Apple’s copyright agent

Apple recently sent a frivolous copyright complaint to Something Awful by email. Apple has a history of using their copyright agent to send out frivolous complaints (e.g. when they tried to get FairPlay support removed from VLC). If a company has a complaint that is even remotely legitimate, they’ll have an actual lawyer send you a cease and desist letter by postal mail.

“A digital thing lasts forever”

This comment over in the Ars forums:

The need for backups was more of an issue back in the days of magnetic media, where the originals could and did degrade over time to the point of being useless.

reminded me of this comment by Jack Valenti, former president of the MPAA:

Where did this backup copy thing come from? A digital thing lasts forever.

A while ago I bought GoldenEye on DVD. New discs of this Bond movie are not being made anymore so I bought it used. The disc did not have any noticable scratches yet all my DVD players were unable to play the last 30 minutes of the movie. Most likely a bad case of DVD rot.

Jack, DVDs do not last forever, but comments such as this one probably will:

I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.
— Jack Valenti, “Home Recording of Copyrighted Works,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives, April 12, 1982

Sony BMG infringement

I recently discussed Sony BMG’s infringement of my copyright with a lawyer. I have not taken any action against Sony BMG so far for the following reasons:

  • Statutory damages are only available if the work was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office before the infringement occurred.
  • Proving actual damages of any substantial amount will be very difficult due to the fact that the work was licensed under the GPL.

I will be registering my future works with the Copyright Office and releasing my works under a different license (possibly GPL + a liquidated damages clause).

AACS, like CSS, will be a success. Not at preventing piracy. That’s not the primary objective of any DRM system. Anyone who has read the CSS license agreement knows that the primary objective is to control the market for players. Don’t you just love when your DVD player tells you “This operation is prohibited” when you try to skip the intro?

6 years ago I didn’t think of registering Not intending to make the same mistake twice, a while ago I registered

Now if only products that implement AACS would come to market…

EU IP Enforcement Directive

What: Rally for digital rights and press conference at the EU Parliament Plenary Session to urge the MEPs to reject the EU IP Enforcement Directive

When: Monday March 8, 2004, 16:30 – 18:30 (4:30 pm – 6:30 pm) as MEPs arrive for the evening debate

Where: Outside the EU Parliament buidling, Strasbourg, France.

Presented By: IP Justice, CODE, EDRi, FIPR, FFII, and others

Chamberlain Group vs. Skylink Technologies

Thanks to Andrew Sitzer for forwarding me this:

A US Federal Judge has rejected a claim under the DMCA to outlaw a competing garage door opener. Judge Pallmeyer ruled against Chamberlain Group’s argument that Skylink’s universal garage door opener was an illegal circumvention device, stating that a homeowner has a legitimate expectation that she will be able to open the garage door if her Chamberlain transmitter is missing or malfunctions. The Court noted amici briefs filed by CCIA and Consumers Union, which pointed out the stifling effect the DMCA has on innovation and competition under Chamberlain’s theory. The Court’s Order, which denied part of Chamberlain Group’s motion for Summary Judgment, is available at:

Further case documents are available at:

This is very good news. This case and Lexmark vs. Static Control are the most blatant examples of companies invoking the DMCA to stifle legitimate competition.

From the Court’s Order:

During oral arguments on this motion, Plaintiff acknowledged that under its interpretation of DMCA, a garage owner violates the Act if he or she loses the transmitter that came with its Chamberlain rolling code GDO, but manages to operate the opener by somehow circumventing the rolling code. This court agrees with Defendant that the DMCA does not require such a conclusion.

What if I lose my DVD CCA sanctioned player, but manage to access the content by somehow circumventing CSS? 😀