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Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux; Groks Jailbreaking - Updated
Monday, July 26 2010 @ 01:35 PM EDT

There are new anticircumvention rules from the US Copyright Office. Several are very good changes, such as allowing you to bypass a technological protection measure to use snips from a movie or video if your purpose is educational or for comment or criticism, and there's more flexibility for phone apps if interoperability is the goal:
“When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses,” the Copyright Office stated.

“It’s gratifying that the Copyright Office acknowledges this right and agrees that the anticircumvention laws should not interfere with interoperability,” commented Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney, Corynne McSherry.

Keep in mind that copyright infringement is separate from DMCA analysis, so you still have to be careful about staying within the fair use boundaries when making a documentary. But at least now you can legally access. And while you can jailbreak your iPhone with respect to the DMCA, there's remains the issue of breaking the warranty. Also, while it's not criminal, there is still a EULA to consider.

But Linux got bonked on the head again. They essentially ruled that if you want to access DVDs or streaming videos, like with Netflix's "Watch Instantly" service, you have to buy a PC or an Apple computer or a DVD player. I wonder why they don't see that this situation is identical to the jailbreaking a smartphone, or should be? What's the difference? Linux users want to view movies too, and all they want is interoperability so they can. I wonder how Hollywood would like it if the government told them that to make their movies they couldn't use Linux but instead had to use a Windows PC or an Apple computer? Hollywood uses Linux to make their movies, but they oppose letting us view their products on Linux? Why? If the government is going to regulate operating systems and compel citizens to buy certain vendors' products as opposed to the ones we want to use, I think it should at least be consistent. Actually, I don't think any government should compel use of any private company's products, and I wish that argument had been presented. Maybe next time.

I'll show you the relevant language in the document Determination of the Librarian of Congress and Text of the Regulation [PDF].

It begins on page 9:

IV. Other Classes Considered, but Not Recommended

A. Subscription based services that offer DRM-protected streaming video where the provider has only made available players for a limited number of platforms, effectively creating an access control that requires a specific operating system version and/or set of hardware to view purchases material; and Motion pictures protected by anti-access measures such, that access to the motion picture content requires use of a certain platform.

Two proposals sought designation of classes of works that would allow circumvention of technological protection measures in order to provide access to motion pictures on platforms other than those authorized by content providers or their licensees.

Megan Carney proposed a class of works in order to allow circumvention of DRM-protected streaming videos offered by subscription based services, where the provider has made players available only for a limited number of platforms. She argued that this restriction of viewing options effectively constitutes an access control by requiring a specific operating system version and/or a set of hardware to view purchased material. She sought to use Netflix's "Watch Instantly" streaming video feature, which installs digital rights management and runs only on certain platforms of computer software and hardware. "Watch Instantly" is included, at no charge, in the monthly Netflix membership, but Carney said that she is unable to use it because she does not own a computer that operates on a compatible platform (PCs running Windows or Apple computers with Intel chips). Carney proposed that the Librarian designate a class or works in order to allow a user in her situation to create a separate program to circumvent the DRM on the streaming service system in order to view streaming video content made available by Netflix.

Another proponent, Mark Rizik, proposed a class of works to allow the circumvention of motion pictures on DVDs protected by the CSS access control system, which requires the use of a certain platform for access. Specifically, Rizik would like to view, on a Linux-based computer that does not have a CSS-licensed video player, DVDs that are only viewable on CSS-licensed players. Rizik sought designation of a class in order to permit the creation of an unencrypted digital copy of the DVD by decrypting and extracting contents of the DVDs for personal viewing purposes on Linux operating systems.

The Motion Picture Association of America, Time Warner, and a coalition of copyright industry trade associations (the "Joint Creators") opposed these requests. NTIA has advised that it believes that the record does not support granting the requests.

The proponents of both classes of works sought to circumvent the access controls because, they contended, it is too expensive to acquire the hardware and software with the minimum requirements necessary to view motion pictures on the distribution mechanism of their choice. They also argued that there are no reasonable, noninfringing alternatives to circumvention for those wishing to engage in the activity affected by these platform requirements.

Similar classes to those proposed by Carney and Rizik have been requested and denied in the past three rulemakings. Although the streaming video proposal presents a new factual situation, the Register concludes that the legal arguments are fundamentally similar to the proposals relating to the viewing of DVDs on computers with Linux operating systems that were advanced in the previous three rulemakings, when these proposals were rejected. Likewise, arguments for the streaming video and Linux classes fail for fundamentally the same reasons as the earlier Linux proposals, and the Register cannot recommend that the Librarian designage either of these proposed classes of works.

In these rulemakings, proposed classes have regularly been rejected in cases where a user who wished to engage in a noninfringing use of a work using a different device. The same principle applies here. Alternative means exist to gain access to and view the motion pictures that Carney and Rizik wish to view after circumventing access controls. In any event, it is unclear from the record regarding streaming videos what is actually prohibiting Carney from being able to access the Netflix "Watch Instantly" feature and , in particular, whether the technological issue is centered around an access control. It cannot be discerned from the record whether Carney cannot gain access due to digital rights management or due to software and/or hardware incompatibility.

Regarding DVD circumvention, many operating systems on the market enable authorized access to the works contained on CDD-protected DVDs. Moreover, CSS-compatible DVD players are in fact available for some Linux systems.

Further, many alternatives exist for both Carney and Rizik, including other streaming video alternatives and online content download sites. There are many reasonably-priced alternatives that may fulfill consumers' wants and needs, including purchasing a DVD player. Mere consumer inconvenience is not sufficient to support the designation of a class of works. The statute does not provide that this rulemaking is to enable the most convenient method of consuming video content. The proponents have merely advanced requests in order to satisfy their convenience and preferences as to how they would like to access media and have failed to demonstrate a need for remedial action. Accordingly, the Register cannot recommend the Librarian designate either proposed class in light of the alternatives that exist in the marketplace today.

So. They tell us to buy another operating system. Thou shalt use proprietary software. And thou must use Intel chips. Is that the government's role? If we want to use Netflix, we have to have two operating systems, one just for that, and we are compelled to use Intel? I wonder if a different legal argument were made if it might be successful, namely that the government should not be in the position of forcing citizens to spend money to have two operating systems just to be legal. And how does it happen that Intel chips get endorsed like this? I hope those investigating Intel look into this. Are there agreements that compel Intel use? Nor should a government aid certain vendors to make money by such compelling of citizens to buy their products. Nor should the government endorse products or enable certain companies to make competing products less desirable in the market.

I mean, to think about how silly this is, turn it around. Let's say the US Copyright Office said you could only view movies and DVDs on Linux. Imagine if they told protesters using Microsoft and Apple that Linux is free, so they can just download it and dual boot, so there's no problem. Can you imagine the uproar? From Microsoft, for starters. They fight like pit bulls when any government suggests using Linux too, and when they say they will only use Linux, what does Microsoft do? Well, legally they argue it's prejudicial. Why isn't this similarly prejudicial?

Of course, Netflix and Hollywood could do the right thing and solve this in the marketplace by making their works available to Linux users. Hollywood seriously needs to think about its use of Linux while making it impossible for Linux users to enjoy the resulting works. They use Linux because it's the best tool they can find. So do we.

And those of you who think we have to compromise and include non-free elements in Linux distributions, please notice that because some have, it helped to destroy the effort by Carney and Rizik to help Linux users be on a level plain with Windows and Apple users. You are not helping by making it harder for nonLinux users to understand the issue. Just be proprietary, their answer is, and if you agree, you are certainly not helping those of us who seriously want to use a really free and open operating system. Please think about it.

Update: Here's an interesting decision from Courthouse News that may bear on this discussion, in the case of MGE UPS Systems v. GE:

"Without showing a link between 'access' and 'protection' of the copyrighted work, the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision does not apply," Judge Emilio Garza wrote.

"The owner's technological measure must protect the copyrighted material against an infringement of a right that the Copyright Act protects, not from mere use or viewing."

If that's so, why can't Linux users view movies on DVD? This is a 5th Circuit decision of a Texas case, so it's not applicable in other circuits necessarily, and there could be a further appeal, but the logic is certainly compelling. Here's the decision [PDF]. A bit more, from the decision:
GE/PMI argues that MGE’s dongle does not actually prevent copying of MGE’s software, but merely prevents access to the software. Once that access is breached, there are no barriers to copying the software. Accordingly, GE/PMI argues that MGE’s software is “freely accessible” within the meaning of the DMCA because the dongle does not block the type of “access” the DMCA is designed to prevent. Furthermore, though the MGE software in GE/PMI’s possession “was modified” to eliminate the need for a dongle, MGE has not presented evidence that a PMI employee initially modified the software.

One of Congress’ purposes behind enacting the DMCA was targeting the circumvention of technological protections. See Davidson & Assocs. v. Jung, 422 F.3d 630, 639–40 (8th Cir. 2005). The DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision states, “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)(A). To “circumvent a technological measure” means to “descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner.” Id. § 1201(a)(3)(A). “Effectively controls access to a work” means that “the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.” Id. § 1201(a)(3)(B). GE/PMI does not contest that MGE’s software was a work protected under Title 17 of the Copyright Act.

The DMCA does not describe the type of “access”-controlling technological measure required to invoke the DMCA’s protections, and this is an issue of first impression in this Circuit. MGE proposes a definition from a Fifth Circuit non-DMCA case that discussed copyright issues and determined “access” t0 include “an opportunity to view the copyrighted work.” Ferguson v. Nat’l Broad. Co., 584 F.2d 111, 113 (5th Cir. 1978) (citing 3 M. NIMMER, COPYRIGHT § 13.02(A) (1978)). Reading this definition alongside definitions from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and Black’s Law Dictionary, MGE concludes that “access” means “viewing, making use of, or using the protected work.” MGE argues that dongles prevented access to its software and that without using both this hardware key and its corresponding password, a user cannot view, gain access to, or make use of the software.

However, MGE advocates too broad a definition of “access;” their interpretation would permit liability under § 1201(a) for accessing a work simply to view it or to use it within the purview of “fair use” permitted under the Copyright Act. Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. The DMCA prohibits only forms of access that would violate or impinge on the protections that the Copyright Act otherwise affords copyright owners. See Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Techs., Inc., 381 F.3d 1178, 1202 (Fed. Cir. 2004). The Federal Circuit, in analyzing the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision, concluded that it “convey[s] no additional property rights in and of themselves; [it] simply provide[s] property owners with new ways to secure their property.” Id. at 1193–94. Indeed, “virtually every clause of § 1201 that mentions ‘access’ links ‘access’ to ‘protection.’” Id. at 1197. Without showing a link between “access” and “protection” of the copyrighted work, the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision does not apply. The owner’s technological measure must protect the copyrighted material against an infringement of a right that the Copyright Act protects, not from mere use or viewing. Id. at 1204; see also Lexmark Int’l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 387 F.3d 522, 547 (6th Cir. 2004) (finding no DMCA anti-circumvention liability where an authentication sequence in a printer microchip blocked one form of access (printer function) but permitted free access from other avenues (for example, anyone who purchased that brand of printer could download a copy of the program)).

Here, MGE has not shown that bypassing its dongle infringes a right protected by the Copyright Act. MGE’s dongle merely prevents initial access to the software. If no dongle is detected, the software program will not complete the start-up process. However, even if a dongle is present, it does not prevent the literal code or text of MGE’s copyrighted computer software from being freely read and copied once that access is obtained; there is no encryption or other form of protection on the software itself to prevent copyright violations. Because the dongle does not protect against copyright violations, the mere fact that the dongle itself is circumvented does not give rise to a circumvention violation within the meaning of the DMCA.

Moreover, the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision does not apply to the use of copyrighted works after the technological measure has been circumvented, targeting instead the circumvention itself. Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d 429, 443 (2d Cir. 2001). MGE cites no evidence that a GE/PMI employee or representative was responsible for altering the Pacret and Muguet software such that a dongle was not required to use the software. Without proving GE/PMI actually circumvented the technology (as opposed to using technology already circumvented), MGE does not present a valid DMCA claim. See id. (“[T]he DMCA targets the circumvention of digital walls guarding copyrighted material (and trafficking in circumvention tools), but does not concern itself with the use of those materials after circumvention has occurred.”).

Because the DMCA does not apply to mere use of a copyrighted work, and because MGE has not shown that GE/PMI circumvented MGE’s software protections in violation of the DMCA, the district court did not err in granting GE/PMI’s Rule 50(a) motion dismissing MGE’s DMCA claim.

And here's a reminder about the scope of the jailbreaking allowance from The Atlantic's coverage:
While the copyright ruling provides protections for jailbreakers, the people who make the tools to do it are not similarly guarded from legal action. That's just how the provision was structured, Granick said, and was not a specific decision of the Copyright Office.

The regulation also cannot prevent Apple from playing hardball with would-be jailbreakers or making their phones difficult to crack.


Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux; Groks Jailbreaking - Updated | 161 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Mr. Billington Still Clueless
Authored by: webster on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 01:55 PM EDT

You got his attention.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Thread
Authored by: artp on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 01:58 PM EDT
Please put "Eror -> Error" in the title block.

Opinions go elsewhere.

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:00 PM EDT
Try again in another three years. sigh.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:00 PM EDT
Pick your News here. Please put the title of the News Pick article in the Title
box of your comment and include a clicky link to the article in your comment,
preferably in HTML mode, because articles do scroll off the News Pick side

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: artp on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:01 PM EDT
Not about the Library of Congress or the circumventions approved or

And now for something completely different....

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes v Microsoft Goes Here
Authored by: artp on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:04 PM EDT
See the link in the bar above for Comes v. MS to see what is left to be done.

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

DRM + Copyright -> Open Standard Deposit
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:13 PM EDT
I was playing with the idea that if someone distributes
some work with DRM, and they have registered the copyrights,
then they must deposit the work without DRM, in some open standard.

I'm sure people will say that will slow everthing down. But think longer term,
and it just looks necessary!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Someone needs to inform LoC about Android
Authored by: IMANAL_TOO on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:19 PM EDT
Someone needs to inform Library of Congress (LoC) about Android. Android runs on
Linux machines regardless of what Microsoft and Apple wants it to be.

And, Android does make it possible to watch streaming videos on a computer,

The difference is that the computer probably is smaller, cheaper, and niftier
than an Apple iPad, iPhone or just about anything running Windows 7.



[ Reply to This | # ]

DVD Player ?
Authored by: YurtGuppy on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:34 PM EDT
What is the significance of this mention of a DVD player?
There are many reasonably-priced alternatives that may fulfill consumers' wants and needs, including purchasing a DVD player.


just swimming round and round

[ Reply to This | # ]

Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 02:43 PM EDT
"Mere consumer inconvenience is not sufficient to support
the designation of a class of works. The statute does not
provide that this rulemaking is to enable the most
convenient method of consuming video content."

The only reason is possible is that there are insufficient
number Linux user to be politically relevant.

The only solution to this is to raise the number of Linux
users to the point that Linux is not politicall irrelevant.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dual boot insanity
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 03:01 PM EDT
Suppose that I have a laptop that can dual boot into either
Windows or Linux.

Isn't odd that if the laptop is running Windows, that I can
quite legally insert a DVD into the optical drive and watch
whatever movie is encoded on that DVD.

But if I am running Linux on that same computer and put
exactly the same DVD into the very same optical drive and
start watching the same movie, then I could be sent to
prison for many years.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux
Authored by: dio gratia on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 03:26 PM EDT
D. Audiovisual works delivered by digital television ("DTV") transmission intended for free, over-the-air reception by anyone, which are marked with a "broadcast flag" indicator that prevents, restricts, or inhibits the ability of recipients to access the work at a time of the recipient's choosing and subsequent to the time of transmission, or using a machine owned by the recipient but which is not the same machine that originally acquired the transmission.
There's also the broadcast flag getting rid of time shifting as in Sony v. Universal (without using those approved or certified systems and services you have to buy). The law appears to enforce markets, doesn't it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

EFF Press Release
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 03:33 PM EDT


You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Maybe not as bad as all that...
Authored by: Kensey on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 03:35 PM EDT
For the Netflix streaming case, the Register appears to be
saying the requester has not sufficiently made the case that
it is actually the content control preventing access rather
than merely the absence of software to do so for Linux.
Technically this is probably true. You know and I know that
regardless of the software compatibility issue, the DRM is
still going to block acces, but the Register is saying "Show

For the DVD issue there appears to be an implicit assumption
that DMCA exemptions are intended where no practical way
exists to use the content for its primary legal purpose
without breaking the access control. In other words they're
saying "We don't care if you can't watch a DVD on Linux, you
can buy a DVD player for $20 at Wal-Mart and watch it on
that." Again it may simply be that the case was not
adequately made that some users and uses are not well-served
by that.

So the questions are:

* Does the DMCA grant exemptions to achieve basic usability
for all users where *no* usability exists, or to enable
users to engage in *all* non-infringing uses of content like
time- and location-shifting, use for parody, etc.?

* If an exemption is a practical nullity because the
exemption still would not allow the requester to access the
content in question, should it be granted on principle as a
necessary component of eventual access, or denied on
principle on the grounds that its utility is not
sufficiently demonstrated?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Locking in Hardware
Authored by: hopbine on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 03:36 PM EDT
Another concern I have about any project that locks in hardware (Intel) is what happens if the hardware is no longer available. Years ago the BBC had the Domesday project that was based on Acorn computers and Laser-disc. Fortunately using emulators they managed to recover all the data. clickey.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Recent Court Ruling
Authored by: jbb on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 04:03 PM EDT
Slashdot posted an article about a recent court ruling (pdf) where the judge said:
Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision... The owner's technological measure must protect the copyrighted material against an infringement of a right that the Copyright Act protects, not from mere use or viewing.
Seems to me a decision from the Judicial Branch should trump a ruling from the Executive Branch. As tcrown007 told Slashdot in the article I linked to above:
I think I just saw a pig fly by.

You just can't win with DRM.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Better case for bypassing region encoding ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 04:14 PM EDT
I'd like to see somebody make the case that if I have DVDs I bought abroad
(Europe or Asia, for example), I should be allowed to watch them on my US DVD
player. As it stands, that's illegal under the DMCA, right ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux
Authored by: pem on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 04:29 PM EDT
This sucks, but I think it's not being viewed correctly.

This is not the LOC dictating to consumers how to access their content; rather it is the LOC explaining to entities which are taking legal (if unethical and wrong) advantage of the DMCA that the LOC is not going to dictate how they deliver their content.

There's a huge, if subtle, difference. The DMCA was purpose built to stack the deck for content producers and against content consumers, and it's the LOC's job to put a few holes in the law without rendering it completely toothless. What we really want is for it to be rendered completely toothless -- for this portion of the DMCA to be completely struck down. In that context, arguing about the nuances of how the Copyright Registrar tries to balance the deck stacking against fair use is pretty pointless, especially since she is doing a reasonable job handling some real abuses, such as blind people not being able to use e-Readers.

You may think you disagree with wanting this portion of the DMCA to be rendered completely toothless, but if you're advocating for free-software content unlocking, you're really arguing that everybody should be able to unlock content at will, because once free software source code that can unlock a stream of bits is available, that can easily be placed in other free software to accomplish any imaginable task with that unlocked stream of bits.

BTW, the "PCs running Windows or Apple computers with Intel chips" should be read as "PCs running Windows" OR "Apple computers with Intel chips". The categorizations were not done by the LOC; they appear to have come straight out of Megan Carney's submission to the LOC, where she breaks out Intel and non-Intel Apple computers and shows the difference.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Apparent contradiction...
Authored by: xtifr on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 04:36 PM EDT

I posted this as a reply above, but I think it's significant enough to warrant posting as a top-level comment.

From the EFF press release about this (thanks, SpaceLifeForm):

The new rule holds that amateur creators do not violate the DMCA when they use short excerpts from DVDs in order to create new, noncommercial works for purposes of criticism or comment if they believe that circumvention is necessary to fulfill that purpose. Hollywood has historically taken the view that "ripping" DVDs is always a violation of the DMCA, no matter the purpose.'s ok to break CSS to create short excerpts, but not simply to watch the DVD (on a system of your choice)? How does that make any sort of sense at all? It's not like existing DVD playing software on Windows or Mac allows you to make excerpts, so something that breaks CSS is clearly required. Once that cat's out of the bag (legally), how can you pretend it's possible to stuff it back in, for what would seem to be about the most legitimate use imaginable?

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for it makes them soggy and hard to light.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 04:51 PM EDT
The issue is that software to decode the Content Scrambling System (CSS) used by
DVD publishers to secure their content must be licensed in order to access the
content in unscrambled, i.e. viewable, form. All of the products that run under
'Doze or Mac OS (9 or X) are licensed implementations. DVD players implement it
in hardware and also pay a license fee.

There is no Linux software that I know of that is licensed to decode the CSS
process. Programmers have simply learned how to unscramble the content and
implemented the descrambler process in free and freely available software. In
essence this is not actually about Linux per se. It is about providing licensed
software to Linux users. So far those that have have provided descrambling
software have not paid for the privilege of doing so ; they have simply provided
access to scrambled content.

This type of software should be legal to use if you are a reviewer and wish to
publish an article about a given work. Or if you are descrambling content for
non-commercial use. Or to provide a short clip under fair use principles you
could be exempt. But there is no presumed nor automatic exemption from
licensing the content access system just because the OS you use is free.
Neither does the fact that the CSS system was defeatable grant an exception as
was held to be the case in certain "content protection" systems that
were so simple as to be worthless or non-existent and thus not valid protection
under the DMCA.

Does that help to clarify it for you?

[ Reply to This | # ]

In fairness
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 04:55 PM EDT
Much as I dislike the DMCA, I really can't say that I disagree with them here.
Morally and ethically, they are plain wrong. But legally speaking, they are

The cases where they grant use are about bypassing a restrictive mechanism
directly, as in the case of the printer that won't accept third party

But playing your DVD on Linux isn't doing that, since the DRM doesn't restrict
Linux in the first place. The DRM restricts because it reqires a licensed
player. It doesn't care what OS the player is running on. The reason Linux
players don't exist isn't due to the DRM directly saying "no Linux",
its due to the licensing necessary to make a compliant player cannot be openly

Yes, that is intentional on the part of those entities that control and license
them, and yes it sucks, but it's a separate issue. One that starts with
software patents that allow such licensing in the firt place and do not allow an
open player. Get rid of software patents and a large part of this issue goes
with them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ asks: "why can't Linux users view movies on DVD? "
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 05:13 PM EDT
Anon posted above: "Is this another Ubuntu support question?"

> Legal Warning: Check with your local laws to make sure usage
of libdvdcss2 would be legal in your area. <

VLC used to have a similar warning. Perhaps someone with wayback-fu
could find out when they stopped that warning and why.
There may also be a small problem of a license fee for MPEG2 decode.
The patents are pretty close to expiring, but seem to be honoured
and enforced as little as MP3.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stevens v Sony in Australia
Authored by: Willu on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 05:26 PM EDT
That Texas case on a superficial skim appears to use similar reasoning to Stevens v Sony in Australia. Unfortunately the law was then changed in Australia to explicitly protect 'access control technological protection measures'.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: pem on Monday, July 26 2010 @ 06:43 PM EDT
One subtle distinction between this and the DVD case (which is covered in the

In MGE, the software asks the dongle "are you there?" and then refuses
to execute if it doesn't like the answers. The software itself is not

With DVDs, the content is encrypted, and the access control is the decryption
software/hardware of the player.

The MGE decision seems somewhat muddled. In some places, it references fair
use, but in others, it makes this distinction between the dongle and a DVD.

It will be interesting to see whether this is appealed and/or referenced.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • MGE v GE - Authored by: soronlin on Tuesday, July 27 2010 @ 05:04 AM EDT
    • MGE v GE - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 27 2010 @ 06:22 AM EDT
    • Read Section 117 - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 27 2010 @ 01:23 PM EDT
What say does the Librarian of Congress have in this?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 28 2010 @ 06:38 AM EDT
Congress passed the original copyright bills, and changes to them over the
years. The presidents at the various stages signed those changes into law. The
courts have been charged with interpreting and enforcing the law.

I know that the United States Copyright Office is part of the Library of
Congress, and therefore reports to the Librarian, but what power does the
Librarian of Congress have to change the interpretation and enforcement of
copyright laws? Isn't that up to the courts?

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Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux; Groks Jailbreaking - Updated
Authored by: richardpitt on Wednesday, July 28 2010 @ 08:21 PM EDT
Hmmm... since almost anything can run Skype these days, does
this mean that anything that can run Skype can be categorized
as a "smart phone"?

should be interesting :)

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Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux; Groks Jailbreaking - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 29 2010 @ 06:59 PM EDT
It will be three years before the next rule review, but perhaps the successful
phone jailbreaking submission can be re-written and re-submitted to address
"jailbreaking" of gaming consoles to enable interoperability with
third party applications.

Perhaps submit an additional application to jailbreak generic digital devices
for application interoperability.

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