Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Feds Grant Just A Few DMCA Exceptions

from the it's-a-start dept

People have been waiting for months to hear which exemptions would be granted concerning the DMCA's anti-circumvention rule by the Copyright Office. As you may recall, the Copyright Office has the ability to allow certain areas where it's okay to crack copy protection without fear of a DMCA lawsuit. They asked for public comment on which areas to exempt and got deluged with suggestions. The actual list is pretty meager, and some are wishing they had gone further. Librarian of Congress James Billington said he went as far as he could, legally - which just points out some of the problems with the law. Among the exemptions (which are good) are figuring out the list of sites commercial filtering software blocks (not including anti-spam software), cracking computer programs locked by obsolete hardware dongles, cracking programs designed for obsolete hardware platforms, and e-books that don't allow handicapped users to have the books read aloud. These exemptions last for three years - and we can only hope that within those three years, the DMCA gets a much needed overhaul, so we don't have to go through this process again. Update: Ernest Miller (who's own request was denied) has a good list of other people responding to the exemptions.

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