A broad group of consumers, artists, innovators, and technology companies announced the launch of the Digital Freedom campaign, a national effort to fight back against efforts by the big record labels and movie studios to ban new digital technologies. The campaign will target legislation and lawsuits designed to place crippling restrictions or impose excessive fees on technologies that allow individuals to enjoy lawfully obtained music, video, and other content.
More than a dozen organizations, representing consumers, film producers, independent recording artists, and electronics and computer manufacturers have joined together to launch the campaign, which will seek to educate policy makers, innovators, parents, students and other consumers about the lawsuits and legislation that threaten to revoke individuals’ rights to use digital technology.
"New technologies are under fierce attack from the big recording labels and studios, and those attacks go right to the heart of our basic right to use digital technology without unreasonable government restrictions or the threat of costly lawsuits," said Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We believe that we have to protect the rights of consumers, artists, innovators, producers and creators to use digital technology when, where, and how they choose."
Among the organizations who have joined the new campaign are: CEA, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Media Access Project, Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Be The Media, New America Foundation, National Video Resources, and FreeNetworks.org.
"For the past few years, content companies have launched a sustained assault on the freedom of consumers to legally enjoy, create and distribute music and video, and on the freedom of manufacturers to innovate in response to consumer demands," said Gigi Sohn, President of Public Knowledge. "Those powerful companies have worked nonstop through the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to achieve their ends. The Digital Freedom campaign is a signal that it’s time the government paid attention to consumers, and to the laws already on the books. We must make sure that those rights are protected now and into the future."
"Whether intended or not, these restrictions on technology muzzle free speech and put a straight jacket on creativity," said Harold Feld of the Media Access Project. "This isn’t a fight about ‘ending piracy’ or ‘protecting artists.’ This is a fight to protect the most vibrant and engaging forum for free speech this nation has seen since Sam Adams and Paul Revere got the Sons of Liberty together at a Boston tavern."
"Congress must realize that this isn’t a war between artists and pirates. It’s a war by incumbents against disruptive technologies, where free speech is the collateral damage," said Ed Black, President and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association.