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Danish DRM Breaker Turns Himself In To Test Backup Law 466

Posted by timothy
from the impure-impurity-and-impureness dept.
coaxial writes "In Denmark, it's legal to make copies of commercial videos for backup or other private purposes. It's also illegal to break the DRM that restricts copying of DVDs. Deciding to find out which law mattered, Henrik Anderson reported himself for 100 violations of the DRM-breaking law (he ripped his DVD collection to his computer) and demanded that the Danish anti-piracy Antipiratgruppen do something about it. They promised him a response, then didn't respond. So now he's reporting himself to the police. He wants a trial, so that the legality of the DRM-breaking law can be tested in court."
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Danish DRM Breaker Turns Himself In To Test Backup Law

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  • this is brave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrvan (973822) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @02:55PM (#30301184)

    This is really brave. Not just rant about how stupid a law is, or how unenforceable, and then just break it. But break it, deliberately turn yourself in, and show how stupid/unenforceable the law is.

    From an egoistic short-term perspective this is probably seen as just stupid, but this is the way to actually enact some changes.

    Bravo!

  • Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @02:56PM (#30301204)
    Civil disobedience done right. The world would be a better place if more of us (and I'm specifically pointing to empty-nest geezers like that one in the mirror) had the cojones to do similarly rather than constantly bitching.
  • Re:First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @02:57PM (#30301240) Homepage Journal

    I'm very glad civil-rights leaders in the 60's weren't so cowardly.

  • Re:law vs. law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by runyonave (1482739) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @02:59PM (#30301262)
    Old or new should not matter. What matters is that the laws contradict each other.

    If we lived in a true democracy (for the people), DRM would never exist

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:01PM (#30301284) Journal

    I'd wager my left toe that absolutely nothing comes of it. The police aren't going to want to deal with it, and media companies and their government whores don't want that kind of a test case.

  • Re:law vs. law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:07PM (#30301396)

    If we lived in a true democracy (for the people), DRM would never exist

    If you lived in a true democracy you would get the laws that people voted for - this may or may not include DRM

    To quote Men In Black

    A person is smart, but people are stupid

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by electricprof (1410233) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:07PM (#30301406)
    In the US we tend to face draconian damage awards if found guilty of even ridiculously small amount of infringement. So, we may have to have somebody successfully challenge the size of the damages before challenging legality. Does anybody know the difference in damage award size in Denmark and the US?
  • by NevarMore (248971) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:12PM (#30301488) Homepage Journal

    Except he's in Denmark. I can't comment specifically but many European nations have sliding scale fines.

  • Re:law vs. law (Score:4, Insightful)

    by runyonave (1482739) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:17PM (#30301558)

    DRM solely exists to provide corporations more control over the products they sell. It in no way is beneficial to the average user.

    So therefore the average users, or the people who provide the majority of votes, would never vote for DRM.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mujadaddy (1238164) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:24PM (#30301654)
    I have no idea why you get that "immage." Because it should be Michael Palin.
  • To paraphrase: (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:25PM (#30301672)

    Peasant: Well I didn't vote for it
    RIAA: you don't VOTE for DRM!
    Peasant: Well how did we get DRM then?

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:31PM (#30301794)

    I bet he's not afraid to tear labels off things.

    Ever read one? Ever read WHO is forbidden from delabeling it?

    Know why those labels are there in the first place? That's right. Because some consumer somewhere probably sued the company because he didn't know mattresses were heavy or that you shouldn't eat your keyboard or something stupid like that... :)

  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mhajicek (1582795) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:32PM (#30301816)
    While in principle it SHOULD work, in reality they just laugh at you and hand you your ticket. Take it to trial and only one thing matters. "Sir, were you speeding?" "Yes, but..." "You can pay your fine to the clerk on your way out. Next!"
  • Re:First (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:33PM (#30301828)

    I don't know what the repercussions are in Denmark but here in the US when you see FBI warnings before a movie stating you'll be fined $150,000 and 10 years in a PMITA prison... I'd rather just keep my mouth shut and let someone who actually got caught challenge the system.

    That quote is from the +5 informative post in the Kudos comment thread. A lot has changed since the 60's. Federal Minimum sentences, outrages fines, etc. Also if your skin color gives you away you really can't keep your head down so you had to fight for your rights. This is something that anyone can avoid; boycott or follow their rules. As noted in the comments from the torrent freak website: the probable outcome (if this goes to trial) is that the law will be changed to not allow personal backup copies; not that the circumvention will be removed.

    So was the troll cause I was going for my first, first post ever on any forum, or because you disagree that its best to avoid law enforcement unless you can help it?

  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:37PM (#30301910)
    We need that in America. It is completely absurd that if Bill Gates and I committed the same criminal offense, we would incur the same fine. Bill would pull the money out of his wallet in much the same manner that I buy a pack of gum and go about his day, whereas I would be financially devastated. In this case, while the actual dollar amount of the fines were equal, the punishment absolutely was not. The fine should be adjusted so that the punishment is equal in both cases -- it is completely absurd that this is not the case already.
  • Re:law vs. law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @03:53PM (#30302226) Homepage Journal

    If you lived in a true democracy you would get the laws that people voted for - this may or may not include DRM

    That's actually a pretty important point. In a system where you can get laws passed based on the majority's will a society tends to develop some terrible foibles. Take California for example. Here in California, we have a proposition system in our state government. Anyone can write a proposition (item to be voted on to become law) and then get that proposition, no matter how biased, stupid, or retarded onto a ballot via petition. With enough activism and bullshitting, therefore, we could literally have a person write a law outlawing use of dihydrogen monoxide in every household, spread some FUD and shout louder than any sane person out there, raise a very passionate but misinformed movement, and get that law on the ballot. Then, if the majority of voters that turn out vote for the proposition, that proposition becomes law. This is one of the closest systems to direct democracy that I have ever seen in government. It has its consequences.

    For instance, our population continues to vote for convenience projects funded by the government. We want a high speed train? Turn it into a proposition. God forbid we let a private company develop one. Nope, let's have our state government build it with our tax dollars. We need more revenue? Well we don't want to raise taxes so let's just let our congress figure that one out. This trend happens continuously and, after a few decades of retarded laws and projects, our budget is such a mess that even an educated (maybe) and bloated congress cannot figure out how the hell to solve it.

    Another example? Sure. There is a large portion (though not a majority) of folk in California that think gays should have the right to marry. Thus, over the past few years, these groups have written a number of propositions trying to legalize it. They have come in strangely worded forms that helped to confuse the issue in the minds of most voters. They have been, repetitively, met by an equally passionate, and, in my opinion, bigoted, movement that votes down said propositions. Never mind silly things like civil rights, equality, respect for other folks. Never mind studies done to show that gay families can and do function just as well as hetero families and so on. None of those details have stopped a very vocal group of people from implementing a systematic discrimination into our very state laws.

    That is the consequence of true democracy. The mob rules. If the mob is stupid, stupidity rules. If this mob is full of asshattery, asshattery rules. If the mob is kind and just and intelligent, compassion, justice, and intelligence rules.

    I am not saying that one system is better than another, but I would caution anyone to be careful about wishing for true democracy. It can be a terribly ugly overlord.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jherico (39763) <bdavis&saintandreas,org> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:02PM (#30302432) Homepage
    You're still missing the point. The right to make backups is actually no such thing. Its actually the right not to be prosecuted for violating copyright for making backups. It doesn't confer any other kind of immunity, even if it seems nonsensical. The law isn't required to be rational.

    Consider, what if the only way to make a copy of a DVD was to shoot someone. The right to not be prosecuted for copyright violation doesn't mean you're not going to get prosecuted for assault, manslaughter, what have you.

    The law in question protecting creation of copies is almost certainly a simple exemption in copyright law. Unless someone can show me the law says something along the lines of 'you cannot be prosecuted for any action taken in the course of making a duplicate for personal purposes' then the laws are not in conflict no matter how much you would like them to be.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:08PM (#30302546)
    I don't believe you're correct. A straight rip of an ISO from a DVD will be encrypted and unplayable, and won't include the keys. You certainly can't recompress the video without decrypting it first. I think, most likely, whatever backup tool you used did the decryption automatically and invisibly.
  • Re:law vs. law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:26PM (#30302868) Journal

    Corporations don't exist in a vacuum, they are owned and run by people. People who vote and contribute to political campaigns. Neither of those things would change in a pure democracy.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pulse_Instance (698417) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:32PM (#30302984)
    If the only way across state lines was to drive 200 mph then a speed limit of 60 mph would be denying your right to travel anywhere in the states (if driving were the only form of travel) and as such that speed limit would be illegal.
  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:54PM (#30303458) Homepage

    If they caught you doing 66, you might argue successfully that their speed measuring device wasn't that accurate and you might actually be doing 64 mph. Also, it doesn't make for good press. At 80+ mph, you can't really argue.

    In Britain, the threshold is 10% + 2 mph above the limit for those reasons.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:08PM (#30303710)

    "if you need a hospital or support for some physical limitation, you won't have to pay through your nose to get it, as this is seen as a basic human right"

    Medical but not food as a basic right is amusing; same goes for breathing, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion.

    Only after you take care of these physiological needs do you get to the next tier of Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs [wikipedia.org]

    where "health" is located... and that's considered a safety issue, after security of: body, employment, resources, morality, and the family, only just edging out security of property.

    -- Terry

  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:15PM (#30303808)

    because if you're within (margin of error of the speed gun) then they'll leave you alone because you may in fact not be over the limit.
    If you are over that then you are *definitely* speeding.
    Just because they don't pull you over when they can't be certain you're over the limit does not make the limit higher.
    Keep in mind that the radar guns could be off in the other direction as well, measuring you as being slower than you really were, they're only right on average.
    So if the margin of error is 10 mph and they clock you doing 75 in a 60 zone then you could potentially have really been doing anywhere between 66 and 84 so they ticket you for your most likely speed- what the gun said your speed was, 75.

    now radar gun tolerances are different from above but I wanted to make a point.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brian Feldman (350) <greenNO@SPAMFreeBSD.org> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:26PM (#30304028)

    I remember when I was younger, my mom was given a ticket in Arizona for going 56 in a 55, which seemed ridiculous, but maybe Arizona is one of those states without the officer's discretion.

    An officer can always use his discretion. I suspect that in this case the ticketing officer either had a quota that he needed to meet or was being an a$$^$#@.

    I suspect that in this case she was actually going faster than 56mph but the officer was being a tiny bit lenient and letting her pay the lowest possible fine.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:27PM (#30304052)

    Danish law is not a common law system. It is much more closely related to the French-style civil law system.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:49PM (#30305316)

    We're talking about the USA here in this subthread, not some civilized country with sensible laws. Germany also has a "loser pays" system for civil law IIRC.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taevin (850923) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:51PM (#30305354)
    Do you actually have a point to make or are you just going to sit around repeating what we already know as if it added some value to the conversation?

    Here's what we know:
    1. Law 1 states that you can make a copy of a DVD.
      • The only way to do so is to decrypt the content
    2. Law 2 states that you cannot decrypt the content of the DVD.
    3. Since it is illegal to decrypt the contents of the DVD and that is the only way to make a copy, it is therefore impossible to legally create a copy of the DVD.

    We quite understand that the legal system has not crashed as a result of this, and we understand that certain parties would like to be pricks and debate about whether there is even a conflict.

    don't kid yourself that what this guy did wasn't illegal.

    Which is the point of this whole article: No one is. The Slashdot article is entitled "Danish DRM Breaker Turns Himself In To Test Backup Law." He himself knows what he did is illegal and turned himself in to the authorities. This is also known as civil disobedience and its purpose is to test laws that are unjust or unclear.

    Assuming this makes it to trial, the judge will give a ruling in which he will either uphold the laws as-is (providing clarity as in, "yes, the intention of law 2 was to covertly remove the right guaranteed by law 1") or will make an exception to allow the free exercise of the right provided for in law 1, removing the injustice.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jherico (39763) <bdavis&saintandreas,org> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:58PM (#30306086) Homepage
    First off, there is no law 1 and law 2. Its two sections of the same law [www.kum.dk]. Second, the law is the Danish implementation of the EU Copyright Directive [wikipedia.org] which mandates that subscriber countries implement it exactly as its been implemented, i.e. circumvention is illegal EVEN THOUGH it makes some other rights unexercisable. No Danish judge is going to repeal that. Finally, civil disobedience and testing a law are two different things. Civil disobedience can be used to force a test of a law, or to call attention to an unjust law. The latter is what is happening here, but there are any number of asshats here on Slashdot that seem to be implying that because the laws seem to conflict, one of them is going to get struck down. I'm just saying thats not the case. The only thing this guy is doing is making a spectacle of himself, a fine Danish tradition since the time of Hamlet.
  • by loshwomp (468955) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:50PM (#30307284)

    So where is the incentive to earn?

    Your incentive to earn (which I'm sure is alive and well) doesn't trump the intended incentive to keep you from breaking laws.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taevin (850923) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @11:12PM (#30307400)

    First off, there is no law 1 and law 2. Its two sections of the same law [www.kum.dk].

    Great, even better. It's not a complex, unintended interaction between two disparate laws with different intentions, it's just a poorly written law that (apparently) contradicts itself.

    Second, the law is the Danish implementation of the EU Copyright Directive [wikipedia.org] which mandates that subscriber countries implement it exactly as its been implemented, i.e. circumvention is illegal EVEN THOUGH it makes some other rights unexercisable.

    Yes, the EU Copyright Directive says basically the same thing as the Danish implementation with regards to personal copies:

    Article 5
    (2) Member States may provide for exceptions or limitations to the reproduction right provided for in Article 2 in the following cases:
    (b) in respect of reproductions on any medium made by a natural person for private use and for ends that are neither directly nor indirectly commercial, on condition that the rightholders receive fair compensation which takes account of the application or non-application of technological measures referred to in Article 6 to the work or subject-matter concerned;

    No Danish judge is going to repeal that.

    The EU is not the same as the US Federal government. No, a single Danish judge is not going to repeal an EU directive, but a ruling could shed light on a troubling issue possibly eventually leading to a change in the wording.

    Interestingly, however, the EU Copyright Directive states this in the preamble (my emphasis added):

    Whereas:
    (52) When implementing an exception or limitation for private copying in accordance with Article 5(2)(b), Member States should likewise promote the use of voluntary measures to accommodate achieving the objectives of such exception or limitation. If, within a reasonable period of time, no such voluntary measures to make reproduction for private use possible have been taken, Member States may take measures to enable beneficiaries of the exception or limitation concerned to benefit from it. Voluntary measures taken by rightholders, including agreements between rightholders and other parties concerned, as well as measures taken by Member States, do not prevent rightholders from using technological measures which are consistent with the exceptions or limitations on private copying in national law in accordance with Article 5(2)(b), taking account of the condition of fair compensation under that provision and the possible differentiation between various conditions of use in accordance with Article 5(5), such as controlling the number of reproductions. In order to prevent abuse of such measures, any technological measures applied in their implementation should enjoy legal protection.

    Since the rightsholders have never shown any intention of voluntarily doing anything, the judge could in fact do something about it: provide a recourse via exemption to Danish citizens. More likely though, I suppose, is that the judge would give the rightsholders the opportunity to "voluntarily" provide enabling measures for the beneficiaries. Sounds like a win-win to me, if I'm being objective (I actually think DRM is one of the most obscene abuses of law I've seen in my--admittedly short--adult life).

    Civil disobedience can be used to force a test of a law, or to call attention to an unjust law.

    Yes, I believe that's exactly what I said.

    The latter is what is happening here, but there are any number of asshats here on Slashdot that seem to be implying that because the laws seem to conflict, one of them is going to get struck down. I'm just saying thats not the case. The only thing this guy is doing is making

  • by HybridJeff (717521) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @11:17PM (#30307426) Homepage
    It might however result in precedent freeing them of an obligation to press charges in similar situations in the future, saving untold amounts of future work.
  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:12PM (#30318956) Homepage

    And you're what's wrong with the roads..

    It's not your role to dictate others' speed, just as it's not theirs to dictate yours. Be courteous and move over, and the world will be a better place for everyone.

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