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RIAA Opposes Bill Reinforcing "Fair Use"

RIAA Opposes Bill Reinforcing "Fair Use"

by , 4:50 PM EST, February 28th, 2007

A bill before Congress that would allows customers to affirm their Fair Use rights of digital media is being opposed by the RIAA according to InfoWorld on Wednesday.

The goal of the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act, introduced by Reps Rick Boucher (R-VA) and John Doolittle (R-CA), is to exempt the makers of high tech gear from liability based on the actions of their customers. But the bill also specifically allows customers to skip commercials, transmit media files over a home network, and allow broader use of copyrighted material for substantial public use: news, criticism, reporting or research.

"The fair use doctrine is threatened today as never before," Boucher said in a statement. "Historically, the nation's copyright laws have reflected a carefully calibrated balanced between the rights of copyright owners and the rights of the users of copyrighted material. 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."

The RIAA doesn't agree. They objected to making manufacturers exempt from infractions by the users and said in a statement that," The difference between hacking done for non-infringing purposes and hacking done to steal is impossible to determine and enforce."

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) supports the bill.

Any bill before Congress that attempts to clarify Fair Use and strike a balance between the rights of companies and consumers versus the holders of copyrighted material will be welcomed in the current climate. The proposed bill suggests that the nation's overall view of these matters is finally being recognized by Congress.

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