Legal Gymnastics: It's Okay To Circumvent DRM In Europe If It's Circumventable
from the follow? dept
This one is going to throw the entertainment industry lawyers for a loop. Anti-circumvention clauses are some of the most controversial parts of digital copyright laws. Those rules take away certain fair use rights and often criminalize perfectly reasonable things (such as software). However, the anti-circumvention rules in Europe may just have become a lot weaker due to a fascinating interpretation of the EU directive on the topic. Boing Boing points us to the ruling that says that circumventing certain types of DRM is ok if the DRM is "ineffective." It's based on a strict reading of the law, which says that the law only protects "effective" DRM. So, as long as you can prove the DRM is ineffective, it's okay to circumvent it. Of course, how do you prove that DRM is no longer effective? Perhaps by circumventing it. So, basically, you can't try to circumvent DRM (that's illegal!), but if you do, you've proven it to be ineffective, and therefore, you can circumvent it. Of course, the details in this case involve DVD DRM, which was circumvented in Norway -- which is not a part of the EU. So, perhaps the DRM first needs to be circumvented outside the EU before it becomes circumventable in the EU. In the meantime, this was a low level court ruling that will almost definitely be appealed. I'm sure the entertainment industry lawyers will point out that this effectively makes the anti-circumvention directive meaningless as their defense against the ruling, and that might just work. In the meantime, enjoy the circular logic.