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UK's DMCA: there ain't no sanity clause

Patent Office "criminalises" netizens, researchers

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The UK's take on the "European DMCA" - the European Copyright Directive - will make criminals out of ordinary computer users, according to a new critique by the UK Campaign for Digital Rights. And it will also fail to protect researchers, says Julian Midgley who penned the report.

"As it stands, the UK implementation of the European Copyright Directive will hinder research into cryptography (in contravention of the express intent of the Directive itself), make criminal current common practices of the music industry, give software companies unwarranted control over the creation of software products interoperable with their own, and provide an inadequate and entirely impractical mechanism for beneficiaries of the Directive's exceptions to obtain access to copyrighted works protected by technological measures," the report concludes.

CDR recommends amendments to the consultation paper. "Academic research" isn't defined, for example, and Midgley notes that even the draconian DMCA had more detail on protections for cryptographic researchers than the UK's draft - even though those were insufficient to protect researchers from prosecution.

The draft's proposals will also hinder music studios, broadcasters and software developers, who risk breaking the law when they decompile copy-protected software.

The CDR's detailed critique can be found here
or downloaded here [82kb PDF].

The Patent Office is taking comments now. Have they heard from you, yet? ®

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