AfterDawn: Tech news

New copyright law amendment hearing tomorrow

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 11 May 2004 14:52 User comments (22)

New copyright law amendment hearing tomorrow A new proposed legislation change, called Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, is about to get a Congress hearing tomorrow. The proposed bill has already made maajor Hollywood studios, record labels and other copyright owners nervous.
The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va) would force record labels to add labels on CDs that don't comply with strict audio CD standards, because they've been intentionally "broken" in order to make them impossible to read with computers.

Various other consumer-protecting minor proposals are in the bill, but the most significant one is the amendment to the notorious DMCA legislation. The new proposed law text states: "It shall not be a violation of this title to manufacture, distribute, or make noninfringing use of a hardware or software product capable of enabling significant noninfringing use of a copyrighted work."

This would mean that tools that circumvent copy protection, such as DeCSS and similar DVD rippers, would be legal as they assist consumers to enjoy their legal rights to make backups of the content that they own whether it has been copy protected or not.

More information:

FoxNews
Library of Congress

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22 user comments

111.5.2004 15:02

I'm hoping that this time around some common sense will be used in decision making. Unfortunately I suspected in the past that it has been "dirty money" that has brought about some of these stupid legislations in the past. A bit of common sense now might change everything but I'm not gonna get my hopes too high up!

211.5.2004 15:13

Yeah, don't get your hopes too high, I don't believe that they will take a decision against the Hollywood studios. Movies make a lot of $$$.

311.5.2004 17:59

And people in a position of power who side in with the studios who make them, make lots of $$$ too. Gotta admit though..... I'm properly impressed with Mr. Rick Boucher. But like you, I've seen our rights being eroded and stomped on so long and so often, that I too will 'just wait and see'. Incidently, it matters not a whit what any legislative body thinks about "rippers". They, like the DVDs they circumvent, are here to stay. They cannot be "taken back" by the 'Net. Not only do they "survive", but they positively abound, worldwide. The *smarter* politicians will realise this, and sculp their bills and proposals around the fact. Make yourself feel better TODAY. Download 3 or 4 (heck-I'd go for half-a-dozen) different rippers today. Stash them away safely somewhere. (There! Feel better?) Sure you do, and why not ?? -- The Web's best-kept secret revealed: Ain't nobody gonna take your rippers away, because ultimately, nobody can. If you don't believe this or have faith in my words, then have faith in the many different dvd-authoring software titles out there whose authors wrote their programs to work in tandem with already-ripped discs. (i.e., rippers) (Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone. It'll be our secret). Peace.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 May 2004 @ 18:12

411.5.2004 18:29

"The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va) would force record labels to add labels on CDs that don't comply with strict audio CD standards, because they've been intentionally "broken" in order to make them impossible to read with computers." Could this be the scheme originated by Sony (I think) that defeated by using a "Sharpie"? TC

512.5.2004 9:20

Hmmm... A fair and balanced piece of legislation aimed at protecting and upholding the public's fair use rights with regards to digital media. Sounds really good. I give it a snowball's chance in hell.

612.5.2004 10:27

In spite of my last post I sent an e-mail to my congressman today asking that he support this bill. Below is a website with information on how to contact yours. I urge you to write and tell you elected representatives what you think. If you decide to, please be smart and respectful about it. Insulting, offensive, or otherwise stupid letters would be worse than nothing at all... http://www.aidsstories.com/mail.html Yes, it's an AIDS site, but it's the best one I found for e-mail addresses and information on contacting congressmen and senators for all 50 states.

712.5.2004 11:08

There's a few issues here. Firstly, the labeling of digital music discs (CD) that have a built-in copy protection scheme. As this could prevent a legally purchased CD from playing on a PC or other piece of audio equipment, I don't think anyone can argue with the intent of this proposed legislation. The other issue deals, albeit obscurely, with removing the clause in the DMC Act that prohibits the distribution of technology that is designed to defeat the built-in copy protection schemes. I think this is the issue that most of us are waiting to hear about. The proposed legislation would allow this technology to be distributed providing it is used within certain guidelines (research, etc.) and providing it is not used to infringe on Copyrights. It would be a nightmare trying to police the use of this technology. I am not convinced that the users of "ripper" software are using it to make personal backups of their own media - any other use would be considered infringing.

812.5.2004 12:05

Buzzoon "I am not convinced that the users of "ripper" software are using it to make personal backups of their own media - any other use would be considered infringing." You are totally missing the point. Fair use doctrine grants consumers the right to make back-ups of their legally purchased media. The DMCA does an "end-run" around fair use rights by making it illegal to circumvent copy protection. Guaranteeing citizens a fair trial means that some guilty criminals will go free and unpunished for their crimes. This is the price we pay. A lot of people do in fact use rippers to make personal back-ups of digital media. I do. And yes, rippers CAN be used to infringe on copyright. To make them illegal because of that is a direct infringement on already granted fair use rights. You can't have it both ways. So, which kind of digital world do you favor? One where people's privacy, rights, and freedoms are protected and valued, or the one that hollywood and the RIAA/record labels want?

912.5.2004 12:24

Hi GrayArea ... I do understand the issue and I do agree with fair use copying. You stated: "So, which kind of digital world do you favor? One where people's privacy, rights, and freedoms are protected and valued, or the one that hollywood and the RIAA/record labels want?" How can I favour one over the other? Being the Devil's Advocate here, what about the rights of Hollywood and the RIAA record labels? I really can't see a solution that is equitable to both "sides", however I believe talking about it at a high level (Congress) can't be a bad thing.

1012.5.2004 12:36

Hi buzzoon "what about the rights of Hollywood and the RIAA record labels?" That is a fair point. It may be unpopular to say on these boards but I don't think movies and music should be "free" for all. I do feel that content creators/owners should get compensated. It's just that the status quo structure of the "entertainment" industry and the methods being used to "protect" it from all us evil customers are IMHO repulsive and just fundamentally wrong. Their "vision" (the content nazis again, oops, guess my bias is showing) of the future of the digital "world" is even worse... That's my 2 cents anyway.

1112.5.2004 13:34

GrayArea ... Agreed :-)

1212.5.2004 17:13

they are politicians. they're probally just trying to get a little more hollywood lobyist money. but some good points by everyone else.

1313.5.2004 11:34

Ooh yeah! Vote for Me! Better yet, just send me money!

1417.5.2004 17:52
vudoo
Inactive

One solution would be Ads at the bottom of the screen while you play a back up or ripped copy of a DVD. The ads go to an artist fund and pays for the right to back up or copy the meterial. Want ad free then pay for a second copy. Most important I don't think the MPAA and RIAA are being truthful about the loss of sales due to Internet piracy. We have recorded stuff from the Radio and TV for years and yet we go to the movies and buy CD's and go to concerts. So I tell you all to join the EFF and fight for your God Given rights you deserve and have every right to exercise. Voodoohippie

1519.5.2004 15:42

Why not simply add a surcharge on blank media and give THAT money to the artist?

1620.5.2004 4:52

"Why not simply add a surcharge on blank media and give THAT money to the artist?" You're not a government official are you? This scam is happening in Canada right now with blank CD media and all it results in is the government getting richer ...

1720.5.2004 7:09

Nope. :) It seemed to work back in the day with VHS. I guess gov't. was more trustworthy back then. The basic idea as I'm sure you already know, is to use the surcharge as some partial comp for any losses directly due to home copying. I could be wrong about this but wouldn't that take the RIAA's main complaint away from them?

1820.5.2004 7:17

Well, let's see ... My son's punk rock band produced a CD last year that has ended up on the internet. Where does he apply for government funding to recover his losses? Does anyone in Canada know of any artist who has benefitted from this scam?

1920.5.2004 12:09

Hi buzzoon If you check this link you will see it is not the goverment collecting the levy but another music industry organization. See http://neil.eton.ca/copylevy.shtml#what_is_a_levy According to CPCC site $18 mil has been distributed see http://cpcc.ca/english/finHighlights.htm I hope this helps

2020.5.2004 13:22

From quickly scanning that link, I don't understand why something similar to that wouldn't work in the US?

2120.5.2004 16:20

Hi Cman If you check the following link you will see that the US has a varation of the levy program in place http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/1004.html It is not as extensive as Canada's but Canada has the Private Copying Regime as part of the Copyright legislation. I hope this helps

2222.5.2004 12:10
vudoo
Inactive

I bought some songs from Napster and tried to copy then to my Nomad Jukebox 2 and when I used the software that napster provides it would not work. So I tried to use the player software that came with the nomad Jukebox 2. Still that would not copy the DRM files without messing up the labels. I was told to use Windows Media Player 9 to copy the files from my HD to my player. Guess what it worked. This means that not only does the RIAA have their grubby hands in the cookie jar but so does bill gates. this is why so much hoopla has been made about p2p and copyright. It is far more then the RIAA that wants a piece of the action. You'll see Microsoft Media portables soon with the Microsoft label soon. And you'll also start seeing a Rhapsody media player for playing Rhapsody files in their portable divice as well. The companies see a huge profit in on line Music that is why everyone is against the consummer and all for these stupid laws. finally the US government is seeing the whole picture as a power play game of using the DMCA to try and gain control of the distribution of Music and Movies. With the Ad-supportive and levy programs there is no oppertunity for a power play and that is why the RIAA and MPAA are saying no. Truth be told the real creative artists will benefit from the popularity Download contest. If you suck you don't get paid and that is how it should be. Voodoohippie

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