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EFFector - Volume 11, Issue 10 - Action Alert: Full House Commerce Committee Action on Digital Copyright Bill


EFFector - Volume 11, Issue 10 - Action Alert: Full House Commerce Committee Action on Digital Copyright Bill

   EFFector      Vol. 11, No. 10       June 22, 1998
   A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424
         1. SUMMARY
         2. THE LATEST NEWS
         6. BACKGROUND
   See for more information on EFF activities &
     Please distribute widely to appropriate forums, no later than July 1
   (action deadline: June 24).
   Date alert issued: June 22, 1998
   Consumer Project on Technology ( )
   Electronic Frontier Foundation ( )
   Electronic Privacy Information Center ( )

     * Latest News: House Commerce Committee will do a final markup of
       the "WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act" (H.R. 2281),
       which as currently drafted would over-regulate emerging
       technologies, undermine privacy, outlaw reverse engineering and
       encryption security research practices, and weaken fair use
       rights. The Committee is increasingly sympathetic to fair use and
       other concerns, but needs more input to fix the bill for good.

     * What You Can Do Now: Follow the directions below and call members
       of House Commerce Committee. Ask them to support fair use and
       other amendments to the bill that protect the public interest.
           For More Information, see the Digital Future Coalition
   The House Commerce Committee will hold a markup (amendment) session on
   H.R. 2281, the "WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act", already
   approved over many objections by the House Judiciary Committee.
   Mark-up is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, 1998 (or
   possibly the 25th). The pressure from the other side (the US Patent &
   Trademark Office and large corporate intellectual property holders)
   remains high, and it is an uphill battle for us to get any
   concessions, but these concessions are finally coming.
   Your activism is paying off, but needs to ramp up one more time! It is
   critically important that CALLS and FAXES, e-mails and letters cover
   the entire Commerce Committee (see list below), in support of fair use
   rights and digital copyright legislation that continues to balance the
   needs of information providers and users. It is important that our
   position not be seen as "obstructionist", but constructive, and
   conducive to the passage of some form of WIPO treaty implementation.
   Some already-drafted amendments (to protect fair use, and the ability
   to circumvent copy-protection systems to protect privacy and for
   encryption & security research) may be viable, but they do not address
   all of the concerns with this bill. The bill's text was NOT replaced
   by the better, alternative bill last week, though the goal of fixing
   the problems with the bill, one way or another, is now much closer.
   Reverse engineering, ephemeral copying, and encryption will also be
   addressed at Wednesday's mark-up, and constituent calls and letters
   need to stress these points as well, along with the privacy and free
   speech concerns inherent in allowing service providers to ransack
   users' files and delete materials that "might" be infringing.
   All privacy, encryption, fair use, and security supporters, especially
   supporters from states represented on the House Commerce Committee,
   are asked to IMMEDIATELY take JUST TWO MINUTES or so each to contact
   these key Representatives and ask them to work for amendment of H.R.
   2281 to protect fair use rights, privacy, free expression, and
   encryption and softwre R&D. We must lend massive but polite support
   for the Klug-Boucher fair use amendment and for fixing the other
   problems in the bill. Then contact your own legislator and urge them
   to do the same should H.R. 2281 make it through the Committee intact.
   The effects of bad copyright law can last for years, even generations.
   Most important to contact: Chairman Bliley, to subcommittee Chairman
   Tauzin, to ranking Democrat Dingell, to ranking Subcommittee Democrat
   Markey, and to all 50 members of the Commerce Committee. Even if you
   have written recently, it is important to again make contact with
   these lawmakers, preferably by mid-day Tue., June. 23.
   If you are unsure who your legislators are or how to contact them, see
   the EFF Congress Contact Factsheet at:
   (includes links to Congressional e-mail addresses, but please focus on
   calls, faxes and letters, as these are still taken more seriously by
   legislator than e-mail.)
   Feel free to make use of the sample fax and phone "script" below. If
   you have time, please call/fax as many of the members of the Committee
   as you can.
   If you are a constitutent of Rep. Boucher, Klug, Tauzin, Dingell or
   Bliley, please THANK them for their work to fix the problems in this
    ST    PTY   REPRESENTATIVE                PHONE          FAX
    ------------------------------------------ (Use 202 area code)--
    VA 07  R    Tom Bliley (chair)            225-2815      225-0011
    MI 16  D    John D. Dingell               225-4071      226-0371
    LA 03  R    W.J. "Billy" Tauzin           225-4031      225-0563
    MA 07  D    Edward J. Markey              225-2836      226-0340
    FL 09  R    Michael Bilirakis             225-5755      225-4085
    NY 27  R    Bill Paxon                    225-5265      225-5910
    PA 08  R    James C. Greenwood            225-4276      225-9511
    ID 02  R    Michael D. Crapo              225-5531      225-8216
    NC 05  R    Richard Burr                  225-2071      225-2995
    CA 49  R    Brian P. Bilbray              225-2040      225-2948
    KY 01  R    Ed Whitfield                  225-3115      225-3547
    IA 04  R    Greg Ganske                   225-4426      225-3193
    GA 10  R    Charlie Norwood               225-4101      225-0279
    OK 02  R    Tom Coburn                    225-2701      225-3038
    NY 02  R    Rick Lazio                    225-3335      225-4669
    WY AL  R    Barbara Cubin                 225-2311      225-3057
    CA 29  D    Henry A. Waxman               225-3976      225-4099
    TX 04  D    Ralph M. Hall                 225-6673      225-3332
    NY 10  D    Edolphus Towns                225-5936      225-1018
    NJ 06  D    Frank Pallone  Jr.            225-4671      225-9665
    OH 13  D    Sherrod Brown                 225-0123      225-2256
    OR 01  D    Elizabeth Furse               225-0855      225-9497
    FL 20  D    Peter Deutsch                 225-7931      225-8456
    MI 01  D    Bart Stupak                   225-4735      225-4744
    OH 06  D    Ted Strickland                225-5705      225-5907
    CO 01  D    Diana DeGette                 225-4413      225-5657
    OH 04  R    Michael G. Oxley              225-2676        n/a
    CO 06  R    Dan Schaefer                  225-7882      225-3414
    TX 06  R    Joe Barton                    225-2002      225-3052
    IL 14  R    J. Dennis Hastert             225-2976      225-0697
    MI 06  R    Fred Upton                    225-3761      225-4986
    FL 06  R    Cliff Stearns                 225-5744      225-3973
    OH 05  R    Paul E. Gillmor               225-6405      225-1985
    WI 02  R    Scott L. Klug                 225-2906      225-6942
    CA 47  R    Christopher Cox               225-5611      225-9177
    GA 09  R    Nathan Deal                   225-5211      225-8272
    OK 01  R    Steve Largent                 225-2211      225-9187
    WA 01  R    Rick White                    225-6311      225-3524
    CA 27  R    James Rogan                   225-4176      225-5828
    IL 20  R    John Shimkus                  225-5271      225-5880
    VA 09  D    Rick Boucher                  225-3861      225-0442
    TN 06  D    Bart Gordon                   225-4231      225-6887
    NY 17  D    Eliot L. Engel                225-2464      225-5513
    OH 14  D    Thomas C. Sawyer              225-5231      225-5278
    NY 07  D    Thomas J. Manton              225-3965      225-1909
    IL 01  D    Bobby L. Rush                 225-4372      226-0333
    CA 14  D    Anna G. Eshoo                 225-8104      225-8890
    PA 04  D    Ron Klink                     225-2565      225-2274
    MD 04  D    Albert R. Wynn                225-8699      225-8714
    TX 29  D    Gene Green                    225-1688      225-9903
    MO 05  D    Karen McCarthy                225-4535      225-4403

   If you would like to both call and send a fax, this extra action would
   certainly help.
   For best results, try to put this in your own (short!) words, and be
   emotive without being hostile.
   IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT (i.e., you live in the same district as the
   Rep. you are contacting) make sure to say so. For example "I am a
   constituent, and I'm calling/writing because...."
   from Personal Technologies Inc. of Austin. I'm calling on behalf of
   Personal Technologies to ask the Representative to...." Business
   interests carry a lot of weight with many legislators, especially if
   they are in the legislator's home district. Legislators also generally
   heed organizational voices over individual ones.
     You: [ring ring]
     Legislative staffer: Hello, Representative Lastname's office.
     You: I'm calling to urge Representative Lastname to support
     amendment of the WIPO bill, H.R. 2281, with the Klug-Boucher fair
     use amendment, the Markey encryption amendment, and further
     revision to protect privacy, security, free speech, and
     currently-legal reverse engineering. Internet service providers
     must not be given license to violate customer privacy and free
     speech. Thank you.
     Staffer: OK, thanks. [click]
   It's that easy.
   You can optionally ask to speak to the legislator's technology &
   intellectual property staffer. You probably won't get to, but the
   message may have more weight if you succeed. The staffer who first
   answers the phone probably won't be the tech/i.p. staffer. If you are
   not successful, try contacting your legislator's home-state office
   (contact info should be available from the legislator's home page at, and ask them who the appropriate staffer is.
   Then call the DC office and ask for this person by name.
   Relevant Congressional fax numbers are in the contact list above.
   Please, if you have the time, write your own 1-3 paragraph letter in
   your own words, rather than send a copy of this sample letter.
   (However, sending a copy of the sample letter is far better than
   taking no action!)
     Dear Rep. Lastname:
     I am writing to ask you to support, at the upcoming Commerce
     Committee markup, amendment of H.R. 2281, the "WIPO Copyright
     Treaties Implementation Act". The Act has several troubling
     provisions that would impose a variety of civil and criminal
     penalties for the use, manufacture or sale of technologies,
     including multi-purpose computers, home electronic devices and
     software programs, that "could" be used to overcome technological
     safeguards on copyrighted works, even though not intended for such
     use. This bill would impede encryption research that helps ensure
     secure networks, prevent legitimate reverse engineering in the
     development of new software, and effectively overrule the Supreme
     Court's decision in Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464
     U.S. 417 (1984), which permitted the home taping of television
     broadcasts. It also could jeopardize education and research by
     allowing copyright owners to "lock up" public domain materials,
     frustrating the fair use rights of information consumers. Worse
     yet, it would allow Internet service providers to censor and invade
     the privacy of their customers with impunity, and would criminalize
     almost any circumvention of copy-protection systems, even perfectly
     legitimate and necessary circumventions permissible under current
     H.R. 2281 goes much farther than is necessary under the WIPO
     treaties. H.R. 2281 needs to be revised with more balanced and
     rational provisions offered in the Markey encryption amendment and
     the Klug-Boucher fair use amendment, plus other public interest
     protections (many of which can be borrowed from the alternative
     WIPO bill H.R. 3048, the Boucher-Campbell "Digital Era Copyright
     Enhancement Act"). The goal of the final version must be providing
     protection from and legal remedies against the act of circumvention
     itself when that circumvention is undertaken for an unlawful
     purpose, while also protecting privacy and other rights of the
     users of information & communication technologies. The bill as
     currently drafted is not balanced.
     Please work for H.R. 2281 to be amended to focus away from banning
     technology or undermining privacy and fair use, and toward
     punishing genuine wrong-doing. Thank you.
     My Name Here
     My Address Here
   (Address is especially important if you want your letter to be taken
   as a letter from an actual constituent.)
   For brief tips on writing letters to Congress, see:
   The most important tip is to BE POLITE AND BRIEF. Swearing will NOT
   After calling/faxing members of the House Commerce Committee, please
   contact your own Representatives and urge them to oppose H.R. 2281,
   the WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act.
   You may also wish to follow up your calls and faxes with e-mail.
 ST    PTY   REPRESENTATIVE                PHONE          FAX
 ---------------------------------------- (Use 202 area code)---
 GA  6   R  Gingrich, Newt                225-4501      225-4656
 TX  26  R  Armey, Richard                225-7772      226-8100
 MO  3   D  Gephardt, Richard             225-2671      225-7452
 TX  22  R  DeLay, Tom                    225-5951      225-5241
 MI  10  D  Bonior, David                 225-2106      226-1169
 OH  8   R  Boehner, John                 225-6205      225-0704
 CA  47  R  Cox, Christopher              225-5611      225-9177
 CA  3   D  Fazio, Vic                    225-5716      225-5141
 MD  5   D  Hoyer, Steny                  225-4131      225-4300

   House leaders are, respectively: Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority
   Leader, Maj. Whip, Min. Whip, Republican Conference Chair, Rep. Policy
   Committee Chair, Democratic Caucus Chair, Dem. Steering Cmte. Chair.
      Non-US Activists:
   Action for concerned people outside the US is somewhat limited, since
   Congress considers US competitiveness to be a top priority, and sees
   protecting US copyright interests as very important for this
   competitiveness. Foreign correspondence about this issue may backfire
   if not carefully worded. The same goes for the encryption issue - US
   legislators are largely sympathetic to American law enforcement &
   intelligence agencies' desire to hinder foreign encryption
   development. Probably the best tactic to take is to observe that the
   bill does NOT implement the WIPO treaties as they were finalized, but
   goes too far - the end result of which is a continuation of the very
   clashes in inter-jurisdictional intellectual property laws that WIPO
   treaties exist to minimize or eliminate. You might also ask your own
   government officials to raise similar concerns and contact US
   lawmakers and the Clinton Administration about these concerns. US
   policymakers are right now fairly concerned about EU and other trade &
   commerce conflicts with the US.
   As currently written, H.R. 2281 would dramatically alter the
   time-honored balance between content owners and the user community.
   The legislation will also seriously erode the leadership that the
   United States currently enjoys in research and development of
   encryption algorithms, cryptographic products, and computer security
   technology. And the bill seriously threatens privacy online.
   Three sections of the bill are extremely threatening to privacy, free
   speech, fair use, security and software development: Section 1201
   punishes the manufacture or sale of any technology that "can"
   circumvent copyright protections, and also prohibits defeating such
   protections by any person for any reason (even a perfectly legitimate
   one under current law); it more properly should address infringing
   BEHAVIOR. 1201 is poorly drafted and would undermine encryption
   research and reverse engineering as well. Section 1202: allows content
   owners to collect personally-identifiable information about users who
   access their copyrighted works. This provision needs to be removed.
   Section 201: Exempts Net service providers from liability if they
   remove allegedly infringing but potentially protected speech (e.g.
   users' web pages) without any real proof of infringement. It also
   allows providers to violate users' privacy by sifting through
   customers' electronic files, documents, even e-mail looking for
   potential infringements. A more detailed analysis is available at:
   In the Telecommunications Subcommittee markup last week, a fair use
   amendment (the Klug-Boucher amendment) to the bill was considered, but
   rejected in favor of some as-yet-undecided fair use compromise. The
   amendment said, in part: "All rights...including but not limited to
   fair use, shall apply to all actions arising under this section." The
   amendment did not address the security, privacy and other concerns
   directly. Other issues, such as more privacy problems, free speech,
   temporary copies, encryption, and reverse engineering remain to be
   An amendment introduced by Rep. Markey DID pass the Subcommittee,
   allowing for circumvention for the purposes of protecting personal
   privacy. Another Markey amendment to allow circumvention for system
   security and encryption research has been considered (but at least
   temporarily tabled). Neither will resolve all of the privacy concerns,
   or the threat the bill poses to the software industry and research
   community, or the concerns of the average user, since the amendments
   only provide narrow "carve-outs", still in disharmony with current
   fair use and other rights.
   [end of alert]

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