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Fair Use Bill Introduced To Change DMCA

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the tilting-it-back dept.

Media 152

An anonymous reader tips us to a Washington Post blogger's note that Representatives Boucher (D-VA) and Dolittle (R-CA) today introduced the FAIR USE Act to update the DMCA to "make it easier for digital media consumers to use the content they buy." Boucher's statement on the bill says, "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use..." The Post failed to note the history. Boucher has been introducing this bill for years; here are attempts from 2002 and 2003. The chances may be better in this Congress. And reader Rolling maul writes in to note Ars's disappointment with the bill for leaving the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions intact: "Yet again, the bill does not appear to deliver on what most observers want: clear protection for making personal use copies of encrypted materials. There is no allowance for consumers to make backups of DVDs, to strip encryption from music purchased online so that it can be played anywhere, or to generally do any of the things that the DMCA has made illegal."

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152 comments

Nice... (2)

dead nancy (239321) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173074)

Not that it will pass, but it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...

DN

Re:Nice... (2, Informative)

kennygraham (894697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173204)

Not that it will pass, but it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...

DN
Incase the summary was too long to read, that still would be illegal.

Re:Nice... (4, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174326)

Not that it will pass, but it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...
In case the summary was too long to read, that still would be illegal.
It's more depressing than that. The provision to strike down the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA was the only thing keeping others from attaching the Broadcast Flag FCC-authorizing bill to this one (or vice versa). Excerpting from the testimony of Fritz Attaway, Executive Vice President and Special Policy Advisor, MPAA [mpaa.org] (a PDF):

Let me add one cautionary note. While we strongly support legislation that will reinstate the Broadcast Flag, we cannot support legislation that will do that at the expense of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. It has been suggested that HR 1201 [2006 version] be attached to Broadcast Flag legislation. However, that type of legislation would as a practical matter repeal Section 1201 of the DMCA, would compromise efforts to fight piracy and inflict devastating harm on an important American industry.
Irreconcilable differences between the industry and the consumers will doom this one as well.

Re:Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18176434)

I know of one way to solve "irreconcilable differences."

Yes, we fight them with roses!

Re:Nice... (4, Interesting)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175232)

In the US we are watching a lot of small personal freedoms be legislated away. This is one of them: to do what we wish with what we purchase. I understand it isn't 'in the constitution' but it is implied in our way of life. The fact that our leaders continue to propose bills of 'fair use' that don't allow 'fair use' is more telling of who is in control. This is yet another tiny step nowhere for the 'fair use' debate.

To Be Fair.

Has anyone been successfully prosecuted for burning a personal DVD for personal use on their PSP?

It doesn't make it right that it is illegal, but at least our society doesn't enforce the fact - yet.

Re:Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173422)

PSPs don't have DVD drives, so how the hell would you view a burned DVD anyway?

Re:Nice... (3, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174266)

DVD > Vobs >raw mp4 >> MSProDuo stick

Illegal but unenforceable (5, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173552)

it would be pleasant not to be a criminal for burning the DVDs I own for viewing on my PSP...


You could be a "criminal" under the law, but not under moral principles. As the ancient Romans said, "non omne licitum honestum", which is translated as "not everything that's legal is honest".


Apart from the basic principles of "fair use", I think lawmakers should restrain from creating unenforceable laws, because they weaken the whole principle of legitimacy of the state. Violating laws that restrict copying of digital works is ridiculously easy. Even if some people try to equate copying music and films to robbing banks, if it were as easy to rob a bank as it is to copy a DVD, I would think the whole business model of banking should be reviewed before creating stricter laws against bank robbery.


There's a great quotation by Robert Heinlein about this. In his 1965 novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" his character Bernardo de la Paz said: "But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; If I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am responsible for everything I do." In digital works, this assertion is absolutely true everywhere. If the public does not accept the laws protecting "intellectual property", those laws will be broken.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (4, Insightful)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174024)

In digital works, this assertion is absolutely true everywhere. If the public does not accept the laws protecting "intellectual property", those laws will be broken.

you know, i used to agree with this. after all, look at prohibition, right? but then i saw what the RIAA did to the Napster-using grandmothers and little girls of the world. there were 24 million Napster users at one point, and later even more who used the other various p2p systems that took its place. this did nothing to stop the RIAA and its hired legal guns from waging a war of propaganda and litigation, one that they have largely won at this point.

no laws sprung up to defend this huge chunk of the populace.

in fact, if you want to know what p2p users have accomplished so far ... as the smoke clears, all i can see from here are newer, clearer, more restrictive laws with harsher penalties for the so-called thieves and pirates.

maybe back in the early 20th century politicians actually cared more about their constituants than their contributors? i don't know. but the whole "if enough of us do it, it will become legal" strategy doesn't seem to be working anymore.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18175070)

And as more laws are passed that people do not obey, the more we will all become criminal in the eyes of the State. One day, the old, corrupt rule of law will be torn down and replaced with a sparkling new creation. It will tarnish, in time, and itself be discarded. This is how nations rise and fall and rise again.

Right... (2, Insightful)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175384)

Right... even though now an estimated 120 million Americans use or have used content-trading tools?

The RIAA can keep suing a few thousand people a year, and it wont mean a thing. This year's round of the flu probably stopped more music-traders by flat-out killing them than the RIAA has by their lawsuits and propaganda.

All these laws mean is that the government is making itself more and more the enemy of the people, that the government is making itself more and more contemptible and despicable.

Incidentally, do you think the guy that posted the article is aware that it was a Democratic-Party government that proposed the DMCA, Democratic-Party congressmen who gleefully passed it, and a Democratic-Party president who signed it into law? The fact that the Republicans adored it too (as if they could dislike anything that strips the people of freedoms) doesn't mean that the Ass party is going to suddenly develop some newfound love of consumer-rights.

If the government makes itself redundant and stupid, the people will ignore its laws and do whatever they want. That's just the way it's always been. And I say this as someone who lives in a city with about a dozen Pot-smoking lounges that operate completely openly because even the cops have stopped giving a shit about laws that don't matter.

Re:Right... (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175578)

Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2281 by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) on July 29, 1997

The congress was also majority Republican (in both houses).

Not that the Democrats did or would have done anything to stop it.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175450)

maybe back in the early 20th century politicians actually cared more about their constituants than their contributors? i don't know. but the whole "if enough of us do it, it will become legal" strategy doesn't seem to be working anymore.

I'm not an expert on the subject and it isn't entirely clear to me why prohibition ended. I do think the negative effects of prohibition -- e.g. entire cities falling under the sway of organized crime -- was more severe and certainly more obvious than the rather ephemeral harm of my not being able to legally watch DVDs on my Ubuntu box. The violation of the law was more blatant -- Speakeasys were prolific, and they were social, so you were basically surrounded by fellow law breakers. Copyright violation is more private, more furtive.

One difference I'm sure of is that with music, we aren't going outside the normal sources to get what we want. We're getting it illegally, but what we are consuming is still the mainstream media. During prohibition people just went to illegal sources for booze, so the huge alcohol-related economy was happening entirely outside of traditional (taxable) avenues. Here, while piracy may mean somewhat fewer sales for the studios (and arguably it means the opposite), the fact is that the majority of people still get their music by giving money to RIAA studios. If we responded to laws like the DMCA by going to completely separate sources of music, ones that didn't feel a need to treat us like criminals, then we would definitely have an effect. This is happening already, but it is slow and not guaranteed to end with the death of the RIAA. Yet if it does, then we might see a reaction more like that at the end of prohibition, with the Big Money seeing their Money going someplace else and not liking it.

Basically what I'm suggesting is that the DMCA will be repealed when, practically speaking, it is completely irrelevent.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176158)

entire cities falling under the sway of organized crime
You mean like they are now.. because of the other drugs that are prohibited?

The end of the prohibition of alcohol really was a one off case of common sense on the part of law makers.

It may never happen again.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176236)

You mean like they are now.. because of the other drugs that are prohibited?

They've done a better job of stigmatizing those drugs than they did with alcohol and pushing the users underground, and organized crime isn't quite so prevelent. Though to get at the real reason, I'll have to steal from Bill Hicks by saying: Ever notice how the drugs that are legal, like alcohol and cigarettes, are the ones that do absolutely nothing for you, while the ones that can expand your mind like LSD are banned? It's almost like they want to keep us sick and stupid instead of having us wake up and realize how badly we're being screwed... ;)

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176316)

Personally, I think it boils down to one thing.. back when they failed to prohibited alcohol, the government was much smaller.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176354)

The end of the prohibition of alcohol really was a one off case of common sense on the part of law makers.

You give them too much credit. It was the legislature caving to overwhelming pressure from the voters.

-jcr

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174114)

No shit Sherlock, but the problem is that the general public doesn't care, and if YOU alone break some laws, stupid as they may be (lex injusta non est lex; an unjust law isn't a law), you will be punished by the powers that be.

It's great to say we are all free, when we are all only free to suffer the punishment of our unjust rulers. That doesn't really help, even though it sounds cool.

Yes, I know, I don't have a solution either, but we can still try to educate people about what real freedom would be like.

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174532)

You could be a "criminal" under the law, but not under moral principles. As the ancient Romans said, "non omne licitum honestum", which is translated as "not everything that's legal is honest".

Your quote is backwards from the example you're using. You should want "not everything that's honest is legal."

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (1)

spirality (188417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175934)

Awesome quote. Thanks!

Re:Illegal but unenforceable (4, Interesting)

spirality (188417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175962)

I actually should have fired this back at you with my previous post. :) Anyway, here it is, even if a bit belated.
Again thanks for the great quotation.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.

-Frederic Bastiat
The Law

Why not play dirty? (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175574)

So the stupid provisions get tacked onto bills like a giant military spending bill. This guy should do the same. That way when people vote against it, we can say "See? These guys are helping terrorists" and get rid of the media company whores et al.

Worse than Nothing. (2, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173078)

Now lawmakers and the "content" industries can claim they've already answer criticism and given ground, without actually changing much of anything.

Non-partisan (5, Insightful)

sharp-bang (311928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173184)

The party shift in Congress won't change anything regarding the DCMA or copyright. Although fair use is certainly important to many Democrats, the concentration of IP rights in the hands of a few large companies at the expense of consumer rights has been a depressingly non-partisan issue.

Re:Non-partisan (3, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174122)

DCMA was made in to law in 1998, during the Clinton administration, so I agree that this isn't a political issue. I do think, however, that as the DMCA begins to impede on what law makers think is fair use when they are sitting in there own homes trying to watch a movie with the family that the DMCA will modified.

Re:Non-partisan (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174202)

The party shift in Congress won't change anything regarding the DCMA or copyright.
When I first read this, I thought it said, "The shifty part of Congress won't change anything regarding the DCMA or copyright."

Too bad most of Congress is shifty.

Re:Non-partisan (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174612)

Don't be too ready to dismiss this. Politicians want votes. Not money. Money is just a means to an end.

Because of the DMCA, a lot of intelligent people have become increasingly political, and represent a substantial voting block. On top of this, big corporations sueing poor people has led to quite a lot of people becoming a little negative about copyright. In the past copyright hasn't affected the ordinary guy too much. Now it looks like it might.

"The chances may be better in this Congress" (5, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173202)

Why? Because it's "Democrat" controlled?

Who signed the DMCA bill into law, btw?

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (3, Insightful)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173362)

Congress doesn't sign bills. Presidents do. You should really make an effort to learn about how US government works.

Some people think that a democratic party controlled congress will be more sympathetic to fair use rights. I have my doubts, since both parties seem to be growing increasingly corporatist. The republicans at the FCC have been busy conglomerating power for media companies for some time now, so it is understandable to think that a democratic congress might be different. We'll see.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173550)

Congress doesn't sign bills. Presidents do.

Right. President Clinton, in this case. A Democrat. You really should make an effort to figure out why the poster is asking a question before assuming they're ignorant.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174156)

Boy, they really need to bring back civics classes. Presidents don't create bills. Legislature does, and both houses were controlled by republicans back then. Can you understand why someone might hope that a different party controlling both houses might come up with different bills? Why are you talking about Clinton? He signed plenty of bad bills, some backed by republicans, some backed by democrats.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175736)

If I remember correctly from my civics classes then any citizen, including the President of course, can write a bill for introduction into Congress. The key is getting a congressman to take the bill that you have written and introduce it into the appropriate committee where it can start working its way through the process. In fact, the various lobbying firms in DC do precisely that when they try and convince congressmen to introduce bills that they have written. Theoretically the same channels are open to the average citizen, but realistically who has time to write the bill properly (requires lawyer like legal skills), organize the paper work, present it to the right congressman, and do the lobbying to get the bill introduced. The answer of course is nobody which is why there are a lot of really horrible bills floating around because many of them get written by special interest lobby groups whose own interest is almost certainly not the same as the public interest.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175862)

>>Presidents don't create bills. Legislature does, and both houses were controlled by republicans back then.<<

First of all, anyone can draft a bill, but only a Congressperson can introduce a bill into their legislative body.

>>Why are you talking about Clinton?<<

He could have vetoed the DMCA. The Republicans did not have the two-thirds majorities they needed to overrride. And, given the highly technical nature of the DMCA, I don't think there would have been any general public outcry if that bill had been quietly killed off.

I support most of Clinton's policies, but in this case I disagree strongly.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

rossifer (581396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176152)

He could have vetoed the DMCA. The Republicans did not have the two-thirds majorities they needed to overrride.
What are you talking about? The DMCA enjoyed so little dissention [wikipedia.org] in the house that it passed with a voice vote and a unanimous vote in the senate. Talk about a veto-proof majority.

The OP was right. The DMCA was a bi-partisan screwing of the general public.

And, given the highly technical nature of the DMCA, I don't think there would have been any general public outcry if that bill had been quietly killed off.
There was a rather large amount of hue-and-cry among all sorts of academics and technology people. I distinctly remember the time around the passage of the DMCA and that the EFF was prominently quoted in the newspaper with their opposition to the law. It's the only time the EFF ever entered a conversation between myself and my grandmother.

Not that this discredits your point, but there was quite a bit of opposition to the bill around me in 1998.

Regards,
Ross

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176094)

Right. President Clinton, in this case. A Democrat.

With a Republican congress that, a few years before shut down the federal government to piss off Clinton, and also had enough votes to ram through a veto override while doing its best to impeach him on anything they could find. damn right he signed it.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (2, Insightful)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173558)

Congress doesn't sign bills. Presidents do. You should really make an effort to learn about how US government works.
The GP's point was that the bill was signed into law by President Clinton, a Democrat.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174190)

He signed a bill created by a republican congress. Now we have a democratic congress. Can you understand why people might hope a different party would tend to draft different bills? Hell, if it's a popular bill Bush, a republican, might even sign it.

Not that I have much faith in either party to look out for our rights.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (2, Informative)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174582)

If the bill didn't pass the senate 99-0 [senate.gov] and pass the house by a voice vote (most likely near-unanimous)... then you might have a point.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174716)

We seem to be thinking along the same lines [slashdot.org] at nearly the same time. Thank you for the Senate detail.

I wonder what Senator Gregg's (R-NH) reason was for abstaining.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (0, Flamebait)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175522)

If the bill didn't pass the senate 99-0 [senate.gov] and pass the house by a voice vote (most likely near-unanimous)... then you might have a point.
It takes a 3/2 vote from both houses to override a presidential veto, not 99-0. Please try to confine yourself to subjects you are knowledgeable on.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175846)

It takes a 3/2 vote from both houses to override a presidential veto, not 99-0.

That would be 2/3. And 99-0 is just a bit over two-thirds, wouldn't you say? Not many presidents are going to veto a bill if they know their veto is going to be overturned; it weakens them.

But the grandparent didn't say anything about a veto. He commented on the question, "can you understand why people might hope a different party would tend to draft different bills?" When a bill passes 99-0 in the Senate, it has overwhelming support from BOTH parties.

Please try to confine yourself to subjects you are knowledgeable on.

What I assume is a typo aside, perhaps you should take your own advice. You seem to have completely missed the point and attempted to disparage the GP for it.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176072)

I can't not comment on 150% of the house and the senate being needed to override a presidential veto.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176280)

Er, that was a typo. It was supposed to be 2/3.

Clinton couldn't have stopped them (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176348)

It takes a 3/2 vote from both houses to override a presidential veto, not 99-0
The point is to demonstrate that President Clinton had no chance of stopping the DMCA or the Bono Act. It takes >= 67% assent to override a veto, and these bills had 99% assent.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173806)

That's cute, but before it could be signed it was first passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Re:"The chances may be better in this Congress" (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174568)

That's cute, but before it could be signed it was first passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.

And, IIRC, did so by voice votes(*), so there'd be no record of who voted what way (such as how many Democrats supported it and how many Republicans did not) nor even hard numbers of ayes and nays, only that a clear majority voted for it.

Which not only concealed how they voted from their constituents, but also whether they had enough votes to override any Presidential veto.

(*) Or was it the Communications Decency Act, or was it both of them?

That still doesn't stop the fact that... (5, Funny)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173260)

To the tune of YMCA (this stolen from www.userfriendly.org):

Net geeks,
There's no need to feel guilt
I said, Net geeks
For the software you built
I said, Net geeks,
Cause you're not in the wrong
There's no need to feel unhappy

Net geeks,
You can burn a CD.
I said, Net Geeks,
With your fave mp3's.
You can Play them
In your home or your car.
Many ways to take them real far!

It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
You have everything you need to enjoy
Your music with your toys!

It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
It's fun to violate the D.M.C.A
You can archive your tunes
You can share over cable
You can annoy the record labels!

Re:That still doesn't stop the fact that... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174648)

With your fave mp3's.
We use Ogg Vorbis you insensitive clod!

James Earl Jones said it best (3, Funny)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173290)

Yet again, the bill does not appear to deliver on what most observers want: clear protection for making personal use copies of encrypted materials. There is no allowance for consumers to make backups of DVDs, to strip encryption from music purchased online so that it can be played anywhere, or to generally do any of the things that the DMCA has made illegal.

"We are the United States government -- we don't DO that sort of thing!"

Re:James Earl Jones said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173412)

Sneakers. Fantastic reference. ;)

Why is encryption even covered by the DMCA? (5, Interesting)

carrus85 (727188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173314)

I've always wondered this. The current DMCA, AFAIK, makes breaking encryption a questionable prospect, at best (unless you have permission from the encryption designers). Why should this even be protected? Shouldn't we just encourage people to use stronger encryption that isn't as easily circumvented (in effect, why are we legislating that the use of "weak" encryption is okay)?

Personally, I think the encryption itself should be the deterrent to the circumvention of the encryption, not legislation.

If we can break the encryption, too bad; use something besides Fisher Price's "My First Encryption Algorithm" next time.

Re:Why is encryption even covered by the DMCA? (5, Insightful)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173482)

That's exactly the problem. In fact, this bill is a worthless waste of time. If anti-circumvention isn't addressed, then the DMCA still wins. The DMCA doesn't remove Fair Use rights, it just makes it illegal to obtain a copy which would be protected by those rights. This new bill only reinforces what is already law.

As someone cleverly pointed out, current "protections" involve distributing both lock and key in an obscured form, then using a proprietary technology to put the key in the lock. Therefore, the reason for this encryption is suspect. The end-user is provided both cryptotext and private key, but told it is illegal to use them together except through a particular device (what we're selling) for a specific purpose (to watch exactly once).

Re:Why is encryption even covered by the DMCA? (5, Interesting)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173878)

Why should this even be protected? Shouldn't we just encourage people to use stronger encryption that isn't as easily circumvented (in effect, why are we legislating that the use of "weak" encryption is okay)?
Because that's not the fantasy that most folks want to believe. Most people think that security by obscurity is pretty good, and beyond that, they'll go to basic crypto. (I admit that SBO works in some cases in the physical world, but in the electronic world it doesn't stand a chance.) They want to believe that anything encrypted is protected.

Take a look at the retarded laws covering scanners and cellphones/cordless telephones. We could just tell people that these things are insecure and let the market handle it, or legislate the implementation of real security, or we could tell all the law-abiding folks to stop monitoring those frequencies and force equipment manufacturers to degrade performance across the spectrum to filter these particular frequencies. Meanwhile, anybody who really wants to can still come up with a receiver that will work in those bands... The public *wanted to believe* that their phone conversations were secure, so they made listening illegal rather than actually trying to make them secure (or letting the free market do it as a "feature"). Legislate to the fantasy, that's what we do today, because it makes people feel better even if they're worse off...

Re:Why is encryption even covered by the DMCA? (2, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174666)

The current DMCA, AFAIK, makes breaking encryption a questionable prospect, at best. Why should this even be protected? ...why are we legislating that the use of "weak" encryption is okay?

Because the uses of encryption that the DMCA protects can never be "strong" - DRM is all about giving people the decryption keys to decode the content but trying to trick them through elaborate obfuscation into not realizing they have the keys. That kind of scheme can never be cryptographically secure, so to patch that loophole, the MAFIAA got the DMCA passed which makes it illegal instead of impossible. The MAFIAA are a bunch of lawyers, to them the laws of man are just as good, if not more useful than the laws of math and physics.

So my free software dvd player is still illegal? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173384)

Would I still be breaking the law every time I play a legally purchased DVD on my Linux-based computer using decss-derived software?

It sounds like it. It sounds like the bill wouldn't even allow you to play a DRM-encumbered CD, unless the DRM was a Sony rootkit or other security problem. Lame.

Though on the other hand, being able to say "I am breaking the law every time I watch a DVD on my computer" is a simple and clear way to demonstrate how crazy copyright has become by outlawing what is so obviously ethical behavior. Since I will still be able to say that should this bill be passed, I have an equally simple way of expressing how copyright law is still screwed up, and how this bill completely failed to fix it.

Much better than having it partially fix the main problem so that it still isn't adequate, but becomes harder to explain. To put it another way: If you're going to suck, suck hard, so the slurping noise gives you away.

Re:So my free software dvd player is still illegal (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173882)

Yes, however you wouldn't be breaking the law by using "clit" to break Microsoft .lit files and have your computer read them out loud. More importantly, someone could throw a reader into the same .zip file as "clit" and legally distribute it.

Re:So my free software dvd player is still illegal (1)

cybereal (621599) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174472)

I heard Norton is releasing a product to help with this. Something called The Clit Commander!

Re:So my free software dvd player is still illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18175054)

My pimp is gonna sue Norton for trademark infringement!

Government won't allow DRM circumvention (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173446)

The *IAA has too much money and political power for the government to pass a law allowing the circumvention of DRM. If DRM could legally be broken, there would quickly be commercial efforts to break it, and new methods wouldn't last a week. Clearly the media industry wouldn't like that, and for whatever reason, the government supports them more than the consumer.

sex with a bITCH (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173456)

code sharing inteRest in having

Pass the bill (1, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173734)

There's a word for introducing a bill that has no hope of being passed: grandstanding.

Instead, Boucher has produced a bill that actually has a decent chance of becoming law. That would be great since it gives a number of circumvention devices a legal way to exist and be distributed.

In two years maybe we'll have a Democratic president and then he'll be in a position to pass a more sweeping bill.

Re:Pass the bill (5, Insightful)

Salo2112 (628590) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173844)

Remember, the last Democrat who was President signed the current bill. The Democrats get a lot of money from Hollywood, so they won't be too eager to go against Hollywood's perceived interests.

Re:Pass the bill (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174806)

Remember, the last Democrat who was President signed the current bill... ...which was passed by a Republican congress. Presidents can't veto every bill that comes across their desk you know. And as much as we think the DMCA sucks, I'm sure that for most other bills that went through Clinton there's some segment that thinks the law is horrible and everyone should hate it.

Not to argue your overall thesis though; the Dems are unfortunately just as bad as Republicans on copyright. But you can't put blame for the DMCA on the Dems, because the GOP was more instrumental in it's creation and passing.

Re:Pass the bill (2, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175918)

>>Presidents can't veto every bill that comes across their desk you know.

Sure they can. The President is free to veto whatever he wants to. And Congress is free to overrride the President's veto with a 2/3 majority. In this case, I don't think the DMCA had the necessary level of Congressional support needed to override a veto. The highly technical nature of they bill also would have made it difficult to gin up a huge public outcry against the veto.

Clinton should have vetoed the DMCA.

Re:Pass the bill (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176164)

The President is free to veto whatever he wants to.

He's also free to look really bad. Vetos generally don't look very good, especially if you do a lot of them. If the president looks bad, he hurts the party.

And while I think I'd be pretty happy for the most part if the president vetoed every bill that comes out of congress, I don't think that would make too many people too pleased.

This is overlooking the fact that dems are equally behind copyright crap like this, so he may not have WANTED to veto the DMCA. I'm just saying that you can't blame Clinton or the dems exclusively, because it was introduced into and passed by a wholly Republican Congress.

Re:Pass the bill (1)

monkey_dongle (1002300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174970)

or she

Vote with our wallets? (2, Informative)

idlemind (760102) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173770)

Stop buying their crap. Find some other way to get entertainment.

Re:Vote with our wallets? (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175436)

ha! so then they claim that they're losing money because we're stealing the entertainment instead.

Not like they need proof. I haven't bought a movie in years, I used to buy them all the time. Im fed up with movies on DVD because of the commercials and trailers that half the time, you cant skip. Im sure im not the only one. If I pirate the damn thing, none of this junk comes with it. I dont even do that anymore as there's nothing out there worth pirating. Few rare exceptions I buy used, so as to not directly support the bastards.

So they are losing money, and blaming the pirates, who im sure are not costing them much of anything. They'll always have an excuse as to why their profits are down. Who gives a crap its still profit though, right?

The Correct Solution (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173896)

There is only one form of legislative act that will correct the problems with the DMCA. It would read roughly as follows:

"Section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."

Schwab

Re:The Correct Solution (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174586)

Yep. Further refinements to your bill include
"Chapter 12 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."
"Section 512 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."

But this bill doesn't do anything like that, and isn't intended to pass. It's just an attempt to make it look like there's some sort of balance in Congress.

Re:The Correct Solution (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176506)

512 is bad, but the safe harbor is useful. Better to fix it than to get rid of it altogether.

Re:The Correct Solution (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174940)


There is only one form of legislative act that will correct the problems with the DMCA. It would read roughly as follows:

"Section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code, in its entirety, is hereby repealed."


No, the only near surefire way would be a grassroots Constitutional amendment. Something along the lines of "Congress shall pass no law restricting the free sharing of information among the people" should do it. The "copyright" clause would still stand to prevent commercial exploitation of writers and inventors.

Re:The Correct Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18175086)

Why would there still be anything "commercial" once we can all share?

I suppose an author might convince some rich guy to pay him to write a novel. Said rich guy then gives it to his kid who then shares with the world. Nobody else is going to pay, ever.

Why does there have to be anything "commercial" left?

Re:The Correct Solution (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175400)


Why would there still be anything "commercial" once we can all share?


Why wouldn't there be? People pay for many things that they could have or do for free if they find it convenient or valuable to do so.

Goddamn acronyms! (4, Funny)

GrenDel Fuego (2558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173916)

FAIR USE = "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship"

Somebody please shoot me.

Re:Goddamn acronyms! (4, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174884)

Hey, it's not as bad as some others. For instance, The Daily Show made fun of the US-VISIT acronym when it came out. If you're not familiar, it stands for "Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology". After saying that, Stewart says "that name brought to you by the Federal Acronym Registration Team."

Re:Goddamn acronyms! (2, Interesting)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175948)

When the RIAA says Digitial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) I say Fair Use (FU).

FYI: It's not the same bill as previous years (4, Informative)

ntk (974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174054)

The DMCA reform bill Boucher has proposed in previous years is the The Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA). FAIR USE is a different bill, with a different target for reform: removing statutory damages [wikipedia.org] , encoding some temporary DMCA exemptions into permanent statute, and ensuring that dual-use technologies (that have non-infringing uses as well as being used for infringement) are legal.

B.A.C.K.R.O.N.Y.M.S. (3, Funny)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174068)

"Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" (or FAIR USE)
I want to introduce my own bill...

"Initiative Halting Arbitrary Terms Excessively Bringing Additional Confusion and Kludginess to Resolutions, Ousting Newspeak, and Yielding a Manageable System." (or I. H.A.T.E. B.A.C.K.R.O.N.Y.M.S.)

Re:B.A.C.K.R.O.N.Y.M.S. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174530)

You owe me a new keyboard, considering I just spit Diet Pepsi all over my old one!

DVD backups (3, Informative)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174218)

The DMCA didn't make it illegal to "back up" DVDs. That has always been true of audiovisual works; the reproduction right (17 USC 106) is exclusively reserved to the copyright holder, there's no AHRA-like carveout for movies / TV shows / other A/V works, and the "backup" provisions of 17 USC 117 apply only to computer software -- MPEG2-encoded A/V content is still A/V content, not computer software. The DMCA might have made it (theoretically) harder to reproduce DVDs, what with the anti-circumvention provisions, but no 'right' or legal ability to make a backup copy of an A/V work existed before the DMCA.

Re:DVD backups (5, Interesting)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174366)

It's also true of any copyrighted work. Fair Use implies that an exception to the copyright law is being made because the particular infringement is not damaging to the copyright holder. This decision was left to the courts to make on a case-by-case basis until DMCA became law. Now you can't argue the Fair Use defense because you obviously broke a law to obtain the copy you're arguing Fair Use for. DMCA is so evil because it claims to uphold the Fair Use defense while finding a devious means to ensure that someone who makes such an argument is already guilty.

Re:DVD backups (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174534)

The DMCA on its face does not affect fair use -- see 17 USC 1201(c). (I don't believe any court anywhere has ever held that making a reproduction of an entire copyrighted work -- a 'backup' -- constitutes fair use, unless it was analogous to a codified carve-out; the Diamond Rio decision compared "space shifting" to the private reproduction right conferred by the Audio Home Recording Act's carveout.) Too, I don't know of any courts that have said "fair use" gives you a right to use any means to reproduce a work; the alt.2600 cases pointed out that you could still point a camcorder at a TV set and capture a portion of a DVD title for commentary, etc. It would certainly be the easiest, most direct and error-free route to get a copy of a book's prepress files (PostScript or LaTeX or whatever) directly from O'Reilly, but I don't see anyone saying O'Reilly has to hand you the same, leaving you to manually copy the passages in via eyeball and keyboard (or scanner and OCR, etc).

Re:DVD backups (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175078)

he DMCA on its face does not affect fair use -- see 17 USC 1201(c).

Um, this is full of crap. The DMCA on its face makes it illegal to circumvent protections, and doesn't provide any exemptions for fair use. This means that if you want to argue that it doesn't affect fair use, you have to argue that your fair use rights you're trying to exercise are constitutionally protected, and thus the DMCA provisions that outlawed them are unconstitutional.

The fact that the DMCA provides provisions for the LOC to specify exemptions doesn't mean that it doesn't affect fair use; it means that there's a way for fair use to be dis-affected in the future. The fact that the LOC has yet to provide for such an exemption demonstrates that the DMCA does in fact affect your fair use rights (or at least the arguments you use to put them forth).

(If instead the DMCA had said that the LOC specifies places where it's illegal, I would buy what you said; but the fact that the DMCA defaults exemption = illegal means that you're wrong.)

I don't believe any court anywhere has ever held that making a reproduction of an entire copyrighted work -- a 'backup' -- constitutes fair use...

Has it ever been tested? ...unless it was analogous to a codified carve-out; the Diamond Rio decision compared "space shifting" to the private reproduction right conferred by the Audio Home Recording Act's carveout

Then we're in luck, because there's a codified carve-out for backups that you could reason from in an analogy. (See 17 USC 117 (a)(2).)

It would certainly be the easiest, most direct and error-free route to get a copy of a book's prepress files (PostScript or LaTeX or whatever) directly from O'Reilly, but I don't see anyone saying O'Reilly has to hand you the same, leaving you to manually copy the passages in via eyeball and keyboard (or scanner and OCR, etc).

This is a stupid analogy. The point is that if you're talking about, for instance, DVDs, the publisher does give you what you are seemingly saying is analogous to the preprocess files.

The "correct" analogy if you want to argue about how it compares to book copyrights is if the law said you couldn't use scanners to copy the book, and the only thing you could do with it was read it, and that hand copying even quotes puts you into very questionable legal territory.

Re:DVD backups (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175322)

he DMCA on its face does not affect fair use -- see 17 USC 1201(c).

Um, this is full of crap. The DMCA on its face makes it illegal to circumvent protections, and doesn't provide any exemptions for fair use.

Did you even *read* 17 USC 1201(c)? http://www.google.com/search?q=17+USC+1201(c) [google.com] and the first link, http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/u sc_sec_17_00001201----000-.html [cornell.edu] : "Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use . . ."

I don't believe any court anywhere has ever held that making a reproduction of an entire copyrighted work -- a 'backup' -- constitutes fair use...

Has it ever been tested?

Repeatedly. The court in the first Napster decision does a thorough job tearing apart the 'fair use' argument vis-a-vis copying entire songs.

unless it was analogous to a codified carve-out; the Diamond Rio decision compared "space shifting" to the private reproduction right conferred by the Audio Home Recording Act's carveout

Then we're in luck, because there's a codified carve-out for backups that you could reason from in an analogy. (See 17 USC 117 (a)(2).)

I addressed this in my first post. 117 applies only to "Computer programs." A motion picture is distinct from a computer program. (And before you make the inevitable "but it's code, on a disk, that requires a computer to read it," that doesn't make it a computer program, it makes it "a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines, or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment . . ." 17 USC 101. Sorry, 117 doesn't give us a carve-out for backing up a motion picture.

As for my analogy, yeah, it wasn't perfect. But every court that's looked at the argument has come to the same conclusion -- fair use just means you get to do the reproduction, it doesn't mean you get to do the reproduction exactly as you'd prefer to do it. You can point a camcorder at the screen if it's that important to you. (I'd dig out the quote, but I don't have a matter number to assign the research to, and a casual /. discussion isn't worth incurring Lexis charges for :)

Re:DVD backups (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175678)

Did you even *read* 17 USC 1201(c)? http://www.google.com/search?q=17+USC+1201(c) [google.com] and the first link, http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/u [cornell.edu] sc_sec_17_00001201----000-.html: "Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use . . ."

Ah, sorry. I opened that page, immediately scrolled down a little so the (a) and (1) were off the screen, saw the (C) belonging to the paragraph on the librarian of congress, and read that.

My mistake.

I'm still not sure that I buy that the DMCA doesn't affect fair use though. Even if it isn't illegal to circumvent for fair use purposes, it is still illegal to manufacture and market things that let you circumvent protections. Even if you could manufacture something that let you circumvent protections so that you could use it to bypass fair use with that being legal, you still can't sell anything, which means that the amount of tool support is diminished.

The court in the first Napster decision does a thorough job tearing apart the 'fair use' argument vis-a-vis copying entire songs.

The Napster case wasn't at all about backups. There's a lot more to the fair use guidelines than amount copied, so it could have failed on other counts. Unless the court actually said that copying full songs in and of itself is enough to throw out the fair use claim...

I addressed this in my first post. 117 applies only to "Computer programs." A motion picture is distinct from a computer program.

And yet you cited the Rio case, saying the courts argued that the time/space shifting was "analogous to" the AHRA's provisions. I was just saying that making backup copies of a DVD for instance could be viewed as "analogous to" 177's provisions.

Though now that you bring it up, I wonder how well arguing that a DVD is a computer program would work. It's clearly also an audiovisual work, but I wonder if the courts would buy it... (nah, probably not.)

Re:DVD backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18175122)

So, basically, everyone that has a license has the "right" to drive their car on the public roads, but one of those one-way, tire-tearing road gates at the end of everybody's driveway, pointed to damage the tires on the way our.

People can drive across the gate and exercise their right to drive any time they like.

Oh, and, please note that it's illegal to drive around the obstacle, drive with shredded tires, or to change tires on public roads. But, yes, of course you can drive your car on the roads. That's what they are for!

Yup. Exercise those driving rights anytime you like.

[hint: if you do not want to be a criminal, a right that you can't legally exercise may as well not exist, because it is inaccessible without breaking the law. The other option is to go ahead and be a criminal in the eyes of the law, and hope that nobody cares.]

Another ironically-named bill (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174274)

Put "Fair Use" with "Clear Skies", "Healthy Forests Initiative" and "No Child Left Behind".

Licensing (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174278)

What really needs to happen is the utter destruction of the "Licensing" notion. This is where the customer will always be screwed because while you cry that "I own this... I should be able to do what I want with it", you dont REALLY own it. So you simply have no right to bitch about "Your Rights" when it wasnt yours to begin with.

Not even close (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174374)

If anybody thinks the use congress will enact anything fair use, they are mistaken.
Even the most fair-use oriented part of congress are with a great margin on the MPAA and RIAA side of things.

Maybe the US needs a pirate party. http://www2.piratpartiet.se/international/english [piratpartiet.se]

With the current balance in congress, a few seats may give great influence.

Creative commons, own your culture (3, Insightful)

Odinson (4523) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174494)

I strongly recommend creating your own creative works, and releasing them under open licences. It's invigorating.

You find yourself in the enlightened position of rooting for 100% effective enforcement of any laws on the books, while still being horrified at the stupidity of the 'we have way too much money, with little of it encouraging artists' lobby.

There are some open authors and musicians and other creative types who are actually worthy of your attention who refuse to attack their fans. They show a subtle attention to your best interest that the heavy handed conglomerates can only wish to imitate

Write your representative! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174936)

I just wrote my Representative. I asked him to propose ammendments to this bill that would repeal section 1201(the anti-circumvention section), and modify the damages awarded from $250,000 to $5 with supporting logic that this new number is still 5X more than plaintiffs are offering as settlement.

Free Music! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174990)

I am not a musician. I listen to music. Music is now free on the Internet for people that know how to download it. For people that don't know and don't know about ripping CDs, they buy music downloads that are crippled.

This might even the playing field so all music is free for everyone.

I have no interest in supporting any artist - they play music because they like it. If they can find people to pay them to do this, great. Otherwise, get a job and play music on weekends.

real sa.tanism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174998)

repeat this message load and clear everywhere. im dead, this is how sata.nism works: they will pretend to be your friends and family, on the phone, even in person, playing on the superficiality of human relations. they try to provoke deaths (for example by car), that look like accidents. they will try and poison your food at every opportunity. they will casually drop hints that decieve your perception of what is happening. be very afraid. i lived z.iegelst.rasse 3.a, beilefeld, germany, i am 24 years old, i am currentlz being poisoned. http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/6297/renate17gc 2.jpg [imageshack.us]

F.A.I.R. U.S.E.? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175708)

"Forget All Intellectual Rights Users Should Expect"?

j/k

- RG>

Re:F.A.I.R. U.S.E.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18176134)

Intellectual Right? Is that like the Religious Left?

Re:F.A.I.R. U.S.E.? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176356)

Intellectual Right? Is that like the Religious Left?

      Yep, it's what you get after all the religious people leave...

another incorrect use of "content" (2, Interesting)

brre (596949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18175968)

"make it easier for digital media consumers to use the content they buy."

In fact what's owned, bought, and protected (or not) here is expression, not content.

If you learn that the Earth is round from watching that digital video, you're free to share that fact with anyone you like. The copyright holders can't do a thing about it.

Tilt the balance of copyright? (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176036)

"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use..."

That's the thing, copyright was created for the public's benefit and nobody else's! It's not like rights and freedom where there's a tradeoff between mine (I can do anything!) and what they impose on you (that means I can restrict you). With copyright, it's "hey, we want more material available to us, so we will make it worth your while by giving you a short monopoly". Well, it was.
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