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Europe To Adopt Strict Internet Copyright Law 203

sydb writes: "The EU has adopted what looks like the equivalent of the US DMCA. Details are here. One effect of these laws is to make it illegal to break encryption on copyright material. Depressing news." The EU seems to have discovered not only the Information Society (their caps) but has provided "a detailed exhaustive list of exceptions to the reproduction right and right of communication to the public ... the list is exhaustive which means that no other exception may be applied."
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Europe To Adopt Strict Internet Copyright Law

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    We can always have someone do the actual "breaking" of the encryption somewhere else where nobody cares. Once a utility is written to decrypt it, are you still "breaking" it? If that is the case, your breaking the encryption every time you use said product.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    from the link:
    However, as far as private copying is concerned, the quality and quantity of private copying and the growth of electronic commerce all mean that there should be greater protection for rightholders in digital recording media (whereby unlimited numbers of perfect copies may be made rapidly).In certain limited cases, where rightholders have made the means available, private copying may be carried out.

    Let's see those MFs enforce that. All it takes is another crack of some digital media format but done by AC this time. Long live th' underground! Makes me want to spread that much more DVD-movies-on-CDs with cracking, ripping, encoding and burning proggies bundled.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well I've never used Napster and I don't believe that I've "stolen" any copyrighted material for a long, long time (I've got some audio casettes that I recorded from the radio 20-odd years ago around somewhere, I think, that may be illegal), but despite that, I think that this is a BAD THING.

    The Right to Fair Use is an important balance to the privilege granted by society of allowing creators to charge money for things that don't have a physical presence. It's what allows you to legally tell your friend about the film you saw last night. It allows you to use your VCR to record a TV program to watch at a more convenient time. It allows people to write reviews. It allows me to create back-ups of material I legally own.

    The ridiculous thing is that illegal copying ("piracy") is already illegal. Even without the DMCA, if I start duplicating DVDs other than for Fair Use, I'm breaking the law and can be prosecuted. There's nothing stopping the Music Industry et al from telling the police about people copying stuff illegally (whether the police would bother doing anything about it is another matter) or just suing them (they went after Napster rather than the Napster users, but they didn't need the DMCA to do so). What these kind of extra laws say is "The rights of the copyright holders are more important than the rights of the public, so we're going to give the copyright holders the ability to prevent the public exercising their rights so they can make money more easily."

    The whole issue of copyrights is about creating a balance. I personally feel that there's not much balance when a creator is able to retain total control over what they create for the rest of their life plus 95 years, and are legally allowed to prevent me incorporating any portion of that work into a review of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Simple, to watch a DVD on an unauthorized player. Many of us believe that we should be able to buy a DVD and watch it on Linux. The MPAA's view is we bought the right to view that DVD on a player that they authorized. There copy protection and the DMCA make it legal for them to hold that position. This trend continues into other avenues including software and telivision. With digital TV, they may eliminate the right to record. With software, instead of selling you an overpriced copy of Office, Microsoft will pobably force you to rent it. Our rights as consumers are getting pummeled because of the fear of copyright infringement. Either get informed now or suffer the consequences later.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What we are really talking about in this EU law and the DMCA is the ability to form access cartels by forcing laws regarding copyright and specifically copying into access and (fair) use.

    I suppose the same judge that once ruled that a program executed was a form of copyright violation not permitted by fair use because it "loaded" a "copy" of the image from media into memory would also declair the brain illegal for forming copyies of "protected works" that are read/viewed/heard, etc. This reasoning appears to be the base philosophy of these so called recent "copyright" acts.

    While we could talk about how copright is not actually a right at all, but a priledged that could OPTIONALLY be granted to encourage production of new works, and hence no such thing or right as "intellectual property" actually exists, at least in the US constitution, but that can be saved for another day. Today I wish to write about access cartels.

    The idea of an access cartel is that all works must be secured in some manner against the potential of piracy. To do this, all media and all means of using media must hence be secured. This can be done by issuing certificates for CPRM schemes, or other means that may eventually be MANDATED in law. He who (or they that) control such systems have a cartel on what works of ANY kind may be permitted to be distributed in a given media.

    The idea of requiring all executables to be signed with an authorized Microsoft or Microsoft authorized "partner" issued certificate is of course a form of access cartel.

    While copyright holders have some concerns over so called piracy, access controls do not benefit them in the long run, except to restrict the number of indipendent works that might be created and otherwise distributed. The fundimental flaw with an enforced access control regime is that some copyright holds may not wish or want these so called "protections" offered by access cartels, much like the grocer does not really wish or require the "protection" offered by the neighborhood thug.

    So imagine if you will a future world of access cartels. Oh, you wish to publish a program, well you can get your authorized access certificate to "permit" 10K copies to be legally created and executed, at $X. price. Ah, but you write free software, and permit UNLIMITED copying. Well, that requires the $special$ $unlimited$ cirtificates to permit your program to be used. Well, the idea is clear.

    Where are fair use rights in this? Or the idea of public domain? Well public domain works are untrusted works to an access cartel. Being public domain, any "legitimate" publisher could pick up and re-publish a public domain work by registering for access certificates to distribute it. But of course access cartels are the personal friend of copyright cartels and other kinds of monopolists. What does this mean for individuals who own their own works and wish to distribute, or wish to distribute works in the public domain?

    Well, note that the access cartel doesn't directly interfere with the notion or right to copy a public domain or private work, or to create a work. It simply interfers with the otherwise obvious right to access a work one ownes, copied, etc, and this is something so obvious that copyright law says nothing about it directly in any historical context I have heard of. The very nature of copyright implies and always had assumed one could access what is copied and personally owned. Consider it the mother of loopholes. I consider it a basic human right.

    Do not let those who wish to form the new cartels of the future take away your rights to what you own.

  • You may wish to try one of the recent builds [] of Mozilla []. Using a recent build, I've posted many comments to Slashdot (including this one) without problem.

    Alex Bischoff
  • I seriously question whether you are correct. I create quite a lot of stuff really, and what I am seeing is this: the content-control industries are steadily changing the ground rules to over-ride my right to set MY OWN terms on the stuff I create. I'm looking at potential situations where I no longer have the right to authorize people to copy MY OWN stuff, or even where I am effectively blocked from distributing any 'created' stuff of my own to anyone else without going through content control cartels. Understandably, I am _dismayed_, though I don't know much else to do other than to charge ahead trying to create more stuff while I still have any right to do so at all, in hopes I'll be remembered when the hammer falls.
  • If I produce a CD or game, and on the CD or game for reasons of my own (competitiveness? establishing goodwill?) I write, "You have full permission to copy this CD/game noncommercially as much as you want and distribute it as long as you're not selling it", which law holds? Are you saying that my own ability to dictate my own terms for distribution of my own CD/game automatically trumps any such law? I wish I had your touching faith in the inherent logic and common sense of law.

    The simple fact (as you put it) is that I really don't trust the law to protect _MY_ interests. I think it is all too likely that the content control cartels will more or less make all 'copying' punishable by death or prison (review the punishments of the DMCA again), and completely fail to consider that there might be anybody in the world who would WANT to give their 'fans' or 'users' such freedoms to proliferate the material without pay to the creator, or profit to the distributor.

    Because... the simple fact is, anyone doing this with permission of the content creator is not only operating outside the cartel, they are legitimizing that content creator as COMPETITION. What with the internet and all, such a cartel is potentially threatened, people could choose to buy or download something else. The only option for the cartel is to actually act as a government, and take on (indirectly) the ability and desire to punish, imprison, or kill people who do not obey it. And so we are getting legislation to do just that, and it's not a joke, and your assumption that a market exists (of cartel and non-cartel goods) is _wildly_ speculative. I don't approve of your making this suggestion: it's not your 'air supply' being cut off, it's mine. This is not your fight.

    Again, the nasty part here is the way the cartel overrides, not consumer rights, but my rights as a potentially competing content producer. I think it would be tragic if, say, Audio CDs were outlawed and I could no longer legally produce them, but I think that is unlikely. By contrast, with the DMCA as precedent, it is quite likely and possible that legislation could be passed so that copying/mp3ing of the same Audio CDs gets _imprisonment_. In this context, I could attempt to extend permission for fans to copy MY OWN CDs, have them try to do so, and be responsible for seeing my own fans put IN PRISON for violating rules that I do not control and cannot override. And that is quite intolerable...

    If I release a DVD with a statement on it that says "I as the copyright holder authorise using DeCSS on this DVD and ripping it and posting it on the internet", and my fan does that, can you guarantee that my fan does not go to prison for ten years? I think you can't make any such promises. I as the copyright holder am not the boss. It is the cartel getting ready to put people in prison, and it would be more than happy to have an excuse to put the fans of its competition in prison for ten years. I _dare_ you to find, in the DMCA or any of this legislation, anything to suggest that noncommercial copying and distribution can be authorised by the copyright holder even if desired...

  • Fine. Agreed. Granted (and I'm an American- well, apart from voting for Nader and being pretty socialist-anarchist).

    So, are you going to keep it up or are you gonna follow our bad example? If things go much farther, it'll be you guys fighting to keep the world safe from us... though for the first time I'm aware of, the entities putting people in prison for ten years etc etc. are NOT GOVERNMENTS. So you'd be fighting us, not because America itself is inherently a bad country, but because we have too willingly become the private police force of agencies that seek to seize domination all over the world.

    Damn. It really is our turn to wear the brown shirt, isn't it? How far will it go? It makes me ashamed to live where I do.

  • Actually, there are plenty of criminals that authorities that would "love dead". Yet they still manage to survive. While it might be considerably more difficult to stand up to police or even up to armies when you are a lone idiot or crockpot, the organized criminal organizations are actually still quite successful despite of centuries of attempt by governments to stomp them out.

    Usually, cops only win due to the fact that they are facing weak, stupid and a completely an organized foe.

    Show just a little discipline and cops start to quickly panic.
  • Unfortunately (?), Europe does not have your constitution. In Britain, at least, copyright does not exist to encourage artists to create works that will soon enter the public domain. It is there because of a 'moral right' for an artist to control his own work.

    There is no fundamental right that the public should eventually benefit from it. That is an invention of the US's founding fathers, who objected to the British copyright laws.

  • Well, it's now a week later, but anyway I'd just like to point out that I don't agree with the British justification for copyright; I merely point out that arguing against proposed EU laws by discussing the motives of the USA's founding fathers is, frankly, idiotic.
  • The EU commissioners are turning ever more into a bunch of corporate lackies. I'd like to say dinosaurs, but unfortunately there is no meteorite in sight yet.

    Perhaps one of these insane laws they regularly bring in will tip the balance into revolt by member states, because the people never get to vote on any of this nonsense and one day it's going to be more than they can stand. We're quite good at removing the heads of leaders overawed by their own self-importance, if you look back in history. Unfortunately, in the UK we don't have a Constitution so it's difficult to fight anything on any basis, but perhaps the other EU states will not have that problem.
  • The UK has a constitution. It's just not written and means essentially what Parliament says it means (no power of judicial review), which in turn equates into what the majority party says it means, which in turn equates to what Tony Blair says it means.

    In other words, the UK has no constitution.
  • I have the right to make fair use of the material that I own or have legal access to. I am therefore a rightholder in regard to all those DVDs on my shelf.

    Another interesting fallout will be what sort of CSS-bypassing facilities the MPAA is going to ship over here to the colleges and libraries.

  • I maintain that if DeCSS had made an actual DVD player instead of just something that removes the CSS encoding, they would have been okay, as obviously the main purpose is to play video...
    Not in the EU, because "rightholders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices. A more flexible solution in this regard would have carried a greater risk of abuse and piracy".
  • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @09:26AM (#298916) Homepage Journal
    I can't think of any reason why you would want to break the encryption on copyrighted materials.
    1. Eventually the copyrighted materials will enter the public domain. DVDs of old movies will do so in the forseeable future. When this happens, I will want to be able to produce copies at that point.

    2. I find encryption fascinating, and am interested in pushing the state of the art in encryption technologies. Studying the weaknesses of existing systems for myself is a good way to learn.

    3. I want to show portions of several movies from DVD as part of a presentation on special effects techniques. I need the high quality DVD provides to show little details often lost in a VHS copy. I want to be assemble short clips I can show side by side.

    All of these are legal (in terms of copyright) and ethical. All of these are important freedoms and rights. All are effectively prohibited due to anti-circumvention laws.

  • surely the solution is to encrypt or use other naming foolery at either end ... someone postulated elswehere on /. that if fair portion of the net's traffic were to suddenly become encrypted, then it would become next too impossible to monitor effectively.

    Rmember that we are still doing the equivalent of sending stuff around without an envelope.... crazy, really..

  • This has got to be a troll, but I'll bite.

    How about fair use? We're legally allowed to utilize copyrighted material freely in a variety of ways, including excerpts, educational use, etc. None of that is stealing, and all of it is protected by law.

    The DMCA, and now the EU regulation, is effectively eliminating provisions for fair use, which should be protected. I suspect that this will eventually end up in the Supreme Court, and I predict that they'll strike it down for that very reason.

    Note, that I don't agree that they should outlaw encryption - there's no law saying it has to be easy to get your excerpts. But outlawing any attempt to exercise your fair use rights is deplorable.
  • Except that P&LI isn't on Hack.

    But they could listen to "Mirrorshades" all they wanted then.
  • From [] (emphasised by me):

    From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:

    Theft \Theft\ (?), n.

    1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

    Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief. See Larceny, and the Note under Robbery.

    2. The thing stolen. [R.] If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, . . . he shall restore double. --Ex. xxii.

  • There's the rub. If you can get a lot of people on your side, then you don't even need the guns. That's the real battleground - the minds of others.
  • You must use a *licensed* player for DVDs. The use of DeCSS is illegal, even if the action for which it is used is legal.

    umm... no. DeCSS is presented as an access control mechanism, whose circumvention is prohibited.

    This only applies to copying. You may use DeCSS and any other descrambling technology (under this law, at least) as long as you do not make non-technical copies.

  • "The EU seems to have discovered not only the Information Society (their caps)[...]"

    Wow! I have also discovered the Information Society!

    "I wanna know!"
    "What you're thinking!"
    "Tell me what's on your mind!"
    "(Pure Energy!)"
  • A ruling that said some bananas couldn't be sold because they were too straight and a ruling that certain apples (Granny Smith's, a popular English variety) couldn't legally be called apples because they were too small.
    Something tells me these people have WAY too much time on their hands.
    Still, once people catch on that you can't lend something out anymore, you'll see the end of 'group buys' from people on a low budget making a purchase where one couldn't on their own, no peer copying and learning, then purchasing when someone gets used to a product.
    Many products have only BEEN so successful because it was possible to copy them, thus allowing them to saturate the market. And eventually, a good quantity of these people end up making a purchase they otherwise would never have considered.
    This law, like the DMCA will eventually stomp all the newer, heavily protected stuff, because people simply don't get the 'preview' of it in action.
    No confidence and familiarity==no reason to by speculatively (except in a lot fewer cases of people wanting the newest).
    In the end, methinks the older tech will end up being used far past what the manufacturers wish, to keep their turnover going, just to avoid these rules.
    So, either they back down, or they go out of business.


  • Name the legislator. Let's vote the idiot out of office.

    I'm serious; I have no more patience for technoretards who legislate about technology without clue one about what they're doing. We need to put our votes and our dollars behind people who know more about technology than how to play solitaire.

    After the CDA passed, I had a chance to thank Paul Simon (D-IL) for his vote against CDA. He didn't have a clue what I was talking about. He voted against the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 because he thought it would stiffle competition. He had no idea that title V of that Act contained broad, odious and (it turns out) unconstitutional censorship provisions. And this guy was one of the most respected legislators in the US Senate.

    These are the people who are making up the rules we have to play by. Enough is enough; we have to punish legislators for their cluelessness by supporting their opponents and voting them out of office. Maybe then some of them will at least hire a compitent staffer to advise them on technology matters.

    ObJectBridge [] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • You could be a nut like me and work towards making a data haven. Get enough people to join your collective and you will have some clout. Even if you don't have enough people to influence the law you can all move into the same physical space so you are hard to just arrest. Get enough of the worlds data on networks inside your haven and they are unlikely to just cut your access off.

    We're the techie wizards. Force some suits to try to keep up with the tech themselves and it won't take long before they start to listen to what we say. :)

    Hehe or maybe I've just read to many books. :)
  • Take 75% of the websites in the US and put it in a data haven (not to hard to manage actually.. cheap service with high security has a lot to offer average business and web sites) and it's unlikely the US would cut the connection to that haven. You just have to make the haven respectable enough that anyone who cut itself off would be doing more harm to themselves than the have.

    Maybe with so many geeks suddenly finding the job market less friendly they'll be more likely to be stubborn and start their own companies and such rather than kiss ass to take a lower paying job. Surely some geeks out there must have some nerve. What else does playing Quake or Half Life for 36 hours a day train us for? :)
  • by Panaflex ( 13191 ) <convivialdingo AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @08:16AM (#298928)
    "The media is not a trust this must be destinctly understood. No one group of people meet in a smoke filled room and decide your fate. It just dosn't work that way at all."

    Well, actually in a way it is. You see, these days media doesn't actually investigate anything. They use official statements!

    In other words, the PR machine of our Government is the best anti-media medicine ever. People are inherently LAZY and will take a decent PR spokeman or article over an interview 90% of the time. (I know, I was in the industry for a few years.).

    Besides that, the composition of our journalist is extremly one-sided. Typical liberal attitudes are played well by the PR spokeman. Not only that, but journalist are increasingly more worried about getting "their point of view" and criticism out than reporting the news, and most importantly they never ask how it affects YOU.

    And to be final, American people work alot of hours... when their not working, their vegitables. When people worked agriculture, there was ALOT of time to sit, read, and analyze politics. No time for that now!

    And to compound that, governemt is getting bigger and producing tons and tons more information. Try keeping up on a daily basis with an in-depy coverage of the house floor. (Just a hint, the last house passed more legislation than any session before).

    And if you did do all of this, well you would be considered a freak.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @08:51AM (#298929) Homepage
    Full Text Of The Directive []

    A few of the more heinous provisions:

    Section 26: (paraphrased, full text below)
    Making analog backup copies for personal use is fine. Making digi tal backup copies for personal use is not.

    Section 27: (paraphrased, full text below)
    Even if the media holder has a legal right to access the content, that media holder may not circumvent cryptographic protections in the medium to access the content.
    IE: You must use a *licensed* player for DVDs.
    IE: The use of DeCSS is illegal, even if the action for which it is used is legal.

    Section 28: (paraphrased, full text below)
    Lending libraries are a good thing, and should continue to exist; however, they must move their books around in meatspace.

    On the upside:
    Section 38: (paraphrased, full text below)
    In 2 years we should sift through the wreckage.

    Whereas Member States should be allowed to provide for an exception to the reproduction right for certain types of reproduction of audio, visual and audio-visual material for private use, accompanied by fair compensation in certain cases; whereas this may include the introduction or continuation of remuneration schemes to compensate for the prejudice to rightholders; whereas, although differences between those remuneration schemes affect the functioning of the Internal Market, those differences, with respect to analogue private reproduction, should not have a significant impact on the development of the Information Society; whereas digital private copying is likely to be more widespread and have a greater economic impact; whereas a distinction should therefore be made between digital private copying and analogue private copying and whereas the conditions of application should in both cases be harmonised to a certain extent; whereas it is of particular importance, in the case of digital private copying, that all rightholders receive fair compensation ";

    Whereas, when applying the exception on private copying, Member States should take due account of technological and economic developments, in particular with respect to digital private copying and remuneration schemes, when effective technological protection measures are available; whereas such exceptions should not inhibit the use of technological measures or their enforcement against circumvention;

    Whereas Member States may provide for an exception for the benefit of establishments accessible to the public, such as non-profit-making libraries and equivalent institutions; whereas, however, this should be limited to certain special cases covered by the reproduction right; whereas such an exception should not cover uses made in the context of on-line delivery of protected works or other subject matter; whereas this Directive should be without prejudice to Member States' option to derogate from the exclusive public lending right in accordance with Article 5 of Council Directive 92/100/EEC of 19 November 1992 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property, as amended by Directive 93/98/EEC; whereas, therefore, specific contracts or licences should be promoted which, without creating imbalances, favour such establishments and the disseminative purposes they serve;

    Whereas, after a period of two years following the date of implementation of this Directive, the Commission should report on its application; whereas this report should examine in particular whether the conditions set out in the Directive have resulted in ensuring a proper functioning of the Internal Market, and should propose action if necessary,
  • You're assuming that their goals are anything similar to yours. I don't think that the evidence bears this out. In so far as I have been able to determine, the purpose of the DMCA, and allied pieces of legislature, e.g., UCITA, are to foster the creation of a centralized authority. To this end, they are so designed that a small business will not be able to use them to protect itself. They will be too expensive. This is based on the US version, but I presume that provisions of similar effect will be in place in the European version.

    Consider this a prediction for testing, after the fashion of an experimental test. If it is wrong, then the theory behind it is wrong.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • The "art" of politics goes against everything it is supposed to be about. Rather than truly representing the people, it is a game of compromising values. The biggest players are not even in office. They are the media. It was a trip to hear clips taken during the Clinton scandel. Hearing them back to back over a matter of minutes showed just how much a change had taken place and the change was accomplished through the media. The first clips were of democrats stating that if there was any truth to the sex scandel then Clinton should be immediately removed from office, then there is the slow slide to the point of "everyone does it."Locally, we recently had elections where the incumbant lost. The incumbant lost because people were fed up with the spend and tax mentality of the city commission (yes, the actually spend the money before they even have a source for it). But to read the local paper you would think the election was about ecology and anti-republican whiplash from the presidential race. Check out the editorial page and you find in the small paragraphs a different picture than the front page stories. Everyone is complaining about the way things are being railroaded over the community without any real representation from our own elected officials. Still the media machine pounds forward with its lies. After a while people will start to accept the newspaper view and the people will adjust just like they did for Clinton.The media speaks loudest and thus we are silenced and demonized (no offence BSD).
  • I do not believe there should be laws against harming yourself, that's your choice and you should have to also bear the consequences of the actions rather than have a governmental body tell you what you must do (seatbelt laws come to mind here along with motorcycle helmets.)

    I'm all for that too, but I'd like it to work in reverse.

    If you get into an accident, are injured or killed in a manner that wearing a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet would've prevented those injuries, and no third party is involved/negligent, you forfeit your right to sue.

    In other words, if you slam into a tree and get paralyzed, and your paralysis was preventable by wearing a seatbelt, you would be unable to sue the landowners for, say, the tree being too close to the road or something similar.

    I'll completely for the right of somebody to choose to wear a helmet or seatbelt, but I'm also for that person to have to bear the responsibilities those rights confer. What angers me is that so many people want it both ways: they want the right to be able to wear a seatbelt, but they also want the "right" to escape responsibility by suing anyone and everyone in sight for their own actions.

  • Therefore he is justified in making whatever choice he feels the safest.

    I can (almost) unequivocably state that wearing a seatbelt, or helmet, is safer than not wearing one. Yes, there have been cases where seatbelts have caused death, but the overwhelming statistical evidence is that seatbelts, helmets, and other safety devices not only lessen the injuries a person receives, but in some cases prevents injuries entirely. Therefore, I think it's safe to say that not wearing a helmet or seatbelt is relatively reckless behaviour, with only a handful of mitigating factors (for instance, some people are just too physically large to wear seatbelts; a 350 lb. man probably isn't going to be able to wear one, even if he wanted to).

    As a result, there is usually a disparity between injuries that you could suffer with a safety device versus injuries that you could suffer without. A person wearing a helmet might get a concussion; a person not wearing a helmet might be permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Similarly, a person wearing a seatbelt might suffer whiplash; a person not wearing one might sail through the windshield at 70mph.

    Therefore, I think it's worthwhile to analyze each individual case to see whether the presence of a safety device would have made a difference in the injuries suffered by the person had s/he been wearing one. This can be done by any trained medical professional, as the results of most common accidents are rather understood these days - between a coroner and/or doctor, and police officer, a pretty good idea of what might have happened to the victim, had s/he been wearing said device, can be created.

    When the medical expenses are paid for, or the court judgement entered in (should the victim sue and successfully win for the "reimbursement" of those medical expenses and/or damages), that analysis of what-happened vs. what-was-likely-to-happen should be taken into full account, and the damages modified accordingly. If Joe Average, wearing nothing, suffered paralysis and will require $3,000,000 USD in medical expenses for the rest of his life, but would've only required $500,000 had s/he been wearing his seatbelt/helmet/whatever, then s/he should only get $500,000. Depending on the likelihood of injuries, this sum could be modified; if it was only marginally likely that the person could've suffered lesser injuries, perhaps he would get $2,500,000. If it was a virtual certainty he would have suffered lesser injuries, then the $500,000 sum would be more appropriate. (As you say, there's no way to "prove" what his injuries might have been, hence the comparisons to other accidents, talking to knowledgeable professionals, etc.)

    If it was proven that the individual's injuries would have been greater by wearing a device than without, then he gets the full amount, unfettered. (Same goes for if he was simply lucky, and suffered much lighter injuries than would be expected.)

    In this way, s/he is allowed to accept the responsibility for their decision to not wear a safety device. This has no effect on punitive damages; if somebody put tire spikes in the road to cause an accident or other malady, and that person was brought to court, found guilty, and forced to pay our victim $40,000,000, then regardless of whether that victim was wearing a helmet/seatbelt or not, s/he would get the full $40,000,000. But the victim should be held accountable for his or her actions (or lack thereof) when considering medical expenses.

    In other words, the victim cannot (or should not) have his/her cake and eat it too. They should not be able to act in a reckless manner and still expect society to reward his recklessness. If you choose to act in a reckless manner, then you should be forced to accept the responsibilities of that choice. What I see /now/ is a lot of people who want to act carelessly, and then expect the rest of us to "reward" their behaviour in the form of footing their entire medical bills.

  • Ahhh, but the only way to get in is to become one of them. And to do that you have to sell your soul to the 'vested interests'.

    Yep. or you'll be bullied by other corrupt congressman into doing what they want, anyway. :\
  • by BilldaCat ( 19181 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:02AM (#298935) Homepage
    writing comments on Slashdot complaining about it is definetly the right way to go to try and fix things.

    I've written letters to my congressman (and yes, I realize this article is discussing Europe, but we have the DMCA to deal with here), but as expected all I got back was the standard blow off form letter.

    Face it, we're screwed. If you don't like it.. get into politics and try and change it. Change isn't going to happen from the outside, because too many people are ignorant/don't care about the issue.
  • Yes, because the point is, they didn't discover it on theri own; you gave them an explicit instruction & tool to violate the control mechanism. Your intent was clear.
  • Not really.

    According to the DMCA, anyway... it's not enough that the thing *could* be used to circumvent protection.. it's when it's primary purpose is to do so.

    So if I make a device, like a video stabilizer for removing macrovision protection.... if I'm selling a video stabilizer, I might be okay. It *does* have legitimate uses.

    If I advertise 'remove macrovision! copy macrovision protected movies with our device!'...then it's fair to say that the purpose for this device existing is to circumvent copy protection, making it illegal.

    I maintain that if DeCSS had made an actual DVD player instead of just something that removes the CSS encoding, they would have been okay, as obviously the main purpose is to play video...
  • To skip the commercials at the start of many DVDs.

    Or, do you like being forced to watch commercials on media that you payed for?

    But all 'compliant' DVD players (which they have to be to get decryption codes) disable the navigation controls during the forced advertisements.

    If you use DeCSS you can view the movie with a non-compliant player.
  • by WNight ( 23683 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @09:59AM (#298939) Homepage
    Copyrights are intended to be a *limited term* monopoly. Certain uses are also intended to be allowed with those works, quoting, etc.

    By making copyrights essentially unlimited in term (longer than the average human lives) and still increasing them, as well as trying to remove the rights of people to quote and copy for non-infringing purposes, that limited monopoly gets a lot less limited.

    That monopoly was granted with the idea that the public (government) would protect the work to encourage production in trade for the public's small use (quotes, etc) and eventual full use of the work.

    That trade is no longer in place, you'll never have access to a work released during your life, and you don't have any ability to use the works in a legal manner.

    So why are you paying taxes for the police forces that protect those right?

    It not like a property crime, where the law exists to ensure that nothing is taken from the original creator. Information can be copied, so the creator still has the work. But they also have a nearly unlimited government monopoly preventing anyone else from having it as well.

    In any contract I've heard of, both parties have to uphold their end of the bargain or it's void. The content publishers aren't living up to their end of the bargain... (And no, bribing politicians doesn't form a new agreement.)

    I will support any technological measures necessary to remove any access control measures from media. By preventing a consumers legal access to media they purchased, these companies are defaulting on their copyright contract. If the politicians won't do anything about it, the people will.

  • Fair use includes things like reviews, criticism, satire, etc. What IP owner would willingly allow fair use if it may make them look bad?
  • To convert it to another format to use on a different playback media

    To write my own viewer

    To allow me to view a work as I choose

    All very essential requirements for the blind. Converting to braille, text-to-speech, or very large print are routinely done today for convential media of all sorts, and these should continue for the future.

  • Section 26: (paraphrased, full text below) Making analog backup copies for personal use is fine. Making digi tal backup copies for personal use is not.

    Ok, so what is really the definition of "analog"? I mean, everything is kind of "analog" at the lowest level, right (set aside things on the quantum level)?

    Problem solved! :)

  • Secondly, the Directive provides that rightholders either voluntarily or by way of agreements with other parties have to provide those who would benefit from a particular exception e.g. schools, libraries in the case of teaching, with the means to do so.

    Which means that the MPAA has to give schools and libraries access to a DeCSS program of some sort. This could lead to interesting thing :)
  • What does xor-encrytion-as-trade-secrets have to do with copyright protection and circumvention mechanisms?
  • Your parents say not to take them because you are fat. There are many things parents may do to their children that it would be illegal for an adult to do to another adult.

    Throwing insults around doesn't make you right, either. It simply shows one's maturity.
    Genius dies of the same blow that destroys liberty.
  • So how does having guns help you avoid it?
    • Yes
    No. Maybe.
    Remember that this is not legislation, only a dirtective, and it depends on how this is framed into law.

    The dvd consortium attacked decss by claiming that it violated a trade secret. Cue cat hired a lot of lawyers, and fired off a lot of threatening letters, but at the end of the day didn't have a leg to stand on. Even their lawyers weren't mad enough to enter a courtroom and argue that a one byte xor was a trade secret.

    It really is far to soon to judge whether a tool to crack such a simple obfuscation could be attacked under the legislation that may well not become law for another year and a half.


  • by barracg8 ( 61682 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:28AM (#298948)
    • Technical copies on the net
      The Directive provides an obligatory exception for service providers, telecommunications operators and certain others in limited circumstances for particular acts of reproduction which are considered technical copies. A satisfactory balance has been found for what has been an extremely controversial issue. There are many conditions to be fulfilled before the exemption applies. In particular, those acts of reproduction have to form an essential part of a technological process and take place in the context of a transmission in a network. The Directive ensures therefore that there will be effective operation of the World Wide Web for those who place copyrighted material on the net and those who transmit or carry such material.
    So caching web proxies are exempt - now this is a only an EU directive, not a piece of legislation, so we will have to wait and see how this is drafted into law in individual countries, but there might be a nice big loophole for freenet [] here :-)


  • 1984, were a few years behind. ------ you cant rape the willing

  • Um... yeah...

    CueCat Scanners.
  • This is like buying a box with a lock on it, and the seller says you're not allowed to open it.

    This raises the following questions:
    1. Why ru buying this stupid locked box then?
    2. Why is the seller selling you the box if it's so important to them that it's not opened ever?
    3. What if they forgot to lock the box?
    4. If you called the locksmith, would you or the locksmith be liable?

  • Actually, in the US they already have people lobbying that libraries should have to pay per copy for electronic books etc. If that goes thru, the exceptions in the EU may come down too..

  • (Usual IANAL disclaimer apply)

    Well, actually, they do: the EU (or is it the Council of Europe?) has created a Human Rights Court, which is open to any European citizen.

    If you (assuming "you" is a European citizen) believes your human rights have been violated by your (European) government, you have the right to appeal to the European Court of Justice -- but only after all legal recourse have exhausted in your country, which means quite a few years of legal fight.

    Since "Free Speech" is a part of the Human Rights, I do believe a local European hacker would have a right to appeal to this court, especially since the study of, say, a copy-protection scheme would probably be within the limits of free speech, right to teach, (computer) research, etc...

    So, yes, there is free speech protection within the EU -- it's just that racist remarks and neo-nazi propaganda are not accepted like they are in the US.

    Please note that this is not necessarily easy: one has to go through a national legal fight before being able to appeal to the European Court of Justice. On the other hand, it has proven quite "liberal" (read: reasonable and leaning in the direction of individual freedom) in the past, so there is good hope, as far as I am concerned, that this recommendation will be overturned by a future decision.

    You can find more information on the European Human Rights Court on its website [].

    On the other hand, I may be wildly optimistic... =)
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:14AM (#298954) Homepage Journal
    All right, this is not good.

    However, I can't help but wonder if:
    • This is going to be applied at all. There has been a lot of talks already in the EU about avoiding DMCA-style excess.
    • If this is really going to affect the local law, which tend to allow copying for personal & backup purposes.
    • If this could be attacked in front of the European Court of Justice, especially given the free speech implications. Of course, this last solution means anywhere from 5 to 7 years before any case is reviewed...

    I might add that there is always the possibility of EU legislation, passed in the European Parliament, overturning this recommendation.

    There is also the intriguing possibility that EU-wide protest will make the Commission change its mind pronto, a little bit like the recent protests in France against the proposed media tax...

    Interesting times ahead. Can I still read Slashdot, Mr Commissioner? Pretty please? =)
  • by limpdawg ( 77844 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:06AM (#298955) Homepage Journal
    If I were an author, and I wrote a book and encrypted and allowed people to download it off a website, but sold people the program to decrypt. And if the encryption was only single byte XOR, and somebody cracked it, and released a program that would decrypt XOR encrypted files, and would allow you to enter whatever key you wanted. If they gave out my key along with this program could sue them for what they did? Even if my encryption is incredibly weak is it still legally protected?
  • ...the Directive provides that rightholders either voluntarily or by way of agreements with other parties have to...

    I'm glad that someone knows the meaning of the term 'voluntarily'.

  • On a technical note, those are parts of the proposal, not provisi0ns of the directive. More seriously, some of these paraphrases are very misleading.

    Section 26 does not specify that personal backups should be legal or illegal, either in analogue or digital form. It says that member states may decide to treat them differently. For example, they may choose to allow unlimited personal taping of music, and compensate copyright holders through a tax on blank media, but place stricter limits on MP3 copying.

    Section 27 of the proposal explicitly deals only with copying. The directive explains in many places that it is only concerned with protecting copyright and associated rights, as the WIPO copyright treaty requires. Mind you, I haven't researched the sui generis right in 96/9/EC, and see below for confusion about 'access'.

    Your paraphrase of 28 is reasonable, except that libraries will not be forbidden to transmit digital works internally.

    Other interesting sections are:

    • 30bis, which endorses unlicensed DVD players and cryptographic research:
      (30bis) Whereas such a legal protection should be provided to technological measures that effectively inhibit and/or prevent the infringement of any copyright, rights related to copyright or
      sui generis rights provided by law, without, however, preventing the normal operation of electronic equipment and its technological development; whereas such legal protection implies no obligation to design devices, products, components or services to correspond to technological measures; whereas such legal protection should respect proportionality and should not prohibit those devices or activities which have a commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent the technical protection; whereas, in particular, this protection should not hinder research into cryptography;
    • Article 5.1, which allows, for example, decrypting a DVD in order to play it.
      1. Temporary acts of reproduction referred to in Article 2, such as transient and incidental acts of reproduction which are an integral and essential part of a technological process, including those which facilitate effective functioning of transmission systems, whose sole purpose is to enable use to be made of a work or other subject matter, and which have no independent economic significance, shall be exempted from the right set out in Article 2.
    • The truly bizarre Article 6.3:
      3. The expression "technological measures", as used in this Article, means any technology, device or component that, in the normal course of its operation, is designed to prevent or inhibit the infringement of any copyright or any right related to copyright as provided by law or the
      sui generis right provided for in Chapter III of European Parliament and Council Directive 96/9/EC.
      Technological measures shall be deemed "effective" where the access to or use of a protected work or other subject matter is controlled through application of an access code or any other type of protection process which achieves the protection objective in an operational and reliable manner with the authority of the rightholders. Such measures may include decryption, descrambling or other transformation of the work or other subject matter.
      So a "technological measure" is a system to protect copyright and other legal rights (like a watermark but unlike CSS, for example). This accords with the WIPO copyright treaty and the recent South Australian law, whereas the DMCA and the original draft directive sought to protect access controls which media companies could use to grant themselves arbitrary 'rights'. However, a measure is only deemed "effective", and thus worthy of legal protection, if it also prevents "access ... or use". So anti-copying technology is not legally protected. Anti-use technology is protected, but only if copyright is infringed - and using a work you own in normal ways does not infringe anyone's rights. It looks like you have to restrict both copying and
  • Your question:
    Is this is really going to affect the local law, which tend to allow copying for personal & backup purposes.

    Nope. Exactly that it is about. How to grant the public rights of fair use. And how to balance it in a a way that inventors are encauraged to publish via the internet.

    BTW: I can not et why on 7. you often reffer to free speach.

    Taking something wich is not yours and is protected(and even encrypted) and republishing is not free speach.

    Free Speach is about being allowed to say/express something. Like: I believe in XYZ. Even if you repeat what one else spoke before, its a total different matter.

  • No.

    You are not breaking the law, also not the new intended.

    As long as you do not further distribute it!

    Also you are not allowed to destroy the original "copy" and to distribute your home made decrypted copy.

    However you could make a bitwise copy, destroy the original and give away the copy.

    Thats all what it is about.

  • well, that should get moderated off topic.

    All your arguements are in fact off topic.

    None of them is in conflict with the (intended) new law.

    The point is: for what reason do you decrypt(brak the code)?

    For distribution of decrypted copies? Or for your own personal purpose?

    Your own personal purpose is fair use. period.

    If you are afraid that devices get so hard encrypted that this is no longer possibel to trust them, you should work on establishing peer reviews BEFORE it is shipped into the shops, not after it is.

    For making a copy od the device to compete in a free market: what is that about competition if you do not compete? Try to build it your own, thats competition!

    If you have a test in your class you expect that no one is looking over your shoulders and is writing (with better words?) what you write.

    READING it after the test, thats competition and fair use. Not during the test.


  • Oh yes, how intelligent. The provision for fair use will be granted voluntarily by the copyright holders. I.e. it is no
    different from not having a fair use provision at all.

    Where in the document is the speach about "voluntary"?

    They are legaly FORCED: either to make agreements with universities and schools etc. or to prepare a way to grand tehm fair use which does not interfere with the standard distribution way.


    BTW: as far as I know true fair use does not exist in the U.S. it does in Europe.
  • The Freenet systems are far from complete, BUT THEY ARE GETTING THERE. It is already fully possible to publish a "web"site in a "subspace". Seaching is also in the works, and so is mail, BBSes and other stuff. Graphical clients are being worked on, and non-Java libraries as well.

    And as to "up and running fast", well, under debian (unstable) all you have to do is a "apt-get install freenet", and hey presto, a running freenet node! I haven't tested it on other platforms, but as long as you have a functioning Java-VM, things should work...
  • There is one big difference to DMCA. A directive by the EU is not a law. It has to be adopted (implemented) in local law to become "real".

    So no law yet...
  • The commissionars were almost fired a few years ago because of corruption, but the EU Parliment chickened out in the end.

    The Commission is a giant quango (an unelected government body) appointed by individual EU governments. Such an important role should be directly elected by the public or else the powers should be handed over to the EU parliment.

    This news on copyright law is disgusting. I thought this had recently been ruled out for the EU?
  • All the "provisions" that are shown here are not the text of the directive, it's the justification of the directive. On page 19, the directive really

    One more thing, this directive is aimed at the member states, not the general public (art 13 of the directive, last page of the linked document.

    IT IS NOT A LAW. It is a document that is binding for the member states to make laws that follow this directive and make them enforcable in their jurisdiction. (but sometimes, if a member state not fulfills it's obligation to implement a law, the provisions of the directive that are unambigous and clear can be used in a court of law, but only after the time to implement the measures in the directive is expired.

  • Come to think of it,

    This proposal just may have even worse implications than I initially thought...

    If you study it, wouldn't this make "attempting to repair any electronics device" illegal, WHEN you're not using the schematic ?
    Because, that is reverse-engineering, too.
    Imagine you cannot legally repair your TV by 'reverse-engineering' all the wiring connections.
    I don't think that is so different.

    Where would one draw the line ?
    At age 3, I personally reverse-engineered a flashlight to find that if either the switch, battery or bulb is absent, it won't function. ;-)

  • Before we know the full impact of this, we will have to see how governments incorporate it into their national laws. The directive itself, however bad, could be worse...

    There are two arms to the anti-circumvention provision. One prohibits actual circumvention, the other prohibits distribution of technology designed to enable circumvention to take place.

    The second "thrust" is much looser than the first. For example DeCSS may not be caught by the second arm because its primary purpose is to enable DVDs to be played on Linux, and not circumvention.

    This argument would be made stronger if DeCSS was incorporated into a Linux DVD player, in such a way that the decryption technology was not exposed to the user. As software developers we try to build systems that are as flexible as possible. In this case we need to build an inflexible system. Distribute the source by all means, but make the system a Linux DVD player and nothing else. Lawyers like this sort of thing...

    The first "thrust" prohibits actual circumvention but without exceptions. This is because you might buy something which is, for example, a Linux DVD player and a DVD decryptor. When you come to use it, you will choose which function you are going to employ. If you choose the latter you are breaking the law.

    Now, this does not really change the current situation very much. It is illegal to import foreign releases of films into the EU until there has been a domestic release too. Now it will be illegal to play them as well but so what. You were already breaking the law if you chose to do this.

    Once there has been an EU release, you are no longer circumventing anything by playing the DVD on Linux.

    Of course this is not final, because much depends on how national governments implement the directive. I also don't know how much the courts will buy into this argument. Until there have been a few cases it is difficult to say how a statute will be interpreted. Wait and see...

  • this story is not actually, "EU make attempting to steal something illegal"?

    I must be being stupid here - because apart from taking stuff that you haven't paid for, I can't think of any reason why you would want to break the encryption on copyrighted materials.

    Can anyone tell me otherwise?

  • Amen to that. Sure, some soldiers are just going to be gov't drones, doing whatever they're told. But I am confident that many retain a conscience and a free will and wouldn't bear arms against their own countrymen.

    Of course, that raises the issue that there are too many gov't agencies empowered to wield weapons against the populace already, yet the liberals want to put further restrictions on law-abiding gun-owning citizens. Why is that? Do they really want to live in a police state?

    I have zero tolerance for zero-tolerance policies.

  • by guran ( 98325 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:12AM (#298974)
    ... or what do you say
    "Firstly, rightholders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices. A more flexible solution in this regard would have carried a greater risk of abuse and piracy.

    Secondly, the Directive provides that rightholders either voluntarily or by way of agreements with other parties have to provide those who would benefit from a particular exception e.g. schools, libraries in the case of teaching, with the means to do so. It will be up to Member States to ensure that such means exist."
    (My empasis)

    So, rightholders have legal protection for their encryptions schemes, but they must provide a bypass for "fair use" copies.

  • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:55AM (#298980)
    In some ways it's worse than the DMCA, since it narrowly scopes fair use to schools and libraries only. Private citizens gain no right (or means) to fair use by that provision. Read the next paragraph of that page:

    However, as far as private copying is concerned, the quality and quantity of private copying and the growth of electronic commerce all mean that there should be greater protection for rightholders in digital recording media (whereby unlimited numbers of perfect copies may be made rapidly). In certain limited cases, where rightholders have made the means available, private copying may be carried out.
    Funny how they mention the 'means available' after saying the 'means' will only be required to be 'available' to schools and libraries. If you ask me, that measure wasn't placed to insure fair use, but rather to squelch the kind of support in the academic community against this bill in the EU that there is against the DMCA (which makes no such exemptions for schools and libraries) in the United States. It doesn't protect end users of the copyrighted material, it doesn't protect reporters which might want to use an exerpt of the copyrighted material, it doesn't protect anyone who would want to use portions of the copyrighted material to form a parody.

    The DMCA didn't address any of these things (so they're still up to court interpretation, which is good), and allowed exemptions for interoperability (something the EU directive explicitly does not -- "rightholders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices").

  • by marx ( 113442 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:12AM (#298984)

    The arguments they present are frankly fucking stupid. Here is an excerpt:

    Legal protection of anti-copying devices and exceptions
    This has been amongst the most political and controversial topics of the whole debate. The problem has been how to ensure that an exception e.g. an act of reproduction or copying for illustration for teaching can be made use of where a copyrightholder also has in place an anti-copying device e.g. a digital tracker designed to prevent piracy. Failure to address this would have meant that the exceptions could have been meaningless in some cases. Here too there has been a balanced compromise.
    And here is their argument why there has been a balanced compromise:
    Secondly, the Directive provides that rightholders either voluntarily or by way of agreements with other parties have to provide those who would benefit from a particular exception e.g. schools, libraries in the case of teaching, with the means to do so.

    Oh yes, how intelligent. The provision for fair use will be granted voluntarily by the copyright holders. I.e. it is no different from not having a fair use provision at all.

    I can see why they have produced these law changes though. From the beginning of the document:

    Adoption of the Directive fulfils one of the priority objectives set by the Lisbon European Council as part of the process to preparing the transition to a competitive, dynamic and knowledge-based economy in the EU.

    This goal does not justify removing fair use though, and it certainly does not justify lying about some non-existent compromise. I think they are afraid of being left behind by the US, and have overreacted. Hopefully all this will be revoked as soon as people realize the impact it will have on society (which will probably take 10 years or so, bleh). If anyone knows of any strong opposing forces inside the commision or something similar, please post some links to give us some hope...

  • by e_lehman ( 143896 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @08:15AM (#298998)


    The short answer is that copyright is not an unlimited right. For example, if I purchase a music CD, then I can legally copy it to tape to listen to in the car. Or I can make a copy for a friend, provided I don't do so commercially. As another example, the US Supreme Court has affirmed that I can record a television broadcast to watch it later.

    Of course, large copyright holders would like to destroy such "fair use" rights so that they can double or triple charge for the same material. Since these fair use rights are so well established, their line of attack has been indirect: subvert these established rights by technological means.

    A recent example concerns DVD movies. If you purchase a movie on DVD, you have a legal right to play it on your Linux machine. Except the movie studios try to absolutely prevent you from exercising this right by encrypting the movies.

    Fair enough. But here's the problem: their encryption is a farce, and few believe that any form of encryption can ever succeed in this context. So they get laws like the DMCA passed that make trafficking in programs that subvert their encryption illegal. So you have the right to watch the movie, there are tools that let you watch the movie, but creating or distributing such a tool is illegal. Go figure.

    Furthermore, banning trafficking in such programs has a chilling effect on free speech. For example, I can not post a certain decryption program that is shorter than this paragraph for you here without risking a lawsuit by the motion picture industry. Slashdot is full of people who communicate all day, every day in computer code. Now our essential mode of communication is curtailed so that wealthy execs in the recording and motion picture industry can illicitly rake in more cash. Furthermore, a recent court ruling limits my right even to post a *link* to such a program. We're not talking about pornography or atomic weapons secrets here (both of which I could post), but a little snippet of computer code (which I can not).

    I work in the Theory of Computation Group at MIT. A central activity is the creation and cracking of cryptographic protocols as a scientific endeavor. If a protocol is used to protect any copyrighted material, then is our right to publish a crack in a research journal curtailed? This is not a theoretical problem: on advice of counsel, Edward Felton of Princeton University has refrained from publishing his cracks of several Secure Digitial Music Initiative watermarking systems. I personally know several researchers who have worked on watermarking. Since since the SDMI systems employ a whole spectrum of the techniques, must that entire field of academic research be abandoned? I hope not, but the ground is certainly shaky.

    Yes, opposition to such laws may benefit people who like to swap free music. But these laws also trample on fundamental rights at the same time. When there's a clash between the rights of all citizens and the rights of the oh-so-seedy recording industry, there is no question which ought to prevail. That is why organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are fighting to overturn such laws. And that is why Slashdot is so up in arms. Jealously guarding our basic freedoms is the duty of all citizens in a democracy.

  • I'd suggest the Europeans revolt, but they're a disarmed sheeple, and the massacre would be horrible.

    oh well, at leat I'm an American.

    Last time I checked Americans haven't relovted against the DMCA... with or without guns. What's your point?
  • Funny how the IRA and ETA have been able to wage terrorist campaigns for decades, despite not being able to walk into Walmart and buy high explosives.
  • One of the problems with the EU gov't is they have already decided they know better than 'the people' what is good for them.

    I'm not pretending that I know where you are from, but in a comment; I can't see how this differs so much from the society of the U.S. In all actuality, this is the idea of most governing bodies. If you think about it, the only reason for creating laws (which we are so good at here in the U.S.) is to protect "The People" from themselves or from other people.

    The only type of government where "The People" would be trusted completely is tre communism which would mean there is no government as well as no private ownership of property (side note). I honestly can say that I don't believe this would work. People are selfish by default and without laws to protect us and each other from the selfishness that exists we would be much worse off than we are today.

    Does this mean I think that it isn't going to far? No. Most "politicians" are selfish as well and seek to serve special intrest groups that pump money into their campaign fund. The real problem here in the U.S. is that instead of enforcing the laws that exist, we choose to just make another one. Talk about a catch-22.

    Is there an answer? If there is I don't have it. I'm just here to offer my opinion. And as always...

    Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
  • by clare-ents ( 153285 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @08:18AM (#299004) Homepage

    Reasons to break encryption on copyrighted materials :

    To convert it to another format to use on a different playback media
    [e.g. to decrypt audio to allow me to burn a CD to play in my discman]
    [e.g. to covert a DVD to VHS to allow me to watch it on the upstairs TV]
    [e.g. to view an e-book on my palm pilot]

    To generate an archive
    [e.g. to convert all my e-books to plain text so I can search them automatically]
    [e.g. to extract the lyrics from my online music collection to allow me to search them]

    To write my own viewer
    [e.g. to write a DVD decoder that allows me to fastforward through the adverts]
    [e.g. to rewrite an audio player to do soundprocessing on the way to my soundcard to fake surround sound / EQ the frequency response for my speakers]

    To allow me to quote from a work
    [e.g. To produce a comparison of two e-books by quoting the relevant passages]

    To allow me to view a work as I choose
    [e.g. To allow me to snapshot individual frames of a cartoon to find out how it was drawn.]

    To make a security copy of the media
    [e.g. to copy a CD incase of theft of the original]

    To copy off a friend to replace a destroyed copy
    [e.g. to replace a CD with a CDR burnt from a friend who owns the same album after the dog ate mine]

    The story is

    EU makes it legal for copyright holders to enforce arbitrary restrictions on what you are allowed to do with media you paid for.
  • >I can't think of any reason why you would want to break the encryption on copyrighted materials.

    I can. Consider these future devices (most already designed), currently "in the works":

    - Cars that drive themselves
    - Telephones you can talk to (literally) to phone people
    - Quarter sized audio discs for cheap audio players

    And these, already manufactured and "consumerized", devices:

    - Digital LCD monitors
    - Digital speaker systems
    - Colour photocopiers
    - Digital GPS receivers
    - DBS receivers and Digital VCRs / TVs

    Now, why do these matter? Because I think I should be able to:

    - Drive where I want, when I want, and as safe as I want. To do that, I would like uninvolved, unsponsored, third party reviews on the car controlling computer software, which can't happen under this law.
    - I want to phone who I want, when I want, without others eavesdropping. How can I trust the telephone company's digital encryption when I can't even try to break it myself?
    - I want to play my audio on a high end system, and have it sound GOOD. Those players will be likely be crap for sure, and since no third party can manufacture a competing player, none will ever be made.

    - I want to watch anything I want, and create any art I want. With encrypted digital monitor technology, the company owning the encryption could literally tell you they won't license you to use your computer to do these things should they disagree with you or your morals.
    - I want to listen to my music where and when I want, and I want to be able to design good sounding speaker systems. Can't do that with encrypted signals, as a private user I'll never be licensed to decrypt the signals.
    - I want to be able to take the part of the code out of my colour photocopier that puts a green square over currency so I can photocopy a $1 bill (with a black mark covering "This Note Is Legal Tender"). If I can't do that I can't create the $1 bill collage I wanted to do for my old art class.
    - I want independent third party review of any GPS receiver I use before I can feel secure about it. Can't happen if the device is encrypted.
    - I want to be able to record a show to watch later. I have been given this right under the 1984 BetaMax ruling. I can't exercise my given rights with this law in place, should the path be fully encrypted, as with new HDTV.

    - I want to learn how all the above devices work so I can compete in the free market, which is what the EU and the US are supposed to be about, right? Can't do that legally with encrypted devices.

    Are those enough reasons?
  • >I'd suggest the Europeans revolt, but they're a disarmed sheeple, and the
    >massacre would be horrible.

    Don't need a gun to hurt people. Rioters are quite ingenious at making ad hoc weapons, knives, Molotov cocktails? Rocks? Glass bottles?

    The UK has had riots in the past. It tends to topple governments or atleast reflect very badly on them. Political fallout is bad enough if you are a politician. Guns are only necessary with really BAD government. Mostly Europe doesn't have government that bad.

    And governments find it politically very difficult to use guns when the population don't have them. Look what happened when China killed a few students.
  • by Slashdolt ( 166321 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:06AM (#299011)
    If I buy a pad-lock and take it apart and learn how it works, that should be illegal too.

    Outside of software, are there any real analogies for this type of stuff? If I buy something and tamper with it, is there any other case where I can get into legal trouble?
  • I'd suggest the Europeans revolt, but they're a disarmed sheeple, and the massacre would be horrible.

    oh well, at leat I'm an American.

    Yep, good ol' armed americans and their guns sure showed those legislators where to stick the DMCA, didn't they.

    Or maybe, as the Euro's are aware, Hollywood-fueled fantasies about how your can use your guns to protect your rights are, well, fantasies...

    Those disarmed sheeple maintained their rights longer than the armed americans, if only by circumstance. Lay the gun myth to rest, ok?
  • Go into business and create and/or distribute digital content and devices to play it back that do *not* have any encryption or copy protection in them.

    You underestimate the problem. You can make open devices to your heart's content, but not a single movie will ever play on them, and so not a single box will sell. (Well, maybe one or two :)

    The MPAA will only release movies on formats it approves. VHS is still mostly open due to its age, but is crappy for the same reason, and so will be ignored here. That leaves DVDs. You cannot make a device that plays DVDs unless you either
    a) license CSS from the industry, or
    b) break the law.
    c) reverse engineer CSS
    If you choose (b), your company gets shut down. Game Over. If you choose (a) then you either agree to the licensing conditions (ie you build your box to their spec with their cripples) or you don't get a license. Game over either way.
    We have yet to see if reverse engineering CSS is a legal way to create an open player. Judging by what we've seen so far, it isn't. So while I'm not sure, I suspect that that is game over also.

    IOW, it is illegal to create a DVD player that maintains consumers rights, unless the industry decides to let you, and they won't. End of story.

    However, when it comes to HDTV recording, you _might_ be on to something, but I imagine the new format also needs to be licensed - any product based on reverse engineering (better known as that evil hacking thing) will probably be illegal, despite the token clause in the DMCA.
  • Well, I don't teach or illustrate, so I don't think they'll be giving me the means for copying.

    An earlier post analysed this quite well. The DMCA is getting all types of criticism from libraries and academic institutions for rendering fair use copying impossible. The EU are including a fair use clause to avoid this criticism. And OK, schools and libraries may very well get such means to copy.

    But do you seriously believe that copyright holders who choose to encrypt their content are going to hand out 'circumvention devices' to everyone who has a fair use right to copy? i.e. everyone?

    No. I didn't think you did.
  • The home page of the European Commission is here []

    The home page of the Information Society is here []

    Try to find a link to the actual full legislative text however.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • ... It's nice to have a reminder that the US doesn't have a monopoly or corpratocracy.
  • Firstly, rightholders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices. A more flexible solution in this regard would have carried a greater risk of abuse and piracy.

    Two feeble attempts at finding loopholes...

    1) Does the word "device", and later "manufacture", imply physical devices only? What about a pure software solution? Probably not, but worth a shot.

    2) What's with the word "etc." in that?! How vague is that!? If I code up and run a DECSS equivalent myself, have I "manufactured" or "distributed" or "etc."'d anything?
  • You missed the next two words:
    Secondly, the Directive provides that rightholders either voluntarily or by way of agreements with other parties
    have to provide [...] (emphasis added)


  • One effect of these laws is to make it illegal to break encryption on copyright material.

    This is not at all what it says. What it says is that in case the rightholder has implemented an anti-copying device, rightholder should also provide a means for copying under one of the exceptions (e.g. for illustration or teaching).
    (but note though that while breaking copyright protection might not be illegal, subsequent copying of the material still is)

  • Europe's creators, artists and copyright industries can now look forward with renewed confidence to the challenges posed by electronic commerce. At the same time, the Directive secures the legitimate interests of users, consumers and society at large.

    I think that says it all .. creators come first, society comes last. Of course, the framers of the US Constitution had it the other way around and it still doesn't make a difference..

  • While the EU laws on Net copyright are intriguing, and probably run afoul of the UK privacy laws as well as other long-standing legal background laws, we're paying too much attention to the details (hardware) and not enough to why it happened (software).

    Why did it happen? Simple. When everyone met at Davos, all the US company owners and their paid political flacks beat up on their EU counterparts and told them that the EU's more reasonable copyright provisions were causing them trouble in the US and Canada.

    So, for the sake of corporate profits, they fixed it.

    If you don't believe me, read between the lines in the annual reports of Disney, MSFT, AOL/TW, and other companies that have been talking about how bad loose international copyrights are.

    Money talks, so the lackey walks.

  • A ruling that said some bananas couldn't be sold because they were too straight and a ruling that certain apples (Granny Smith's, a popular English variety) couldn't legally be called apples because they were too small.

    Don't forget those rulings about imperial measurements... I believe a grocer was convicted this week of selling a bunch of bananas at 29p/lb and not 64p/kg. Selling loose goods in imperial units is a violation of EU laws.

    Something tells me these people have WAY too much time on their hands.

    And as we speak, the legislators are probably thinking of some other hare-brained ruling to introduce, like the precise curvature equation of what can legally be called a toilet bowl....
  • the section that's highlighted in the article here actually says that the copyright holder must make available some means of making legitimate copies [for 'fair use'] Someone mod that up, please -- this is a major point that sydb missed in his own links.

    So the EU wants to make breaking someone else's encryption illegal, but require the vendors of encrypted material to supply the decryption for fair use. The devil is in the details (which certainly aren't in that article, and I don't think the Europoliticians who wrote it have any idea of the technical thicket they are heading into). Will the "means" be bundled with the product or otherwise readily available to everyone (e.g., cut-and-paste enabled for one page at a time), or will you have to fill out a ton of forms to prove you really are a teacher, satirist, reviewer, or whatever and have a need to clip out a particular section, and then wait six months until the corp gets around to processing your request. You all know which choice WeSaySo, Inc., would prefer... But will the legislators and courts require that they provide real access for fair use -- even if the technology means that any access is really total access?
  • If you get into an accident, are injured or killed in a manner that wearing a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet would've prevented those injuries, and no third party is involved/negligent, you forfeit your right to sue.
    And when your insurance runs out, the hospital doesn't arrange for the taxpayers to pick up the bill (medicaid or whatever), it just carries you out to the dumpster. Or maybe the ambulance crew should have checked whether your insurance covers injuries due to your own stupidity before they even picked you up. Sounds OK to me, but then I'm a hard-hearted libertarian nut-case. 8-)
  • The most astounding victories for democracy during the XXth century came from unarmed people advocating no violence: Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi and even from jailed people that up to a degree advocated no violence like Nelson Mandela. The only arm they needed was the conviction that they were right and the others were wrong (and with the advantageous point we have several decades later, now we know they were correct).

    Most of the goverments that came to power by violent means have fallen (USSR, Suharto's Indonesia, Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile,etc.,etc) or are in the way down (North Korea, Cuba, VietNam).

    The only cases were armed response was required to uphold freedom was when the freedom crusher used arms in the first place (WW2), but as far as I can tell, the Europen Union is not executing anybody relating to this matter.

    So I guess the way towards progress is pretty clear.

    So keep your guns safe and to yourself please, we don't need yet another sorry history about people killing each other for no reason. An yes, we knew you were American, you did not need to make it explicit.

  • Last time I checked Americans haven't relovted against the DMCA... with or without guns. What's your point

    Hey! That's not the point, the point is that US citizens could rise up, any time they wanted.

    All it would take would be one incident of their Consitition being stomped on. No, wait... they've let that happen again and again.

    But surely if politicians with armed guards told citizens what guns they could have, or made them license them, or just took them away... no, hang on, that's happening right now.

    But they wouldn't stand for unidentifiable black clad riot police carrying out brutal political suppression of citizens, using military tactics and chemical weapons that are illegal under international law. Ooh, my mistake.

    Well, at least if the gubmint besieged a small religious community while blinding the press by screaming "Child abuse! Child abuse!" then massacred all of the witnesses and burned or "lost" all the evidence, that'd be sure to cause a revolt. No, no, hang on a minute...

  • Heh, i also wrote my congressman complaining about the insanity ... and I got a letter back saying 'I understand your concerns about Napster, but they broke the law' ... blah ... blah ... blah to which i say huh? i dont support or use Napster. I did not say anything about napster in my letter. I really wish that there were more technologically savvy ppl in their staff. As long as the corps are able to obfuscate the issues enough that the politicians do not have a clue, we will keep getting screwed. Then again i never had much faith in the system.
  • by PepsiDman ( 320304 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @07:12AM (#299077)
    Thats us horrible lot in the UK totally screwed then. As soon as this law comes into play, the UK ISPs will happily monitor their customers, and when we download one mp3 we will get an emailed warning, download a second mp3 and the ISP will kick us off, and then send an e-mail to the Music industry's thugs so that they can come kick down my door and walk off with my computers. And if any Amercians out there think they have it bad, at least you have a right to free speech; unlike us poor Brits who have next to no way to fight this law. We are screwed now. Soon I'll be scared to buy a new PC since it will probably be 'secured' by big business to prevent me playing 'illegal' mp3s, I'm scared to buy a HD since it has probably be 'secured' by big business also to prevent me moving my files around as I choose. It boggles me that the British/European Public are so sheeplike. I'm just glad that I've seen and enjoyed the freedom of the internet from the start - Any teenage reading slashdot now, try to imagine what things are going to be like in 10 to 15 years. :( All the best to you all.
  • Okay. I've got several DVDs. I have no intention to pirate them, but I want to view them on my Linux box. In order to do that, I would have to use that "evil" DeCSS program (insert ominous music if you're a Media Nazi), and thus break the law. I'm not trying to steal the DVDs, just watch them on the platform of my choice.
  • Ooh, ooh... That Smith and Wesson I bought at Wal-Mart is really going to take out that helicopter gunship hovering overhead firing 3000 uranium slugs per minute at me......NOT.

    You need to play some Quake and see why the players go for the bigger weapons . Then notice that in the real world, you don't have the bigger weapons.

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