This just in from EFFector:
* Action Alert - Support the FAIR USE Act!
A critical copyright reform bill has just been introduced
in the House, and we need your help to push it through.
Reps. Rick Boucher and John Doolittle's FAIR Use Act would
remove some of the entertainment industry's most draconian
anti-innovation weapons and chip away at the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) broad restrictions on
fair use. Take action now and tell Congress to help restore
balance in copyright now: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=271
Technology companies play a game of Russian roulette
whenever they create products with both infringing and non-
infringing uses. Current "secondary liability" standards
don't provide enough certainty, and if innovators guess
wrong, they can be hit with statutory damages as high as
$30,000 per work infringed. When it comes to mass-market
products like the iPod or TiVo, damages could run into the
trillions of dollars -- more than enough to bankrupt anyone
from the smallest start-ups to the biggest companies.
Unlike in other areas, the private assets of corporate
officers, directors and investors are not shielded from
liability in copyright cases.
The FAIR USE Act would limit the availability of statutory
damages for secondary liability and allow innovators to
make more reasonable business decisions about manageable
levels of legal risk. Meanwhile, copyright owners could
still get injunctions and actual damages for harm suffered,
putting them in no worse a position than civil litigants in
most other areas.
The bill would also codify the Supreme Court's "Betamax
doctrine" as it pertains to hardware devices, making clear
that manufacturers cannot be held liable based on the
design of technologies with substantial non-infringing
Finally, the bill would loosen the grip of the DMCA, which
restricts circumvention of digital rights management (DRM)
restrictions even for lawful uses. The FAIR Use Act adds 12
exemptions, including the ability to circumvent for classic
fair use purposes like news reporting, research,
commentary, and criticism.
Broader DMCA and copyright reform remains absolutely
necessary, but, if passed, this bill would be a big step in
the right direction. Take action to support it now: