Any attempt to modify the reprehensible DMCA is to be applauded no matter how unlikely its passage. The more times someone makes the effort, the more aware the public becomes and the greater the outcry will be. Look at how FCC media ownership deregulation finally roused the public to indignation and action.
Stalwart friend of the tech consumer Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va. is at it again, according to Billboard (membership required):
- During the next session [Boucher] will support a bill that seeks to modify the “information subpoena” and lawsuit mechanism granted by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That is what the recording industry employs to go after those who infringe upon copyrights with illicit peer-to-peer file sharing.
“There is now no judicial discretion or oversight in this process,” Boucher says. “There’s no ability for anyone to insert himself and say, ‘Wait a minute, somebody’s rights are being abused here – you don’t know all the facts.’ ”
Boucher, a member of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, tells Billboard exclusively that there will be a “concerted effort, with myself a part of it, to trim the sails on that process.”
But of course the copyright industry shills will do their master’s bidding:
- Neither the chairman of that subcommittee – Rep. Lamar S. Smith, D-Texas – nor the ranking minority Democrat – Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif. – support such a change.
“I don’t see a need for major changes in the DMCA,” Smith says. “But I’m always happy to look at proposals by other members of Congress.”
Berman adds, “The DMCA is an essential tool in the fight against piracy. Efforts to repeal or dilute it should be viewed for what they are: an effort to promote piracy.”
With those opinions, Boucher could find it difficult to get a hearing on his bill next year, unless he pulls together a formidable number of co-sponsors and supporters.
His track record for legislation to tinker with the DMCA in both this Congress and the 107th weighs against him. Provisions in these earlier bills would have allowed consumers greater “fair use” of copyrighted works. The Recording Industry Assn. of America argues that those changes would come at the expense of industry protections.
None of Boucher’s bills were ever scheduled for a hearing.
The RIAA opposes a change in the subpoena section of the DMCA.
Really? Berman, as always, is wearing the RIAA sphincter miniskirt.
For a frightening litany of the DMCA’s offenses against nature and the Constitution, see the EFF’s “Unintended Consequences: Five Years under the DMCA” paper.