Thursday, March 01, 2007

If The RIAA Hates It... must be good for us. This looks to be the case with a new bill moving through Congress called FAIR USE (.pdf), (The Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship) Act. This rather wordily titled bill would return some of the freedom to use your media as you wish, that the Digital Millennium Act took away. If the RIAA is correct that this bill would effectively do away with the restrictions of the DMCA then I see no problems with it.

The bill would allow exemptions to the anticircumvention restrictions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by Congress in 1998. The bill is revamped from similar bills introduced in the last two sessions of Congress, Boucher said.

"The fair use doctrine is threatened today as never before," Boucher said in a statement. "Historically, the nation's copyright laws have reflected a carefully calibrated balanced between the rights of copyright owners and the rights of the users of copyrighted material. 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."

Unfortunately, as noted by some people, (and I tend to agree with them) the bill doesn't go quite far enough in stripping away some facets of the DMCA that make it illegal for you to even backup your property. I guess even a small step in the right direction is better than no steps at all.

The response from the RIAA, and their attitude was typical:
The bill would "allow electronics companies to induce others to break the law for their own profit," it said in a statement.

"The difference between hacking done for non-infringing purposes and hacking done to steal is impossible to determine and enforce," the RIAA said in its statement.
In RIAA's world we are all hacker criminals who just haven't been caught yet. What sad little people they are.

Removal of the DMCA from the picture could do nothing but good for the digital market, (as would the disappearance of RIAA). It would also lead to a better relationship between consumers and business, since consumers would no longer be treated as criminals by default. RIAA asserts that we are all criminals and FAIR USE might help remove that attitude from the equation, especially if it were rewritten to be a stronger and more "radical" bill that returned more rights to the end user. Here's to a swift journey through the system for Mr. Boucher's and Mr. Doolittle's bill.

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