Senator Calls For Copy-Protection Labels

from the as-expected dept

Last month came the initial reports that Senator Wyden was preparing “compromise” copyright bill that would require labels for any software or hardware product that used copy protection schemes that interfered with consumer uses. The idea was that such products needed to be clearly labeled so that consumers knew in advance the limitations of the offering. Now Wyden has released the actual bill. The headline of the article says it calls for copy protection “tags”, which sounds like they would be embedded in the software or digital goods – but he’s really just talking about labeling. As I said when the bill was originally discussed, this sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea (so much so, that I would expect the entertainment industry to be vehemently against it). However, I wonder how it will appear in practice. Manufacturers will probably figure out ways to make these labels misleading, and consumers won’t necessarily understand what they’re buying. Hopefully, though, consumers will realize that copy protection systems that limit their fair use rights are not worth it – and will support those companies that decide not to limit their own customers.

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