Skip to Main Content

June 2007, Passage 3, Question 15


Number 15. This question isn't hard to identify, it says its name right there in the STEM, main point. It's a main point question. Main point questions ask you to select an answer that sums up the whole argument. The argument of the entire passage, not just things that were said in parts. The correct answer doesn't have to name every concept that came up.

But it has to be broad enough that it could apply to all the concepts. If you are doing your job as you read the passage, you should have a prephrase for the answer that you're looking for, already in your mind. That really should be the last thing you ask yourself before you start doing questions. What was the author's main point?

Then you go to the question that asks that and get your correct answer. As we discussed in the setup video, the author's main point here is basically that putting things on the web isn't a copyright violation. There are other better ways that they can control their copyrighted material. So we go to the answer choices. Answer choice A.

Now this is the main point of the passage. It doesn't use the term web users. It doesn't use the term owners of copyright. But it describes the argument that they were having. The owners of copyright said it was infringement and we need to change the laws.

The web user said no, it's not and don't change the laws, please. The author sided with him saying no, it's not and don't change the laws, please. Which is what answer choice A says. So that's a pretty good answer. Let's take a look at the other answers just to say why they're wrong. This is a good example of a half right half wrong answer.

The first part of this, changes in copyright law in response to the development of web pages and links are ill-advised. That's absolutely what the author thinks. The problem is when you get to the second half. The author doesn't tie this to amplifying the free exchange of ideas. In fact, the author accepts that it's okay if copyright law reduces the free exchange a little bit.

In the last paragraph, the author says such a solution would compromise the openness of the web somewhat and that's the solution that the author actually likes. So hence choice B starts out great, ends terrible, it's not our answer. Answer choice C. This is also something that the author said, the part that we were just talking about in the passage.

The problem is that's not the main point of the passage. That's just a detail that was mentioned in service of the main point. The main point was that the web users were right, the intellectual property holders were wrong. A lot of wrong answers four main point questions will be things that were said in the passage.

They're just not broad enough to cover all of the content in the passage. So C is not our answer. Answer choice D. Well, this answer choice is wrong for two reasons. First, this passage isn't about electronic media in general, it's specifically about the Internet.

Electronic media is a broader term. That would include CDs, streaming, all sorts of stuff. Also, the author doesn't really try to solve it in terms of basic common sense principles, which isn't to say that the author is not making any sense. Just so the author doesn't say this is all easily solved. You should just think like it, just use your common sense.

The author never says that, so answer choice D can't be our answer. Answer choice E. This answer choice might seem good at first because it does get the side right. The author is on the side of the people who use the web, not on the side of the right holders, but it mischaracterizes what the rights holders were saying. So they weren't advocating for a radical alteration of copyright laws.

They just wanted them extended. So this is not a fight that the author weighed in on. This was never brought up. So it can't be the main point of the passage. Thus the answer is answer choice A.

Read full transcript