Feeds

Deadline nears for DMCA exemptions

Reason not rants, please

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Wednesday's the deadline for you to make a small difference to the draconian DMCA, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

One of the quirks of the Act is that the Library of Congress provides administrative oversight. A strange decision, since this is a job usually left to the courts. But every three years the Librarian gets to review requests and decide which cases are causing serious harm.

And small but significant progress has been made in very selective areas. Seth Finkelstein scored a victory two years ago by persuading the Librarian that censorware blacklists could be examined, and small portions of them published, as fair use.

Finkelstein is urging people affected to see if they can make a case, too. But with only one part of the DMCA affected, he has no illusions about the extent of the opportunity.

"This is a small victory we can have - but it can be achieved at even smaller costs," he told us. "I'm not being blindly optimistic but here is a specific task where victory is not certain, but it is possible."

What's at stake?

"She wants to hear a factual case for harm caused by the law," explains Finkelstein.

There are three specific parts to section 1201 devoted to circumvention in terms of access and technology. For two of these, the Librarian can do nothing:- it will remain a violation to make and distribute tools for circumventing access to a work, or making tools that alter rights access.

"This rulemaking CANNOT make distributing DeCSS code, or eBook access programs, into an exempt act," he writes.

But simple circumvention is being examined, and this can still make an enormous difference to a lot of us. Ironically, however, Finkelstein says tub-thumping populism is exactly what isn't needed. The Librarian needs specific examples"showing that the prohibition has a substantial adverse effect on noninfringing uses of a particular class of works." So diatribes about the evils of capitalism, or the tyranny of government will go straight in the wastebasket. As will, alas, very broad arguments for fair use which might be valuable in another context. They don't help here.

Quality, not quantity is what counts, and he says logical, empirical argument will be welcomed provided it can be justified that the exemption won't cause "more harm than good".

But small victories are possible as Finkelstein himself proves.

We asked if Seth thought that the once fiercely libertarian climate was warming to such civic activism:-

"Lawrence Lessig has done a great service here. You can't ignore politics, because politics won't ignore you."

And you don't even have to sell your soul to make a difference. Read more at the EFF's site here. His homepage, with his blog and lots of fine reading, is here

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.