Apparently a few people have gotten together and decided that maybe we should be able to do more than simply consume media. Maybe it would be good if we had some kind of freedom to comment on it, mess with it, or decide where and when we want to consume it. Wouldn't that be cool?
I'm not holding my breath, but there's a bill on the floor to roll back the gestapo-like... I mean restrictive... I mean gestapo-like... implications of the DMCA (like the part that forbids the use of any digital production even in scientific research). The bill is officially titled H.R.1201: Digital Media Consumer's Rights Act of 2005 (DMCRA) (the link goes to a discussion over at Public Knowledge). There's word today over at Gamespot that the newly formed Electronic Consumers Association is jumping on board. From Public Knowledge's analysis:
The DMCRA would ensure that legal, non-infringing uses are not prohibited by the DMCA. Furthermore, the DMCRA encourages scientific research into technology protections. It ensures that activities solely for the purpose of research into technology protection measures are permitted. The bill does not weaken the effectiveness of technology controls; rather it ensures that the controls function solely as intended - to stop illegal activity and infringement. Infringers will still face the same penalties, but the DMCRA enables people who have legally obtained access to digital content to exercise legal uses without fear of criminal punishment.
Since this bill has been kicking around since 2005, I don't think this one's coming anytime soon. And since just about every media mogul in the world (with exception of Google) wants to see this thing buried, chances are this thing's getting squashed like the Yankees in the 21st century. But I'm glad somebody is fighting the 21st century corporate movement to eliminate fair use.