Follow this “argument” [also note the effort to convert “digital rights management (DRM)” into “tehnological protection mechanism (TPM)”] Here’s a surefire way to stifle innovation
Now that the Grokster decision has been handed down and innovation still appears to be among us, it’s important to continue the fight for new ideas. That effort should include preserving, through intellectual-property protection, the innovation of online business models that empower consumers by offering for sale or rental goods with differing uses at varying price points.
Ultimately, if consumers are going to be able to fully benefit from the flexibility and ease of access afforded by the Internet, they must not have their choices curtailed by misguided federal legislation.
A well-meaning U.S. Congressman, Rick Boucher of Virginia, is the author of the legislation in question. He first tried to make circumvention of copy-protection mechanisms legal back in 1998, when Congress was debating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. His effort to amend the bill failed.
Since then, he has been continuing his crusade through standalone bills; his version in this Congress is HR-1201. Boucher claims that digital rights management (DRM) on DVDs, CDs and other mediums can stifle fair use. The U.S. Copyright Office largely has disagreed in DMCA review proceedings, but Boucher nonetheless persists.
[…] But if HR-1201 becomes law, every consumer could legally hack any TPM by claiming fair use, and as fair use isn’t codified, there would be as many definitions of it as there are consumers. Consumers would be legally sanctioned to break their contracts with the content provider.
No sane business operator enters a contract in which one party has the right to disregard its terms at will, but that’s what HR-1201 permits. That hated TPM would disappear from the market, as there’s no reason to employ a lock if everyone has a legal right to the key. But as TPM leaves, so do the digital offerings that come with it.
Sadly. of course, consumers can be coerced into entering into an illegal contract, though, but that’s more than this author is prepared to acknowledge in a “free” market.