Legal Issues

Academic Face/Off on DMCA

Brian Surratt writes \"This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses two Carnegie Mellon professors who are on opposite sides of the DMCA debate. David S. Touretzky (Anti-DMCA) is notable for maintaining the Gallery of CSS Descramblers at his college at CMU, Michael I. Shamos, was paid $30,000 by the Motion Picture Association to conduct experiments and provide testimony to support DMCA in court. The saga is far from over... \"

Topic: 

U.S. Fair Use Primer

Georgia K. Harper\'s brief and useful introduction to U.S. copyright law, with a focus on fair use and the D.M.C.A.:

The balance that copyright law has achieved between the interests of copyright owners and the interests of the public has evolved slowly and has been only periodically adjusted. Today, however, the pace and the magnitude of change threaten to skew this balance to the point of collapse. Some of these changes -- licenses, access controls, certain provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) -- have the potential to drastically undermine the public right to access information, to comment on events, and even to share information with others.

More from the Journal of Electronic Publishing . Harper\'s earlier article \"Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials\" provides additional information on the tests used to determine fair use.

Topic: 

Canada Considering Modification of Copyright Laws

The Canadian government is considering modifying the Copyright Act to address digital copyright issues:

In order for Canada to be an important player in the emerging digital economy, the Copyright Act may need to be amended to ensure that it continues to be meaningful, clear and balanced. In particular, the examination of key digital copyright issues is necessary to fully realize the government\'s priority of promoting the dissemination of new and interesting content on-line, for and by Canadians. The departments believe it is now an opportune moment to initiate consultation with stakeholders on whether the Act should be amended to:

1. Set out a new exclusive right in favour of copyright owners, including performers and record producers, to make their works available on-line to the public;

2. Prevent the circumvention of technologies used to protect copyright material; and,

3. Prohibit tampering with rights management information.
Another important issue relates to the circumstances under which Internet service providers should be held liable for the transmission and storage of copyright material when their facilities are involved. At present, the Act does not clearly identify the conditions for imposing liability, nor does it explicitly limit such liability. [More]

The public comment period ends September 15th. Thanks to Waterloo Wide Web.

Topic: 

Sklyarov Case Round Up

Brian writes \"For a good review of the case, and a great discussion of \"fair use\" for electronic information, check out the US vs. Sklyarov at FAX the Electronic Frontier Foundation Web Site\"

Other interesting stories include:
When misguided plans go from bad to worse, from CNET. \"That plan never looked more misguided than now, when prosecutors want to close those loopholes around a man\'s neck.\".

Wired has Sklyarov: A Huge Sigh of Release, \"\"We made ourselves heard, so the fact that he was able to get himself free at least shows that the public\'s efforts worked,\" she said.\"

Topic: 

Sklyarov Released on $50,000 Bail

Jailed Russian programmer and international cause célèbre Dmitri Sklyarov was released this afternoon:

Russian software programmer Dimitry Sklyarov, whose July 16 arrest on U.S. copyright charges provoked a firestorm of debate over Internet free speech, was released on $50,000 bail on Monday by a California court. Sklyarov, 26, was released into the custody of Sergei Osokine of nearby Cupertino, Calif., after his Moscow-based company, ElcomSoft Co., put up the $50,000 bond, court officials said. Sklyarov appeared in court for the bail hearing, looking tired and wearing orange prison-issued clothing. Outside the court, a small group of protesters demonstrated, saying his arrest was a violation of free speech rights. [More from Yahoo News.]

Scooped again by Slashdot.

Topic: 

Court denies request to dismiss Internet filter lawsuits

I think I may have posted this before, but James Nimmo passed along This Findlaw story on the lawsuits challenging the Children\'s Internet Protection Act that makes federal funding for library technology contingent upon Internet filtering will move forward to trial.

The Justice Department asked to have the lawsuits thrown out, but a two-paragraph order issued Thursday rejected the government\'s argument that the challengers had no valid First Amendment claim.

Topic: 

Jail Time in the Digital Age

Copyright scholar (and Electronic Frontier Foundation board member) Lawrence Lessing neatly skewers the DMCA:

The D.M.C.A. outlaws technologies designed to circumvent other technologies that protect copyrighted material. It is law protecting software code protecting copyright. The trouble, however, is that technologies that protect copyrighted material are never as subtle as the law of copyright. Copyright law permits fair use of copyrighted material; technologies that protect copyrighted material need not. Copyright law protects for a limited time; technologies have no such limit. Thus when the D.M.C.A. protects technology that in turn protects copyrighted material, it often protects much more broadly than copyright law does. It makes criminal what copyright law would forgive. (More from the New York Times.)

A tip of the pen to Metafilter.

Topic: 

DMCA Stories Galor

I seem to have collected quite a few DMCA related stories.

The Copyright Cops Go Too Far from Business 2.0 says the DMCA still has some big problems, but handcuffs aren\'t the answer. Wired Says The DMCA continues to enjoy remarkably broad support on Capitol Hill. No bill has yet been introduced in Congress to amend the DMCA for one simple reason: Official Washington loves the law precisely as much as hackers and programmers despise it. A Small Glimmer of Hope seems to be Rep. Rick Boucher, his office will draft a bill to be introduced later this year.

Linux Planet is calling it Digital Millennium Rape Act.

If you aren\'t familiar with the DMCA, read it and weep.

Topic: 

Children\'s Internet Protection Act May See A Court

Wired Is Reporting the coalition of public libraries, library patrons and website operators that filed the challenge in March against the Children\'s Internet Protection Act of 2000 may get its\' day in court, next February.

The Justice Department, which is representing
the Federal Communications Commission and
the Institute of Museum and Library Services
in the suit, asked a federal court in
Philadelphia to dismiss the case saying the
challenge is without merit.

They must be too busy praying in the office to have the time to actually defend this one.

\"\"There are a zillion issues here,\" Chief Judge
Edward Becker of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told a team of Justice Department attorneys during
an hour-long hearing.\"

Topic: 

Boycott Adobe Launches

boycottadobe.com has hit the web.

Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested by federal agents in Las Vegas, Nevada. His crime: pointing out major security flaws in Adobe PDF and eBook software.
Adobe decided to call in the FBI to prosecute him under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.

Topic: 

Pages

Subscribe to Legal Issues