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Boucher's Anti-DMCA Bill Gets High Profile Allies 244

Landaras writes " is reporting that a newly-formed alliance called the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition is throwing their support and lobbying efforts behind Rep. Rick Boucher's (D-Va) Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act. Members of the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition include Intel, Sun Microsystems, Verizon, SBC, Qwest, Gateway and BellSouth. The EFF and the American Library Association are also in support."
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Boucher's Anti-DMCA Bill Gets High Profile Allies

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  • by MikeXpop ( 614167 ) <mike.redcrowbar@com> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:55AM (#9493493) Journal
    Could someone tell me the actual chances of this being passed?
    • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:29PM (#9496094)
      You see, what's going on here is that copyright enforcement is in a world of hurt right now - and so the media industries are trying to microregulate every other industry to do the enforcement for them. Right now we are seeing a back-lash that will likely succede, because the tech companies together have far more economic clout than Hollywood. This will also likely cause all hell to break loose.

      This is not new, it happened in the industrial revolution too. Unlike farming, the industrial revolution required a mobile and educated workforce. It was a disaster for the plantation system who envisioned that the entire meaning and purpose of the industrial revolution was to leverage inventions like the cotton gin to expand their plantations for unlimited growth and profit. At first they reactred by making tougher slave laws, till it got to the point you couldn't even teach a slave how to read, then they responded by trying to "force" the industrial northern states to enforce their slavery restrictions through a series of heavy handed regulations, when that went to hell the southern states tried to break off from the union and fence themselves off from the north.

      Today the information age requires the free flow of information, and it is a disaster to those who rely on the copyright system whose vision of the information age was to use inventions like the internet to impose copyrights to the far corners of the earth. At first they responded by making copyrights last (effectively) forever, and imposing punishments for copyright infringement that rival those imposded for violent criminals. Then they pushed through the DMCA, to "force" all the other industries to impose copyrights via heavy handed microregulation. Now that's having problems they are trying to fence themselves off from the rest of the world by using DRM.

      So watch out. SCO was a peace walk. All hell is about to break loose.
  • Hatch And Bono (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grendelkhan ( 168481 ) <scottricketts@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:55AM (#9493498) Journal
    Now that Fritz Hollings (D - Disney) is gone, the only major stumbling blocks in the senate will be Senators Hatch and Bono. I think we have a shot if Rep Boucher can get this past the House.
    • by squarooticus ( 5092 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:00AM (#9493520) Homepage
      I didn't know the U2 singer was a Senator.

      Oh, you must mean this [] Senator Bono.

      You really need to get with it.
      • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:3, Informative)

        by CarrionBird ( 589738 )
        Doesn't his widow now server in his stead? That's what I thought anyway.
      • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:3, Informative)

        by OakLEE ( 91103 )
        It's Representative Bono []. She represent's California 45th District which includes [] parts of East LA County, the Palm Springs area, and Riverside County. California is represented by Senators Boxer and Feinstien, who if I remember correctly are also in the pocket of the entertainment industry.

        • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 )
          The sad thing is, we are oppressing ourselves. If the majority of the people were registered, and most importantly INFORMED voters, politicans simply could not be in the pockets of industry. Campaign contributions can help someone get elected by allowing them to campaign more effectively, but its votes that actually put them in office. Politicians do realize this. If the public is truely outraged about something and a lot of people are complaining to their representatives, they will side with the voters ove
    • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:16AM (#9493587) Journal
      Hatch generally brings up proposals notable by their insanity and is tenacious in his attempts at destroying freedoms, but his actual success rate is not so great. The strength of his ideas has gained him notability but he actually seems to hold less sway than it might appear.
      • He (Hatch) just wants to project his wonderful songs from being pirated by Slashdotters.
      • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:5, Interesting)

        by southpolesammy ( 150094 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:22AM (#9494041) Journal
        The only reason that Sen. Hatch can pitch the ideas that he does is due to the fact Utah is so overwhelmingly Republican that as long as he wants to be in office, he will never get voted out. The end result of this is that he can pretty much say anything at all publically without fear of reprisal from his constituents.

        The GOP and other right-wing/corporate leaning organizations know this and use him to pitch ideas that other Senators can not safely propose without possibly drawing the ire of their constituencies and risk getting replaced in 2/6 years. By contrast, Democrats do not have this luxury in the Senate, as there is no state in the nation that is as heavily biased towards Dems as Utah is towards Republicans, therefore you rarely ever see bills in the Senate with as extreme a left-leaning slant as Hatch's right-leaning bills.

        So even if Sen. Hatch's ideas seem completely crazy to everyone, including his own party members, they do serve a purpose, which is to make the moderate conservative bills seem less crazy and outlandish, and therefore to get more credence. Coupled with the lack of an extreme liberal counterbalance to make moderate liberal bills seem more plausible, what we're left with is a permanent tilt towards the right in the Senate.
        • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I guess you've never heard of Ted Kennedy, or Charles Shumer, or Charlie Rangle (House).
        • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          So you think the entertainment industry is "right-wing/corporate leaning organizations"?

          Get real. The worst offender was Hollings, a DEMOCRAT. This is not a partisan issue, there are powerful interests that support the left, and there are powerful interests that support the right.

          Frankly, most of the entertainment industry (make that the majority of the media industry) supports the left, but I'll say it again, cow-towing to large, influential organizations is a NON-partisan pastime of many politicians,
          • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:4, Insightful)

            by mapmaker ( 140036 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @10:34AM (#9494716)
            You have a very valid point. Corruption is a non-partisan problem with our Congress. Lobbyists pretty much own our government at this point, and both parties are equally disgusting in this regard.

            However, for the most part large corporations throw their money at Republicans, not Democrats, because Republicans are usually more eager to hand out tax cuts and other corporate welfare than are Democrats. And there is a corresponding amount of Republican sucking-up to large corporations in response to this phenomenon.

          • No, I never said that at all, and to imply that I did is pure speculation on your part. I'm well aware of the entertainment industry's liberal bias but also aware that Sen. Hatch does provide a podium for groups like the RIAA to to get their views heard in Congress.

            Like you say, special interest groups frequently grease the palms of politicians on both sides of the floor, and Hatch represents an easy way for groups [] to get their viewpoints heard by Congress.
          • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @11:02AM (#9494993)
            cow-towing ?

            Yea, I had to follow behind a couple of ranchers who were cow-towing some steers to market this weekend. I could never get a chance to pass. Was stuck behind their smelly trailer for miles.

          • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            You must think Democrats are the same thing as liberals. Please consider recent history: Clinton, Gore, Kerry. These are conservatives, people. Democratic conservatives running against Republican conservatives. The Democrats once had a powerful liberal wing--in the McGovern era. Now it's just Wellstone, and he's dead. The Republicans also used to have liberals--in the Nixon era--now the only liberal Republicans to be found work at the state and local level.

            "Liberal" does not mean the leftmost half of
    • Re:Hatch And Bono (Score:4, Informative)

      by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:49AM (#9493792)
      Sonny Bono isn't a Senator. He never was, even when he was alive. He was a Representative.
    • My bad, that's Rep Bono now, Sonny's widow took over his seat and I believe won re-election.
  • Money Talks, Folks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palutke ( 58340 ) * on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:56AM (#9493500)
    It's time we started providing financial support for the elected officals who do the right thing. Rep. Boucher's contribution page is here. []

    By supporting him (and explaining why), we reinforce his commitment to protecting our copyright rights, and show his peers that there is a group of people (voters) who care enough about the issue to contribute.
    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:11AM (#9493564) Journal
      I'm in Boucher's district and have met and talked with him personally before - he's a genuinely smart guy. My only dissappointments are that he feeds at the pork trough like eveyone else (my community has been the benficiary of about $60k in various matching grants for small projects) and that he's very party-line on general issues. Of course, I've never met a politician who doesn't have those faults, on either side.

      At least according to press releases from his office he is facing a heavily (Republican Party) funded carpet-bagger in the next election. I dont' remember the fellows name, but I think he's from Florida. I'd like to say he's safe, 'cause even my far-right in-laws vote for him, but you never know. There are a lot of stupid people areound here who believe anything a TV commercial tell them, and some of them vote.

      • How do you get a carpet-bagger from Florida? CarpetBaggers were the Northern Republicans who headed down South after the Civil war to help with the reconstruction but were pretty universally unwelcomed. The dude might be unwelcome and a Republican, but you don't get much farther South than Florida... ;)
        • by DarkFencer ( 260473 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:52AM (#9494315)
          Though that was the original meaning of the word, carpet bagger has long been used to refer to someone who previously had little ties to a state/city/region/etc and moved there shortly before an election to run there.

          Most famous recent example: Hillary Clinton - a Chicago native, who moved to Arkansas, to Washington, and then out of the blue moved to NYC to run (successfully) for US Senate.

        • In case you haven't noticed, Florida is NOT a Southern state. The South ends at the Georgia border. Ok technically a couple hundred miles south of there. Then it turns into the North again. So as long as the politician is from south of Crystal Springs-ish, he would technically qualify as being a Carpetbagger. From Orlando on south it's nothing but damn yankees ;-)
      • (my community has been the benficiary of about $60k in various matching grants for small projects)

        But that's not necessarily pork... I mean, it depends on what it was for. Now we have, for example, Cynthia McKinney, a representative who gotted booted out in the primaries last election cycle in GA, because many republicans voted in the democratic primaries (you don't have to register your party in GA, but if you vote in a primary, you cannot vote in another party's primary).

        Aside from being a racist frea
      • dissappointments are that he feeds at the pork trough like eveyone else (my community has been the benficiary of about $60k in various matching grants for small projects)

        You and the people in your community probably pay about the same percentage of taxes as everyone else. Are you really saying that you would rather have that money go to communities in other states or regions, than have it spent in your area?

        Of course the real solution would be to both remove the taxes and stop paying for the pork, but

    • by SteakandcheeseUm ( 191173 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:38AM (#9493719) Homepage
      I've Donated to the EFF, have you?

      EFF's Donation site []
  • I think it's bold, and a move in the right direction, but it's folly to think that they media lobbies are going to let this go unmolested. They have almost unlimited funds (money we've paid for CDs and movies) to fight this.
    • by beacher ( 82033 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:10AM (#9493561) Homepage
      I think it smells of trying to get the genie back into the bottle. Right now the Microsoft/MPAA/RIAA axis is trying their damnedest to create a culture that is entirely controlled by the media corporations. I'm glad that this bill has the backing of some serious technology players. If DRM isn't controlled in the next few years, it could spin wildly out of control.
    • No it doesnt.... this is something that Rep. Boucher has been working on for quite some time, and its been mentioned on slashdot quite a bit as well here [], here [], here [], and here [].

      and that was just the top four in a search of old stories by score...

      And you are correct, at least, in that this is a bold move, and definitely in the right direction. It is indeed a folly to think that media lobbies will just ignore this, which is why we ALL need to come together and slashdot congress both via email and snail mail to get things like this pushed all the way through.

      And besides which, they may have almost unlimited funds, but we have unlimited bandwidth collectively...
    • by Ian Wolf ( 171633 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:20AM (#9493609) Homepage
      This certainly smells of election-year politicing

      Normally, I'd be inclined to agree, but Rep. Boucher has been championing this issue for some time now.

      Story 1 []
      Story 2 []
      Story 3 []
      Story 4 []
      Story 5 []

      There are of course many more. This bill was originally introduced in 2002. This guy is the real deal.

      I didn't go back far enough to get the link of his interview here on /., but I'm sure somebody probably already has since I started this post.
    • by velo_mike ( 666386 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:58AM (#9493856)
      I think it's bold, and a move in the right direction,

      It's my opinion that it's neither. The way to fix a problem is remove it, not keep patching it up. Bad laws, the DMCA is a prime example, need to be removed. Patching it here and there will give us the same mess we have with the nightmare of drug laws.

      Currently, drugs are against the law, except for some drugs, and unless you're in some states and have a medical condition, except that isn't recognized by the federal govt nor every state. Let's throw in the decriminalization movement which leaves the laws entact for certain amounts and certain other drugs, but doesn't outright permit the legal use of drugs. Follow all that? Now, do you really want fair use to look like that?

      Either support the DMCA or work to abolish it entirely. This half-assed approach will, in the long run, leave us worse off than we are now, subject to a patchwork of laws and most certainly guilty of something. The only people who benefit from this is the lawyers.

  • by keraneuology ( 760918 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:58AM (#9493507) Journal
    It is a good start, but in the end not much will change. Your average consumer doesn't care much about copy-protected or not-copy-protected CDs and even if they have "this product does not conform to the CD standard" in big bold letters on the cover of the latest hairball that Brittany Spears coughed up they will still buy it just because they have to own whatever it is that Brittany Spears puts out.

    I am waiting for a law that says that producers have a choice: they may a) allow consumers to back up their music/movies/games or b) agree to replace on demand and without charge any CD/DVD that has been damaged and is no longer playable.

  • by Karrde712 ( 125745 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:58AM (#9493509)
    Assuming that slashdotters would like to add their support in a mail-in campaign, to whom should we send our letters? Would it be best to send it to the Personal Technology Freedom Consortium, to Boucher directly, or to our own senators and representatives?

    What do other slashdotters think would be the most effective action?
    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:31AM (#9493676) Journal
      Type up a letter and mail it everyone listed as a Representative at in your state, except your local representative. Your local Rep should get a handwritten (very neatly, thank you) letter.

      You may also want to drop a line to the first sub-committee (Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property) listed here:

      and to the first sub-committee (Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection) listed here: s/ Commerce_Trade_and_Consumer_Protection_Members.htm

      (BTW - Mary Bono is on that last committee. You might just want to hand write a note that if she doesn't like the bill, you recommend she stick it up, no, maybe that's not a good idea, on second thought)

    • by loyalsonofrutgers ( 736778 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:31AM (#9493677)
      Well, the point of a mail in campaign is to sway a decision. Boucher and PTFC not only are already firmly in favor of the bill, their position is probably that which coincides with the vast majority of Slashdot readers. Therefore, a mail-in campaign directed to either of those would be completely ineffective.

      As per usual, it is best to mail your own representatives in Congress. No one else's representatives have to answer to you in November, so they won't care.
  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:02AM (#9493526)
    So the question is: who has deeper pockets?

    The state of American politics is at an all time low - votes are now strictly gathered by the $, either in congress or by the voting public.

    The kicker? Politicians can voters on their side by taking high-profile polarizing issues (like abortion), but then vote on all other issues based upon the pocketbook of the lobbys. The DCMA and "Patriot Act" are two clear examples.

    I would have never have said this before, but I'll say it now: next time, I vote for the ACLU.
    • Many people here on slashdot don't like the ACLU's stand on gun control legislation. You know what? - that's 1 amendment out of 10. If you look at how many laws are being passed or proposed, the odds are probably even better, as we haven't seen nearly 1 gun control law for every 10 that threaten the 9th and 10th amendments, and some of the worst legislation has mostly impacted the 1st, and sometimes the 5th.
      Plus, which is more likely to work?

      1. Supporting something that thinks it has an obligation to a
  • About Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:04AM (#9493536) Journal
    Well it seems like it is about time a bill would come along to solve the horrific problems created by that vile devil known as the DMCA. Now what we all need to do is write your senators and representatives. Let them know how much we want this bill to get through and how important it is to us.

    If your elected officials are up for election this year iterate how important this issue is and a vote on this issue could sway your voting. The politicians are supposed to listen to their voters and we as voters need to let them know what we want. This bill and an election year may help give us more leverage when writing to our reps and senators.
  • by sploo22 ( 748838 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [relhawd]> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:05AM (#9493537)
    IMHO, the most important section of this bill [] is section 5(b)(2):

    (b) FAIR USE RESTORATION- Section 1201(c) of title 17, United States Code, is amended--
    (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the period at the end the following: `and it is not a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in connection with access to, or the use of, a work if such circumvention does not result in an infringement of the copyright in the work'; and

    (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    `(5) It shall not be a violation of this title to manufacture, distribute, or make noninfringing use of a hardware or software product capable of enabling significant noninfringing use of a copyrighted work.'.

    Finally, at least some of our rights are being upheld.
    • Thats one of the nice things about Rick Boucher... I spoke with him before he was first elected, and he came across then, as he does now, as a politician who really is working in the interests of those he represents.

      Mr Boucher is a very smart guy, and is usually very up to date on technology, and, as has been stated and shown here on more than one occasion, actually has a clue when it comes to technology and law.

      I wish I still lived in VA so I could vote for him again. But either way, he is a nice guy w
  • What can we do?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:09AM (#9493556) Homepage Journal
    Instead of debating whether this would pass or what hurdles it will have to clear to pass, can we talk about what I can do to help these guys?

    And yes, we can be cynical and weep all we want about how money wins in the end, but how many of us did a darn thing about it?? If someone wants to put together an Anti-DMCA rally in D.C, heck, I will be with you shoulder to shoulder..

    Lets not whine about how we are defenseless against the MPAA lobby's millions, lets talk about how we plan to kick their ass!

    This is similar to my argument about outsourcing.. When news break out that another firm has outsourced to India/Vietnam/China/Russia, there is a sudden outpour of anger and indignation, but once the last post is written, no one seems to care.. What we need is a permanent revolution (yes I am well aware of who said that!)..
    • Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:40AM (#9493731)
      Write your representitive (senators too) and let them know your postition. This goes double if they are on the fence, or opposed to this bill. The next part is to vote out those that oppose it during the next election. Politicians will go with special intrest groups only until the general public lashes back. If they are foolish enough to go against the majority's wishes, well they won't be around to do it again.

      Seriously, let them know how you feel, and if they fail to listen, vote them out (and encourage others to help in that regard.
      • Re:Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cOdEgUru ( 181536 )
        I had a different opinion.

        (1) Does our representatives care about what we think or what the majority of their constituents think?

        They wont if we are the minority, and surely an Anti-DMCA bill wont be debated among the majority of its consituents as most of them dont know/dont care. But what if we as a collective, helps the general public in understanding what this bill means, how beneficial it could be for them as well as the ability to innovate, then we might have a chance.

        Also by performing as a collec
      • No, it's not simple.

        Seriously, let them know how you feel, and if they fail to listen, vote them out (and encourage others to help in that regard.

        What if I support my representative on just about everything else? You know, important issues not related to entertainment? Let's face facts, I agree with Boucher, and pretty much the sentiment of the slashdot crowd on this subject, but your right to be entertained is hardly the most pressing issue in the upcoming elections.
    • Re:What can we do?? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Silwenae ( 514138 ) *
      So do what I did last week.

      Join the EFF. When I'm asked what EFF stands for on the hat I wear all the time, THIS is the stuff I talk about.

      As much as I respect the work the EFF does around fighting the RIAA and DirecTV, this kind of action is what really makes a difference in people's lives. Fighting the travesties that are the Patriot Act and the DMCA is an important piece of work, and the EFF does a phenomenal job through education and communication around these issues.
  • by bigskank ( 748551 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:19AM (#9493602)
    I can understand why the EFF, the ALA, and even an underdog like Sun are signed on as supporters of this bill, but what benfits are coming to companies like Qwest, Verizon and BellSouth - all major telecom providers? These companies are spending money to fight the DMCA, but what financial benefits does the destruction of the DMCA offer them? Is Telecom innovation being hurt this much by the DMCA so much that they're willing to take up arms and fight?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see the DMCA nuked. But it would seem they've found something in this bill that suits them quite nicely in a financial sense, which immediately raises my skepticism level about how positive their support really is.
    • They're sick of being the errand boys of the RIAA and MPAA, for one.

      But you have to presume that somebody needs to "make money" off of DMCA changes, or nobody will support it. It's sad, but simple.
    • Probably because they are getting tired of being dragged to court for DMCA violations...
    • by femto ( 459605 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:35AM (#9493701) Homepage
      They are the suckers who have to wear the cost of actually policing the DMCA. Receiving take down notics, removing content, dealing with pissed off customers, loosing pissed of customers, deciding whether content really is infringing, etc. Meanwhile it costs the studio's automated web crawler and takedown notice generator $0.00001 to generate each notice.

      Notice the similarity between the economics of DMCA take down notices and spam?

    • The price of restrictions on consumers is great for those that provide them. For example, the other day I opened a checking account. The bank officer was complaining about the PATRIOT act where he said, "Even if my mother were to come in here to open an account, I would have to photo copy her ID."

      Someone has to pay for the extra measures set forth by these types of consumer restrictions. Inevitably it is the consumer, but in the short term it is the providers. In the end both lose.
    • Follow the money (Score:5, Informative)

      by hellfire ( 86129 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vdalived'> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:51AM (#9493812) Homepage
      Always follow the money.

      Verizon was hit hard by the RIAAs attempts to supoena the names of their users. It's not in Verizon's best interests to give up such names, because they make money on services, not software. The DMCA has severe effects on software and copywrited files. Verizon doesn't give a rats ass (as they should not) as to what goes across their networks, as long as people pay for the right to use those lines.

      If people lose privacy and anonymity by using Verizon because they are the target of the RIAA, Verizon will lose customers. Verizon can't afford that.

      Also note companies like Comcast and AOL/Time Warner who are cable companies who are NOT on that list. They provide internet services, but they are also part of larger media conglomerates that want their media content providers preserved.
      • Yep. The telcos (i.e. the Baby Bells) like this because they are the ones being hit by DMCA notices that they then have to process (or fight).

        The cable companies dont like this because the DMCA gives them another weapon to use against those who make and distribute "cable unlockers" and "pirate cable boxes" and such like.
    • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:02AM (#9493882)
      Read the bill. It doesn't "nuke" the DMCA. It just amends it slightly to permit you to break copy protection for purposes which are otherwise legal. And requires copy protected CDs to be labelled accurately and prominently. All the rest of the DMCA provisions aren't touched by it.
      • Actually it does effectively nuke the DMCA in so far as "the DMCA" equates to anti-cricumvention / DRM enforcment.

        The main function was never to make it criminal to actually commit circumvention, which is essentially impossible to enforce. Someone sitting in their den and circumventing to watch a DVD is essentially undetectable and unarrestable.

        The DMCA is really *not* about making it criminal to circumvent.

        The main function was to make it criminal to give anyone else information enabling them to circumv
  • So what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alexis de Torquemada ( 785848 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:19AM (#9493606)
    The content lobby will just counter with a Copying Unceasingly Nurtures Terrorism (CUNT) or an Unlawful Replication Gives Al-Qaeda lots of Yen (URGAY) act. Linking copyright violations to child abuse and even terrorism is en vogue, and as long as this kind of manipulation can be used for profit, they won't cease to try. Anyway, I hope this one does make it through.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:25AM (#9493637) many of you would really you use the new ability to copy music/movies/games just for backups? I hear a lot of rhetoric about this sometimes quoted "right" on these boards. I think many would see a bill like this to be open season on P2P sharing again.

    My opinion is that DMCA is wrong, but that's because copyright is inherently protected by the law and that we should be able to perform actions along the fair use doctrine.

    But I am afraid this type of law (though good) would just reopen the door for any person to just start sharing copyrighted material again. As consumers, we need to respect copyrights.
    • I wish it was easier to say "DMCA protects artists" or "it's just wrong". There will always be people who abuse the system, no matter what it is. I remember back in the day of dual cassete decks. Borrow a tape, copy it, and you've got a copy. I admit I made a couple copies from friend's tapes. But for me, it was mostly buying albums, making a copy on tape, and there ya go. It didn't keep me from buying albums (as the RIAA claims all this MP3 trading and CD burning is doing).

      The point being, if someone r
    • how many of you would really you use the new ability to copy music/movies/games just for backups?

      Who cares if it's just for backups? The point is that those backups wouldn't be illegal.

      I, for one, backup my CDs all the time; I've heard too many horror stories about people leaving their CDs in their cars only to have them stolen. If I get my CDs stolen from my car, at least all I'm losing is a 25 CDR instead of a $15 album.

      Video games and movies? Ehh. Too much trouble, and they rarely leave their cas
    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:49AM (#9493793) Journal
      Troll, no doubt, but it's a nice opening...

      You don't have small children, do you?

      Have you ever seen what they can do to a DVD? Have you tried to re-purchase "The Little Mermaid" on DVD in the stores recently? Have you ever wanted to make a copy of the movie that had JUST the movie (no mandatory ads in the beginning)? Did you know that VHS tapes degrade over time and viewing (and that MacroVision prevents their copying?) If you owned a copy of Song of the South, wouldn't you like to have a backup?

      Have you ever wanted to leave your original DVD ro CD in the Jukebox, where it's safe, and burn a copy to take with you on vacation?

      Did you know that these rights management schemes are effectively useless against for-profit pirates (aside: I'm not one of these)? Have you considered that, with 6 MILLION, ACTIVE file sharers, that accounts for less than 0.1% of the population (aside: I'm not one of these either)?

      Now, ask me again: Would these new laws really make a difference to me? Hell yes. It's a PITA to rip and recode a DVD. It's a PITA to dub a VHS tape. It's a PITA to rip and burn a backup CD. It's a trivial process to copy VHS-VHS with two standard VCRs, if no macrovision is involved. It's illegal to manufacture an interface box. It would be a trivial exercise to build a jukebox with a recordable (CD/DVD) drive and let you dub a copy. You can't do that 'cause it's illegal to manufacture such a beast.

      Quit treating me like a d@mned criminal.
      • Or closer to home for the poster:

        Have you ever wanted to play a copy-protected game on an ultraportable (aka external cd drive) laptop? Pain in the ass to carry that cd around, with the game's cd, plugged in, just so it can say, "okay you can do that."

        I'm still pissed that CivIII is copyprotected.
    • I copy CD's for backup regularly. Not so much for music, but for software. Also, the DMCA prevents "Fair Use" of *any* of the protected material, which is clearly preventing lawful use of the material in question. Be very careful fo the DMCA. It's use can encourage such abortions as the Microsoft "Palladium" project, designed to give the BIOS encrypted and "secure" control of all hardware based on registered keys, and thus preventing you from being able to use software or video or music without getting key
    • by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:10AM (#9493938)
      I've had a few products that I legitimatly paid for remotly disabled. I would use this new law, which says it's legal for me to crack programs that I bought, to crack the programs that I bought. Legally.

      If it's illegal to pirate software, it should be at least as illegal to shut it down when it was legitimatly purchased, but it's impossible to seek cost-effective redress in court. UCITA would limit damagaes to the cost of the software, if I read it correctly, so the software company never gets punished and I'd still have to pay court costs. Companies like Microsoft have not been at all careful with how they employ the 'remote disable' feature. I want the guns to take what's mine.
    • I've burned personal-use copies of difficult-to-replace media (example: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, a Playstation game that has been out of print for years) so I can put the original away and play the copy. I would happily do the same with my hard-to-find PS2 games (Fatal Frame, Disgaea) if I could buy a modded PS2 console without worrying about getting in trouble thanks to the DMCA. My husband and I treat our games carefully and don't have any small children or klutzy friends, but "better safe than so
    • I rip every CD I buy so I can listen to it from anywhere in my house via my slimserver. On the other hand, I never rip DVDs because we only have one TV. There *are* perfectly legimate uses for this stuff.
    • Well, let's restate the question as: how many people currently copy non-copy-protected stuff for backup purposes only, without redistributing the copies?

      Well, I for one do. Some of my CDs are scratched and unplayable, so I've ripped and remastered them on CD-R, and now I can listen to them again.

      I've just acquired a DVD writer so for the couple of DVDs I have that are also stuffed I plan to do the same.

      No I haven't got kids, but I haven't been as careful with these allegedly indestructible media as per
    • I hear a lot of rhetoric about this sometimes quoted "right" on these boards. I think many would see a bill like this to be open season on P2P sharing again.

      Open season? Did the season ever close? Anybody "on these boards" with a desire to share protected content probably has enough Google skillz to circumvent the lame DVD and CD encryption in use now. DRM is only a hinderance to ordinary citizens who want to use the media that they bought and paid for.
    • But I also back up my CD collection. I also have gotten screwed when buying new $oftware at full price, having my machine hose up a week a later and then finding that with the OS reinstall I supposedly have a brand new machine and supposedly should be buying all my software again.

      "Sharing" will occur with or without the DMCA - it may help fight it, but mostly it just pisses off paying customers...
  • Anti-DCMA? Kinda. (Score:4, Informative)

    by szquirrel ( 140575 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:27AM (#9493645) Homepage
    Note that HP and Intel are playing both ends against the middle [] on this one.

    I'm all for having big tough friends against the DCMA, I just wish the big tough friends could decide whether or not they're my friends.
  • by miketang16 ( 585602 ) * on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @08:28AM (#9493650) Journal
    "Bringing in the government to impose certain types of mandatory labeling schemes or new technological mandates is a little bit troubling to us," said Adam Thierer, Cato's director of telecommunications studies.

    Bringing in the government to impose a ban on fair use rights or reverse engineering is a bit troubling to us.
  • Take action (Score:4, Informative)

    by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:02AM (#9493881)
    Please sign up and take action at EFF [] if you live in the US. I have used the default forms many times and I have received back many letters from my representatives even though these are just e-mails that I have sent. Specifically, on HR 107, I just received yesterday a page and a half (typed, but still) positive response from my representative. With so many slashdotters, I am sure we can make a tiny difference.

    Please try it, it takes only a few seconds after you have signed up to send an e-mail on each topic that comes up.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But there is very little money behind this, so the chance of this being passed is essentially nil.

    I wish it wasn't. I wish that if I wrote a letter it would make a difference. But the battle lines for this were drawn decades ago and the misinformation surrounding this are so high that I'll bet most senators and representatives really feel that only evil pirates are against the DMCA at this point.
  • by user no. 590291 ( 590291 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:12AM (#9493947)
    Intel's also a member of the "Trusted" Computing Platform Alliance (or TCPA). So I wouldn't rush out and buy a new P4EE to reward them for their "principled stand" here.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:24AM (#9494061) Homepage
    Companies have constituents too. This is agreat opportunity to send positive feedback to companies that support the DMCRA, especially if you are a customer. If they perceive that their customers support them on this, then they will be more likely to spend money lobbying for this type of legislation since it may become a selling point in their service. A letter may make more of a difference than a vote.
  • by Anonymous Writer ( 746272 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:36AM (#9494157)
    It looks like these are steps more in the direction that Cory Doctorow of the EFF thinks things should go, mentioned in a previous [] story on Slashdot.
  • Write your Congress Critters, remind them that you are a registered voter, that votes. Then vote according to the way they do. If they fall under Hatches spell of paid for evil, vote them out. Explain to your friends why this is neccessary so they can have an informed vote too.
  • Interesting. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scrubmuffin ( 173705 )
    No Apple?
  • nice. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @10:37AM (#9494739)
    I am thinking about entering politics once I get my degree finished...a politician with a CS degree, that's unheard of.

    But, I'd be in touch with important issues.

    I.e.: Don't install face recognition systems -- they don't work. Instead, spend $BILLION to pay the minimum wage rentacops at the airports to actually care whether or not a terrorist goes through.

    I will fight for the consumer's rights against Corporate America, and ensure your privacy in the digital age.

    So, who'll vote for me?
  • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @11:16AM (#9495178) Homepage Journal
    MPAA/RIAA/et al: We must impose DRM technology to prevent piracy which is ruining our business!

    Everyone else: Well, you can put whatever information you want on a disk and try to sell it, but you know DRM doesn't really work so it's sort of pointless. Isn't your only option to work on interdicting commercial bootlegging, the only place you're likely to recoup a reasonable recompense without alienating your consumer base and the only real source of your legitimate copyright-violation problems anyway?

    MPAA/RIAA/et al: Crap! DRM doesn't really work anyway! I know, we'll pay off congress to have a special case exception of innocent until proven guilty written into the law! DRM still doesn't work but now it's illegal to prove that in the real world! That'll show those rotten pirates!

    Adobe: Arrest that durn Ruskie! He is giving a talk which is embarassing to us! Pirates, ARRRR!

    Everyone else: Geez, that new legislation seems kinda excessive. It's already illegal to duplicate and distribute copyrighted materials without permission. So what good does banning tools that MIGHT be used for that purpose do? Plus, it doesn't work. DeCSS might be illegal under the DMCA, and it's one of the most ubiquitous pieces of code on the internet. It's redundant, violates the spirit of the constitution, inneffective, frequently unenforceable, and it alienates legitimate consumers of your products who want the freedom to legally use them in the way and on the equipment that is best for them!

    MPAA/RIAA/et al: Oh, so you want some free music do you, you little thirteen-year-old tramp? Well here's a subpeona for you! And one for you, and you, and your little dog too! We have five dollars for each of you!

    Everyone else: wow, these people are out of control. Hey, massive electronics and telecommunications business, can you give us a hand here? We spend a lot more money on you. These people are obsessed with killing innovation to protect technologies that don't work to prevent violations that don't matter and don't prevent the bootlegging that actually hurts them anyway.

    Intel, Sun Microsystems, Verizon Communications, SBC, Qwest, Gateway and BellSouth, Philips Consumer Electronics North America, the Consumer Electronics Association, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, Public Knowledge, the American Foundation for the Blind, the United States Telecom Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association... :well gosh, this situation seems non-ideal...

    MPAA/RIAA/et al: Noooo! If we lose the red herring of our brave fight against piracy our shareholders might finally figure out we're just screw-ups who have been squandering their money with our insane business strategy of screwing all our customers AND the actual producers of our products at the same time!

    Hello? Venture Capitalists? Have I got a deal for you...
  • by Mycroft_514 ( 701676 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @11:26AM (#9495276) Journal
    with examples of 2 cases where the DMCA law is dangerous to my health/healthcare, to the point of it actually threatening my life and others like me. I described what I had done to combat those cases, which involved violating the DMCA.

    In one case, after I cracked the password of a vender package, I reported the password back to the vender's help desk, where they now give it out to everyone who asks (before I cracked the password, they didn't know it, because I asked).

    I urge others with such examples to do the same and give Rep Boucher more data to work with.
  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @11:58AM (#9495716)
    I guess what I'm worried about is "Hollywood" painting its enemies in a bad light, by way of the movies it makes. I can see the preview now (not like I'd see the film.)

    (Cue Hal Douglas' [] voice.) A band of terrorist communist librarians, covertly funded by a telecom cartel calling itself the "Personal Technology Freedom Coalition" and including Intel, Sun Microsystems, Verizon, SBC, Qwest, Gateway and BellSouth, and having a well-placed mole in the highest echelons of government, plots to undermine America's greatest export - culture - and bring down the US economy, by depriving freedom-loving, orange-bearded set decorators of their God-given right to make an honest living.

  • what a bad idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:09PM (#9496631) Homepage
    ...this is. Rather than solve the problem by repealing the laws that cause the problem in the first place, we pass *more* laws which simply muddy the issue so badly that only the lawyers can figure out what the fuck is going on.

    This doesn't solve anything, it only makes the whole situation worse. With the DMCA at least I *knew* I was guilty of copyright infringement when I did thing X; after this act I won't have a goddamn clue. That can only be a good thing for the RIAA/MPAA, who'll then be free to persecute Americans who couldn't figure out the fucking bill and committed a series of crimes when they thought they were in the clear.

    If I were you, I'd wonder if this boy isn't getting funding from some bar association.

  • treat the race to scramble and descramble content as a kind of market competition that should be unfettered by the DMCA--or new FTC rules

    This is the most intelligent thing I've heard anybody say about the copy protection controversy.

    Back in the 70s and early 80s HBO was broadcast through the air like DirecTV. People used to build their own receivers using antennas made out of coffee cans (I know -- I had one). After HBO had harassed and threatened antenna owners for several years, the courts finally ruled that the company couldn't control what people did with the broadcast signal in their own homes. HBO's next move was to scramble the signal, which was easily defeated by those with access to spectrum analyzers but largely stymied the coffee-can community. The eventual solution was for HBO to join the cable world.

    I always thought this was the sensible way to handle the controversy. Make companies do business in the real world, rather than letting them reshape it to their needs. Lately our government has gone in the opposite direction, with legislators tailoring laws to suit the demands of their financial backers.

    One thing that must be repeated over and over is that copyright infringement is not stealing, because copyright is not property. It's a temporary restriction imposed on everybody except the copyright holder. Copyright holders don't "own" anything, and copyright doesn't give them any extra rights, it takes rights away from everybody else for a limited time. Copyright infringement may cause financial losses, but so do lots of other things -- arson, vandalism, assault, murder, for example -- and we don't call those things theft.

    It's important to keep repeating this because the content industry has essentially hijacked the concepts of property ownership and theft. They play the part of the little old lady chasing a purse snatcher, and they label critics of current copyright laws as socialists threatening the whole concept of private property.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.