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[FYI] U.S.: Major Copyright Holders Team Up to Lobby Congress on Piracy


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Major Copyright Holders Team Up to Lobby Congress on Piracy  

Internet Security Summit, Round Two; Online Crime Dominates Talk on 
the Hill; EBay Opening Washington Office  

ASHINGTON -- Amid growing concern over the threat of Internet piracy, 
a broad coalition of groups representing copyright holders have 
banded together to create a new, potentially formidable lobbying 

In a letter last week, 30 groups and associations notified Congress 
that they have formed the Copyright Assembly "to preserve, protect 
and defend the sanctity and concept of copyright from all intruders." 
The group includes major television networks, sports leagues, writing 
and publishing groups, the software industry, and the movie and music 

"We are all excited by the Internet's potential," the group wrote. 
However, it said, "as legitimate businesses develop on the Internet, 
it has also become a haven for those who steal copyrighted works, 
piracy that comes in all sizes, ingenuity and motivations."  

"At this moment we confront assaults by those who profess to defend 
technological advancement but who treat copyright with a brazen 
disdain for laws and rules which guide the daily labors of 
Americans," the group wrote.  

Jack Valenti, president and chief executive of the Motion Picture 
Association of America and a key player in the Copyright Assembly's 
formation, said each of the group's members "will have its own unique 
issues and challenges."  

"But on a larger level," he said, "where copyright is under siege, we 
will join together to fight as one."  

The group did not endorse any specific legislation, but it will work 
to protect everything from software to Internet broadcasts and online 

Valenti made his first appearance on behalf of the group at a 
committee hearing on Internet television broadcasts last week. Some 
traditional broadcasters, worried about their transmissions being 
pirated on the Internet, are pushing for laws to require Internet 
providers to get licenses to carry programming. Valenti, however, 
urged the panel to move slowly on the issue."What's needed is a 
watchful waiting to see what's what," he said.  

Many of the groups in the new assembly came together in 1998 to push 
for the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes 
it illegal to crack encryption technologies, the digital wrappers 
that protect intellectual property on the Internet and in formats 
like DVD. It also outlaws the manufacture and sale of devices used to 
crack those defenses.  

Passage of that bill took nearly four years. A key issue in the 
battle was whether the legislation went too far beyond the 
traditional fair-use doctrine of copyright law. Under earlier laws, 
it was not a crime to access or make a copy of a protected work, but 
it was illegal to misuse the information or to copy and redistribute 
it. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act changed that, making it 
illegal merely to access copyrighted material by circumventing copy-
protection measures.  

In addition to the MPAA, the Copyright Assembly's membership includes 
the American Association of Advertising Executives, Nascar, the 
Screen Actors Guild, the National Association of Broadcasters, the 
National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Recording Industry 
Association of America and the Newspaper Association of America.  


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