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EFF at DMCA Reform Hearing

May 12, 2004

EFF at DMCA Reform Hearing

After Daylong Debate, the Future of H.R. 107 Looks Bright

Washington, D.C. - Today at 10:00 AM., the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Trade, Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing on H.R. 107, also known as the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA). Introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), the DMCRA aims to reform the DMCA and require the recording industry to label CDs containing technological barriers that restrict consumers' rights.

EFF staff attorney Fred von Lohmann attended the hearing and reported that news from the Capitol is promising. “As of today, DMCA reform has a very real chance of passing the U.S. Congress,” he said. “The biggest ray of hope came during a lunch session that took place during a recess in the testimony of the 13 witnesses. Rep. Barton announced that he intends to see the bill marked up, passed by the subcommittee, passed by the full committee, passed by the full House of Representatives, and ultimately signed into law by the President.”

Rep. Barton's statements aren't enough to assure the bill's success, but because he is Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, his support is crucial.

“Today was a good day for fair use, for consumers, and for our nation's tradition of balance in copyright law,” concluded von Lohmann. “Fortunately, despite the efforts of Hollywood lobbyists, the message that the DMCA is broken and needs fixing got through.”

This is the first time a DMCA reform bill has made it to the hearing stage. Its success is a testament to the efforts of the roughly 30,000 citizens who have used EFF’s Action Center to write to Congress to support the DMCRA, as well as the efforts of 321 Studios, which has hired lobbyists to explain the importance of fair use in the digital age.


Contact:

Fred von Lohmann
Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
fred@eff.org
+1 415 436-9333 x123 (office), +1 415 215-6087 (cell)

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