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Old 05-10-2013, 11:11 AM   #16
JSWolf
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Right now, it's unclear if stripping DRM is legal or not. Fair Use may trump the DMCA. If this comes to pass, then it won't matter any longer. There will not need to a legal ruling. But for now, DRM gets removed here legal or not.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:21 PM   #17
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A change in the DMCA is needed. The present law infringes the rights of consumers in a way that encourages disrespect for the law by promoting an illegal act in order for consumers to exercise their right to use something they purchased in an open marketplace.

Having said that I think there is an exception because public libraries are a necessary "public good." In order for library borrowing to continue working as we transition to digital media there has to be a means for library loans to expire.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
There's an interesting story here at Ars Technica about a proposal to amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the "DMCA") in the U.S. to allow a person to break a digital lock on a piece of media if they're not doing so to facilitate copyright infringement. The example in the article of something that this amendment would make legal is ripping DVDs for personal use, but another obvious example is removing DRM from an eBook for personal use.

For those unaware of the issue, the DMCA provides that:



The effect of the above is to make it illegal to remove DRM from a movie, eBook or piece of software that a person has legally bought, whether or not they would otherwise be permitted to do so under copyright law. The provision has been used in a lawsuit against a magazine, to make threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten's team of researchers, and as part of a prosecution of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov.

I'm not American, but I find the proposed amendment very interesting as Canada adopted somewhat similar anti-circumvention rules in its Copyright Act due to pressure from the U.S.
I'll remind you once again that the DMCA is self-contradictory on the subject of the legality of DRM-removal (from legitimately-acquired-content for personal use only!). See (yet again) one of my many posts on the subject from the past few years. Until one or more courts produce rulings, nobody really knows. Darn it! That said, an explicit change in the law would be most welcome.

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Old 05-10-2013, 12:36 PM   #19
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Nothing would change in my opinion.
I agree, except that we would have a law which was more fair, rational, and more in line with the good of society and the spirit of copyright protection.

I'm all for it, if it's as the OP states.

I'll have to go read the article, and see if I need to write my Representative and voice my support.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:55 PM   #20
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That said, an explicit change in the law would be most welcome.
Completely agree.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
I'll remind you once again that the DMCA is self-contradictory on the subject of the legality of DRM-removal (from legitimately-acquired-content for personal use only!). See (yet again) one of my many posts on the subject from the past few years. Until one or more courts produce rulings, nobody really knows. Darn it! That said, an explicit change in the law would be most welcome.

Xenophon
And I'll remind you that I think it's far from settled at law in the U.S. The argument in your link assumes (from a quick skim) that the general preamble of an Act overrides the specific terms of the Act, and this is not correct under the rules of legislative interpretation. The preamble offers interpretation assistance only, but it does not override substantive sections.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:17 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
And I'll remind you that I think it's far from settled at law in the U.S. The argument in your link assumes (from a quick skim) that the general preamble of an Act overrides the specific terms of the Act, and this is not correct under the rules of legislative interpretation. The preamble offers interpretation assistance only, but it does not override substantive sections.
That message was based on notes I took in a seminar for computer scientists on legal issues regarding IP, copyright, etc. Any interpretation therein has been filtered through not only my note taking skills but also my layman's understanding. The part that's relatively solid is the 6 bullet points near the bottom. The paraphrasing there may suffer from my layman's translation, but avoids the possibility of bad note taking. Name of eminent IP lawyer available via PM on request.

I think, however, that your first sentence indicates that you would agree that the question of whether or not removing DRM violates the DMCA is far from settled law in the U.S. Do I have that right?

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Old 05-10-2013, 01:44 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
That message was based on notes I took in a seminar for computer scientists on legal issues regarding IP, copyright, etc. Any interpretation therein has been filtered through not only my note taking skills but also my layman's understanding. The part that's relatively solid is the 6 bullet points near the bottom. The paraphrasing there may suffer from my layman's translation, but avoids the possibility of bad note taking. Name of eminent IP lawyer available via PM on request.

I think, however, that your first sentence indicates that you would agree that the question of whether or not removing DRM violates the DMCA is far from settled law in the U.S. Do I have that right?

Xenophon
Somewhat. If I were advising a client on those provisions, I would take the position that the provisions are what they say and that there is substantial legal risk in violating them. I might also add that I have not seen compelling legal arguments that those provisions are invalid that do not rely on unconvincing and sometimes faulty understandings of how case law interacts with statute.

That said, I would also be really interested in any legal discussion of those provisions that do suggest that they are invalid. I haven't gone out of my way to find those discussions, so they could certainly exist.

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Old 05-10-2013, 01:48 PM   #24
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Unless it became legal for applications to now include the tools built in.

I'm not so much thinking about Calibre here, as anyone who downloads that doesn't need to do much more to get the plugin too. Although it would mean it could be officially bundled with Calibre or available on their site and that would allow the Calibre author to vet plugins for malware before making a build and uploading. For plugins he wants to do that for anyway.

I'm thinking more along the lines of that movie ripping app that lost a case fairly recently for allowing users to convert DVDs to a digital library and stream across their home network. If that kind of use was included in the amendment, a lot would change for the better.

If however the wording ends up only allowing the kind of use that is already going on via Alf. Perhaps it'd have minimal impact, but it'd still be nice to know everyone doing it isn't breaking the law anymore
To all of those that don't understand why this is a big deal: This, so much this. Even if there's no way you would ever be taken to court over the anti-circumvention language, it still has a chilling effect on the development of software tools that you would otherwise be able to buy.

The restriction does affect you, even if you don't notice it.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
I think, however, that your first sentence indicates that you would agree that the question of whether or not removing DRM violates the DMCA is far from settled law in the U.S. Do I have that right?

Xenophon
There have only been a few cases so far regarding the circumvention provision and whether it applies in a non-copyright-infringing circumstance.
The courts have disagreed with each other.
It's far from settled, and an explicit clarifying change like we're discussing here would be very welcomed....and it would also be fiercely fought by the film industry and others.
Here's one article on the matter from one IP law firm, which clearly has an understandably biased take on the matter:
http://sunsteinlaw.com/the-dmca-re-f...urity-devices/

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Old 05-10-2013, 02:02 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
Even if there's no way you would ever be taken to court over the anti-circumvention language, it still has a chilling effect on the development of software tools that you would otherwise be able to buy.

The restriction does affect you, even if you don't notice it.
On a more philosophical level, it effects everyone in what it says about our system of justice and the rule of law.
Do we want to be a society where we pass and live under bad laws, flaunting them, ignoring them or enforcing them at capricious whim?
Or do we want to be one where we actively question and work to improve our laws, to the point that everyone knows that the ones left on the books are meaningful and should be respected?

Can I get an A-men, brothers and sisters?!?

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Old 05-10-2013, 02:03 PM   #27
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I think the end result, if this passes, would more likely be the end of DRM...why would publishers spend all that money on a "protection" system, when it is super easy, free, and LEGAL to remove it?
It is only super easy for some and would be legal for your onw use only and only on books you own.

And if publishers do do away with DRM then it is unlikely that there will be library ebooks anymore.

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Old 05-10-2013, 02:23 PM   #28
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I still don't foresee much changing. You can already download applications that remove or bypass DRM, for everything from ebooks to movies.
And I bet the vendors of DRM'd books and movies spend a lot of money and effort to try to stop people from downloading those applications. Even if the application is hosted somewhere that isn't in their jurisdiction the eventual spot where they are downloaded may be. And what if the person who created the application is living in an area within the jurisdiction of the people who put the DRM on books and movies? Couldn't they then be sued for having uploaded the application in the 1st place? The net may be everywhere and nowhere, but the terminals where people log on to it have set geographical coordinates in the real world.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:35 PM   #29
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On a more philosophical level, it effects everyone in what it says about our system of justice and the rule of law.
Do we want to be a society where we pass and live under bad laws, flaunting them, ignoring them or enforcing them at capricious whim?
Or do we want to be one where we actively question and work to improve our laws, to the point that everyone knows that the ones left on the books are meaningful and should be respected?

Can I get an A-men, brothers and sisters?!?

ApK
A-men.

But I don't expect anything to change.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:40 PM   #30
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That was my point...publishers spend tons of money on this whole DRM scheme, which is only marginally successful (pirates don't care that they are breaking the law). If it becomes legal then DRM removal will be super easy (bundled with normal software and accomplished with a click) and free (the tools are already free). There won't even be the concept of legality to keep honest people honest (as far as removing the DRM is concerned).

Publishers wouldn't spend all that money when there is no gain...they will no longer pay for it...thus the end of DRM.
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