Letter from Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) to RIAA P/CEO Hillary Rosen and IFPI Chairman Jay Berman.
Re: Copyright, fair use, and CD and DVD copy protection.
Date: January 4, 2002.
Source: Office of Rep. Boucher.

January 4, 2002

Ms. Hilary B. Rosen
President and Chief Executive Officer
Recording Industry Association of America
1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20036

Mr. Jay Berman
Chairman and Chief Executive
54 Regent Street
London W1B 5RE
United Kingdom

Dear Hilary and Jay:

According to many published reports, record labels have begun releasing compact discs into the market which apparently have been designed to limit the ability of consumers to play the discs or record on personal computers and perhaps on other popular consumer products, such as DVD players, video game consoles, and even some CD players, for traditional fair-use purposes such as space shifting. I am particularly concerned that some of these technologies may prevent or inhibit consumer home recording using recorders and media covered by the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA).

As you know from your personal involvement in its drafting, the AHRA clearly requires content owners to code their material appropriately to implement a basic compromise: in return for the receipt of royalties on compliant recorders and media, copyright owners may not preclude consumers from making a first-generation, digital-to-digital copy of an album on a compliant device using royalty-paid media. Under the AHRA, any deliberate change to a CD by a content owner that makes one generation of digital recording from the CD on covered devices no longer possible would appear to violate the content owner’s obligations under the statute.

To understand better the implications of this new technology for consumers, I would appreciate your providing answers to the following questions:

1. What methods have been used or are planned for use by your member companies to alter CD content or ancillary encoding so as to constrain functions of personal computers or other devices? Do these methods involve the injection of intentional errors? Do these methods involve compressed audio files separate from the CD-quality tracks?

2. Based upon your knowledge and upon any consumer contact received by your member companies, have any discs entered the U.S. market that may not be copied on a device or on media for which a royalty has been paid under the AHRA?

3. What steps, if any, have your member companies taken to inform consumers, retailers, or device manufacturers about the restrictions and which of their discs have been or will be altered?

4. What steps, if any, have been taken by your member companies to assure that the introduction of intentional errors as to encoded music, or other technical means to block copying, will not detract from sound quality or cause responses in equipment that could damage speakers?

5. Would you and your member companies support independent testing of the effect on sound quality, on listening behavior, and on the performance and operation of home networks, before these technologies appear more widely in the U.S. market? Assuming you and your member companies support such testing, are you prepared to provide assurances that no assertion would be made that these tests and any peer review of the tests would violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

Given the recent announcements from some record companies that they intend the broad introduction in 2002 of copy protected discs, I would appreciate a prompt response to this inquiry.

Thanking you for your time and attention to this matter, I remain


Rick Boucher
Member of Congress