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June 2007, Passage 3, Setup


Passage Three. So the first passage here does three things. The first sentence tells you what the Web is. Tells you that there is a conflict that arises because of it. And presents you with two different sides on that conflict, the owners of intellectual property and the Web users.

And in the first paragraph, the author doesn't take a side. Just tells us that they're having a fight. The owners of intellectual property want to strengthen copyright law. The Web users want the web to remain free and open. So now we move on to paragraph 2. Now, in paragraph 2, we're gonna be keeping track of the author.

Trying to say, author, are you going to take a side? As it turns out, the author doesn't. Instead, in this paragraph, the author takes a couple steps back from the conflict and gives you the origin of it. The debate arises from the ability of the Web to link documents to each other. Then, for a while, gives an analogy to printed texts and how they work.

Then the author further characterizes the problem. The problem is that the immediate accessibility is problematic, since current copyright laws give owners the right to sue. They can sue people who distribute copies of their material. And then in the last sentence, the author raises a question. So if somebody puts something on the Web and then somebody else creates a link, is the one who puts the link up breaking copyright law?

Notice, I'm not trying to summarize the passage. I'm just trying to provide myself enough of a record of where certain details are and the overall role that the pieces are playing. So that I can go back, if I'm asked about a particular piece or a particular paragraph, I know what's going on there, I can quickly locate information. So when we get to the third paragraph, again, we're waiting for the author to take a side.

And so far, at least at the beginning of the third paragraph, the author doesn't. Instead, the author backs up to say that in order to answer the question, specifically the question that they just asked at the end of the second paragraph, they have to figure out who controls the distribution of a document on the Web. The author makes an analogy with answering machine messages, which goes on quite a while.

Then the author does get around to answering that question, and the answer to the question is basically that even if you create a link to a document, you're not infringing. You're not distributing, and thus you're not infringing on copyright. So the author answers the question, finally. And then in the last half of this final paragraph, the author finally gets around to taking a full-on stand.

Because the author says that there are already, under current law, enough ways for the people who own intellectual property to control it. They have another analogy here about an unlisted number. And, ultimately, the author says this would be a good solution. So if the people who control intellectual property use the already existing tools they have, that would be better.

Any time the author of a passage makes an exception or an admission, you wanna pay attention to it. There is one of those here too. So the author does admit that the solution that they like would compromise the openness of the Web a little bit, but that it would be preferable to what the copyright owners want.

They want harsher laws that restrict Web users more. The author says that the owners of intellectual property don't need those laws. And then the last sentence comes right in and says that the thing that the owners of intellectual copyright said in the first paragraph, that unless copyright law is strengthened we're not going to be able to protect it against copyright infringement.

In the last sentence the author says, yeah, they're wrong, and here's why. Because it would impede the development of the Web as a public forum. It's important to make connections back to earlier things that the author said as you're reading. So you need to notice that this is exactly the thing from the first paragraph that the author is taking a side on.

So now it's time to go to the questions.

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