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Date: 2002-03-30

EFF: Obacht, Copyright Mafia global

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Obwohl dies eigentlich eine US-Kampagne sei, schreibt Robin Gross,
Anwältin der EFF, handle es sich um einen globale Welle. Deshalb wird uns
aus dem rustikalen Westen über den Pafizik "Obacht" zugerufen: Informiert
dringend eure Politiker, die Copyright-Mafia hat sie bereits gebrieft.

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April 8, 2002)

NOTE: The alert in the previous issue has been changed. It directed
EFFector readers to send comments opposing technology mandates to both
the House and the Senate. A House staffer has told us that the House
request for comments is limited to digital music issues, not DRM and
mandates more generally. A new alert about the House comments is below,
while the original alert, modified to direct comments to the Senate only, is
available at:

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What YOU Can Do Now:

* Send your personal, not form, letter to the House Judiciary Intellectual
Property Subcommittee urging repeal of the DMCA's anticircumvention
provisions, and recognition of fair use rights as real rights. * Contact your own
legislators about this issue. For information on how to contact your
legislators and other government officials, see EFF's "Contacting Congress
and Other Policymakers" guide at: [...]

#Again, please don't just forward our sample letter - it won't have any impact.

Our letter is considerably longer than yours should be (because we are trying
to give you more ideas for your own letter). You can also send a similar letter
to your own legislators, and be sure to mention that you are their constituent
when you do so. When writing to the subcommittee please remember that
(although the technology and legal issues are the same regardless of what
digital medium we are talking about), they are only interested in comments
focused on the digital music, not HDTV, DVDs, SSSCA/ CBDTPA, eBooks,
etc. While they can be mentioned, the focus should remain squarely on
music. When writing to your own legislators you should discuss the issue
more broadly.

Please remember to be polite but firm. Ranting, swearing, or lack of clear
focus and resolve will not make a good impression. Try to make it brief (1
page or less written, or a few sentences spoken) and clear, without getting
into nitpicky details. Re-casting the letter in your own words will be more
effective than copy-pasting our sample.

Activists Around the World:

This alert is primarily for U.S. residents. However, this issue is of importance
globally, so keep an eye out in your own jurisdiction for related matters you
can act on. Many countries are considering legislation like the US DMCA


1. Repeal the DMCA's Circumvention Ban

Urge Congress to repeal the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These legally-enforced technological
restrictions are used by copyright holders to control use of creative
expression. These controversial provisions outlaw the act of bypassing
access controls and making or providing any technology, including software
and information that could help another to bypass access or use restrictions.

Because the DMCA gives force of law to whatever use restrictions the
copyright holders dream up (no matter who trivial they are to work around) the
public's side of the copyright bargain is eliminated, or at least greatly
reduced. The public's rights, such as fair use, allowing customers to copy
works for lawful purposes even when the copyright holder does not wish to
permit it, are disabled by technology that it is illegal to bypass.

We all enjoy the right under copyright law's First Sale Doctrine to sell or give
our old and unwanted CDs and tapes to others for further use and enjoyment.
But major labels restrict First Sale Doctrine privileges by requiring music to
be tied to particular devices, and then seal the requirement through the
DMCA's outlawing of any means of bypassing those restrictions. The
Copyright Office Section 104 Report issued on August 29, 2001 ignores how
the DMCA is being used to restrict First Sale privileges and the public's
ability to make back-ups. The loss of public domain, fair use, and first sale
rights under recent developments in copyright law presents a powerful threat
to freedom of expression. Congress must address the loss of important
consumer rights under copyright in the use of digital technology.

The Copyright Office and courts have been looking to Congress to clarify and
amend many of the controversial provisions. But Congress should address
the chilling effect on freedom of expression presented by the DMCA's
circumvention of the public's rights under copyright. Advise the House
Subcommittee to repeal the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions in order to
protect freedom of expression and fair use in a digital environment, and thus
restore balance to copyright law.

2. Fair Use as Affirmative Right

Inform Congress that it's time to formally recognize copyright law's fair use
privilege as an affirmative right. Traditionally fair use has been considered a
defense to claims of infringement when a person has a lawful right to use a
copyrighted work in ways disapproved of the author. Copyright law also
permits the making of back-up copies and personal use copies of works by
individuals regardless of whether the author permits such use. Since
copyright holders wrap their works up in "digital straight jackets" that control
all uses, including disabling fair use rights, and DMCA makes it illegal to
bypass those digital controls, fair use must be recognized as an affirmative
right in order to restore balance in copyright law. Tell Congress that you want
your fair use rights and you vote.

CAFE Campaign:

This drive to contact your legislators about the future of digital music is part
of a larger campaign to highlight intellectual property industry assaults
against the public's fair use rights, and what you can do about it.

Check the EFF Campaign for Audivisual Free Expression (CAFE) website
regularly for additional alerts and news:


For more information about access-control and copy-prevention systems see:

For essays and articles about fair use and digital media, see:

EFF's Fair Use FAQ:


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published on: 2002-03-30
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