EFF support efforts to revise US Digital Millennium Copyright Act

June 2005


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 (DMCA) has, in the words of the Electronic Frontiers Foundatoin “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 technology innovators from Sony, who created the Betamax videocassette recorder (VCR) and Amstrad who manufactured a dual cassette tape recorder/player along internet service providers and software manufacturers whose services are used for both legal and infringing activities. 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 industry through the US “Induce Act” last year and the MGM v. Grokster case currently before the Supreme Court.

See: EFFector Vol. 18, No. 14 May 5, 2005 The Electronic Frontiers Foundation: http://www.eff.org
and The EFF Action Center: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/003517.php

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