The New Legal Panic over Copyright
The first thing I want to say is: I too appreciate Friedrich Hayek. Of course, what Hayek I have read, I read in the public library. And I'm feeling guilty about it, because I didn't pay anything.
It was a government-funded library, and, worse, I was a kid and hadn't even paid taxes yet.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me explain why I wanted to speak last on this panel. At the beginning of the hour I was desperately arranging to speak last because I needed more time to outline my remarks. I had planned to write up my notes last night, but, unfortunately, as I sat down to work I discovered that I had accidentally trashed the system folder on one of the important volumes of my Macintosh Powerbook. And so I ended up spending several hours reconstructing my software on the laptop that I had taken home.
Now, if you like technology, as I do, a system folder crash of this sort is not an insuperable problem. If you want to reinstall software to recover from a computer disaster at home, and if you have the installers at home, you can reinstall. As long as you have the serial numbers recorded at home, you can type them in at the appropriate places when you reinstall, so the reinstallation will work. I wasn't quite that well prepared, but fortunately I had alternatives at hand: I powered up another laptop I already had at home, and connected the two laptops together over the tiny wireless local network I run in my apartment. I transferred software and other installation files over the network from one machine to the other, and in doing so I may be said to have violated an assortment of software licensing agreements that (to invoke the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) “control my access” to the technology, to the copyrighted work. Technically, perhaps, I had violated the DMCA. Please let's not let the news of my transgression leak out.