RIAA Boycott: Congress Introduces "Fair Use" Bill; They're Totally With Us

Illustration for article titled RIAA Boycott: Congress Introduces Fair Use Bill; Theyre Totally With Us

Click to viewWait a minute… could this be… good news on the DRM front? Really? Somebody pinch me.

Reps. Rich Boucher (D-Va.) and John Dolittle (R-Calif.) introduced their "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" (or FAIR USE) Act today, one that aims to make crippled DRM illegal. Check it:

"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. 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."

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Holy crap, have these guys been reading The Giz? I'm just going to go ahead and take credit for this. You're welcome, everyone. Now let's just make sure this gets passed, OK?

Digital 'Fair Use' Bill Introduced In Congress [Washington Post]

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DISCUSSION

I just read the bill. The most significant change to the DMCA seems to be that you would be permitted to circumvent any DRM for the purpose of transmitting content over a home network. This could be interpreted quite broadly to include decrypting content on a DVR, personal media player, or PC to copy the content and play it back on another DVR, personal media player, or PC connected to that home network. Good stuff. This would fix the huge anti-competitive problem with DRM in the US right now. If this gets passed, then end users would be permitted to play Fairplay or PlaysForSure content on whatever device they want. Yay for interoperability. Of course, it looks like whoever tells you how to circumvent the DRM might still be in trouble under the DMCA, but it looks like you'll be fine if you just strip DRM for personal use, and don't tell anyone how you did it.

Another nice part of the bill: you can circumvent DRM to fast-forward through commercials in recorded content.

It's somewhat ironic that this comes so soon after the US just criticized Canada for not adopting DMCA-like legislation yet.

Of course it has to pass first. Good luck with that.