A senator thinks consumers should be warned about copy-protected products:
- The measure, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would grant the Federal Trade Commission the power to establish labeling methods for technology that limits the ability of consumers to freely copy, distribute or back up digital content.
“While digital media companies are racing to develop technologies to combat piracy, some of these antipiracy measures could have the effect of restricting lawful, legitimate consumer uses as well as unlawful copying,” Wyden said in a statement. “My bill says that if digital content is released in a form that prevents or limits reasonable consumer use, consumers have a right to be told in advance.”
The proposal, called the Digital Consumer Right to Know Act, represents the latest fusillade in the battles over copyright, peer-to-peer networks, and digital rights management that are taking place in Congress.
….Wyden’s bill would give the Federal Trade Commission a year to devise regulations that would apply to copy-protected software like Microsoft’s Windows XP and Intuit’s TurboTax, most DVDs, and the relatively small number of music CDs girded with antipiracy schemes.
An early report from an Intel-sponsored summit last month suggested that Wyden’s bill would require certain consumer-electronics devices to be labeled. As introduced, the proposal applies only to any “producer or distributor of copyrighted digital content” that impairs the ability of the purchaser to use it freely.
The bill would not restrict the ability of companies, vendors or distributors to employ whatever antipiracy technologies they wish, as long as they were clearly labeled. It also would not apply to analog content.
With Congress on a wartime footing and focused on homeland security, it’s unclear how likely the bill is to be enacted this year. No companion measure has been introduced in the House of Representatives. [CNET]
This bill would at least ensure that consumers would be informed as to what products could and could not be copied, and raise the level of awareness that there ARE products such as DVDs that can’t be legally copied, even for legitimate personal use.