IEEE-USA Testifies for Balance in Copyright Policy

July 26, 2004

Copyright owners should not be permitted to restrict the development of technology having non-copyright-infringing uses, unless the developer actively and independently induces a copyright infringement, Andrew C. Greenberg testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

Greenberg, vice-chair of the IEEE-USA Intellectual Property Committee (IPC) and an attorney with Carlton Fields, P.A. of Tampa, Fla., testified on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 (S.2560). IEEE-USA believes that neither the bill nor the status quo adequately balances the interests of those who create digital copyrighted content and those who create the technology to deliver, or otherwise make use of that content.

“We are mindful that new technologies may be misused to infringe a copyrighted work, and some will promote that to their own benefit,” Greenberg testified. “At the same time, we are concerned that the Copyright Act must not be changed in ways that would inhibit research and development of novel technologies before their social value can be demonstrated.”

IEEE-USA believes that it should not be an indirect infringement of a copyright to manufacture, distribute, or provide a hardware or software product or process capable of substantial non-infringing use, unless the manufacturer, distributor or maker actively induces the infringement of a copyrighted work by another.

“The challenge facing the Senate is to find a solution that allows the true copyright infringers to be dealt with in the legal system, while not restricting leading-edge technologies that might be used in making copies, both infringing and non-infringing,” said Glenn Tenney, chair of IEEE-USA’s IPC. “At the same time, non-infringing copying must be allowed to continue.”

IEEE-USA, in the appendix of its written testimony, proposes substitute language for S.2560 to achieve these goals. For more information, go to www.ieeeusa.org/forum/policy/2004/072204.html.

Source: IEEE-USA

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