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Boucher Barks at DMCA ruling

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Congressman Rick Boucher (D.-Va.), friend of fair use, voices his complaints with the Copyright Office’s ruling on DMCA exemptions, which we mentioned a couple of days ago.

    As a result of the ruling, Boucher said, “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. . 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. The bill has yet to have a hearing.

    “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,” Boucher said.

    Boucher added, “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.”

    Boucher’s 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 Boucher’s legislation, 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.

    “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the Fair Use rights of the users of copyrighted material,” Boucher told internetnews.com in a January interview. “This legislation will assure that consumers who purchase digital media can enjoy a broad range of uses of the media for their own convenience in a way which does not infringe the copyright in the work.” [internetnews.com]

Rock on Rick.

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