A letter to Congressmen Smith and Sensenbrenner

Congressmen Smith and Sensenbrenner:

I am infuriated that you are backing new legislation that would further limit consumers’ use of copyrighted material in their own homes. It is incomprehensible to me that you might actually believe that consumers should just surrender control of when, where, and how they experience and enjoy the content for which they’ve purchased usage rights. Despite the pleas of consumers, of the tech industry, and of studies and scholars, this legislation broadly criminalizes what should be protected as fair use rights. It penalizes consumers in a desperate attempt at thwarting piracy, which you shamelessly masquerade as a defense against terrorism.

Help me understand, please, why I shouldn’t be able to watch the movie I purchase in any room in my home on any device of my choosing. Help me understand why it should be illegal for a parent to protect their investment in DVD movies by backing them up in preparation for the day that the original media gets scratched, cracked, or lost at the bottom of a toy box. Help me understand why copying a movie from an owned DVD to a mobile video device so as not to have to take a laptop through the TSA’s airport security lines makes someone a criminal. Help me understand why we the consumers must suffer for the recording and film industries’ failure to keep up with the market established by and for digital media.

Criminalizing consumers’ attempts to use content fairly is not going to catch terrorists. Nearly every independent study and nearly all evidence shows that piracy is not prevented by digital rights management (DRM). The content pirates you seek to defeat are not deterred by DRM. Invariably, these controls all can and will be cracked by the organizations that stand to make money by doing so [oh, wait, could I perhaps be arrested now for suggesting that possibility?]. The only real effect that DRM and the ridiculous legislation the content industries have lobbied so hard to introduce actually has is to inconvenience consumers and reduce the value and usefulness of the content you’re trying so hard to protect. These consumers are your children, their children, your neighbors, and your friends. That’s who this legislation will hurt—not the real criminals.

I suggest that you take a step back from the special interests of the RIAA and the media moguls to start thinking about protecting the people you’re elected to represent—the citizens of this country…the consumers. By backing this legislation, you are clearly not acting in their best interests.

[Richard]
Washington, D.C.

cc: Congressman Lamar Smith’s staff


How can you get involved?

Write to Congressman Smith at:

2184 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Call Congressman Smith’s office at (202) 225-4236

Write to Congressman Sensenbrenner at:

2449 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Call Congressman Sensenbrenner’s office at (202) 225-5101

Send Congressman Sensenbrenner an e-mail message to sensenbrenner@mail.house.gov

Contact your representative!

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