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U.S. Copyright Office Announces New Rights—Rulemaking on Anticircumvention
Triennial rulemaking process allows for circumvention, without penalty, of certain technologies that otherwise prevent access to some copyright protected materials...DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requires the Library of Congress Copyright Office to conduct examinations every 3 years to seek comments & examples that people have been adversely afftected by access controls like DRM and TPM technologies on copyright protected works. This third comment/reply process (Nov.-Dec. 2005 comments/Jan.-Feb. 2006 replies to comments) allows more exemptions than the 2000 or 2003 rulings. Exemptions are meant to remove unnecessary barriers in the use of digital works, remain in effect for 3 years, and can be renewed in the next triennial ruling process.
First reported by the Associated Press on Thanksgiving Day, the six new exemptions are important for archivists, computer security, cell phone recyclers, sight-impaired individuals reading e-books, and film professors who need to extract DVD excerpts for educational compilations. Brief summaries of the six new exemptions can be read on the 2006 Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works. Also included as sidebars on the site are the Comments, Replies, Hearings, and fuller comments by the Librarian of Congress and tahe Register of Copyrights. Briefly:
1) Copying excerpts by breaking DVD CSS copy-protection technologies has been illegal under the DMCA (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)), although some excerpts and [potential] new compilations could always apply a fair use test under Section 107. While still a narrow ruling, the new 2006 exemption allows film professors to copy "snippets" in order to make compilations for educational use, in the classroom, by media or film professors. [Read, as above, #1 on Rulemaking on Exemptions....] for specific text on this new exemption that is critical to education.
2,3) Two exemptions deal with computer obsolescence for software or computer games, where circumvention is allowed to archive the content. If dongles are damaged/irreplaceable, now circmvention is also allowed.
4) E-book locks now can be broken to allow sight-impaired individuals to use reading aides & software.
5) Controls placed on cell phones by wireless providers can now be broken to enable the telephones to be connected to other networks.
6) Circumvention is now allowed when testing, researching, or correcting security flaws from "rootkits" or other access control measures on music or audiovisual CDs. Spawned by lawsuits in 2005 against Sony BMG, the ruling is a result of software that was included on over 24 million music CDs, intended to be hidden from purchasers and which would launch connections to Sony BMG servers. The software degraded computer performance, caused security vulnerabilities, was difficult to remove, and included terms in its End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) that could not be avoided, even when clicking "no" to the terms. Consumers and rights organizations also objected to the inherent tracking nature of the hidden software, and the unknown restrictions, prior-to-purchase, of how often and where other personal copies could be installed and used under the license.
Posted by Karen Oye on November 27, 2006 11:14 PM