Napster's clones won't end until prices drop
Thank you for your editorial about Napster (Law and the Wild, Wild Web, July 28). In most such pieces, the starting premise for argument seems to be that an artist has both a right to be paid for use of intellectual property and the right to defend that property from copyright infringement.
Why? Didn't we all learn to share our great ideas with each other back in kindergarten? Shouldn't the satisfaction of helping and entertaining others be sufficient compensation for our efforts?
Regardless, the Napster controversy does not indicate consumers are interested in willfully infringing on the rights of artists. Rather, they have grown weary of subsidizing the endless stream of middle men, promoters, and attorneys who artificially drive up the cost of the finished product.
As long as high-profit-margin publishers, and record and film companies, continue to sap the budgets of relatively plebeian fans, consumers will continue to develop alternate delivery systems - such as Napster. While legal obstacles can be erected to thwart those efforts, the moral implications in doing so are far less clear.
Rick Robbins Austin, Texas
Tying PNTR to security issues
Regarding your July 27 article "Remember that China trade bill? It's not a law yet.": The importance of the Thompson-Torricelli amendment to the pending permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) legislation should not be overlooked or underestimated.
Lacking in the original House version of the bill, the Senate's version would predicate PNTR on China's proliferation transgressions in the fields of missile and nuclear technology.
In the last month, evidence has surfaced that China provided Pakistan with the missile technology it needed to produce a new generation of ballistic missiles capable of reaching well into neighboring India.
Additionally, last year's congressional report on China's theft of US nuclear secrets, assembled by Rep. Christopher Cox, cited Pakistan as a prime beneficiary of China's ill-gotten nuclear gains.
While ensuring that the interests of Chinese workers are protected under such sweeping legislation is vital, PNTR must also take into account the kind of strategic adventurism currently being practiced by the Chinese across Asia.
If China persists in supplying such dangerous technology to known terrorist states and their vassals, it should not be rewarded with our greatest trade benefit.
Mervyn Dymally Washington
Border too open already
In the July 27 opinion piece "New presidents, new prospects," Peter Hakim argues that the border should be wide open between the US and Mexico and that Mexicans should be allowed to use US medical facilities and various US taxpayer-funded services.
This is just the neo-hippie ideal of having no fences between people. But in the end, the hippie communes ended because people are different, and different people often want different things, and these different things conflict with what other people want.
In the US today, we are seeing an invasion of historic proportions as people are coming to this nation and trying to take advantage of our prosperity.
Are these invaders being uplifted by being here? Not anymore, because now there are too many of them. What they are doing is passing over to the US the standard of the nations they left.
Our borders must be made secure.
H. Millard Costa Mesa, Calif.
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