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The DMCA's chilling effect

A reader writes that he decided to abandon a line of research dealing with the customized playback of DVDs because of the DMCA.


The DMCA's chilling effect

In response to the Jan. 29 column by Rep. Rick Boucher, "Time to rewrite the DMCA":

I am a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, and I decided to abandon a line of research dealing with the customized playback of DVDs because of the DMCA.

I read the letter received by Dr. Felten (also sent to his superiors at Princeton, and to the Navy, and to the specific point of contact in charge of the conference where he was originally planning on presenting his paper); it specifically stated that he would be in violation and that he would be sued.

Isn't it ironic that we would arrest a Russian for violating a law that is itself an affront to our First Amendment?

Consider also that I am proscribed from taking my DVD collection and transferring the unprotected contents to a personal video server (serving the contents off of a hard disk) so that I can protect the expensive disks from the damage that occurs when handled by my children. Instead I am forced to purchase an expensive DVD jukebox for this purpose (complaints about some of these units include damaging the DVDs).

There are a lot of fair-use issues being overlooked. Good luck with your efforts to reform this legislation.

Carlos Salazar
Ellicott City, Md.



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