September 25, 1998
Members of the conference committee are beginning to hold meetings to
reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (DMCA), H.R. 2281/S. 2037. The DMCA implements the World Intellectual Property Organization Treaties and also makes changes to American copyright law. Unfortunately, the proposed changes to U.S. copyright law will upset the uniquely American balance between the users and creators of copyrighted works.
The Senate bill lacks protections for fair use, encryption research, and
personal privacy. It could also limit the availability of future consumer
electronics and computer products. On the other hand, the House version
contains many extra provisions that have little or nothing to do with
implementing the important WIPO treaties. For instance the Justice
department has noted that one of these provisions, Title V, which relates
to databases and collections of information, may well be unconstitutional.
Other provisions in the legislation overturn three consumer-oriented Supreme Court decisions., including Feist. Now is the time to speak up because these meetings will determine the final form of this legislation that will go to the President's desk to be signed into law.
If you care about the future of the Internet, you should let your Senators
and Representatives know, as soon as possible, how important it is to
preserve the fundamental framework of the House DMCA, which protects fair use, personal privacy, the availability of consumer products and encryption research. A letter detailing the Digital Future Coalition's concerns with both pieces of legislation is available at www.dfc.org.
Please fax or call (202-224-3121) your Senators and Representative today,
and ask them to contact the members of the DMCA conference committee and urge them to keep the consumer and personal protections embodied in the core of the House version of the legislation, and to reject extraneous provisions such as Title V, the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act, which have nothing to do with WIPO implementation.
The following Representatives and Senators are on the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act conference committee:
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC)
Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL)
Representative Howard Coble (R-NC)
Representative Robert Goodlate (R-VA)
Representative Howard Berman (D-CA)
Representative John Conyers (D-MI)
Representative John Dingell (D-MI)
Representative Thomas Bliley (R-VA)
Representative Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
Dear Senator/Representative .........:
I write to express my very deep concerns with the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act of 1998. While I understand the need to update current law to discourage cyberpirates from stealing copyrighted works, I believe that this legislation upsets the uniquely American balance between the users and
creators of copyrighted works. The House version contains provisions which are unrelated to implementing the WIPO treaties. The Justice Department has noted that one of these, Title V, may well be unconstitutional. The Senate version, on the other hand, limits my fair use rights, could limit the availability of future consumer electronics and computer products, and does not protect encryption research and personal privacy.
As this bill goes to conference between the House and Senate, I ask that you
contact the conferees and urge them to support the consumer protections
embodied in the core of the House version, H.R. 2281, and to remove non-WIPO related matters such as Title V, the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act. Thank you very much for your support in this very important matter.