Extending And Expanding The DMCA

from the fun-for-everyone dept

Susheel Daswani writes in to let us know that Rep. Lamar Smith is planning to introduce new legislation sometime soon that would expand the DMCA in some fairly draconian ways. Among the provisions is one that, instead of just banning the distribution of tools that circumvent copy protection methods would make it illegal to simply possess such tools. As the article notes, if that became law, anyone who had a security product that removed Sony’s rootkit would be breaking the law. Obviously, this seems to be taking the DMCA in the wrong direction — and shows a scary misunderstanding of how much harm the law has caused. Unfortunately, the law also has the backing of many software firms, because they hope to use its overly broad powers against software copyright infringement as well — not recognizing how much harm they may be doing to their own industry if they go down that path. Rep. Smith is scheduled to give some opening remarks at the Cato event I’m participating in this week, if anyone wants to stop by. It’s not clear if the event will allow for questions of Rep. Smith (or, of course, whether or not Rep. Smith will bother to listen to any objections).


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Comments on “Extending And Expanding The DMCA”

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15 Comments
Chuck says:

It is illegal all over europe

Many countries in the EU now forbid possession of such tools; this is another step towards suppression of our freedoms. Imagine this: taking quotes out of a tyrannical literary work – encoded for the purpose of making it unimpeachable – results in mind police putting dissenters in a gulag. This scenario is just a step away. While we are inviting every fucking illegal alien in, giving them welfare and providing world-class health care, we’re maintaining the world’s largest prison population of our own citizens. This country is at war with itself and it will surely be the loser.

Duane says:

So stupid...

The DMCA has always struck me as one of the most stupid pieces of legislation out there, but this takes the cake!

In real-wrld (meatspace) terms it’s like lawmakers saying “bolt cutters can be used to cut off padlocks, lets make possession of bolt cutters a crime so noone will break into padlocked buildings” I think its just typical though, our lawmakers seem to have made all the wrong decision on technology and privacy issues since before I was born. Just think how much fun Next-Gen DRM will be when its illegal to even posess a toll which can unlock what you have payed for. It’s like if I went to a nice department store and bought some clothes, and the clerk refuses to remove the big, clunky plastic anti-shoplifting tags, and then informs me that possession of any tool which is desgined to remove them is illegal.

And another thing while I’m on a rant… what about brick-and-mortarf stores treating all their customers like shoplifters? Why, when I go to CompUSA does my CLEAR bag have to be inspected 10 feet from the cash register, by someone who was in plain view when I paid for it? Or why can I no longer exit wal-mart or k-mart without being subject to having my property searched? I mean, I’ve already paid for it.. it’s mine, including the bag they gave me to put it in, unless they have a real reason to think I’ve slipped something in, why assume your paying customers are shoplifting?

mmrtnt (profile) says:

Re: So stupid...

“Or why can I no longer exit wal-mart or k-mart without being subject to having my property searched?”

Actually, you don’t have to submit to that store-exit search.

You can ask to be arrested (highly unlikely). I remember reading somewhere about a person who does that to protest the practice – but I can’t remember the source of the story. Boingboing maybe?

MjM

Tin Ear (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: So stupid...

Too true!! A store employee asking to check your bag is asking your consent to a search. If you refuse (as is your right) and they make an issue out of it, DEMAND to have them call a police officer! When the officer gets there, allow him/her to check your bag (and person, if need be). If the officer does not find anything in your bag or on your person, FILE A CIVIL COMPLAINT with said officer that the store was attempting to violate your constitutional right against illegal search and seizure!

Hersh says:

Go get em Mike ...

Someone has to put a verbal beat down on those sacks…preferably in public. Honestly, what kind of idiotic sense does it make to criminalize a behavior that you know 80% of your young people are indulging in.

Oh, never mind. These are the same idiots that thought it would be a good idea to go against the market and to try and brute-force marijuana out of high-schools. Yeah that worked real well, assclowns, I haven’t heard of anyone that had access to weed in highschool, in the last 20 years.

And yet the same sort of technique is gonna work to block people from pirating music and movies? Ungah.

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