- Key players in the computer, software and recording industries this week announced that they now see eye-to-eye on how to stem the rising tide of electronic piracy, but their accord raises questions about where the groups stand on consumers’ rights to make personal copies of their music, software and movies.
….The agreement says nothing about legal copies, however.
When people buy books, CDs, DVDs or other copyrighted materials, U.S. copyright law allows them to make limited copies of those materials, though the law is vague on where fair use ends and piracy begins. As technology has made it possible for people to make and swap near-perfect digital copies of audio and video, it has also provided companies with increasingly sophisticated means to block such activities.
Dissention in the ranks:
- At a joint press conference yesterday, the parties behind the policy detente were out of synch on the question of what the agreement means for consumers’ fair use rights.
RIAA Chairman Hilary Rosen said that the agreement means the three groups would not support fair use legislation re-introduced last week by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.).
“Ultimately, the Boucher bill wouldn’t pass the test of these principles and would not get the kind of support it has in the past,” she said.
But CSPP Executive Director Ken Kay declined to echo Rosen’s comment, saying that it is “not a judgment I’m prepared to make yet.”
Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said the groups’ failure to sound a unified line on fair use highlights a major weakness in their overall set of principles.