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Old 08-11-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
Xenophon
curmudgeon
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I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV). That said, I believe that the key phrase in the Librarian's ruling is this:
Quote:
[...]when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent[...]
Translating from legalese as best I can, this appears to say that it doesn't matter whether your particular edition or copy "contains access controls that prevent..." Rather, stripping the DRM is permitted only "when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain[...]" (my emphasis).

Thus, if there exists any legal edition that lacks such controls, the Librarian's exception would not apply. To be squeaky-clean-legal under this particular exception, you would need to know (for example) that the various services for the blind and visually impaired lack any digital text edition of the book. Those services are the "authorized entities" who are legally permitted to make special editions for the blind and visually impaired without the consent of the copyright holder--even over the objections of the copyright holder--so long as they pay a statutory royalty (which may be $0, or may be actual money -- I don't remember).

The exception is much more narrowly written than many of you appear to think.

Xenophon

P.S. I'm generally on the "DRM-is-stupid" side. I believe that stripping DRM from legitimately-acquired content for personal use only constitutes fair use. I even have written advice-of-counsel to that effect--from an eminent IP lawyer, no less! That said, I think that an individual's main practical defense against lawsuits is that "legitimately-acquired content for personal use only" avoids things like "sharing with 50,000 of my closest friends," and so is likely to remain off the radar of law enforcement. And that any DA who brings a case in spite of "legitimately-acquired content for personal use only" would probably get dope-slapped by the judge for wasting the court's time.
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