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Monday, December 05, 2005

Reform the DMCA

Fair Use - It's Your Right!
This issue affects nearly everyone on the internet and even those who are not.   This reform of the DMCA would permit fair use and copy priviledge for audio as well as video, dvd and software backup.   You need to take action on this issue and support the Electronic Freedom Foundation's effort to secure our rights under new, consistant and fair law.   There are several worthwile action alerts at their website.   I may create other posts to highlight them but I urge you to check out their Action Center.   - fcSupport Bloggers' Rights!

Support Voter Reform The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been wreaking havoc on consumers' fair use rights for the past seven years. Now Congress is considering the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA, HR 1201), a bill that would reform part of the DMCA and formally protect the "Betamax defense" relied on by so many innovators.

HR 1201 would give citizens the right to circumvent copy-protection measures as long as what they're doing is otherwise legal. For example, it would make sure that when you buy a CD, whether it is copy-protected or not, you can record it onto your computer and move the songs to an MP3 player. It would also protect a computer science professor who needs to bypass copy-protection to evaluate encryption technology. In addition, the bill would codify the Betamax defense, which has been under attack by the entertainment industries in the "INDUCE Act" last year and the MGM v. Grokster case currently before the Supreme Court. This kind of sanity would be a welcome change to our copyright law.

Last year we sent 30,000+ letters of support for the DMCRA, and the bill got a hearing on Capitol Hill. It's time to double that number - take action at the link below, then urge your friends and family to support HR 1201, too!

Text of H.R. 1201

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Please Support HR 1201, the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act

I am a constituent who strongly supports balanced copyright law, and I am writing to urge you to support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA, HR 1201). HR 1201 addresses many problems stemming from the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Specifically, HR 1201 would ensure that a consumer can't be prosecuted for violating the "anti-circumvention" provisions of the DMCA, so long as her use of the underlying copyrighted material is lawful. For example, HR 1201 would remove the legal ambiguity around the act of creating a backup of a lawfully obtained DVD. It would also protect a computer science professor working with students to evaluate encryption technology.

Today, copyright holders regularly block these legitimate activities by making it technically difficult to make legal copies, and under the DMCA it's legally risky to do so. HR 1201 corrects this problem. This is a long overdue reform to our copyright law, and I hope that we can go even further to legalize the tools that allow people to exercise these rights. For some even better language, please see last Congress' version of the DMCRA, H.R. 107.

In addition, the bill would codify the "Betamax defense," which has been under attack by the entertainment industries in the "INDUCE Act" last year and cases like MGM v. Grokster. This would make it clear that a technology innovator will not be held responsible for every copyright infringement committed by her customers, so long as the technology is capable of noninfringing uses. This rule is critical if innovators are to have the space to create the new technologies that make us all better off.

I urge you to address this important issue by becoming a co-sponsor of HR 1201. Thank you for your time.



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