Groups oppose copyright protection bills

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Groups oppose copyright protection bills

The music industry and some high-tech industry groups teamed up yesterday to oppose efforts of the US Congress to force suppliers to build copyright-protecting technological restraints into hardware and software.

"This is a landmark agreement because it shows that a broad cross-section of companies have come to the conclusion that government-mandated technology protection measures simply won't work," said Robert Holleyman, who heads the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represents major software developers.

Instead, the groups have agreed to support voluntarily technical protection measures that limit copying or redistribution of products.

The agreement made no mention of any "fair use" issues or efforts in Congress to peel back controversial legislation that is being used to block the duplication of copyrighted content.

The move, however, came under fire from Ed Black, head of the Computer & Communications Industry Association. He said the groups have not taken into account the interests of consumer electronics makers, consumer groups, libraries or end users.

"They think they know better than their customers. What this is not is a gathering of all the people who care about copyright."

The agreement does not prevent vendors and software makers from implementing voluntarily agreed-to technological restraints, said Black.

The coalition may force legislation of the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to be rewritten. That law was intended to stop copyright piracy but has also been seen as undermining the public's fair use rights.

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