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Copyright scholar (and Electronic Frontier Foundation board member) Lawrence Lessing neatly skewers the DMCA:
The D.M.C.A. outlaws technologies designed to circumvent other technologies that protect copyrighted material. It is law protecting software code protecting copyright. The trouble, however, is that technologies that protect copyrighted material are never as subtle as the law of copyright. Copyright law permits fair use of copyrighted material; technologies that protect copyrighted material need not. Copyright law protects for a limited time; technologies have no such limit. Thus when the D.M.C.A. protects technology that in turn protects copyrighted material, it often protects much more broadly than copyright law does. It makes criminal what copyright law would forgive. (More from the New York Times.)
A tip of the pen to Metafilter.
I seem to have collected quite a few DMCA related stories.
The Copyright Cops Go Too Far from Business 2.0 says the DMCA still has some big problems, but handcuffs aren\'t the answer. Wired Says The DMCA continues to enjoy remarkably broad support on Capitol Hill. No bill has yet been introduced in Congress to amend the DMCA for one simple reason: Official Washington loves the law precisely as much as hackers and programmers despise it. A Small Glimmer of Hope seems to be Rep. Rick Boucher, his office will draft a bill to be introduced later this year.
If you aren\'t familiar with the DMCA, read it and weep.
Wired Is Reporting the coalition of public libraries, library patrons and website operators that filed the challenge in March against the Children\'s Internet Protection Act of 2000 may get its\' day in court, next February.
The Justice Department, which is representing
the Federal Communications Commission and
the Institute of Museum and Library Services
in the suit, asked a federal court in
Philadelphia to dismiss the case saying the
challenge is without merit.
They must be too busy praying in the office to have the time to actually defend this one.
\"\"There are a zillion issues here,\" Chief Judge
Edward Becker of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told a team of Justice Department attorneys during
an hour-long hearing.\"
boycottadobe.com has hit the web.
Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested by federal agents in Las Vegas, Nevada. His crime: pointing out major security flaws in Adobe PDF and eBook software.
Adobe decided to call in the FBI to prosecute him under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.
In one of the first cases of criminal prosecution under a 1998 federal digital copyright law [The DMCA], a 27-year-old Russian cryptographer was arrested at a Las Vegas hotel on Monday morning, a day after giving a presentation to a large convention of computer hackers on decrypting the software used to protect electronic books.
Dmitri Sklyarov, who was being held in Las Vegas without bail, is being charged with one count of trafficking in software to circumvent copyrightable materials and one count of aiding and abetting such trafficking.
What he did wrong seems to read like what librarians do every day.
\"Nathanson told me that the real damage done by the AEBPR program is that it creates a \"naked file\" that enables anyone to read the eBook on any computer without paying the feed to the bookseller. Only one legitimate copy of the encrypted eBook needs to be purchased originally and after the protections are stripped through the usage of the Elcomsoft program, there are no restrictions and the eBook can be duplicated freely and made available for usage on any computer.\"
Read The Complaint and see what you think.
Three Tasini related stories that have most likely passed through LISNews in the past weeks, but you may have missed them, I apparently did, it\'s hard to keep up sometimes.
Freelancers Fear Blacklisting, a group of freelance writers are claiming that they are the next victims to be blacklisted.
Tasini Takes on The New York Times Again, Jonathan Tasini threatened another suit over what he sees as strong-arm tactics to subvert a ruling on freelancers\' rights.
Stop the Trash Trucks: A Tasini Case Damage-Control Proposal, considers an alternative that would protect the ultimate consumer as well as the future interests of all the creators and handlers of the material.
A guy on probation for a child pornography conviction has been convicted again, this time under an Ohio law which bans the possession of obscene "material" involving children. The material in this case was a private journal of fiction -- stories about molesting and torturing children that the slimeball wrote and kept in his home.
As someone with the Ohio ACLU chapter says, "His thoughts may be disturbing and repugnant, but he has got a right to have them and write them down for his own use." A guilty plea was entered, so there will be no constitutional challenge unless a petition to change the plea is successfully made.
Read the Associated Press story.
I question the adequacy of the reporter\'s characterizations of the National Law Center for Children and Families as an organization that "helps prosecutors in child porn cases" and of the Family Research Council as one that "fights child pornography."
Something I learned from this story, that I don\'t recall from all the others was According to press accounts, the EEOC is encouraging the library to settle the case by paying the librarians a total of $900,000.
The author sympathizes with the librarians, but says under the First Amendment, the librarians ought not be able to use the federal government, and the threat of massive legal liability, to force the library into making this decision.
\"This is just the latest great leap forward for harassment law. Harassment law already forces employers to suppress sexually suggestive displays (not by any means limited to pornography), sexual jokes, politically offensive statements, and religious proselytizing.\"
Mary Minow writes \"One of our eagle-eyed bibliographers found This Today on the NY Times site:
\"Search The New York Times on the Web Books
* Books Archive: For the past four years, it has been our pleasure to provide a full-text search of the New York Times Books archive of reviews, news and author interviews dating back to 1980.
To comply with a recent United States Supreme Court decision, we are limiting that search to the period from January 1, 1996 to the present. In the period prior to 1996, The Times typically did not have written agreements with freelance book reviewers to permit republishing reviews in
electronic form. -- Read More
This sounds almost like a custody battle of sorts, but it\'s over some documents. They\'ll either go to one library, or the other, or they\'ll \"visit\" both. [more...] from The Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Even more here from The Pittsburgh Post Gazzette.