Copyright Office Supports Law

from the they-did-what? dept

I’m sure this has been covered to death elsewhere, but here’s the New York Time’s take on the Copyright Office’s decision to support the law making it illegal to defeat copy protection schemes. It really makes you wonder just how idiotic people can be sometimes. I don’t follow this stuff as closely as many people do (so I’m sure I don’t have all the details correct) but it sounds to me as if this is basically the equivalent of saying that they’re too stupid to build really secure systems. So, instead of working on something important like that, they’re going to chase down the hackers who are pointing out where their security needs help. If someone tells you how you can break into your own house, shouldn’t you be obligated to fix the problem rather than ignoring it in order to toss that person in jail?

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Comments on “Copyright Office Supports Law”

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u2604ab says:

No Subject Given

What is the point of having copyrights or a copyright office for that matter, if not to protect creator’s interests? I’m not sure I see what’s wrong with the summary of this decision.

And I must take you to task, Mike, for the home security analogy. It’s virtually impossible to live in a secure home. I’m all for sending people to jail who prove my home security is inadequate by breaking a window and walking away with my computer.

It may be just as impossible to have a secure computer….?

Jon Kerr says:

Re: Home Security Analogy

Sorry, u2604ab, but it IS in fact, possible to live in a secure home. It needs to be built of 10 foot thick stone walls, have a gator-filled moat, drawbridge, and windows too narrow to crawl through. Under such circumstances, only an army could break in. It’s just that most people can’t afford that, and they “don’t like the looks. Not fashionable any more.” This analogy applies to copyrights too. The industry just wants the money. It’s cheaper for them as a business to get the government to chase down and jail people at taxpayer’s expense than to build secure walls etc.

mhh5 says:

Re: Why copyrights were created....

Why do you think copyrights/patents were created, u2604ab? Not to protect artists’/inventors’ rights! They exist to promote the creation of new ideas by creating “Intellectual Property” — which doesn’t have much to do with the creator (or his/her rights) other than sometimes the creator actually owns his/her own IP. The home security analogy is a bad analogy b/c you can’t clone a house very easily and transfer ownership. The real issue at hand is the “fair use” clause. The DMCA restricts some “fair use” instances. What if you couldn’t lend books to friends anymore? What if you bought a book, but you had to keep the book in a certain place all the time? These are the analogies that are being debated. While I agree people should be penalized for selling IP that is not theirs to sell, I’m not sure freely giving IP away is in violation of that ethic. I’m not sure it’s really “stealing” property if you’re just preventing the owners from making as much profit as they possibly could, given that you yourself don’t profit from the transactions directly. Cuz then libraries and library patrons are thieves.

The security issue is just the industry’s lame attempt at trying to control the distribution of their IP. And in my opinion, the tighter they are allowed to control it, the more they go against the original spirit of copyrights. If copyrights control the spread of ideas so much that they restrict the creation of new ideas, then copyrights need to completely reformed. In the end, I think the level of security is irrelevent. It really comes down to: Are you stealing property, or are you using IP “fairly” in a way that promotes new ideas and does not directly hurt the ownership of the IP.

So not allowing DVDs to play on Linux boxes is probably a restriction that limits the creation of new ideas. However, the DMCA could be intrepreted to mean that people who view DVDs on Linux are thieves b/c their “fair use” is not seen that way.

But if people “share” DVD information w/o charging each other or profiting, are they stealing? In a way, yes. In a way, no. I liken it to lending/borrowing a book. The MPAA likens it to breaking in and stealing every hardcopy in their warehouse and littering the streets. Who’s right? We’ll find out in 3 yrs…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

It’s not a question of protecting the intellectual property (though that’s a whole different problem which I think is also open for debate), but protecting the system which is designed to protect the property.

The analogy is fine. Yes, home security and computer security are unlikely to ever be pefect. However, I certainly do want people out there figuring out why whatever security precautions I have taken aren’t any good. I want those people to publicize the loopholes and what the dangers are so that we can make our security as strong as possible. If someone finds out that the lock on my front door is easily picked using a paperclip, I WANT TO KNOW, so I can change the lock.

This is different then if someone actually comes into my house by using that paperclip method. If they do that, then I’m all for having them arrested. However, this law is the equivalent of having the person who discovered the flaw in the first place jailed. They are saying that it is illegal to even look for flaws in the security system.

If someone breaks in, yes, then I want them to be caught and prosecuted or whatever it takes. However, if someone is finding weaknesses so that I can better protect myself from the people who are breaking in, I want them to be able to do that.

If someone steals your computer, sure, send ’em to jail. But if someone comes along and points out that your window is easily broken and your computer is at risk you want to send that nice person who’s trying to help you to jail also? Seems a bit counterproductive to me.

Jon Kerr says:

Even better analogy

It’s like buying a vcr with a built-in camera that scans your entire living room every night and sends a wireless signal back to the manufacturer. Current laws now make it illegal for me to even crack open the vcr case and break the camera.
Remember how the first amendment was created to protect people from the government shutting us up and telling us what to do? Well, now we have to teach corporations the same lesson we taught King George.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Argument via anology

They don’t. And I’m not supporting the right for them to break into my house. I’m supporting the right for them to break into their own house, or a special house they’ve set up and point out the security flaws. Then I can use that information to better protect myself. Breaking into my house is a problem.

The law basically says they can’t even try to break into their own house to demonstrate where the security system has a problem.

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