“A bill introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives approaches digital rights management (DRM) from consumers' standpoint by ensuring that people who buy digital media can make backup copies and play them on whatever device they like without fear of breaking copyright law, according to the bill's sponsor.
Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California whose district includes Silicon Valley, introduced the bill, saying the legislation seeks to maintain in the digital age the same balance that existing U.S. copyright law establishes between the interest of copyright holders in controlling the use of their works and the interests of the public in the free flow of ideas, information and commerce.
'Consumers need a voice in this debate,' a release issued by Lofgren's office quotes the congresswoman as saying. “Right now it is the entertainment industry versus the technology industry, and the consumers are watching from the sidelines.”
The bill seeks to punish digital pirates without treating every consumer as a criminal, the release said. Lofgren noted that current proposals to combat digital piracy focus on “locking down” content and controlling how consumers use it. Cryptographic tools currently under development, for example, could play a role in legislative efforts to prevent copyright violations of DVDs.
The bill also prohibits shrink-wrapped licenses, also known as EULAs (end-user license agreements), that limit consumer rights, and the proposal clarifies the ways in which consumers can legally sell, archive or give away copies of digital works they purchased. In addition the law gives flexibility to digital content owners to develop new and innovative ways to protect their content and enable its use without violating copyright law.” [InfoWorld: Top News]
Do my eyes deceive me? Is this common sense being interjected into the debate? Room spinning… Jenny confused….
I'm trying to research the bill and verify it in order to get the details so that I can encourage my representatives to vote for it! Now if we could just get her to add language clarifying a library's right to circulate content….
Addendum: Just as I was starting to research the bill, we lost power at work. We heard that a crane in the nearby expressway construction fell on some power lines, but I haven't been able to find any trace of the story on the web. I guess the web is only good for finding really big breaking news.
Anyway, the Zoe Lofgren's DRM bill is all over the blogosphere now, so here are some further links:
- Greg Crisp points out Representative Zoe Lofgren's home page and the text of the Digital Choice and Freedom Act.
- Dave Winer points to Rep. Lofgren's Press Release about the bill, which also includes a list of supporters and a section-by-section analysis.
- The Mercury News says Representative Rick Boucher is planning to introduce similar legislation on Thursday.
- As usual, Ernest Miller at LawMeme provides background and context for A New Bill for Digital Fair Use.