04 Feb 2001

Software Keeps Music Free

Last month I spoke at the Future of Music Policy Summit in Washington, DC, where an unusually broad array of participants in all sides of the digital music controversy came together within shouting distance of the Congress. Most of what I had to say in my own public remarks concerned an issue primarily important in the US: the fate of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its prohibition on “circumvention” of access control technology that prevents fair use of digital multimedia. The DMCA has had international effects, to be sure, including the prosecution of a Norwegian, Jon Johansen, for his involvement in helping to build a Linux-based DVD player, about which I have written in this space before. But the Summit made me think more about other, less local aspects of the relationship between free software and the transformation of multimedia content distribution, and about the death of the recording industry in particular.

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