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Pay Attention To .Au/.Us IP Trade Law 279

Posted by Hemos
from the pay-attention-NOW dept.
Rusty Russell writes "The recent US-Australia "Free" Trade Agreement Chapter 17 (IP) locks Australia into our existing DMCA-style laws and extends them further: banning "access control" circumvention, extending copyright, guaranteeing penalties greater than actual damages for deliberate copyright infringement, committing us to recognising patents "whether a product or process, in all fields of technology", etc. Linux Australia has produced a draft position paper (rough HTML here), has a how to help page, and started a petition. Please help! " Rusty's a great guy - he's got some good links on his own page, but please take the time to do what you can - if you are a Australian, take the time to *physically* write your MP. Floods of post are what will create action.
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Pay Attention To .Au/.Us IP Trade Law

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:09PM (#8876659)
    Wait a second, the ??AA organziations are letting Austrailia copy our copyright laws? Make them write their own... :)
  • by haxeh (766837) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:11PM (#8876682)
    When are people going to realize you can't legislate away a technical problem? (assuming you think IP infringement is a problem, i guess)
    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:15PM (#8876724)
      When are people going to realize you can't legislate away a technical problem? (assuming you think IP infringement is a problem, i guess)

      It's security-by-legislation. They know that unbreakable encryption doesn't exist, it's only a matter of time before it gets blown. However, at least this will slow the process of breaking it by trying to scare away people who don't want to go to jail...

      Just about as effective as security-by-obscurity.
    • by bersl2 (689221) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:21PM (#8876754) Journal
      actually, it's trying to legislate away a social "problem."

      legislating away a technical problem is like Congress passing a law which would prohibit a motor vehicle from travelling the speed of light. which makes no sense.

      a technical problem is when you run into a dead end within a given system, and you must change the system to achieve the desired results.

      • "...legislating away a technical problem is like Congress passing a law which would prohibit a motor vehicle from travelling the speed of light. which makes no sense...."

        It's not down to congress, it's down to the states, and they've all got legislation in place to limit the unladen & laden weight of vehicles.

        All vehicles travelling at c or near c (>0.01c) will be far too heavy to be allowed on the public roads.

        T&K.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:28PM (#8877536)
          All vehicles travelling at c or near c (>0.01c) will be far too heavy to be allowed on the public roads.

          It's generally not a problem traveling on the american highway system at or near c as the vehicel in question will only be in the continental US for about .8ms-1.6ms, after which it's some one else's problem.

        • All vehicles travelling at c or near c (>0.01c) will be far too heavy to be allowed on the public roads.

          Aaah, now I understand why vehicle taillights appear to be red.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:12PM (#8876690)
    The original intent of copyright (in the US anyway, not sure about Australia) was for it to be a means to encourage creativity for the public's sake, not simply to make publishers rich. It seems the contemporary goals of the "intellectual property" regime do a complete 180 in relation to what these laws were originally intended to encourage.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:17PM (#8876736)
      Exactly. When the public realizes - which already seems to be the growing case - that the freedom to make copies of published information is to their benefit, the laws start to look antequated. If the public speaks on this issue and decides that they'd be better off with that freedom then IP laws need serious reform since they no longer server their intended function.

      Perhaps copyright in its current form has worn out its welcome in the digital age.
      • at the moment the public may have other things on their mind. their sons and daughters in Iraq, to begin. the issues that excite Slashdot can be meaningless to those who never read these pages.
    • by VirexEye (572399) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:33PM (#8876836) Homepage
      The original intent of copyright (in the US anyway, not sure about Australia) was for it to be a means to encourage creativity for the public's sake, not simply to make publishers rich.

      Actually it was to encourage creativity by allowing the creators (working with/through the publishers) to become rich. Why would someone spend large amounts of time creating something without guarentee that, if successful, would put food on their table and not someone elses?

      Sure some of the big publishers today are evil but you have to keep in mind it was always about the money.

      • by achurch (201270) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:42PM (#8876890) Homepage

        Actually it was to encourage creativity by allowing the creators (working with/through the publishers) to become rich.

        That's exactly what the parent was saying--"not simply to make publishers rich". I don't think anyone will argue that the reason for the monopoly was to generate income for the author/publisher (well, arguments can be made about which one should get the income, but that's a different issue). The point is that the income was not intended as the final goal of copyright, but merely as a means to an end, that end being "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". I think it's pretty clear that that goal has for all intents and purposes disappeared from modern copyright law.

      • by afidel (530433) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:44PM (#8876903)
        Bullshit, read the constitution again, it clearly states

        " To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

        It says nothing about profits, it says that in exchange for promoting these things which we feel are valuable to society we will allow you to have controll of your works for a limited time.
        • And what other reasons are there for exclusive rights other than personal gains of the creator?

          It is detremental to society to limit the distribution of progress in every way except by which it encourages inventors.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:28PM (#8877157)
            The key part is that copyrights are for a limited time. If you have 14 years to profit off a work, then you have 14 years to come up with your next work. If the copyright was unlimited you could come up with one work then profit off it for the rest of your life. That's not exactly encouraging creativity, is it?

            Neccessity is the mother of invention. Unlimited copyrights remove neccessity.
          • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:40AM (#8878206) Homepage
            And what other reasons are there for exclusive rights other than personal gains of the creator?

            That's not a reason, as it happens. In fact, that would be the worst POSSIBLE reason, and it's responsible for a lot of the misery in this field for the past 30-100 years. It is best ignored all but completely. We should not care about whether creators gain at all, at least not directly and then not much.

            Rather, the reason is the reason provided in the Constitution, in numerous contemporary writings (such as Jefferson's), and in similar doctrines dating back to the Venetian patent system of the 15th century, and an idea the ancient Greeks had (and ignored, as they often did) thousands of years ago.

            That reason is that copyrights benefit the public as a whole.

            It's just that it's a bit convoluted as to how this happens, so people often don't see the forest for the trees, and get caught up, like you do, in mere implementation details that aren't particularly important in themselves.

            Let's look at how copyrights properly fulfill their purpose. First, note that there are two relevant public goods involved. Each is a satisfaction of an insatiable public desire. The first desire is the desire for more works. The public always wants more creative works to be made, whether they are original or derivative in nature (they're basically equal). The second desire is the desire to be unrestricted with respect to those works. The public wants to be able to enjoy them, but also to acquire them for no or minimal cost, copy them, alter them, distribute them, preserve them, etc.

            We know from history that there are always artists creating something. So in a world without copyright (as was the case until the 18th century, and in practice until the 20th century) there is some degree of satisfaction of the first desire, and total satisfaction of the second desire. The net public good is basically the sum of the satisfaction of both desires.

            When we establish a copyright regime, it results in an immediate detriment to the second desire's satisfaction. This is because the nature of a copyright -- at least as we've seen them to date -- is to impede, for a time, the ability to acquire works at the lowest cost, to copy them, etc. freely. Furthermore, that desire is never even going to be fully satisfied in the long run, after the term expires, because some works are lost, or some works are no longer desired, by the time the term runs out. This means that where copyrights (as we know them) exist, the satisfaction of the second public desire is significantly less at first, and only at the end of the term does it have a chance to rise towards total satisfaction (though the longer the term, the lower this will be). This means that net public good is lower. But we're not done.

            The result, ideally, of a copyright regime, is a dramatic increase in the number of works created. Hopefully it is an increase that is out of all proportion with the commensurate decrease in unrestricted public enjoyment of the work, as discussed above; the increase has to far outweigh the decrease. Part of this will come by virtue of the fact that when there are more works available to enjoy unrestrictedly, that second desire can be more thoroughly satisfied than before. Again n.b. that long terms will hinder this as works tend to be lost or ignored over time. Thus, if terms are relatively short, and the increase in works created is significant (orignal works will tend to be created more at the expense of derivatives; both are of equal value, so don't mistake this as a good thing), then we'll see the satisfaction of the first goal increase AND the second goal increase somewhat even in spite of the decrease we already discussed.

            What it boils down to is this:

            Considering the two forms of public good discussed above -- copyrights benefit the public only when they result in a greater net public good than would be the case if copyrights didn't exist. Ideally, copyrights will not just be a minor improve
        • by poptones (653660) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:59PM (#8877371) Journal
          In fact, it says the exclusive right to profit from...

          It's all about profit. The argument we are faced with now is "how do I profit from sharing the recording I bought three days ago?" If I buy the recording, rip it, and post it to usenet, how exactly have I profited? The other posts were there whether I posted or not, so it's not as if I have "traded" anything.

          Copyright is not obsolete. Copyright is what keeps GPL intact, and it's what prevents Time Warner and CBS and MTV from just taking "free" stuff from up-and-coming artists (and artists from other countries and jurisdictions) and dumping it into their stable of "media."

          The problem is they are trying to equate a corporation hijacking someone else's work with an individual doing it. Sony or CBS hijacking Madonna's work would do infinitely more damage to Maverick records than would ME posting her work to usenet... but the money changers would have us believe they are somehow comparable offenses.

          • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:01AM (#8878071) Homepage
            In fact, it does NOT say "the exclusive right to profit from" and you're more than welcome to look the damn thing up. There's a copy here [gpoaccess.gov] if you like.
            • If you want to talk semantics, the very word "profit" didn't appear in Title 17 until the 1970s, during the RIAA's first round of paid protection.

              However...

              As far back as 1790 the "exclusive right to profit" was absolutely part of the protections afforded. To wit:

              "the author and authors of any map, chart, book or books already printed within these United States, being a citizen or citizens thereof....shall have the sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing and vending such map, chart, bo

      • The problem is, now it simply makes publishers rich. It doesn't seem to help the public overall, in fact it seems to hurt it. Alas, the economic argument for copyright probably won't be settled for a while, but I can think of several ways to encourage creativity while not resorting to these draconian measures. In the case of software, for instance, why not put a tax on all hardware sold in the country to fund software development? That way, the public's freedoms aren't restricted, and we are guaranteed
      • Actually it was to encourage creativity by allowing the creators (working with/through the publishers) to become rich. Why would someone spend large amounts of time creating something without guarentee that, if successful, would put food on their table and not someone elses?
        Of course, no one ever created anything before copyright laws.
  • by JNighthawk (769575) <NihirNighthawk&aol,com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:13PM (#8876697)
    Hey Aussies. Let's move to India. There we could be paid decent wages for tech jobs, not be afraid of losing our jobs and even you hippies can be vegetarians without being ostracizes!
  • No can do! (Score:4, Funny)

    by rdsmith4 (767227) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:15PM (#8876719)
    take the time to *physically* write your MP

    Too assertive for the slashdot crowd! We'd much rather comment about it in the comfort of our big cushy computer chairs.

    • We'd much rather comment about it in the comfort of our big cushy computer chairs.

      Just print the letter instead of e-mailing it...
    • Re:No can do! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EverDense (575518)
      Speak for yourself!

      I wrote to my local MP about this back in November.

      He passed my letter to the Attourney General, got a reply to my specific queries and sent me back the reply.
  • Write to my MP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Artega VH (739847)
    My federal minister happens to be John Howard (the current prime minister and bush lap-dog) so somehow I don't know if he'll be totally receptive to my letter...
    • Re:Write to my MP (Score:2, Informative)

      by vlchung (310948)
      An alternative would be to write to whoever was the lowest ranking Senator on the Liberal Party NSW Senate ticket - that is, the Liberal senator who only just managed to scrape in 2 elections ago (who will be up for reelection this election - only half the senate is up for grabs each election, assuming no double dissolution stuff happening).

      S/he would be very sensitive to a couple of thousand people in NSW adjusting their Senate preferences even a little bit. Perhaps indicate (if you are otherwise a coalit
    • John Howard will also listen to you if you tell him what he wants to hear. That's how the public service now works!
  • USA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:25PM (#8876786)
    G'Day mate, how ya goin'!
    I'm from the USA. The United States of Australia, that is!
  • by Himring (646324) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:25PM (#8876787) Homepage Journal
    Do you code from a land down under? Where the DMCA grow's and makes plunder?

    /duck
    /dodge
    /hide
  • by IronBlade (60118) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:34PM (#8876840) Homepage
    Here's the listing of Australian Members of Parliament:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/mplist.htm [aph.gov.au]

    Write a snailmail letter (don't email) to your local member [aec.gov.au] and protest this junk!

    • Actually, I have written e-mails to minsters on several occations, and always gotten a snail mail reply (they are not allowed to reply via e-mail).

      E-Mail is just as valid as snail mail when sent a MP.

      I urge you all to send e-mail, snail mail, black mail ;-). The more of us that protest about this, the more likley someone will listen.

      BTW, if we can get Latham to say that he will remove the law if he is elected, Howard will again try to steel the limelight, and revoke the law before the up and comming

    • by mister_tim (653773) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:13PM (#8877071)
      I don't know about all MPs, but Government Minister's pay the same attention to emails as to snail mail letters. Some will reply by email, some will reply by snail mail (if you include your address).

      However, the same attention, in this context, means that they generally forward it to the Minister responsible for that matter or, if they are the Minister responsible, they get their Department to answer it - or their political staff if it's a purely political matter (as opposed to a policy issue).

      However, it still pays to write sometimes. If there's enough opposition from enough sources, it can make an imapct. Even better than writing letters would be to get the story picked up in various newspapers. Sadly enough, politicians are more worried about negative press on the front page of the Australian or the SMH than they are about negative comments in any number of letters sent to them.
      • I don't know about all MPs, but Government Minister's pay the same attention to emails as to snail mail letters. Some will reply by email, some will reply by snail mail (if you include your address).

        I wrote to my local member in November, I didn't include my address, but I did include my full name.

        I got a reply by snail mail!

        Holy shit!

        The government must have my name on a list.
  • by Atario (673917) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:34PM (#8876843) Homepage
    We're truly sorry.
  • quite unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eclectro (227083) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:41PM (#8876886)

    This really shows the "snowball" effect that copyright has become.

    Europe expanded the length of copyrights because of suspension during WWII(however they weren't suspended in the US!). Then US copyright law was "expanded" to "bring it in line" with european law. Now Australia is doing the same thing to "bring it in line" with US law.

    The next logical step is for some other country to "expand" their copyright law to "be in line" with Australian law. Then the US will undoubtedly follow suit.

    Citizens do not see how this is hurting them, but it does. Everything from more expensive videos to a cultural "lockdown" preventing new creative works based on the old ones.

    Expect Disney to start lobbying for another copyright extension in a couple of years to protect Mickey. And we know how US lawmakers love to listen to the corporation.

    The _only_ way this is going to change if it becomes _very_ politically expensive to expand copyright law.

    With the war in Iraq, terrorism, and many people being left behind in this so-called recovery, health care worries, budget deficits, copyright law is at the bottom of people's list.
    • more expensive videos

      you mean those $25 special edition DVDS and $70 boxed sets that deliver a ton of extras, better video, theatrical sound, and cost less in real terms than the VHS cassettes they replace?

      a cultural "lockdown" preventing new creative works based on the old ones.

      like "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" and "King Kong?"
      oh, wait, those are all titles still under copyright.

      • more expensive videos

        you mean those $25 special edition DVDS and $70 boxed sets that deliver a ton of extras, better video, theatrical sound, and cost less in real terms than the VHS cassettes they replace?


        Yes, that's exactly what I mean. If more than one company is allowed to produce "special editions", there would be greater choice, more competition, and less expensive versions for the consumer. So instead of it being $25, it could be just $10 if there was a competitive marketplace. All of which is goo
        • If more than one company is allowed to produce "special editions", there would be greater choice, more competition, and less expensive versions for the consumer

          special editions generally imply access to the original production team, pristine studio prints, archieval footage etc., etc. have you seen many public domain titles preserved and documented with such care?

          Because they are still under copyright, that means licensing fees (usually very expensive) must be paid before a movie or deritave work is made

          • special editions generally imply access to the original production team, pristine studio prints, archieval footage etc., etc.

            It's very presumptuous to assume that any one single commercial entity would be able to produce the only "special edition" possible for a given work. As you pointed out, in many instances it is a "team" that produces films, and any given team member might have material that they could give to any company that they wanted to for whatever reason. Thus there very easily could be differ
  • Tasmania (a state of .au) has Senator Brian Haradine. Haradine has pushed for Govt subsidised Internet in the economically depressed town of Launceton in Tasmania with the provision that the ADSL roll out in that area have content filtering. Haradine's justification is the "protection of children from pornography", which of itself is a good thing - his implementraion method has huge free speach implications. This is how .au politicians think - they need some tech education. Any of these type of laws, n
    • This is how .au politicians think - they need some tech education

      The problem is not one of technical ineptitude or ignorance. It's the standard "think of the children" defence when imnposing otherwise politically sensitive restrictions on behaviour.

      Far better to investigate if the Senator (or his family) has any financial interest in, or has recieved any gifts from technology companies involved in the roll-out, or whether or not the Senator has affiliations to fringe religious organisations, or what the

    • Town? City of 100,000. 12th biggest in the country. (Obligitary USA comparison: The rank compares with San Francisco CA, or Jacksonville FL; as a percentage of national population it compares with Philadephia PA or Pheonix AZ; the actual population with Athens GA, Green Bay WI or Burbank CA) But anyway...

      The LBP was more a political stunt (the electorate of Bass was a marginal seat, with 30-40 votes difference).

      All that the LBP (Launceston Broadband Project) did was give you a discount of A$38.50 per
  • by Ugmo (36922) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:48PM (#8876924)
    There seems to be a method of extending government/coporate control over IP that is taking place.

    Country A passes laws that would never be passed in Country B (or countries A,B,C & D try to pass extreme laws and some succeed and some fail). Then country B signs a treaty with country A requiring them to go along with country A's stupid laws. Now A & B are both operating under the most restictive laws from each.

    Examples:
    The US extended copyright in order to bring US copyright in line with European copyright. Now Australia gets the DMCA in order to be more like the US.

    It seems that if a coporation can't tie up IP by bribing local legislatures they just bribe foreign ones. Once they get a satisfactory result in a foreign country they push for a trade treaty so the end result is the same. It is rare that one of these treaties reduces IP protection to the lowest common denominator. They almost always raise it to the more restrictive level.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:31PM (#8877175)
      Maybe now we'll actually get one of the few US copyright laws that are actually good...

      I.e. the "fair use" laws. In Australia, it is currently ILLEGAL to buy a CD, rip the tracks to your own hard drive for the purpose of playing those tracks on your ipod/whatever.

      At the moment, format-shifting is illegal in Australia. Got a copy on vinyl? Don't even THINK about burning that sucker to a CD. Not if you at least want to remain "true" to the copyright law.

      Let's not even get into the Australian position on taping TV shows, recording songs from the radio onto cassette, and other "delayed viewing" style arguments - they're ALL illegal here. (Doesn't stop people from doing it though, it seems).
    • I think you're wrong about the order of things. It seems to me that treaties get proposed by WIPO [wipo.int] members, then WIPO member governements act like they have NO CHOICE but to implement this law. It's a clever way to pass laws that the corporate elite want passed, while passing all the blame to a faceless organization that no one ever voted for.
  • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:54PM (#8876961) Homepage
    First they came for the crackers
    and I did not speak out - because I was not a cracker.

    Then they came for the hackers
    and I did not speak out - because I was not a hackers.

    Then they came for the file sharers
    and I did not speak out - because I was not a file sharer.

    Then they came for me -
    and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

    Feel free to flame about the difference between hackers and crackers, which is even more off-topic than this post...
    • Not sure if that's a particularly good analogy, translated to non-computer terms it's more like

      First they came for the Bank Robbers
      and I did not speak out - because I wasn't a bank robber

      Then they came for the Home Handymen
      and I did not speak out - because I didn't know what DIY stood for

      Then they came for the Photocopier Users
      and I did not speak out - because I was out of toner

      Then they came for me -
      and by then I just thought the whole thing was stupid.

      I don't think you'll find many harassed sysadmins
  • Deja vu? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiresquire (457486) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:55PM (#8876970) Journal
    Seems like the US is abusing their 'monopoly' to force a 'vendor' to accept terms that are 'lock in'.

    Can Australia sue the US for antitrust violation?
    • no, but they could probably tell them to F off.
    • We don't have any anti-trust laws. We're only importing the repressive US codes.

      I guess it saves us getting your freedoms and then having to wipe them again when George Bush III wipes them from your constitution and makes us sign a treaty promising to do the same in return for a slight reduction in the anal pummelling of our farmers.
  • Just because the Bush administration pushed it, and expects the Senate to ratify it, doesn't mean that it's automatic. We can at least show them they don't have as much support as they thought. I'm going to write to Hillary Clinton, that shining beacon of truth in the face of corporate, um... Well, I'm going to write to Chuck Schumer, that dashing defender of the... Aw, who am I kidding?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here in Chile, a FTA is now in effect with the US [ustr.gov] (I don't have a link to the actual text, this is only a draft).

    So that means that we are fucked up, and we can do nothing about it, right?

    -copyright: life + 70
    -encourage that circunvention of access control be criminally punished.
    -recognize patents to anything, whether a product or process, in all fields of technology.

    :(
    • No, not necessarily. the FTA is just an agreement. It's been signed, and that's effectively a note passed in class to the effect that "Johnnie agrees to go steady with Georgie". It's not law.

      The next step(s) in it all is to get each bit of the agreement passed into law in the victim state. Often they try tricks like pushing small and unsightly laws through in the same bill as other larger, more popular, more important ones. The Australian Constitution prevents 'money' (tax) bills being pushed through with

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:15PM (#8877076)
    Just another example of how 'free trade' is really doublespeak. Free Trade only increases freedom for the powerful elite, and further oppresses the powerless masses.
  • by JazzXP (770338)
    I read in "The Australian" (local newspaper) that John Howard is agains the DMCA, partially because it holds back innovation.... hopefully that counts for something.
  • Project Gutenberg of Australia ( http://gutenberg.net.au/ ), as I understand, would also be affected by the new law. In particular, this notable ans useful page: http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty.html could be no more.

    -m-
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:58PM (#8877360)
    I'm an Australian, and up until now I've taken heart in the way that the ACCC has stood up for the idea of region-free DVD players.

    Let me give you an example. I have a friend from mainland China (region 6), who studies here in Australia (region 4), who has a number of mutual Taiwanese friends (region 3), and is also studying Japanese (region 2). She bought a laptop last year, hoping to be able to watch DVDs on it, and was upset to find that 5 changes to the region would *lock* the hardware.

    Whilst the ACCC supports region-free players, it can't mandate that player be manufactured this way, so most drives in laptops come with this ridiculous control imposed.

    My friend essentially can't watch DVDs from different regions which are of cultural interest to her (good luck getting the latest Japanese CDs in Queensland!) Before you go saying, "well, most DVDs in Taiwan are cracked and don't have region restrictions", realise that that's not what I'm talking about. If we were to follow the 'rules' originally designed for DVDs, and laid out in the FTA, then my friend would have to buy 4 DVD drives, just so that she could watch DVDs from the different regions she's likely to be interested in, and come across.

    So, when I patch my laptop drive (no patch was available for my friend's drive last time I checked) or rip the DVDs which I bought in Taiwan, I'm not doing so to 'circumvent copyright', I'm doing so for fair use, so I can watch the damned things!

    In the modern world (particularly where Australia is situated) the idea of zones makes no sense. When I can hop on a plane and be in Taiwan in 8 hours, why should my player stop being able to play local DVDs, based on some completely arbitary regime?

    It mightn't be a problem for citizens of the US - region 1 (sorry, but how typical!) covers: USA, Canada, U.S. Territories - this probably covers all the DVDs that US citizens would be interested in...
    • I'm doing so for fair use, so I can watch the damned things!

      We don't have fair use dude. If you rip your dvds or your cds, or tape friends to watch it when you get home from work, in Australia you're a criminal.
  • Access controls (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blueworm (425290)
    I thought circumventing access controls was already illegal in The States under the DMCA. How is this turning up in Australia "extending" the terms of the DMCA? Can someone give me some info? Thanks.
  • by Trejkaz (615352) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:42PM (#8877618) Homepage

    I gather this means that Xbox modchipping will be illegal now (PS2 modchipping was already illegal, apparently) only if you do it the penalties will be much higher than they used to be for similar acts.

    What if you already chipped your unit? Presumably that's okay.

    And then, does copying a game you own to your hard disk count as access control circumvention? You are allowing it to run without the disk in the drive, which is a method of controlling access.

    It's all very confusing. Why anyone would bother to put in laws like this is beyond me.

  • by femto (459605) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:12PM (#8877783) Homepage

    An Australian senate committee has been set up to inquire into the effects of the Free Trade Agreement. Submissions are open until April 30th. This is an opportunity to voice opposition to copyright extensions, and extensions to patents and 'DMCA issues' and be heard.

    Submissions may be emailed to: FTA@aph.gov.au [mailto]

    More details are on the web page: http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/freetrade_c tte/ [aph.gov.au]

    These submissions do make a difference (I submitted to a previous inquiry on broadband access). This is an opportunity for us to put a point view forward. It is hard for an inquiry to draw a conclusion contrary to the majority of submissions (or for the government to ignore the results of such an inquiry).

    In addition, results are usually published, forming a permanent record of opposition.

    Also, check out the 'copyrightaustralia' yahoo group [yahoo.com] and an associated web page [daltons.info]. Regards

  • by PsiPsiStar (95676) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:41AM (#8878216)
    To whomever submitted this;

    Thanks for the call to action! Too often we're given news here without clear instructions on how we can act politically to help solve the problem. I'm sure the extra link will help boost reader response. If polititians are 'slashdotted', it really could earn this form a small bit of political power. Especially considering how rarely the public voices their concerns on most technical issues. It's this feeling of liscense on the part of legislators which leads them to do whatever lobbyists tell them to.
  • Quote from their page: The Committee encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic form. E-mailed submissions must include the author's full name, phone number and postal address.

    You make them to FTA@APH.gov.au [mailto]

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