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US Register of Copyrights Says DMCA Is 'Working Fine' 224

Posted by Zonk
from the i-feel-a-lot-better-now dept.
Linnen writes "CNET News.com writer Anne Broache reports that the head of the US Copyright Office considers the DCMA to be an important tool for copyright owners. '"I'm not ready to dump the anticircumvention," [Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters] said in response to a question from an audience member who suggested as much. "I think that's a really important part of our copyright owners' quiver of arrows to defend themselves." The law also requires that the Copyright Office meets periodically to decide whether it's necessary to specify narrow exemptions to the so-called anticircumvention rules. (Last year, the government decided it's lawful to unlock a cell phone's firmware for the purpose of switching carriers and to crack copy protection on audiovisual works to test for security flaws or vulnerabilities.)'"
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US Register of Copyrights Says DMCA Is 'Working Fine'

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  • Duh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If you don't like the product then don't buy it.

    Damn, there's a bunch of fucking complainers on this website.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by p0tat03 (985078)
      Allowing unfair products to exist in this way encourages producers to make more of the same - eventually created a market where you *must* buy the product, for all choices suffer from the same problem.
      • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:07PM (#20659889) Homepage

        eventually created a market where you *must* buy the product

        Well, "must" might be going a bit far. I mean, we could all just live without music or movies. Of course, we could also live without the internet, computers, electricity, running water, houses, and civilization in general. A person could technically survive living in the woods, gathering berries from the local plant life and things like that... I guess.

        On the other hand, I think you're right that people won't always be given the choice of a "better product". There are situations where it is simply not in the best interest of a company to produce a better product, particularly when a single entity (or several colluding entities) control a market.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Tsiangkun (746511)
          No, we can't live without music and movies.

          Those are cultural experiences.

          As a human, living in an organized society, I'm
          entitled to participate in my own culture.

          Like you say, I could live in the woods, gathering
          and the like. But I actually live in a society,
          so lets, only take that scenario into account.

          There is no right to own and sell culture.

        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:15PM (#20661623) Journal
          A person could technically survive living in the woods, gathering berries from the local plant life and things like that... I guess.

          Unfortunately even that option is not possible. In what woods would this neo-primative live? I sure hope it's property that he owns, and has a fund setup to pay property taxes in perpetuity. I hope he doesn't ever what to have children, because the state would take them away. I hope never encounters the police, as they may well assume that he is some kind of homeless squatter and haul him away, perhaps after tasering him for resisting arrest. I hope the local county doesn't pass any ordinances on minimum house size, or lawn maintainence. One of the most annoying problems that the modern America has is that they don't know how to leave people alone, even on their own property or concerning their own property.

          Living in or even beside society requires a steady stream of money, and that usually means a job, and that increasingly requires a mobile phone, and quasi-fashionable clothes, and transportation. Consumerism isn't entirely optional, and the more you have to deal with society, the less optional it is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The growing online independent market says your claims are false.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Do you have any idea how many products are never going to be made because of that stupid law or how much more money you are paying for the limited number of products that are being sold? Then again maybe you another industry plant? I have to wonder about that now since it has come out the Media Defender is using plants on these sites to try to quell disent. They are paid to watch for negative posts and react as quickly as possibly with post designed to bury and weaken their efects.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      Unfortunately, existence of the product will leave future artists open to copyright infringment suits in perpetuity as voodoo witch doctors hired by Hollywood resurrect Sonny Bono so he can extend the copyright term in perpetuity.

      Your ability or interest in "buying" the "product" is relatively irrelevant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ettlz (639203)

      Damn, there's a bunch of fucking complainers on this website.

      Yeah, and a lot more complaining because they aren't fucking. Big deal.




      Why are you here?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "If you don't like the product then don't buy it."

      The product was the DMCA, and yes, the buyers like it fine.

      P.S., semi-offtopic: does Slashdot seem increasingly overrun by astroturfers lately? Every story I've read today is full of posts supporting corporate entitlement and government excess, and I think (or desperately hope) they don't reflect the views of most people here. What can be done to minimize this abuse when it's just as easy for them to game the moderation system as it is for legitimate users
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      If you were serious, you truely dont understand the DMCA and what effects it has on legitimate business. It has little to do with 'piracy' ( though i hate to use that word ) but more about control of the smaller operations by the big players with the money.
  • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:30PM (#20659279)
    Thought the copyright office was to serve the people not an individual? Granted an author should get special treatment on something he has created, but at DMCA is about limiting fair use on "the people". So no, it's not effective imho.
    • Its a lie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:41PM (#20659489)
      Granted an author should get special treatment on something he has created

      These days, authors usually don't retain the copyrights on their works. Their publishers get them.

      I don't know if this is true of bookwriting, but it is true of music. Also, chemical/scientific patents of any form are usually held by a large corporation that provided funding, rather than the scientist/engineer who created it. The same goes for most non-open-source software. Also, the wealthy production companies wind up owning the copyrights on movies....not the actors, musicians, painters, stuntmen, scriptwriters etc.

      So....in general...the talent doesn't own the work, but rather the investor owns the work. Hence, it is the investor that gets special treatment (which seems to amount to control over the private property (hardware) of millions of consumers across the globe) So these laws do not protect the workers so much as the large businesses that pay them.

      It's just another case of the rule of the rich.

      • Re:Its a lie (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:07AM (#20664063) Journal

        It's just another case of the rule of the rich.
        Hmm. The point of copyright is to promote science and useful arts (or whatever) by making them profitable. The benefit doesn't just extend to the publishers or the artists, but to the entire community. The copyright holders get their money (assuming people like their work), and the people get their culture. Certain measures, like the DMCA, which strengthen the copyright holder's grip on their work aren't necessarily bad for the people. While they can curtail certain fair use rights, they can also help slow piracy, thus providing more incentives for more investment in culture. Also, buy stimulating the industry, there are economic benefits which also help the entire population. It's a case of weighing up the advantages and disadvantages to the entire population. Perhaps we weren't making enough use of our fair-use rights as an entire population to make them worth keeping?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AuMatar (183847)
      Why? Why should an author get special treatment? If I make a toaster, I have special treatment only over that toaster. If I sell it to someone else, I revoke all rights and privlidges to control what they do with their new toaster. There is no reason books, music, etc should be any different.
      • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:46PM (#20659563)
        I agree. My point was if you made the toaster, at least you and only you should have the right to make and sell those toasters. But once someone buys the toaster it is their property, if they want to take it apart, hit it with a hammer, or use it for spare parts then it's their option as a consumer.

        As long as I've been following these stories, it all comes down to people not really selling you anything anymore but a very restrictive right to rent something.

        • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:39PM (#20661177) Homepage Journal
          Yeah, it's worse than that.

          Take something that isn't covered by copyright law.. say, the recipe to a cake, or whatever.

          You give it to my friend after making him sign an NDA stating that he will return all copies to you after 30 days.

          My friend gives it to me and I make a copy.

          After 30 days, my friend gives the original back to you.

          I start selling my copy. What recourse do you have?

          If you can prove that my friend gave me the original to copy, you can sue my friend for any loss of revenue that you can prove you have suffered as a result of my competition.. but you can't stop me from selling copies.

          That's what copyright stops.. the ability of third parties to make copies. And the result is not in the public interest.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JoelKatz (46478)
        "Why? Why should an author get special treatment? If I make a toaster, I have special treatment only over that toaster. If I sell it to someone else, I revoke all rights and privlidges to control what they do with their new toaster. There is no reason books, music, etc should be any different."

        They're really not any different. If I wanted to, before I sold you a toaster, I could first make you sign a contract stipulating that you won't open to toaster, or won't replicate the toaster's design, or pretty much
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)
        If the author gets no special treatment, what happens to the offices that are overseeing that special treatment? What happens to the officials who work at those offices?

        They get canned, that's what happens. And they're going to act against that.

        This is a great little interview, because it makes no effort to disguise the fact that these laws exist to provide weapons to be used against us all. It disarms any claim that the organization might put forth to be working for the common good, and that's a powerfu
    • It gets worse. (Score:5, Informative)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:44PM (#20659527)
      From TFA:

      "It does bring attention to certain activities that maybe aren't so great," said the self-proclaimed "Luddite," who confessed she doesn't even have a computer at home. "In hindsight, maybe that's not such a bad thing."

      And this person is in charge of copyrights?

      You know, there's a HUGE difference between a book and a DVD.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Thought the copyright office was to serve the people not an individual"

      There is no "The People". Society is made up of individuals and for society to work like our founders intended. An agreement was made up amongst those individuals that had the skill, talent, and time to create. The beneficiaries were to be those that didn't have, time, talent, or skill. Make note that the individual has to prosper before "The People" can prosper. Serving "The People" without serving the individuals first is backwards a
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Demonstrates how appointed bureaucrats are out of touch with the people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Demonstrates how appointed bureaucrats are out of touch with the people.

      Out of touch with everything, more like it. The DMCA is not working just fine. It's made criminals out of people looking to do no more than use the content that they lawfully paid for with the device of their choosing that they also lawfully paid for.

      DMCA takedown notices are being used as a harrasment tactic for otherwise lawful and free-speech protected Web sites by folks such as the Church of Scientology.

      The DMCA has allowed printer manufacturers like Epson to lock out all competitors in the field of

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by compro01 (777531)
        well, using your example, the DMCA is "working fine" for the Church of Scientology, Epson, and the MAFIAA.
  • Ohh wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zelocka (1152505)
    This is surprising how? The government lives to increase its power wealth and reach. DMCA was great as far as the copyright office is concerned. If anything they want more of it and a couple new government agencies to enforce it The only way the DMCA is going away is the supreme court or congress (super unlikely).
    • by mpapet (761907)
      I would argue that it works fine because the DMCA serves the media conglomerates to the detriment of all consumers.

      Let's suspend the notion that there is an element of destruction in government for a few moments. It's a whole lot easier to have, at the bare minimum, a discussion about government and how it could possibly serve consumers.
    • by yoder (178161) *
      "The government lives to increase its power wealth and reach."

      No, certain people within government do this. Coincidentally, there are also certain people within large corporations and industries who do the same.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:37PM (#20659411) Homepage Journal
    Harrasment Act is ?

    either not, or he is paid well. by whom, you know.
  • by prxp (1023979) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:38PM (#20659415)
    The assertion is absolutely correct. DMCA is working fine.
    DMCA was designed to protect copyright, and it is protecting it.
    The question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not copyright (the way it is righ now) is protecting public interest.
    • The assertion is absolutely correct. DMCA is working fine. DMCA was designed to protect copyright, and it is protecting it.

      Oh, well that's good news. I thought there was still a ton of copyrighted material floating around the Internet. Silly me. Because that was part of my objection to the whole thing, that not only did it limit the ability of people use use copyrighted material, but also that it didn't really do much to prevent copyright infringement.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yes, a lot of people think that you must have your head up your ass to make a comment like that, which is absolutely untrue. Coming the from head of a department that is dedicated to copyright holders, the DMCA is a very good law. From the perspective of certain senile, song writing Utah senators, it should be obvious that the DMCA is a step in the wrong direction, a bandaid at best and a laughing stock to those from the other side.
    • Incorrect (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:10PM (#20659953)
      Incorrect in at least two respects:

      First, the DMCA was designed not to protect copyrights, but to extend them... far beyond what was allowed by law before.

      Second, it is not "working fine". I think most people agree that it has done a shitty job of "protecting" anything except Corporate interest in a defunct business model. Further, it has hurt the market, consumers, and industry in general. If you want to know how, see the "unintended consequences" report on the eff.org website.

      Copyrights were established to encourage the arts and sciences, in order to further the public interest in these fields. Those are the words that were used when the laws were first established. Copyrights were allowed for a limited time, so that people would have an incentive to create original works. After that, the public gets them. But the main interest has always been that of the public! The problem was that the public could not just take what others created, because then individuals would have no reason to do the creating. Copyrights were a compromise.

      Today, certain copyright laws exist in the interest of not the public, but of private interests who want to preserve those rights and profit from them forever. That is NOT in the interest of the public, and was NEVER the idea behind copyright or patent law. Until now.

      The DMCA and similar laws passed since were always bad ideas. I would say that they have outlived their usefulness, but I think it is obvious now that they were never really "useful" to society in the first place.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:26PM (#20660185)
      The DMCA does not protect copyrights, it simply expanded their scope to include things like copy restriction technologies. In fact, protecting copyrights with a law makes no sense anyway: copyrights are established by the law, and should be protected by the courts, as they were for decades before the DMCA was signed into law.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by prxp (1023979)
        You're absolutely right. I should've used "extend" instead of "protect".
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:33PM (#20660305)
      You're sort-of right.

      There is a clear admission here that DRM is allowing copyright holders to "protect" themselves from things they should not be allowed to claim as rights in the first place. Thus the exceptions in the anti-circumvention clauses. But aren't the exceptions themselves proof that something is broken? Should we have to "crack" a technological security measure to do something that the government has admitted we have the right to do?

      This is a paradox that presents it self frequently with government regulations and mandates. It is often desirable for one reason or another (note: I said desirable, not "right", or even "a good idea"). Unfortunately if you mandate something, generally you should do some regulation to balance out the market changes you've created. Similarly, if you add a regulation, you may have to add a mandate to balance out the market. An example could be something like buying insurance. It's desirable to mandate people purchase insurance. Once the mandate is in place, the prices skyrocket without a regulation to keep prices in check.

      The same is true for the DMCA, and copyright regulations. If you prevent people from bypassing technical limitations which protect copyright, you should have a corresponding mandate preventing copyright holders from using the technical limitation to claim other rights that they wouldn't normally have. In other words, people who implement DRM should be mandated to guarantee the public's rights just as it uses the technology to enforce theirs. It isn't enough to simply allow cracking in those cases. They should be forced to do things like have the protections expire when the copyright expires, and provide clear, documented methods for fair-use.
      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @02:13AM (#20664629) Homepage Journal
        ``If you prevent people from bypassing technical limitations which protect copyright, you should have a corresponding mandate preventing copyright holders from using the technical limitation to claim other rights that they wouldn't normally have.''

        I don't know the exact text of the DMCA, but the EUCD does the exact opposite. At least, the Dutch implementation of it explicitly states that bypassing the technical measures, _by itself_ is a criminal offense. It also states that members of the public have certain rights, _unless_ the technical measures are in the way of those. In that case, the technical measures take precedence, because it is a criminal offense to circumvent them.

        Now, I have always argued that there is no need whatsoever to make circumventing "technical measures to protect copyright" illegal. It is already illegal to infringe on copyright. So if you circumvent the measures and do things that you normally aren't allowed to do, you're breaking the law. If you circumvent the measures to do things you are normally allowed to do, that shouldn't be illegal. In fact, it should rather be illegal for the technical measures to get in the way of you doing what you are normally allowed to do.

        The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the EUCD (and, I guess, the DMCA) was never intended to protect copyright. What it does is grant companies a way to further extend their power at the expense of customers, that is, the public. Simply slap some DRM on your product and you can limit your users' rights and extend your own power indefinitely. And the great thing is, since circumventing the DRM is a _criminal_ offense, the government has to do the enforcing for you. Meaning that the public gets to foot the bill of enforcing a law that restricts the freedom of the very same public. A greater victory for corporate government there never was!
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:38PM (#20659423)
    I think that's a really important part of our copyright owners' quiver of arrows to defend themselves.

    Yes, and they have been using those arrows to shoot consumers and researchers full of holes. Look at how the DMCA has been used in practice since its inception: suing makers of compatible garage door openers, suing manufacturers of printer ink cartridge refills, suing university researchers, and basically causing substantial legal hassles for anyone that the copyright holder doesn't like (most of the cases are eventually thrown out). Meanwhile there are still 1-2 dollar DVDs available at flea markets, bazaars, and on street corners just about everywhere, downloads are still going full tilt, and legitimate customers are being harassed while the commercial pirates are not even inconvenienced. The bottom line is that we, as a society, have paid a high cost for this DMCA without achieving any noticeable progress towards the goals that it was designed to address. The DMCA clauses which make reverse engineering illegal under any circumstance which is not specifically granted an exemption for fair use need to be repealed. The burden should be upon the copyright holder to prove that the specific instance of reverse engineering is being used to infringe their copyright, not upon the reverse engineer to prove that whatever they are doing is not infringement.
    • by cliffski (65094) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:03PM (#20659829) Homepage
      A very passionate, and one sided view of the current situation. This is to be expected, because generally, you never hear the other side of the coin. The general 'internet view' is that copyright is evil, that the DMCA is only ever used by evil corporations owned by villains, and that the consumer is some mere innocent victim of evil corporate greed.

      But this is *not* the whole story.

      I'm a content creator. I make small downloadable PC games. Nothing big time or fancy, but it *just* pays the bills. Like anyone who produces content that can be representated digitally, I often encounter people pirating the stuff I make. When you work long hours for a year to make a game, and take your own cash and hire artists and other contractors to provide work for you, all 'on spec' hoping to one day make the investment back, finally produce some original content, and release it for sale (with a demo, a very liberal end user licence, and no intrusive DRM), and then you find some people deliberately copying the game and distributing it for free, you are NOT a happy man. Some of these people go out of their way to constantly reupload the pirated stuff, despite polite requests, and numerous attempts to get it removed. They actually go *out of their way* to try and wreck your business.
      Like everyone, I have to pay the bills. I'm not a big evil corporate entity. If my games sell well, I can afford a holiday, If they don't, I'm not going anywhere, and fingers crossed, I can still pay the rent. Quite a few small software devs are in a similar position.
      So how does the DMCA help?
      The DMCA means that if I find someone sharing illegal copies of stuff, there is a well-understood and documented procedure to get that stuff removed. I've issued a number of DMCA requests, and they have mostly been successful (Don't kid yourselves the piratebay give a rats ass about content providers). I'd wager the *vast* majority of people who complain about abuse of the DMCA have never actually seen what's involved in issuing a takedown. I have to provide my real address, phone number and email address, identify a *specific* file that breaches, AND state that I am claiming that it infringes, knowingly on threat of perjury if I am wrong. This generally has to have a proper signature and be sent by fax. No anonymous web forms here.

      You do not issue a DMCA request as a small time author unless you are damned sure that there is a clear-cut case of copyright infringement. Without the DMCA, it would be harder for me to get pirated content removed, and harder for upload sites and ISPS to verify I am the legit copyright owner. The DMCA simplifies and organises this process.
      Have some big companies abused the DMCA? you bet they have. Does the fact that in a few cases the law has been abused and stretched to do bad stuff invalidate the whole basis of it? No way. The DMCA is absolutely necessary. People who file misleading DMCA takedowns should be prosecuted for it. And people who knowingly breach the DMCA by distributing other peoples work without permission deserve to be prosecuted too.
      I will get modded down and flamed to death here at slashdot for giving the other side of the story. Nobody ever sticks their head above the parapet and challenges the idea that the DMCA is bad, but I feel it needs to be said. Unless you are an anarchist / communist who believes copyright should be abolished, then you have to accept that we need a law that spells out the way in which copyright can be enforced. It's not perfect, no law is, but right now, the DMCA is that law, and it's better than nothing. Most reasonable people who find that they agree that 99% of DMCA takedowns are entirely justified. The media, especially at slashot and digg and boingboing focuses 100% on that tiny abusive majority.
      • The problem isn't that the DMCA itself is entirely bad, it's just that even the good parts are abused.

        For instance, I run a website that deals entirely with user-created content. It used to be that companies or individuals (Bobby Prince comes to mind) would threaten to sue us. Now, they have to fill out a DMCA takedown form.

        Of course, we've all heard about Viacom and Youtube.

        The real problem is that the DRM provisions were also added by the DMCA. DRM is very much anti-consumer.
      • by Kelson (129150) *
        I think you should have posted this in response to the "Has it Ever Worked? comment. Placing it here doesn't make sense, as you're talking about takedown notices and the parent comment was talking about the anti-circumvention clause.

        Responding to "DMCA clause A is inherently bad and should be repealed" with "DMCA clause B is beneficial" is a non-sequitur at best.
      • The DMCA is a reasonably complex law that does a number of things. Some of them are largely good, like the takedown notice process with its liability shield for hosting companies. Some sites miss-implement this takedown procedure, but the procedure itself isn't too flawed overall. Other parts - like the anti-archival / anti-research thing are not socially acceptable at all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cliffski (65094)
          don't get me wrong, using the DMCA to complain about people making backup copies, format shifting, using a song as a backing track in a youtube video, posting sheet music transcriptions you made yourself, re-printing song lyrics etc etc, is all totally and utterly mental, and I have no sympathy for companies that try to enforce that shit. In fact, they probably annoy me more than the average slashdotter, because as well as being evil and stupid, that sort of stuff paints all copyright holders to be asshole
      • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:25PM (#20660177)
        > I will get modded down and flamed to death here at slashdot for giving the other side of the story.

        Nice job, there's now a smouldering crater where that straw man used to be. As far as I know, the conventional wisdom on Slashdot isn't that copyright should be abolished completely, or made unduly hard to enforce. Many of us are copyright holders.

        Speaking only for myself, I object to the DMCA because it lacks concrete provisions protecting fair use; academic analysis, review, parody, copying for backup, time-shifting, transfer to other media. I submit that a copyright law which lacks those provisions is deleterious to the public interest far out of proportion to how much it might benefit copyright holders like yourself, and that it should be scrapped altogether until such time as a suitable law can be adopted.

        We might even have an interesting debate on that point, i/e the relative value to society of strict copyright versus fair use. But to characterize the landscape of this issue as "Support the DMCA or support widespread, bald-faced piracy" is disingenuous.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          But to characterize the landscape of this issue as "Support the DMCA or support widespread, bald-faced piracy" is disingenuous.

          Right on the money. Interestingly, that is exactly the same kind of (ahem) "logic" that the big copyright holders and their legal beagles (RIAA/MPAA, etc.) have been using for decades. It's always an either/or 100% polarized proposition with them (and, for that matter, most politicians.) Give us what we want or the End of Days will be upon us! Remember Jack Valenti's impassioned
      • by Hatta (162192)
        I had a look at your games, they look pretty interesting. But there's no unix version so they're useless to me. You'd probably sell more games if they were cross-platform.
        • by cliffski (65094)
          Indeed. I stupidly wrote my own engine, rather than using a pre-made cross-platform one, and I'm used to it now. The games do slowly get ported to the mac at least.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Billly Gates (198444)
          Linux users dont believe in paying for software so porting it would not be economical. sorry but the stats dont lie

      • by jedidiah (1196)
        IOW, are frightened by the idea of sending out a normal demand letter than any other citizen interested in protecting their interests against an adverse party is expected to do. You are so frightened by such a prospect that you think you need some over reaching draconian measure that tends to be abused in order to stifle fair use, reverse engineering and legitmate and useful university research.

        Fortunately, your industry did fine fending for itself before the DMCA and game developers such as yourself.

        You ha
      • You do not issue a DMCA request as a small time author unless you are damned sure that there is a clear-cut case of copyright infringement.

        Or unless you're blatantly lying. Creation scientists have issued takedown notices to youtube to remove *public domain* videos about them. And they WERE removed. Protesters' accounts were cancelled.

        DMCA simply means that whoever has the most money, wins.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cliffski (65094)
          all US laws amount to that. But the DMCA means that if you knowingly do this, you are basically in a clear cut case of perjury and can have the book thrown at you. That's a good thing. The DMCA specifically reads the riot act to people who issue false claims.
      • by Bogtha (906264)

        Unless you are an anarchist / communist who believes copyright should be abolished

        It looks like you are using loaded language in a pejorative way, and inaccurately too.

        If anything is "communist" in the copyright debate, it's the idea that the rest of society should have their freedom restricted in order to subsidise your game development. State-granted monopolies are not a normal feature of capitalism.

        Most reasonable people who find that they agree that 99% of DMCA takedowns are entirely justi

        • by cliffski (65094)
          "it's the idea that the rest of society should have their freedom restricted in order to subsidise your game development. State-granted monopolies are not a normal feature of capitalism."

          do you really SERIOUSLY believe this?

          I do not expect ANYONE to subsidise me. I invest my OWN money in my games, I don't take a penny in government subsidy, and I pay every penny of tax I owe. I risk my own ass to make new content. I do not demand money from anyone who does not want the product, and want it enough to purchas
      • Unless you are an anarchist / communist who believes copyright should be abolished, then you have to accept that we need a law that spells out the way in which copyright can be enforced.

        You know, you were doing pretty well at supporting your position until you started the name calling. You even referred to hiring artists on spec yourself - they don't see a dime anytime you resell their work in your product, do they? Do you consider yourself an anarchist/communist then? I didn't think so.

        Perhaps you should consider a way to work on spec yourself. Then you would never have to worry about those people who go "out of their way" to try and wreck your business.

        • by cliffski (65094)
          The artists choose to work on contract for other people for a fixed price, just like most people work for a fixed wage. If my next game tanks, and makes a loss, everyone who worked for me gets paid. In short they are taking no risk whatsoever, in working for me. This is their choice, and my choice. Theres a chance that not only do I make no money, but I actually have to spend my saving to pay them for work that was unprofitable. They have zero risk.
          I am risking my own money to pay them, and to work without
    • The DMCA clauses which make reverse engineering illegal under any circumstance which is not specifically granted an exemption for fair use need to be repealed. The burden should be upon the copyright holder to prove that the specific instance of reverse engineering is being used to infringe their copyright, not upon the reverse engineer to prove that whatever they are doing is not infringement.

      There are two problems here: First, a judge comparing a claim of "infringement" against a defense of "fair use".

  • Say system works fine.

    News at 11.
  • by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:39PM (#20659465) Journal
    "The US Gov't. Defending international megacorporations from our citizens since 1787."
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:44PM (#20659539) Journal
    The fox declares that the henhouse is doing just fine.
  • Has It Ever Worked? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:48PM (#20659599) Homepage

    I know the general opinion of the DMCA here on /. (and I tend to agree). That said, I have a question I wonder if anyone can answer. We hear lots about DMCA abuses (partly due to the standard thoughts on it). Can anyone point to one or more big cases where the DMCA helped and the person/people wronged would have been without recourse before the DMCA that aren't abuses?

    Every time I hear about the DMCA it is being used to do something stupid or flat out illegal under the act (after all, just claim it as a reason for anything and many people will back off). Is anyone actually using it successfully and correctly where it provides a tangible benefit from before the act was enacted?

    I think that is the litmus test of if it really was useful or good.

    But as long as the RIAA/MPAA/whoever else get to "use" it to fix "problem" then it is "working."

    • There is one giant benifit that the DMCA provides: It makes hosts not liable for user-caused copyright infringement as long as they respond to take-down notices. This is what makes sites like YouTube even legally possible.

      My understanding is that two small changes would make the DMCA much less obnoxious:

      1. Clear and enforcible penalties for fraudulent/inaccurate takedown notices.
      2. The removal of the anti-research / anti-archival provisions.
    • And if you RTFA, the woman want's to change the one part that does work: the safe harbor/takedown provision. Grrr.
    • by Darkforge (28199) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:42PM (#20660471) Homepage

      Can anyone point to one or more big cases where the DMCA helped and the person/people wronged would have been without recourse before the DMCA that aren't abuses?


      It's important in cases like these to differentiate between the DMCA's take-down/"safe harbor" rules and the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision.

      The take-down rules probably ARE a reasonable balance between copyright holders and ordinary joes; certainly that's YouTube's position. Under the DMCA take-down rules, YouTube can't be sued for hosting illegal material, but rather the copyright holder (e.g. Viacom) has to send take-down letters specifying exact material to be removed. Users get notified that their material is taken down, and are allowed to send counterclaims to defend themselves. /. posted a story about this working earlier this week: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/13/2028206 [slashdot.org].

      It's not at all clear what would have happened in that case without the DMCA; the DMCA came into existence partly to make it clear/formal what should happen when people violate copyright online. In a material sense, I don't think YouTube could exist unless the DMCA existed, in the sense that I don't think they'd have big investors (e.g. Google) willing to risk their money without the DMCA's safe harbor provisions. (Without the DMCA, YouTube could argue in court that they ought to be treated as a safe harbor, but they'd be on considerably shakier grounds.)

      The anti-circumvention provision is the one that totally sucks. That's the provision that says that you aren't allowed to develop and distribute tools to circumvent DRM. (It's also the one that impacts researchers the most.) The point of that provision is simply to discourage people from developing and distributing DRM cracks. Since it's supposed to act as a disincentive, you wouldn't expect to find a big public "example" of it working; you'd expect fewer cracks to be developed and for those cracks to be criminally penalized when they are made available.
  • Seeing as the US federal government was bought and paid for by large US business, I would agree that they have no problems with it. Meaning, the core issue we are facing is not what they think, but rather the current situation we are in. The Feds decision to lower the funds rate today backs this up even more... Help the market fat cats, and leave it to the basic consumer to pay more for everything...

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:56PM (#20659731)
    If you want a partial list of how the DMCA has been abused, and other damages it has done even when it was not being abused, visit eff.org and find their report "DMCA: Unintended Consequences". Everybody should visit the site regularly, anyway.

    I might disagree with the EFF in one respect, though: I do not believe that ALL the negative (from a consumer point of view) consequences were unintended. On the contrary, I think that industry lobbied Congress to put some of those provisions in there, with full knowledge of what it would do.
  • Prime Example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:57PM (#20659753)
    Prime example of why the copyright laws are borked - arrows aren't used for defense. They're used for offense. If that's the sort of analogy being thought up by those in power, if gives you an idea of their mindset...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I like your analogy, but unfortunately your facts are not quite straight. At least in a warfare context, arrows are generally more useful for defense than they are for offense. The main reason is that they can easily be fired from cover, which is not usually a useful offensive tactic. That is why castles had merlons, crenels, and slits in the walls: to give cover but still allow firing of arrows. Firing arrows from OUTSIDE the castle, as offense, was much less effective. Defensive use of the longbow was als
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        > The main reason is that they can easily be fired from cover, which is not usually a useful offensive tactic.

        This is remarkably silly.

        If they can be fired easily from cover then they can also effectively used in a mass formation.

        Some armies (calvary) were even rather fond of firing them at a full gallop.

        I like that... comparing the DCMA to an arrow in a Mongol's quiver.

        Also, bows are not just limited to battles like Agincourt.
        • I get your point, but I was referring to relative effectiveness. In the hands of most soldiers, a bow is relatively more effective fired from cover than when fired from horseback. You had stated that it was basically an offensive weapon, which is simply not true.

          However, having stated all that, I will agree with you that it is a rather silly argument. :o)
    • by FauxPasIII (75900)
      You obviously don't play Civilization [civiv.com]
  • by zenyu (248067) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:02PM (#20659823)
    I this case just the opposite, also mentioned in the article she dislikes the only good parts of that heinous law, the exemption that allows Google search, MySpace, YouTube and most of the internet to exist. Initially she only liked the anti-first-amendment clauses of the DMCA, but she "came around" on the part that allows her to decide whether it's legal to watch a DVD.

    FYI She still opposes DVD watching and she is a self-proclaimed Luddite and doesn't own a computer.

    That someone who doesn't own a computer has been put in charge of regulating the high tech sector of the second largest economy in the world frightens me to the same level that the horse lawyer put in charge of terrorist and emergency response did after the Katrina fuckup.

    Where do they find these people? Is it the same type of process by which they find jurors who have never seen or heard any news for years for high profile cases? Ms. Peters, have you even read a book? No. Have you ever seen a computer? No. Have you ever visited a library? No. Do you know what a library is? My papa said it's a den of reds! Yes quite correct, now the next question, do you know what a Television is? No. Are you sure? Yes. Ms. Peters, you're HIRED! But I'm just here on a field trip.. Never mind that, you are now in charge of the technology sector of our economy. Make sure you listen to this guy from the RIAA and this other guy from the MPAA, don't worry they will tell you exactly what to do. Yes, Sir Chaney, Sir! Whatever you say, Sir!
  • by sakusha (441986) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:17PM (#20660063)
    Yes, the DMCA works great, some people may object when it is used en masse by large corporations, but it is the most effective tool for the little guy. Content creators have always had trouble protecting their rights without expensive, protracted lawsuits. But I've regained control of my own copyrighted materials, quickly and simply, merely by filing a DMCA notice. I've helped other "little guys" do the same.
    Copyright works for content creators, and the DMCA covers my back. I like the DMCA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      But DMCA notices are also the most abused aspect of DMCA law, by the little guys. It is TOO easy to send unsupported "takedown notices" against innocent parties, and penalties for doing so fraudulently has seemed to be lax or missing altogether.

      It is great that it has helped you some, but the current situation with DMCA takedown notices is "guilty until proven innocent", which is downright unAmerican.
    • What I was getting at is: okay, the DMCA has protected you a little bit... but at what cost to the rest of us? I think the majority opinion is that the cost has been too high.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:39PM (#20660403)
      Really? Because I can think of plenty of copyrighted material from the 80s that was produced by little guys (who eventually became big players, but still): the GNU project. In fact, all GPL'ed apps are protected by copyrights, and had the same level of protection before the DMCA was ratified. And don't claim that GPL'ed code isn't worth "as much as" some other copyrighted material; here is a list of companies that make a LOT of money from sales or support of GPL'ed code:

      • Red Hat
      • Canonical
      • Sun
      • Microsoft
      • Novell
      • IBM

      And there are MANY more. In fact, all of the companies on the list got to where they are (with the exception of Canonical, they are all valued in the billions of dollars) without the DMCA. As an example, Red Hat is worth ~$4bn and has only ever marketed GPL'ed code, and was started by some guy in his basement. You can claim music is different, but it really isn't: there is probably more demand for software than there is for music, especially since so much software is involved in the production and playback of music.

      No offense, but if you actually NEED to use the DMCA in order to make money on your content, then maybe you should spend more time trying to improve the content itself, or take a second look at how you are using the content to make money. You are right, copyrights protect content creators, but the DMCA hurts content consumers.

      • by sakusha (441986)
        You're missing the point. Sure copyrighted material had the same protections before the DMCA. But it was difficult to enforce those rights. Now it's easy. And it's easy to defend against a false DMCA action, it's all part of the process as defined in the DMCA itself. Sure a Red Hat or an IBM has a platoon of lawyers ready to protect its rights, but I don't.
        • I wouldn't say that it is easy to defend your rights now, considering the extraordinary amount of material currently available on P2P networks. Neither the RIAA's army of lawyers nor the DMCA have been effectively at preventing P2P filesharing. Notice that none of the RIAA's artists are in the poor house as a result, and notice that the RIAA is still turning profits -- record profits -- even while P2P usage was growing.

          You can't really argue that Red Hat got to where it is because of an army of lawyers
  • by tehcrazybob (850194) <ben.geekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:00PM (#20660743)
    The problem with the circumvention clause, at least to me, is that it disallows an activity which seems to me as though it should be perfectly legitimate.

    I want to buy a DVD, take it home, and rip it to my hard drive, then store the DVD itself in my closet. Then I want to stream it to the media center connected to my TV. That is to say, I want to give them money and then use the video in my own home. I don't want to share it with friends, I don't want to sell it, and I don't want to waste my bandwidth sharing it with the world. I just want to watch it without having to deal with the physical disk.

    Alternately, I could buy a movie download. But then I would still want to use my own media player, not whatever software they thought I should use, so I would still have to circumvent.

    However, thanks to the anti-circumvention clause, I might as well skip the money-to-them part and just pirate my movies. I'm breaking the law either way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anita Coney (648748)
      I wouldn't call this consequence unforeseen. I think the purpose of the anti-circumvention clause is not to protect copyrights, but to protect business models.

      It's the DMCA that keeps you from taking songs from iTunes and using them on non-Apple portable players. That forces you to follow Apple's vertical business model.

      Selling multiple copies of the same DVD is a part of the movie industry's business model. If you can back up your discs, you'd only buy one.

      Others have attempted to use the DMCA to force

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