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[P]
EU "directive on copyright" adopted

By codemonkey_uk in News
Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 12:45:37 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Described as the European Union's DMCA, the "pan-EU rules on copyright and related rights in the Information Society" has been adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers.

The document sets out the common position on copyright, and describes what EU member states must do, may do and may not do.


The directive gives the inventor of a copy protection scheme control over the distribution of any device or software that attempts to circumvent that scheme. In contrast to the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the inventor of the copy protection scheme must provide means of allowing limited copying consistent with existing rules on fair use.

However these fair use provisions are optional and a member state is free to enact none, some or all of these provisions. If member states do not adopt the optional provisions then printing a document out could constitute an offence. Backing up your hard disk might, if the specific provisions are not adopted, be an offence.

Furthermore member states cannot grant further freedoms than those explicitly listed in the directive.

The optional provisions for fair use (excluded copyright holder rights) include:

  • Printing something out, provided fair compensation is paid.
  • For audio-visual data, an analogue reproduction for personal use, provided fair compensation is paid.
  • For audio-visual data, a digital copy for personal use, provided copy protection schemes are not circumvented, provided fair compensation is paid.
  • Libraries and schools may make archival copies.
  • Illustration for teaching or research provided source is credited and fair compensation paid.
  • For people with disabilities, but only to the extent required by their disability.
  • Excepts for use in reporting current events, provided source and if possible author is credited, to the extent justified by the reporting, so long as it illustrates the subject being reported.
  • Quotations for review or criticism, provided the work is legally available, crediting source, author, etc.
  • For the purposes of public security or to ensure the proper reporting of admin, parliamentary or judicial reporting.

Consequences of these rules could mean no sneak peeks at leaked film scripts, no open source DVD playing software for Linux, no open source e-book reading software, no open source media player that can compete with Microsoft's, no open source drivers for the new hard drives with in-built "digital rights management". It may even mean no backup software.

See:

By Thad
Taken in part from postings to the accu-general mailing list. With special thanks to Jez Higgins & Phil Hibbs.

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Poll
EU's 'DMCA'
o More Evil than the DMCA 65%
o Less Evil than the DMCA 28%
o Neither Evil 6%

Votes: 32
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o http://eur opa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/intprop/news/copyright.htm
o http://eur opa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/intprop/news/copy2en.pdf
o Also by codemonkey_uk


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EU "directive on copyright" adopted | 20 comments (13 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Odd view on Fair Use (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by _Quinn on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 11:13:51 AM EST

   Many of the Fair Use provisions (here in the US) were adopted because it was felt that negotiating with the copyright holder to make Fair Use of a copyrighted work would result in a net loss in the (societal) benefit of that work. I find it rather interesting that most of the EU's provisos end in `provided fair compensation is made.'

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
Reverse Engineering (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by Vulch on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 11:30:16 AM EST

There is already an EU directive allowing reverse engineering in order to determine file formats, which I suspect is one of the reasons a Norwegian got picked on for breaking DeCSS. I can imagine thin-watched lawyers outlining their bills for a nice long court case already.

Anthony

some balance, hopefully: (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 12:20:44 PM EST

The directive gives the inventor of a copy protection scheme control over the distribution of any device or software that attempts to circumvent that scheme.

Is this your interpretation of the following paragraph:

Firstly, rightholders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices. A more flexible solution in this regard would have carried a greater risk of abuse and piracy.

??

Then your interpretation is somewhat incomplete in its omission of intent and in its implication that Inventors Inc. will somewhow accrue ownership of all copy protection schemes, implemented or not.

What it actually says is that the owner of a copyright, say a book, who also delivers that book via a device with built in copy protection has rights over alternative devices created to read that book. You cannot create such a device without the permission of the author (of the book.) This decision is taken to ensure the author of the book maintains rights over its distribution and disposition. This has always been the case:

(a) distribution: you've never been able to distribute an author's work without his or her permission. In this particular case, the author's permission is bound in the particular copy protection scheme that delivers the book. You cannot circumvent that permission. You cannot distribute that permission.

Just so everyone understands the intent.

Of course there is an arguement that runs "we have no intention of circumventing that permission, we only want to hax0r." Which is a fair arguement. Unfortunately, the reality of the net is such that - and this is both an admission of the validity of the hax0r arguement as well as a condemnation of you Napster loving yahoos who are managing to erode all our rights with your interesting ideas of property - "A more flexible solution in this regard would have carried a greater risk of abuse and piracy."

Just so everyone understands where the other side is coming from.

(And, really, if you want to use your device to enjoy your copies, you can still do that.)

(b) disposition: you've never been able to make a play out of a novel without the novelist's permission. Now you cannot make a web page out of it or rot13 it in the belief that l33t is some kind of counter right.

Just so everyone understands why these new generation of copyright laws truly suck; if you cannot respect other people's rights, you are forcing other people (the rightholders) to diminish yours.

Described as the European Union's DMCA,

An objectionable description since, unlike the EU directive, the DMCA practically gives copyright holders the power to right their own warrants.

---
God hates human rights.

United Corporations of Earth (none / 0) (#11)
by evvk on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 01:10:57 PM EST

> You cannot create such a device without the ermission of the author (of the book.)

Read: Goodbye open source e-book readers (as if I wanted to read a book from a crappy screen), DVD players, etc. Goodbye alternative operating systems, welcome Windows. All the power to corporations!

The problem with this kind of legislations, patents, trademarks, everything is that no individual creating e.g. software for free as a hobby and no aims of profiting from it can afford these. All this is just to protect Giant Evil Corporations' interests while limiting freedoms of individuals. If all these limitations didn't affect free products/software (both as in speech and beer), there wouldn't be that much wrong with them: you pay X percent of the profit you gain from your product to who owns the technology, but since you get no profit, they don't get anything either. Simple and fair. And no fscking permissions required.



[ Parent ]
corporate nothing (none / 0) (#12)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 01:38:10 PM EST

The problem with this kind of legislations, patents, trademarks, everything is that no individual creating e.g. software for free as a hobby and no aims of profiting from it can afford these.

First of all, free software is irrelevant to the discussion. You can implement free software copy protection schemes without opening the barn door. DeCSS exists, DePGP doesnt. One is cryptographically unsound, the other one isnt. As far as I am concerned, free slash open software is a strawman. If the publisher does not want to open his ebook software under your favorite distribution license, too bad.

Second of all, the problem with your arguement is the mistaken belief that you receive an author's work according to your terms instead of his. Why do you think this? As an author I can prescribe that my book is distributed on manilla colored paper between a cloth cover illustrating Fabio protecting a damsel from RMS. I can also specify a particular ebook reader. I am in complete control over the disposition of my work.

You do not have to buy this book. When you do buy this book, you buy it on my terms. Yes, that means information is not free.

Most authors arent so particular. This is the reason there is, in fact, a problem with such legislation; in the absence of authorial claims one way or another, your rights are circumscribed so that publishers dont have to make a career of catering to every hacker who decides to write his own ebook reader.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

It is not all about the license (none / 0) (#13)
by evvk on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 02:09:49 PM EST

> If the publisher does not want to open his ebook software under your favorite distribution license, too bad.

It is not about the license but about Approved(tm) operating systems and software. DeCSS and reverse-engineering is currently legal in any sane country so I could, if I had a DVD (I don't; is there a complete DVD player software for Linux?), watch a DVD on my Linux box. Copyright holders given full control over the software that can view their works, this could become illegal. And since there clearly is no interest to commerically support all operating systems, they'd be forcing people to use a certain set of Approved(tm) operating systems.

I can read a book anywhere, sitting on a random brand chair and light coming from a random brand lightbulb. I can type the book on my computer and read it there if I wish. Why should I not be allowed to watch a DVD/read an e-book/whatever anywhere and under any operating system?

Why should not someone not be allowed to write whatever software he wishes and then release it? It is free speech, dammit. Corporations are allowed to sell much more harmfull things anyway and practice their evil.


[ Parent ]
inventor control (none / 0) (#14)
by kataklyst on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 02:14:10 PM EST

You cannot create such a device without the permission of the author (of the book.)

It seems to me that you cannot create such a device without the permission of every author that has ever released a work using the copy protection scheme. In effect, you cannot create a viewer unless you are Inventors Inc. and every author using your scheme must authorize the use of your viewer. Suppose all these authors later get mad at Inventors Inc. and try to distribute an alternative viewer for their works. Inventors Inc. can just release a trivial work protected by their scheme and use this law against the authors.

[ Parent ]

i dont see this (none / 0) (#15)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 02:40:30 PM EST

I dont follow you. Quote,

Firstly, rightholders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices.

Unquote. Inventors Inc. has rights over its encryption software, not rights over encrypted works.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Free software DVD players safe as long as... (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 07:17:56 PM EST

  • For audio-visual data, an analogue reproduction for personal use, provided fair compensation is paid.
  • For audio-visual data, a digital copy for personal use, provided copy protection schemes are not circumvented, provided fair compensation is paid.

If you take "fair compensation" to be the paid to get a copy of the CD or DVD, then free software DVD players are safe as long as they do not allow a digital stream to be extracted from the DVD. This means they have to have kernel support (similar to MS's Secure Audio Path) to keep another program from peeking at the decoded movie frames. This also means they cannot output to digital connectors on the back of the computer.

Another defense comes from the article itself: Technological measures shall be deemed "effective" where the access to or use of a protected work or other subject matter is controlled through application of an access code[1] or any other type of protection process which achieves the protection objective in an operational and reliable manner[2] with the authority of the rightholders. Such measures may include decryption, descrambling or other transformation of the work or other subject matter.

[1] This encryption requires a key to be distributed, apparently separate from the content. In the case of DVD, the key is part of the content that you licensed.

[2] DVDs are so damn easy to brute-force that the "operational and reliable" quality is in serious question.

Anyway, here's my interpretation of the term "copy protection scheme": It's not copy protection unless it's written in a Lisp derivative.


lj65
Stock soundcard w/ analog 5.1? (none / 0) (#17)
by evvk on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 06:04:16 AM EST

> This also means they cannot output to digital connectors on the back of the computer.

So how the hell am I supposed to get all the 5.1 channels to the amplifier then? At least I haven't met a soundcard with analog outputs for all the channels.

Hmm... but shouldn't all decoding software be illegal then because I can just loop back the digital audio stream? Insane.

[ Parent ]
Install three soundcards (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by pin0cchio on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 01:14:31 AM EST

So how the hell am I supposed to get all the 5.1 channels to the amplifier then? At least I haven't met a soundcard with analog outputs for all the channels.

Let's see... If you have three sound cards installed in your box, you should be able to route the front through one card, the rear through another card, and center and subwoofer through the last card.

Or just use stereo. MPAA's position could be "If you play DVDs on your computer, you get stereo. If you want full 5.1 AC3, play DVDs on a standalone DVD unit."

Hmm... but shouldn't all decoding software be illegal then because I can just loop back the digital audio stream?

This loopback (aka What-U-Hear or Disk Writer) is exactly what e.g. Microsoft's Secure Audio Path prevents. Decryption and decompression are done in kernel space so that the audio cannot be intercepted by another process, and only signed drivers can be connected in a Secure Audio Path.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Bah (none / 0) (#20)
by evvk on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 05:03:59 AM EST

> Let's see... If you have three sound cards installed in your box, you should be able to route the front through one card, the rear through another card, and center and subwoofer through the last card.

Very practical, and cheap too. NOT! These restrictions are just plain insane.

> and only signed drivers can be connected in a Secure Audio Path.

Does this mean everyone should buy a new amplifier too? Those greedy bastards.


[ Parent ]
Region mods? (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by evvk on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 06:41:01 AM EST

It just occured to me that this probably affects region modifications to DVD players as well --- making them illegal so the megacorps can even better control what we watch, where we buy what we watch and how much we pay. So, I have two choices: a) go buy a DVD player while I still can legally get a region modification to it or b) boycott the whole exploitative terrorist business and stick to good old VHS.

I think I'll choose option b).


EU "directive on copyright" adopted | 20 comments (13 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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