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02.24.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Copyright office bombarded with requests for common CD/DVD uses

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a consumer activist organization, said it has helped 245 consumers submit comments to the Librarian of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office requesting protection for certain ordinary uses of CDs and DVDs.

The requests seek exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in order to permit bypassing of certain technological protection measures for copyrighted works.

Currently, the DMCA prevents Americans from listening to copy-protected music CDs on certain stereos and personal computers; viewing foreign movies on DVDs on U.S. players due to region-coding restrictions; skipping through commercials on some movie DVDs; and viewing and making fair uses of movies that are in the public domain and released on encrypted DVDs.

Most of the public comments described difficulties with the DMCA's ban on bypassing technological locks on copy-protected CDs and movies released on DVD.



Most of the public comments described difficulties with the DMCA's ban on bypassing technological locks on copy-protected music CDs and movies released on DVD.

In a survey of the filings, 55 comments described problems with copy-protected CDs, ranging from inability to play music that they had purchased to complete computer operating system crashes requiring major computer repair.

Another 130 comments focused on problems playing foreign movies on region-coded DVDs. One person originally from Denmark expressed frustration at not being able to play movies his mother gave him. Others discussed special interest works and foreign movies that are only available outside of the United States, but unplayable on U.S. DVD players.

Several parents wrote describing their concerns about unskippable commercials and promotional material in a number of Disney movies released on DVD. And several expressed frustration about the limited use that could be made of public domain movies, such as Charlie Chaplin's Movie Marathon, which was released on a CSS-encrypted DVD.

“The large number of comments reflects consumers’ growing concerns about the DMCA and the very real impact that the law has on their lives,” said EFF Staff Attorney Gwen Hinze.

For more information visit www.eff.org.

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