Public Knowledge proposes copyright reform bill

Here are the five parts of the Copyright Reform Act:

1.  Strengthen fair use, including reforming outrageously high statutory damages, which deter innovation and creativity

2. Reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to permit circumvention of digital locks for lawful purposes

3. Update the limitations and exceptions to copyright protection to better conform with how digital technologies work

4. Provide recourse for people and companies who are recklessly accused of copyright infringement and who are recklessly sent improper DMCA take-down notices

5. Streamline arcane music licensing laws to encourage new and better business models for selling music

The five parts are fairly vague--and it's unclear how a new bill would bring agreement among rights holders, content creators and Internet users. But it could get a conversation started.

The first section on fair use has been posted at www.copyrightreformact.org, and other material will be posted as the other sections are circulated.

The fair use section would allow for "incidental" or "noncommercial and personal use." That means YouTube videos created for personal use that have a music or movie clip in the background would not be considered illegal, as it is today.

Public Knowledge came up with the bill with the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law.