Digital Millennium Copyright Act protest at Stanford University

Stanford Law School, California, USA
May 18, 2000
Noon - 2 pm
(directions) [ ]

Sponsored by:

The Silicon Valley Linux Users Group [ ]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation [ ]
2600: The Hacker Quarterly [ ]
Peacefire [ ]

A second round of public hearings will be held on May 18-19 at Stanford University in California. It's safe to expect further protests from the politically active Linux user groups in that region. -- Rachel Chalmers

What is DMCA? The major copyright-holding industries (movies, music, and proprietary software) have quietly purchased a law from Congress that could be interpreted to ban legitimate fair use and reverse engineering of copyrighted works.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is not about banning "bootleg" copying and distribution of copyrignted movies, music, and software. That's already illegal. Companies like Disney, Mattel, and Microsoft bought DMCA from Congress because they want to ban some legitimate uses of copyrighted works that you paid for.

DMCA contains a provision that "prohibits circumvention of access control technologies employed by copyright owners to protect their works." What does that mean? The corporations say that DMCA makes activities like these illegal:

Every one of those activities has been threatened by copyright-holding companies, using the DMCA as a weapon. Our goal is to tell the US Copyright Office that the right to perform these activities and other legitimate uses of copyrighted works must be preserved.


Freedom-loving people who want to preserve the rights of users, not just copyright holders. People who value fair use and the right to reverse engineer for compatibility. Free software enthusiasts. Internet users. Programmers. Engineers. Library card holders. Citizens.


We're gathering outside a hearing that is part of the Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works [ ]. (We didn't name it, the United States Copyright Office did.)

We choose to attend to show our concern about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which some companies are currently trying to use to stifle legitimate fair use and reverse engineering.

We support the Electronic Frontier Foundation's position [ ]:

In summary, the Copyright Office should heed the advice of the library associations, the cryptographers, the non-proprietary software developers, academics, and the civil liberties groups and construe the DMCA narrowly to provide adequate protections for the interests (other than the copyright industry) represented in the copyright bargain. Therefore, all classes of works must be exempt from the general circumvention prohibition when the purpose for the circumvention is to engage in a lawful fair use of a work. The copyright holder's right of access must also be limited by a First Access Rule guided by the wisdom of copyright's traditional First Sale Rule. Copyright's design in a digital world must continue to balance the competing interests between authors, publishers, and the pubic fairly and in light of copyright's stated objectives to promote the progress of arts and useful sciences.

-- Robin D. Gross, Esq.


Outside Stanford Law School. Here's a detailed map showing buildings [ ].1620-63-4.gif, and here's a neato pan-and-zoom map showing bus routes [ ].

From Caltrain or downtown Palo Alto: From the Palo Alto Caltrain station, catch the B line of the Marguerite Shuttle [ ]. Get off at the corner of Campus Drive East and Alvarado Row. If the bus turns onto Mayfield you have missed your stop -- get off as soon as you can and walk back. (Print a copy of the map.) The Marguerite Shuttle is free and open to the public. You do not need to show Stanford identification to ride.

If you plan to drive, read Stanford Parking Information [ ] for instructions on how to get a temporary parking permit.


Thursday, 18 May, 2000. Noon - 2:00 pm. Come for all or part of the event. The earlier you show up, the more likely that we'll be visible outside as the hearing participants file in for the 2:00 hearing. If you want, join us for lunch afterward.

Update 12 May 2000: There will be an Electronic Frontier Foundation press conference. We'll post details as soon as we have them.

There is a schedule [ ] for the speakers at the hearing.


Do it for Jon Johansen,, and everyone else who wants to watch DVD movies. (Jon Johansen interview) [ ]

Do it for Emmanuel Goldstein. (See 2600 [ ] for news on his case.)

Do it for Peacefire [ ] -- when public schools and libraries install Internet censorship software, the public should have a right to know which web sites are blocked.

Do it for the people, innovators in geek news [ ].

Do it for the next creative person who the parasitic corporate weasel lawyers are getting ready to smack down.

Do it for the joy of getting off your ass and making some noise. Your carpal tunnels will thank you.

Why not the 19th, when the BSA and RIAA [ ] representatives will be there?
Because we want the media coverage to be in full flow when the BSA and RIAA parasites arrive to spread their malignant lies. Put them on the defensive. And because if you want to come back on the 19th, you can.

How can I help?
Glad you asked. Please mail Don (address below) if you want to organize a carpool or convoy, and tell me what area you're coming from. Also mail Don if you would like to make signs, banners, or T-shirts.

Will there be anything violent or illegal?
No. If you want to fight or pass around bootleg MP3s, do it somewhere else so they won't have an excuse to shut us down. (Feel free to bring freely redistributable MP3s and other media though.)

Contact info

Don Marti:
(reporters on same or next-day deadline, try 408-621-7076 -- others USE EMAIL.)

Chris DiBona:
(reporters on same or next-day deadline, try 408-205-6306 -- others USE EMAIL.)

Katina Bishop:

Robin D. Gross, Esq.:

2600 DVD Department:

Seth Nickell:
(650) 497-5212
Roble Hall, Room 159

Bennett Haselton:
(425) 649 9024

Copyright 2000