The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been wreaking havoc on consumers’ fair use rights for the past seven years. Now Congress is considering the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act (DMCRA, HR 1201), a bill that would reform part of the DMCA and formally protect the “Betamax defense” relied on by so many innovators.
HR 1201 would give citizens the right to circumvent copy-protection measures as long as what they’re doing is otherwise legal. For example, it would make sure that when you buy a CD, whether it is copy-protected or not, you can record it onto your computer and move the songs to an MP3 player. It would also protect a computer science professor who needs to bypass copy-protection to evaluate encryption technology. In addition, the bill would codify the Betamax defense, which has been under attack by the entertainment industries in the “INDUCE Act” last year and the MGM v. Grokster case currently before the Supreme Court. This kind of sanity would be a welcome change to our copyright law.
Let decision makers know you want your fair use back!
NOTE: Originally posted: May 2005 (recreated from mangled original bambismusings.blogspot.com)