DMCA Exemptions Announced; Nothing Much For Consumers

from the keep-on-trying dept

Every few years, the Copyright Office/Library of Congress is supposed to look at requested “exemptions” from the DMCA anti-circumvention rule, where people have presented evidence saying that the law is too onerous under certain circumstances. Just the fact that they admit that the law is often so onerous that it needs regular review for exemptions should point out how problematic the law is — but that’s a debate for another time. The exemptions process itself is filled with problems, and people were pretty upset last time around by the very limited number of exemptions offered. Last year, the EFF even announced that the process was so broken that it served no purpose to file for exemptions that protect consumers.

Today the Copyright Office came out with the list of exemptions. There are six exemptions, which is the largest number so far (though, we’re talking a pretty small sample size), though some of them basically appear to be extensions of what was approved last time (such as cracking copy protection on obsolete formats and to allow e-books to be read aloud). They also allow circumvention for mobile phone firmware if it’s needed to legally connect to a wireless network, and finally, they dealt with the Sony rootkit issue. Back when the Sony rootkit was big news, some people pointed out that removing it, technically violated the anti-circumvention rule of the DMCA — but the Copyright Office, in their infinite wisdom, has now said that (thank goodness), you’re allowed to circumvent copyright protection if it’s on a CD and if it’s for audio works and if that copy protection introduces security vulnerabilities, but only to test, investigate or correct the security flaw.

As the EFF notes, all of the proposed exemptions that would protect consumers directly (such as for things like space-shifting, region coding and backing up DVDs) were rejected. So, you may run afoul of the law if you do any of those things to copy protected media. Even though the actions themselves are perfectly legal, getting around copy protection to do them is a violation of the law. Last time these exemptions came out, we hoped that the DMCA would be amended before the next set of exemptions were necessary — so lets hope that Rick Boucher can finally push through the changes he’s been proposing before another three years go by.

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Comments on “DMCA Exemptions Announced; Nothing Much For Consumers”

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Todd says:

Hey, its not much, but I will take what I can get. The unlocking of mobile phones exemption helps me – since I have a small but up until now technically illegal side business of unlocking phones for people.

What will Steve Jobs say about the LACK of an exemption to put DVD movies on iPods? Does that help or hurt Apple?

Also – has Apple been waiting for the mobile phone unlocking excemption so they can release the iPhone?

Anti-Mac says:

Death to Apple!

I wish Appel will just fall off the face of the earth. They are never going to get back to where they once were. The only thing keeping them alive other then the graphics design is the iCrap stuff. Maybe they will have a small bounce back with the integration of Windows on Mac computers, but honestly most techs refuse to touch them. Most game makers don’t even want to deal with the development of their games. I refuse to even deal with Mac’s at my LAN’s. Yes I have the disclaimer that states that if you have a Mac that you are on your own. They account for 1% if not less of the worlds computer usage. And they do have viruses that attack OS X.

Popawoody says:

Re: Death to Apple!

Why is it all someone has to do is mention Steve Jobs in a post and idiots like you wig out and scream “Death to Apple!” Are you really that threatened by a successful alternative to the drek turned out by Redmond?

In news that is sure to dismay you, the Mac market share has risen 31 percent from November 2005 to November 2006 and is now at 5.39 percent. ( You are right about one thing though. Sort of. There IS a virus out there that does target Macs. One. A worm, actually. Called OSX.Leap.A, it is currently extimated to have spread to a HUGE number of Macintosh computers. Well maybe not huge exactly. Less than 49. Total.

Hey, you’re a saavy “LAN”-operating kind of guy, right. A real IT guru. Try this. Connect a server running Windows Server 2003 and IIS to a wide area network IP address. No external firewall, just connect it to the internet and let it be seen. Then do the same with any Mac running any version of Mac OS X Tiger. You can user OS X Server if you like. Or not. Then tell us how long it takes for your Windows box to get hijacked… and how long for the Mac. If you’re very brave, try Windows XP.

This “experiment” has been conducted countless times. A year ago an employee of mine did it by mistake. The out-of-the-box Windows server spent less than two hours outside the firewall before it was totally hosed by malicious software and hackers. We’ve had three Mac x-serves running OS X and a boatload of linux boxes outside the firewall for years without a problem.

So please. Give it a rest. This is a story about the DMCA, after all. Something ALL of us should be pissed off about.

Cyryl says:

No such thing as a virus on Mac OSX?

Now STFU, idiot.

I HATE people who are so fucking arrogant that they become SO IGNORANT that they believe that their precious operating system is impervious to attack.

EVERY piece of software that has EVER been written and EVERY piece of software that WILL EVER BE MADE…


vulnerable to attack of SOME kind.

Get that through your fucking thick-ass skull, n00b.

And that goes for the rest of you out there that share the same view.

*shakes head in disgust*

Baal says:

Re: No such thing as a virus on Mac OSX?

I have give some really mad wicked props to Cyryl.
He’s on his game and he’s right.

There’s no such thing as a secure system in any way, shape or form! Not even stand alone’s are impervious to viruses. Use some common sense people. I do have to agree with the other person who posted the stats of Mac. It is a dieing brand. As a tech, I have no need to mess with Mac’s in anyway. There’s no one in my area that will deal with them other then my ex-girlfriend and that’s only because Minnesota more or less didn’t give her much of an option. She hated the iBook as much as I did if not more.

Popawoody says:

Re: No such thing as a virus on Mac OSX?

Seems to me that arrogance is in the eye of the beholder.

It is certainly true that the Mac OS, like any operating system, can be attacked. There is, in fact, the one worm in the wild that you link a reference to. Never mind the fact that that one “proof-of-concept” worm, OSX.Leap.A, has been seen on fewer than 49 computers.

The fact is, Mac OS X is fundamentally far more secure than is any Windows OS with the possible exception of Vista. It isn’t just a matter of the larger numbers of Windows computers exposed. If you’ve spent any time at all supporting Windows in a real world IT environment, you know that it is so rife with security holes it could rightfully be called Swiss cheese and the countless Windows updates have added layer upon layer of wet band-aids to a badly leaking dam.

The verdict is still out on Vista. We’re testing it here and I’m prepared to withhold judgement for a while. But I’ll tell you one thing. I would make book on my ability to deploy a highly secure OS X or Linux box outside a firewall… just as I would make book on the high probability of failure when trying to do the same with any version of Windows short of Vista.

Cyryl says:

I almost wonder if that DVD –> PSP conversion system is allowed under the DMCA because of the law that states that you are allowed to make a backup copy of whatever software or movie you legally purchase…?

BTW. Thanks to Baal for NOT being an ignoramus. 😛

I mean… Don’t get me wrong. I actually like Mac OSX. It’s a very streamlined interface. Very attractive. (Wish there was more mainstream software for it…) I’m also an avid Linux user.

So one can not point at me and accuse me of bias. It’s just not so.

But I will say that Mac/Linux users out there start to lose their grips on reality. They forget about the physics of the virtual world and the volumetric aspects of the retail world. (e.g. Ratio of Windows machines to Mac, etc…)

One virus we CAN’T cure… No software will detect and destroy it.


Hell. We can’t even QUARANTINE it.



Baal says:

Re: Re:

I almost wonder if that DVD –> PSP conversion system is allowed
– Cyryl

I think that falls under some other electronic equipment in some states. For example, radar detectors. Legal to purchase but illegal to operate on the road. There’s a few places like that. I know Wisconsin is one of them. Got a nasty fine for having it in the dash plugged in. Fought it as much as I could but it’s in the books. Dirty bastards. Oh well chalk that up as a lesson learned. Pull the damn thing down before the po po gets behind ya!

Stupid as hell but it does happen. Yay artards in congress.

bl4k0p2 says:

Re: DeathToApple

The really ironic thing is that its most likely increased attention and popularity of the Mac that has put it in the sites of seedy cyber outlaws, LMAOOO!!! It was simple obscurity and the lack of Mac to attack.

There wasnt a reason to write viruses for Macs becuz honestly, there was no glory in it. How many systems could you really hope to take down? Now with more people buying iPods and the new pretty Mac systems, they are beginning to proliferate like reality TV, we all know what comes next right?

Mac users be careful what you wish for ie (more Mac in the world)

Anonymous Cowards Unite! says:

Death to Apple...or to IT pro's

Ya know, I really like these quotes.

“As a tech, I have no need to mess with Mac’s in anyway”


“Maybe they will have a small bounce back with the integration of Windows on Mac computers, but honestly most techs refuse to touch them…. I refuse to even deal with Mac’s at my LAN’s. Yes I have the disclaimer that states that if you have a Mac that you are on your own.”

I’m not personally saying anything about the people posting these comments, because it’s certainly not the first time I’ve heard those same words.

The quotes above are so telling of a IT business that is so completely dependent on Windows being a flaky POS that most of the professionals employed become brainwashed into thinking that their job is about fixing Windows, and not maintaining computers.

Anybody in this profession would do well to look at the history of other industries where skilled positions were completely eliminated from the structure because the technology changed. The difference between those who adapt and those who are left by the wayside is that the adapting group understands they are not personally defined by the techniques they use or the tools they employ, but by what the end result is, and the value they add to the company or industry.

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