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DRM Government

DRM Circumvention Now Lawful For More Devices 106

BUL2294 writes: The U.S. Library of Congress' Copyright Office has published their newest rules regarding DRM circumvention. Much to the chagrin of car makers and agricultural vehicle manufacturers, DRM circumvention, with the exception of telmatics ("black box") and entertainment systems, and anything that would run afoul of DOT or EPA regulations, is now allowed for "diagnosis, repair or lawful modification of a vehicle function." In addition, jailbreaking is now extended to tablets, wearables, and smart TVs, but not to single-purpose devices like e-readers. An exemption has been carved out for security researchers to hack cars, voting machines, and medical devices — as long as that device is not being used for its purpose and is in an isolated environment. Finally, owners of abandoned video games that require server authentication (where such authentication is no longer available) may also circumvent DRM. DRM circumvention is NOT allowed for jailbreaking gaming systems and e-readers, and does not allow for "format-shifting" (e.g. moving e-books from one platform to another).

The full text of the new rules is available online (PDF), and will be published in the Federal Register on October 28, 2015.
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DRM Circumvention Now Lawful For More Devices

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will time shift and format shift if I damn well please. The more you engage this unethical behavior, the less money I give you. Thank you. No, I mean thank you. For encouraging me to do other things.

    • We're all going to keep on doing whatever we want, this is just preventing anyone from making a legal business out of it. Of course, there are plenty of illegal businesses doing it, and a lot of private parties offering the how-to's for free under condition of anonymity. Hell even the government wants permission to un "DRM" our devices so it can spy!

      For some reason this is "big government" that nobody wants to reduce, it's "big business politics" that the other side doesn't want to eliminate. Money being sp

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        >> even the government wants permission to un "DRM" our devices

        Err wait... what makes you think they're actually concerned with seeking permission first now?

      • No, I think what Cowherd was saying wasn't that he's going to do "other things" meaning the crack the game and still play the game, he's saying that since they don't want to sell or give away game content in a reasonable way that respects user freedom, he's going to go play at the park instead.

        I for one am glad that the game industry sucks so bad. Playing all those video games was very good for me as a child, I believe. But the value wasn't in the games, it was in the fun computer time and the secondary les

  • Fuck you (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @03:25PM (#50812341)

    If I can circumvent it, I will. I paid for it and it's mine. If you think you can stop me with your silly laws then you can go suck on a tailpipe.

    TL;DR: Fuck you.

    • Re:F%%% you (Score:4, Funny)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @03:28PM (#50812355)

      If you think you can stop me with your silly laws then you can go suck on a tailpipe.

      I hear VW is hiring software engineers for their diesel engine control units... You should apply....

    • Honestly, your better off pointing your vitriol at your lawmakers than at the library. This list of exceptions is better than what most expected. If we want to actually get rid of the DMCAs prohibition on jailbreaking DRM, it'll require legislation.

      • Indeed, if they made everything an exception, Congress might see fit to remove the exception for abuse. I may hate the DMCA, but I do at least assume that Congress supports it since it hasn't been repealed. This is certainly more than I expected, more than I heard anybody mainstream claim was likely.

    • They don't need to "suck on a tailpipe," they're sucking on the dollars you paid.

      "I gave you my money so I'm right and you're wrong" isn't a very convincing argument.

      If you refused to give your money, that is when it would be self-consistent to then tell them to "go suck [it]."

  • highlights.
  • Hate to say it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @03:32PM (#50812395)

    As much as I hate the DMCA and DRM in general, I have to concede that at least some of what the Copyright office has proposed here are reasonable exemptions to DRM. Game authentication, unlocking tablets, etc. Kudos to them for that. I do understand it is a small victory, however, and easily reversible. But still, at least they are putting some thought into it and not just giving all DRM producers carte blanche.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are not reasonable at all.

      The should be no law against breaking DRM. Period.

      If you are breaking other laws (like DOT & EPA rules cited in the summary), then you are breaking other laws.

      • They are not reasonable at all.

        The should be no law against breaking DRM. Period.

        I would go even further than that. There are good arguments to be made for legally prohibiting the use of DRM entirely.

        It amazes me that we're supposed to feel grateful that the LoC has given us permission to circumvent some DRM.

        But sure, I guess I'll go ahead and be grateful that the thing which shouldn't exist to begin with is now slightly less shitty.

  • ... you mean in a year [arstechnica.com]?
  • by DriveDog ( 822962 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @03:41PM (#50812477)
    Alton Brown once said there's only one single-purpose tool in the kitchen—the fire extinguisher. There are NO single-purpose devices in the hands of makers (yeah, I'd still say "hackers"). E-readers have been converted for all sorts of other uses. That's a rather absurd exception to the exception. For that matter, XBMC started as a re-purpose of the XBox, did it not?
    • You misunderstood Alton. He meant he only ALLOWS one unitasker in his kitchen, and thats the fire extinguisher. He has a whole list of kitchen tools that are banned because they only do one job in the kitchen.
      • No, I understood him perfectly. It's not an analogy, just an opener on single-purpose items. I have no idea what Mr. Brown thinks about this subject, but I could guess, given his propensity to use tools for something besides what they were designed/sold for.
    • I can think of multiple uses of a fire extinguisher... It could be used to bludgeon an invader or blind them. It could be cut apart and made into a DIY foundry. It could be gussied up and used as decor. Have a little creativity!

      • I can think of multiple uses of a fire extinguisher... It could be used to bludgeon an invader or blind them. It could be cut apart and made into a DIY foundry. It could be gussied up and used as decor. Have a little creativity!

        Martha Stewart, is that you?

      • by nwf ( 25607 )

        And Mythbusters demonstrated you can cool beer with a fire extinguisher. A rather expensive way to cool something, but still effective.

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        The point of keeping the fire extinguisher as single-purpose is to insure its reliability. If you use it to club a burgler you don't know that it hasn't been damaged somehow.

        They're actually only good for one fire each, even if you don't use up all the CO2 - once you've it once, a little residue will get into the valve and the rest will slowly leak over time.
    • I saw a documentary where a fire extinguisher was used as a propulsion method by a artificially intelligent trash compacting robot, and also by a woman who was trapped in space.

    • > there's only one single-purpose tool in the kitchenâ"the fire extinguisher...E-readers have been converted for all sorts of other uses

      So, you are suggesting we try to put out fires with e-book readers?

  • You can bet that if the DMCA were being created today, in perfect hindsight, no way would the lobbyists allow that kind of power to be given to a librarian.
  • For my riding inkjet printer. You plug in a dongle, and it prints out a one-time code you hold up to the scanner, which starts the engine. After all, we have to make sure the car won't strand anyone unexpectedly.

  • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @04:06PM (#50812605)

    TPP will take away.

  • Why it is legal to implement it in these cases to start with?

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      If somebody wants to spend their money putting what may ultimately only be superficial systems in place that make them feel more secure, why should they be prohibited from doing so?
    • It's their device -- they are free to install what software they want. And we are free to not buy the product.

  • It's ok to bypass DRM in inconsequential areas like cellphones and old software, but not where you're actually strung up on a leash, like the spyware in vehicle telmatics. Got it. How nice of them to think of the little people.

    Smart TVs, but not 'single function' devices like e-readers. What does single function mean, then? Does that include amazon's tablets? They're e-readers and they are multifunction. This is a distinction without a difference.

    Whatever happened to real ownership? When I buy something,

  • ... but you circumvent for genuinely personal and private use, how the heck would anyone else even know you ever did it, let alone prosecute you?
    • Well, you'd have to post to some public forum talking about... it... uh oh.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        Of course... but if they don't actually talk about it with anyone else, or share the results of their work with anyone, then any laws prohibiting circumvention are unenforceable in that context.
  • Wow. That's.... reasonable. What's the catch?

    Part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop -- something like "but this only applies to licensed security developers, the license for which costs $100K and takes three years to get".

  • "In addition, jailbreaking is now extended to tablets, wearables, and smart TVs, but not to single-purpose devices like e-readers."

    Given that my Kindle Paperwhite has a web browser built-in, by what measure is it a single-purpose device?

  • Vanilla WoW is an example of a game "that require server authentication (where such authentication is no longer available)". I don't want to upgrade to your shitty new version, Blizzard. Thank goodness for Mangos and Trinity.

  • So basically this means that you can crack your games so they keep on working if any of these services go under within the next 3 years and the individual game developers don't alter or strip the DRM out?

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley

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