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TheStreet Open House

The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

We don't want to be paranoid here, but as far as we can tell, what's going on is that representatives of the nation's largest media and entertainment conglomerate and representatives of the company that sits on virtually every computer desktop in the country are gathering together to figure out what Americans will or won't be able to access on their computer -- what we'll be able to replay.

We can hardly wait until they iron out all the details and show a unified front on Capitol Hill to present their solution to all that's wrong with copyright enforcement in America. Maybe all of us who'll be asked to use that system will have a chance to say what we think of it then.

We called up the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cyber-liberties nonprofit group, to see what they thought of Time Warner's and Microsoft's huge role in the copyright solution.

In a certain way, says EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann, Parsons' comments reflect nothing new. For at least a year now, he says, it's been clear that the entertainment industry "would really like to be able to not just control what you do with their own protected files, but also control what you do with any file obtained from any source. ... The basic goal for entertainment companies has been to somehow get computers to only play authorized, authenticated content."

What's new, von Lohmann said, was that Parsons appeared to be so upfront about this.

"I'm not surprised by that description of what they would like computers to be like," said von Lohmann. "I am a little surprised that they said so quite so publicly."

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