Big tech companies, including Intel and Sun Microsystems, and ISPs, including Verizon and SBC, will announce today that they have banded together to form the “Personal Technology Freedom Coalition,” to support Rep. Rick Boucher’s DMCRA bill (HR 107) to reform the DMCA, according to a Declan McCullagh story at news.com.
The Boucher bill would reform the DMCA to allow the distribution and use of circumvention technologies for non-infringing purposes. (As written, the DMCA bans even circumventions that don’t result in copyright infringement.) The bill would also create an exemption to the DMCA for legitimate research.
This bill has always been in the interests of technologists. The overbreadth of the DMCA has restrained both research and development of innovative, noninfringing uses of technology. The whole tech community – including users – would benefit from a narrowing of the DMCA.
So far, technology companies have been a bit shy about expressing their support for the Boucher bill, apparently out of a desire not to offend copyright maximalists. It’s good news that these companies are now willing to stand up for their interests and the interests of their customers.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about the Boucher bill in the coming weeks.