July 18, 2002

We are the stakeholders

This is a version of the "We are the stakeholders" pamphlet fair use advocates distributed at a U.S. Department of Commerce workshop on digital rights management Wednesday.
Our stake is all the home and small business computers that we own and the
free use we make of our computers.

Today, many people have a personal computer at home. Usually this computer
is connected to the Internet, and is used to send and receive mail, to surf
the Web, to listen to music, to find information, to do many things, and
even, sometimes, to play movies.

Today your home computer, the computer that you bought and paid for, is
under your control. Today no one is watching you when you use it. No
publisher, no secret police, no operating system company. If you bought
and paid for your computer, then in the privacy of your home you may do all
these things:

1. You may buy a copy of a movie recorded on DVD. You may watch this movie
whenever you please. You may make copies of this movie, some of which
may be exact copies, others of which may be variant copies.

2. You may buy a copy of music recorded on CD or DVD. You may play this
music whenever you please. You may make copies of this music, some of
which may be exact copies, others of which may be variant copies.

3. You may sample and fuse and intermix many different strands of movie and
music and text. You may play what you have made at private parties in
your house.

4. You may have a personal web page whose content you create using your
computer. You may manage your website using whatever tools you please.

5. You may install an operating system different from the one the computer
came with. This operating system might be one you downloaded off the
net. You may use this operating system to connect to the Net, and you
may freely send your work to others on the Net, as they can send their
stuff to you. If the system is a GNU/Linux or free BSD system, you may
look at all the source code of this operating system. If you can
program, you may modify the operating system by rewriting parts of it,
or adding to it, or removing parts of it. If you choose, you may share
your work with others by placing copies of your code on a website, or by
emailing copies to other people. In turn, other people may modify your
work. Groups of programmers and users may freely work together to
improve certain programs, or to learn about computers, or even just to
make art.

6. Without asking permission of anyone, you may modify the hardware of your
computer, and you may sell the resulting modified computer.

Note: Today part of the legal infrastructure for DRM is already in place.
In 1998 A law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed by the
Congress of the United States and signed into law. The DMCA makes illegal
some acts falling under 1 through 6 above. But so far, in practice, the
great majority of people in the world today may do everything in 1 to 6
without fear of suits at law nor fear of criminal prosecution. A few
people and companies have been sued or prosecuted under the DMCA for doing
things that before passage of the DMCA were not only reasonable to do, but
legal as well. For what full enforcement of DMCA would do see the note:

http://www.panix.com/~jays/why.the.dmca.must.be.repealed

Here is our position as stakeholders today:

Today, once we have bought a computer, we are the full owners of that
computer. We may freely use it in the privacy of our house to do many
things, some listed above. We may also freely use the Net to send our
works privately to others, and also to openly publish our works. We may
use our computers and we may use the Net for our own personal objectives,
and for our business purposes. And businesses may use their computers and
the Net for their partly public and partly private purposes.

DRM is theft.

The first question we must answer is "What is DRM?". DRM is the legal,
contractual, economic, hardware, and software infrastructure designed and
intended by a loose alliance of cartels and monopolies to take away your
right to own and privately use a computer. No full DRM exists in the world
today, though pieces of DRM have been successfully enacted into law and
tiny bits of DRM hardware and software have been placed in some home movie
playing and recording devices. Every single piece of DRM is meant to help
attain the objective of the anti-ownership alliance: to get control of
every personal computer in the world.

In a world under DRM, what becomes of the six freedoms we today enjoy?

1. You may still buy a copy of a movie recorded on DVD. But there will be
fewer movies available on DVD. You may not watch this movie
whenever you please, at least not without paying a fee every time you
watch. The movie may expire and you may have to buy another copy. You
may not make any copies of this movie.

2. You may still buy a copy of music recorded on CD or DVD. But there will
be less music available on CD or DVD. You may not play this
music whenever you please, at least not without paying a fee every time
you listen. The music may expire and you may have to buy another copy.
You may not make any copies of this music.

3. You may not sample and fuse and intermix many different strands of movie
and music and text. Since you will not be able to make mixes, you will
not be able to play mixes at private parties in your house.

4. You must get a license to have a personal web page whose content you
create using your computer. You must get a special license to create
music or movies. You may not manage your website using what tools you
please, but are required to use only tools you have a license for.

5. You may not install an operating system different from the one the
computer came with. Installing a different operating system is a
felony. No operating system is freely available on the Net. You may
use only the operating system that came installed on the computer to
connect to the Net. Use of any other operating system to connect to the
Net is a felony. Possession of a GNU/Linux or free BSD system is a
felony. All operating systems must be licensed by a joint
government-cartel-monopoly licensing body. You may not look at the
source code of any licensed operating system. You may not modify the
operating system in any way. You are not allowed to distribute by any
means any unlicensed program.

6. Modification of the hardware of any personal computer is a felony,
unless you do so as an employee of a cartel member or monopoly member of
the DRM alliance. Distribution of modified hardware is an even more
serious offense under DRM law.

Further, under DRM, every computer sold is required to contain special
hardware and software which:

1. spies on every keystroke

2. reports to the DRM alliance activities which the DRM alliance might not like

3. enables the DRM alliance to take direct control of your computer,
whether you want to hand your computer over or no.

DRM is theft. And it is theft on a grand scale. About one billion
personal computers have been sold over the past twenty years. The DRM
alliance proposes to take the next billion computers, and the billions after
that, away from us.

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