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The UK National Consumer Council: In defence of Copy Rights

A great link arrived via technorati today, Preoccupations.
 
It seems like the UK’s National Consumer Council is right on the money with its critique of DRM. Its great to see a mainstream organisation lobby in this way. New laws to protect consumers. Now that is what I am talking about.
 
Check out these arguments, fair use from the BBC:
A UK consumer watchdog has called for new laws to protect users’ rights to use digital music and movies. The National Consumer Council (NCC) said anti-piracy efforts were eroding established rights to digital media. …
 
It made its comments to a parliamentary inquiry into technologies that limit what people can do with CDs, DVDs and downloaded media. In its submission to the inquiry, the NCC said many consumers were regularly running up against the restrictions record companies and film makers put on their products. The consumer group said people were finding that they could not make compilations for their own use or easily move digital copies between different devices.
 
In its statement to the inquiry it said the digital locks put on content were “constraining the legitimate consumer use of digital content”. Also being undermined were rights established by consumer protection and data protection laws, it said. “Consumers face security risks to their equipment, limitations on their use of products, poor information when purchasing products and unfair contract terms,” said Jill Johnstone, the NCC’s director of policy.
 
She added that the group had little faith that self-regulation by media makers would protect consumer rights.
The last statement is the real kicker. Well done Jill.
 
The NCC also points to this campaign and online petition to the EU to protect our digital rights. Please go sign it.
 
Here is a position statement which I wholeheartedly endorse:
BEUC believes that the European publishing sector is crucial to the building of a knowledge-based economy. However, blindly ‘enhancing’, ‘supporting’ and ‘extending’ the copyright protection regime may confer unjustified monopoly privileges, impede competition, potentially impose unfair costs on consumers and risk to inhibit creativity. Do we want a society in which the free exchange of ideas – on which our society thrives – remains possible or do we want access to content curtailed by excessive copyright regulation and abusive use of DRMs? The report correctly states about copyright and DRMs that “widespread acceptance by consumers is still lacking”. The reason for this is (at least) twofold: Firstly, DRMs are restricting consumers legitimate use of copyrighted (and non-copyrighted) material. According to the Commission, publishers also regard DRM as a technology with increased control over content and more precise definitions of the rights associated to the assets they commercialise. These “rights” go beyond what is asserted by intellectual property law and we deplore the lack of discussion on potential adverse effects on consumers, and the eventual need to guarantee consumers rights in relation to the works they legally purchase.

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3 Responses

  1. Hi, James — thanks so much for digging further and discovering the BEUC campaign. I’ve blogged about this, having visited the NCC and BEUC sites, but can’t seem to get a TrackBack through to you on this or your earlier post.

  2. problems with trackback? hmmm…

  3. Oh someone already said trackback problems !!!

    Yes, james I come back here to do some more reading. I have seen a lot of chatter on this post and in fact, I myself blogged about it, but was to tired to complete a proper analyis, I know I have seen about 5-6 posts/feeds in my rss reader mentioning this post. Now I have to use technorati ??

    Anyhow, just to let you know- good post !!



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