Music labels oppose US fair use bill, says it would ‘legalize hacking’

“A new bill in the US Congress aimed at protecting the fair use rights for consumers of copyright material would ‘legalize hacking,’ the Recording Industry Association of America said,” Grant Gross reports for Macworld UK.

Gross reports, “The Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing US Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act, introduced onTuesday by Representatives Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and John Doolittle, a California Republican, would allow customers to circumvent digital copy restrictions in six limited areas when copyright owners’ business models are not threatened, Boucher said.”

“The bill would allow exemptions to the anticircumvention restrictions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by Congress in 1998,” Gross reports. “‘The fair use doctrine is threatened today as never before,’ Boucher said in a statement. ‘Historically, the nation’s copyright laws have reflected a carefully calibrated balanced between the rights of copyright owners and the rights of the users of copyrighted material. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public’s right to fair use.'”

Gross reports, “The Consumer Electronics Association applauded the bill, saying it would give protections to consumers, educators and libraries.”

More in the full article here.

Full text of H.R. 1201 [109th]: Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act of 2005 here.


  1. But . .but . . . but . . .
    This limits the rights of corporations to demand our money?!
    How can this be right??
    After all, Corporations are people, too.
    And not only that, they’re RICH people, so obviously they matter more.

    FAIR USE is obviously a communist plot to pollute our precious MP3 streams with Flouride.

  2. By now the obvious is that, the “music industry” is going to go down kicking and screaming, its not going to be pretty but that’s the way its going to be. They’re going to have to be beaten with a stick until they stop moving, then brought back to life in a new world where fair means that reasonable processes are in place to make sure that people can buy music at reasonable prices, and that after purchasing the purchaser can copy their purchases whenever and to whatever they need or want to for their own personal use.

    If and when we get the whole music thing sorted out, round two will be downloaded movies. The fact that I can’t make ONE (1), UNO, EIN, DVD copy that I can then play on my DVD player downstairs, is outrageous and unconscienable. Apple isn’t to blame, again, their just doing what is being dictated by these media industries in order to have the right to sell the material. No matter what they do or what Apple does, people will figure a way to endrun copy protection, but I think the truth is that, things are better now for these industries than ever before because more explicit control over each purchase can potentially be implemented than was possible with analog magnetic tape based products.

    From this consumers POV all I see is that a little power has gone to the heads of the media industries and now they want absolute [absolutist] control over every purchase and to be able to track each purchaser so that they can reap more $$$ via fines and law suits, (see: ). People have always made copies of albums and tapes onto other tapes and shared, this has been going on for decades, and by all accounts I see the music industry, in particular, doing very well financially.

    To recap, do I think the music industry should just drop all efforts to reduce piracy, hell no – but I think the attitude being displayed by this industry, and the outcome their wishes for consumers, would end up making us all infidels, even if we did nothing wrong. If I purchase a song or album and do anything other than listen to it on the computer or device upon which it was originally purchased, anything at all, I become a criminal – sorry, but that’s just plain bull shit.

  3. If it’s for personal use, this should be a no brainer. Let’s see this extended to ripping DVDs for personal use.

    The truth is though that the RIAA and MPAA don’t want this. Not because they think it will increase pirating but because they want to be able to charge you for every time you watch a flim or listen to a song.

  4. There isn’t anything inherently wrong about hacking. It’s a primal human endeavor. The assertion that this bill might “legalize” hacking is hyperbole.

    The RIAA appears simply to enjoy putting their boot on the necks of consumers. Fuck them.

  5. Good thing I don’t buy music… I just get it illegally. Call me wrong, but when the big record labels act like this, I really don’t feel bad about it.

    I am more than happy to pay for most independent music though.


  6. @effwerd

    Indeed, wery well pointed.

    Hacking is legal, has been legal, and must remain legal. The problem is not hacking but the use of the word.

    Illegal cracking is what is to be prevented. But it’s already illegal!

  7. Of course there opposed to fair use. This means they can’t sue your dead grandmother anymore for illegal downloads. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    I hope this passes with a resounding 100% vote and give the people back there rights. 3 years of hearing everyone is a thief without proof is way to long.

  8. You won’t find anyone more in favor of seeing people paid for their work. However, the DMCA is a draconian law that goes way too far.

    Here is some logic for you. If I were to go to a store with a gun and steal a few hundred dollars, I could go to jail for 7 years.

    If I download 2 illegal MP3’s I could go to jail for 10 years (5 per instance) and they are trying to double that.

    We have child molesters getting days in some case (if they get time at all).

    Murderers can get as little as 20 years, yet I could get the same for 4 illegal downloads? Rapists can get as little as 7?

    We have an insane situation here, one that the fair use legislation seeks to address.

    We should also look at putting some common sense into the DMCA. How about this:

    You should be made to pay bay the actual damages times 5 or $100 whichever is higher. So if I download 100 songs and knowingly share them with 5 friends then i am liable for $3000 – (6*100)*5

    If I knowingly illegally download 1 song, then I could face prosecution for $100.

    Don’t you think that would be enough teeth to put a damper on illegal downloads, to we really need to treat this like the most violent of crimes?

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