updated 05:40 pm EST, Wed February 28, 2007
Congress 'Fair Use' bill
Congressional representatives Rich Boucher (D-VA) and John Dolittle (R-CA) today introduced the "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing US Entrepreneurship" Act, shortened in acronym to FAIR USE. According to the Washington Post, the bill would amend the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), currently used by groups like the MPAA and RIAA to attack piracy.
Boucher and Dolittle argue that the DMCA reaches too far. "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use," Boucher says. "Without a change in the law, individuals will be less willing to purchase digital media if their use of the media within the home is severely circumscribed and the manufacturers of equipment and software that enables circumvention for legitimate purposes will be reluctant to introduce the products into the market." The bill is backed by the Consumer Electronics Association.
The RIAA is strongly opposed to FAIR USE, notes PC World. In a statement, the RIAA says the bill would effectively repeal the DMCA, and "allow electronics companies to induce others to break the law for their own profit." Moreover, the group suggests that digital sales of books, games, music and movies would be impossible had the DMCA not been a safeguard. "The difference between hacking done for non-infringing purposes and hacking done to steal is impossible to determine and enforce."