May 24, 2002
10:19 AM   Subscribe

When stupid laws attack: this article points out that the widely syndicated article about thwarting the copy protection of sony's CDs is a direct violation of the DMCA. Will news directors at Reuters, Yahoo, and CNN be seeing fines and jail time soon? How many times does it have to be pointed out that the DMCA restricts free speech as it attempts to thwart piracy at any cost? (via k5)
posted by mathowie (10 comments total)
i don't think sony would be bringing charges against any of those news organizations for they would have the funding to defend themselves in court (and possibly nullify clauses of the DMCA, if not the whole thing outright). sony and the others only want the DMCA to scare people who are too poor to fight them, anyway.
posted by moz at 10:26 AM on May 24, 2002

The discussion over at Kuro5hin has a bunch of comments/answers about the most obvious questions (can we sue Reuters for Sony; is this really a violation of the DMCA; etc).
posted by Marquis at 10:39 AM on May 24, 2002

While the general notion of the DMCA being over inclusive is still a valid point of discussion, the DMCA can't be used against the media or anyone else on this point. The only technology that it is illegal to circumvent is technology that "effectively controls access to a work." The Sony technology does not "effectively control access to a work" -- obviously, from a common sense point of view, as you only need a marker to get around it -- and from a legal standpoint does not fit into the definition of "effectively control access to a work" that is in the statute. My understanding of it is that it fools CD Rom drives by putting a track before the TOC track, and that if you black out the extra track, the CD-Rom drive is no longer fooled. That kind of copy protection does not require "the application of information, or a process or a gain access to the work." So it wouldn't fall within the subject matter of the anticircumvention provisions of the DMCA. And by the way, the article misstates the relevant provisions.. If you're playing along at home, it should be 1201(a)(2)(A) and 1201(a)(2)(C). And the definitions I am talking about are in 1201(a)(3).

posted by IPLawyer at 10:44 AM on May 24, 2002

Sony's protection system *does* effectively control access to the work until someone tells you how to defeat it. Though a marker is a simple solution, it's not an obvious solution.

As for the 'can we sue CNN on Sony's behalf' question, we don't have to. This isn't a civil matter, but a criminal matter. Case in point: When Russian programmer Sklyrov was brought up on DMCA charges for circumventing Adobe's eBook protection, hundreds of customers held a protest at Adobe's headquarters, resulting in Adobe's asking the federal government not to press charges. The feds replied that it was a criminal action, and Adobe doesn't have the right to dismiss, and they went ahead anyhow, even when the victim was against the prosecution...

I did a write up on this issue on Fury, not realizing that NewsForge beat me to the punch by a full three hours.

I hope this gets prosecuted. The funny thing is that if it does, the media will have to be very closed-lipped on the case details, lest they inadvertently become defendants themselves!
posted by kfury at 10:57 AM on May 24, 2002

Free speech?

Aha! Yet another terrorist loving hater of America! Never! Never! Never! question the wisdom of our benevolent dictator and his henchmen err...patriots!
"Your comment has been noted in the building" - Ari Fleischer
posted by nofundy at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2002

Yap-yap-yap, nofundy. The was signed into law by President Clinton in 1998. Thanks for playing, please try again.
posted by Danelope at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2002

s/The was/The DMCA was/
posted by Danelope at 1:32 PM on May 24, 2002

This isn't a civil matter, but a criminal matter.

Exactly... Reminds me of when I was watching the Philadelphia Experiment and two men kidnapped a woman and stole her car at gunpoint. The police were very upset that she "didn't want to press charges" forcing them to let the kidnappers go. wtf?
posted by ODiV at 2:22 PM on May 24, 2002

Does Sony have a a website form or email address where we can alert them to violations of the DMCA? I think we should all turn in a newssite -- there's probably even a reward...
posted by krisjohn at 2:40 PM on May 24, 2002

You idiots should read the DMCA. The artical can't be illegal, because talking about and discussing these things are explicetly allowed. Only physical devices (including software, apperantly) are illegal, not just discussions.

Just as it isn't illegal to write about DeCSS, including how it works, it's totaly legal to write about marking up these disks
posted by delmoi at 6:18 PM on May 25, 2002

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