DMCA exceptions granted

November 27th, 2006 | by ian |

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a law in the United States which criminalizes technology which circumvents copyright. It has been widely criticized.

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.

  1. One Response to “DMCA exceptions granted”

  2. By Dave Crompton on Aug 13, 2007 | Reply

    Don’t buy Sony products. DRM means you can’t upload your own audio recording via USB. So you may as well use an analogue recorder. Also some of their CDs appear to have a rootkit virus which can jeopordise the security on your PC and you don’t need Admin Priviledges neither, so you could seriously harm your company’s PC network as well, you could get sacked! Don’t buy Sony – unless you are stupid.

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