US Commerce Department Wants Public's Opinion on Digital Rights Management.

By Robert Menta 7/07/02

The continued hoopla over online music has taken another turn in the Federal government. This time the United States Department of Commerce Technology Administration (TA) is holding a public workshop on digital entertainment and rights management (DRM). The information the TA collects will presumably find its way to the various hearings Congress holds as it tries to gauge what laws it should impose upon Net music technology. This includes gauging how the voters will feel about any restrictions DRM will potentially bring them.

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As this is a public hearing, anyone can attend. More important, the TA is taking public comments via email. Below is the posted information on the event if you are in DC and wish to attend, but we suggest that the rest of you who wish to vent on a future of PC disabled CDs and DRM-chipped digital music players send in their eloquent opinions and be heard on this matter. Note: The deadline for comments is only a few days away on July 11th.

Email your thoughts to the Department of Commerce Technology Administration here.

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Commerce Technology Administration (TA) announces a public workshop on digital entertainment and its availability to consumers. The workshop will help gather data on such issues as the status of technical standards that provide the framework necessary to enable legitimate digital media distribution and the present state of strengths, weaknesses and availability of current and imminent technological solutions to protect digital content, barriers that are inhibiting movies, music and games from coming online.

DATES: This workshop will be held on July 17, 2002, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The workshop will be held at the Herbert C. Hoover Building, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room 4830, Washington, DC. Entrance on 14th between Pennsylvania and Constitution Aves., NW.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Further information relevant to the substantive issues to be addressed by this workshop may be obtained from Chris Israel Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology Policy, Technology Administration, (202) 482-5687. Limited seating will be available to members of the general public. It is recommended that persons wishing to become general public attendees arrive early, as seating will be first come, first served.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to its statutory authority found at 15 U.S.C. 3704(c), the Technology Administration is authorized, among other things, to conduct technology policy analyses to improve United States industrial productivity, technology, and innovation, cooperate with United States industry in the improvement of its productivity, technology, and ability to compete successfully in world markets, and identify technological needs, problems, and opportunities within and across industrial sectors, that, if addressed, could make a significant contribution to the economy of the United States.

With these responsibilities in mind, the Technology Administration is planning on holding a moderated series of informal discussions with relevant stakeholders to gather information on the availability of digital entertainment and status of copyright protection and rights management tools. The discussions will help gather data on such issues as the strength, weaknesses and availability of technological solutions, as well as network capability, and the proper role for the Government in facilitating solutions that are best for innovation and best for consumers.

Topics to be addressed at the workshop include:

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