impact of WIPO treaty codification via DMCA.
Show how the RIAA has effectivly limited 1st amendment protection for computer Source Code and Journalistic Exemptions, set precident on Liablity on Hyperlinking to injoined information, etc. With regards to DeCSS: a utility which does not contravene copyright, rather circumvents some pretty weak encryption. ( It was written by a 15 year old )
Two cases where the DMCA has/is/will be effectivly used to stifle *legitimate* academic research -- unless the Supreme Court rules the DMCA unconstitutional.
For general research about the current abuses of the DMCA.

      Also, you specifically mention your primary stated goal for ammending the Copyright Act was to encourage the sharing of digital material over ICTs ( Internet ), yet the DMCA has allowed large media congolmerates to persue digital policies so onerous that I and many other refuse to purchase digital books, movies, or music; or worse yet to pirate them. So heavy handed laws in other jurisdictions are having the opposite affect that of your stated purpose!

      Please, dont listen to me, or the media giants. Instead do the research on other countries' failures implementing WIPO, and remember your mandate comes directly from the public, and not special interest groups. And know, that as people and society mature with the technology, there will come a day when people realize that their rights have been sold up the river, and when that day comes it will not be pretty...

      Thankyou for your time, and I greatly hope to submit further to the democratic process! Yours Truly,

      Ryan McDougall

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