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Australia Is Getting Its Own DMCA 129

biscuit nipple writes: "According to this article, our government snuck a little copyright law in under our noses. It just seems like a big moshpit of crap. Incidental copies of data, ie from an ISP, for transmission are ok, but deliberate copies (including proxy caches) are not." Also, "Libraries will have exemptions similar to the ones they already hold for distributing information but they will not be able to build up searchable collections, or provide material in competition with commercial providers." (Imagine if they applied that standard to books, too!)
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Australia Is Getting It's Own DMCA

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm also saddened (as an Australian) that I first have to read this on Slashdot.

    However luckily it appears to have considerable loopholes. Presumably an anonymously written open-source program would be hard to regulate under this law. If DeCSS is hosted somewhere outside Australia the govt. would have to prove that you downloaded it from outside Australia. Pretty murky I know but I don't think these rules forsaw the DeCSS scenario.
  • Year after year, governments of different flavours repeat that they will *not* bow to Terrorist demands.

    When Iran released the U.S. hostages (I hope at least some of you know history back as far as 1981), the U.S. freed up a few billion in Iranian assets.

    The Iran-Contra scandal involved the U.S. selling missiles to that same Iranian government.

    Yasser Arafat was not a flower salesman. (Nor was Yitzhak Shamir, for that matter.)

    If they did, how would it look?

    Like business as usual.
  • >Have Napster set up shop in Japan, have
    >DeCSS available for download from Canada.

    http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/glytch/DeCSS.zip
    http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/glytch/css-auth.tar. gz

    Have fun!
  • what do you do if you have no precedent ? you legislate this is wrong simply because you cant think of all the way that someone will abuse something you can trample over people rights so that you make damn sure you get what you want OR use case history and applie on a case by case basis silly plain silly regards john jones
  • Telstra is %51 owned by the government, and while the coalition wants to sell Telstra, it probably will not -- there is an election coming up and most people are apparently not in favour of selling Telstra. If elected (as seems likely now, although far from a certainty) Labour probably will not sell the remaining %51 of Telstra.

    It is probably true that Telstra being effectively forced to charge more would equate into more money for the government whether it's sold or retained.
    --

  • if each British solider were killed overnight in Northern Ireland, a substantial uproar would be caused, and there would be serious discussion of letting North Ireland separate

    Erm... at the risk of stating the obvious, you couldn't really "let" Northern Ireland separate unless Northern Ireland wanted to separate. Not even the IRA claim that a majority in Northern Ireland want to leave the UK, and I don't think there's any doubt that if a majority did want that then they'd have it with no need to give in to terrorists and no face lost.

    and the stubborn British government (no offense intended, but most countries aren't willing to separate from a part of their country - except, perhaps Canada, who wants to get rid of the Quebecers), will not grant North Ireland independence.

    I really don't think you're familiar with the issues at all. The IRA don't want "independence" for Northern Ireland, they want it to be united with the Republic of Ireland The Republic of Ireland does NOT, of course, condone the actions of the IRA). The majority in Northern Ireland do not want this, hence the problem.

    You can argue quite reasonably that Ireland should never have been partitioned to begin with, that the British should have granted independence to the whole of the island in one go instead of holding a vote county by county to settle which were in and which were out but you seem to be labouring under the delusion that the population of Northern Ireland are demanding some sort of "independence" and being denied it, which simply isn't true.
  • Your sig is highly appropriate.

    I have a shotgun, a shovel and 30 acres behind the barn.
    Do not trifle with me.


    The Second Amendment exists to protect the rest of the Bill of Rights. Australia may not have the same, but enough geeks with guns should do the trick if push comes to shove.

    OK, this is going to get modded down by some gun-control nut, but what the hell, I have lots of karma.

    One thing I'd like to know is how public this bill was in Australia before it passed. Did people have a chance to write to their representatives, or did nobody hear about it until just now?
  • In the UK, it's very hard to get a gun, even illegally, so the chances of the drug addict who's trying to nick my video having anything more dangerous than a knife are pretty low.

    Don't bet on it. I was mugged in North London by a bunch of teenagers with a knife & a gun.

  • The one name variant you didn't list on your site is the most obvious one: Free Open Interface License (FOIL).

    Anyway, I don't think it's realistic to try to compel companies not to protect their IP. But wait and see: free and open alternatives are slowly winning over proprietary interfaces in all kinds of places [slashdot.org].

    There's no need to compel businesses to stop doing something that's unprofitable.
    --
    Patrick Doyle

  • It's been in the pipeline for a while and there was plenty of comment on it right here about a year back.

    My views on gun ownership extend to something like "Those that believe they can change the government's view through violent means haven't met the US Army yet".
  • In the US and Europe most works are created by a copyright by the person that created the work (not the company). The copyright notice is there to show others they should not assume its in the public domain as well as provide proof of first publishing.

    This could be brought to the public attention by getting someone (EFF?) to sue someone public (like the goverment, library or university) that uses a large web cache for copyright violation.

  • Senator Richard Alston, Ministor for Communications, IT will be at the IT Expo 10am 7th March. Free tix can be obtained at www.itexpo.com.au

    If anyone doesn't have to work they can try to question him there in front of all the computer types that will be there.

    If anyone is up to writing a letter outlining our objections to this law so that the rest of us can mail it to our reps, it would be good. This IS an election year.


    ---
  • Well no one does... but this comes from a totally different background... Problem is if you've been following events in Australia, the coalition is in a very bad shape after losing WA and Queensland, pressure from reducing oil taxes and a significant number of screwups in the past 12 months. The coalition goverment is very much on track to make Australia attractive to investors at the expense of the public, problem is... that's not working simply because most of these new laws affect the IT industry which the goverment hopes will come in droves to Australia.

    So really, they don't care if laws reshape society or not, their main aim is to attract investors even if it backfires. Australia has done well in the recent years because it wasn't so restrictive... we'll see if this has the effect of making the country more attractive to large corporations or fuels a personal liberties revolt in the IT industry.

    Just my .1563 cents (Based on the current price of the dollar here :)

  • well then, looks like it's another case of the democrats just not giving a fuck.

    bring on the leadership spill!
  • coincedentally I have been reading Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) as part of my Law 1 tute problems. SS 31 and 32 of the Act set out where copyright subsists in a work and defines the rights we have in copyright. S 32 contains specific intent to allow copyright without having to register one as such.
  • IANAL but I've been reading the Copyright Act as part of my Law 1 tute problems. The modifications to the Act defines "effective technological protection measure" to be one which the intent is to protect, and would protect in the normal use of the product.
  • The WIPO treaty is relatively reasonable. It mandates legal penalties against circumventing technological measures used by copyright holders to protect their legal rights. These rights include a veto on copying and public display except for fair use, and the right to be identified as the author. It does not mandate legal penalties against circumventing technological measures used by copyright holders for any other purpose, e.g. to prevent certain movies being played in certain countries.

    One enormous difference between this act and the DMCA is that the latter prohibits circumventing access controls (as does the Council Of Europe's draft treaty, which is more or less a word-for-word copy of the DMCA with paragraphs rearranged). But the Copyright Amendment Act only protects copy controls and rights-management information. See Division 2A paragraph 116A, especially section (7)(b) which states that it is not illegal to make a circumvention device if it does not infringe copyright. It will be illegal in Australia to produce a device which copies copy-protected material, or removes a watermark containing copyright information. But it will remain legal to produce a device such as DECSS for viewing DVDs, as watching a copy of a movie you own is a 'permitted use' - permitted by law, whether permitted by the copyright holder or not.

    Of course, you should consult a lawyer before trusting me. There is also a restriction against circumventing access control, but that applies specifically to broadcast decoding devices (e.g. set-top boxes). One more thing. A circumvention device is a device which does nothing commercially significant other than circumventing, and therefore includes devices which do nothing at all. But it is only illegal if it does circumvent something, which is a welcome change from the DMCA and CoE draft.

    If you agree with the philosophy of copyright in general, I can't see any strong grounds for complaining about this act. In fact I intend to urge my elected representatives to support legislation like this instead of the pernicious DMCA and its clones.

  • I retract the 800%.

    Thank You.

    ... from 1995 to 1999 ...

    To be perfectly fair you should have compared over a range such as '92 to '99, not some year before and some year fater the controls (why choose '95 and '99??). Nonetheless, you're position, as you can see, can be put much more credibly if you take the time to consult the official statistics, rather than relying on NRA FUD.

    On the whole the results, while in some cases significant, are not really dramatic enough to warrant saying that firearms controls have been a causative factor, either in reducing or in exacerbating crime. Indeed the best the proponents of the controls can point to is that the spate of mass killing sprees, such as Porth Arthur (the reason for the control regime), have come to an end ... so far.

    Murder's down though...

    And murder, of course, enjoys a singular significance in criminological data, being perhaps the only offence which gives any reliable comparison over time. Other offences are affected by varible reporting and enforcement rates, as well as legislative change. (Eg the common law crime of 'Rape' no longer exists in NSW.) If you looked at the examination of firearm deaths in Australia published by the Aust. Inst of Criminology you will see that such deaths from assault (ie not accident, suicide etc) even before the firearms controls were instituted were only in the order of 100 per year (ca. 0.5 deaths per 100,000 population). These figures are fairly low that it's difficult place much meaning on the minor reduction since the controls were introduced. I would be interested in the US figures, which I venture, would bring into question the validity of applying the Australian stats to the US situation.

    To make my own position clear. I am neither a gun-freak, nor a gun-control freak. I like guns, but I don't like the killing of human beings, so while I was prepared to accept the banning of military assault rifles, I think the governments overstepped the mark by banning any semi-auto down to and including the humble 22. I know if I was going to try to better Martin Bryant's world-record, I'd want something with a bit more grunt than that. Sigh ... guess it's just another record the Yanks are gonna try to take off us Aussies again ... actually with the firepower you've got over there, your attempts are pretty embarrasing. Still if you send schoolboys to do a grown homocidal maniac's job ...

  • home invasions have risen by 800% or some vulgar amount since then.

    You believe that?! Lemme guess -- you were born yesterday. What did happen is that the NRA so fraudulently misused Australian crime statistics, that the Federal Attorney-General was led to make an official complaint.

    Should you wish to get your information from a more^H^H^H^H reputable source, try the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics [nsw.gov.au] for NSW (which includes Australia's most "crime-ridden city," Sydney {Shock! Horror!!}). More generally check out the Australian Institute of Criminology [aic.gov.au]. [It] is scary... shit just how gullible some people are.

  • >And there's the old truism that "you can't regulate the internet, it's global".
    >The problem is that when every country in the world has passed the DMCA there's nowhere left to go

    I doubt that'll happen.
    Once it gets down to a few, then suddenly freedom of communication will become a viable competitive factor for nations ...

    Unfortuantely the globalisation of Intellectual Propery Regimes is well underway. Now that a protocol called TRIPS has been included in the WTO charter, international IP has real teeth ... if you don't play ball you get cut out of world trade! That was how India was forced to grant patents on pharmaceuticals (while they had patent laws they always insisted on the need for cheap medicine given a large and largely poor population), it was how Brazil was forced to drop a law which stipulated that the active agent in pharmaceuticals had to be printed on the packaging in a larger font than the brand name - educated consumers amount to a denial of the intellectual property rights of manufacturers.

    Now while I can't find any anti-circumvention clause in TRIPS itself, I suspect that the Australian legislation so closely mirrors the US Act because it arises from some interantional agreement. I say this because it appears to me that this cannot be a valid law of the Commonwealth (ie it would be ultra vires) under s51(xviii) of the because the meaning of "Copyright" is limited as explained by the High Court in AG v Brewery Employees Union(1908) 6 CLR 469, admitedly an old case (and a trade mark case), but one which to my knowledge has never been overruled. It would seem too long a bow to draw to bring it under the telegraphy power (s51(v)).

    Now it may be, of course, that this act is simply unconstitutional, but I suspect that there is an international agreement somewhere which places such legislation within the power of the C'wealth. Beyond this it must be borne in mind that the same industries which lobby (&fund) US politicians do so in Australia and in almost any democracy where money talks. (Which also explains the willingness of governments to enter international arrangements so favourable to those industries) A senior Murdoch executive once described the Australian Government as "a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp."

    You're right, of course, there will always be some nations who will not go along. But these are likely to be places such as Iraq or Afghanistan (or whosoever happens to be a Pariah state at the time). Not the sort of places one would care to do business perhaps.

  • Also, the most content it is most worthwhile caching is foreign origin content. Ie, content not covered by Oz copyright laws? Or are they claiming simply that if you are not the copyright holder, so you can't cache it. Muppets.

    International copyright is covered under Australian law, as we are a signatory to the Berne Convention... so no hope there.

    On thing... didn't Australia pass a law guaranteeing the right to decompile and reverse engineer? Or didn't that go through. It gave me such HOPE for open source when I heard that. If that IS the case, how does that sit with banning DeCSS?

    I was wondering the same thing... I wish I could find out. I'll ask my wife to try and find out (She's a lawyer), although her specialty is criminal law, not IP...

    -Fascist
  • I can't beleive they've managed to sneak something out so quiet and behind our backs!

    Just shows how gay our current Federal Government is! First they scare is with censorship which died down. Then they loose their popularity with Quarterly BAS (Business Activity Statement) and now this. This government is surely going to have to loose the next election!

    But making proxy cache illegal? That is just crazy. The whole idea of proxying isn't to make some site loose money. I don't really see anyone sueing over this unless they think there is allot of money to be made by it.

    AussiePenguin
    Melbourne, Australia
    ICQ 19255837

  • Australian law doesn't apply overseas. Meaning it would be perfectly legal for you to cache an Australian website. But not for an Australian to cache your website (assuming that article isn't bullshit!).

    AussiePenguin
    Melbourne, Australia
    ICQ 19255837

  • Well I guess there is a good reason to have a internet connection to mars :]
  • I run a mailing list you might want to join

    B-E-A-T the fight to free DeCSS (and anything else that gets stomped)
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/B-E-A-T [yahoo.com]
    check out my page to fight this [opendesign.cx]
  • pROTECT YOUR CONTENT BY SWAPPING UPPERCASE AND LOWERCASE. yOUR DECODER JUST DOES A SELECTIVE xor ON BIT 5. sUE EVERYBODY WHO SUPPLIES A PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE COMPILER OR INTERPRETER.

    tHIS MESSAGE IS PROTECTED. yOU MAY NOT DECODE IT WITHOUT MY WRITTEN PERMISSION.

  • Another thought occurs to me. As mentioned in that second reading speech (linked above) decompilation and reverse engineering of software is legal in Australia where that is the only way to use the product (IANAL, though). In a DeCSS case, then, the reverse engineering law might be set against the copy circumvention law, and to my untrained eye reverse engineering would have the upper hand.
  • ..that (c) law is bad, you`ll get this sort of thing happening all over the place. Are we going to get 2 or 3 of these stories for every country in the world, followed by thousands of `ooh, its just not fair` comments? Its certainly going to waste a lot of bandwidth. How many people complaining actually do anything about it? If not, you may as well s.t.f.u., for all the good its going to do.
    You may appreciate some of these laws if you actually create something, rather than just leech it like a fucking parasite.
  • I have to admit that i dont really care why the laws are there (protecting profit, enrich the public, or whatever).
    The effect they have is to make it possible to prosecute people who copy things which other people have created, such as books, films, music.

    What is wrong with that? What would be the incentive to write a book/album/article (for profit, so you can eat and buy a house and travel and look after yourself) if the minute you finished it it ended up on a bunch of websites?

    And don`t say `they`d do it for fun` - thats just an `i live at home with my parents` answer.
  • But, is it illegal to buy? The person you get it from is breaking the law, but you are not. Of course, in the UK, if you refuse to name your source, you might be arrested for obstructing the police or something.
  • I don't think the problem is protecting people's intellectual property, it's more the totally stupid laws that governments are coming up with to do this. To pick a completely random example out of the air... a copyright law that makes web proxy caches illegal.
  • Here in Colorado, we have a law called the "Make My Day" law. Basically it says that you can use any force, including lethal force if someone is breaking into your home without getting in trouble with the law.

    Close, but not quite.

    "Make My Day" requires the occupant to act against a person who ENTERS illegally (not just refuses to leave), has the specific intent to commit a crime against person or property, and uses force against an occupant.

    Without violence threatened by your intruder, it doesn't apply.

    (On the off chance anyone cares, the law itself is at CRS 18-1-704.5)

  • Aside from the fact that a lot of Aussie ISP's would have to cut loose their webcache administrators...

    Well implemented caches can bring a 50% bandwidth saving without really affecting the freshness of content. As we move towards a more broadband network, with more streaming content, those rates could easily rise to 75% or 90%.

    Australia is risking letting itself get left behind the change in net content because the objects that the cache must hit to achieve those rates are amongst the most 'copyright contentious'... chunks of movie files, news clips, mp3's, etc. If it is illegal for their ISP's to cache such content, then they will find themselves needing vastly more international bandwidth than anyone else, and that won't be cheap. I heard recently, on /. I think, of someone putting a huge pipe from west coast US down to Oz, and at that rate, they're gonna need it, then they're gonna fill it.

    Also, the most content it is most worthwhile caching is foreign origin content. Ie, content not covered by Oz copyright laws? Or are they claiming simply that if you are not the copyright holder, so you can't cache it. Muppets.

    It is fairly clear that the legislators either have a very old view of how the internet works (proxy caches weren't that big a deal 3 years ago) or a very poor view of how the internet works. It's almost like saying that you don't own a particular IP/mac address so arp caches are illegal.

    Given the preposterous nature of that part of the legislation (go on, turn off caching, see what your users say...) it would seem entirely possible that the government of Australia, which as has been said has become the laughing stock of the world for IT policy (or is that dictatorial IT policy? I seem to recall a lot of very severe censorship laws recently).

    On thing... didn't Australia pass a law guaranteeing the right to decompile and reverse engineer? Or didn't that go through. It gave me such HOPE for open source when I heard that. If that IS the case, how does that sit with banning DeCSS? Right to reverse engineer guaranteed, erm, except when we say. Riiiiggghhhtttt. Perhaps someone can clear that up for me.

    Evil Cachemaster
  • It's about time the rest of the world starts suffering as much as we have in the United States.


    ------

  • Gave up our rights? I didn't notice that our opinions were asked on the matter...
  • It's a childish use of the word gay and it means ludicrously stupid. Don't worry, they grow out of it.
  • sounds just like the marijuana laws in amsterdam. you can't buy it in bulk or produce it, but you can sell it and buy it in small quantities.
  • Ugh. That's all I can say. It gets worse. Those nutty little Playstation mod chips have just gotten illegal. Which sucks because I backup every disk I have. 90 bucks aus for a game. Hell yeah I'm backing up. (never seen a sony eula btw) Cracking illegal? F*** that shiet. I'll do what I like. Hmph. All my base belong to them. I am soooo voting for Labor next time.
  • here are some quotes from the reading:

    Sen. Alston:

    I think it identifies the right balance between ensuring that copyright owners' legitimate interests are protected and at the same time ensuring the users have the same protections that have been available to them in the offline environment.

    If that is the intent then arguing that Fair Dealing (aussie name for Fair Use) should be protected. Of course, like the US situation it probably is not (see below).

    Importantly, the bill provides copyright owners with the tools they need for the commercial exploitation of their intellectual property in the digital age.

    Copyright origionally existed as a limited monoploy to encourage creative production - not to allow 'commercial exploitation' Interesting sections of the act are:

    116A Importation, manufacture etc. of circumvention device and provision etc. of circumvention service

    116B Removal or alteration of electronic rights management information

    100 Subsection 132(5A) [this is the one that 2600 is referring to in the letter] (5A) A person must not provide, or by way of trade promote, advertise or market, a circumvention service if the person knows, or is reckless as to whether, the service will be used to circumvent, or facilitate the circumvention of, a technological protection measure

    There are some permitted uses listed under section 47D, 47E, 47F, 48A, 49, 50, 51A or 183 or Part VB. but I don't have time to read all of them right now :(

    The Police, of course, are exepmted from all these provisions!

    Cheers

    James

  • The important thing that's got to come out of this is that we all have to pay more attention to what governments are doing.

  • It was nearly a year before the Parliament but no-one paid much attention, myself included
  • Its not like Natasha stood up on this either
  • I retract the 800%.
    Though, from 1995 to 1999, some statistics from the page you gave "try the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics for NSW "

    Robbery without a weapon 4518 to 6413
    Robbery with a firearm 677 to 1099
    Robbery with a weapon not a firearm 1465 to 3515
    Theft Breaking&entering - dwelling 61336 to 77178
    Breaking and entering - non-dwelling 40393 to 45551

    Significant increases during a one year time are noted and shown on that chart.
    Murder's down though...

    I have a shotgun, a shovel and 30 acres behind the barn.

  • Damn, all this discussion based on a sig - it's a good one, brings the blood to a boil.

    I'm assuming that my message also got a bit convoluted thru the discussions, however I will respond to your question. I'm actually not sure whether you're replying to me, or to the person who replied to my original message... anyways.

    "I want to know how taking up arms and becoming, essentially, a terrorist organisation, is going to help geeks win/keep their chosen freedoms."

    Firstly, the sig was meant to be a joke - i.e. "Dan's rules for dating his daughters.", though I digress.

    OK, now for the discussion about theory, and your answer.

    I don't want for geeks to become terrorists, I'm not in favor for taking up arms and rebelling by killing a few politicians / police / whatever. I don't think that society is ready for that sort of "political opposition".

    Terrorist organizations do not effect change - moreover, they are not meant to do so. The purpose of a terrorist organization is to bring attention to the subject. Terrorist organizations, or those who are not full of blind zealots, realize that they do not have the manpower, nor the resources to challenge a country.

    Think of it this way - a bombing by the IRA here and there is not going to do much except to call attention to its cause, however, if each British solider were killed overnight in Northern Ireland, a substantial uproar would be caused, and there would be serious discussion of letting North Ireland separate (especially if this continued for several weeks). The IRA does not have the ways and means to achieve this, and as a result are kind of powerless in the "rebellion" arena, although they are quite successful in bringing attention to themselves repeatedly.

    So, a terrorist organization would not be a good idea - even if the circumstances dictate that we do take up arms. We are, at the very most 5% of the population, and the majority of us would not take an active role.

    "Have you heard of Northern Ireland? Year after year people are killed and the killers say they are doing it for their just causes. The causes are indeed just - one side says they want to unite their country (Ireland), the other wants to keep their country united (Northern Ireland / UK) "

    Again, see my statement above why the IRA is not succeeding, besides, their strategy is flawed in that parts want peace, parts want independence at all costs. Internal strife is also an issue, those who want the same things are not united and do not stand as one.

    I do believe that inroads of peace have been made, although what will exist is an attitude of tolerance, not of peace, and the stubborn British government (no offense intended, but most countries aren't willing to separate from a part of their country - except, perhaps Canada, who wants to get rid of the Quebecers), will not grant North Ireland independence.

    "Year after year, governments of different flavors repeat that they will *not* bow to Terrorist demands. If they did, how would it look? It would be like saying, "If you're violent enough you can have what you want."

    I rebut - bloody military coups have changed governments, as have rebellions / revolutions. The USA was formed when the locals rebelled against the British; the Dutch states were formed in much the same way. Clearly there is a history of success for political rebellions, but quite a number of failures as well.
    However, once we give away too many rights, we have, in effect given them all away. The citizens in Germany in 1920 exchanged some of their rights for some security. What it got them was a totalitarian despot bent on world domination. Attempts to oust the despot failed because too many rights had been taken away. Stalinist Russia, same thing, people couldn't have weapons, and without any civil rights, the people were essentially trapped under the system.

    Unfortunately, sometimes violence is the only way to settle something - a good example is World War II. Diplomacy would work in an ideal world, but Hitler was given the Sudetenland(spelling?), then Alsace, then Czechoslovakia and finally Poland (given, is an arguable term, but lets just say that neither the Russians nor the French, who both had agreements to defend Poland, did not, until at least 6 months later.)

    Tell me then, how are geeks bearing guns going to "do the trick"?

    Unless there is a "general call to arms" caused by some substantial civil unrest due to some fascist policy, I don't think that geeks with guns will do the trick.

    Especially considering that the majority of us aren't exactly fighting material outside the realm of quake 3 (ironically, if anyone who reads this thinks that they are "eleet", please explain how to field strip a pistol - or even eject a magazine).

    Quite possibly, part of the country with guns might do the trick, however, if we don't fight for our rights to bear arms, have free speech, the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, religion and the media, we will not have them. Once we cross a line, it is diffucult, if not impossible to go back.

    In the United States, your right to demonstrate has been severely curtailed by a ever increasing brutal and abusive police force (of small sections of it). Once sitins could work, and they did, however now police flood in with tear gas GRENADES and batons. (I believe Orwell called them truncheons, but again, I digress)

    Although I hope that civil rights are not squashed in 50 years, and I severely doubt that they will, I, for the first time, see a possibility of such things happen. Even the prospect frightens me and I believe that is part of my civic duty to see that such things do not happen. This does, after all have nothing to do with being a geek, but instead, being a citizen.

    I have a shotgun, a shovel and 30 acres behind the barn.

  • The real culprit here is the WIPO copyright treaty [wipo.org], specifically article 11. It states that treaty members have to supply legal measures to prevent "circumvention of effective technological measures" used to enforce copyright. The rest of the treaty seems relatively fair, but article 11 forces members to pass DMCA-style laws. Once they have to do that the lobbyists move in and you know the rest of that story. The terms of the treaty DON'T mandate anything as overly restrictive as what we're seeing in the US - note the use of the word "effective" - but I suspect that legislators, in their woeful technological cluelessness, find it difficult to draft bills that don't cross the fine line of audience rights infringement.
  • You have brought up the least discussed and most important aspect of "The right to bear arms". I don't belive our forefathers meant the second amendment as an excuse to go out and Gang Bang or even to protect hunters. Nor was it meant as a supplement for a poor police force(ie: shooting a thief.) It was meant so if the system ever becomes so corrupt or fails you so badly that excersising the first amendment get you shot at, you have the means to shoot back.

    The US constitution even protects us against its own inevitable failure (new laws widdle away bit by bit.) It is almost like it forsees it.

    There are a few implications to this...

    This logic also implies the military will never start a revolution on the part of the people. It dosn't (and didn't) jive with the doctrine of arming the people. They may, and hopfully some would, join in on the right side if first amendment does get you shot at. I don't think the founders forsaw the acceleration of arms that are not availible to the people.

    People can and should speak their minds knowing this is behind them. That said if they shoot first, they automaticly lose in the eyes of the country. Whoever shoots first is wrong and creat es a clear and present danger, creating the scenrio for the just war from the other side.

    The contitution (and any republic) counts on people to be willing to fight the govenment not only for themselves but free ideals. First with words and with arns if arms are drawn.

    Everybody loves that TJ paraphase "Those who give up freedom for security are bound for neither." because as logical people they recognise that we are headed for the scenrio where we need the second amendment to keep us prepared. Few speak up, fewer listen and only some even care. With the media as corrupt as it is and bribery legal there is little recourse but dumping the Tea in the river and we know where that leads. Most of us are inclined to speak our minds but other (non-geek interest) oppressed groups don't understand the internet as well as we do to take advantage of it's benifits.

    Educating people on seting up their own internet services, is where we can stop this before it comes to blows and bloodshed. The two greatest accompilishments of the net so far are concurent open source software devlopment (Linux,BSD,etc) and the threaded discussion group (Slashcode ,Usenet, and some mailing lists.) Notice Big media sites usually don't use threaded lists! Media blindly tell people the Internet will change the world without elaberating. We should elaberate! Teach the people of the world how to use Free Software and the Threaded Discussion Group and empower them with a voice louder than that damn TV. Lets stop a brutal war before it ever happens!

  • The contitution (except maybe later amendments) is written in plain english. It is an intelligent logical and agreeable piece of law. Do a search and read it. The politcians can subvert it's ideaolgy all they want but if we understand it then their damage will always be limited.

    Use the first and speak out against the DMCA and drug war in your loudest voice. If you and others strum the right chord, change will come. If you make the MPAA/DOJ/Republicrats look bad enough and they are corrupt enough they may start shooting at you. This is why all is lost with out the second.

    Educate people, keep trying, don't give up. We are not just protecting ourselves but everybody. Let them know, they might just help.

    Lets play their game.

    Things are run by bribery for now, so we hire lobbiests. Give to the EFF.

    The Media badmouths the internet at EVERY opportunity so we will badmouth them (and we've got better ammo too.)

    Last time bribery was legalized it took a labor movment to stop it! Lets oginize. Not just online, but in meatspace where are rights are well established and well known. Right to assemble baby.

    Work on the baby boomers. They are powerfull swing them over and we win. Explain that their favorite rock star already has copyright for life and anything else is, well overkill. Without the money generated by their copyright extentions the MPAA/RIAA wont have all that money to throw great lawyers at long shots.

    Just some thoughts.

  • Sony have been distributing letters to all the stores that stock its Playstations telling them to tell customers that as of today Mod Chips are illegal. Yep, legally buy a PS2, Legally buy a DVD on holiday in Japan, America or the UK, but if you want to put the two together it's illegal.

    Were I actually to buy a PS2 I would get it modded to within an inch of its life, but quite frankly I need neither a new gaming console nor a DVD player. I've been enjoying secondhand Gameboy titles -- robust enough to survive into the secondary market and no region coding or copy protection (I love Liberty and my Bung Xchanger). And while they are fun for about the same length of time as a PS2 title, they are one tenth the price.

    --

  • As much as I despise the DMCA, the most interesting thing about this article would have to be the name "biscuit nipple"...
  • Oh yes? Well such a meaningless article is typical of the Australian press (as if summarizing a whole act into 10 paragraphs is simple - I am being unfair). But its a bit hard to draw the conclusion you have made.

    So.

    Here are some useful links on the subject (including analysis - difficult for some slashdotters to read, but give it a try - and the actual amendments). Unfortunately some of these analyses are rather old due to the fact that the Act was proposed several years ago and passed last year:
    http://www.gtlaw.com.au/pubs/digitalageaustr alia.html [gtlaw.com.au]
    http://www.roma.unisa.edu.au/08908/lect11/co mmentary.html [unisa.edu.au]
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au//legis/cth/cons ol_act/ca1968133/notes.html [austlii.edu.au]
    http://www.efa.org.au/Issues/IP/copyright.ht ml [efa.org.au]

    Oliver

    Who, as usual, still hasn't thought up a clever sig.
  • 116A Importation, manufacture etc. of circumvention device and provision etc. of circumvention service
    (1) Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4), this section applies if:
    (a) a work or other subject-matter is protected by a technological protection measure; and
    (b) a person does any of the following acts without the permission of the owner or exclusive licensee of the copyright in the work or other subject-matter:
    (i) makes a circumvention device capable of circumventing, or facilitating the circumvention of, the technological protection measure;
    (ii) sells, lets for hire, or by way of trade offers or exposes for sale or hire or otherwise promotes, advertises or markets, such a circumvention device;
    (iii) distributes such a circumvention device for the purpose of trade, or for any other purpose that will affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright;
    (iv) exhibits such a circumvention device in public by way of trade;
    (v) imports such a circumvention device into Australia for the purpose of:
    (A) selling, letting for hire, or by way of trade offering or exposing for sale or hire or otherwise promoting, advertising or marketing, the device; or
    (B) distributing the device for the purpose of trade, or for any other purpose that will affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright; or
    (C) exhibiting the device in public by way of trade;
    (vi) makes such a circumvention device available online to an extent that will affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright;
    (vii) provides, or by way of trade promotes, advertises or markets, a circumvention service capable of circumventing, or facilitating the circumvention of, the technological protection measure; and
    (c) the person knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the device or service would be used to circumvent, or facilitate the circumvention of, the technological protection measure.
    (2) This section does not apply in relation to anything lawfully done for the purposes of law enforcement or national security by or on behalf of:
    (a) the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or
    (b) an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.
    (3) This section does not apply in relation to the supply of a circumvention device or a circumvention service to a person for use for a permitted purpose if:
    (a) the person is a qualified person; and
    (b) the person gives the supplier before, or at the time of, the supply a declaration signed by the person:
    (i) stating the name and address of the person; and
    (ii) stating the basis on which the person is a qualified person; and
    (iii) stating the name and address of the supplier of the circumvention device or circumvention service; and
    (iv) stating that the device or service is to be used only for a permitted purpose by a qualified person; and
    (v) identifying the permitted purpose by reference to one or more of sections 47D, 47E, 47F, 48A, 49, 50, 51A and 183 and Part VB; and
    (vi) stating that a work or other subject-matter in relation to which the person proposes to use the device or service for a permitted purpose is not readily available to the person in a form that is not protected by a technological protection measure.
    (4) This section does not apply in relation to the making or importing of a circumvention device:
    (a) for use only for a permitted purpose relating to a work or other subject-matter that is not readily available in a form that is not protected by a technological protection measure; or
    (b) for the purpose of enabling a person to supply the device, or to supply a circumvention service, for use only for a permitted purpose.
    (4A) For the purposes of paragraphs (3)(b) and (4)(a), a work or other subject-matter is taken not to be readily available if it is not available in a form that lets a person do an act relating to it that is not an infringement of copyright in it as a result of section 47D, 47E, 47F, 48A, 49, 50, 51A or 183 or Part VB.
    (5) If this section applies, the owner or exclusive licensee of the copyright may bring an action against the person.
    (6) In an action under subsection (5), it must be presumed that the defendant knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the circumvention device or service to which the action relates would be used for a purpose referred to in paragraph (1)(c) unless the defendant proves otherwise.
    (7) For the purposes of this section, a circumvention device or a circumvention service is taken to be used for a permitted purpose only if:
    (a) the device or service is used for the purpose of doing an act comprised in the copyright in a work or other subject-matter; and
    (b) the doing of the act is not an infringement of the copyright in the work or other subject-matter under section 47D, 47E, 47F, 48A, 49, 50, 51A or 183 or Part VB.
    (8) In this section:
    qualified person means:
    (a) a person referred to in paragraph 47D(1)(a), 47E(1)(a) or 47F(1)(a); or
    (b) a person who is an authorized officer for the purposes of section 48A, 49, 50 or 51A; or
    (c) a person authorised in writing by the Commonwealth or a State for the purposes of section 183; or
    (d) a person authorised in writing by a body administering an institution (within the meaning of Part VB) to do on behalf of the body an act that is not an infringement of copyright because of that Part.
    supply means:
    (a) in relation to a circumvention device--sell the device, let it for hire, distribute it or make it available online; and
    (b) in relation to a circumvention service--provide the service.
    (9) The defendant bears the burden of establishing the matters referred to in subsections (3), (4) and (4A).


    Well. This section is pretty draconian. So the best way of getting this watered down or removed when it comes up for review is to abuse it.

    Here's what can be done to abuse this.

    Invent a new "standard" of "encryption". It will be purposely weak, something like UUENCODE combined with something like XOR and multiplication on 8 to 40 bits. Easy to crack in other words. Encrypt "works" with it. Distribute the "works" freely, but sell the "reader" so people have to buy the "reader" to read the "works".

    If anyone cracks the "encryption", then they are in violation of Section 119A, as posted here. And they can be sued.

    --
  • The laws, of course, are not there to protect anyone who creates something. They are there to protect those who profit from others creations. Dont even bother trying to kid yourself about that one.
  • The problem is, they get to do it for fun now, because thats the reality of the creative industries today. The creative people behind the books/albums/articles today dont get paid. Musicians get to sign contracts where they get to pay the recording, pay for the videos, and get a minor percentage of the sales. If they're lucky they can pay the company back what they end up owing.

    So what is the incentive today? Copyright law isnt about the creative people anymore. Most end up not owning their own works anyway. The RIAA even tried to sneak in an amendment in recent law that would make all music works for hire.

    Copyright could be completely revoked, and the artists who create today would still do it tomorrow, because there isnt any difference anymore. BECAUSE THEYRE NOT THE ONES GETTING PAID.
    The only thing that would be lost are the industries forcefeeding the world with whatever poor kids theyve conned today.

    What is the incentive today? Most artists would do a lot better at eating and buying a house and travelling and looking after themselves if they played a lottery. In this country we have at least a few hundred each year who make money that way... and maybe about 10 writers who can survive on their writings.
  • While making and importing decoding devices will be banned, their personal use will not.
    In other words, if you can get your hands on a device, you are allowed to use it

    That's the same type of law they use for pornography here in the states. You're not allowed to make porn or transport porn in any way, but if you happen to have some around you're allowed to watch it. The effect of this law is to make porn (true pornography, failing the three-point test and all that) effectively illegal. The cops *can* bust into your house if they hear you have porn there, because it's assumed there's no way you can get it other than making or transporting it.

    circumvention device means a device (including a computer program) having only a limited commercially significant purpose or use, or no such purpose or use, other than the circumvention, or facilitating the circumvention, of an effective technological protection measure
    Under that definition, the DeCSS code itself is definitely illegal, but any Linux DVD player is fine because it definitely has a purpose other than simple decryption of the video data.

    I disagree. Any Linux software, because it is freely available, would seem to me to fit under the heading of 'limited commercial use'. The above clause could be read as making illegal any Open Source Software that does any kind of decoding whatsoever.

    Scary stuff, Aussies. I assume there's a way you can still fight this bill?

  • Well, you can still order your modded DVD players from NZ, or bring one back after going on your ski trip.

    NZ law also specifically permits parallel importing, which upsets a certain large maker of suspect software, and the US govt. which is considering trade sanctions if NZ leaves the law in place.
  • >While making and importing decoding devices will be banned, their personal use will not. In other words, if you can get your hands on a device, you are allowed to use it

    This sounds so much like (alcohol) prohibition in the 1920s... you couldn't make booze, you couldn't import it, you couldn't sell it, but if you had it, you could drink it.

    So instead of bars, they had speakeasies. You paid for memberships in "private clubs", and when you got there, the owner just happened to have some booze, and he'd generously give some to you and your guests.

    The irony, of course, is that the Bronfmans - yes, those Bronfmans - got their start in running booze across the Canadian/US border during the Prohibition era. The company ended up being called "Seagram's". Maybe you've heard of it?

  • Ah.. but broadening DVD usage to include linux users sounds like a significant commercial purpose. Not for the makers of DeCSS, but for the moviemakers. Just a thought...

    //rdj
  • All the Intercontinental carriers should do nicely out of this. All they need to do is cache it overseas and resell their own bandwidth as overseas transmission. If noone here has the right to cache anything, it seems like a real nice way of plumping up the bandwidth usage on the major national and international carrier, which.. you'll never guess! Is owned by the government and being plumped for sale.

    Nice way to instantly bump up your own profits.

  • The US, EU and Australia should drop any last pretense of acting in the interests of ordinary citizens and finally create the "People and Families That Matter Act" (PTMA).

    Excerpt:

    "The PTMA shall guarantee uninterrupted wealth, power and social dominance for the privileged elite of the early 21st century until, and if at all possible beyond, the heat death of the universe.

    Any unauthorized discussion of the PTMA by persons not explicitly covered by this Act shall be considered terrorism."

    Night
    ---
    (C) Copyright Forever and Ever and Ever
    ME ME ME All Rights Reserved and Defended By the Full Weight of the US Military
    MINE MINE MINE (C) Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright ALL MINE This Post Not Authorized for Use By Anyone Who Has Not Paid Me In Full ANY UNAUTHORIZED MEMORY OF THIS POST IS A VIOLATION OF MY COPYRIGHT AND SHALL BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW
  • (Imagine if they applied that standard to books, too!)

    Actually, I think they do apply that standard to books. When a book comes through on ILL, the library doesn't have the right to photocopy it and put it on file for future reference. They can just distribute the book that they received to the person who requested it, returning it to the lending library afterwards. Similarly, under this law, the library can't keep a copy of every document viewed on its computers to create a local collection. Whether this is a sensible regulation in the case of Internet data is another question, but it is analogous to the situation with books.

    As to competition with commercial sites, I assume they're saying that the library can't buy a subscription to a pay-only site and make that available for free for everyone who comes to the library. I think that's perfectly reasonable. If a library user pays for such a site and wants to access it from the library, that would be different, of course.

    All of which is not to say that I'm defending the DMCA (and DMCA-like legislation), but we shouldn't be getting upset about the wrong aspects of the legislation either.

  • From the Act [law.gov.au]:
    • circumvention device
      A device (including a computer program) having no, or only a limited, commercially significant purpose or use other than the circumvention, or facilitating the circumvention, of an effective technological protection measure
    So, it looks like DeCSS is out, LiViD is in.

    Although, developing an open source LiViD-style program without distributing a DeCSS-like tool (ie. for testing) is a fine line...
  • Just as good as trying to hit six different people in the dark with a gun.
  • You mean an air-pistol or a fake. No illegal gun dealer is going to give a schoolboy a gun, because the police will be down on them like a ton of bricks. Far safer and more lucrative to supply the crime gangs instead.
  • Or burglaries to the euphemistically-challenged. I don't need a gun to get people out of my house, I have fists, feet and a baseball bat. In the UK, it's very hard to get a gun, even illegally, so the chances of the drug addict who's trying to nick my video having anything more dangerous than a knife are pretty low.
  • I believe it's the ISPs proxy-cache they're after, not the 'Temporary Internet Files' folder on Joe Corks-on-Hat's computer.
  • Well done Little Johnny! It's just like you and your cronies to come up with another law against the IT community in Australia. Let's face it Australia is becoming, if not has become the laughing stock if the World when it comes to IT legislation. For example the ludicrous censorship laws brought in to win votes at the last election? Even the CSIRO advised him that it was totally unfeasable, yet he pressed ahead just to keep Aliston happy! He also totally screwed up with both datacasting and digital TV. All I can say though is that he will get a huge shock when it comes to the next election. The IT community in Australia has had a gutful of the amount of tripe put forward by this man and his party. ps. Johnny, don't legislate against something that you obviously have no idea of... End Rant/
  • So you can circumvent copyright protection, as long as you don't import, (download) it?!

    That's what all the DeCSS t-shirts are for.

    --

  • Since the HTTP/1.1 specification explicitly discusses caching, and servers can explicitly state that content is not to be cached, then could a web server that serves a page over HTTP/1.1 and doesn't state that no caching is allowed by construed to be giving permission to cache?

    It seems a bit murky, because in the context of the protocol this makes sense, but iirc under Australian law all content is copyright the author even if there's no copyright notice, unless there's an explicit notice attached to the content stating that it's in the public domain. Anyone more knowledgable care to step up and answer?

  • What does it take in Australia to declare yourself a corporation? :)
  • I believe the comments regarding caching are the result of a reporting arror. This is not in the legislation. If you read the article and replace the word cache with mirror then you will get the correct sense on the law.
  • This law does not ban caching. It bans mirroring without permision.
  • The DMCA in the US is simply our way of complying with a WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) treaty. Specifically, we're talking about the WIPO Copyright Treaty [wipo.org] of 1996.

    There is a significant amount of information at the EFF DMCA page [eff.org].

    Expect more WIPO member countries to generate their own laws to comply with this.

    -S

  • In Australia, there are many places where you can buy a DVD player that has been modified to get around the stupid protection mechanisms.

    DVDs have coding on them to stop them being played in the wrong region. DVDs from the US aren't meant to be able to be played on DVD players bought in Australia. Well, you can easily buy a modified player from the shop that ignores this restriction, as I did. It means that I've now got access to about 4 times as many DVD movies as I could get in Australia alone.

    Also, there's this thing called "Macrovision" which is meant to stop you from recording DVD movies onto VHS. It stuffs up the signal coming out of the DVD player in such a way that most TVs are OK, but most VHS recorders aren't. Well, it also effects many legitimate uses of VHS players, as well as overhead projectors. Anyway, you can buy DVD players here with that removed too.

    At least, you used to be able to. This new law has made it illegal to sell Macrovision disabled players in Australia. Shops have stopped selling them modified in this way. It sucks. Lucky I got in a few months ago to get mine.

    We are still allowed to sell multi region DVD players though. Small mercy.
  • Should there be clause added to the GPL and other open licenses that prohibits jerks like movie studios from benefitting from the same process they try to destroy?

    I suggested this to Richard Stallman last year. (Here's my proposal [demon.co.uk]). However, he was against the proposal, as it stood.

  • At least the Australian law will be up for review in three years. With any luck, that will be exactly how long it will last.

    "We didn't want to be perceived as being heavy-handed" LOL!
  • australians gave up the right to have guns 2 or 3 years ago - home invasions have risen by 800% or some vulgar amount since then

    No they haven't. This is part of a totally fictional story sent around by US gun-nuts who are sad because one more country has become lost to their deadly cause.

    For more information check here [guncontrol.org.au].

  • there will always be some nations who will not go along. But these are likely to be places such as Iraq or Afghanistan (or whosoever happens to be a Pariah state at the time). Not the sort of places one would care to do business perhaps.

    I guess I just have to disagree. Look at why Iraq and Afghanistan are regarded as pariahs. The Iraqi army has forcefully invaded another country for the sole purpose of robbing it. Afghanistan executes people for wearing the wrong clothing.

    As far as I can tell (firsthand observation and interviews in the case of Iraq, and secondhand information from devout Muslim Pakistanis I trust in the case of Afghanistan) these things are true. It's not like someone made these stories up because the Taliban wouldn't play ball on DVD piracy.

    I highly doubt it would be possible to successfully demonize, say, the Bahamas if they choose to create a competitive position for themselves by allowing freedom of communications. The worst they have to fear is exclusion from the low-duties club, which won't matter if they're the only ones selling what they're selling.

  • Nothing is wrong with this, I'll just have to BLOCK the .au domain so my copy of squid doesn't illegaly cache copyrighted material.

    We should warn all of our ISP about how they can avoid illegal operation by blocking the Aussie domain!

    And we should find out who we should notify in the Aussie gov to let them know the meassures that we are going to have to take to respect their new law.

    My web site specificaly allows local cacheing as a fair use; Mainly because I thought only the US Gov could pass something this stupid; Who would have the the Aussie's would have beat us to it!
  • Mark Twain commented on USA's government as being "The Best Government Money Can Buy". Looks like he applies Down Under as well.
  • The DMCA is spreading, south. =( Now that Australia has a DMCA of it's own, I'm hoping New Zealand (where I live) doesn't follow. But considering the recent law proposals here (e-mail snooping, vodafone tapping) I wouldn't be surprised. I'd like to read the actual law to see just how it's worded. But I expect it to be very broad in most of it's definitions. I can't believe they're not exempting caching.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @06:54AM (#396517)
    I've just been skimming through a document on the website www.aph.gov.au which has a huge archive of all the goings on of the Australian parliament (I'm Australian, by the way). This document was interesting: http://search.aph.gov.au/search/ParlInfo.ASP?actio n=view&item=1&resultsID=OV8t2

    It's a memorandum explaining every ammendment to the copyright act, all the viewpoints of all the stakeholders that had been gathered through the committee and hearing process, etc. What I gathered from reading this was:

    a) They were trying to take the 1968 copyright act and simply remove all the technology-specific terms and make them technology-neutral (eg. take out 'wireless telegraphy', etc.). They were also doing their best to make all the laws and exemptions that were already in place for print media and wireless broadcast apply in exactly the same way to digital media. For example, it's OK to copy a portion of a copyrighted paper work without authorisation as long as you don't exceed 10% of the number of pages or one chapter (whichever comes first, I think). They changed the 10% reference to the number of words in the case of an electronic document, but said if a document existed in both print and electronic formats, only one of these requirements had to be satisfied. Similar attempts at uniformity are made all over the place. They also redefined what it means to copy things (eg. converting software from one form to another is still copying), what it means to authorise copying, etc.

    b) Secondly, they wanted to make sure that there was the right amount of access to information over the internet, to actually satisfy concerned libraries and academic bodies. There are all kinds of ways they did this. It's a very long document.

    c) Thirdly, they wanted to make sure that there were exemptions to the law that were appropriate to the online environment. This is where they made temporary caching exempt! If they hadn't, it would be illegal under the more general form of the old copyright law! They had to make the distinction between temporary caching and unauthorised copying, and what Slashdot has reported on is the way they made that distinction. I think it might be a bit harsh, but ISPs were strongly involved in this process.

    d) Lastly, to satisfy the WIPO treaty, they had to address the circumvention of copy protection issue. They tried to do it so that devices with purposes *other* than just breaking copyright protection (eg. computers and VCRs) are exempt. My feeling from reading this is that only stand-alone devices are illegal, not, say, DVD players that can bypass region encoding. I don't know, though.

    I don't know if the memorandum contains everything the way it was finally passed, but if you go to the website and search for 'copyright' you get a huge number of documents on the subject of these ammendments dating back around 10 years. I don't think this was passed secretly - all this information has been there for a long time. Also, I think it was bipartisan, I don't think the present opposition would have done anything differently. However, I couldn't find the hansard report of who voted and how.
  • by throx ( 42621 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @12:29AM (#396518) Homepage

    The Australian law isn't quite as bad as the DMCA. For example:

    While making and importing decoding devices will be banned, their personal use will not.

    In other words, if you can get your hands on a device, you are allowed to use it

    The full text of the modifications to the copyright bill can be found here [aph.gov.au] and contain some interesting definitions which make the whole DeCSS thing quite different in Australia:

    circumvention device means a device (including a computer program) having only a limited commercially significant purpose or use, or no such purpose or use, other than the circumvention, or facilitating the circumvention, of an effective technological protection measure

    Under that definition, the DeCSS code itself is definitely illegal, but any Linux DVD player is fine because it definitely has a purpose other than simple decryption of the video data. Basically while this bill is still an impediment to the free trade of ideas, I think there is enough restraint in it to make some worthwhile things come out. Hopefully this means that while decss.c might be outlawed, css-auth.c is quite ok.

  • by nero76 ( 112793 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @04:56AM (#396519) Homepage

    The new legislation is the Copyright Ammendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000, available on AUSTLII [austlii.edu.au]

    Technical reproductions made in the process of communication are exempt from the prohibition on copying digital works (ss. 43 and 111A). This is meant to protect ISPs and Carriers (which the Uni and Colleges are - probably). Whether copyright is breached will probably be determined as a question of degree; eg;

    - Napster providing cacheing facilities allowing massive mp3 copyright infringement is bad.

    - Cacheing purely to facilitate communication (eg. Universities) is OK.

    Note that this is a question of degree and interpretation. Some (such as the views cited in the article) would argue that any cacheing is not purely to facilitate communication and is therefore in breach. I personally think (and hope) that the laws will be enforced more intelligently than that, only prohibiting copying restricting copyright users' rights.

    Universities are worried that these new rights will allow copyright holders to charge per view, as opposed to the University downloading information once (and paying once) and then distributing it to students. They argue that this is like what University libraries do.

    Anyway, I've gotten off the track. I think that cacheing that is purely for saving download costs (such as cacheing the hotmail.com frontpage) will be fine. Possible future pay-per-view lexus/nexus web-type things could cause problems.

    The prohibition on circumvention (read hacking) devices has the exceptions of (amongst other things);

    - making programs interoperable (s. 47D)
    - correcting errors (s. 47E); and
    - security testing (s.47F)

    Which could make it sort of ok - although is decss (allowing DVD copying) security testing?

    This, once again, is a question of degree and interpretation ...

    ---

  • by Scrymarch ( 124063 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @12:17PM (#396520)
    Scary stuff, Aussies. I assume there's a way you can still fight this bill?

    Yes, From the Second Reading speech by Senator Alston:

    As a result, in certain areas of the bill we are entering uncharted waters. The bill will commence six months after it receives royal assent, allowing affected parties to renegotiate current arrangements in light of the comprehensive amendments provided by the bill. The government also proposes that the operation of the legislation be reviewed within three years of the commencement of the legislation.

    However, to convince them to change things you'd need a strong lobby group with the ear of the government, and no such group exists in Australia.

  • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @02:03AM (#396521) Homepage
    Sign up for 50 free hours. Surf as much as you can to sites containing objectionable material. Have AOL Australia chasing it's tail trying to remove all the sites from their cache. It may not change anything, but what the hell, baiting the MPAA, RIAA and AOL all at the same time would be somewhat satisfying.
  • by child_of_mercy ( 168861 ) <johnboy&the-riotact,com> on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @12:01AM (#396522) Homepage
    Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Bill 1999 (Intro Reps 02/09/99, Passed Reps 28/06/00 (Amended), Intro Senate 14/08/00, Passed Senate 17/08/00 (Amended), Assent 04/09/00, Act No 110)

    For what its worth the Bill was before the Parliament for nearly a year.

    It was certainly discussed in legal publishing circles (which are heavily effected as the government is messing around as a copyright holder of legislation)

    However the so called "house of review" the Senate seemed to push it though without even looking at it. meaning no-one had objected strongly as it usually only takes one senator to refer a bill to committee (unless the government can get majority support of a guillotine which is rare)

    The Bill and its explanatory material are here [aph.gov.au]

    You gotta be patient while the page loads.

  • by cabalamat2 ( 227849 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @03:07AM (#396523) Homepage Journal

    The EU's doing the same thing. See my page about the new EU copyright law [demon.co.uk].

  • by RandomPeon ( 230002 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @11:21PM (#396524) Journal
    We all keep talking about how we'll just move offending stuff to physically offshore locations. Have Napster set up shop in Japan, have DeCSS available for download from Canada.

    And there's the old truism that "you can't regulate the internet, it's global". The problem is that when every country in the world has passed the DMCA there's nowhere left to go....
  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @01:01PM (#396525) Homepage
    circumvention device: A device (including a computer program) having no, or only a limited, commercially significant purpose or use other than the circumvention, or facilitating the circumvention, of an effective technological protection measure

    I don't get this at all. How is something "an effective technological protection measure" if a circumvention device exists?

    I mean, a strip of stickytape is an effective way to lock your car door - if nobody is allowed to have a finger to peel it off with.

  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @12:21AM (#396526) Homepage
    And there's the old truism that "you can't regulate the internet, it's global". The problem is that when every country in the world has passed the DMCA there's nowhere left to go

    I doubt that'll happen.

    Once it gets down to a few, then suddenly freedom of communication will become a viable competitive factor for nations - as it is, the number of people who really care about this isn't significant when spread out among all the countries where for all practical purposes they can more or less do as they please. If all but a handful of nations have legislated it away, then the number of people who care will be a sufficiently concentrated market to justify a nation going out on a limb.

    Plenty of nations make good money allowing things that are illegal elsewhere, and nobody's invaded them yet, because the moral argument for forceful intervention is just too weak. Look at half the Caribbean with banking and gambling. The Netherlands with drug tourism (yeah, that's not their intention, but I suspect they break even or better on the deal). All sorts of places with prostitution, with nude beaches, with lower public health standards allowing for like cheap and tasty street food - all of these are regulated in countries like the US but create a draw for American tourists in the places where they're found.

    Neal Stephenson wrote a fairly entertaining (if ultimately muddled) book [amazon.com] (fiction) that started out dealing with this very thing. Worth a read.

  • Scary stuff, Aussies. I assume there's a way you can still fight this bill?



    "...removing DeCSS and other pieces of software that might put me personally in the position of breaking the Australian Copyright Act (Digital Agenda Bill), 2000..."

    • I guess you could fight this through the australian legal system but the article goes on to further state the following....
    "...Bad juju, legally speaking, is something that I have neither the time, money nor resolve to take on personally. As 2600 Australia is neither a business nor a registered organisation we cannot fight this on legal grounds. 2600 Australia does not enjoy any form of protected speech such as that which 2600 in the USA is mounting a defence...
  • an .rtf of the Act is here [law.gov.au]

    The Second Reading Speech (which has legal bearing on the spirit of the law) is here [aph.gov.au]

  • by socceroo ( 202491 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @12:33AM (#396529)
    I spoke with a bloke who attended a briefing by the solicitors for the AVCC (Australian Vice Chancellor's Council - the AVCC control AARNET, the internet 'backbone' across the universities here).

    The solicitors have advised a 'wait and see' approach, and this seems an even-handed way to go about things.

    The keyword is 'deliberate'. www.slashdot.org is probably one of the most popular pages at Monash university and is always in the cache.

    But if anyone were to *deliberately* place www.slashdot.org in the cache, they might have some explaining to do, if:

    o Anybody at /. can be bothered to complain to the authorities here.
    o Anybody can actually figure out what's in the cache from the US (from anywhere outside Monash, actually).
    o /. can prove the front page was placed there deliberately.

    Socceroo
  • by cicadia ( 231571 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @11:39PM (#396530)

    Does anyone know of a link to the text of this bill? The article is quite vague (standard mainstream media quality). I'd love to read (or at least skim) the real thing to see what it really means.

    For example, it doesn't go into any detail regarding what constitutes "digitally protected material" - does this cover only materials already protected by strong crypto (not much legislation required) or anything that someone chooses to protect by any means (DMCA-style - protect your copyrighted work with ROT-13 and make un-ROT-13 illegal)? Or is there a legal definition of "protected" which says how the protection must work?

    From the article:

    While incidental copies of material - such as the copies made by Internet service providers during transmission of a Web page - were exempt, deliberate copies such as those in a cache set up to minimise international downloads were not, Hough said.

    How does anyone define what is "deliberate"? If I set up an HTTP proxy in order to minimize traffic on an outgoing line, am I potentially in violation of Australian law? I may have deliberately set up the proxy server, but after that, I do not control what goes through it.

    And what about the fact that my HTTP proxy can't even decode the material? Does this act represent an attempt to regulate the copying of the digitally-protected materials (like caching the encoded data, or copying a DVD bit-for-bit) or just the decoded, unprotected materials (distributing de-CSSed DVD content)?

    Or perhaps Australian legislators don't realise the importance of caching to the health of the Internet... If every client had to talk directly to the originating server for every request, the Internet would have brought to its knees years ago under the load. Caching, mirroring, and other techniques based on making local copies of data are what keep the network running (Slashdot effect aside)

    Making and supplying software for cracking protective codes will also be illegal but the law has been worded to avoid covering the computers such software could run on.

    (I'm glad to see that they're not planning on making computers illegal :)

    If there are any Aussies reading who are familiar with this legislation, I'd be very interested in hearing more (especially how it got this far without anyone hearing about it (for anyone, read me.))

  • by thanjee ( 263266 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @11:56PM (#396531) Journal
    So basically the government is trying to censor or copyright everything digital in the hope that nothing will be legal on the internet soon. Then what....??

    What really sux about the whole copyright issue in Australia is how corporations are exempt from copyright (at least in some areas). Take for example pirated music CDs. It is totally illegal for a regular person to copy a CD and sell it to someone else even at a cheap price - BUT it is legal for companies to import pirated CDs from indonesia and sell them at a high profit margin. If companies are allowed to pirate stuff, and even make a profit off it, then all citizens should be given that same right!
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @12:24AM (#396532)
    Maybe this is just me, but with the open source world getting it's butt kicked more and more by DMCA's and UCITA, I'm feeling more and more that people who crack down open source reverse-engineering have no business using free software. Should there be clause added to the GPL and other open licenses that prohibits jerks like movie studios from benefitting from the same process they try to destroy? Should we tolerate movie studios getting their movies cheaply rendered with Beowulf and cheaply and securely promoted on the net with Apache and Linux when the very same people who create that software cannot legally watch those very same movies? Any opinions?
  • by BeerSlurpy ( 185482 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @11:32PM (#396533)
    This is another brilliant example of corrupt law-makers not understanding how the world works combined with some old-fashioned short-sightedness.

    Good laws should spring up to enforce social conventions and give them legitimacy. For example, if a society can agree that it entering people's houses and taking stuff is wrong, then the laws should reflect that. If we lived in a society which stressed the unimportance of having personal space or possessions, the law would probably reflect that. I admit Im probably being a little philosophical here, but consider the alternatives.

    Laws should not (in my obviously not consulted opinion) be created to shape society, especially in ways that are non-intuitive to the average person, and benefit only a small minority. By this, I mean that the vast majority of people out there dont really consider it stealing to trade files and music with one another. That such copying is immoral has been propagandized by the software (remember MSFT circa early 1980s?) and entertainment industries for many many years. When this propaganda failed to sway the behaviour and sentiment of the public, they resorted to pushing through unfair laws to force us to obey.

    I, for one, think that people, even in government, are mostly fair and intelligent. Companies will change or companies will fade. Once pocketbooks are hit, eyes will open.
  • by pogen ( 303331 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @04:32AM (#396534) Homepage
    Poster A: The problem is that when every country in the world has passed the DMCA there's nowhere left to go

    Poster B: I doubt that'll happen. Once it gets down to a few, then suddenly freedom of communication will become a viable competitive factor for nations

    I hope you're right, but I fear you're wrong. Once it gets down to a few, they may find that no one will trade with them, which would be a pretty strong incentive to adopt the DMCA.

  • by s00bf153 ( 306906 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @11:14PM (#396535)
    When the Internet was first created, it was intended to be used to exchange the ideas and work of universitys and promote a better intellectual solidarity. Now it's intitial purpose has been thwarted, and it's subject to the whims of the commercial world. Governments pandying to the big companies propogate this, leaving the true enthusiasts/intellectuals behind. With the internet, we have an opportunity to do something that is unprecedented. We have freedom of speech, freedom to exchange and express ideas. We have anonymity, free from racial and social predjudices, where people can only judge us by what we say and think, not where we come from and how we look. Why must we abandon this to shallow commercialism. Thats what we have TV for, right?

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