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USCO Reviewing DMCA Anti-Circumvention Clause 191

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the open-to-change dept.
ahknight writes "The United States Copyright office begins its required review of the effects of the anti-circumvention portions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act on November 2nd. This review period lasts until December 1, 2005. They will be accepting your well-thought-out opinions on the web and by mail. If you're reasonably ticked that you can't legally get around encrypted files to get at the media you've bought, start writing a coherent stance for the USCO today."
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USCO Reviewing DMCA Anti-Circumvention Clause

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  • Coherent? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gorbachev (512743) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:54AM (#13895623) Homepage
    "...start writing a coherent stance for the USCO today."

    DMCA is teh suxx0rszss!!!11!one!11
    • Re:Coherent? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, 2005 @11:38AM (#13897468)
      You're joking, but there is a serious point here. When the British government held its "consultation" on ID cards they received far more responses by email than by post. Most of the letters they received were in favour of ID cards. Most of the emails were "form letters" against.

      So the government counted all the emails as one response, and concluded that the public were in favour of ID cards.

      They did eventually backtrack on this (but are introducing ID cards anyway). However, my point is that the USCO may ignore emailed responses if they receive a large number that are generic or spam. Don't take the piss.

  • by aaronmcdaid (771190) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:54AM (#13895624) Journal
    > start writing a coherent stance

    .. or just rip off a fellow slashdotter's comment.
  • by J0nne (924579) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:56AM (#13895628)
    I doubt their comment form has a moderation system, so any insightful comments will drown between all the goatse and tubgirl images and ascii pr0n that will undoubtedly be sent ;)...
  • by squoozer (730327) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:56AM (#13895630)

    ...not likely. There is no way on Earth they will give up this power to control the market. In fact, there is no way anyone will ever give up any power unless a) it is taken from them (usually by force) or b) they can replace it with another power that is equal or stronger. The best that we can hope for is that the law will for the most part go uninforced because it is basically unworkable or unjust.

    • by klaun (236494) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:44AM (#13895803)
      ...not likely. There is no way on Earth they will give up this power to control the market. In fact, there is no way anyone will ever give up any power unless a) it is taken from them (usually by force) or b) they can replace it with another power that is equal or stronger. The best that we can hope for is that the law will for the most part go uninforced because it is basically unworkable or unjust.

      As evidenced by by Indian independence movement from British Colonial rule.

      • by a1ok (250188)
        I'm not really sure that the non-violence movement was the major reason for the British to withdraw from India. Ever think that a whole lot of Commonwealth countries got their independence just after World War II, when British military might was very weak and they had enough problems at home to deal with? In fact, India became independent *later* than most of the other countries in Asia and Africa.

        I'm an Indian, and had to read all about Gandhi's non-violence movement in History class at school. I consider
        • by mengel (13619) <mengel@users. s o u r c eforge.net> on Friday October 28, 2005 @11:17AM (#13897257) Homepage Journal
          As most people do, you completely misunderstand how Ghandi accomplished what he did. He got the British to leave economically. The people who got beaten and shot were the result of the British trying to enforce laws that they were passively resisting (i.e. making their own sea salt == not paying British salt taxes). Ghandi got people to stop doing the things that made the British money (paying assorted taxes, buying cloth made in British factories, etc.) to the point where it just wasn't worth it for the British to maintain their presence. And sure, some people got beaten and killed, but it was a lot fewer than would have died in a violent uprising, and a lot more effective, because it removed the politcal and economic pressure that kept the British in India.

          People who think marches and protests are how nonviolence worked in India are just confused. They were simply the method to publicize the actions that made it work, and to demonstrate that the laws in question were essentially unenforcable, when violated in large groups.

          People suffering from that same confusion are having war protests and anti-globalization protests here in the U.S. that are completely ineffective, because all they do is march up and down and say "we don't like this".

    • by sjwaste (780063) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:45AM (#13895808)
      With all due respect to the OP, this post should not have been modded insightful.

      The best that you can hope for isn't that the law will go uninforced, but that it will be enforced upon someone with the willingness to litigate it. Courts decide whether a law violates your rights, and that's what you need in this case, a suit argued well by a competent attorney in the field. It needs to go to a jury and won there. You might argue that a judge or jury doesn't understand the injustice in the law, but that's why you need a good attorney to craft the argument.

      As much as you people hate trial lawyers around here (I can't say I like the ambulance chasing types either).
      • by sunya (101612)
        Yeah, that worked real well against the Sonny Bono Coyright extension [slashdot.org].

        • Well, shit. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grendel Drago (41496)
          Now I kinda want to cry.

          There are a lot of places where the Supreme Court has a murky-at-best mandate to be poking around at. But "for a limited time" sounds pretty unambiguous, as does "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Copyright as currently structured does neither---and extending the copyrights on already created works certainly does neither. I coulda gone for a bit of judicial activism there.
    • by keraneuology (760918) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:54AM (#13896176) Journal
      Which is why jury nullification [wikipedia.org] is such an important aspect of the modern legal system. Since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - ie: congress will always take it upon themselves to pass idiotic and patently unjust laws (see previous comments about US Sen McCain, R-AZ declaring that money is more important than the Constitution) and judges will always side with modern interpretations of law over the US Constitution and common sense - the ability for the jury to declare a law unenforcible is paramount to a fair and equitable society.

      A good reference is the American Jury Institute and Fully Informed Jury Association (AJI/FIJA) [fija.org]

      Some states get it right:

      In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact (Maryland)

      In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts. (Indiana)

      In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law (Oregon)

      the jury shall be judges of the law and the facts (Georgia)

      Chances of the federal government willingly accepting the concept that the lowly pee-ons of the citizenry are smart enough to spot a bad law when they see it? None to rolling of the floor laughing. And even in states where the juries have the right to judge the law the juries are often kept in the dark regarding the true nature of their position.

      Other related takes can be found here [backwoodshome.com] and here [erowid.org].

      • And even in states where the juries have the right to judge the law the juries are often kept in the dark regarding the true nature of their position.
        Wouldn't that problem be solved by mandating the presence of at least one person with a law degree (or a law student) in the jury? Or would that shift the problem elsewhere?
      • the ability for the jury to declare a law unenforcible is paramount to a fair and equitable society.

        Which makes jury nullification just as worrisome. One of the keys of the judicial branch is it protects the rights of the minority from the will of the majority (eg civil rights in the south during the early 20th century). Through jury nulification you have a small unaccountable group that can suspend the law at their whim through simple majority. Judges meanwhile are still accountable as public servants
    • Isn't it the media companies that are using this power to control the market, though? I'd like to be positive enough to think that you can't just equate the government and big business these days.

      It's a nice thought, anyway.

  • hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by akhomerun (893103) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:56AM (#13895631)
    hopefully we can get something out of this if enough people leave some good comments.

    bottom line is, if i buy a DVD, i should be able to make backup copies for myself. if the media companies are going to sell a license for their media, the disc shouldn't matter, i should be entitled to that license regardless. on DVD movies, the license is for home exibition in one household, and i am following that license agreement whether i have one or 50 copies, as long as i use only one copy at a time in one household.
    • I don't understand the whole "backup copies" argument anymore. It made more sense in the days of floppies where you could look at one the wrong way and it would end up corrupted. I just can't see a rational person having two of every movie in their collection "just in case".

      I agree with the benefits of a license working for both sides, but making backups is a pretty weak argument.

      • Backups (Score:2, Informative)

        by GWTPict (749514)
        Got kids? My niece trashed several DVDs before she was old enough to understand why she couldn't watch The Lion King again.
      • Re:hopefully (Score:2, Informative)

        by dhanes (735504)
        You, sir, obviously don't have children. I've bought the friggin' Lion King DVD at least 3 times (before I built a MythTv). At 3 years of age, children don't understand that the shiny round thingy that has their 'Simby' on it isn't unbreakable or can't be scratched.
      • Re:hopefully (Score:3, Informative)

        by toddestan (632714)
        Kids or other people being careless with your DVDs. Scratching and scuffing from normal use. Fungus and molds that are known to attack DVDs and CDs in some areas. Protection agianst the DVDs being lost or stolen. Cheap DVD players eating DVDs. There are plenty of reasons to make backup copies of DVDs.
    • Re:hopefully (Score:2, Informative)

      by SecretSauce (247950) *
      What I think they are incapable of understanding about 'copies for use of a single household' is the fact that we are not just watching these movies on our Brand Name DVD player (where brand name has paid licensing to just use the damn DVD copyrighted logo etc and as such giving money to these people hell bent on taking all our rights) but have moved on to say hey, I'm travelling this week, I'll rip it to watch on my PSP while the wife and kids can still enjoy it on said Brand Name DVD player.

      Me, My kids an
    • by gr8_phk (621180) on Friday October 28, 2005 @09:03AM (#13896225)
      CSS is not copy protection - you can copy the encrypted data without any problem. CSS is access control. It prevents you from making sense of the data. It's used to control the player market. Sheesh, if you do something they don't like they'll stop putting your key on future DVDs so your existing players won't work. Once the player makers are all playing along, we get region coding - again, that's not copy protection. No form of encryption is really copy protection.

      I though the anti-circumvention clause was intended to stop people from getting free cable TV. Instead it prevents people from accessing stuff they actually paid for.

      • Say what?

        Of course CSS is copy protection. DVD readers have two paths (mandated). The media keys are NOT accessible through the unencrypted data path.

        What this means is that if you copy DVD data (not via the CSS play mechanism), you DON'T get the media keys. The result is designed to be useless!

        Of course it is possible to brute force the media key, which is implemented, allowing play from a data DVD copy.

        But, the play mechanism that supports this is not "legal" -- it is a US DMCA violation.

        If the backup you
    • by rworne (538610) on Friday October 28, 2005 @09:15AM (#13896309) Homepage
      Disney had better word their ads and store displays more carefully in the future.

      Visiting a local video store there was a large poster and floor display advertising the new release of Disney's "Cinderella." The ad said: "Own it today". The key word in the ad was "own", not "license." This display (large cardboard thing that looked like a castle) came from Disney itself and was full of DVDs.

      I bought one for the kid to watch and now I am the proud owner of a copy. Yeah, the disc says something about "licensed for in-home entertainment only" when played, but that was in the shrink-wrap and conflicts with the contract I agreed to when buying it. So Disney will just have to suck it up.

      Perhaps one should collect these ads to present to a court if there are any DMCA issues. If I have an ad from a copyright holder (like Disney) that literally says I own the property I purchased (disc, case inserts and data on it) instead of licensing it then I am the owner of the copyrighted work that is affixed to the disc and can do with it as I (or anyone else who buys a disc) pleases. Perhaps this is Disney's way of releasing their classic films into the public domain?
      • I suspect the fine print would say that you "Own" the DVD, and "License" the content on the disc...

        Just my $0.025 (inflation ya know!)


        • Possibly, but there was no fine print on the display. I'm trying to find a picture of it on the 'net, but all I can find are the promos that came out before release - these displays came out with the DVDs and possibly a few posters as well.
      • by The Sigil (891850) on Friday October 28, 2005 @11:38AM (#13897463)
        IANAL, TINLA.

        Why is it that slashbots are so uninformed about copyright law, and what it actually means and does? Either that, or you're being deliberately obtuse and playing on words.

        Copyright law itself differentiates between an idea (a truly nebulous concept that literally exists only as a construct of the mind), a copyrighted work (defined as the semi-nebulous set and ordering of words, notes, digital bytes, or what have you that are the particular expression of an idea), and a copy (defined as the physical object upon which the set and ordering of words, notes, etc. are actually set down/recorded upon). Once you understand these three things, you'll better understand copyright law.

        When you download a Linux distro off the web, to copyright law, the "copy" you downloaded is literally that little physical slice of your hard drive upon which the bytes are stored.

        Copyright law is... drum roll... basically about the right to make copies - those physical copies. Because the nature of some works (like movies and recorded music, not so much books or written music) is that they are only "understandable" when actually performed (usually with the aid of a mechanical device), it is also about the right to control *public* performance of said work.

        The problem is we use "copy" as a noun and a verb in the English language, and rarely differentiate between "first generation copy, the creation of which was authorized by the copyright holder" and "second generation copies, the creation of which was NOT authorized by the copyright holder."

        Simply put, copyright law states that the copyright holder has the (mostly) exclusive right to authorize the creation of new copies. This right is separate and distinct from the physical copy itself. When he sells, trades, throws away, or otherwise disposes of a particular copy (the physical object, remember), he relinquishes control over how that particular copy is used - EXCEPT that he does not relinquish the right to forbid people from using that particular copy to make "Second generation copies" and/or publicly performing it. This is where the Doctrine of First Sale comes from - when Disney sells you a copy of Cinderella, they relinquish the right to forbid you from using the disc as frisbee, coaster, or (big) earring, for instance.

        So yes, you own the DVD. Disney sold you a copy. But they did NOT sell you the copyright. These are two separate and distinct things. "Fair Use" might (IANAL, TINLA) allow you to rip/mix/burn copies for your own personal use. You could also argue that because copyright law defines a "computer program" as a set of instructions to be interpreted by a computer to achieve a desired effect, and your computer can interpret a DVD as a set of instructions to create the desired effect of playing a movie, you are authorized to back it up by the software backup clause of copyright (which provides you the right to make archive/backup copies of software - with no limiton the number of copies, I might add - provided that you dispose of all such archival copies when you dispose of the first-generation copy they came from).

        Where Disney *IS* off its nut is in saying that the disc is "licensed for home use only." COPYRIGHT HOLDERS DO NOT HOLD THE RIGHTS TO LICENSE SOMETHING FOR "HOME USE!" They *only* hold the rights to license something for public display... in other words, they can say, "this is not licensed for public display" because they hold those rights... but telling you it's "licensed for home use" is misleading - when you purchase a lawful copy of something, you automatically have the right to use it in your home (that is not a "public performance") regardless of whether the copyright holder wants you to or not.

        In other words, they're telling you that they're giving you a license/right to (a) something you ALREADY had the right to do and (b) something they do not have the legal right to restrict you from doing anyway. It may sound stupid, but it's a semantics game, and a nasty one at that, bec
        • I am fully aware of the points you bring up. I also (in my original post) made it apparent I knew about the licensing vs. owning issue.

          My point was this was the first time I saw an offer from a copyright owner (and a good example of one too!) stating that I own the product I am purchasing when they usually make it clear that I don't actually own the content, I'm just licensing it.

          If it were an ad from Best Buy or Circuit City stating "Own any of these DVDs for $19.99", I could not say what I did because th
        • [Longish rant about copy vs copyright]

          Your information is ten years out of date. Since DVDs are protected by CSS, and CSS is protected by the DMCA, your rights are those that don't violate copyright or CSS. Since the copy-protection can be as restrictive as it wants, the copyright holder effectively sets all your rights. First sale? Not if the DRM doesn't let you transfer it. Fair use? Everything that involves making a copy in whole or part is gone thanks to the DMCA. What's left are a few bits and pieces l
    • by Sarcasmooo! (267601) on Friday October 28, 2005 @09:34AM (#13896423)
      I hope it's not too late in the thread to have this article seen, and I apologize for piggy-backing on the parents comment (hopefully it's close enough to being an on-topic response anyway), but I wanted to point out to people that one person really can change minds inside the government [eff.org] with a well written arguement (you'll have to read a bit to see him mentioned). I wouldn't pretend to know what might get you your 'foot in the door' in regards to changing the mind of a person subjected to lobbying and writing campaigns on a regular basis, but my suggestions are simple.

      • Start by not sounding partisan, you weren't always an 'activist', explain why a rational and average American like you would come to your conclusion.
      • On that same page, leave whatever philosophy you might have on the approach of a plutocratic revolution where corporate rule enslaves mankind for another letter -- even if you do think it's the root of the problem.
      • And again relating to the above, don't speak in a letter as if the recipient is the greedy benefactor of corporate dinners and exotic vacations. Even if they were, making them your villan will put them on the defensive, and no matter what perversions of rational thought are required they will find a way to justify ignoring your statements.
      • Don't subscribe to write-in campaigns. Form letters are already ignored, and to combat such an easily abused practice you can bet many letters will be ignored just for resembling eachother or arriving from activism websites themselves.
    • Forget about going so far as backup copies. I just want to be able to control the original DVD I purchased in the DVD player I purchased (I'm talking about "prohibited user operations" here folks). If that isn't frickin' fair use, I don't know what is.
  • give it a few days (Score:5, Informative)

    by v1 (525388) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:57AM (#13895634) Homepage Journal
    It's not open for comments just yet. They're accepting your feedback starting November 2. Warm up your keyboard and give 'em a piece of your mind!
  • by Zro Point Two (699505) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:58AM (#13895635)
    "They will be accepting your well-thought-out opinions on the web and by mail."

    But that doesn't necessarily mean that they will read them or even consider them...just that they will accept your opinionated letter/email.

  • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Friday October 28, 2005 @06:58AM (#13895639) Homepage Journal
    Come on -- do you really think they are going to seriously listen to what the majority of ordinary people want? Everyone knows the government in this country is controlled by rich special interest and corporations. Public feedback requests like this are only conducted to try to make the masses feel like they're being listened to even though they really aren't.
    • by George Tirebuyer (825426) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:12AM (#13895679) Journal
      They'll listen... especially if large numbers of ordinary people show up with torches and pitch forks.
      • This is the United States of America we are talking about. The reason for the whole Second Amendment wasn't placed in there for hunting reasons. It was placed in there so that we could rise up and would not have to result to using torches and pitchforks like others in the past had to when they revolted against the government. The other reasons for it is defense against invading armies or militias.

        Oh and zombie invasions.
    • No. But we can submit our voices, then watch as they are disregarded, then have something to bitch about for another 5 years or so.
    • They do listen to what the majority of ordinary people want. They don't listen to what a minority of informed people want.

      Slashdot is not the majority.

      Slashdot users are not ordinary.

      Determining whether they are informend or not is an excercise for the reader.
    • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 @ g m ail.com> on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:44AM (#13895799) Homepage
      I imagine that that same cynicism prevents you from voting too.

      Did you ever consider that such cynicism breeds apathy, and perpetuates the very problems you lament?

      Get off your ass and take a little responsibility.
    • Politicians are happy to listen to companies and special intrest groups when what they want doesn't bother ordinary people all that much. However when it looks like it's going to cost them the election, they stop listening and start worrying about what it'll take to appease voters.

      However bitching on Slashdot and then refusing to participate because "my opinion doesn't matter" makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. By refusing to do anything, you make your opinion not matter. When you fight, you make it matte
  • How about... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mustafap (452510) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:05AM (#13895658) Homepage
    Maybe we should do an 'Ask Slashdot'. CmdrTaco can then submit the best 500,000 :o)
  • by duerra (684053) * on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:05AM (#13895659) Homepage
    While writing to the Copyright Office and expressing concern over whatever anti-circumvention technologies you would like access to is still a good idea, it's addressing symptoms, and not the problem.

    Let's not be like the medical industry here. There is a proposal for cure out there. It's called HR 1201, "Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2005" [loc.gov]. Write your local congressperson and get this legislation passed!
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:25AM (#13895728) Journal
      What's funny is that the bulk of the law looks like a mattress labeling law ("it shall be unlawful to remove or mutilate, or cause or participate in the removal or mutilation of, any label required by this section"). What really matters is the Section 5 Fair Use amendments. In just a few lines, Rep Boucher has probably sent most of the content industry apoplectic.

      Unfortunately, there is one line missing from the law: "It shall be prohibited for an entity hold the patent on both a content control method and the associated mechanism for circumvention. It shall furthermore be prohibited for any entity with a business interest in or association with a business interest in content generation or content protection to hold a patent for a protection circumvention method or mechanism."

      No doubt the policy wonks in DC can craft a less drafty version, but it's going to be necessary, I believe. Macrovision generally patents both protection methods and every possible workaround they can think of before they put a "product" on the market. It would be nice to try and stop that kind of restraint.
      • What really matters is the Section 5 Fair Use amendments. In just a few lines, Rep Boucher has probably sent most of the content industry apoplectic.

        Yup, this is perfect:

        `and it is not a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in order to obtain access to the work for purposes of making noninfringing use of the work'

      • This is exactly the problem with Macrovision. The law *specifically requires* devices to refuse to record Macrovision-protected content. In order to make a device do that, you must pay Macrovision patent royalties.

        The Government has no right to say "you must license patent X", when X doesn't cover what you want to make.

        This would be equivalent to building the only road between two cities through private property then expecting you to pay tolls to the property owner.

        Melissa
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:09AM (#13895672) Homepage

    I'm sure "members of the public" will surreptitiously submit support for the RIAA on this topic.

    Anyway, from the page: "...which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention."

    Well, there's the argument that DMCA locks you to a specific vendor (Microsoft or Apple, basically) and therefore is a monopoly-style problem for consumers, but the Gov'mt is likely to think this is akin to complaining that you can't listen your LP's on your CD player. Yeah, the format is locked to a vendor or kind of equipment, but there are ways of transferring it if you really want to. (Yes, there are. Stop complaining.)

    Then there's the argument that consumers ought to be able to back up the media they buy in case something happens to the original. This is true. Of course, you could say the same thing about books, but nobody actually photocopies a whole book (and it wouldn't be the same thing, anyway). But maybe you should be able to. If I've paid once for rights to use media, are my terms of agreement limited to the physical state of the data? Or to do they apply to continued use?

    And there is also the general idea that prohibition rarely works. Digital locks only keep digital crackers in business. If all media was unprotected, it wouldn't be so thrilling to get something illegal.

    Finally, if the media industries took all the time and money that they've spent on DMCA and put it into producing better works, we'd have much better music and movies... or maybe CDs that cost less than $10.

    • Not legally (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, there's the argument that DMCA locks you to a specific vendor (Microsoft or Apple, basically) and therefore is a monopoly-style problem for consumers, but the Gov'mt is likely to think this is akin to complaining that you can't listen your LP's on your CD player. Yeah, the format is locked to a vendor or kind of equipment, but there are ways of transferring it if you really want to. (Yes, there are. Stop complaining.)

      Not legally there's not. That's covered by the DMCA under circumvention. If you

  • by OpenGLFan (56206) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:15AM (#13895693) Homepage
    While I enjoy the illusion of public participation in government as much as the next guy, if you're going to submit a comment to this thing, PLEASE make it a consise, well-written comment. Run it by a few friends or post it as a reply here; we're all about the open-source, many eyes make all bugs shallow philosophy, right? Our legislature is typically motivated more by gift certificates to Dennys than the letters of its constituents, but if we are going to be heard, I'd rather our message not be represented by "n00b, j00 sux0r."
  • by jasen666 (88727) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:25AM (#13895731)
    If you're reasonably ticked that you can't legally get around encrypted files to get at the media you've bought,

    Bah, who cares about that? DMCA hasn't stopped me from getting to my media.
    The real problem is when printer companies start using the DMCA to try and prevent other companies from making accessories (ink cartridges) for their printers. When console companies use the DMCA to say that installing a modchip onto a piece of hardware you own is illegal.
    So whoop-ti-do about DRM, there will always be a way around that. Generally sourced from a country not under jurisdiction of this draconian law. My concern is with all the companies that would love to spin the law for their own purposes, when it was not designed for that.
    • > legally get around encrypted
      does the DMCA have any effect on wether the parents actions are legal?
      supposed to prevent you from disclosing/selling the know-how. But I didn't think their was any non-copyright rules that keeps us from ripping DVD's in linux, or recording the output from a licensed player, etc, etc.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:30AM (#13895746) Journal
    These are things that a lot of people actually do, rather than what a small minority of people with way too much time do:

    • Make a mix CD from music on copy protected CDs.
    • Copy music downloaded from iTunes to a playerthat's not an iPod.
    • Copy music downloaded from other music services to a an iPod.
    • Timeshift something recorded on Tivo More than a week after it was recorded [polyphony.org].

    Now, I'd quite like to be able to legally back up a DVD and various other things as well, but really quite a small number of people really care. People do, however, copy music and record TV shows, and it is perfectly legal to do this (according to the Audio Home Recording Act and the SCOTUS Betamax decision), except the DMCA makes it illegal.
    • by Subrafta (848399) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:04AM (#13895886)
      Anyone with small children cares about making backup copies of DVDs. You'll care too the first time your three year old is still crying at 1 am because Dora or Peep is to scratched to play. Fragile media targeted at 3-5 year olds needes to be backed up.
      • Anyone with small children cares about making backup copies of DVDs.

        Ditto. I just sent Blizzard a nasty gram after learning I can't image Diablo2 for my 12 year old. They emailed me back stating that I could make one backup copy but no CD software will read the CD properly. I mean WTF? I emailed them back saying that I owned the box, license, and documents and that I would be dowloading a cracked ISO off the internet. I also informed them I would not be purchasing anymore games from them. We don't let
  • by lbmouse (473316) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:37AM (#13895770) Homepage
    "start writing a coherent stance for the USCO today."
     
    .My wife works with the USPTO on a daily bases and she suggests that in addition to writing coherently, you should also write for the lowest common denominator in their audience. In her opinion you should aim for no more than an 8th grade level.
  • So you visit the page, where you can "leave comments through this webpage". There's no obvious way to do that. Then you click another link, and it takes you to something that looks like either an Internet RFC, or the text of a congressional bill. Somewhere on this page, there is a link to an official form that you have to use... but after you read the ominous "if you mail it , we might not get it" page, and click the link, it takes you back to the first page.
    How many otherwise cogent arguments will be lo
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday October 28, 2005 @07:41AM (#13895790)
    ... and no, 'I can't watch DVDs on Linux' isn't one of them. These people probably neither know nor care what Linux is, nor are they particularly bothered that we can't watch our imported-from-Japan DVDs of Naruto, so don't bother.

    1: it kills 'fair use'. Traditionally, we've been allowed by copyright law to use small amounts of a given work for quotation, for review, for parody... However, the DMCA kills that off. Even if I'm allowed to use that small segment of the copyrighted work for my own purposes, I can't do so if it's technologically protected, even in the feeblest manner: the DMCA forbids that.

    2: it encourages monopolies. Other than by means of Hymn, or burning to CD and then re-ripping, I can't play music downloaded from Apple on anything other than an iPod. Or, conversely, if I own an iPod I can't play music downloaded from anyone other than Apple on it. This has a chilling effect on the free market.

    3: it threatens free speech itself. Even scholarly, academic discussion of cryptography has been curtailed by the DMCA, in cases where it touched on techniques that have been used to protect copyrighted works. Is it really more important to protect Hollywood's latest blockbuster than to have a free research base driving technology forward?

    • by g2devi (898503) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:14AM (#13895927)
      You forgot two big ones:

      * Information rot. If copyright is tied to a specific physical device and no circumvention is allowed, that information will disappear disappear when the physical device dies. Information needs to be copied by third parties in order to be preserved for the future.

      * Eternal copyright. Related to the first point, if no circumvention is allowed, things are locked up forever

      • Information rot. If copyright is tied to a specific physical device and no circumvention is allowed, that information will disappear disappear when the physical device dies. Information needs to be copied by third parties in order to be preserved for the future.

        Be aware that there are already narrow exemptions for computer software tied to specific hardware, among other things. The problem you describe is broader than that, but any mention of it without acknowledging the current rules probably will be pas

    • Linux should be an example, but it's only one example among many.

      When compact discs were designed in the 80's, there was no way they could forsee that people would be carrying around all of their CDs in a player that fits in their shirt pocket, would be able to use them in ringtones, make backups, have cheap kareoke machines, organize them in a library in iTunes, etc.

      This is in stark contrast to DVD's, where they're not going anywhere in 20 years. Any device made to expand their uses in ways not forsee

    • Just a minor correction to item (2) where you say:-

      Or, conversely, if I own an iPod I can't play music downloaded from anyone other than Apple on it.

      My iPod shuffle plays MP3s fine.

      Though I guess that you're talking about other online vendors' DRM'd music files and no unencrypted MP3s.
    • In your reading of the DMCA (you did read it, right? You didn't just blindly repeat the rhetoric?) you missed this tidbit in the section on Circumvention of Copy Protection Systems:

      `(c) OTHER RIGHTS, ETC., NOT AFFECTED- (1) Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title.

      http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c105:1:./tem p/~c105TQi7RV:e11962: [loc.gov]
      • But the issue is, you must circumvent before you can exercise fair use, and before you can circumvent, you need technologies or tools to do so. Since the creation, utilization, and distribution of these are illegal under the DMCA, you never have the oppertunity to exercise fair use. That clause is a red herring, as it distracts you from the truth, you could never actually exercise that clause. One most people arn't falling for (which is why these discussions happen).
        • I do not believe that the creation of such tools is illegal. Only the distribution thereof. Fair Use is not affected because you can create the tools yourself.
          • `(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--

            `(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;


            You believe wrong.
            • Don't know how I missed that, but it would seem that if "Nothing in this section shall affect ... fair use", and the only way to exercise fair use is to create a tool which removes the copy protection, then that part of the clause must be illegal and would be found as such in court.
              • The same tool for piracy is for fair use. The problem here is labeling technology as the "bad" thing. The tool isn't a "fair use tool", it's just a tool that may be used as such. So what is there to prove in court? "I swear I was going to only use it for fair use!" Who wouldn't say that?
                • Well that's why it's up to the court to decide based upon the evidence, isn't it? Perhaps if the person created the tool couldn't show a single instance where s/he used it to exercise fair use, he should be found guilty (remember through all this that copyright infringement is illegal except in certain cases, almost all of which fall under fair use).
    • 4: Mix DVDs. I have the entire Monty Python's Flying Circus on DVD - all 14 disks. Trouble is, I never watch the damned things because I usually think to myself "I'd like to see the parrot sketch" - and then I have to figure out which disk it's on, which episode it's in, then where in that episode it is (thanks for the abysmal TOC, guys). Why am I not allowed to make a 'best of' disk for myself? I could do it if I had the VHS version, but for some reason attempting that with the DVD version is a criminal of
  • This was bound to happen. The DMCA is some crazy piece of sh*t sprung from the mind of people unable to think the thing all the way through.
    There are US american judges who even say that the DMCA is unconstitutional and thus doesn't apply where anti fair-use lobbys would like to have it.

    This goes to show that even the US can only bear so much insanity in laws before people wake up and backpedal. We'll probably see a fair amount of trim-down on the DMCA until it's actually usable. Those are the big upsides o
    • Re:Bound to happen (Score:4, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:19AM (#13895957)
      The DMCA is some crazy piece of sh*t sprung from the mind of people unable to think the thing all the way through.

      No, it sprang from the minds of people who could and did think it all the way through. These were evil people. People at the *AAs. People who hate the public domain, except insofar as it provides stories for Disney to remake and earn a fortune from, and despise fair use.

      It was then passed into law by people unable or unwilling to think the thing all the way through. These were lazy or greedy people. Your elected representatives. People who care little for the public domain, and are really more interested in campaign contributions, and don't like fair use because of that bit about parody, because parody is usually aimed against politicians...

  • Please Dupe This (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 3vi1 (544505) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:10AM (#13895912) Homepage Journal
    This is the first time I'd actually like to see an article duped.

    I'm glad this was posted now, because it gives us time to discuss this and compose a rational argument. But, since the site isn't taking comments until Nov 2nd, a lot of people will forget.

    Bookmark it and put it on your calendar now! Finally, a reason to use the KOrganizer alarm daemon!
  • This review happens by law under the DMCA every few years, this is NOT a hearing to determine if the DMCA should be repealed... another poster already pointed this out, but even if some use is made "exempt" from the dmca in these proceedings the law STILL prohibits production of the tools which would enable you to cirumvent the copy protection for said use. The issue of the DMCRA had already been settled years ago, when in a fair hearing the fair use crowd blew the **AA's out of the water and gained full
  • Last go around (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kr3m3Puff (413047) * <meNO@SPAMkitsonkelly.com> on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:21AM (#13895969) Homepage Journal
    My comment [copyright.gov] [PDF] from a few years ago (via the EFF [eff.org]) still appears in the top 10 pages for my name when you search on Google.

    This go around, I don't know if I am any more confident. Mine does fall under one of the valid reasons for legal circumvention of not being able to watch legit videos purchased in other regions. Even though the case was marked "Region 0" it appeaars it was encoded as "Region 2" and I live in "Region 1". The problem is the blanket exceptions. I would be fine if there was a "affermative defenses" clauses in the law that allowed you to get around it for things like making backup copies, transferring media, etc. The only one allowed is artistic or scientific pursuits because those laws appear to supercede the others.
  • Hm. (Score:2, Funny)

    by ryuuzin (215760)
    If you're reasonably ticked that you can't legally get around encrypted files to get at the media you've bought, start writing a coherent stance for the USCO today.

    Coincidentally, NaNoWriMo is all of November...
  • Not being able to legally watch DVDs you bought because your OS isn't supported and you're not allowed to do it on your own (essentially) sucks, yes, but I actually think that there are more serious abuses of the DMCA.

    Examples? Dmitri Sklyarov (who, if you don't recall, was arrested when he gave a talk at a conference in the USA because the company he worked for had created a product that allegedly violated the DMCA - nevermind that the company was based in Russia and thus not subject to US-American law) co
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:29AM (#13896033)
    now that the iPod with video is out I think the ridiculous nature of the DMCA has become more apparent to some people.

    if you live in USA and you copy your legally owned DVD to your iPod then you are a criminal facing the possibilty of a massive bitchslap. most people not living in "the land of the free" are fine.

    imagine if it had been the case with CDs, this whole mess would have been sorted out earlier. but maybe now with portable video starting to take a few more steps it will be sorted out.

    there was a DMCA case where (if I remember correctly) an automatic-garage-door manufacturer sued another company for making generic remote controls that could activate their doors. the judge said something along the lines that even though some encryption was circumvented in producing the generic remote the DMCA wasn't supposed to prevent people access to their own property (garage). this is similar to the DVD->portable video case.
  • how about this? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by at_slashdot (674436) on Friday October 28, 2005 @08:39AM (#13896090)
    I bought a DVD player and I could not plug it directly to my VCR because of its "antipiracy" technology, however I just wanted to get the signal through the VCR because my TV set doesn't have the right connectors.

    Yes, there are solutions: buy a new TV, get a FR modulator (by the way, is that legal under DMCA?) Anyway the point is that it's my VCR and by TV and my DVD and I sould be able to connect them however I want, but if I try to circumvent the stupid "antipiracy" I break the law -- that's stupid.
    • I bought a DVD player and I could not plug it directly to my VCR because of its "antipiracy" technology . . .

      This happened to me when I got my sister a DVD player -- she has a TV/VCR. I was gonna get her some DVDs to go with it, but I had to spend that money instead on an RF modulator. MPAA's loss is Radio Shack's gain, I guess.

  • Voting Machines (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smchris (464899) on Friday October 28, 2005 @09:01AM (#13896213)
    If you're reasonably ticked that you can't legally get around encrypted files

    Haven't seen anyone mention yet that it would be nice if our officials could learn how our voting machines work. Not as important as ripping CDs, I guess.
  • The summary describes this as a review of the anti-circumvention clause. That is an overly broad statement about what the USCO is doing here. The USCO has absolutely no authority to discard the anti-circumvention clause, and they say as much in their summary. What they do have the authority to do is to periodically review whether certain "classes of works" should be exempted from the anti-circumvention restriction.

    "The purpose of this rulemaking proceeding is to determine whether there are particular clas

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday October 28, 2005 @10:31AM (#13896799)
    The right way to do this is to count the number of DVDs that have been damaged. The grassroots movement needs to fight money with money. While the **aa makes up numbers on how much "piracy" has cost them, we need to start counting up how much they have stolen from us by licensing us media, that we can not access because the media is damaged, and the **ia intentinally prevented us from securing via backup. We should also list the costs to industry for the media players and hard drives we did not buy because we could not copy our movies to video jukeboxes. We just need to show that the DMCA is more expensive than the increase of "piracy" without it.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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