Ed Felten at Freedom to Tinker reports some exceptions to the DMCA were recently granted:
six exemptions were granted, the most ever:
* Professors can make compilations of film and video material for research or teaching.
* Archivists can preserve copies of old programs and computer games.
* Anyone can work around broken hardware “dongles” that prevent access to software programs.
* Blind people can use software to have e-books read aloud.
* Wireless phone customers can switch their phones to a different wireless provider.
* Anyone can study, test, or remove malware distributed on CDs.
I’m particularly relieved about the provisions for education and wireless device portability. The last provision is good in light of the Sony rootkit debacle. The provision for the blind highlights how ridiculous copyright enforcement can be.
These are good steps but the DMCA still fundamentally fails to recognize the harms that copy protection mechanisms cause and will eventually become a relic representing old ways of thinking about incenting creativity.