May 26, 2017

Tennessee Super-DMCA: It's Baaaaaaack!

The Tennessee Super-DMCA is back. Here’s the text of the latest version.

Like the previous version, which died in a past legislative session, this bill looks like an attempt to broaden existing bans on unauthorized access to cable TV and phone service. The old version was much too broad. The new version is worded more carefully, with exceptions for “multipurpose devices”. I haven’t read it carefully enough to tell whether there are remaining problems.

Tennessee Digital Freedom is a good source for information and updates on this bill.

Texas Super-DMCA Apparently Dead

Louis Trager at the Washington Internet Daily reports that the Texas Super-DMCA bill appears to be dead, as this year’s legislative session ended without any action on the bill. There is still a small risk that it will be considered in special session, but the governor’s office says he does not intend to call such a special session. The Texas legislature is not scheduled to meet at all in 2004, so the bill appears to be dead there until at least 2005.

The is another significant victory for Super-DMCA opponents, along with the veto of the Colorado bill, and the withdrawal of the Tennessee and Oregon bills by their sponsors.

Trager quotes MPAA Vice President Vans Stevenson as saying that “Time is on our side. We have all the time in the world.”

Apparently MPAA will be patient, in the hope that opponents will tire of the struggle, or maybe in the hope of finding new opportunities to introduce stealth bills. That may be MPAA’s best hope, since the bills have fared poorly wherever open debate on their merits has been allowed.

Colorado Governor Vetoes Super-DMCA

Colorado governor Bill Owens has taken the Rocky Mountain News’ advice and vetoed his state’s Super-DMCA bill. Linda Seebach writes:

In his veto message [Owens] said the bill “could also stifle legal activity by entities all along the high tech spectrum, from manufacturers of communication parts to sellers of communication services.”

He urges the legislature, if it returns to this topic in the next session, “to be more careful in drafting a bill that adds protections that are rightfully needed, but does not paint a broad brush stroke where only a tight line is needed.”