Dear Congressman Weiner:

I'd like to drop a note to you about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

of 1998, and it's consequences on the NYC public. This law has a huge negative

impact in our struggle to fund schools and our libraries. In addition, it's

a stumbling block to the common citizens of NYC, and our growing high tech

sectors. Lastly I believe it's contributing to a worsening of our current

recession. I ask you to follow the leader of Congressman Boucher of Virginia

in calling for a repeal of this law, before it does more damage to us.

With the advent of the internet, the cost of information has dropped to almost

negotiable prices. The basic texts needed to teach elementary education, when

digitally made available, reduces the costs of distribution and can potentially

save the schools billions of dollars in costs. These are costs which the

Board of Education can be plowing into teachers, buildings, and equipment.

We are faced with a fundamental question. If the cost of information has

been dramatically reduced, then why is it that the cost of libraries and

education is rising?

Much of the answer to this is that the DMCA, and Copyright extensions have

reduced fair access to knowledge. The cost of these to activities is

stagering to the public. It's an unfair burden which we can no longer afford

to ignore.

No single invention in mankind's history has produced as many creative works as

the explosion of digital communications over the past five years. With little

regard for profits, millions of people have author worked and presented them

on the net. And yet, in the face of these events, the government has

inexplicably passed laws to lock down published works for longer periods of

time and eliminated fair use under the DMCA. We've now reached a crisis to

our political rights with the arrest of Dmitry Skyarkov for making programs

available designed to guarantee access to books. Are we looking at a future

where libraries will no longer exist and the act of reading a book with a

child can be a felony because a fee is not paid by the parent?

I believe we are looking at exactly that future if the DMCA is not repealed,

copyright not scaled back to some reasonable limited length of time, such as

40 years, and fair use doctrine reasserted as the publics inalienable rights.

I am so alarmed by recent events, and the long term impact this is having on

my children, that I've joins an organization called New Yorkers for Fair Use.

Their stated purpose is to champion fair use in the law, and to preserve

political freedom. Since you sit on committees that deal with internet law and

copyright regulations, I am explicitly requesting you take a strong stand

against the DMCA. I would also ask that your office appoints a staff member

to spear head research and evaluate copyright laws, and to act as a balance

against the misinformation being espoused by publishers, and the music


Lastly, I request you to intervene on behalf of Dmitry Sklyarv, who is being

held against his will in the US for violating the DMCA. It seems that

presently Russia has more sensible protections of the public than the US in

terms of copyright law.

Ruben Safir

1600 East 17th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11230