Feeds

Grateful Dead lyricist lambasts DMCA

It can only be EFF co-founder Barlow...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow has denounced the Digital Millenium Copyright Act as likely to turn the Internet into an information desert. Speaking at the RSA Security Conference 2002, in a session entitled "Copyright or Copy Wrong: Digital Millennium Copyright Act Examined," Barlow used the example of the Dead's approach to copyright to illustrate how the free flow of content did not necessarily choke off content availability.

Or indeed lead to anarchy, communism, the end of the world and very poor record companies (although he might agree that last one could be a good thing). One of the weird things about the Dead was that they positively encouraged fans to tape their concerts and share the tapes around, so in that sense they provided an early blueprint for some of the more radical ideas that are kicking around today. And in some other senses, if Barlow were not an EFF founder, aspects of the EFF would still be kind of 'based on an idea by...'

The Register however has no recollection of being positively encouraged to share tapes of Dead records around, and indeed remembers having to save up what at the time a king's ransom for the vinyl of Europe 72 live. Barlow's point that you can share without stifling its availability may or may not be supported by this, depnding on your point of view. You could argue that we're now in a different world, where the relatively clear-cut difference between live and studio (or packaged) material doesn't exist as it did in the Dead's time. Or you could argue that Linux distributors are actually doing something similar by building on something that's freely-available. If nothing else, the argument that you can still make money out of it will cheer them up.

Barlow argues that it's a matter of ethics, that Dead fans didn't sell the bootleg tapes the Dead encouraged because they were encouraged. But maybe it was because they were free, and therefore there wasn't a market price, or maybe it was just because they were hippy weirdos. In any event, there were the beginnings of a revolutionary idea in there, and it's one that becomes more revolutionary when it comes to new media. You can find out more about Barlow, his career and his thinking here. But if you want Dead lyrics jokes, as only two people noticed last time we did it, this time we're not going to even draw. Shucks... ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.