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DMCA Exemptions Desired To Hack iPhones, Remix DVDs

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the what's-on-the-shortlist dept.

Hardware Hacking 188

An anonymous reader writes "For copyright activists, Christmas comes but once every three years: a chance to ask Santa for a new exemption to the much-hated Digital Millennium Copyright Act's prohibitions against hacking, reverse engineering and evasion of Digital Rights Management (DRM) schemes protecting all kinds of digital works and electronic items. Judging from the list of 20 exemptions requested this year [19 shown], some in the cyber-law community are thinking big. The requests include the right to legally jailbreak iPhones in order to use third party software, university professors wishing to rip clips from DVDs for classroom use, YouTube users wishing to rip DVDs to make video mashups, a request to allow users to hack DRM protecting content from stores that have gone bankrupt or shut down, and a request to allow security researchers to reverse engineer video games with security flaws that put end-users at risk." Reader MistaE provides some more specific links to PDF versions: "Among the exemption proposals is a request from the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic to allow circumvention of DRM protection when the central authorization server goes down, a request from the EFF to allow circumvention to install third party programs on phones, as well as a request for ripping DVDs for non-commercial purposes. There were also several narrow requests from educational institutions to rip DVDs for classroom practices."

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Fist Prose (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978371)

Fist Prose.

Re:Fist Prose (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978709)

Rocky hammered on his opponent, his fists writing a soliloquy of destruction on Apollo's face. Each blow was a finely crafted metaphor of pain. Shifting his focus to the abdomen, Rocky pummelled paragraph after paragraph up and down Apollo's ribcage. After finishing the body of his exposition, he topped it off with a climactic sentence to the jaw. Apollo went down for the count.

Re:Fist Prose (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980781)

Dude, Apollo Creed won.

How about this (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978433)

Make DRM breaking illegal only when there is criminal intent, such as to share reproductions with others or to sell bootlegs...

Re:How about this (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25978455)

but that makes too much sense!

Re:How about this (2, Insightful)

srussia (884021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979705)

but that makes too much sense!

Not really. Wanting to share reproductions in no way constitutes "criminal intent".

Re:How about this (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981797)

Except for all case where 'share' includes 'exchange for compensation'.

Re:How about this (4, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978483)

It's a good goddam thing they be askin' The Santa instead of me, 'cause I'd break their fuckin' legs.

Regards,

Mafiaa

Re:How about this (5, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978571)

Sharing reproductions is not necessarily copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is usually not a criminal matter. Using correct and precise terminology is important to having an informed debate, as opposed to losing without the debate happening by letting your opponents set the terms.

Why is it that geeks have no trouble using the precise, correct terms when writing code, but so commonly fail to transfer that precision to other areas where it is equally important?

Re:How about this (2, Funny)

Smitty825 (114634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978681)

Maybe I've been coding at the wrong companies, but I've consistently seen geeks use bad terms for variable names, function names, and even comments!

Re:How about this (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978829)

Do not judge too quickly. I have seen terms used for variables and functions that made sense once upon a time but the program has morphed around it such that 'cvs blame' would indicate the original developer was picking words from the dictionary at random.

Re:How about this (1)

syzler (748241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979599)

If the developers are writing comments then you are working at the right companies. I'd rather have a bad term or two used when commenting code than have no comments.

Re:How about this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25978707)

Why is it that geeks have no trouble using the precise, correct terms when writing code, but so commonly fail to transfer that precision to other areas where it is equally important?

Show us the parse tree for English and we'll start using perfect grammar.

Re:How about this (1, Offtopic)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978907)

Show us the parse tree for English and we'll start using perfect grammar.

The problem is, the parse trees for most sentences in the language are ambiguous.

Further complicating the fact is that English may not be enumerable - I know the way most people speak it, it's not even a recognizable language, let alone decidable.

French, however, I hear is Turing decidable. Why else would they be so smug...

Re:How about this (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980315)

So it's like Perl?

Parse tree for English (2, Funny)

chihowa (366380) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978927)

Here you go. [sourceforge.net] Now, I'll be checking up on you guys in a week and I expect to be impressed.

Re:Parse tree for English (2, Funny)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980651)

Damn You! Damn You To Hell!!!

Re:How about this (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978741)

Because our opponents in the RIAA are using an aimbot.

most geeks frown on cheaters.

Re:How about this (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980637)

Aimbots would imply that they know exactly where their intended target is. I would consider it more like god mode with noclip and a BFG!

Re:How about this (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978855)

Why do you assume that the good coders are the same people who can't be precise when they are speaking?

Re:How about this (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979269)

One of the best coders I know (not saying a whole lot, really) can barely spell.

Re:How about this (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979085)

Computer geeks probably use correct computer terms.
Legal geeks probably use correct legal terms.

Also, this only applies to educated geeks.

Re:How about this (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979125)

"Copyright infringement is usually not a criminal matter."

The trouble is, more and more there is a push (and seemingly some success) to make more and more and more copyright infringement cases prosecutable as a criminal offense.

Ever heard of this little law (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980829)

Called the No Electronic Theft Act which makes non-fair use reproduction of copyrighted goods automatically a federal criminal offense? In other words, you're free to share a copy of a history program with your department at college. You share a copy of the latest DVD with your neighbor back home, you've just put yourself in line to have broken the NET Act.

Re:How about this (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981973)

"Why is it that geeks have no trouble using the precise, correct terms when writing code, but so commonly fail to transfer that precision to other areas where it is equally important?"

Because there is an infinite amount of knowledge to have, and only a finite amount of time in which to acquire. Many people on Slashdot have dedicated a lot of time and energy into learning how to write good strong code in a variety of languages, few have dedicated much time or energy at all into doing the same for legal documents and discourse. You wouldn't ask a lawyer to design a building, or an architect to optimize code, so why would you ask a programmer for legal advice?

The test of whether one supports copyright: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25978637)

Do you want to do your job for free?

Do you want to not get paid for any work you do?

If not, then you support copyright restrictions. Because violation of copyright is exactly the same thing as hiring someone but not paying them.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (4, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978939)

Do you want to do your job for free? Do you want to not get paid for any work you do? If not, then you support copyright restrictions. Because violation of copyright is exactly the same thing as hiring someone but not paying them.

I get paid when I work. I don't get paid today because I worked 4 years ago for one week, and people still benefit [sic] from what I did. Violation of copyright says "You did you job, good job. Now get over it and get BACK to work like the rest of mankind!" and not "I don't think you should get paid for what you do."

I have zero sympathy for those untalented hacks who spent a whole week in a recording studio and now want me to feed them, their whores, and their children for the rest of their pathetic lives. If they want to eat, they need to go out and win bread like the rest of us!

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979791)

Agreed. I believe in Copyright only inasmuch as others shouldn't be able to claim they wrote something that I wrote (or created, more generally).

If Tom Clancy wrote a novel and some hack copied and republished it as his own, that should be wrong.

If however, I loan the book to a friend or cite a few paragraphs as an example of how he foresaw the future of warfare (or not), that should not be illegal.

It seems so common-sense, until the government lobbyists get involved.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980395)

See, here's my problem: After Tom Clancy dies, he no longer benefits from sales. So why should it be illegal for some hack to copy and republish his book? As copyright stands today, if you live slightly longer than average, anything you write after you're 8 years old will be copyright until after you're dead. That's bullshit. Why should some company that didn't even _do_ anything continue to profit from someone else's work for so long? It should be illegal to copy and resell someone's work until they have had enough time to produce a new work. That's it. Most of the sales come in the first year or two anyway, so what the hell is the difference between a 10 year copyright and a 70 year copyright? And why the _hell_ should it be possible for my children or even _grandchildren_ to still be getting royalties off of something _I_ did?

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981383)

If you cannot sell the rights of your book, you might as well die out of starvation.
So, to make you able to sell your book, it must have some value to the buyer.
The buyer needs some kind of assurance that the book is still valuable after you suddenly die out of a car accident.

Also, most people (not all) feel it incentive that their children or grandchildren benefit from their work. If writing books is not working this way, but earning money by dish washing is, most people would give up on writing books in favour of washing dishes.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (2, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981659)

But see, your child doesn't get paid because you washed dishes. Your child gets paid because you save money and give it to them. Same can be said of writing books.

Copyright isn't supposed to protect the publishers, it's supposed to protect the artists. If you happen to die of a car accident...well, that sucks, but you don't need the money, and I doubt the publisher does either. It'd just be an additional risk of business. Though honestly I don't think copyright should expire when the artist dies - it just shouldn't last so long that it's virtually guaranteed that the artist will die long before the copyright expires. Perhaps 10 years? Long enough the publisher and artist will most likely get the same amount of money.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981861)

I agree with the 10 year limit, in general, but I fear that the actual quality of the content being produced would go way down. You see, since they can't reset the clock by extending the original copyright, they will simply produce and push a new work every ten years. Quantity will go way up, but eventually everything will begin to resemble reality tv.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (2, Insightful)

uncreativeslashnick (1130315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980261)

I get paid when I work. I don't get paid today because I worked 4 years ago for one week, and people still benefit [sic] from what I did. Violation of copyright says "You did you job, good job. Now get over it and get BACK to work like the rest of mankind!" and not "I don't think you should get paid for what you do."

The problem with this logic is that without copyright protection in some form, it would be much harder to be a self-sufficient producer of original work whether that be writing, movies, etc. Without copyright, you could spend years working on a novel, and only sell a few copies, since someone could legally reproduce your novel, distribute it, and not give you a dime.

I think we need some form of copyright protection to encourage people to create, but I would agree that what we have now is protection that lasts too long and is a bit too onerous.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980519)

I can understand the reason for getting paid royalties and having your own work copyrighted but I have no sympathy for the untalented hacks their children or whores are (whether they are corporate (Disney) or individual (Yoko Ono)) years after the original artist or group has ceased (benefitting from his work). I also have no sympathy for the hacks that are trying to profit from the same work MULTIPLE times from the same people.

There should be a limit that cannot be extended for work done and it shouldn't be 40 years after the artist has died, it should be given up as soon as the artist or the artists as a group can't benefit from it anymore (whether it be death of a member or split from their record label).

It should also be allowed for the buyers to reclaim their own copy of a work they bought rights to in different (new) formats. I paid for the song that I wanted to listen to and I don't want to become deprived of my product simply because the format they chose 20 years ago (like DAT tapes) didn't keep up with current technology both in terms of quality as well as portability. Asking me to buy a new media-version of the identical product is like asking me to pay off my car all over again simply because I changed the tires or part of the engine or asking me to lug around a portable turntable so I can listen to the White Album while working out.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978959)

Your logic is astounding.

Do you want to do your job for free?
Strawman. [wikipedia.org]

Do you want to not get paid for any work you do?

Strawman. [nizkor.org]

If not, then you support copyright restrictions. Because violation of copyright is exactly the same thing as hiring someone but not paying them.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978979)

Yeah, why dig that ditch yourself when you can just copy the one that somebody else dug.

Re:The test of whether one supports copyright: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982051)

Because violation of copyright is exactly the same thing as hiring someone but not paying them.

No.

Re:How about this (3, Funny)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978639)

That would be just meaningless. And well, it will would render the anti-circumvention clause completely useless. That sounds like a very good reason to do it, I'm all for it.

Re:How about this (5, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978645)

Most of those requests are stupid, and don't dig down to the core of the issue. They all are asking for special circumstances to do various fair-use related activities.

The exception needs to be "except for in fair-use situations."

Imagine ripping DVDs being illegal unless you're only going to make a mashup video for youtube? Sure that's part of fair-use, but if that's all you ask for, and that's what they grant, then we're all retarded. What the hell are these people thinking?

So many times people try to fight fires at the top of the flames, and wonder why they never go out. Talk about slippery slopes, eh? See? We're fair! We can remove your right of second sales, because look- we agreed to dvd rips for youtube mashups only!

GAAAAAWD! I get so angry. I need some pie brb.

Re:How about this (2, Insightful)

tbrex33 (1422101) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978761)

Or how about allowing consumer to fully use the digital file they download in the first place? The problem with most DRM issues is that the provider of the content never really leaves what they are providing, but always seems to be along with the ride.

Re:How about this (4, Insightful)

MistaE (776169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978857)

Dude, I don't you get it.

As far as our government is concerned right now, ripping DVDs IS illegal when doing so circumvents the CSS, which is a violation of the DMCA. Everything that is being asked for is CURRENTLY illegal under the DMCA, regardless of what you or many other wishful thinking nerds believe. I don't understand why asking for these exemptions are a slippery slope -- how can you give up rights that you currently don't have under the law?

Now I understand your frustration, because it really is unfortunate that this is where we're at. But we don't succeed by ignoring the laws. We succeed by working with them, compromising, and then, hopefully, overcoming them with logic, common sense, and hopefully the backing of the American populace.

For example, one of the exemptions listed was for Media Film Studies education. The exemption was granted in 2006 and was a boon to that academic industry. This year, they are arguing that their 2006 exemption was so successful and necessary that they are asking to expand the exemption to encompass even more uses. They used clear factual examples, compelling legal arguments, and logic to show the LOC that it is necessary to expand their rights, and I hope that they get it.

To some (or most) these may seem like small potatoes sure, but they're a legitimate foot in the door. The odds of an exemption being granted that simply asks for something as broad as "everything that is under fair-use" is extremely unlikely. But, if we continue to succeed at these exemptions and show Washington that this is where the people are heading, this is what society needs, and these are the reasons why we are having issues, maybe that becomes one more brick in the wall to convince them that the DMCA is not a good idea.

Re:How about this (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979411)

As far as our government is concerned right now, ripping DVDs IS illegal when doing so circumvents the CSS, which is a violation of the DMCA.

Really? I was under the impression, based on several readings, that it is not illegal to circumvent CSS for fair use purposes, but it _is_ illegal to help anyone do so, though instruction, software, etc. The upshot is that you have to be able to decrypt it yourself (i.e. find the key and code the decrypter). That is, of course, nearly impossible for the vast majority of people, which makes it effectively impossible without making it illegal.

Hence, my ownership and use of AnyDVD - provided I use it for "fair use" purposes (which are subject to interpretation) - is legal, but nobody in the US may offer AnyDVD for sale. Were Slysoft not out of the US jurisdiction (Antigua, I believe) it would be illegal for them to sell that software. I happen to use it for making a copy for my car, as I used to with my tapes, CDs, and records, and for placing the discs (sans advertisements) on my media server, just as I have ripped my CD collection. The original discs are carefully stored and out of harms way. I do this now because a previous DVD player (Sony jukebox) destroyed 4 of my discs, two of which are out of print and irreplaceable.

Re:How about this (3, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979833)

You're right, and so's the GP. The GP is right about how the law is written, but you're right about how the courts have chosen to interpret it.

Luckily, some judges have seen fit to ignore the letter of the DMCA and given people the right to do what they should always have been allowed to do.

Asking for these exemptions might cause the government to realize what total idiocy the DMCA is though.

Re:How about this (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980145)

We can always hope...

Re:How about this (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980727)

You're right, and so's the GP. The GP is right about how the law is written, but you're right about how the courts have chosen to interpret it.

No, the GP is not correct.

The letter of the law specifically says that fair use is permitted and is not copyright infringement, even if the action would otherwise violate a portion of the DMCA:

17 USC 1201(c)(1) Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title.

The DMCA was codified in Title 17, sections 1201-1205 of the United States Code (USC), and you can see by the text that anything otherwise permitted by Title 17 is not a violation of the DMCA portion.

It all works out to "for fair use, you can violate the DMCA, but contributory infringement is not fair use". Contributory infringement includes distributing devices or software whose primary purpose is to remove some sort of copyright protection mechanism, so that's why you can rip a DVD for personal use, but a company can't legally provide you with the software to do it.

Re:How about this (1)

nsheppar (889445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979925)

I think GP was implying more that it's a bad policy to settle for less than what we should have. Yes, getting exception for Youtube mashups and iPhone jailbreaking would be better than what we have now, but if we give the impression that we're willing to settle for less than full fair use rights, we may be doing more harm in the long run. It would be like giving Hitler some of the land he wanted in order to appease him and stop the violence. In reality, he would just want more, and you be right back to the same problem.

Re:How about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979077)

Most of those requests are stupid, and don't dig down to the core of the issue. They all are asking for special circumstances to do various fair-use related activities.

The exception needs to be "except for in fair-use situations."

Imagine ripping DVDs being illegal unless you're only going to make a mashup video for youtube? Sure that's part of fair-use, but if that's all you ask for, and that's what they grant, then we're all retarded. What the hell are these people thinking?

So many times people try to fight fires at the top of the flames, and wonder why they never go out. Talk about slippery slopes, eh? See? We're fair! We can remove your right of second sales, because look- we agreed to dvd rips for youtube mashups only!

GAAAAAWD! I get so angry. I need some pie brb.

Your invective is misplaced, as anyone who has followed the exemption process knows that the Copyright Office has and will continue to summarily reject requests for blanket exemptions of fair use.

The commentators are just as frustrated on this front as you are; for example, this the EFF brief contains a novel and extensive suggestion about how better to accommodate fair use in general through the process.

Your slippery slope argument is simply false; many participate in the process while simultaneously advocating its abolition - because we don't want to cut off our noses to spite our faces.

The commentators have chosen to work with what they have and pursue exemptions for activities that they know people want to and should be able to engage in. If any of the exemptions is granted, we'll all have more freedom than would have otherwise - and that's hardly "stupid" or "retarded."

If you want to eviscerate the DMCA completely, you should write to your local congress-critter instead of insulting the people who are working hard to get exemptions that have some chance of actually passing.

[Disclaimer: I am involved in the commenting process.]

Re:How about this (1)

randalotto (1206870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979275)

The thing is, "hacking" the protections covered by the DMCA for your own personal fair-use is already legal. Unfortunately, this really only helps the .0001% of the population technologically proficient enough to whip up encryption breaking schemes on their own.

Even if circumvention of DMCA protections would be fair use if you did it on your own, if anyone "manufactures, imports, offers to the public, provides, or otherwise traffics" that technology to anyone else, its a violation.

Thus, if I discover a way to rip a copy-protected CD to my iPod, in a way that is perfectly legal and covered by fair-use, its not a problem.

If I give the program to someone else, I'm screwed... How's that for messed up application of the law?

Re:How about this (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979771)

Actually, you can shoot the water above the flames and put it out faster in most in house situations in a Grimwood's modified '3D attack strategy'.

Anyways, this isn't just an exception per se it is the definition of the fair use for which the anti circumvention applies.

The law says
(B) The prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to persons who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of works, if such persons are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make noninfringing uses of that particular class of works under this title, as determined under subparagraph (C).

This means that when the tech adversely effects your ability to use the copyrighted works in non-infringing ways, your suppose to inform the library of congress, if they agree, they add it to the list of what is considered fair use and unenforceable under that provision of the law. Telling them -using DVDs for video mashups or installation of third party software or to gain control of hardware you own but are locked out of by the manufacturer or whatever will become fair use according to the No person shall circumvent a technological measure law.

Of course the library of congress isn't a bunch of third graders who will make the exception for You Tube Only or for the Iphone only. They will use those examples to determine how adversely you are effected and if they determine it is legit according to a set of criteria set by law, [cornell.edu] they will issue a blanket ruling over the preceedure itself not being specific to any particular manufacturer or service. For instance, the issue of an piece of accounting software made by a certain company that require a specific dongle to be used in order for the program to run in which the manufacturer refused to supply new dongles prompted an overall exemption to all software like that which the manufacturer is out of business or otherwise incapable of providing replacements.

These exemptions still don't get past the manufacture and import restrictions on tech designed to defeat the process so your still up a boat. However, you need to understand the fight and take it to the right fields. This expands what is considered fair use. If you want more, like being able to buy a program to decode DVDs for fair use or the ability to unlock your TIVO or mod your Xbox to run Linux, then you need to lobby congress to change the laws (treaties forbid getting rid of it). That won't be too difficult if you have a good enough reason and don't stray into calling Disney or the RIAA evil and such.

Even better (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978699)

Make it legal, always, period.

There are already laws against the criminal things you've suggested. I really don't see why it should also be illegal to break DRM with the intention of doing that -- why should the intention matter at all? Maybe you broke it with the intention of watching it on your Mythbox, and later got the idea (independently) of using the cracked version for something criminal?

No, that's all needlessly vague and complex. If you want to make it hurt more to pirate stuff, change those laws -- which wasn't even a criminal offense until recently, but rather, a civil matter.

Think about that -- it is a federal crime to crack the DRM. It's merely a civil offense to redistribute the music. One goes on your record, the other doesn't. WTF?!

Tag says it all: justrepealit. Or, if you're going to ask for exemptions, don't ask for such pathetically small ones -- are iPhones mentioned specifically? Why can't I crack an iPod Touch, then?

Re:Even better (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979043)

Legislators love specific exceptions much more than just getting he law right generally in the first place. This is because they measure their output by quantity. They seem to think that the job of a good congressman is to pass a lot of bills, or better yet introduce a lot of bills that get passed. It's a miracle that anything gets voted down *at all*.

It's not entirely their fault though. IMO, the ideal congressman sits on his ass all day because nothing needs changing. How many voters really feel the same way.

Re:Even better (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979507)

This is because they measure their output by quantity.

That's fine -- just measure it as a combined quantity of bills passed and bills repealed.

Or measure it as a quantity of money you saved the taxpayers, or of people who have actually been positively affected by what you're doing.

IMO, the ideal congressman sits on his ass all day because nothing needs changing.

But do you actually believe nothing needs changing? Would you bother to vote for an incumbent if you were so content? You'd probably be much more interested in voting the bums out when you aren't content...

I agree, in principle, but in practice, there's far too much broken, and it takes Congress far too long to address most of it, for any congressman to sit on his (or her) well-dressed, re-election-campaigning ass.

Re:Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980423)

Interesting catch to the whole DRM that most people think only applies to music and movies. Check this...

Our company produces and sells forms and charts for doctors and other financial institutions; you know, those charts and records that doctors and bankers fill out or have you fill out and file away somewhere. Regardless of the debate about how printed media is going away "real soon now" and stuff, we have very few competitors.

There was one competitor, however, that took a sample of our product and used to to produce their own form. We had the copyright symbol on it, too!

We tried to sue for copyright infringement, simply because they were now selling our product. Turns out the courts do not agree, since it's not possible to copyright a blank form. Period. They did not violate our copyright because we cannot have a copyright on the image printed on the paper.

Now, I met with our CxO about this issue which he had conceded that there's nothing we can do about losing control over our product, especially if someone calls up and wants a PDF of a form to look at, proof, or whathaveyou. I mention that it is possible to put DRM into that PDF so that it's not possible to copy it. He says, "But it's meaningless if we cannot have a copyright on the file." I tells him that isn't important, because they won't violate a copyright when they try to copy it, they will violate the DMCA when they try to break the lock that prevents them from copying it.

See why I'm so on the fence about the DRM/DMCA thing?

Re:How about this (1)

triceice (1046486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979335)

Make DRM breaking illegal only when there is criminal intent, such as to share reproductions with others or to sell bootlegs...

That would make too much sense!! Instead only legal owners of the DVDs are unable to do anything with them.

Jailbreaking (1)

stei7766 (1359091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978453)

I was under the impression that jailbreaking an iphone is not illegal (or at the most against their TOS not the DMCA), but Apple can do whatever they want to make it as difficult as possible.

Is this incorrect? Is what is being requested a requirement that Apple not block jailbreaking?

Re:Jailbreaking (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978599)

The act of circumventing ANY protection scheme is what the DMCA outlawed. Jailbreaking an Iphone could be construed as such.

Re:Jailbreaking (1)

Smitty825 (114634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978723)

I believe that a few years ago, it was deemed that SIM locks are ok to break on phones. That way, you can use your phone with whichever wireless carrier you phone would support.

However, I think that jailbreaking an iPhone to run unauthorized apps would be considered a grey area at best.

Re:Jailbreaking (2, Informative)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978925)

The act of "jailbreaking" an iPhone is not illegal, unless the _owner_ of the device has agreed to some TOS/EULA disallowing such an act. The responsibility falls on the owner of the device, not any individuals or corporations aiding in a modification.

Using a unlocked phone to circumvent copy protections may be illegal (DMCA), but I don't know of any media where such circumvention would be necessary simply for use on a hacked device. Of course applications may have EULA's or TOS disallowing their use apart from licensing through for example the applications store.

I believe you are correct; in the few cases involving phone jailbreaking, the case was over the intentional disabling of said phones by a network. Intentionally disabling a device for use on other networks is anti-competitive behavior, which is illegal in the US.

Re:Jailbreaking (2, Informative)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979167)

The act of "jailbreaking" an iPhone is not illegal, unless the _owner_ of the device has agreed to some TOS/EULA disallowing such an act.

No, No, NO! Why do people continue to perpetuate this?

Violating a company's EULA is not illegal. Period. Full stop.

illegal
-adjective
1. forbidden by law or statute.
2. contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.
-noun
3. Informal. illegal alien.

Tell me which law or statue I'm violating by doing something that isn't allowed by an EULA.

Re:Jailbreaking (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979453)

Possibly contract law, which would be illegal in the civil sense (i.e. they can sue you about it.), if the EULA can be considered a legally valid contract.

Re:Jailbreaking (1)

randalotto (1206870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979731)

Actually, given the recent holding of MDY v. Blizzard, if you violate the terms of the EULA, you are making an unauthorized copy when a program is copied into RAM.

Thus, when you violate the EULA, (according to the ridiculousness that is our current IP law,) you are violating the Copyright Act. Minimum statutory damages of $750. There's your statute.

thankfully, this decision is from a low level court and hinged largely on the classification of WoW as a license system and not a sale... still - the case law is out there.

Re:Jailbreaking (2, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980717)

That's ok, just get someone else to do it. You are safe because you didn't jailbreak it and they are safe because they didn't agree to anything!

Re:Jailbreaking (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979243)

"I was under the impression that jailbreaking an iphone is not illegal (or at the most against their TOS not the DMCA)..."

Not to mention, that we recently have a nice new precedent in the Lori Drew case...where if you break the TOS, you can get charged with some pretty bad fines and jail time. I mean, it *is* just a little more of a stretch to convict someone of breaking the TOS for a phone plan. Remember..she was NOT convicted in any way of hurting that girl that committed suicide.

Seems like a fair stretch of the imagination now...but.....

how about (3, Interesting)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978533)

having the DMCA only apply when and if the person or persons infringing are intending to do so for a profit. That would make the DMCA a law I could get behind.

Re:how about (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978601)

That's pretty worthless. Who the hell is even a big player that is violating the DMCA and making money now? Why, if people could already distribute all of this content legally anyway, should the fact that someone is trying to make a profit be illegal?

Re:how about (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978715)

Even if you personally aren't making a profit, you could be impacting the profit of the copyright owner, which is the whole point of the DMCA.

Which is bullshit (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978777)

If I put up a sign next to a shitty restaurant saying "Do not patronize restaurant X, the food is crap", that's my free speech right.

If a city puts in a new highway that means less people drive down a service road that was previously the highway, and a number of businesses don't get as much impulse "I think I'll stop there" business, they either adapt or move or die, they don't get recompense.

Nothing should be different with DRM. DRM is a method by which the companies try to infringe on the CONSUMER'S right to fair-use activities like space-shifting, nothing more. DRM itself should be illegal.

Re:Which is bullshit (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979927)

Nothing should be different with DRM. DRM is a method by which the companies try to infringe on the CONSUMER'S right to fair-use activities like space-shifting, nothing more. DRM itself should be illegal.

Agree, except for the last part. Company X should be able DRM all they want, as there will always be Company Y that will not use it. Let the people decide who survives.

Re:Which is bullshit (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980161)

If I put up a sign next to a shitty restaurant saying "Do not patronize restaurant X, the food is crap", that's my free speech right.

Assuming that you have the necessary permits to hang a sign and aren't trespassing to do it, it is still different because those are your words, not mine or someone else'. DRM would be me not letting you tresspass to do it.

If a city puts in a new highway that means less people drive down a service road that was previously the highway, and a number of businesses don't get as much impulse "I think I'll stop there" business, they either adapt or move or die, they don't get recompense.

Adapting and moving on because of a public good (and yes a highway is a public good) is one thing, adapting and moving on because you are in essence dinning and dashing without paying your bill, well that's another. In other words, copyright is in place to benefit society. Putting in a freeway is too. They aren't compatible to you taking something without permission and treating it as your own. To keep them comparable, it would be more like you going into the restaurant, bringing in your own food and fixing the meals and serving the same guests but pocketing the cash or giving the meals away. I'm not so sure you can justify that as easily. DRM would be like me putting locks on the doors so you can't do it.

Nothing should be different with DRM. DRM is a method by which the companies try to infringe on the CONSUMER'S right to fair-use activities like space-shifting, nothing more. DRM itself should be illegal.

I see what your saying. In most ways, I agree. Your examples were way off and one sided though.

If you want to change the DRM portion of the DMCA, you need to lobby congress and get the laws changed. When doing so, keep in mind that it is part of a requirement for a WIPO treaty so you will have to convince congress or the president to renegotiate the treaty or to pull out of it. Small changes could probably be made without coming into conflict with the treaty but I doubt they will be enough for you.

Re:Which is bullshit (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980823)

Except controlling distribution of your creative work is a Constitutionally protected right:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

So to make your analogies work, it'd be like you setting up a large sign in front of a restaurant's doorway, blocking its customers and employees from entering - violating their right to operate and associate freely Or building the new highway on land owned by someone without compensating them - violating their right to property ownership.

This is why copyright reform has to happen at a Constitutional level, and why the Supreme Court cases are so important. As it stands right now, copyright holders are within their rights to protect their works using any passive means such as DRM, even if it ends up violating fair use rights. Someone using a fair use exemption is protected from prosecution for copyright infringement. It does not (currently) mean the copyright holder has to go out of their way to accommodate access for fair use.

Re:Which is bullshit (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981443)

Uhm, no.

Congress gives you the right, legally speaking, to control commercial production of your intellectual property. That is, if you write a screenplay or theater play, or a book, or produce some other piece of art, you have the right to stop others from reproducing it unless you give them permission (possibly, but not always, in exchange for some form of restitution).

What you do NOT have the right to do is block the public's fair-use privileges, such as quoting a limited portion of the work, space-shifting it (digitizing the book into a private archive for example), posting a screenshot of a video game, etc.

A further problem is this is the ridiculous theft that has gone on with changing copyright so that works no longer need registration. Registration's key point is that it ensures a copy is retained for when the work eventually enters the public domain. Think seriously now: how many computer programs, how many books, how many movies are now simply lost to us because someone technically "owns" the copyright and has sat failing to distribute the work, but the only available copies are either (a) degraded to uselessnes due to bad storage or (b) nearly unrecoverable due to DRM implementations tied to nearly-nonexistent hardware.

Consider the number of supposedly "copyrighted" TV show serials for which no known copy of certain episodes exist. Like the absolute ton of BBC productions [wikipedia.org] . This is why not mandating copyright registration, with the provision of a copy to a national repository, is a BAD idea.

Copyright is a temporary monopoly given to artists with the contract that their work enter the public domain. Ever since big corporations got involved, they've done everything they could to rape the shit out of the public domain and not put a single bit back into it, and they've even gone to the extreme of trying to prevent people from doing things like time-shifting and space-shifting. Hell, the NFL has harassed churches for holding super bowl parties (consisting of members of the church) and watching the game on a projected screen, claiming it was a "public reproduction" of a "Copyrighted performance", yet it's something they freely put on the airwaves.

Enough is enough. Time to stop the madness.

Re:how about (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978783)

Not me. I would not only like it completely repealed, but a new law with the DMCA name on it passed that said if you protect your work technologically it loses copyright and enters the public domain.

DRM is a useless fantasy. There is no reason for the law to protect useless fantasies.

Re:how about (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979313)

What defines "protecting [my] work technologically"?

If I only distribute a program in binary form, is that protecting it technologically? After all, you don't have access to my source code.

If I only distribute lossy versions of music/movies, is that protecting them technologically? After all, you don't have the original lossless files used to create it, and are beholden to whatever quality level I used.

If I use a firewall on my computer, is that protecting any work that I have on it technologically? After all, you don't have access to my work (if I did my job creating the firewall right).

Re:how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979843)

The answer is a clear NO if you are operating as an individual and a clear YES if you are operating as a corporation.

Right now corporate rights > individual rights, at least in practice. Thanks, George (and Bill)

Re:how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979867)

I'd say a good definition would be to use the definition of a protected work that the DMCA uses.

Re:how about (2, Interesting)

syzler (748241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979777)

How about changing the DMCA so that any copyright holder who uses DRM agrees to only a 17 year copyright term on the DRM encumbered work. If they want the longer (I.E. unreasonable) length term then they have to forego DRM.

Re:how about (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980515)

I would go even further. I would require that any company employing DRM must ensure that the files, program, whatever is usable in non-infringement ways for the entire length of the copyright plus 20 years and if that is not possible, they must provide the ability to remove the DRM free of charge with no strings attached.

Re:how about (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979117)

Profit isn't the problem. If you say that, then people could duplicate copyrighted works and give them away for free.

Educational Use (1)

tbrex33 (1422101) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978591)

Allowing professors the right to rip sections of movie's should be highly considered. I am currently in a class that uses movies primarily to show real life value to what is being taught in class. Sometimes watching a movie is the only way to get some concepts and topics across to the student. If reduced movie revenues and increased piracy are primary reasons for not allowing it, my response to that is that is I usually end up buying or renting a movie I watch in class if it was good. It is merely additional advertising if anything in my opinion. Why restrict our nation's youth to a potential increase of learning through the use of current media?

Re:Educational Use (1)

yetijoe (1411395) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978733)

In these hard economic times it is obvious that big media can not only make money off of the class time use of a film, but every subsequent use.

Think about the corporations! who's looking out for them?

Devil's Advocate (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980005)

I presume if you are watching clips in class, the professor has either a computer or a DVD player hooked to a large monitor or projector. Why not just cue up the particular discs? Especially with licensed DVD player software it's easy to jog forward to the clip necessary and the professor need only mark the time code on his notes to find the clips quickly. Nothing here is restricted, it's just less convenient and make take an additional 15-30 seconds of load time, during which the professor may be discussing the upcoming clip. It's easy enough to carry a portable case which holds 20, 30, or more DVDs for a lecture - certainly more than you could reasonably watch and discuss in a 50 or 75 minute standard lecture period. If it's a matter of worrying about moving the DVDs from case to lecture book and back, there are 3 ring binder sleeves which the professor could use to permanently place the DVD in his or her lecture binder. Sure, that might mean buying a second copy, but that's a small price when compared to what it would cost him to actually purchase the rights for his "public performance" he seems to do every class, even on an academic pricing scale. And what is the cost of 100 or so DVDs (say, $1500-$2000 at retail) for a lecture which is likely to generate over a hundred thousand dollars in tuition revenue (and/or state funds) for the university over the course of four or five years? You would cheat someone spending millions of dollars on content out of just 2% of your revenue stream for the sake of your convenience? Look at real estate agents - they get 6% of the sale of a home...they only want a small fraction of that, and as a one time fee. I've had graduate classes where the cost of the textbooks for the class (a 12 person lecture series) cost more than $2000.

Of course, that's a bunch of bullshit. But if you say it with a straight face and an "honest day's pay for an honest day's work" mannerism, it makes the MPAA sound like they're just looking to ensure that they are justly compensated for their work. And, sadly, many won't see through it.

Too late to file? (2, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978613)

Is it too late for Psytar [macrumors.com] to file for an exemption? ~

We need exemptions for any software used to do the (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978775)

We need exemptions for any software used to do the same type of stuff form cars to printer ink.

Re:Too late to file? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979135)

Was their plan to sell non-apple laptops with otherwise legitimate copies of OSX, or just to copy it a bunch of times over? "Pre-loaded" is a very suspicious software term.

You are getting / paying a copy of mac os x on eac (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979651)

You are getting / paying a copy of mac os x on each system. Dell and others per load images on there systems apple likely does the same thing as well.

Re:Too late to file? (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979653)

Their plan (which they were actively implementing) was to sell desktops with legitimate copies of OSX. The only thing they did that was "wrong" was challenged the validity of that small piece of the EULA that states that you agree to only install the software on Apple hardware. Psystar's contention was that Apple's EULA stifled competition, and effectively was a monopoly in the OSX industry. This was shot down in court (I believe) as Psystar's definition of "industry" was deemed too narrow.

Personally, I believe that the spirit of the anti-monopoly laws is being violated by Apple, but the letter of the law allows for it, sadly.

So, there was nothing illegal about the OSX distribution, only the "pre-installed" part. Psystar still seems to be selling the machines, only their called Open with Mac OSX (instead of OpenMac).

add bypassing of hardware locks / lockin software (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978727)

add bypassing of hardware locks in software so people can BUY mac os x and run it on any system that they want. There also been other apps and that used other types of hardware lock in as well. Also add bypassing printer ink lock out chips used to keep 3rd party's out.

You should also have the right to add bigger hd's to game consoles / drvs and other devices that try sell you there own hd size upgrades at very high cost.

Smart phones also need to have the right to bypass any type of sim locks / network locks / even phone app network locks as well.

One step at a time, there (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978863)

IMO I think that the list in TFA is a reasonable step in the right direction. Try taking too much, and the house of cards will come down. bypassing hardware lock-in for OSX will come across as exactly what it is - a full-scale attack against Apple's business model. While I'm all for that, the DMCA is already hard enough to append because of the *AA. Adding apple to the mix gets the *AA and Apple on the same side again, in which case the odds of any of the other exemptions getting approved are slim.

Joey

Re:One step at a time, there (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980653)

Lol.. Do you really think it is the **AA's and not the WIPO treaties that require the protection to be there?

Don't confuse the cheerleaders for the players [wipo.int] in the game. [wipo.int]

Playing Movies on Free Operating Systems? (3, Insightful)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978773)

Is someone at least requesting it?

I suppose if we get an exception we could play both DVDs and BluRays on Linux.. legally. Well except for the codecs, but shh.

Re:Playing Movies on Free Operating Systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979035)

How can they? You'll need a css license. If you want to legally play them without the likes of libcss you can purchase powerdvd, and have been able to do so since 2004.

Re:Playing Movies on Free Operating Systems? (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981413)

If they allow me to legally bypass CSS in order to watch the movies I own then what will I complain about?

Rip clips from DVDs (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978813)

I'd want to expand on this one: "university professors wishing to rip clips from DVDs for classroom use"

Make it: "Allow home users to rip DVDs for personal use"

So if you rip the video off of the DVD to put it on your home media server, you're fine. If you rip a bunch of children's DVDs to compile a single DVD with your kid's favorite episodes, you're ok. Basically anything you do where the video doesn't leave your "personal zone" would be allowed. Things like sharing clips, classroom use, or YouTube mashups would be a separate exemption.

Then, perhaps, we could get set top boxes that would take DVDs in, rip them to an internal hard drive, and allow home users to choose from hundreds or thousands of movies without handling any discs. As any parent with little kids will tell you, you want to keep the discs away from kids' hands, but keep them in reach enough that you can access them quickly and easily. A set top box like this would be ideal.

Re:Rip clips from DVDs (1)

WaXHeLL (452463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979273)

Didn't you read the article summary, where it says the EFF submitted a request for ripping DVDs for non-commercial use

Re:Rip clips from DVDs (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979869)

This is in fact being asked for.

Personally, I'd rather someone asked for the right to invalidate any digital Copyright system that violates the rest of Copyright as it stands. That is to say, a DRM system that doesn't allow personal backups would be invalid. A DRM system that won't let me pull out a clip of a song for a review would be invalidated too.

I have nothing against DRM, IF it works within the confines of the law and my rights and that includes self-sacrificing the DRM layer when the law says that file becomes public domain.

In.tel anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979327)

in.tel anyone?

"Abandonware" should also include version antics (4, Interesting)

grandpa-geek (981017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979783)

I've had two situations in which I had a legally-obtained older version of software for which the provider had dropped support, which included dropping support for the DRM built into the products.

In one case, you had to call in, give them your product ID and get a DRM key. I wanted to move the product from an older machine to a newer one. I called in and they told me they had dropped support, including handling the DRM keys, and to buy their new product. The old product served my needs, and the new one had improvements that were useless to me. Luckily, one tech support person was nice and told me where I could find the DRM key value in the old installation, that I hadn't yet deleted. Had I needed to reinstall for any reason, I would have been stuck.

In another case the DRM required either an internet connection or printer access during installation. This was not explained in the installation instructions. I was installing software on a new machine and hadn't yet set up either internet or printer. With that (early) DRM, if you didn't go through the procedure at installation time, there was no opportunity to do it later. The provider later came out with other versions and dropped support for this version. I moved on to using a FOSS product, so I never tried to resolve the issue, but I have a useless copy of that particular software. It didn't set me back any cost, because I had won a copy of the product in a drawing at a trade show booth for people who sat through a demo of something.

If DRM support is dropped for a version of a product, it should be treated as an abandoned product, even if the DRM is maintained for later versions.

I wish people would fly closer to the truth. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980869)

I have found a number of places where people have exaggerated the effect of DRM on their use cases far beyond reality. Others have quoted officers of corporations who were clearly lying about the reasons they made business decisions to restrict access, and attempting to direct the blame to other companies. I wish people wouldn't do this, because these errors of fact are clear to anyone with a reasonable familiarity with the situation, and cast any argument against DRM... even the many many valid ones... into disrepute.

A simple request (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981203)

I would like to request this exemption: Let me do what I want with the things I paid for.

DIVX (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981995)

Among the exemption proposals is a request from the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic to allow circumvention of DRM protection [copyright.gov] when the central authorization server goes down

Which first lists Circuit City's Digital Video Express (DIVX) disks under "DRM-based Stores Have Failed In the Past":

  1. Circuit City's Digital Video Express (DIVX) Service
  2. Google Video Store
  3. Microsoft's MSN Music Store
  4. Yahoo Music
  5. Wal-Mart's Music Store

I hope it includes allowing for the authorization of my lawfully purchased copy of DVD X Copy Gold which I didn't get activated before the company was served with a cease-and-desist. That would be sweet irony.

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