Rep. Rick Boucher certainly looks like the digital consumer's best friend on Capitol Hill, with his long-running attempts to reform the DMCA as well as his support for fair use, an idea that many politicians hold with disdain. Boucher has again introduced legislation that would, among other things, create a DMCA exemption for private, non-commercial copies of digital content. The EFF notes some of its other aims, such as making it clear that manufacturers can't be held liable for infringing use of devices with substantial non-infringing uses (basically putting the Betamax decision into law). The bill would also add 12 exemptions to the DMCA to allow for the circumvention of DRM for lawful, classically recognized fair use purposes. Given the way these issues are generally treated by Congress, this bill sounds pretty stellar. But Boucher and other legislators that have introduced other, similar bills haven't had much success in actually getting them passed. Let's hope that this time is different.
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