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Friday, January 24, 2003
Who controls your Digital Media? Shouldn't it be you?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has posted the following announchement "...Ever bought a copy-protected "CD" and found that it doesn't play in a device like your car stereo or computer? Ever bought a foreign DVD only to discover it won't play on your American DVD player? Did you have to buy a multi-region player to get around it? Do you hate it when DVDs force you to watch ads every time you play them? If so, you know there's something wrong with this picture..."

and continues "...What you may *not* know is that one law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), is all that stands between you and controlling the media you own.

It's time for a change - and you can help! We need stories about the following things:

1. Copy protected CDs that won't play in devices like your car stereo or computer

Record companies have taken to selling you discs that *look* like CDs, but don't play like them, thanks to use-restriction technology built in that keeps them from playing in things like your car or computer. This technology means that you can't play your music in the device of your choice.

2. Region-coded DVDs that don't work in a player you purchased in the U.S.

The movie studios tie their product to a particular region of the world. It's not illegal to watch a Japanese movie in the USA, but thanks to region-coding, and the DVD licensing organization's interpretation of the DMCA, many people now feel concerned that they're violating the DMCA if they use a multi-region DVD player.

3. DVDs with promotional material you couldn't skip

DVDs support a "no-skip" feature that's supposed to keep you from fast-forwarding past the FBI warnings, but movie studios have started using it to make you a captive in your own living room. EFF thinks you shouldn't have to watch the ads and promotional material every time you watch your movies -- don't you?

4. DVDs of public domain movies that you can't use in a way that you want

The Constitution sets up copyright as a bargain between the public and creators. Artists get a limited period of control over their works, and afterward, the public gets to use them in any way they see fit. Many films are in the public domain, which means that they should be available to you to use any way you see fit -- rip, mix, burn! This is tricky if the old movies you buy on DVD are locked up with technology that blocks access and copying.

We're collecting real-world examples of how your access to digital media is being hampered. Share your story with us, and we will be submit it to the U.S. copyright office in support of our efforts to seek DMCA exemptions. It is best if the comments are brief, concrete and simple.

EFF's friendly volunteer editors will review your comments to make sure that they fall within the LoC's requirements (if your comments aren't in the correct form, the Librarian will just toss them out). We want to make sure that your voice is heard.

If you don't personally have examples but know people who do, please let them know about our search. And feel free to submit another comment if you've got more than one story to tell!

Thanks! The Electronic Frontier Foundation..."

To help the EFF click at the 'Source' link!

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