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FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the clean-up-your-acta dept.
judgecorp writes "Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman has said in a blog post that the ACTA file-sharing proposals punish users unfairly. He wrote, 'Any time there is a proposal to change things for the worse, the obvious way to oppose it is to campaign for the status quo. To campaign for the status quo suggests the approach of singing its praises; thus, praising WIPO is a natural way to highlight how ACTA is a step for the worse. However, where there have been previous changes for the worse, lauding the status quo tends to legitimize them. The past 20 years have seen global waves of harmful changes in copyright law — some promoted by WIPO. To confront a further assault by presenting the status quo as ideal means we stop fighting to reverse them. It means that our adversaries need only propose a further affront to our rights to gain our acceptance of their last affront. Instead of making the status quo our ideal, we should demand positive changes to recover freedoms already lost.' The FSF has launched a petition against the ACTA proposals."
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FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign

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  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:21AM (#32603452) Journal

    "praising WIPO is a natural way to highlight how ACTA is a step for the worse. However, where there have been previous changes for the worse, lauding the status quo tends to legitimize them"

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window [wikipedia.org]

  • by Rivalz (1431453) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:23AM (#32603488)

    The best way to get a problem like copyright legislation is to use it against those who created it. Follow the trail of greed, find individuals responsible and track what copyrights they violate.

    Make them turn on themselves like a bunch of rabid animals and sit back and laugh as they tear themselves apart.

    Not that it would work because they don't want to fight each other they just want to pick on the little defenseless suckers that get singled out.

    I thought I would just throw out my stupid idea while we are dreaming.

    • by Misch (158807)

      Kinda like this video from Youtube which accuses Viacom of the same infringment that they claim Youtube has done?

      • by Rivalz (1431453)

        Exactly but you have to go against the people not the business. If you sue Viacom no one in the company cares because it is the legal department that handles it. But if you sue the CEO of Viacom in small claims locally that would be funny. Of course you have to have a legit claim against them.

        • Except the CEO of Viacom isn't the one who is bothered by outrageous prices and terms on content. He can afford to pay whatever the premium rate is for the medium de jour, and he can upgrade his personal digital library when HHDDVVDD BVD comes out. Similarly, he doesn't need personal backups of his content, because he can afford to repurchase it.

          I don't think using their own dirty tricks against them is a way to make much progress. They can afford to play by their own rules.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            They can afford to play by the rules, but they probably don't.

            So the tactic may work in the short term. Do you think that music producers or Simon Cowell (or the executives lower down in the pecking order) ever pay for music that they listen to? No, they assume that they can just copy it and that the person copied from should be honoured at the possibility of getting noticed by the aristocracy. Heck, they assume they can put it into a track and sell it and worry about the "clearance" afterwards.

            At the very

  • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:26AM (#32603518) Homepage

    My concern about ACTA is not related to copyright law but to its effect on patents. Copyright law is practically always infringed by intent, while patent infringement in the field of software is in most cases inadvertent (that's the most fundamental problem I have with software patents). It would be desirable to introduce into patent law, at least in connection with software, an independent invention defense. However, ACTA in the version I saw might do quite the opposite, treating a patent infringer as a "pirate" once he is made aware of an infringement (for an example, by a cease-and-desist letter). That's unreasonable and unjust in my view. I blogged about that [blogspot.com].

    Recently I read on Twitter that the US Trade Representative told knowledge rights activist Jamie Love [twitter.com] that the US wouldn't mind throwing patents out of ACTA and instead the US government blames the EU for wanting patents included. Since those negotiations take place behind closed doors, it's not easy to verify that claim. However, it's more likely than not to be accurate. It would be good if EU-based activists could inquire about this (especially with help from Members of the European Parliament). With pressure from inside the EU there may be a chance to get patents thrown out of ACTA altogether. I know a lot of people here are at least equally interested in copyright issues but to many of us patents are the number one concern.

    For those interested in EU processes relevant to free and open source software, here's a link to a blog post [blogspot.com] on a talk I gave on the subject (not discussing ACTA per se in detail, but with a couple of slides on EU patent policy in general) at LinuxTag in Berlin last week. LinuxTag is Germany's and probably Europe's largest open source event. The blog post I just linked to contains links to the presentation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hitmark (640295)

      i suspect we will see each party blame the other, and if one looked closer, find the same lobbying entities behind them both.

      its the age old problem of the sick leader allowing the soothsayer to run the show from behind the throne.

    • by langelgjm (860756)
      I am actually currently at a conference at AU law school and just heard Jamie Love discuss this issue this morning. He pointed out that it's not entirely true that the US wants patents out of ACTA. We would like to avoid discussing patents on the section involving border measures, but we are not opposed to the inclusion of patents in the section on civil penalties, including new measures on injunctive relief that would establish standards in areas of US law that are still hotly contested. The USTR's letter
    • by tobiah (308208)

      an independent invention defense.

      Good idea, I hope it gets around.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Copyright law is practically always infringed by intent

      The one big exception here is music. What steps would you recommend that a songwriter take to avoid falling victim to something like Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music and Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton, where someone copied another song's hook by accident?

      It would be desirable to introduce into patent law, at least in connection with software, an independent invention defense.

      If patent law changes to recognize independent invention as evidence in favor of obviousness to a person skilled in the art, that might not be too hard to square against the existing law.

  • by DeadDecoy (877617) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:31AM (#32603570)
    My enthusiasm kinda dwindles when I saw that the article amounted to a simple petition. Petitions, especially internet ones, are just a way for signees to feel good about themselves while making minimal effort. Kinda like complaining on /. will change the world :P. It'd be interesting if there a more concerted effort behind the petition like showing congress critters opposed to ACTA (so we could vote for them) or raising money to actually lobby against it. Corporations have realized that lobbying, or being active in government helps bend the rules to their favor, so why can't free software institutions do so either? I'm just hoping that this petition doesn't lead to a dead end.
    • by loftwyr (36717) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:33AM (#32603604)

      That's just the first step! Once they get enough signatures, they'll print signs and hold protests on campuses all over Boston. From then, if ACTA isn't dropped, a e-mail campaign will be started to get people to forward e-mails to all of their friends!

      Soon the international coptywrite cartels will be begging for mercy!

      • by westlake (615356)

        That's just the first step! Once they get enough signatures, they'll print signs and hold protests on campuses all over Boston!

        They'll need a new mascot. Everyone loves a mascot. Windows 7 Sins [youtube.com]

    • by Stiletto (12066)

      So, what's the alternative to a petition? Fire-bomb a senator's house?? Unless you're a multi-billion dollar corporation, you have no legal way to really influence your own government, let alone influence the internationals deciding treaties in secret behind closed doors.

      • by Eil (82413)

        Unless you're a multi-billion dollar corporation, you have no legal way to really influence your own government, let alone influence the internationals deciding treaties in secret behind closed doors.

        Which is exactly what they want you to think. The reality is that you can make a difference [eff.org]. Let your legislators know your own personal opinion of the ACTA. They are your government representation and are supposed to be voting in your interest. If you can't take the time to firmly and politely inform them of y

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Eil (82413)

          There's no certainty that all the lobbying and writing campaigns in the world will stop ACTA, but sitting back and just complaining about it on the Internet guarantees the eventual erosion of all your personal rights.

          (Including sitting back and complaining about things on the Internet.)

        • by langelgjm (860756)
          The problem with the way that ACTA is being negotiated is that, to be frank, writing letters to Congress probably won't make any difference. This is because Congress is really not involved in the ACTA negotiations at all. It's being done as a "sole executive agreement," which means essentially no oversight from the legislative branch. Only a few members of Congress have expressed any interest in ACTA (notably Senator Ron Wyden, who sent a letter to the USTR on the issue a few months ago).
        • by russotto (537200)

          Which is exactly what they want you to think. The reality is that you can make a difference.

          Right. This from the EFF, turning back the tide since 1990. Since then we've gotten the No Electronic Theft Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a new "inducement" infringement tort, losses in the 2600 case and Blizzard v. bnetd, etc. The reality is that the EFF can't make a difference _either_.

        • by tepples (727027)

          They are your government representation and are supposed to be voting in your interest.

          If my representative and senators don't vote in my interest, and I don't live in a swing district (in fact, I've seen a representative run unopposed), then what should I do?

      • by loftwyr (36717)

        You want something that works? Write letters. Real, honest to goodness, handwritten on dead tree letters. And get others to do it. Not e-mails, faxes, automated letter writers, real letters created by a real person.

        And get all your friends and other copyright advocates to do it. Send them to your representatives and copies to the local papers. Do it every week until you get a non-form letter reply. And then start doing it twice a week.

        On-line petitions are too easy and have no weight with anyone. A

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          I've written letters to my elected representatives. They are replied to with a form letter, and probably not even read by anyone other than an intern. If you want them to actually pay attention, then go and speak to them in person.

    • It's hard to take Internet petitions seriously. Petition writers who use the word 'weasel' as a verb (second bullet) aren't making it any easier.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Misch (158807)

      The EFF is doing a little more in the way of advocacy, but for some reason the Obama administration has decided to defend the Bush administration classification of information related to ACTA.

      The EFF and Public Knowledge announced today [eff.org] that they dropped a lawsuit against the US Trade Representative to release background documents related to ACTA.

    • ..or at least the usefulness of this one, is to state clearly what is and isn't acceptable in this treaty, make people aware and get a consensus about it. I mean, there are a lot of people here who would agree with the statement, "ACTA is bad, make it go away", but it's not a very constructive way to engage with policy makers or the unaware.

      The statement "ACTA must respect sharing and cooperation: it must do nothing that would hinder the unremunerated noncommercial making, copying, giving, lending, owning,

  • Here's the first item on their list:

    ACTA must respect sharing and cooperation: it must do nothing that would hinder the unremunerated noncommercial making, copying, giving, lending, owning, using, transporting, importing or exporting of any objects or works

    They essentially only want copyright to prohibit making money by copying, etc., the works of others.

    • They essentially only want copyright to prohibit making money by copying, etc., the works of others.

      That sure sounds reasonable to me.

      • It's also a very good way to get the campaign dismissed out of hand due to unrealistic demands.

      • How does it sound reasonable to you? Someone makes a movie. It costs them, say, $30 million. They try to sell DVDs of the movie to try to get back that $30 million, and maybe even make a profit.

        So the DVDs go on sale, and the first person who buys a copy rips it and puts it up on the P2P networks. If the FSF had its way, this would be completely legal as long as the P2P networks are not commercial.

        So where do the people that made the movie get their $30 million from? Ask for donations? Movies aren't like c

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Of course, RMS wants all software to be free.

      I don't always agree with his politics but I do share his concerns.

      For example from the TFA:

      “ACTA threatens, in a disguised way, to punish Internet users with disconnection if they are accused of sharing, and requires countries to prohibit software that can break Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), also known as digital handcuffs,” said Stallman.

      I agree that being accused of sharing is not enough to justify disconnection.

      However if they are con

      • by tepples (727027)

        Software that break DRM is tool and can be used for legal reasons too. What if I wanted to run a program that I purchased but can't because my netbook doesn't have a CD-ROM drive?

        Buying a game that uses disc-based copy authentication and trying to run it on a netbook is like buying a PSP UMD game and trying to run it on a PSP Go, or like buying a PS3 game and trying to run it on a PS2. It's not designed for that. Vote with your dollars against PC games that require the disc during play.

        • But what if it's an old game that isn't sold anymore and I already owned it years before I bought the netbook?
          • by tepples (727027)

            But what if it's an old game that isn't sold anymore and I already owned it years before I bought the netbook?

            You can't run NES cartridges on your PS3 either.

            • You can't run NES cartridges on your PS3 either.

              I'm sorry. You lost me on that one. How does the inability to run NES cartridges (nintendo) on my PS3 (sony) have anything to do with my inability to run a PC Game?

              Especially when I already own the title, there is no emulation since the OS is the same, and the only difference between my old system and the netbook is the lack of CD-ROM drive.

              • by tepples (727027)

                there is no emulation since the OS is the same

                You can't run Windows 3.1 apps on Windows 7 if, like most PCs that come with Windows 7, your PC has a 64-bit CPU and a 64-bit operating system. The OS is the same (Windows), yet the 64-bit edition can't run 16-bit apps, not even by running wowexec inside wow64.

                and the only difference between my old system and the netbook is the lack of CD-ROM drive.

                Why haven't you already bought an external one? Do you not plan on reinstalling the operating system after a couple years?

                • You can't run Windows 3.1 apps on Windows 7 if, like most PCs that come with Windows 7, your PC has a 64-bit CPU and a 64-bit operating system.

                  Well the games I have ran in Windows XP and both the old computer and the netbook is 32 bit or for all intents and purposes run in 32 bit mode. Anyway, the game was designed to run on Windows XP and higher with DirectX.

                  Why haven't you already bought an external one? Do you not plan on reinstalling the operating system after a couple years?

                  Well I do own an external C

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:34AM (#32603620)

    Richard, I love ya and everything you've done for the open source community, just want that clear. Now what the sam hell are you doing telling us to "recover" our freedoms? You don't recover freedom -- you fight for it. You disobey, you protest, you drum up support, tear down walls, and throw wrenches in the establishment. Freedom isn't free, and you won't get it by firing off strongly worded letters.

    Look at it from the other side -- the ACTA is about trying to make a global police framework to try and stop file sharinng. Let them pass it. Let the government sink billions upon billions tryinng to solve the problem, while we come up with ever more clever ways to evade detection, and eat away at their bottom lines. The ACTA is about moving the costs from an industry to a global support group of governments. Now is the time to maximize damage -- gut their bank accounts, make free copies pervasive.

    Slip how-to manuals into people's mailboxes, leave CDs on the bus with instructions on how to get stuff for free, build and distribute new tools that are harder to track, use stronger encryption, and frustrate traffic analysis efforts. Bury these fuckers to the point where for every dollar they can recover through this kind of legislation they have to pay five more. Keep the hurt machine running at full power.

    That's how you defeat the ACTA and protect your freedoms -- by going on the offensive. If they have no rules, neither should we. They want to hand this mess over to the government and we should be only too happy to obliege them -- let's make it cost more than the combined budget of all of law enforcement to recover what little cash they're getting back now. Eventually the costs for this will make it a public spectacle and people will question why we're diverting so much money and throwing all these people in jail and ruining their lives and the general public will finally ask the question it should have been asking years ago:

    Is it worth it?

    • Yo, I'ma let you finish, but Braveheart had one of the best speeches on freedom of all time! One of the best speeches of all time!

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      I suggest thinking, just a little bit, about the end points that are possible. How about picking from the list below:

      1. We all live in the Star Trek Universe where everything is free for everyone all the time. Rent, food, clothes, everything.
      2. Commercial media production and promotion ends. Anything supporting this or supported by it ends, like magazines, a whole lot of advertising and a lot of ad-supported stuff. Most "music venues" simply cease to be. Mostly, because there is no revenue, people just don't
      • After all, we are looking at 20-30% of the economy disappearing in the US overnight.

        Yeah, because we moved to a service-based economy and then signed treaties and laws which put those services in a global marketplace, competing with a vastly larger labor pool. The net result is we lost all those jobs to other countries, who now sell their cheaper services back to us. End result is less of our dollars are circulating in the country where they can contribute to the multiplier effect.

      • Personally, I think number 2 is the way it is going.

        Let's say 2 happens. Why would I care if the next Angelina Jolie has to get a real job instead? Or if some media exec has to blow guys in a park to get his drug fix? I can go to pub and see a live bad if I want music, or buy it from their website (download or hardcopy - this already works for software). Limited audience / commercial-use publications will still exist because the demand is there, just not from the file-sharing masses.

        They knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.

    • Look at it from the other side -- the ACTA is about trying to make a global police framework to try and stop file sharinng. Let them pass it. Let the government sink billions upon billions tryinng to solve the problem, while we come up with ever more clever ways to evade detection, and eat away at their bottom lines.

      There is an undeniably brilliant way of eating away at their bottom line that is, always has been, and always will be undetectable, no matter how much money is spent on enforcement or improving

    • by fwice (841569)

      Eventually the costs for this will make it a public spectacle and people will question why we're diverting so much money and throwing all these people in jail and ruining their lives and the general public will finally ask the question it should have been asking years ago:

      Is it worth it?

      just like the war on drugs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      I appreciate your passion, but you're missing one point. These treaties will push the burden of enforcement from the copyright holder more onto the governments. So part of what you're suggesting is to waste government money, taxpayer money. Civil disobedience is necessary in many cases, but we have to be preventative as well, if nothing else so that we can say "we told you so".

      The message to future elections has to be "You wasted our money and we tried to stop you, and we hate you for it." Hurt the mach

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CCarrot (1562079)

      Eventually the costs for this will make it a public spectacle and people will question why we're diverting so much money and throwing all these people in jail and ruining their lives and the general public will finally ask the question it should have been asking years ago: Is it worth it?

      Yess...because that has worked so very well in the so-called "War on Drugs", no?

      Or, even more on point, the "War on Smoking" which is *actually* legal (really, it is!), but since a minority of people get right stuffed when they see (or hear or smell or visualize) others doing it, smokers have been dehumanized to the point that, in some places, they can't even stand in the middle of an open park to indulge their habit. Exactly how many people have been 'saved' from the 'effects' of second hand smoke as

    • by Burz (138833) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @08:37PM (#32608916) Journal

      I agree with your first paragraph about resistance.

      But extra resistance for an unnecessary conflict is where I draw the line. Once the govt does start sinking billions into the new policies, there will be an investment in them that makes them entrenched. What's more, the govt isn't some distant enemy... they are right here using OUR resources for this shit.

      So the attitude of "who cares what they do, we'll eventually win" I do not agree with. Its encouraging the waste of money, resources, trust and civility.

      The best course is to prevent something like ACTA from being adopted in the first place.

  • let ACTA pass (Score:5, Insightful)

    its a farce

    all of copyright law is based on a dead technological era. well, copyright law as applied to agreements between creators, say: the company that films the adaptation of harry potter and jk rowlings, for example, is still valid, because the parties in the agreement are finite

    but copyright law as applied to end consumers is completely and utterly unenforceable. its not like you need to have a vinyl printing plant or a tape duplicator to spread media anymore. you simply need to be able to point and click. additionally, its completely international, and completely without economics: the cost to send 100,000 copies of lady gaga to johannesburg, novosibirsk, cartagena, etc is exactly the same as sending one copy of lady gaga across town. your agerage 15 year old today has more publishing power worldwide than bertelsmann, time warner, etc., had in 1990. this really means something, and what it means is: copyright law (as applied to end consumers), is dead, and unenforceable

    so let them make ACTA as draconian as the morons want. who fucking cares? 10,000 lawyers in western countries versus 10 million media hungry, technologically savvy and, most importantly, POOR teenagers, worldwide, is no contest. of course i understand the EFF, they are protesting on the matter of principle. and to this extent, they should protest, and you should join them. but remember who we are dealing with here: the media industry. a bunch of sociopathic assholes. principles don't matter to them, so the EFF won't sway them. so i say: go ahead register your principled objections, to clear your conscience, but do not grow disheartened by a lack of response from the lizards. rejoice in the fact the lizards are at an end game, and are dying out, and that there ridiculous ACTA is a useless folly

    its called disruptive technology for a reason: it disrupts the status quo. the printing press did away with monarchies, the gun did way with the feudal caste system, the automobile created suburbia, the nuclear bomb did away with world wars, etc.: technology changes society and the law. the law and society do not change technology. well, that's never stopped one shortsighted asshole after another from trying, but their efforts are always futile and pointless, just causing a lot of temporary pain for innocent bystanders. in the end, none of their posturing matters: the internet will assimilate the media industry, resistance is futile

    the internet has rendered copyright law as applied to end consumers null and void, despiter all the believers to the contrary, despite all the power they hold. its a fait accompli

    the media industry's job now is to embrace its obsolescence. of course, it goes down kicking and screaming instead. but again, who fucking cares? let them pass the most draconian ACTA anyone can imagine in their worst nightmares. UNENFORCEABLE. END OF STORY

    RIP, vinyl record era copyright law. i'm certain you will exist on the books for a long time to come. but in terms of being an enforceable concept on end consumers in an internet-using society, you're toast

    • Hi.

      Please post links to your materials from Bangamovie!

      We need nice fresh meat for da InterBeast to play with!

      http://bangamovie.com/ [bangamovie.com]

      (Pun intended!)

    • by langelgjm (860756)
      Only one chapter of ACTA deals with enforcement in the digital environment. There are other real-world implications if ACTA passes, especially if it includes border measures relating to patents. The implications for the shipping of generic medicines, or medicines produced under compulsory licenses in one country but still on-patent in another country, may mean increasing costs for developing world health agencies, for example.
    • by westlake (615356)

      your agerage 15 year old today has more publishing power worldwide than bertelsmann, time warner, etc., had in 1990. this really means something, and what it means is: copyright law (as applied to end consumers), is dead, and unenforceable

      The fifteen year old is an unlicensed distributor, not a publisher.

      He doesn't put anything new on the market - and he has no interest in reprinting anything old. No interest in serving an audience older or younger than himself.

      The product he offers is second-rate.

      The amat

      • by tobiah (308208)

        The fifteen year old is an unlicensed distributor, not a publisher.

        He doesn't put anything new on the market - and he has no interest in reprinting anything old. No interest in serving an audience older or younger than himself.

        The product he offers is second-rate.

        Clearly you were unaware of this. [youtube.com]

      • Netflix can keep 100,000 videos in its catalog, 20,000 on-line, and contract to have its service built in to every Internet enabled video device priced over $100.

        But not even the mighty Netflix can offer Disney's Song of the South.

    • so let them make ACTA as draconian as the morons want. who fucking cares?

      If we allow copyright owners' power to expand unbridled, imagine not being able to create your own works for fear that they will be too similar [spiderrobinson.com] to a work controlled by an incumbent publisher. Or imagine not being able to buy a home PC because all the PC makers have switched to making cryptographically locked-down appliances (like the iPad) for fear of contributory infringement liability. Only professional software developers working for established companies are eligible to buy PCs [gnu.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Burz (138833)

      Please see my response to girlintraining here: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1689618&cid=32608916 [slashdot.org]

      You could make the same 'unenforceable' case about drugs (they can be grown or synthesized easily at home using todays technology), but the reality is that the War On Drugs was a pretext for putting inner cities under a sort of martial law. The result is that in the USA the police have been militarized and the prison system has grown to proportions that are unprecedented in human history.

      So I sugge

  • by lalena (1221394) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:55AM (#32603888) Homepage
    FTA:

    requires countries to prohibit software that can break Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), also known as digital handcuffs

    So if someone has a library of DRM protected Flash videos and seeks to convert them to some new HTML5 format, they are not allowed to use a simple conversion tool to convert their entire video library. They are instead required to find the original DRM-free source of each video - if it exists?

    • Was it a rethorical question? That is exactly so. People with DRMed music that they can play on one portable player also can't turn it into music that would play on another player after they buy another device, people that get DRMed government documents that are proof of a crime can't (by that proposal, the constitution of most places will disagree) publish that document in a format that the public or a judge will be able to read, and so on.
      • people that get DRMed government documents that are proof of a crime can't (by that proposal, the constitution of most places will disagree) publish that document in a format that the public or a judge will be able to read

        The language of ACTA is modeled closely on that of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has an explicit exemption for circumvention related to law enforcement.

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