Feeds

Internet Archive wins copyright reprieve

Can now store old computer games and software

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Internet Archive project has won an exemption from US copyright law, overcoming an obstacle which threatened the entire work of the not-for-profit group. It can now host copies of obsolete computer games and software without fear of prosecution.

The Library of Congress has published six exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which criminalises duplication of material copyrighted to someone else. The exemption is from punishment for breaking the kinds of copy controls on material which are designed to stop unauthorised duplication.

One of the six exemptions is for computer software or games for the purposes of preservation, but only if the original machine, format or technology involved is obsolete.

The ruling grants exemption to "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," it says.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit project started in 1996 to create a complete record of the increasing amounts of digital information being created as the internet developed. It now archives 20 terabytes of data a month and has two petabytes (two million gigabytes) of data stored in it.

The Library of Congress's other exemptions to the DCMA include permission for users of mobile phones to circumvent the technology which makes the phone only work with one network. Another exemption allows the duplication of "dongle protected" software where the dongle has been damaged and a replacement is no longer available.

Another exemption allows educational establishments to "break" digital rights management (DRM) technology for audiovisual works to be used by media studies or film classes, while another exemption that allows users to bypass DRM on CDs in order to test and fix DRM technology which might damage the user's computer.

"Thanks to the hard work of two great law school students of Peter Jaszi of American University, Jieun Kim and Doug Agopsowicz, the Internet Archive and other libraries may continue to preserve software and video game titles without fear of going to jail," said a statement from the Internet Archive.

"This is a happy moment, but on the other hand this exception is so limited it leaves the overall draconian nature of the DMCA in effect," said the statement. "A total of more than $50,000 of pro-bono lawyer time has been spent to just affect this exemption and its continuation. We hope that Congress, and other governments, will pass more balanced copyright laws to allow at least libraries, archives, research and scholarship to flourish without the current dark clouds of litigation."

The British Library has been involved in similar lobbying and wants copyright law to change so that it can store digital material without breaking the law. It has sent its copyright reform manifesto to the government.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.