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Category — Fair Use/Dealing

Steve Gibson’s Intertwined History of Copyright and Media-related Technologies

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCopy RestrictionsCopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisDRM Restricting UseFair Use/Dealing

  Podcast Episode 73 Transcript
Episode 73 of Steve Gibson's Security Now podcast with Leo LaPorte has a terrific primer on the intertwined history of advancements in technology making it easier for consumers to copy content, fair use, the lobbying efforts by the content industry that resulted in U.S. copyright law amendments up to and including the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, the DMCA implementing the treaty, and the detrimental effects these new laws have on consumer fair use rights.

  Click here to listen to Episode 73 of the Security Now podcast. (This will download an 8.0 MB MP3 file that your default media player should load and play). For a higher quality version of this podcast click here (32 MB).

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EMusic Sells 100 Millionth Song without DRM

Categories: DRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingMilestonesNew Business Models

Online music seller eMusic is second only to DRM-laden iTunes for legitimate online music sales. Most of its library of 2 million songs comes from independent labels. It's success proves that consumers are more than willing to pay fair prices for DRM-free music. While it took the eMusic two years to sell its first 50 million songs, it has taken less than a year to sell the next 50 million.

Dales Comment:  While I applaud eMusic, it too has a business model that I don't like. While individual songs can be purchased, their business model requires the user to pay a minimal subscription fee every month. Song purchases are deducted from the monthly fee. If you spend more than the fee, then you have to pay extra.  My perfect world of music sales is to buy DRM-free songs with no minimum monthly commitment. I would be able to buy as many or as few as I want. Frankly, I'd like eMusic service to mimic that of AllofMP3.com's. Charge a fair per song price, allow me to purchase whatever I want in whatever format I want. That is a service I'd use!

Sources: Washington Post | MacWorld | Sydney Morning Herald | TopTechNews| Tech Dirt | MP3.com | CNet Blogs | PC-Pro | Pocket-Lint

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TiVo Decode Manager v1.0 Automates TiVo’s Cracked DRM on Macs

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionDRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingPiracy

This was inevitable. I didn't expect it so soon.

Within days of TiVo's DRM being cracked, someone has automated the rather difficult to use TiVo Decode Manager and created an easy to use TiVo2Go application, without DRM, on Apple computers. The software automatically discovers local TiVos. With one mouse click shows are downloaded from the TiVo, DRM-free, to the Mac by episode, recorded date etc. The resultant Mpeg-2 files still need to be converted to a PC-usable format such as .wmv using a program like VLC. My guess is that it won't be long before the end-to-end process is fully automated.

Dale's Comment: I foresee TiVo-released DMCA take-down notices being sent to whoever controls thebenesch.com (the site hosting the program) in the near future!

Sources: Engadget | PVR Wire

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Australian Copyright Reform: Copying CDs to iPods, Legal – Breaking DRM or Archiving Recorded TV, Illegal

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Restricting UseFair Use/DealingInternational Legal Reform

  Text of Copyright Amendment Bill 2006
Australia is set to amend its  copyright laws to finally make it legal for consumers to record TV shows and to copy music they own on CDs onto their iPods and other portable music devices.  Such copying is now illegal under Australian and British copyright law. The Copyright Amendment Bill 2006 passed through both houses of Parliament and most of it will become law by January 1. According to theage.com.au:

"It will legalise format shifting of materials such as music, newspapers, books, meaning that people can put their CD collection onto iPods or mp3 players." 

But, and this is a big but, it will be illegal/infringing to breach a technological protection measure (TPM) to copy or format shift content you own.  This pretty much nullifies the importance of this amendment beyond the CD format as virtually all content will be locked down with TPMs/DRM going forward.  Too bad. 

Importantly, the Australian Attorney General makes it clear in this FAQ that building up a library of programs recorded from TV broadcasts for a permanent archive is not permitted.  I have argued for years that permanent archiving of TV shows (whether on VHS cassette tapes or TiVo) constitutes copyright infringement under U.S. and Canadian copyright law. Few have wanted to believe me. Well, the question is answered with clarity in the Australian context at least!

And one more thing, the bill makes it legal to sing "Happy Birthday" in public – an act which was also previously illegal in Australia! :)

Dale's Comment: While the CD-to-iPod amendment is a nice short term measure, the bill, overall, is anti-consumer in the long run. Australian's have a one-time get out of jail free card.  If the past is any indication of the future, the prohibition against breaching TPMs for content owned by the consumer will be completely ignored by most consumers as it is patently unfair to preclude the purchaser of content from using it/reading it/accessing it on any device of their choosing. Hence, the law is set up to fail from the start – just as the previous prohibitions against copying failed to stop consumers from copying their music onto iPods.

Sources: theage.com.au 1 | theage.com.au 2 | The Australian | InfoWorld | Syndey Morning Herald | FAQ

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TiVo’s DRM Reportedly Cracked

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionDRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingPiracy

Gizmodo, Engadget and others are reporting that the folks at SourceForge.net have successfully hacked the TiVo DRM using a program they call the TiVo File Decoder.

Dale's Comment: If true, expect a patch from TiVo soon! :)  Unfortunately for those of us waiting for the TiVo Series 3 software upgrade that was due out about now, my guess is we'll be waiting awhile longer while TiVo's engineers work at sorting this one out. :(

Sources: Gizmodo | Engadget | Engadget 2 | Crunch Gear | PVRWire | Megazone-TiVoLovers | PVRBlog | TiVoCommunity Forum | Daily Tech | ars technica

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Paramount Sues Loan ‘N Go For Loading Purchased Movies Onto Customer iPods

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCasesDMCA-like LawsFair Use/DealingNew Business Models

Text of Complaint (Nov 3, 2006)

This one doesn't surprise me. It is more of the same – big media bites off its nose to spite its face by bringing lawsuits against any new business model that they don't sanction. In this case, Boston's Load 'N Go offers a service to their DVD-purchasing customers, by copying their purchased movie onto an iPod. You would think Paramount would appreciate vendors adding value for customers buying Paramount's products. But no, they choose to sue, presumably to force honest purchasers to purchase the movie twice, once on DVD and again as a download. The DMCA makes such copying, even for what otherwise would be fair use, illegal. So, thanks to the DMCA, Paramount seems to have a case. Chalk another one up for Paramount and another loss for honest consumers. This is precisely the thing that drives honest consumers to BitTorrent.

[Nov 29 Update: No doubt Paramount wishes to do what Warner Bros is now doing with videos sold at Walmart. According to CNN, Techcrunch and others, if you buy Warner's “Superman Returns” at Wal-Mart, you can pay an additional $1.97 to play it on portable devices, $2.97 more to play it on PCs or laptops, or $3.97 to play it on either portable devices or PCs/laptops. Ah, the old Big Media nickel and diming profit strategy. Don't you love it!]

[Nov 30 Update: Ha! It appears the EFF has come to the same conclusion – I wonder if they read my blog before writing this.]

Sources: Engadget | ars technica | ComputerWorld | TechWeb | NeoSeeker | Information Week | MacWorld | Torrentfreak | CNet | PC Advisor | EFF | EFF 2

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ippr Report Recommends U.K. Copyright Law Include a Private Copy Right

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisDRM Restricting UseFair Use/DealingInternational Legal ReformPolicy Analysis

Text of Report
The UK think-tank, Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) has released a study, “Public Innovation: Intellectual Property in a Digital Age” where, among many other things, it recommends that U.K. citizens should have the right to copy their own content for their own personal use – something currently prohibited in the U.K. It concludes:

…in seeking to limit pirate activity, emphasis should be on commercial harm to the rights-holder, rather than the act of sharing itself. As such, we recommend UK law be amended to include a private right to copy. Again, this will serve to increase legitimacy of the IP regime by legalizing actions that thousands of individuals already undertake without significant harm to the rights-holder.

The BPI had come to the same conclusion earlier this year. As it stands now millions of U.K. citizens are breaking the law when copying their purchased DVDs or CDs onto their computers and iPods or creating compilation tapes of their own music. The existing law is silly. Kay Withers, one of the report’s authors, said:

The idea of all-rights reserved doesn’t make sense for the digital era and it doesn’t make sense to have a law that everyone breaks. To give the IP regime legitimacy it must command public respect.

In the U.S. personal copying for private use is enshrined in law as part of their fair use doctrine. In exchange for paying levies on blank media, the private copying exemption contained in section 80(1) of the Copyright Act makes it legal for Canadians to reproduce musical works for private use.

As Michael Geist and others have recommended, Canada and Britain should explicitly make copying of purchased content of any type (audio, video, text) for private use legal – without a media levy and without penalties for circumventing DRM/TPMs to do so. Any click wrap/shrink wrap or other end-user license terms to the contrary should be unenforcible.

Sources: BBC | Engadget | Hexus | Pocket-lint | CIO | Times Online | UPI | Xinhau | Daily Tech | TechNewsWorld | TechWeb | Silicon.com | Guardian Unlimited | Variety | P2PNet | P2PNet | PC Pro | Playfuls | Washington Times

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YouTube Faces Heightened Copyright Scrutiny Since Google Buyout Announcement

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechDMCA-like LawsFair Use/DealingiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

As you can see from the "Related Posts" links, below I have blogged about YouTube's copyright liability in the past. It seems like the deep-pockets behind YouTube's new parent, Google, have brought out the copyright infringement vultures, and those that wish to speculate on the future (or demise) of YouTube specifically and copyright infringement on the Internet generally. The stories linked-to below are only a few of the avalanche of stories and blog posts on this topic over the last week.

Faced with an increased level of DMCA take-down notices, YouTube is busily working on taking down 10's of thousands of copyrighted works as requested by media owners. It's a difficult chore. Some 60,000 new videos are posted on YouTube every day. Offending materials are often put back up as soon as they are taken down.

YouTube says it will take a tough action to avoid such problems in the future and has committed to developing and deploying technology that can sniff out copyrighted video clips and bits of music. YouTube will also provide "copyright owners with user identification information" of users that post infringing content – after receiving a valid subpoena (See this CNet article).

While there may be some bumps and no doubt many legal hurdles and lawsuits along the way, if I were a betting man, I'd bet that YouTube will survive all legal challenges in-tact. This is a new and emerging area of the law. The DMCA provides the s. 512(c) safe harbour for this (the take-down scheme). YouTube is complying with its take-down obligations under the DMCA and similar laws around the globe.

More interestingly, YouTube's 10 minute video clip limit can dovetail with the self-interest of Big Media – those most likely to sue, and have the resources need to sue, Google. After initially fighting with YouTube over the posting of this Natalie Portman skit on Saturday Night Live, in the face of a furor from Internet bloggers, NBC backed-off, and allowed the post to remain on YouTube for awhile. NBC discovered that YouTube was a terrific way to promote its show as new and hip to a coveted younger demographic. Ahhhhhhhhh —- self interest (with strong lobbyists) … wins every time!

Sources: New York Times | ABC News | BBC | Forrester | PVRWire | Information Week | Fox News | ars technica | Mark Cuban 1 | Mark Cuban 2 | Mark Cuban 3 | Register | Variety | Forbes (AP) | CNet 1 | CNet 2 | Slate

Cranky Geeks Videocast on Topic (Episode 31) John C. Dvorak, Sebastian Rupley, West Coast Editor, PC Magazine, Matt Mullenweg, Founder, WordPress.org, Gary Messiana, CEO, Netli, Inc.

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Michael Geist Concludes 30 Days of DRM

Categories: Artists Against DRMBig Media v InternetCopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM & ResearchDRM AnalysisDRM Arms RaceDRM as Market LockDRM CircumventionDRM Restricting UseFair Use/DealingIntrusive TPMs - RootkitsLegal ReformLobbyingPiracyPolicy Analysis

Version of 30 Days of DRM
Canadian Copyright reform is in the air. In anticipation of possible legislative action this fall, Michael Geist’s 30 day series of daily articles “30 Days of DRM” has come to an end. While he ultimately argues, as I do, that it would be preferable NOT to adopt
DMCA-like anti-circumvention legislation in Canada, the Conservative government may succumb to the copyright lobby. These articles, which are quite good, propose limitations that should be included in any such Canadian DMCA-like legislation to fairly protect Canadian consumers and to guard against the multitude of problems created by the U.S.’s enactment of anti-circumvention measures in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

30 Days of DRM:
- Day 1 – Linking Copyright and Anti-Circumvention (Markets)
- Day 2 – Region Coding (Markets)
- Day 3 – Oversite of DRM Misuse (Markets)
- Day 4 – DRM Misuse Sanctions (Markets)
- Day 5 – DRM Labeling and Consumer Awareness (Public Protection)
- Day 6 – Interoperability (Public Protection and Markets)
- Day 7 – DRM-Free Library Deposits (Public Protection)
- Day 8 – Privacy (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 9 – Reverse Engineering (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 10 – Security Research(Circumvention Rights)
- Day 11 – Involuntary Installation of Software (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 12 – Research and Private Study (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 13 – Criticism, Review and News Reporting (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 14 – Private Copying (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 15 – Artistic Access (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 16 – System Repair (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 17 – Broken or Obsolete Technology (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 18 – Backup Copies of Software (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 19 – Backup Copies of Digital Consumer Products (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 20 – Public Domain (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 21 – Print Disabilities Circumvention Rights)
- Day 22 – Libraries (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 23 – Education Institutions (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 24 – Time Shifting (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 25 – Statutory Obligations (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 26 – Investigation of Concealed Code (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 27 – Government Works (DRM Policy)
- Day 28 – Review of New Circumvention Rights (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 29 – No Ban on Circumvention Devices (Foundation Issue)
- Day 30 – Prohibition on Contractual Circumvention of Rights (Foundation Issue)
- 30 Things You Can Do

Source: Michael Geist’s 30 Days of DRM Page

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New Canadian Coalition of Canadian Art Professionals on Copyright Reform

Categories: Artists Against DRMFair Use/Dealing

500+ members of Canada’s art community have formed a new coalition, the Coalition of Art Professionals, arguing for three principles to be enshrined in Canada’s copyright policy: (i) fair access to copyrighted material lies at the heart of copyright; (ii) artist and other creators require certainty of access; and (iii) anti-circumvention laws should not outlaw creative access.

Sources: Coalition’s Press Release  |  Michael Geist  |  Digital Copyright Canada  |  P2PNet
 
Note: The Canadian Music Creators Coalition was also recently formed with a similar copyright policy reform agenda.

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Australia Copyright Reform to Add New Time/Format Shifting Exceptions

Categories: Fair Use/DealingInternational Legal Reform

Among other proposed changes, the Australian Attorney General has announced plans to add time shifting and format shifting exemptions into Australian Copyright Law.

Sources: Law Front | Michael Geist | Attorney General's Press Release

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BPI Finally Recommends Legalizing the Copying of Purchased Music for Personal Use

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressFair Use/Dealing

The BPI, the body that represents British record companies, believes copyright on CDs and records should be changed to allow consumers to copy music if it is for personal use. Currently, it is technically illegal for anyone to copy a CD onto their computer for the purposes of downloading music onto their own portable music player.

Sources: Telegraph Co. UK  |  ars technica  |  The Register  |  P2PNet  |  Macworld  |  PC Advisor
 
Dale’s Comment: While this is a long-over-due recommendation, it amounts to nothing more than a token tilt towards consumer fair use/fair dealing rights. As music distribution models switch from CDs to electronic distribution of music protected by DRM and TPMs, the consumer will shortly be right back in the same place – having no legal way to copy their purchased music into alternative formats. U.K. laws implementing the WIPO Copyright Treaty will make it illegal to defeat the DRM/TPMs (that all future music will be wrapped in) thus effectively taking-away with one law what U.K. consumers might finally achieve of any such change to the U.K. Copyright Act is made.

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YouTube’s Looming Fair Use Battle

Categories: Big Media v InternetFair Use/DealingiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

In this interesting Engadget article, YouTube's fair use defenses are discussed in the context of an inevitable big media law suit alleging use of video clips infringes their copyrights. YouTube has been very conscientious about establishing copyright policies and removing infringing videos in their entirety, as required by the DMCA. For example YouTube quickly removed the Natalie Portman SNL video when NBC demanded this. But, the more interesting challenge will be when YouTube asserts that use of short video clips/snippets from big media sourced video (eg: a disputed penalty in a sporting event, the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, a snippet from a David Letterman interview or top 10 list, etc.) is fair use under copyright law for educational, parody, commentary and/or criticism purposes. Assuming YouTube's current million-dollar-a-month burn rate doesn't take them down first, every fiber of my body tells me they are in for a fair use fight with broadcasters, organized sports and/or the MPAA at some point down the line.

Source: Engadget

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Consumer Electronic Association Runs Pro-Consumer Ads on Capital Hill

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingLobbying

Full-Sized Ad Copy
The Consumer Electronics Association has created a new ad, that will run in two Capitol Hill publications today. The add argues that it is time the content industry learns the difference between real pirates and average consumers and that consumers of lawfully acquired music should be able to use it however they wish.

Sources: EFF | Related CEA Fair Use Press Releases | Engadget

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Proposed “Perform Act” to Restrict Satellite & Web Streaming Recording

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechCopy RestrictionsFair Use/DealingLegal ReformSatellite Radio

Text of Proposed Perform Act
The PERFORM Act (“Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006“) was introduced into Congress yesterday. The bill prohibits satellite radio from offering its subscribers devices capable of recording off the air unless royalties are paid and content is locked with DRM. The catalyst for the bill was new devices XM Radio is bringing to the market that allow customers to save songs on the receivers. Sirius had already made deals with the major record companies that compensate them for downloads on its S-50 receiver.

Also in the bill is a provision that would effectively require music webcasters to use DRM-laden streaming formats, rather than the MP3 streaming.

Sources: EFF Deep Links | ars technica | BBC | TMCNet | Reuters | Billboard | CNet | Tech News – HRCC’s response | Red Herring | Hollywood Reporter | Washintgon Times | Techdirt | PublicKnowledge | Cathy Kirkman

Dale’s Comment: Aspects of this bill have merit. I agree that anyone wishing a permanent, transferable copy of a song broadcast through XM or Sirius should pay for it. If, however, the device does not permit the user to copy the song to an external device, then the concept is more akin to a PVR such as TiVo and fair use rights should allow the user to enjoy the song within the specific device for a reasonable period of time without an additional royalty payment – remember, XM and Sirius subscribers already pay compulsory royalties via their subscriptions to these services. To the extent an additional royalty payment is made to purchase a song, the user should have the right to copy/transmit the song off the XM/Sirius device to any other device owned by the user and, of course, all the other incidents of fair use for purchased music that I advocate for on this site should apply – the right to of the owner to transcode it to any other format, the right to play it on any device owned by the consumer, the right to sell/give-away/alienate the purchased copy (without retaining a copy) etc. If, however, this bill results in an obligation to pay for music that can’t be removed from the device or otherwise fairly used by the user, it should not be adopted.

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Canadian Music Creators Coalition Formed to Counter CRIA/RIAA

Categories: Artists Against DRMFair Use/Dealing

Many of Canada’s most prominent recording artists, including the Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan have formed the CMCC to have their “voices heard about the laws and policies that affect our livelihoods”. Contrary to the lobbying efforts of the CRIA/RIAA, the CMCC believes that: (i) suing fans, as is done by CRIA and the RIAA, is destructive and hypocritical – “the government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to unfairly punish fans who share music for non-commercial purposes with statutory damages of $500 to $20,000 per song”; and (ii) digital locks enforced by DMCA-like laws are risky and counterproductive – “laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies – consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.”

Sources: CMCC Press Release | CMCC Website | Michael Geist | Howard Knopf | Globe & Mail | ars technica | P2PNet | Digital Copyright Canada | Wired Bogs | Tech News World | Linux Electrons | CD Freaks | EFF

Dale’s Comment: As Howard Knopf so eloquently says: “This is music to my ears”. The CMCC is essentially calling for copyright reforms similar to those passed by the French Legislature on March 21 (see story here). Let’s see if American recording artists follow suit.

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Who Owns Culture?

Categories: Big MediaBigMedia v NewTechDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisFair Use/Dealing

Lawrence Lessig presents a terrific speech/slide show explaining how promoters/users of each of the player piano, records, broadcast TV, cable TV, the Sony betamax etc. were, in their time, considered pirates and how, ultimately, the law evolved to favored the “pirate”. Laws adapted to changing technology. He points out some of the absurdities taken by the content industry then and now and argues against locking down content in a way that limits people’s creativity and fair uses of content. He argues against laws (such as the DMCA) that limit fair use rights to the 20′th century paradigm (as the RIAA and MPAA argue) and that limit the ability of content purchasers to fairly use content with future technologies. He argues against the rhetoric of the “war on piracy” and advocates that artists start speaking up to bring their thoughts ideas to the debate.

Source: Google Video

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Geist’s CBC Interview: France Tunes Apple Out: Apple Bites Back

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM as Market LockFair Use/DealingLegal Reform

In this CBC ‘The Hour’ episode Michael Geist is interviewed about the recent proposed French National Assembly Bill. If passed by the French Senate, the law would require companies such as Apple, Sony and Microsoft to open their DRM/TPM so that competitive media player manufacturers can make their products interoperable. With this law, just as CDs can be played on any CD player, regardless of the manufacture, digital content (eg: movies and music ) purchased online would be playable on any media player. Consumers would be assured that the thousands of dollars spent to purchase music online from, say Apple’s iTunes, will be playable on any competitive media player purchased in the future. Online music consumers would not be locked into using only the hardware provided by the music vendor. Michael argues, as do I, that Canada should consider following the more consumer friendly, ‘fair use’ copyright trends in France, Australia and Denmark rather than the overly restrictive RIAA/MPAA-lobbied-for DMCA/DRM approach adopted by the U.S. and Britain.

Source: CBC’s ‘The Hour’ Show <-- Note: Follow this link and select the first “France Tunes Apple out; Apple Bites Back” segment (dated March 22, 2006) to play the interview in Windows Media Player or Real Player.

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Sun’s Proposed Open-Source DRM (DReaM) Standard

Categories: DRM AnalysisFair Use/DealingOpen Source

Sun’s DReaM Project Architectural Overview
Sun has worked with Creative Commons to create an open-source, patent-free, royalty-free DRM scheme endorsed by Lawrence Lessig as the lesser of possible DRM evils. DReaM content players/readers would be certified by an independent standards body. DReaM supports fair use by including the means for copyright works to be duplicated for educational purposes, parody, criticism, etc. However, Sun’s ‘fair use’ mechanism is optional for rights holders.

Sources: Sun | Lessig Blog | EFF’s Opposition | Wired | ars technica | The Register I | The Register II (Apr 15, 2006) | Linux Electrons | ZDNet | Yahoo! Finance | eHomeUpgrade | Boing Boing (April 14, 2006)

Dale’s Comment: I am tentatively optimistic about this proposed standard. As regular readers know, my primary concerns with existing DRM schemes are their proprietary nature combined with DMCA-facilitated restrictions on users’ fair use/fair dealing rights.

As Sun is the originator of java, Sun seems well-placed to be the purveyor of a universal, open-source and fair DRM scheme. And, of course, any open-source standard can be scrutinized by the vast open-source community to guard against problems such as the one caused by Sony’s recent root-kit debacle.

This particular scheme tackles the prickly issue of content owners being locked into a particular player/reader or format (eg: Apple’s oxymoronic ‘Fairplay’ scheme). Sun’s proposed open-source DReaM scheme tackles this problem by using a certification process whereby player/reader manufactures can certify their music, video, e-book, video games, etc. player/reader.

Another issue this scheme goes some way to alleviating is the issue of “fair use”. The obvious concern is that Sun’s “fair use” paradigm is currently “optional”. This should be mandatory.

Such a standard may pass muster with France’s proposed new DRM bill. But, it seems at odds with the proposed DRM-free GPL3. If DReaM can ultimately provide a scheme whereby the purchasers of content can: (i) play/access their content on any certified device; (ii) sell, give-away, transfer or otherwise alienate their content; (iii) re-encode their content indefinitely so that their legally purchased content is playable on all future certified devices (ie: not held hostage to the state of the art at the time of purchase); and (iv) otherwise fairly use their purchased content in accordance with evolving fair use/fair dealing standards/jurisprudence; I would heartily endorse such a DReaM scheme. Will the DReaM scheme evolve in such a way that it becomes a DReaM come true? I wouldn’t bank on it!

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What Might Conservative Copyright Look Like?

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisFair Use/DealingLegal ReformPolicy Analysis

What Might Conservative Copyright Look Like?
April 2, 2006
With the new Harper/Conservative Parliamentary session starting in Canada this week, Michael suggests that the new conservative government approach to copyright reform should include the following three elements: (i) enshrined fair dealing/use rights should be illustrative (as in the U.S.) rather than a comprehensive list; (ii) eliminate the stricture of Crown copyrights; and (iii) legal protection for digital locks (ie: technological protection measures (TPMs) and digital rights management (DRM) schemes) should be approached with trepidation to guard against how TPMs are frequently used to limit interoperability of new technologies, impede new market entrants, and foreclose competition”.

Sources: Michael Geist’s Blog | The Hill Times Related Story: Tom Flanagan’s Creators vs. Consumers – Windsor Star

Dale’s Comment: I agree with these proposals and would add the following additional recommendations:

  1. Canada should adopt legislation similar to that currently under consideration in France, whereby consumers of legally purchased content would be explicitly permitted to: (i) circumvent any TPM to make copies of purchased content interoperable with any media player; and (ii) convert digital content into alternative emerging formats for personal use and playback (eg: convert CDs, to MP3s). [See related articles posted on March 21, 2006 and March 22, 2006]
  2. Content providers should be legally required to work with others seeking interoperability to ensure that all content can be played-back using competitive products.
  3. The first-sale doctrine should apply to all digital content marketed to consumers so that such consumers will have the unfettered right to transfer/give-away/sell their legal copy of content (without retaining copies) as can be done with books, records, CDs, DVDs, video games etc. Canadian and U.S. copyright law should explicitly pre-empt any EULA provisions attempting to override such first-sale rights.

Once these measures, the very measures the music industry is fighting, are universally adopted, I believe the first serious dent into online piracy will be made. Treat honest people fairly and they will purchase music online in droves. Treat them like criminals and, well, you know.

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Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Categories: DMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisFair Use/DealingLegal Reform

Text of Report
The CATO Institute has prepared a timely report where its author argues that while historically the courts have a proven track record of fashioning balanced remedies for the copyright challenges created by new technologies, the DMCA has cut the courts out of this role and instead banned any devices that “circumvent” digital rights management (DRM) technologies, which control access to copyrighted content and thereby limits or removes altogether consumers’ traditional fair use/fair dealing rights.

Sources: CATO Institute | The Inquirer | Corante

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The Big DRM Mistake

Categories: CopyrightDRM AnalysisFair Use/Dealing

This article argues that Digital Rights Managements hurts paying customers, destroys ‘fair use’ rights, renders customers’ investments worthless, and can always be defeated. Why are consumers and publishers being forced to use DRM?

Source:
Security Focus

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RIAA et al. Says CD Ripping, Backups Not Fair Use

Categories: Copy RestrictionsCopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Restricting UseFair Use/Dealing

So says the content-related industry in its joint reply as part of the triennial review of the effectiveness of the DMCA.

Source:
ars technica

Commentary: Cathy Kirkman | MIT Tech Review

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CD Copyright Crackdown Limits Users’ Fair Use Rights

Categories: Copy RestrictionsDRM Restricting UseFair Use/Dealing

New technology on music CDs limits the number of copies you can make–and gets in the way of putting tunes on an iPod.

Source: PC World

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