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

Zealots attack

I’ve been getting some emails from angry Mac zealots. Many of them start out similar to this:

Sorry to say this but, unlike with DeCSS where you were allowing Linux users
to view DVDs, this time you’ve gone too far.

None of them explain how this is different and why GNU/Linux users should not be allowed to play legally bought music. Instead they go on to rave about how great iTMS is and that the imposed DRM is a good compromise. If they hadn’t been completely clueless about copyright law, they’d know that Fair Use is the compromise. Some of them claim that this will lead to the RIAA imposing stricter DRM. Did they suddenly realize that it’s the RIAA, and not Apple, which determines the rules for the iTMS DRM? When they complain about Microsoft’s DRM used by other music stores, why do they think that it’s Microsoft, and not the RIAA, which determines the DRM rules?

They have failed to understand that by buying into DRM they have given the seller complete control over the product after it’s been sold. The RIAA can at any time change the DRM rules, and considering their history it’s likely that they will when the majority of consumers have embraced DRM and non-DRM products have been phased out. Some DVDs today include commercials which can’t be skipped using “sanctioned” players. If the RIAA forces Apple to include commercials, what excuses will the Mac zealots come up with? “It’s a good compromise”?

Here’s how one of the emails, from a guy in the UK who’s working on his Ph.D, ends:

You may think you’re doing the right thing “liberating music for one and all” but you really aren’t. Thanks for fucking it up for all of us, asshole. I hope Apple, the RIAA and the BPI come down hard on your ass now that the EUCD and DMCA are in place.

Funny stuff. I just hope I have enough room in /dev/null.

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:
http://www.ipjustice.org/skylink/082903_ORDER.pdf

Further case documents are available at:
http://www.ipjustice.org/skylink.shtml

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? 😀

iTunes Music Store

Apple yesterday launched their music service. Encrypted AAC 128 kbps. DRM enforced by iTunes 4. Apple reserves the right to modify the Usage Rules at any time. US only. Compared to other music services which use DRM, it’s the least fair use-hostile.

Here’s a VLC fortune for the occasion:

<JMunakra> nah you have zip with password protection
<jlj> that’s not classified as DRM
<JMunakra> where does DRM start?
<Meuuh> I don’t know, but I know where it ends : at my doorstep