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Old 05-15-2009, 11:57 AM   #1
kamm
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Disabling text-to-speech (TTS) triggers DMCA exemption: YOU ARE ALLOWED TO REMOVE DRM

Someone just mentioned in the other thread and indeed, it took me only a minute or so to find the details of the 2006 November DMCA exemptions:

Quote:
The Librarian of Congress, on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, has announced the classes of works subject to the exemption from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) during the next three years.

1. Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors.

2. Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

3. Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete. A dongle shall be considered obsolete if it is no longer manufactured or if a replacement or repair is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

4. Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.

5. Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.

6. Sound recordings, and audiovisual works associated with those sound recordings, distributed in compact disc format and protected by technological protection measures that control access to lawfully purchased works and create or exploit security flaws or vulnerabilities that compromise the security of personal computers, when circumvention is accomplished solely for the purpose of good faith testing, investigating, or correcting such security flaws or vulnerabilities.

These exemptions went into effect upon publication in the Federal Register on November 27, 2006, and will remain in effect through October 27, 2009.
Source: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2006/11...ptions-granted

DMCA: http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2006/index.html

Federal Register Vol.71 No.227 issue (Monday, November 27 2006) in PDF: http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2006/71fr68472.pdf


In other words if there's no TTS-enabled version available of a work then you can LEGALLY REMOVE THE DRM TO ENABLE IT.

Last edited by kamm; 05-15-2009 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Nope. You need to see the related section of the DMCA. You can only remove the DRM if you are in the affected group. This means you have to be visually impaired.

Just a second, I will go dig it up.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:04 PM   #3
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You were one link away:
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap12.html#1201

Paragraph D:

Quote:
The Librarian shall publish any class of copyrighted works for which the Librarian has determined, pursuant to the rulemaking conducted under subparagraph (C), that noninfringing uses by persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be, adversely affected, and the prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to such users with respect to such class of works for the ensuing 3-year period.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Nope. You need to see the related section of the DMCA. You can only remove the DRM if you are in the affected group. This means you have to be visually impaired.
Where does it say anything about having to be visually impaired? It says "adversely affected", which can mean a lot of things.

The whole "you have to be blind or disabled" thing that people repeat on here is a myth.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Nope. You need to see the related section of the DMCA. You can only remove the DRM if you are in the affected group. This means you have to be visually impaired.

Just a second, I will go dig it up.
Originally I meant impaired people however it doesn't seem to be the case:

Quote:
4. Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read–aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format. A number of commenters, led by the American Foundation for the Blind, proposed renewal of an existing exemption for ebooks for which the ‘‘screen readers’’ and the ‘‘read–aloud’’ function have been disabled. These functions enable the blind to ‘‘read’’ the text of an ebook by rendering the written text of the book into audible, synthetic speech. Screen readers also allow the text and layout of a text screen to be conveyed spatially so that a blind user can perceive the organization of a page on the screen or even the organization of a work as a whole and navigate through that ebook. Some literary works are distributed in ebook form with the read–aloud and screen reader functions disabled through the use of digital rights management tools. In order to alter the usage settings of such ebooks in order to enable read–aloud and screen reader functionality, a user would have to circumvent access controls. The proponents of this exemption selected a sample of five titles and conducted only a limited examination of the options available even for those five titles — a minimal showing at best. However, the Register has concluded that the proponents have met their burden, if only barely. Especially in light of the fact that nobody, including the copyright owners whose works would be subject to this exemption, has urged rejection of the proposed exemption, the Register recommends renewal of the exemption. However, proponents of the exemption have made a persuasive argument for a minor modification of the existing exemption, which currently is applicable only if there is no ebook edition of the work that contains access controls that prevent the enabling both of the ebook’s read–aloud function and of screen readers. Because of the limited functionality of the read–aloud function on ebooks and the ability that screen readers offer to the blind to actually navigate within an ebook, the Register is persuaded that the exemption should be applicable to a literary work when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read–aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format. In other words, if there is no screen reader functionality or no read–aloud functionality, the exemption will apply.
Source: http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2006/71fr68472.pdf - page 68475-68476

Last edited by kamm; 05-15-2009 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
You were one link away:
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap12.html#1201

Paragraph D:
Away from what? There is not a single word about visually impaired people.

Also if my eyes are a lot more sensitive than others - which is true for me personally, my eyes get tired and bloodshot pretty easy - then who are you or the DMCA to say I cannot have the book read for me?

This is nonsensical at best, illegal at worst.

Last edited by kamm; 05-15-2009 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
Where does it say anything about having to be visually impaired? It says "adversely affected", which can mean a lot of things.

The whole "you have to be blind or disabled" thing that people repeat on here is a myth.
If you do not _need_ the TTS ability (by being visually impaired, for example) then you are not adversely affected by its absence. Wanting the ability is not the same thing.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
Where does it say anything about having to be visually impaired? It says "adversely affected", which can mean a lot of things.

The whole "you have to be blind or disabled" thing that people repeat on here is a myth.
I suspect it comes from the fact that one of the many presenters of the request was the American Foundation for the Blind (see my quote above.)
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamm View Post
Away from what? There is not a single word about visually impaired people.

Also if my eyes are a lot more sensitive than others - which is true for me personally, my eyes get tried and bloodshot pretty easy - then who are you or the DMCA to say I cannot have the book read for me?
Correct. But the DMCA does refer to adversely affected users. In the exception that group is defined as the visually impaired.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
If you do not _need_ the TTS ability (by being visually impaired, for example)

Again: who decides?

Quote:
then you are not adversely affected by its absence.
You might be convinced but this is not what the law says.

Quote:
Wanting the ability is not the same thing.
True. However if I have my good reasons then I am effected thus exempt.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:22 PM   #11
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There's no objective legal standard of "adversely" affected, nor is a definition even offered in the statute. So this is something that must be litigated on a case-by-case basis.

I agree, if you're not visually impaired, you're on questionable ground. On the other hand, you can still be adversely affected by the disabling of TTS; indeed, Amazon markets TTS as a feature to everyone, not something specifically for the visually impaired.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:22 PM   #12
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Unfortunately, until a test case comes to court, all that anyone can do is offer opinions about what the law actually "means". It has not yet been tested in court.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:28 PM   #13
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Correct. But the DMCA does refer to adversely affected users. In the exception that group is defined as the visually impaired.
I don't see it anywhere neither in the law nor in the exception.

Moreover while section III/A ("Discussion - The Six Exempted Classes") of FedReg (page 68473) clearly cites examples in every case and goes even further to clear up the difference this change brings in the exemption in question ("In other words, if there is no screen reader functionality or no read–aloud functionality, the exemption will apply") it has no word whatosever about limited scope of the exemptions regarding visually impared users (barely even mentions the American Foundation for the Blind, it's named simply as one of the many proponents.)

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Old 05-15-2009, 12:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamm View Post
I don't see it anywhere neither in the law nor in the exception.

Moreover while section III/A ("Discussion - The Six Exempted Classes") of FedReg (page 68473), aside of barely mentioning the American Foundation for the Blind as one of the many commenters, has no word whatosever about limited scope of the exemptions it clearly cites examples in every case and goes even further to clear up the difference this change brings in the exemption in question ("In other words, if there is no screen reader functionality or no read–aloud functionality, the exemption will apply.")
How could you not see it? I quoted it:
Quote:
The Librarian shall publish any class of copyrighted works for which the Librarian has determined, pursuant to the rulemaking conducted under subparagraph (C), that noninfringing uses by persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be, adversely affected, and the prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to such users with respect to such class of works for the ensuing 3-year period.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:34 PM   #15
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Unfortunately, until a test case comes to court, all that anyone can do is offer opinions about what the law actually "means". It has not yet been tested in court.
Well, unfortunately the jury-based system, is anything but a solid ground for even the most obvious cases...
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