Groups Call On Congress To Explore Fixing DMCA's Broken Anti-Circumvention Provisions
from the about-time dept
A bunch of companies (including us) and public interest groups all came together this week to ask Congress to hold hearings to look into fixing the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, and to recognize that any law that says you don't actually own what you've bought is a big problem. It focuses mainly on the problems with mobile phone unlocking, but asks Congress to go further than just a duct taped fix, and to actually explore why the cell phone unlocking problem came about and to fix the real root cause: an anti-circumvention provision that prevents people from making use of products they've actually bought.
In the longer term, we believe that the widespread concern about cell phone
unlocking illustrates how these parts of the DMCA can interfere with consumer rights and
competition policy. This interference is not limited to the realm of mobile communications
devices. Congress must take action to ensure that laws and policies are keeping up with the
pace of technological change. Not addressing these questions will stunt advances in access to
digital media for people with disabilities and may prevent new innovations and competitive
uses for emerging devices, as uncertainties around the law and the three-year cycle creates a
chilling effect for individuals, businesses, innovators and investors who may be covered by
To that end, we request that as the leadership of the two committees of jurisdiction,
you convene hearings this year to investigate these possible reforms to the anticircumvention
provisions of the DMCA in order to begin a thorough discussion of these problems.
Actually getting Congress to care about this may take some work, but it is a key issue if the US really wants to remain competitive with other countries. Furthermore, anyone who claims that we can't fix this part of the DMCA because of international obligations is really only demonstrating why IP issues shouldn't be a part of any trade agreement.