Ross Mayfield praises the Digital Consumer bill of rights, asserting the rights that consumers have had until recently. These include:
- The right to “time-shift” media (recording a TV show and watching it later).
- The right to “space-shift” media (copying a CD to a portable MP3 player).
- The right to make backup copies of your media.
This is a step in the right direction, and would be improved by going a step further.
We need a strong expression of “Fair Use”, including:
- Consumer fair use: “time-shift”, “space-shift”, and “back-up
- Creative fair use: the right to sample, quote, and recycle artistic ideas in the creation of new art
- Satiric fair use: the right to quote a work for the purposes of satire and parody
- Technical fair use: the right to take somthing apart to see how it works, in order to improve on it or interoperate with it
- Journalistic and academic fair use: the right to quote snippets for news, commentary, education and research
To my understanding (I’m not a lawyer), only the last item in the list is codified in the 1976 Copyright Act. Other cultural rights, which were a part of the balance in copyright law intended by the framers of the constitution, and were developed in US legal tradition, are being rapidly eroded by increasingly harsh laws that restrict the use and creation of culture.
Just as the Bill of Rights enshrined a core set of rights for citizens, the “Fair Use Bill of Rights” would enshrine a set of rights for consumers and creators of culture.
Please add items missing in the list, and correct errors of fact.