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Boucher Joins DMCA Amendment Critics
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2003-10-31
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US Rep Rick Boucher (D-Va), accurately described as "a longtime champion of fair use rights," has joined the growing number of critics attacking the US Librarian of Congress' new 'exemptions' to the DMCA's general ban on circumvention of technological restrictions controlling copyrighted works.

"Consumers will continue to be subject to the whims of copyright owners seeking to deny them the right to use lawfully purchased digital works for a variety of fair use purposes," says Boucher, quoted by Roy Mark in dc.internet.com.

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"For example, the Copyright Office ignored this opportunity to exempt from the DMCA the ability to bypass copy protections so that consumers can play or display media on a variety of home devices."

In January, Boucher made digital home recording rights the first technology-related legislation introduced in the 108th Congress. However, the bill has yet to have a hearing, Mark points out.

"Now that it is clear that the Copyright Office is not going to interpret the DMCA in ways that will permit ordinary fair use activities, the need for the enactment of H.R. 107 is more apparent than ever," and, "Consumers will not be permitted to make back-up copies of DVDs; they will not be able to circumvent access control mechanisms even when they have malfunctioned, are damaged, or have become obsolete, and they will not be able to engage in certain types of encryption research and security testing," he has Boucher saying.

The Boucher bill would amend two key provisions of the DMCA which currently prohibit the circumvention of a technical protection measure guarding access to a copyrighted work even if the purpose of the circumvention is to exercise traditional consumer fair use rights.

Under it, circumvention for the purpose of exercising fair use rights would be permitted.

The bill would also permit the making and distribution of hardware and software if the technology is capable of substantial non-infringing use, Mark adds.


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