CEA ANNOUNCES DECLARATION OF INNOVATION INDEPENDENCE
Presents Six Principles to Guide Intellectual Property Debate
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) issued today [Mar 16] a Declaration
of Innovation Independence. The document provides a series of
principles to ensure that fair use, home recording rights and
innovation are protected in legislative, judicial and regulatory
debates regarding the protection of intellectual property (IP)).
"For too long, the content community has been allowed to define the
terms of the IP debate. Today we reassert our independence," said CEA
President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We reassert our independence from the
content community’s stranglehold on determining the language of the
debate. We reassert our independence to counter their efforts to
inhibit the democratization of creativity enabled by digital
technology. And we reassert our independence to ensure that legal
activities conducted by consumers remain legal and are not inaccurately
labeled as ‘piracy.’ The principles we present today are designed to
protect the critical American values of innovation and creativity while
preserving basic consumer rights."
I know I’m a little late on this one, but I haven’t seen much on it yet. It does have implications for the library world to say the least. I imagine Walt will probably have something intelligent to say on it. Go read the whole press release. It’s short. So is the accompanying article in their house organ, Vision, Our Declaration of Technology and Independence. This is actually better than the press release.
WHEREAS, The Supreme Court in 1984 held that it is legal under the copyright law
to sell a product if the product has substantial non-infringing uses.
This Betamax holding paved the way for the introduction of revolutionary technologies
enabling recording, storage and shifting of content in time and space without
the prior permission of the copyright holders.
Technologies such as MP3 encoding, the PC, the Internet and digital and audio
recorders have supported a creative renaissance that has enriched the content
community, empowered consumers and helped establish the United States as the world’s
Our nation attracts the world’s smartest and most innovative people because
our society embraces and encourages entrepreneurship. Our nation of immigrants
has created the world’s largest technologies and communication systems.
Currently, our leadership in innovation is being threatened by the content industry’s
misguided attempts to protect intellectual property.
The recording and motion picture industries have often resisted, opposed or sought
to stifle new technologies and products, despite the fact that these technologies
transform markets and create new avenues for profitable content creation and distribution.
The influential content lobby has in many respects shaped the current state of
copyright law. Copyright terms have been unreasonably extended so that the reporting
of history itself is subject to permission. Makers of pioneering technologies
are now routinely subject to expensive and time-consuming lawsuits that discourage
innovation and impede U.S. companies from competing globally.
Moreover, false equations have been drawn between intellectual property and real
property, noncommercial home recording and commercial piracy, and national creativity
and sales of particular products and formats, such as CDs.
THEREFORE, as Americans concerned about preserving our rights of freedom of expression
and striving to be leaders in advancing creativity, and who understand that new
technologies promote and enhance creativity, communication and our national welfare,
we hereby ask policymakers to:
Recognize that our founders instituted copyright law to promote creation, innovation
and culture rather than to maximize copyright holders’ profits, and that
it can do this only if new technologies are not stifled and fair use rights are
Reaffirm the Betamax holding that a product is legal if it has significant legal
Resist pleas by big content aggregators for new laws, causes of action, liabilities
and ways to discourage new product introductions;
Re-establish the fundamental rights of consumers to time-shift, place-shift and
make backup copies of lawfully acquired content, and use that content on a platform
of their choice;
Re-examine the length of the copyright term and explore avenues for content to
be reliably available for creative endeavors, scholarship, education, history,
documentaries and innovation benefiting society at large; and
Realize that our nation’s creativity arises from a remarkable citizenry
whose individuality, passion, belief in the American dream and desire to improve
should not be shackled by laws that restrict creativity.
I know that there must be some sort of down-side to the hardware manufacturers taking on the content providers in the fight over fair use, but I sure can’t think of one off the top of my head! I just can’t help thinking how conflicted Sony must be. HeHeHe!
The Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF), the American Conservative Union (ACU), the Home
Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC) and the American Library Association
(ALA) are all co-sponsors.
Even Lessig doesn’t have anything in his blog…? Guess I’ll check EFF and ALA. Be right back.
Wow, and double wow! Nothing that I could see at either
organization in their press rooms. I really wish I wasn’t so burnt out
at the far end of Spring Break because maybe I could say something
interesting. Oh well. I really do hope that Walt writes something
about this. Maybe I’ll just be gutsy and email him. I checked his
‘blog’ too, subscribed while there.
I believe I found out about this from Intellectual Freedom news /
IFACTION Digest 1256. Not sure how broadly this is distributed, or if it is completely local to us, but we get it frequently on our Announcements bulletin board. They pointed to this article,
but I decided to go to the CEA site from there. I actually get much
of the sources I blog about from the links in IFACTION Digest.
This seems a very balanced declaration. If you actually read and
think about its claims you can see that they actually understand some
very real nuances of the debate. I used to be a lot more invested
(intellectually; I have been fiscally for several decades now) in the
consumer electronics industry, but I have thought for a long while that
they had abandoned me. Sure, they wanted me to buy their newest and
best products but that was all they wanted. They really didn’t seem to
care what they were giving me for my money either. Then, often lately,
it seemed as if they were in cahoots with content providers as to how I
could use the products of my culture. Bless their hearts! And Thank
You! Now start making the kinds of products I actually want. You know
I will give you money for good products that do a few things
exceedingly well. Take it easy on the convergence, will you? Sure,
make all the converged products you want and can sell. Just make some
non-converged and I guarantee they will sell too.
Well, I haven’t really said anything particularly intelligent here
regarding the possible implications of this declaration for libraries,
but I hope to discuss it with some intelligent library-types at ACRL in
As a final comment [in this post anyway] I absolutely love this
sentence, "Copyright terms have been unreasonably extended so that the
reporting of history itself is subject to permission."