CFA Frets Digital Copying Standard

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Congress needs to protect consumers from a digital copyright-protection
scheme that could roll back permissible home recording activities, a leading
consumer group said in a letter to Congress Monday.

In the letter, the Consumer Federation of America took aim at the Broadcast
Protection Discussion Group, an industry council led by Robert Perry of
Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc., Michael Ripley of Intel Corp. and
Andrew Setos of News Corp.'s Fox Technology Group.

'The BPDG seems to have started from the premise that all consumers are
thieves, and it has set out to develop a hardwired anti-theft system that
destroys consumers' abilities to make fair use of the programming that comes
into their homes,' the CFA letter said.

The BPDG is attempting to establish an interindustry copy-protection
technology that addresses the problem of rampant piracy of music and movies on
the Internet, which threatens the economic value of commercially valuable
intellectual property.

But the CFA fears that the BPDG intends to embrace an overrestrictive
copy-protection standard that harms consumers and damages innovation.

' Congress must go back to the drawing board to fashion a solution to the
thorny conflict between consumer fair-use rights and producer digital
copyright,' the CFA said. 'Public agencies must ultimately oversee any set of
copyright protections that is adopted.'

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