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04.18.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
EFF criticizes stealth “super-DMCA” legislation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) criticized a “stealth lobbying” campaign by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to bypass Congress and pass restrictive digital copyright bills in individual states.

The new measures, already in law in several states, are aimed at criminalizing the possession of what the MPAA calls “unlawful communication and access devices,” but are so broad that they could ban critical security and privacy tools online as well as restrict what machines you can connect to the cable, satellite, and Internet lines in your home, the EFF said.

Because the bills are more extreme versions of the nationwide Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the state legislation is referred to as “super-DMCA” legislation. The EFF said seven states (Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wyoming) have already enacted such bills into law. Similar bills have been introduced and are currently pending in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas. "The ‘super-DMCA’ measures represent special interest legislation that dramatically expands the reach of the federal DMCA, which has already put fair use, innovation, free speech and competition in peril," said EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann. “Communication service providers — meaning ISPs, cable companies, and providers of digital entertainment services — can use this legislation to restrict what you can connect to your Internet connection and cable or satellite television lines and can ban a variety of tools critical to protecting the anonymity and security of Internet users.”

For an analysis of state legislative activity visit www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/states/200304_sdmca_eff_analysis.php.

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