Re: Fundamental reform of (C) (Fwd)

From: <johnl[_at_]>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 96 07:56:23 -0400

On 09/20/96, mch[_at_] (Mike Holderness) said:
> 2) Clear definition of privileged uses which attract lower
> charges to be met from taxes -- this to be justified to
> tax-cutters as the cost to society at large of avoiding the
> much larger future costs associated with the creation of an
> "information underclass". The model is the Public Lending
> Right payments to authors for use of material in public
> libraries in (e.g.) Germany and the UK.
> On (2): I have not yet thought of a better definition of a priviliged
> use than use *on the physical premises of* a school, university,
> health centre, courthouse, or public library.

With due apologies to my academic friends, I am very concerned with proposals that separate out some groups as "the groups that ought be able to get copyrighted materials for less" based on existing institutional structures.

Though I grant that academics and libraries have the characteristics of being concerned with knowledge in a less commercial way and being poor (should I say "financially challenged"<g>), I am troubled.

It seems to me such a proposal cuts against two items:

  1. The core problem is in the structure and theory of copyright. Excusing some groups from the implications of that structure and theory lessens the impetus for what is really needed, in my opinion, -- basic reform.
  2. The internet, as you noted, creates a broader need for dissemination/availability of information, and consequent copyright tangles. When I can, for $6 a month put up my own web site, declaiming the need for political action to eliminate the wearing of neckties, or explicating the meaning of Kiowa spear notches, are libraries and the other groups you mentioned really different in their function than I? Why should a library be excused from paying high copyright fees on the seminal 1906 work on Kiowa spears, but not I, for use on my web site?


John Lederer

Oregon, Wisconsin
(Where the citizens are deeply troubled over the cultural implications of the town's first stoplight) Received on Mon Sep 23 1996 - 13:08:16 GMT

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