Feeds

EU Directive removes copyright exceptions for schools

On-demand media not exempt

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Vital copyright exemptions for universities, schools and hospitals do not apply when material is provided on demand, an EU researcher says. The long-standing exemptions are relied on by teachers and researchers but do not exist in on-demand media, he said.

The news will prove a worry for anyone relying on the exemptions since publishing, telecoms, broadcast and music companies are increasingly turning to streaming and on-demand media and away from physical or scheduled distribution channels for their products.

"Normally there is a rule in the [Copyright] Directive that permits the circumvention of DRM [digital rights management technology] to a certain extent, but in the case of on-demand content this rule does not apply," Francisco Javier Cabrera Blazquez said.

Blazquez was talking to OUT-LAW Radio, the weekly technology law podcast. He has just published a review of DRM law in Europe for the European Audiovisual Observatory, an EU-funded body.

"It seems that more and more the industry is going from physical distribution of CDs and DVDs to internet distribution, to on-demand distribution of copyright content," he said. "There could be a problem if exceptions do not apply to on-demand content and the industry more and more provides content over on-demand services then to a certain extent the exceptions wouldn't be applicable any more."

The Copyright Directive says that exceptions "shall not apply to works or other subject-matter made available to the public on agreed contractual terms in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them".

The Directive says that this restriction on exemptions is designed to provide "a secure environment" for interactive services.

The Directive "is somewhat contradictory," says Blazquez's report (PDF). "It does not state that limitations or exceptions are not applicable to on demand services. Nevertheless it leaves in the hands of rights holders the means of preventing the effective benefiting from those limitations or exceptions."

Exceptions are already a controversial area when it comes to DRM technology. Designed to prevent unauthorised copying of music or films, DRM can stop a consumer from undertaking any copying, even that which is permissible in law.

The British Library has spoken out in the past about how DRM can prevent it from properly archiving and preserving material, and from making it available to users with disabilities.

Copyright exemptions in Europe differ according to the Acts which transposed the EU's Copyright Directive into law, but it usually allows researchers, academics, some hospital staff and libraries to use material in the course of their business in ways that would usually be prohibited by copyright legislation.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.