Groups launch Digital Freedom campaign

Tech trade groups and advocacy groups from the Digital Freedom coalition to change copyright law.

It's time for consumers, musicians and filmmakers to band together and advocate copyright laws that make sense for them, not for large music labels and movie studios, a group of advocacy groups said Wednesday during the launch of the Digital Freedom campaign.

Representatives of groups including Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said they will work for new copyright laws that "restore the balance" between protecting copyright works and allowing consumers to control where to listen to or watch digital works.

For too long, music and movie companies have won the fight in the U.S. Congress, restricting what consumers can do with digital content, said Gary Shapiro, CEA's president and chief executive officer. In the last 40 years, Congress has broadened copyright law more than a dozen times, he said.

"For 40 years now, the content industry has gotten a free ride," he said. "It's not just about a few big companies right now. It's about consumers."

Members of the new Digital Freedom coalition, with a new Web site at http://www.digitalfreedom.org/, said they will begin to offer alternative copyright proposals instead of a past focus on opposing new copyright restrictions sought by the music and movie industries. Several laws proposed in Congress during the last two years would restrict consumers' ability to play music or movies on devices of their choice, the group said.

But others questioned the goals of the Digital Freedom campaign. A number of groups representing musicians sent a letter to the CEA this week accusing the group of "ratcheting up the rhetoric" instead of working with the music industry.

"Our position is basic: artists, songwriters, music publishers, musicians and record labels deserve to be paid when our music is downloaded and enjoyed by fans," said the letter, signed by 11 music trade groups, including the National Music Publishers' Association, Recording Artists' Coalition and Recording Industry Association of America. "We ask that you recognize our right to make a fair return on the music we produce -- our innovation."

The Digital Freedom groups talked about balancing rights, but their focus was entirely on user rights, added Patrick Ross, senior fellow and vice president for communications and external affairs for the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a free market think tank. Groups like CEA want the cost of music and other Web content to drop to near zero, but if artists don't get paid, Web content will dry up, Ross said.

"We heard a lot of talk about rights, but no talk about artists' rights," he said. "Any talk about protecting rights has to protect the artists' copyright."

But participants in the Digital Freedom campaign said the balance between copyright and consumers' fair use rights have swung too far in favor of big entertainment companies and away from consumers and even artists. "If people cannot use digital media to express themselves to others without big content or big brother looking over their shoulder, the benefits of the digital revolution will be lost," said Ed Black, president and chief executive officer of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a tech trade group.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?