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Librarian of Congress Posts DMCA Exemptions 324

MrNerdHair writes "The Librarian of Congress has posted a list of exemptions from the DMCA (also obtainable in PDF here.) Works falling in four 'classes' may be considered exempt from Section 1201 of the DMCA's prohibition against 'circumvention of a technological measure which effectively controls access to a work.' Among the list are blacklists of sites used in programs such as NetNanny and cracks to bypass dongles on abandonware. All in all, a very interesting read ..." Not just interesting: as Robin Gross writes, "Unfortunately, the ruling leaves the vast majority of consumers unable to access their own property, such as skipping commercials on DVDs, playing CDs in their PCs, and reading eBooks on PDA's without violating the DMCA." Update: 10/29 15:19 GMT by T : Take a look at Seth Finkelstein's site for an idea of how being pushy can sometimes be helpful; Finkelstein has loudly pushed for the importance of DMCA exemptions, including in Congressional testimony.
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Librarian of Congress Posts DMCA Exemptions

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  • by bcolflesh ( 710514 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @09:58PM (#7334970) Homepage
    "The Librarian of Congress"?

    She must be busy as hell!
    • she? (Score:3, Funny)

      could be a he... heck, as the librarian of congress, i imagined Conan The Librarian!
      • Re:she? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:14PM (#7335060) Journal

        As a matter of fact, he is a he [loc.gov].

        The LOC pretty much exists for two reasons:

        • Writing reports for Congress
        • Letting PhD candidates research
        His job is to set library policies that further those two goals.
  • The saddest thing (Score:2, Interesting)

    The saddest thing about this whole DMCA fiasco is that there were enough people illegally distributing copyrighted works that the publishers saw fit to put these idiotic controls in.

    Both sides are wrong, but it was the copyright infringers who were wrong first.

    Now we are stuck with these controls and a completely braindead law that makes it a crime to exercise what was once accepted as 'inalienable rights'.
    • Everyone can play the Blame Game (Ages 1-99, no. of players, more the merrier, when will Hasbro pick this one up?)

      The fact remains, two wrongs do NOT make a right; especially in this case.
    • Be careful (Score:3, Informative)

      by MunchMunch ( 670504 )
      "a completely braindead law that makes it a crime to exercise what was once accepted as 'inalienable rights'."

      That's just the thing. Unlike, say, the Bill of Rights, copyright for both the public and the holder, is a very narrow grant of power implicitly to further 'science and the useful arts.' I'm completely on your side, in so far as I believe in corollary rights, such as a right to one's culture, and a 'right' in a Hohfeldian sense in that copyright is a bargain and generates rights that are not be

    • "Both sides are wrong, but it was the copyright infringers who were wrong first."

      Depends on your point of view. One could say that the RIAA was wrong first for not being a combination of a monpoly/oligopoly/cartel and for being a non-innovative-entity. If the RIAA were like Microsoft, (please pardon the analogy here) there is a strong possibility they would have had an iTunes-like service long before MP3 trading was fashionable.

      I know that will not satisfy your reasoning, but the 'copyright infringers'
    • it's about controling distribution. Take Nintendo for instance. They fight tooth and nail to keep import games out of Europe so they can keep prices high there. Ditto for japan and American DVDs (although why anyone would want the crap we spew is beyond me). DRM has less to do with keeping you from sharing music files and more to do with keeping you locked in to whatever system of distribution content providers please. Soon they'll have the holy grail of distribution methods: home audio-video juke boxes and
    • Both sides are wrong, but it was the copyright infringers who were wrong first.

      How do you figure? Price fixing was around LONG before there was any music "sharing"/stealing on a large scale. Where was the outrage there?

      The law is braindead, no doubt. However, the "entertainment" industry will learn (painfully, I'm certian) that beating up your consumers doesn't work. For my part, I won't buy crap from them. Will I download music? Maybe some. And I know that 2 wrongs don't make a right, blah, bla

  • by ironcladlou ( 681078 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @09:58PM (#7334973) Homepage
    "circumvention of a technological measure which effectively controls access to a work."

    If it can be circumvented, then it's not really that effective, now is it?
  • by caston ( 711568 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:01PM (#7334986)
    Really there should be a list of things that ARE covered by the DCMA so that companies can't blidning through the DCMA around everytime they feel threatended.
  • Question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beakerMeep ( 716990 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:02PM (#7334993)
    What defines abandonware? Seems like there could be problems with that. For instance, in the publishing industry it is possible for a company to sit on a book that has gone stale for decades only to republish it someday when it looks to be profitable again. What's to stop a software company from making the same (possibly illogical?) argument?

    • Re:Question... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Fancia ( 710007 )
      On a tangental note, I'm curious to know what happens to the copyrights of old games made by companies that no longer exist. For instance, I own copies of the old Sanctuary Woods games Wolf and Lion; Sanctuary Woods (later renamed Theatrix) went out of business years ago, however; what happened to those rights? Who owns them? Does anyone own them? Is distributing copies of these CDs now legal? (I'm aware that being sued for distributing them if not is highly unlikely; I'm more interested with the actual leg
      • Re:Question... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcubed ( 556032 )

        On a tangental note, I'm curious to know what happens to the copyrights of old games made by companies that no longer exist.

        When companies go out of business, any tangible assets get divided up by the owners. So someone owns those copyrights; therefore, redistributing the games without the copyright holder's permission is still illegal.

        Michael

    • The exemptions only applies to circumvention of protection schemes and other methods used to control access. Actually pirating the software is still illegal.
    • Re:Question... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcubed ( 556032 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @11:17PM (#7335376) Homepage

      For instance, in the publishing industry it is possible for a company to sit on a book that has gone stale for decades only to republish it someday when it looks to be profitable again.

      Could you cite an example? Overwhelmingly, the copyrights on books are held by the books' authors, not by the original publishers. After a publisher puts a book out-of-print, the publishing rights revert to the author, or whomever has inherited his estate. If the book is republished at a later time, it's because the copyright holders resells the publishing rights. Publishers don't "sit on a book" -- they can't, they will lose the right to publish it.

      I don't think the situation is analogous. A software company that holds the copyright to a particular piece of software that it has abandoned still has the right to prevent anyone else from exploiting that software, if it wishes. It can also make it clear that it doesn't care what anyone does with the software. What the Librarian of Congress has done is allowed a DMCA exemption that permits cracking encryption on obsolete software so that it is still accessible; the exemption doesn't by itself remove the copyright holder's privilege.

      Michael

    • Re:Question... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @11:20PM (#7335386)
      Your example is more akin to software, not the devices used to protect it.

      A good case for this would be Discreet's 3DS Max R3.x. It used a parallel port hardware dongle made by Rainbow. The dongles were exceedingly fragile and would blow out (thus rendering the software useless) quite often. The problem was so bad that eventually Discreet set up a web page to automate the process of entering complaints and getting new dongles sent out.

      While Discreet is on R6 of Max now (with software based licensing schemes), R3 is still a valid product and can be used on modern hardware. A lot of motherboards don't have parallel ports, though. And, even for those that do, Discreet doesn't support R3 any more. They won't replace dead dongles. I don't think that Rainbow is around any more, either. So, when (not if, because it will happen) your dongle goes PFFFFT you will probably be out of luck.

      Now the LoC is saying that in such an instance downloading, or creating, a hack to 3ds max R3 that circumvents the dongle check would be allowable. That is a good thing.

    • How about Windows XP when Microsoft decides they're not going to support it, officially, ever again?

      People won't be able to register with Microsoft's online registration because that will be shut down.

      Obviously Microsoft won't be selling that version ever again.

      That would qualify as such abandonware, right?

      When that happens, we'll be able to crack it in order to install it, right?

      I look forward to that day. Maybe then I'll actually buy a copy of XP.
      • I think Microsoft themselves stated that if they ever tired of doing product activation with XP they would release their own crack, key generator, or universal activation key. This was in response to complaints that the OS could be rendered useless if they ever decided to stop providing keys.
  • Sweet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wah ( 30840 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:03PM (#7335000) Homepage Journal
    The US Librarian of Congress has created the following four narrow exemptions from the DMCA's general ban on circumvention for the next three-years:

    1. Compilations consisting of lists of Internet locations blocked by commercially marketed filtering software applications that are intended to prevent access to domains, websites or portions of websites, but not including lists of Internet locations blocked by software applications that operate exclusively to protect against damage to a computer or computer network or lists of Internet locations blocked by software applications that operate exclusively to prevent receipt of email.

    2. Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete.

    3. Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access.

    4. Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling of the ebook's read-aloud function and that prevent the enabling of screen readers to render the text into a specialized format


    Windows 95 is considered obsolete and unsupported by Microsoft, right? And doesn't that end many questions on MAME?

    I can't wait for the next round of exceptions.
    • Sorry, but no. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DarkZero ( 516460 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:13PM (#7335054)
      Windows 95 is considered obsolete and unsupported by Microsoft, right? And doesn't that end many questions on MAME?

      This ruling merely creates exceptions to the DMCA, i.e. cracking the protection on a work, not distributing it. Therefore, as Windows 95 is a copyrighted work and you don't need to crack its protection to get it to work on a PC (its native format), this ruling does not affect Windows 95 in any way. And the only thing it changes for MAME is that it makes it legal to crack the protection on arcade boards to decrypt and emulate them. It's still illegal to trade abandonware ROMs/ISOs.
      • Re:Sorry, but no. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hi_2k ( 567317 )
        Ahh, but you do: The CD-Key. It is now no-longer illegal to have this nifty text file that describes the checksum for WIN95 CD-keys and how to create one.
        • Ahh, but you do: The CD-Key. It is now no-longer illegal to have this nifty text file that describes the checksum for WIN95 CD-keys and how to create one.

          Actually, yes, that is still quite illegal. Read it again:

          (3) Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no long
          • hehe. Well, yea, with definitions and what not....

            It does apply to some stuff. And that particular part of the DMCA needs to be scrapped and re-written, IMHO. The narrowness of those exceptions, and the broadness that has been interpreted in the marketplace, are still quite a distance apart.

            I have to break laws to watch my own DVDs on my handheld digital player, so more exceptions are imminent.
      • Actually, sometimes you do need to crack its protection to get it to run on a PC: when you're reinstalling, and someone has pushed the cotton-pickin' lock button on the file cabinet nobody has a key to, and the licenses (and magic code numbers) are locked inside.

        (It wasn't worth getting a locksmith at the moment, since it was a machine ultimately destined for a Linux installation, especially since the person who probably pushed the lock button was the three-year-old for whom I was going to fire up the mac
        • If you don't care if it ever locks again, or especially if you want to make sure it doesn't, all you need to do is this:

          Drive a sheetmetal or wood screw firmly into the lock cylinder where the key would insert. Next, pull the screw out using a claw hammer. The lock cylinder will fairly easily pop right out.

          • I'm guessing that I can take the number off the front of the lock and have WalMart cut me a new Chicago Lock key. (The original plan was to take the lock with us when doing so.) But yeah, yanking the lock is our next option. We just haven't gotten around to doing anything with it, though I'll have to soon. ("Drill it out" was the term used, so if it comes to that I'll try the sheetmetal screw option instead.) We don't really need the 95 licenses (they came with the donated computers, but they're all go
            • Pick the lock, it's really not that hard. After a little playing around (about 10 minutes), I can get 95% of the cabinet locks out there in under 60 seconds using nothing more than a single paperclip (applying a little sideways pressure, and using my finger to keep pressure). A couple of minutes could possibly solve your problem.
      • ah my friend you are mistaken, I'm free now to crack any and all protections that stand in my way from making my copy of win95 run on the commadore 64!!!
    • Re:Sweet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fryed ( 205364 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:23PM (#7335109)
      And doesn't that end many questions on MAME?


      Well, the way I read this (IANAL), it now seems legal to break the whatever copyright protection was installed onto a game if the format of the game has become obsolete, and which in unaltered form would require the original media/hardware to use. So basically, if you own an old, obsolete arcade game, you can legally circumvent the copyright protection so that you can extract the ROM and use it on your PC.

      Now, how many MAME users actually own old arcade hardware, and intend to use MAME to play that arcade game? Distributing the ROMs to anyone is still illegal, but I guess it would now be legal for me to tell you how to rip the ROM out of your own board yourself.

      Windows 95 is considered obsolete and unsupported by Microsoft, right?

      Yes, Windows 95 is considered obsolete by Microsoft, but the format it is distributed on (CDs) are not. Furthermore, there's not really any DRM on the Windows 95 cd anyway, aside from the installation program asking for a valid key, so the point is moot.

      What this exemption really means is that if, in the future, software was distributed on DRM enabled media, and then further into the future, the DRM media they 'obsolete' and few people had drives that could read them, it would be legal to tell someone how to extract data from that media and use it on the current hardware.
    • Actually, since Windows 95 is a literary work that is out of print, you could write to your minister of industry or equivalent and ask for permission to publish it - go read your version of the Copyright Act - pretty standard around the world.

      He will not reasonably refuse the request and having this letter, you will then be in the clear to start printing Windows 95 CDs, but it is not clear to me who would be so stupid as to buy them, however, a lot of people bought them origianally...

  • You own the disc. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by /dev/trash ( 182850 )
    You license the content.
    • Re:You own the disc. (Score:2, Informative)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      Buy a book. See any license agreement on it? No, such has been tried and explicitly rejected by law. You buy the book, you own the book and its content. You license nothing at all. You are merely restricted from making illegal (as opposed to unauthorized. Think about it) copies.

      You may use the content in any manner you like. Cut it up and rearrange all words if you wish. Read it anywhere, under any circumstances. This is your right. Because you own it. You do not license the content.

      Hey, same thing for v
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:09PM (#7335033)
    From the "Exemptions Considered, But Not Recommended" section:
    8. Proposed class: Musical works, sound recordings, and audiovisual works embodied in media that are or may become inaccessible by possessors of lawfully- made copies due to malfunction, damage, or obsoleteness. ... The Register concludes that the proponents have not made the case with respect to fragility of DVDs, ...
    So, I guess we need to find the General Counsel's DVD collection and demonstrate their fragility.
  • If you haven't already read The Right to Read [gnu.org], do it while you still have the right to do it. From what I witness it might change in the near future. Funny that we all were laughing at Richard when he wrote his "dystopian science fiction which will never happen outside of a paranoid mind guarded with a tinfoil hat" and at the same time we all kept allowing it to slowly happen. And who looks like a fool now? Not Richard but us. It certainly doesn't make me feel proud at all.
  • When the 'iron horse' was making its way across the plains the communities along the way made up all sorts of laws restricting what could and could not be done with a train. The most shrill DMCA supporters are the twenty first century equivalent of buggy whip makers from the nineteenth century.

    Quick! Name three buggy whip vendors! Ah ... can't think of any, can you?

    The GNU battering ram is going to level Microsoft, Sun, SCO, SGI, and it'll take a large bite out of Cisco, Nortel, Avaya, and the lik
    • by dmeranda ( 120061 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:45PM (#7335237) Homepage
      Quick! Name three buggy whip vendors! Ah ... can't think of any, can you?

      You mean like,

      • IBM. Intagliated Buggy Makers
      • Sun. Sleighs Unlimited and Necessities
      • SCO. The Stolen Carriage Overlords
      • SGI. Stagecoach and Grazing Implements
      • Cisco. Carriage Industrial Supply Company
      • I for one welcome our Stolen Carriage Overlords, and would like to remind them that as a member of the slashdot community I can be useful in rounding up slashbots to pull carriages in their underground carriage caverns.
  • by use_compress ( 627082 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:21PM (#7335097) Journal
    May someone please give me a non-obscene definition of the word 'dongles?'
    • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:25PM (#7335124) Homepage
      May someone please give me a non-obscene definition of the word 'dongles?'

      Essentially, anything that dangles.
    • A "dongle" is a piece of otherwise useless computer hardware that attaches to a port (parallel, serial, USB, or otherwise) and contains a simple or complex "black box" chip. Software that relies on a dongle sends a signal to the port that the dongle is attached to, and if it receives a "proper" signal back, it allows the use of the software. Otherwise the software remains locked and unusable. We used to use these at a place where I interned for a summer.
    • Sure. [catb.org]

      Essentially, it's a small electronic device that plugs into your computer (such as into the parallel or serial ports) that some software required to be present in order to function. It's a form of copy protection that, unlike licence keys, is very difficult to duplicate, however can still easily be cracked by anyone competant in the art.

      The only software that comes to my mind that required a dongle to function was Autocad (at least in the early 90s).
      • Lots of graphics stuff seems to use dongles. Autocad, as you stated. 3ds Max. I think Lightwave may use one. Quite a few RIPs that I've come across, such as CasMate Cut/Pro, Wasatch SoftRIP, Some versions of Roland's ColorChoice, and I think SignMate.

    • Jeesh, you're the second person (whom one would expect to be a geek) I've run into lately who hasn't known what a dongle is. Flippin' newbies. :)

      A dongle, for those who weren't around in the late 80s/early 90s (when they were in heavy use on expensive commercial software), is a device that attaches to a parallel port to unlock a chunk of code. Some of the most clever/expensive ones actually keep bits of the program logic inside the dongle (to make it difficult to crack), but this is very rare; more usually
    • Another use for dongles is in cell phone repair tools that run on a computer. For example, I repair cell phones, and on my computer I have a program that can completely erase and re-flash the software (like a computer BIOS) in a phone.

      This software has a dongle on the paralell port. The theory is that it is there to protect the end-user from somehow obtaining an illigetimate copy of the software and destroying their phone with this specialized BIOS-flashing software.

      Of course, each manufacturer has their
  • by BigDish ( 636009 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:28PM (#7335139)
    Reading the article, it seems to me like the third exemption makes mod chips for video game consoles legal. It specifically states that it covers current (non-obsolete media) and allows for the circumvention of copy protection when a copy can be made, but not used, without circumventing copy protection. The same exemption also specifically mentions video games.
    Also, I could see possibly some help for DeCSS-specifically the section of I believe the first exemption relating to the restriction of fair use.
  • Rule 4 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spinkham ( 56603 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:29PM (#7335153)
    Rule 4 seems to say that if you can't get a copy of an ebook that a screen reader can read (basically plain text or html) then you're allowed to make a program to get said plain text. It doesn't specify that you are blind to be able to use this exception... Doesn't this allow you to do basically anything you would want with your ebook, just phrased in a way no one can argue with it?
    • > if you can't get a copy of an ebook ...

      No, it says that one must exist. It doesn't say anything about your ability to get a read-aloud version, only that not "all" versions can have read-aloud disabled.
  • PR Tactic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by coolmacdude ( 640605 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:30PM (#7335159) Homepage Journal
    I see this as a ploy to respond to those who have been screaming to get this horrible law overthrown for several years. To the casual person who doesn't know what a horrible piece of legislation the DMCA is, this could look like some kind of compromise possibly giving the law more credibility. If the LOC projects the impression that they want to work with opponents of the law and make it "better" while avoiding further legal action, maybe they hope that will give the law a better reputation with the public. In reality it is a realization that the DMCA's days are numbered and a pathetic attempt to appease the courts to keep it in place.
    • To the casual person who doesn't know what a horrible piece of legislation the DMCA is, this could look like some kind of compromise possibly giving the law more credibility

      Amen, brother. "You see," they can say, "we have experts like the Librarian of Congress making sure this law is reasonable every three years." The lie was built into the law when it was written.

      The average man has no idea how bad this law is. They generally have not even heard of the DMCA or know what it stands for, much less what

    • I got the opposite impression: that they were saying, "Restricting access to copyrighted material, just because the access ROUTE is dead, is fucking stupid." And I see it as a foot in the door to potentially regardling stuff like DeCSS as legal and proper.

      IOW, if we can't throw the evil DMCA out entirely, maybe we can at least nibble it to death, one idiotic clause at a time. And this is a start.

  • leaves consumers unable to access their own property

    Legally, the physical media is the property of the consumer. The consumer only owns a limited access to the information stored on the media. This law does not affect the consumers access to their own property, but it does affect thier access to other people's property.
  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:37PM (#7335200) Homepage Journal
    It is 3Q 2030.

    You're arguing with your wife again. It seems she's missed her spending quota again this quarter. A proud patriot, you have no problem spending 85% and sometimes 90% of your income on consumer goods, yet she can't manage to spend even close to the 75% required by law. It's that foreign mentality, you suppose--that's what happens when you are educated overseas and without the benefit of a corporate sponsor. You have to remind her that if the Internal Consumer's Service (ICS) catches her, she'll be doing time in Philip Morris(TM) Prison like her uncle.

    Oh well, hopefully a night at the town's AOL-Time-Warner-Clear-Channel-Blockbuster(TM) Authorized Media Distribution Center will smooth things over with her. That reminds you--you need to have your eye- and ear-implants inspected for this quarter again, otherwise you won't even be allowed in tonight.

    You haven't attended church services for a while. Although your wife is a devout follower of God's Customers(TM) and shops in the Church Store at LEAST five tiems a quarter, you're not yet convinced that converting from Consumers For Jesus(TM) was that sound an investment.

    Your son Rick has just graduated from the local McDonalds(TM) High School. You want him to go to Pepsi(TM) University like his sister, but he wants to go to Coke(TM) College. Not that it matters--the permits you get at either school are the same. Although he really wanted to attend Stanford(TM), his corporate sponsors rejected that proposal, based on what it might do to his credit rating.

    Your youngest daughter just graduated Pepsi(TM) U. It was expensive, but she is all set now, having received a Creative Thought Permit and a Entrepreneurship License. On top of that she's accepted a job at Fortune 10 corporation. Of course almost everyone works for a Fortune 10 nowadays, there being only thirty-some corporations left. It's too bad she had to sign all those NDA's though--you'd really like to be allowed to know where she would be living and how to get in touch with her. Ahh well, it's the price you pay for our corporate security.

    Your older daughter, after twenty quarters of employment, was finally permitted to tell you that she is working in middle-management at AT&T. Of course, every job in the United Corporations of America is middle-management. The cheaper--skilled--labor is all outsourced to Those Other Countries, whatever they are called. In ten more quarters, assuming her credit rating remains good and she has attained Shareholder status, she'll be allowed to talk face-to-face (no encrypted channel) with us again!

    Apparently, her five year old daughter has been grounded again, this time for racking up a $6000 fine--singing "Happy Birthday(TM)" at a party without a Media Distribution License. She really needs to be taught a lesson--that as a patriotic Consumer of the UCA, she needs to respect the rights of Shareholders and property owners. What a dangerous thoughts she has! She thinks she should be allowed to say whatever she pleases, no matter what it does to someone else's portfolio! No one can get it through to her that terrorist ideas like that will land her in one of those "special" schools--and she'd be subjected to a lower quarterly limit on all her credit cards.

    Fax from your wife--she'll be late tonight. Corporate HQ has re-instated fourteen-hour work days until the end of this quarter. It's too bad she's not allowed to quit her job--you could get her a pretty sweet management position any time in your department at Microsoft.

    Orignal post [slashdot.org] by Accord MT [slashdot.org].
    • This is NOT off topic at all.
      It's dead nuts ON topic.
      It's the future that WILL be if we keep allowing all these bullshit draconian "laws" to not be passed in the first place, but are allowed to remain in place and give birth to other more oppressive "laws"..

      If you can't see this coming you are blind.
      Go back to your ball game and your beer, we can manage the revolution without you..

  • Read aloud (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:46PM (#7335242)
    ...when
    all [emph. added] existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling of the ebook's read-aloud function...

    So, if they make an ebook available for $5 without read-aloud, but make a special edition available for $200,000, this exemption does not apply.

    In fact, the exemption says nothing of the availability of a read-aloud edition. If a publisher were to create one single edition and sell the only license to his nephew, then it will no longer be the case that "all" existing ebook editions have read-aloud disabled and you would not be able to circumvent the access controls. Even though no read-aloud version is available to you, one does exist so you are SOL.

    • I once inquired to the copyright office about such a potential situation. They told me something to the effect that you can't "publish" for the sole purpose of establishing copyright, if you have no real intent to distribute it. And hopefully a court would see your hypotentical scenario as an attempt to distort the spirit of the law.

      I probably still have the Copyright Office's letter, if I look in enough boxes ... from 1975 or so... :/

  • Awwwww, too bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:50PM (#7335256)
    So I can't watch DVD's in my Mandrake box? Or in my Xbox Media Center [xboxmediacenter.com] (should I decide to build one)

    Oh my! What should I do about all these awful copies of DeCSS all over the Internet?

    Um, so sorry, but no one is going to tell me what I can or can not do with property that I posess. It's mine, I paid for it, I traded CASH for property. I buy property, I don't license it. Licenses are invalid and un-enforceable anyway, just ask SCO. I'll take any and everything apart I own and study it and tell people about it as I see fit.

    I always have and I always will.
    When I was 5 years old a kid game me a 9 transistor pocket radio circa 1966 that was broken. I fixed it by taking other radios apart and seeing how they were put together.

    This DMCA is bullshit designed to keep the elite few at the top in total control.
    It stiffles innovation and creativity.
    A hell of a lot of inventions were the spawn of someone trying to improve upon an existing design. You stop people from doing that and you are killing progress.

    DMCA is a draconian and oppressive tool that keeps the rich, rich and the dumb, dumb.

    It's all about the almighty dollar. Greed makes the world go around..

    • So I can't watch DVD's in my Mandrake box?

      Yes, you can. It's permitted by the reverse engineering for interoperability clause of the DMCA. Granted, there is legal precedent to the contrary, but that precedent exists because a case was brought to trial after DeCSS was written but before the Linux DVD players incorporating it were. The prosecution was lucky enough to find a technologically ignorant judge who thought that fact was important, apparantly believing that software isn't written one component a
    • Lame Statement (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ieshan ( 409693 )
      Um, so sorry, but no one is going to tell me what I can or can not do with property that I posess. It's mine, I paid for it, I traded CASH for property. I buy property, I don't license it. Licenses are invalid and un-enforceable anyway, just ask SCO. I'll take any and everything apart I own and study it and tell people about it as I see fit.

      Just what, exactly, gives you the right to do anything you want with no regard for anyone else? Just because you bought a physical object doesn't mean you can do anyth
  • (2) Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete.

    They should have extended this to ALL programs protected by dongles -- as long as you have a valid license -- simply on the basis that dongles suck.
  • I'm a little surprised there isn't anything there that applies to the Diebold documents [radioactivechicken.org]. Granted, personal rights take a back seat to commercial interests in the great US of A, but I still think there oughta be some sort of exception for political speech.

    But maybe I'm just a tad touchy because I just decided to mirror the documents. And I don't want to be sued.

  • Obsolete systems? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @11:29PM (#7335417)
    (3)... A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

    As eBay has many Atari 2600, Colecovision, Intellivision, etc. systems listed, is anything really *not available*?

    Similarly, is a program that was introduced on 5 1/4" floppies, and then taken off the market, considered a "format no longer manufactured"?
    • It's not "reasonably available" if you're fighting over a handful of 'em, which is pretty much how it goes with auctions of old stuff. I'd interpret "reasonably available" to mean that there is an adequate and immediate supply, even if from used and salvage. Anything that you have to search high and low for, pay more than it's worth to get, or ship from another state because there are only a handful (relative to how many were sold) left in working condition, isn't "reasonably available".

      DeSotos are "reason
  • by mcubed ( 556032 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @12:06AM (#7335602) Homepage
    From the full text of the ruling (.pdf, unfortunately):
    Several commenters sought an exemption for works that are either public domain, open source or "open access," but to which access controls are applied. The commenters addressing open source and open access works provided absolutely no information in support of their requests. Aside from a proposal relating to the public domain material on DVDs, their was a paucity of information relating to other public domain works.
    These commenters have overlooked that if a work that is entirely in the public domain is protected by an access control measure, the prohibition on circumvention will not be applicable. Therefore, no exemption is needed.

    Ok, so if you have a DVD that consists entirely of material that is in the public domain, it is legal for you to use DeCSS to access that material, yes? Am I reading this incorrectly?: "the prohibition on circumvention will not be applicable." So how can it be illegal to post DeCSS to a website, if the code can be used for legitimate purposes? The premise of the MPAA's case against 2600 was that DeCSS violated the DMCA by providing an illegal circumvention technique. But if this circumvention is only illegal when misused by the end-user, isn't DeCSS more akin to the FastTrack network -- or, for that matter, to VCRs, MP3 players, Xerox machines, etc.

    In other words, if there are instances in which the prohibition on circumventing CSS is not applicable, then telling someone else how to circumvent CSS should not be illegal, yes? What am I not getting here?

    Michael

  • It's interesting that you can circumvent old copy protections with impunity due to the list's entry on obsolete technologies. I'd assume DVD's would fall into that catagory soon after the "Next Big Thing" comes out.

    Maybe a step towards getting copyrights knocked back down to 20 years? Seems like all personal computing technologies are obsoleted in 10 years or less these days.

  • by Winter ( 87716 )
    When I read 'Librarian', I go a mental picture of an orangutan sitting at a desk , eating bananas and going 'Ook?'
  • by analog_line ( 465182 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:13AM (#7337106)
    ...just don't buy it. I mean seriously, can I get a witness from someone, anyone here?

    If you can't handle the fact that you're not legally allowd to fiddle with a DVD to get around commericials that have been inserted in there, why are you buying DVDs? Yes, it's stupid, and it should be fought hard, but why are you people buying DVDs in the meantime?

    I don't buy music on CDs because I don't care for the copy protection regime, and I'd rather not have some idiot corporate lawyer looking for a test case try to eat my life. It's easier, and they can't legally touch me for not buying stuff. I couldn't care less if anyone calls me unpatriotic. Whooptie doo. I can call them the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, but just because it's personally insulting doesn't make it true, or worth more than the lungfull of air it took to spew it. I truly do not understand why people allow themselves to be railroaded into things, if they hate those things so much.

    Just don't buy DVDs or CDs. Watch ones your simple minded sheep friends have at their house. Stops you from watching the idiot box all day, at worst. There is stuff that is released in a format that conforms to your wishes. Find it, use it, and patronize the people who produce it, and punish the big guys by, horror of horrors, NOT SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON THEIR STUFF.
  • by malachid69 ( 306291 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @11:12AM (#7338282) Homepage
    (3) Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

    So, I guess that will make MAME, et al, very happy. From the way I read this section, things like Sega Genesis or TRS-80 games are not protected?

    --Malachi

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman

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