Feeds

Does new Europe law mean slammer for DRM crackers?

Unclear and present danger

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Forthcoming EU legislation could criminalise Europeans who circumvent copyright protection.

Fears that the pending European Union Copyright Directive could lead to a European re-run of the Dmitri Sklyarov prosecution were much in evidence during the recent Campaign for Digital Rights mini-conference at London's City University.

But Matthew Rippon, of Ipswich law firm Prettys Solicitors, says such fears are misplaced and that the EUCD will lead to only civil - not criminal - court actions in Europe.

He said the EUCD only requires that the member states provide "legal protection" for use of and information about Digital Right Management technologies.

"Basically the EUCD creates the means for rights holders to take civil action to prevent the removal of DRM. Every legal commentator that I have read on the subject speaks only of civil sanctions," said Rippon.

Rippon argues that the EUCD is quite different from America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which imposes "express criminal sanctions" against those "who destroy rights management information".

"As a Linux user myself, I am as concerned about the growth of DRM as the next guy, but this hysteria has to stop. Yes the DMCA's criminal sanctions are evil, but we've had pro-DRM sanctions on the statute books for almost 15 years (see Copyright Designs and Patents Act s296) and has the sky fallen in?"

Martin Keegan, one of the founder members of the Campaign for Digital Rights (CDR), said whether breaking copyright protection will be criminalised "depends on the implementation and enforcement in each member state of the EU".

There are two threads to the directive (A6.1 and A6.2), dealing with banning circumvention and the devices which assist it, he explained.

UK laws already ban devices, but there have very few uses of this law.

"It's unlikely that the UK will criminalise circumvention; that'll just be actionable in the civil courts," Keegan.

However "other European nations may be softer or harder on the laws and implementation", he added.

This is ironic since one of the aims of the EUCD is to standardise laws across Europe, but in practice, the directive may lead to greater diversity.

So far the EUCD has received little attention but the CDR aims to mobilise opposition against the directive, which the Recording and Publishing Industries are heavily lobbying. The CDR is also protesting against music industry plans to market copy-protected CDs.

National governments have until December 22 to incorporate the directive in national legislation. ®

Related Stories

Alan Cox attacks the European DMCA
Sony turns courts on PS mod-chip makers
Brit music indies want copy-protected CDs
Digital right lobbyists picket UK record stores
UK campaigners call for anti 'anti-rip' CD day of action
Sklyarov/ElcomSoft case sent to trial
US courts kowtow to entertainment industry
Senator brutalizes Intel rep for resisting CPRM
Stealth copy protection - where we are now

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.