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  • CDT Presentation on Consumer Criteria for Analog Reconversion [pdf]
  • Draft Chart of Domestic Copyright Policy Issues (April 24) [pdf]
  • Industry report on broadcast flag
  • CDT Policy Post 8.06 on Hollings DRM Bill

    A critical debate is underway in the courts, the Congress and federal regulatory agencies -- and decisions are being made within the content, electronics, and computer industries - about how to protect copyrighted material in new digital media. CDT seeks to offer a reasonable voice reflecting the interests of consumers and users, who deserve a role in these decisions so critically shaping their future access to music, videos, books and other content.

    CDT is committed to the principle that copyrighted material should be protected from largescale unauthorized copying. Denying compensation to creators and distributors undermines First Amendment values in promoting expression, threatens the growth of new media and e-commerce, and does not support the consumer interest in a robust marketplace of content offerings. At the same time, resolving these issues should not come at the expense of reasonable consumer expectations regarding the use of copyrighted works or digital technologies, consistent with traditional copyright principles. Nor should it come at the expense of new and innovative communications networks, like the Internet, that hold out tremendous promise to promote expression, economic growth, and civic discourse.

      CDT Submits Questions About Analog Rights Management Proposals - CDT and Public Knowledge have submitted questions to the inter-industry Analog Reconversion Discussion Group (ARDG) about proposed content protection measures for a broad class of analog consumer products. The questions - regarding government regulation, privacy, and impacts on reasonable and fair consumer uses of content - will become part of an ARDG report to be issued in January discussing approaches to prevent the use of analog outputs to circumvent DRM technologies. November 26, 2003

    FCC Approves "Broadcast Flag" Protection Mandate for Digital Television - The FCC approved a "broadcast flag" regulation requiring that digital TV receivers - and in effect all devices that use protected DTV programs - include copy protection systems by July 2005. The rule incorporates several consumer-friendly improvements to the original proposal before the FCC, but also leaves major concerns about consumer uses and the regulation of computers unanswered. A second FCC proceeding will take up some of these issues, and a legal challenge to the rules is also possible. November 4, 2003

    CDT Releases Report on "Broadcast Flag" Copy Protections - CDT released a major report on proposed copy protections for new digital television (DTV) broadcasts. The "broadcast flag" proposal, now before the FCC, would require new TVs, recorders, computers, and other devices to include approved copy protection technology if they are to receive or record protected DTV programs. CDT's report details the flag proposal, the copyright problems that motivated it, and the concerns it raises about consumer uses of television and future innovation. October 20, 2003

    CDT Raises Concerns with House Copyright Enforcement Bill - In a letter to the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, CDT expressed support for the goals of a pending copyright enforcement bill (HR 2517) but highlighted privacy concerns raised by a provision that would facilitate sharing of information between law enforcement agencies and private copyright holders. CDT also wrote that a provision designed to reduce the spread of spyware is overly broad. The Subcommittee was scheduled to complete its markup of the bill on October 2nd, but debate over controversial provisions delayed final consideration until the following week. October 3, 2003

    CDT Testifies on Copyright Enforcement Subpoenas - CDT testified September 17 at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the privacy issues raised by the recording industry's use of special subpoenas to uncover the identity of Internet users suspected of copyright infringement. CDT suggested a package of changes to the so-called "512(h) subpoenas" that would protect user privacy without restricting legitimate enforcement efforts. September 18, 2003

    CDT Urges Protections for Privacy in Copyright Enforcement - As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepared for a hearing on peer-to-peer file sharing September 9, CDT urged the Committee to consider the privacy concerns raised by administrative subpoenas, which are issued at the request of copyright holders with minimal judicial oversight and without notice to users. CDT believes that much can be done to provide better privacy protection in the subpoena process while preserving-and even enhancing-copyright enforcement. September 9, 2003

    CDT, Consumer Groups Raise Concerns About FCC "Cable-Ready" Proceeding - Several groups, including CDT, have raised concerns about the FCC action expected shortly on an agreement about building "cable-ready" televisions compatible with new cable systems. While there are many consumer-friendly elements to the agreement, it would also mandate a copy protection technology that could prevent the use of computers with cable TV systems and hinder innovative new services or content delivery models. August 11, 2003

    Verizon Forced to Identify Subscribers in Ongoing Privacy Dispute - A federal judge has ordered Verizon to turn over the names of four ISP subscribers accused of illegal file-sharing in an ongoing lawsuit with the recording industry about privacy protections and copyright enforcement. CDT has called for more safeguards before personal information is revealed in file-sharing disputes. June 5, 2003

    Federal Court Rejects Challenge to DMCA Subpoena Provision - A District Court Thursday denied legal efforts by Verizon to protect the identity of an ISP subscriber that had been sought under a subpoena from the Recording Industry Association of America. Verizon had argued that the broad subpoena power created under Section 512(h) of the DMCA - which allows copyright holders to seek the identity of alleged infringers even before a court proceeding is initiated, and without any notice to the end user - violated free expression and other constitutional values. CDT believes that the subpoena power in question raises serious privacy concerns for Internet users that must be dealt with in the political arena if they cannot be resolved in the courts. April 24, 2003

    CDT Publishes Copyright One-Pager: "DRM and Public Policy: The Need for Greater Public Engagement" - CDT has assembled a brief statement on the ongoing debate over digital copyright issues and the need for greater consumer and public interest representation in discussion of these issues. The paper also identifies key themes emerging from CDT's ongoing dialogue project (along with Public Knowledge and Consumers Union) with key stakeholders in the digital copyright debate. April 11, 2003

    Verizon Seeks Stay of Court Ruling on Subscriber Identity - Verizon has asked a district court to delay enforcement of a recent order directing Verizon to identify a subscriber accused of downloading copyrighted songs through a peer-to-peer network. The case, RIAA v. Verizon, has raised privacy concerns in the ongoing efforts to stop copyright infringement online. CDT has issued a statement calling for a better balance between copyright enforcement and privacy and free expression interests. Jan. 30, 2003

    Court Orders Release of Subscriber Information in File-Sharing Case - In an important case for Internet privacy and copyright protection online, a federal judge on January 21 ordered Verizon Communications to reveal the identity of a subscriber alleged to be sharing copyrighted songs over the Internet. The order stemmed from a request by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). RIAA argued that the DMCA allows copyright holders to obtain the identity of an ISP's subscribers believed to infringe their copyright, without filing a lawsuit. Verizon had opposed the RIAA request, claiming that it would diminish subscriber privacy without appropriate due process. Verizon is expected to appeal the decision. Jan. 21, 2003

    Thousands File Comments with FCC on Copyright Protection - Over two thousand comments from companies, public interest groups, and individuals have been filed in the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rulemaking about copy protection for new digital television systems. At issue is the proposed "broadcast flag" for new DTV systems, designed to protect copyright by limiting the use and copying of digital television programs. December 10, 2002

    CDT Calls for Consumer Dialogue on Digital Copyright Proposals - In an editorial appearing in the Legal Times, CDT Executive Director Jerry Berman called for more consumer input into proposed laws and regulations on digital copyright protection. Noting that "the debate now under way in the halls of Congress will define how Americans watch TV, listen to music, and use their computers for decades to come," Berman called for a "a broad national dialogue that includes the consumers who remain largely unaware" of the issues at stake and that has the goal of protecting both the rights of copyright holders and the reasonable expectations of consumers to use the new technology. October 28, 2002

    Bellwether Copyright Case Argued before Supreme Court - The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in the case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). The CTEA lengthened copyright terms by 20 years, stretching them to 70 years after an artist's death. While the specific question at issue is what limits the Constitution places on Congress in extending copyright protections, Eldred could offer important guidance on the Court's view of copyright law in the digital age. A decision might not come until the Spring. October 9, 2002

    FCC Enters Copyright Debate - On August 8, the Federal Communications Commission formally began considering whether to adopt a "broadcast flag" standard designed to limit consumers' ability to make copies of digital-broadcast television programs. The Commission is seeking public comments by October 30. The "broadcast flag" is a way of marking digital-television content so that consumer electronics and computers will recognize the marks and limit the making of copies. CDT and other public interest groups have urged the FCC to consider the consumer implications of such a standard, including its impact on reasonable copying for personal use and the continuing usefulness of their electronic and computer equipment. In a July report, CDT, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge outlined consumer questions posed by the broadcast flag proposal. August 12, 2002

    Public Interest Groups Raise Consumer Questions About DTV Copy Protections - CDT, along with Consumers Union and Public Knowledge, have submitted detailed consumer questions to the House Commerce Committee regarding proposed new copy protections relating to digital television (DTV), including the so-called "broadcast flag." CDT believes content providers have an important interest in protecting materials broadcast in the clear over DTV. At the same time, protection mechanisms can have a broad impact on the cost and convenience of DTV, on future innovation on the Internet, and on whether reasonable consumer expectations about use and copying will be met. July 15, 2002

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