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Copyrights and fair use

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The US government has ruled — several times — that consumers do not have the right to copy a digital product that they have legally purchased. Even though consumers do have a fair-use right to make an exact duplicate of non-digital material.

This strikes me as yet another way in which the media industry is hurting itself far more than it is helping. Yes, there are pirates, and both the industry and the government is well within it’s rights to pursue those pirates, but most people are not pirates.

The current mindset of the industry seems to be to treat all consumers as potential pirates (which kind of makes me think of that college back in the nineties that listed all male students as the total list of potential rapists on campus). Whatever happened to innocent until proven? Most people I know don’t want to make a copy of The Matrix to watch on the road as well as at home, but quite a few of them want to be able to copy their CDs onto an mp3 player before they go out for a run.

This is definitely one of the places where I think both the music and film industries are making a huge mistake.

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