Conference Report (H. Rep. No. 105-796):
Senator John Ashcroft in the U.S. Senate (Cong. Rec. S4891) (daily ed. May 14, 1998):
Another issue of concern is that unless product designers are adequately consulted on the design and implementation of technological protection measures and means of preserving copyright management information, such measures may have noticeable and recurring adverse effects on the authorized display or performance of works. Under such circumstances, certain adjustments to specific products may become necessary after sale to a consumer to maintain the normal, authorized functioning of such products. Such adjustments, when made solely to mitigate the adverse effects of the measure on the normal, authorized operation of a manufacturer’s product, device, component, or part thereof, would not, in my view, constitute conduct that would fall within the proscriptions of this legislation.
The problems described may occur at a more fundamental level—with noticeable and recurring adverse effects on the normal operation of products that are being manufactured and sold to consumers. The best way to avoid this problem is for companies and industries to work together to seek to avoid such problems to the maximum extent possible. I am pleased to note that multi-industry efforts to develop copy control technologies that are both effective and avoid such noticeable and recurring adverse effects have been underway over the past two years in relation to certain copy protection measures. I join my colleagues in strongly encouraging the continuation of these efforts, since, in my view, they offer substantial benefits to copyright owners who add so much to the economy and who obviously want devices that do not interfere with the other normal operations of affected products.
The truth of the matter is that Congress ought to operate contemporaneously with industry to solve problems. Anytime the affected industries beat government to the solution they ought to be praised. In many respects I invite the private sector to be there first and get it done well. If they are there first, they will often solve the problem. Even when they cannot solve the problem, the private sector problem solving process will at least narrow the issues for the government to address. Getting a law passed is very difficult, getting it changed is sometimes even more difficult, and so relying on government really elevates the need to have no garbage in, to result in the right output.
I would encourage the content community and the device and hardware manufacturers to work together to avoid situations in which effective technological measures and copyright management information affect display quality. There is no reason why the interested parties cannot resolve these issues to ensure both optimal protection of content and optimal picture quality. To the extent that a particular technological protection measure or means of applying or embedding copyright management information to or in a work is designed and deployed into the marketplace without adequate consultation with potentially affected manufacturers, the proprietor of such a measure or means and those copyright owners using it must be aware that product adjustments by a manufacturer to avoid noticeable and recurring adverse effects on the normal, authorized operation of affected products are foreseeable, legitimate and commercially necessary. Such actions by manufacturers may not, therefore, be proscribed by this chapter.