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Media Government Politics

Fair Use Bill Introduced To Change DMCA 152

Posted by kdawson
from the tilting-it-back dept.
An anonymous reader tips us to a Washington Post blogger's note that Representatives Boucher (D-VA) and Dolittle (R-CA) today introduced the FAIR USE Act to update the DMCA to "make it easier for digital media consumers to use the content they buy." Boucher's statement on the bill says, "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use..." The Post failed to note the history. Boucher has been introducing this bill for years; here are attempts from 2002 and 2003. The chances may be better in this Congress. And reader Rolling maul writes in to note Ars's disappointment with the bill for leaving the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions intact: "Yet again, the bill does not appear to deliver on what most observers want: clear protection for making personal use copies of encrypted materials. There is no allowance for consumers to make backups of DVDs, to strip encryption from music purchased online so that it can be played anywhere, or to generally do any of the things that the DMCA has made illegal."
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Fair Use Bill Introduced To Change DMCA

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  • Not that it will pass, but it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...

    DN
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kennygraham (894697)

      Not that it will pass, but it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...

      DN
      Incase the summary was too long to read, that still would be illegal.
      • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:01PM (#18174326)

        Not that it will pass, but it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...
        In case the summary was too long to read, that still would be illegal.
        It's more depressing than that. The provision to strike down the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA was the only thing keeping others from attaching the Broadcast Flag FCC-authorizing bill to this one (or vice versa). Excerpting from the testimony of Fritz Attaway, Executive Vice President and Special Policy Advisor, MPAA [mpaa.org] (a PDF):

        Let me add one cautionary note. While we strongly support legislation that will reinstate the Broadcast Flag, we cannot support legislation that will do that at the expense of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. It has been suggested that HR 1201 [2006 version] be attached to Broadcast Flag legislation. However, that type of legislation would as a practical matter repeal Section 1201 of the DMCA, would compromise efforts to fight piracy and inflict devastating harm on an important American industry.
        Irreconcilable differences between the industry and the consumers will doom this one as well.
      • Re:Nice... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Yez70 (924200) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:10PM (#18175232)
        In the US we are watching a lot of small personal freedoms be legislated away. This is one of them: to do what we wish with what we purchase. I understand it isn't 'in the constitution' but it is implied in our way of life. The fact that our leaders continue to propose bills of 'fair use' that don't allow 'fair use' is more telling of who is in control. This is yet another tiny step nowhere for the 'fair use' debate.

        To Be Fair.

        Has anyone been successfully prosecuted for burning a personal DVD for personal use on their PSP?

        It doesn't make it right that it is illegal, but at least our society doesn't enforce the fact - yet.
        • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:19AM (#18177718) Homepage

          I understand it isn't 'in the constitution'
          No worry-- it doesn't matter because it doesn't HAVE to be there. Anytime anyone throws the bullshit "isn't in the constitution so it isn't a right" line out, tell them to read the 9th Amendment:

          "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

          In other words, just because it didn't make the "top ten list" doesn't mean it's not a right. Alexander Hamilton was steadfastly opposed to the Bill of Rights for this very reason. the 9th Amendment was an attempt to address such concerns. So next time you hear some loser parroting Rush Limbaugh and saying "the Constitution says nothing about us having the right to [whatever]", punch the dumb motherfucker in the face.

          Sorry. Touchy issue for me.
        • by danpsmith (922127)

          In the US we are watching a lot of small personal freedoms be legislated away. This is one of them: to do what we wish with what we purchase. I understand it isn't 'in the constitution' but it is implied in our way of life. The fact that our leaders continue to propose bills of 'fair use' that don't allow 'fair use' is more telling of who is in control. This is yet another tiny step nowhere for the 'fair use' debate.

          I've got one solution: become a pirate. Seriously, they can't prosecute 100% of the popula

    • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:18PM (#18173552)
      it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...


      You could be a "criminal" under the law, but not under moral principles. As the ancient Romans said, "non omne licitum honestum", which is translated as "not everything that's legal is honest".


      Apart from the basic principles of "fair use", I think lawmakers should restrain from creating unenforceable laws, because they weaken the whole principle of legitimacy of the state. Violating laws that restrict copying of digital works is ridiculously easy. Even if some people try to equate copying music and films to robbing banks, if it were as easy to rob a bank as it is to copy a DVD, I would think the whole business model of banking should be reviewed before creating stricter laws against bank robbery.


      There's a great quotation by Robert Heinlein about this. In his 1965 novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" his character Bernardo de la Paz said: "But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; If I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am responsible for everything I do." In digital works, this assertion is absolutely true everywhere. If the public does not accept the laws protecting "intellectual property", those laws will be broken.

      • by pezpunk (205653) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:46PM (#18174024) Homepage
        In digital works, this assertion is absolutely true everywhere. If the public does not accept the laws protecting "intellectual property", those laws will be broken.

        you know, i used to agree with this. after all, look at prohibition, right? but then i saw what the RIAA did to the Napster-using grandmothers and little girls of the world. there were 24 million Napster users at one point, and later even more who used the other various p2p systems that took its place. this did nothing to stop the RIAA and its hired legal guns from waging a war of propaganda and litigation, one that they have largely won at this point.

        no laws sprung up to defend this huge chunk of the populace.

        in fact, if you want to know what p2p users have accomplished so far ... as the smoke clears, all i can see from here are newer, clearer, more restrictive laws with harsher penalties for the so-called thieves and pirates.

        maybe back in the early 20th century politicians actually cared more about their constituants than their contributors? i don't know. but the whole "if enough of us do it, it will become legal" strategy doesn't seem to be working anymore.
        • Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
          Right... even though now an estimated 120 million Americans use or have used content-trading tools?

          The RIAA can keep suing a few thousand people a year, and it wont mean a thing. This year's round of the flu probably stopped more music-traders by flat-out killing them than the RIAA has by their lawsuits and propaganda.

          All these laws mean is that the government is making itself more and more the enemy of the people, that the government is making itself more and more contemptible and despicable.

          Inciden

          • Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2281 by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) on July 29, 1997

            The congress was also majority Republican (in both houses).

            Not that the Democrats did or would have done anything to stop it.
          • > stopped more music-traders by flat-out killing them

            Don't give these people ideas.
            • Given their current level of success, the RIAA would probably only manage to kill a few dozen music traders, plus a few hundred people that DON'T trade music, and finally encourage (indirectly) several million people to go out and have new children that then become music traders.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chris Burke (6130)
          maybe back in the early 20th century politicians actually cared more about their constituants than their contributors? i don't know. but the whole "if enough of us do it, it will become legal" strategy doesn't seem to be working anymore.

          I'm not an expert on the subject and it isn't entirely clear to me why prohibition ended. I do think the negative effects of prohibition -- e.g. entire cities falling under the sway of organized crime -- was more severe and certainly more obvious than the rather ephemeral h
          • by QuantumG (50515) *

            entire cities falling under the sway of organized crime
            You mean like they are now.. because of the other drugs that are prohibited?

            The end of the prohibition of alcohol really was a one off case of common sense on the part of law makers.

            It may never happen again.
            • by Chris Burke (6130)
              You mean like they are now.. because of the other drugs that are prohibited?

              They've done a better job of stigmatizing those drugs than they did with alcohol and pushing the users underground, and organized crime isn't quite so prevelent. Though to get at the real reason, I'll have to steal from Bill Hicks by saying: Ever notice how the drugs that are legal, like alcohol and cigarettes, are the ones that do absolutely nothing for you, while the ones that can expand your mind like LSD are banned? It's alm
              • by QuantumG (50515) *
                Personally, I think it boils down to one thing.. back when they failed to prohibited alcohol, the government was much smaller.

                • back when they failed to prohibited alcohol, the government was much smaller.

                  And now the government is larger. How does their total failure to make a dent in today's illegal drug trade jibe with your statement?

                  • by QuantumG (50515) *
                    They don't care about the illegal drug trade.. they care about enforcing their personal morality on others. It's all about the circle. You know the circle? It's where middle class white people live. Anyone outside the circle must be demonized, treated and brought into the circle or institutionalized so they don't upset the circle.. then they can call them "normal". If you happen to be inside the circle, and you want to stay inside the circle, you better make sure you hide what you do that might push yo
            • by jcr (53032)
              The end of the prohibition of alcohol really was a one off case of common sense on the part of law makers.

              You give them too much credit. It was the legislature caving to overwhelming pressure from the voters.

              -jcr

        • There are not enough police, there are not enough soldiers, not enough courts, not enough prisons in the United States--or in any country in the world for that matter--to enforce a law that the public doesn't agree with. The art of governing is largely the art of convincing the governed that they are better off following the laws than not, especially if it is a law that touches almost everyone as these changes to copyright do. Thus far, these stalwarts have only succeeded in convincing the public only in

      • by spirality (188417) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:17PM (#18175962) Homepage
        I actually should have fired this back at you with my previous post. :) Anyway, here it is, even if a bit belated.
        Again thanks for the great quotation.

        No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.

        -Frederic Bastiat
        The Law
        • by mangu (126918)
          OK, here are some other Heinlein quotations:

          "There is no way to offer color to a colorblind man, nor there is any way for us to give the man of imperfect brain the canny skill to distinguish a lie from a truth.("Gulf", 1949)

          "you are willing to assert your own religious convictions and to use them as a touchstone to judge my conduct. So I repeat: who told you? What hill were you standing on when the lightning came down from heaven and illuminated you? Which archangel carried the message? ... I believe that a

    • So the stupid provisions get tacked onto bills like a giant military spending bill. This guy should do the same. That way when people vote against it, we can say "See? These guys are helping terrorists" and get rid of the media company whores et al.
  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @04:53PM (#18173078)
    Now lawmakers and the "content" industries can claim they've already answer criticism and given ground, without actually changing much of anything.
  • Non-partisan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sharp-bang (311928) <sharp...bang...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @04:57PM (#18173184) Homepage
    The party shift in Congress won't change anything regarding the DCMA or copyright. Although fair use is certainly important to many Democrats, the concentration of IP rights in the hands of a few large companies at the expense of consumer rights has been a depressingly non-partisan issue.
    • Re:Non-partisan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:50PM (#18174122) Homepage
      DCMA was made in to law in 1998, during the Clinton administration, so I agree that this isn't a political issue. I do think, however, that as the DMCA begins to impede on what law makers think is fair use when they are sitting in there own homes trying to watch a movie with the family that the DMCA will modified.

    • The party shift in Congress won't change anything regarding the DCMA or copyright.
      When I first read this, I thought it said, "The shifty part of Congress won't change anything regarding the DCMA or copyright."

      Too bad most of Congress is shifty.
    • Re:Non-partisan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:18PM (#18174612) Journal
      Don't be too ready to dismiss this. Politicians want votes. Not money. Money is just a means to an end.

      Because of the DMCA, a lot of intelligent people have become increasingly political, and represent a substantial voting block. On top of this, big corporations sueing poor people has led to quite a lot of people becoming a little negative about copyright. In the past copyright hasn't affected the ordinary guy too much. Now it looks like it might.
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @04:58PM (#18173202)
    Why? Because it's "Democrat" controlled?

    Who signed the DMCA bill into law, btw?
    • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:07PM (#18173362)
      Congress doesn't sign bills. Presidents do. You should really make an effort to learn about how US government works.

      Some people think that a democratic party controlled congress will be more sympathetic to fair use rights. I have my doubts, since both parties seem to be growing increasingly corporatist. The republicans at the FCC have been busy conglomerating power for media companies for some time now, so it is understandable to think that a democratic congress might be different. We'll see.
      • by jfengel (409917)
        Congress doesn't sign bills. Presidents do.

        Right. President Clinton, in this case. A Democrat. You really should make an effort to figure out why the poster is asking a question before assuming they're ignorant.
        • Boy, they really need to bring back civics classes. Presidents don't create bills. Legislature does, and both houses were controlled by republicans back then. Can you understand why someone might hope that a different party controlling both houses might come up with different bills? Why are you talking about Clinton? He signed plenty of bad bills, some backed by republicans, some backed by democrats.
          • If I remember correctly from my civics classes then any citizen, including the President of course, can write a bill for introduction into Congress. The key is getting a congressman to take the bill that you have written and introduce it into the appropriate committee where it can start working its way through the process. In fact, the various lobbying firms in DC do precisely that when they try and convince congressmen to introduce bills that they have written. Theoretically the same channels are open to t
          • by quanticle (843097)
            >>Presidents don't create bills. Legislature does, and both houses were controlled by republicans back then.<<

            First of all, anyone can draft a bill, but only a Congressperson can introduce a bill into their legislative body.

            >>Why are you talking about Clinton?<<

            He could have vetoed the DMCA. The Republicans did not have the two-thirds majorities they needed to overrride. And, given the highly technical nature of the DMCA, I don't think there would have been any general public outcr
            • by rossifer (581396)

              He could have vetoed the DMCA. The Republicans did not have the two-thirds majorities they needed to overrride.

              What are you talking about? The DMCA enjoyed so little dissention [wikipedia.org] in the house that it passed with a voice vote and a unanimous vote in the senate. Talk about a veto-proof majority.

              The OP was right. The DMCA was a bi-partisan screwing of the general public.

              And, given the highly technical nature of the DMCA, I don't think there would have been any general public outcry if that bill had been quiet

        • Right. President Clinton, in this case. A Democrat.

          With a Republican congress that, a few years before shut down the federal government to piss off Clinton, and also had enough votes to ram through a veto override while doing its best to impeach him on anything they could find. damn right he signed it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sangreal66 (740295)

        Congress doesn't sign bills. Presidents do. You should really make an effort to learn about how US government works.
        The GP's point was that the bill was signed into law by President Clinton, a Democrat.
        • He signed a bill created by a republican congress. Now we have a democratic congress. Can you understand why people might hope a different party would tend to draft different bills? Hell, if it's a popular bill Bush, a republican, might even sign it.

          Not that I have much faith in either party to look out for our rights.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Keebler71 (520908)
            If the bill didn't pass the senate 99-0 [senate.gov] and pass the house by a voice vote (most likely near-unanimous)... then you might have a point.
    • by Spazmania (174582)
      That's cute, but before it could be signed it was first passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HTH NE1 (675604)
        That's cute, but before it could be signed it was first passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.

        And, IIRC, did so by voice votes(*), so there'd be no record of who voted what way (such as how many Democrats supported it and how many Republicans did not) nor even hard numbers of ayes and nays, only that a clear majority voted for it.

        Which not only concealed how they voted from their constituents, but also whether they had enough votes to override any
  • by physicsboy500 (645835) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:01PM (#18173260)
    To the tune of YMCA (this stolen from www.userfriendly.org):

    Net geeks,
    There's no need to feel guilt
    I said, Net geeks
    For the software you built
    I said, Net geeks,
    Cause you're not in the wrong
    There's no need to feel unhappy

    Net geeks,
    You can burn a CD.
    I said, Net Geeks,
    With your fave mp3's.
    You can Play them
    In your home or your car.
    Many ways to take them real far!

    It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
    It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
    You have everything you need to enjoy
    Your music with your toys!

    It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
    It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
    You can archive your tunes
    You can share over cable
    You can annoy the record labels!
  • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:03PM (#18173290) Homepage Journal
    Yet again, the bill does not appear to deliver on what most observers want: clear protection for making personal use copies of encrypted materials. There is no allowance for consumers to make backups of DVDs, to strip encryption from music purchased online so that it can be played anywhere, or to generally do any of the things that the DMCA has made illegal.

    "We are the United States government -- we don't DO that sort of thing!"
  • by carrus85 (727188) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:05PM (#18173314)
    I've always wondered this. The current DMCA, AFAIK, makes breaking encryption a questionable prospect, at best (unless you have permission from the encryption designers). Why should this even be protected? Shouldn't we just encourage people to use stronger encryption that isn't as easily circumvented (in effect, why are we legislating that the use of "weak" encryption is okay)?

    Personally, I think the encryption itself should be the deterrent to the circumvention of the encryption, not legislation.

    If we can break the encryption, too bad; use something besides Fisher Price's "My First Encryption Algorithm" next time.
    • by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:13PM (#18173482) Journal
      That's exactly the problem. In fact, this bill is a worthless waste of time. If anti-circumvention isn't addressed, then the DMCA still wins. The DMCA doesn't remove Fair Use rights, it just makes it illegal to obtain a copy which would be protected by those rights. This new bill only reinforces what is already law.

      As someone cleverly pointed out, current "protections" involve distributing both lock and key in an obscured form, then using a proprietary technology to put the key in the lock. Therefore, the reason for this encryption is suspect. The end-user is provided both cryptotext and private key, but told it is illegal to use them together except through a particular device (what we're selling) for a specific purpose (to watch exactly once).
      • by Panaflex (13191) *
        As someone cleverly pointed out, current "protections" involve distributing both lock and key in an obscured form, then using a proprietary technology to put the key in the lock.

        Thank you! That's an excellent explanation - certainly one I'll "fair use" as well.
    • by QuasiEvil (74356) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:39PM (#18173878)

      Why should this even be protected? Shouldn't we just encourage people to use stronger encryption that isn't as easily circumvented (in effect, why are we legislating that the use of "weak" encryption is okay)?
      Because that's not the fantasy that most folks want to believe. Most people think that security by obscurity is pretty good, and beyond that, they'll go to basic crypto. (I admit that SBO works in some cases in the physical world, but in the electronic world it doesn't stand a chance.) They want to believe that anything encrypted is protected.

      Take a look at the retarded laws covering scanners and cellphones/cordless telephones. We could just tell people that these things are insecure and let the market handle it, or legislate the implementation of real security, or we could tell all the law-abiding folks to stop monitoring those frequencies and force equipment manufacturers to degrade performance across the spectrum to filter these particular frequencies. Meanwhile, anybody who really wants to can still come up with a receiver that will work in those bands... The public *wanted to believe* that their phone conversations were secure, so they made listening illegal rather than actually trying to make them secure (or letting the free market do it as a "feature"). Legislate to the fantasy, that's what we do today, because it makes people feel better even if they're worse off...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The current DMCA, AFAIK, makes breaking encryption a questionable prospect, at best. Why should this even be protected? ...why are we legislating that the use of "weak" encryption is okay?

      Because the uses of encryption that the DMCA protects can never be "strong" - DRM is all about giving people the decryption keys to decode the content but trying to trick them through elaborate obfuscation into not realizing they have the keys. That kind of scheme can never be cryptographically secure, so to patch that lo
      • by mpe (36238)
        Because the uses of encryption that the DMCA protects can never be "strong" - DRM is all about giving people the decryption keys to decode the content but trying to trick them through elaborate obfuscation into not realizing they have the keys. That kind of scheme can never be cryptographically secure,

        In some cases they migyht even toss in a cypher machine too.
        The other way in which the whole idea just falls apart is that you have to output some kind of plaintext.

        the MAFIAA got the DMCA passed which mak
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:08PM (#18173384) Homepage
    Would I still be breaking the law every time I play a legally purchased DVD on my Linux-based computer using decss-derived software?

    It sounds like it. It sounds like the bill wouldn't even allow you to play a DRM-encumbered CD, unless the DRM was a Sony rootkit or other security problem. Lame.

    Though on the other hand, being able to say "I am breaking the law every time I watch a DVD on my computer" is a simple and clear way to demonstrate how crazy copyright has become by outlawing what is so obviously ethical behavior. Since I will still be able to say that should this bill be passed, I have an equally simple way of expressing how copyright law is still screwed up, and how this bill completely failed to fix it.

    Much better than having it partially fix the main problem so that it still isn't adequate, but becomes harder to explain. To put it another way: If you're going to suck, suck hard, so the slurping noise gives you away.
    • Yes, however you wouldn't be breaking the law by using "clit" to break Microsoft .lit files and have your computer read them out loud. More importantly, someone could throw a reader into the same .zip file as "clit" and legally distribute it.
    • Would I still be breaking the law every time I play a legally purchased DVD on my Linux-based computer using decss-derived software?

      Are you doing so now?

      Though on the other hand, being able to say "I am breaking the law every time I watch a DVD on my computer" is a simple and clear way to demonstrate how crazy copyright has become by outlawing what is so obviously ethical behavior.

      The problem is, I bet you can't come up with a single instance of someone who was convicted or even charged with copyright in

      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        Are you doing so now?

        Assuming you don't mean right now, fucking of course I am. It's a ludicrous law, and I will not respect it. I bought the fucking DVD, I'm going to watch it and not feel guilty. I also occasionally travel in my motor vehicle above the posted speed limit, should I feel the safety considerations allow for it, and that's pretty well established in case law as illegal I would say. Just call me a rebel.

        The problem is, I bet you can't come up with a single instance of someone who was convi
        • Assuming you don't mean right now, fucking of course I am. It's a ludicrous law, and I will not respect it. I bought the fucking DVD, I'm going to watch it and not feel guilty

          Ah, you misunderstood my question. It wasn't whether or not you were watching DVDs on Linux, but whether you were breaking the law by doing so.

          The DMCA also says quite plainly that breaking an access control without permission is a crime regardless of whether or not you subsequently violate copyright.

          So there is a contradiction, an

          • by Chris Burke (6130)
            It wasn't whether or not you were watching DVDs on Linux, but whether you were breaking the law by doing so.

            Sorry, I thought you were asking something that the post you replied to hadn't already stated plainly.

            So there is a contradiction, and it comes down to which part overrides the other. Since the part about fair use explicitly references the rest of the DMCA, I'd say it's pretty obvious that part overrides the other parts: "Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses
            • Violating the DMCA is a copyright violation.

              No, it isn't, and I challenge you to show the language that says it is.

              I don't believe "copyright violation" is defined in the law, so it is merely a colloquial term. I think a reasonable definition for "copyright violation" would be "a violation of copyright law", and you agree with me that the DMCA is part of copyright law, right?

              Breaking an access control mechanism is a crime unto itself, separate from copyright.

              Breaking an access control mechanism is a

  • The *IAA has too much money and political power for the government to pass a law allowing the circumvention of DRM. If DRM could legally be broken, there would quickly be commercial efforts to break it, and new methods wouldn't last a week. Clearly the media industry wouldn't like that, and for whatever reason, the government supports them more than the consumer.
  • by idlemind (760102)
    Stop buying their crap. Find some other way to get entertainment.
    • Nothing short of that kind of attitude would win here, because otherwise, it's one gigantic fucking trap. 99% of laptops come with Windows, so even if you don't use it, you're still paying Microsoft -- and the entertainment world is similar.

      So it comes down to: Either stop watching movies or TV altogether, or pirate them, or beg our government to smack them around and maybe even try to put some cracks in that oligopoly so we get some real competition.

      Because the sad truth is, there is no competition. It's p
  • by ewhac (5844) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:40PM (#18173896) Homepage Journal
    There is only one form of legislative act that will correct the problems with the DMCA. It would read roughly as follows:

    "Section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."

    Schwab

    • by russotto (537200)
      Yep. Further refinements to your bill include
      "Chapter 12 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."
      "Section 512 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."

      But this bill doesn't do anything like that, and isn't intended to pass. It's just an attempt to make it look like there's some sort of balance in Congress.

    • by EzInKy (115248)

      There is only one form of legislative act that will correct the problems with the DMCA. It would read roughly as follows:

      "Section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."


      No, the only near surefire way would be a grassroots Constitutional amendment. Something along the lines of "Congress shall pass no law restricting the free sharing of information among the people" should do it. The "copyright" clause would still stand to prevent commercial exploitation of writers an
  • by GrenDel Fuego (2558) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:41PM (#18173916)
    FAIR USE = "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship"

    Somebody please shoot me.
  • by ntk (974) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:47PM (#18174054) Homepage
    The DMCA reform bill Boucher has proposed in previous years is the The Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA). FAIR USE is a different bill, with a different target for reform: removing statutory damages [wikipedia.org], encoding some temporary DMCA exemptions into permanent statute, and ensuring that dual-use technologies (that have non-infringing uses as well as being used for infringement) are legal.
  • by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:48PM (#18174068)

    "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" (or FAIR USE)
    I want to introduce my own bill...

    "Initiative Halting Arbitrary Terms Excessively Bringing Additional Confusion and Kludginess to Resolutions, Ousting Newspeak, and Yielding a Manageable System." (or I. H.A.T.E. B.A.C.K.R.O.N.Y.M.S.)
  • DVD backups (Score:4, Informative)

    by crankyspice (63953) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:56PM (#18174218)
    The DMCA didn't make it illegal to "back up" DVDs. That has always been true of audiovisual works; the reproduction right (17 USC 106) is exclusively reserved to the copyright holder, there's no AHRA-like carveout for movies / TV shows / other A/V works, and the "backup" provisions of 17 USC 117 apply only to computer software -- MPEG2-encoded A/V content is still A/V content, not computer software. The DMCA might have made it (theoretically) harder to reproduce DVDs, what with the anti-circumvention provisions, but no 'right' or legal ability to make a backup copy of an A/V work existed before the DMCA.

    • Re:DVD backups (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:04PM (#18174366) Journal
      It's also true of any copyrighted work. Fair Use implies that an exception to the copyright law is being made because the particular infringement is not damaging to the copyright holder. This decision was left to the courts to make on a case-by-case basis until DMCA became law. Now you can't argue the Fair Use defense because you obviously broke a law to obtain the copy you're arguing Fair Use for. DMCA is so evil because it claims to uphold the Fair Use defense while finding a devious means to ensure that someone who makes such an argument is already guilty.
      • The DMCA on its face does not affect fair use -- see 17 USC 1201(c). (I don't believe any court anywhere has ever held that making a reproduction of an entire copyrighted work -- a 'backup' -- constitutes fair use, unless it was analogous to a codified carve-out; the Diamond Rio decision compared "space shifting" to the private reproduction right conferred by the Audio Home Recording Act's carveout.) Too, I don't know of any courts that have said "fair use" gives you a right to use any means to reproduce
    • The DMCA didn't make it illegal to "back up" DVDs. That has always been true of audiovisual works; the reproduction right (17 USC 106) is exclusively reserved to the copyright holder, there's no AHRA-like carveout for movies / TV shows / other A/V works, and the "backup" provisions of 17 USC 117 apply only to computer software -- MPEG2-encoded A/V content is still A/V content, not computer software. The DMCA might have made it (theoretically) harder to reproduce DVDs, what with the anti-circumvention provis
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      In other words, you can copy a DVD movie, you just can't circumvent its copy protection scheme to do it--thereby making it impossible to copy the movie. Good luck with that. Maybe if you pray hard enough, God will come down and copy it for you.

      -Eric

  • Put "Fair Use" with "Clear Skies", "Healthy Forests Initiative" and "No Child Left Behind".
  • What really needs to happen is the utter destruction of the "Licensing" notion. This is where the customer will always be screwed because while you cry that "I own this... I should be able to do what I want with it", you dont REALLY own it. So you simply have no right to bitch about "Your Rights" when it wasnt yours to begin with.
  • If anybody thinks the use congress will enact anything fair use, they are mistaken.
    Even the most fair-use oriented part of congress are with a great margin on the MPAA and RIAA side of things.

    Maybe the US needs a pirate party. http://www2.piratpartiet.se/international/english [piratpartiet.se]

    With the current balance in congress, a few seats may give great influence.
  • by Odinson (4523) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:12PM (#18174494) Homepage Journal
    I strongly recommend creating your own creative works, and releasing them under open licences. It's invigorating.

    You find yourself in the enlightened position of rooting for 100% effective enforcement of any laws on the books, while still being horrified at the stupidity of the 'we have way too much money, with little of it encouraging artists' lobby.

    There are some open authors and musicians and other creative types who are actually worthy of your attention who refuse to attack their fans. They show a subtle attention to your best interest that the heavy handed conglomerates can only wish to imitate

  • "make it easier for digital media consumers to use the content they buy."

    In fact what's owned, bought, and protected (or not) here is expression, not content.

    If you learn that the Earth is round from watching that digital video, you're free to share that fact with anyone you like. The copyright holders can't do a thing about it.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:25PM (#18176036)
    "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use..."

    That's the thing, copyright was created for the public's benefit and nobody else's! It's not like rights and freedom where there's a tradeoff between mine (I can do anything!) and what they impose on you (that means I can restrict you). With copyright, it's "hey, we want more material available to us, so we will make it worth your while by giving you a short monopoly". Well, it was.
  • Yet again, the bill does not appear to deliver on what most observers want: clear protection for making personal use copies of encrypted materials.

    Section 107 of Title 17 already does that: "the fair use of a copyrighted work...is not an infringement of copyright". Even the DMCA itself says that "Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title."

  • The Democrats are just as beholden to special interest groups (in this case, big media companies -- liberals in Hollywood donate to liberals in Washington) as the Republicans. At least the Republicans had a (dubious) principle upon which they based their decision. The Democrats are so afraid of getting cut off from their campaign donations that they won't do anything to upset the MPAA or RIAA.
  • How does this bill compare to what I believe are a reasonable set of rights like this [digitalconsumer.org]?

    Inasmuch as

    • the marketplace for purchasing legislation is rather distorted with only two sellers (D and R = $) and is pratically opaque and
    • as most voters are more concerned/distracted with the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's burial than DMCA, and
    • as most voters probably don't even know what the DMCA is.

    I expect money (which is needed to retain power in the periodic incumbent fest elections) will again streamroll this

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