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Business News (more headlines) 09-18-2003

BSA Comments On Brownback Digital Copyright Legislation

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WASHINGTON (Sept. 16, 2003) The Business Software Alliance said today that it appreciates Sen. Sam Brownback's efforts to ensure that development of copyright protection technology is left to the marketplace. However, it is concerned that elements of his proposed legislation could jeopardize the integrity and enforceability of current copyright law.

"We agree with the Senator's objective to keep the government out of the business of designing technology. And we certainly applaud his efforts. However, we believe that legislation in this arena is unnecessary. The BSA strongly believes that these issues are best left to the private sector," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the BSA.

Holleyman pointed to the progress that has been made recently by representatives of the music and technology industries as proof that the marketplace is working. A number of new music and movies services have been launched in recent months that give consumers economical and easy to use ways to buy legal digital content.

"Our focus should be on continued progress in creating marketplace solutions that give consumers easy to use, commercial alternatives to digital piracy," said Holleyman.

"Our members have been involved in productive dialogue with companies in the recording and movie industries aimed at finding consumer-friendly approaches to curbing digital piracy. We remain committed to working with these industries to find the best technologies for protecting digital content while promoting the advances in content delivery that consumers are clamoring for."

The BSA also expressed concern that other provisions of Sen. Brownback's proposed legislation could jeopardize the integrity and enforceability of the copyright law.

"The government's focus should be on enforcing existing digital copyright laws. The proposal to alter subpoena provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act would weaken the ability of copyright holders to enforce their rights by making it harder to ascertain the identity of copyright infringers. That, in turn, could hinder the rollout of new, legal online content delivery systems," said Holleyman.

The BSA also opposes proposals to change the first sale doctrine of current copyright law to allow the transfer of digital copies, if they are subsequently deleted. Holleyman said the BSA was concerned that such a provision would contribute to consumer confusion and prove unenforceable.

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