Search for digital rights middle ground
(3/09/07) -- It's called digital rights management, which is the way the entertainment industry uses technology to protect copyrighted material. And how they do that affects you directly every time you buy a CD, a movie, or download a song. Industry executives and consumer advocates are meeting in Berkeley to find ways to protect interests on both sides.
Members of the rock group, A Class Act, say they don't mind people sharing their music now without paying for it.James Baker, A Class Act: "We don't play as much as the bigger bands. We don't go on nationwide tours, so I think if people enjoy our music enough to share it with everyone else, I think that's a plus, you know." ABC7's Willie Monroe: "So what happens when you get to be that big that it makes a difference?" James Baker: "Ha ha." The big music, movie and television companies try to protect their copyrighted programs with digital rights management, or DRM. Robert Barr, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology: "Used to be if you if bought music you could make an extra copy and use it in your car and use it on different devices, and with DRM that's become a complicated issue." But DRM technology can conflict with consumers' rights. Gigi Sohn, Public Knowledge: "Consumers have the right under copyright law to do certain things with the copyrighted works that they lawfully purchase. So if for instance, if I buy a CD, I should be able to take the songs from that CD and upload them to my computer. Well, things like digital rights management can prevent consumers from doing that." Esther Han, Student: "If the initial purchase is made, you should be able to do what you want with it." This dilemma brought people to Boalt Hall Law School to find ways to protect copyrights and consumer rights -- something the entertainment industry also understands. Dean Marks, Sr. VP, Warner Brothers: "As far as we're concerned, if you want to watch it in the theater, if you want to see it at home, if you want to see it on a portable device, if you want your kids to watch in the back seat of the car, we want to make our products available so you can do all of that easily and at a reasonable and value oriented cost." Ultimately, the market may decide. Consumers may not buy products they can't use the way they want to. If not, the government may intervene -- something few people here say they'd welcome. Copyright 2007, ABC7/KGO-TV/DT.
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