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June 5, 2002

Chairman Coble
Subcom. On the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Coble, Representative Conyers and Members of the Subcommittee:

We are writing on behalf of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to express our organizations' views on the effects of digital rights management (DRM) technologies.  We appreciate the Subcommittee's decision to hold a hearing on this topic on June 5, 2002 and request that this statement be included in the hearing record.

Today's hearing focuses on the consumer benefits of DRM, but the panel is comprised only of representatives from businesses developing content control systems, and omits the most important stakeholder in this debate—the consumer.  DRM poses serious risks to consumer and societal rights, including privacy, fair use, free expression, and innovation.  We encourage you to hold more hearings on these issues that include the entire spectrum of stakeholders so that the following risks can be considered:

Both EPIC[9] and EFF[10] maintain extensive online resources on DRM technologies.  We encourage the committee to draw upon these resources, in this debate.  We also request to meet with you or your staff to discuss these issues.


Chris Hoofnagle
Legislative Counsel
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Fred von Lohmann
Senior IP Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Jason Young
Electronic Privacy Information Center


[1] Julie Cohen, A Right to Read Anonymously: A Closer Look at 'Copyright Management' in Cyberspace, 28 Conn. L. Rev. 981 (1996), at http://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/jec/read_anonymously.pdf.
[2] Copy Protection: Just Say No, Computerworld, Sept. 4, 2000, at http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/management/opinion/story/0,10801,49358,00.html.
[3] Serious Privacy Problems in Windows Media Player for Windows XP, Computerbytesman, Feb. 20, 2002, at http://www.computerbytesman.com/privacy/wmp8dvd.htm.
[4] Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Consumer Privacy In the E-Commerce Marketplace 2002, 3rd Annual Institute on Privacy Law 1339 (June 2002), at http://www.epic.org/epic/staff/hoofnagle/plidraft2002.pdf.
[5] Jason Young, Digital Copyright Reform in Canada: Reflections on WIPO and the DMCA, Apr. 26, 2002, at http://www.lexinformatica.org/dox/digitalcopyright.pdf.
[6] Fred von Lohmann, Reconciling DRM and Fair Use: Preserving Future Fair Uses?, Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2002, at http://www.cfp2002.org/fairuse/lohmann.pdf.
[7] Electronic Frontier Foundation, Unintended Consequences: Three Years under the DMCA, May 3, 2002, at http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/20020503_dmca_consequences.pdf.
[8] Richard Stallman, The Right to Read, Communications of the ACM, Feb. 1997, at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html.
[9] Electronic Privacy Information Center, Digital Rights Management and Privacy, at http://www.epic.org/privacy/drm/.
[10] Electronic Frontier Foundation, Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression, at http://www.eff.org/cafe/.