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Wednesday, September 26, 2001
Copyright Office recommends DMCA changes


The U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress issued a report last month that advised changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow consumers to have the right to make backup copies of digital music.

Essentially, the proposed amendment to the federal law would extend the same kind of fair use privileges afforded to analog media to be applied to digital media, but consumers still would not be allowed to sell copies. The federal agency also recommended that Webcasters who stream temporary performances be granted an exemption from paying additional royalties to record companies.

The Copyright Office did not recommend the so-called first-sale doctrine, which enabled the rental of videocassettes, be extended to digital copies, due to the impossibility of ensuring that the original work is deleted. The report seems to have delicately balanced the interests of competing trade groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Consumer Electronics Association, while keeping in mind the needs of consumers. Separately, the Copyright Office announced it is seeking comment on whether a compulsory license should be established governing the digital delivery of musical works, such as Webcasts. Comments are due no later than Sept. 27, 2001.

Also out of Washington is a published report that Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC), may soon introduce legislation that would require consumer electronics hardware makers to integrate anti-piracy technology in their products. The Washington Post reported that under the terms of Hollings' proposed legislation consumer electronics and computer makers, along with content providers, would be required to develop technology to prevent people from making illegal copies of music, films, and other content available on the Internet.


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