New Media Rights has filed comments with the Copyright Office supporting EFF's proposal for two exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention provisions.
The anti-circumvention provisions have been a significant blemish on the DMCA since its inception. The provisions effectively prohibit otherwise lawful behavior by users of a work. Two examples of affected users are the two proposed exempted classes in the EFF's proposal:
Proposed Class 1 includes "[c]omputer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the telephone handset."
Proposed Class 2 includes "[a]udiovisual works released on DVD, where circumvention is undertaken solely for the purpose of extracting clips for inclusion in noncommercial videos that do not infringe copyright."
New Media Rights argues the proposal 1 would help diminish barriers to competition and innovation on cell phones, which are quickly becoming an alternative avenue for personal computing(smartphone adoption was at 9.9% Q1 2008, up from 4.8% Q1 2007). The users of cell phones, and particularly "smart phones," are artificially restricted to certain software and services by manufacturers and service providers. These consumers lack the same kind choice that users of laptop and desktop computers have.
Proposal 2 would allow creators to bypass DVD encyrption, known as CSS, and copy and remix video so long as their use of a particular video clip is legal. This would cover fair use of a video clip in an online video, by a teacher in the classroom, or otherwise. It is outrageous that the DMCA criminalizes this otherwise legal behavior.
New Media Rights strongly supports the EFF's proposals as they would not only benefit consumers, but are in harmony with the spirit, purpose, and law of the Copyright Act.