“I’m just an average guy with a common interest in the rights we are all losing.” said Fair Use day’s founder, Eric Clifford, speaking exclusively to TorrentFreak. “The ability to access and interact with our culture is being stripped away and it’s will only get worse if the public doesn’t do something about it soon.”
Eric says his idea for a day to celebrate and raise awareness of fair use came about from a Linux support group IRC chat. “[It was] the usual problems with copy protection and DVD’s. A group of us were ticked off about the lack of fair use and the “day” thing just popped into my head.” Whilst it had a fairly impressive start (they were ‘boingboinged‘ the first year) he says it’s been difficult to get any sort of attention brought to it.
That does appear to be changing, however, as this year, the Pirate Party of the US has issued a press release in support of the day. “It is important the people are aware of what they can legally do with regards to copyrighted material.” said a spokesman for the party.
Fair use is in dire straights in the US right now, at least according to GNU founder and copyright critic Richard Stallman: “With laws laws like the DMCA in the US, and the DADVSI in France, corporations have bought our governments and turned fair use into a sham. Nominally, you still have the right of fair use, but any tools that would let you use it are forbidden. Government of the people, by the people, for the people – it isn’t.”
However, things are not all bad. Virginia Congressman Rich Boucher has proposed a bill, dubbed ‘The Fair Use Act’ which may go some way to restoring fair use rights restricted by the DMCA. The EFF has a page detailing it, including a form letter to send to your representatives here.