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There was a fire at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Calif. a week or two back. The most notable part of the headline was that a section of the Back To The Future Set was destroyed. I’ve been on the tram ride through there a couple of times and experienced the little false town square which they turn into a whole host of things for different productions. I’d never heard of a Town Square until I moved to Texas and visited Georgetown where I found a surprisingly similar town square with a courthouse in the middle. It’s certainly something from the Heartland of America because I’d lived all of my life on the West Coast and never seen anything like it.

Reading further into the story I discovered that one of the things that damaged in the fire were 40,000 to 50,000 film, tapes, and other original media from shoots by NBC or Universal though nothing was destroyed permanently because the media giant had a duplicate site elsewhere.

There has been a war waging recently among the media users and media creators. The war is for fair use of media by the user. You as a user do not have many rights when you purchase a DVD or CD. The rules are defines by lawyers at this time. Lawyers who define the law by suing kids and anyone else they feel will be high profile enough to get attention and scare the public in. Of course this is done in civil court because the laws of course are only interpreted by those lawyers to include what they are suing for. Sure stealing is wrong. But how about ripping music to MP3 from your own CDs? According to the digital millennium copyright act of 1998, if you change or remove encryption to ‘rip’ a DVD to your computer you are breaking the law.

I think the fire at Universal studios was not an accident and was actually a message to the entertainment world to back off and let people use their media how they want. This isn’t the world of yesterday when we all had records and could only play them on record players. There was no way to make them work in a CD player.



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