Proposed copy-protection bill requires labeling

— 3:52 PM on March 26, 2003

In a move that should no doubt please fair use advocates, US Democratic Senator Ron Wyden is proposing a new bill that would require that software, music, and movies be labeled if they use copyright protection. C|Net reports:

"While digital media companies are racing to develop technologies to combat piracy, some of these antipiracy measures could have the effect of restricting lawful, legitimate consumer uses as well as unlawful copying," Wyden said in a statement. "My bill says that if digital content is released in a form that prevents or limits reasonable consumer use, consumers have a right to be told in advance."
Since it seems inevitable that copyright protection will only become more popular as piracy becomes easier and more socially acceptable, it's comforting to know that at least one Senator is watching our backs. Personally, I'm all for copyright holders using whatever protection schemes they deem to be necessary to protect their work. However, if those protection schemes infringe on fair use rights, I'm going to want to know about it before I try to copy my latest CD purchase to a MiniDisc to take to the gym with me.

Forces that have rallied against copyright protection should also be pleased with the bill, which will make protected media much easier to spot, catalog, and avoid. If the bill passes, I'd imagine that albums carrying some sort of "DRM inside" logo will soon outnumber those with Parental Advisory stickers.

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