Feeds

Grateful Dead lyricist lambasts DMCA

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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... ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.