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Rep. Boucher Introduces Bill to Permit Some Internet Music Copying

(September 29, 2000) Rep. Boucher introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would allow the copying of certain sound recordings on the Internet. It would amend copyright law to provide that the transmission of a personal interactive performance of a sound recording is not an infringement of copyright.

Related Documents
HR 5275 IH, Music Owners' Listening Rights Act of 2000, 9/25/00.
17 U.S.C. 106 (exclusive right of copyright).
17 U.S.C. 107 (fair use).

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced HR 5275 IH, the Music Owners' Listening Rights Act of 2000, on September 25. It would amend Title 17 of the U.S. Code (which pertains to copyright and related matters) by adding a new section that provides that certain "personal interactive performances" do not constitute copyright infringement under Section 106.

Rep. Boucher introduced the bill in response to recently developed technologies for copying, or sharing, digital music files on the Internet, and the lawsuits filed by recording companies to enjoin the companies that provide these technologies.

The bill would not amend the fair use exception codified at Section 107. Rather, it would create a new Section 123 that would provide that "the transmission of a personal interactive performance of a sound recording, and of any nondramatic musical works embodied therein, is not an infringement of copyright".

The bill would further provide that "it is not an infringement of copyright for a transmitting organization that transmits a personal interactive performance to make or cause to be made phonorecords or copies of a sound recording and any nondramatic musical works embodied therein if such phonorecords and copies are used by the transmitting organization solely in connection with the transmission of personal interactive performances".

The bill also provides a definition of "personal interactive performance":

"the performance of a sound recording and the nondramatic musical works embodied therein by means of a digital transmission and includes any digital phonorecord deliveries associated with such transmission, provided that the transmission is received only by a recipient who has provided to the transmitting organization proof that the recipient lawfully possesses a phonorecord of such sound recording and who has conveyed to the transmitting organization a specific request to receive the transmission of the performance"

Rep. Rick

Rep. Boucher represents a rural and small town district in far western Virginia. He is very knowledgeable about, and active on, issues affecting communications and the Internet. He is a Co-chair of the Internet Caucus. He is a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and its Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, and the House Commerce Committee, and its Telecom Subcommittee.

He also has a record of supporting proposals that would weaken intellectual property protections. As examples: on the issue of database protection, he supports HR 1858 (Commerce Committee bill) over HR 354 (Judiciary Committee bill); during the debate over legislation regarding cybersquatting, he advocated the First Amendment rights of cybersquatters; and in the 105th Congress, he worked to limit the reach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Richard Burr (R-NC), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Ray LaHood (R-IL). Reps. Burr and Upton sit on the Commerce Committee, which has tended to support weaker intellectual property protections in cyberspace. None of these three cosponsors are members of the Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, or even the full Judiciary Committee, which generally defend intellectual property rights, and which have jurisdiction over this bill.


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