Tweak Any DRM And Tell Someone: Go To Jail

from the unintended-consequences dept

While perhaps not as bad as some of the other laws being shopped about on Capitol Hill, here’s yet another example of badly written legislation when it comes to technology. Senator Biden introduced a bill a while back that was supposed to help prevent software counterfeiting by making it illegal to create fake holograms and other physical things used by conterfeiters to produce fake copies. However, a couple of weeks ago he quietly added in a part that included making it a felony to get around any digital watermark and tell anyone about it even if it was for a non-infringing use. That’s right, this is becoming the “son of” the DMCA. If you were to record your own band and want to play the recording on your computer – and had to forge a digital watermark to make it play, you would be committing a felony (five years in jail!). Of course, to actually get in trouble, you would have to tell other people. By this measure, though, it sounds like the technology press who a few months back wrote about defeating CD DRM products using a magic marker… all would have committed a felony.

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