Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finally, Some Good News

Looks like a big win for copyright progressives:
Some digital rights advocates cheered the appointment of longtime copyright-reform champion Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

Boucher is taking over for Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who will now head the Energy and the Environment subcommittee, the lawmakers announced Thursday.

As a longtime proponent of consumers' rights to lawfully copy films, books and other material, Boucher is considered a likely opponent of any entertainment industry efforts to restrict the Web. Among other measures, he is likely to oppose attempts to require Internet service providers to filter networks for pirated material.

Boucher also has tried to revamp the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to make it more consumer-friendly. Two years ago, Boucher and another lawmaker, John Doolittle (R-Calif.), introduced the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act (H.R. 1201), which would have softened the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions. Those rules generally prohibit consumers from defeating digital rights management software aimed at limiting their ability to make copies--although the Copyright Office grants exemptions in some circumstances.

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