Don Marti

Fri 06 May 2005 05:53:22 PM PDT

Letter to Congress

The recent documentary "Outfoxed", directed by Robert Greenwald, makes fair use of news clips from the controversial Fox News network in order to criticize what Mr. Greenwald claims is Fox's biased coverage of the war in Iraq.

While fair use of the news clips is an important part of free speech, and Fox would be unlikely to prevail in legal action against a critic such as Mr. Greenwald, US law needs a vital reform to protect future documentaries from legal censorship.

After the transition to digital television, Fox will be able to use the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to prevent Mr. Greenwald from collecting the news clips at all. Research for a documentary critical of a giant media corporation is unduly restricted by the DMCA, which makes circumvention of access controls a crime but has no exception for fair use or other legitimate uses.

Please help protect political speech in the digital domain by becoming a co-sponsor of the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, H.R. 107, which would reform the DMCA to allow fair use of copyrighted material that is restricted by access controls, while continuing to ban circumvention for purposes of making an infringing copy.