Supporting Fair Use

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) is proposing legislation that would limit the ability of the government to enforce copy-protection routines as well as requiring manufacturers to label products containing DRM technology.

This is a very important piece of legislation as it would allow for companies to develop DRM technology but would also guarantee that the fair use rights of consumers are protected. This would also help reduce some of the excesses of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act which granted broad powers to copyright holders to prevent illicit copying, but also allowed copyright holders to prevent legitimate reverse-engineering and other fair-use copying. Furthermore, it would require companies to get a court order before forcing ISPs and other companies to divulge customer information, while the DMCA does not require judicial review. This means that a group like the RIAA can force an ISP to reveal customer information without due legal process.

The Brownback bill will be introduced next week. Those interested in protecting fair-use rights in the digital world would be well-advised to call their Senator and tell them to support the Consumers, Schools and Libraries Digital Rights Management Awareness Act.

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