Items tagged "DRM"

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Digital Locks Can Cost You Your Privacy

October 9, 2014 Anticircumvention , Copyright Reform , DMCA , DRM , Privacy

On Monday, the Digital Reader revealed (confirmed in detail by Ars Technica here that Adobe’s ebook reader, Adobe Digital Editions, was reporting the reading habits of its users, and the contents of their digital libraries, to Adobe.

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Public Knowledge Participates in the International Day Against DRM

May 6, 2014 Copyright , DMCA , DRM

Public Knowledge is participating in the “International Day against DRM” where groups around the world are discussing the problems with Digital Rights Management, known commonly as DRM. As manufacturers attempt to sneak DRM into more and more products, it is important to remember the ways that DRM limit your right to make use of what you purchase.

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Does Congress Mean to Enforce Particular Business Models with Copyright Law?

June 13, 2013 DMCA , DRM , Innovation , Mobile Innovation

At a hearing on unlocking phones, some suggest that Congress added laws against circumventing access controls not just to fight piracy, but in order to protect particular business models. Businesses use this argument to justify using copyright law to criminalize activities that don’t actually infringe copyright.


Up until last year, unlocking a cell phone so that it could be used with a different carrier was perfectly legal. That changed when the Librarian of Congress decided no longer to include it in a list of exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which forbids the circumvention of technology that controls access to copyrighted works. The Librarian’s decision has sparked a great deal of controversy, and lead to several proposed bills that would once again make it legal to unlock cell phones. In a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet last Thursday, Congress heard testimony about one of these bills, and about the practice of unlocking phones.

Subcommittee Vice Chairman Tom Marino began the hearing by framing the considerations on each side in terms of their effect on the market and existing business models, pitting the promise of a more competitive marketplace that phone unlocking allows against the ability of carriers to recover the cost of subsidizing phones.

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We’re Asking Congress to Fix the DMCA

March 28, 2013 Anti-circumvention , DMCA , DRM

Today, we sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, asking them to pass a strong, permanent fix to the cell phone unlocking problem, and to take a deeper look at the problems caused by the anticircumvention provisions of the DMCA. The letter, available here, is signed by over thirty consumer groups, companies, and online communities, and joined by a number of academics and activists.

We want to make sure that all of the people who were upset that the DMCA could prevent them from unlocking their phones get a solution that actually fixes the problem by changing the law, not just reversing the Library of Congress’s decision and waiting for a do-over a few years from now.

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Why is Congress Expanding Enforcement of the DMCA?

March 26, 2013 DMCA , DRM , Enforcement

It’s no longer a debate: people recognize that the anticircumvention provisions of the DMCA are flawed. Insofar as they keep people from doing things like unlocking their cell phones, over 100,000 people and the White House have said so, members of Congress have said so, and the FCC has said so. There’s also widespread recognition that the DMCA as a whole needs reevaluation, which the Register of Copyrights recognizes.

So why are we seeing simultaneous efforts to double down on enforcing a defective law?

Yesterday, Senators Baucus and Hatch introduced a hefty bill on trade issues.

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A Quick Guide to the Current Phone Unlocking Bills

March 22, 2013 DMCA , DRM , Internet Blueprint

As you probably know, there are currently three different proposals to make sure that you can unlock your phone, despite the Library of Congress’s thoughts on the matter.

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Cell Phone Unlocking Debate Highlights Trade Negotiation Process Problems

March 18, 2013 DRM , ITU , TPP

The issue of cell phone unlocking has been hot for the past month.  The White House response to the over 100,000 person petition to allow for the unlocking of cell phones has led to a flurry of legislative proposals in Congress and broad interest in a quick solution to the issue.

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No One’s “Signed Away” the Right to Unlock Cell Phones

March 14, 2013 DMCA , DRM , Forum Shopping , USTR

Several people have raised the specter of trade agreements standing in the way of cell phone unlocking. The basic idea is that, in a broad trade negotiation between the US and South Korea (and in a number of others), the two countries agreed to make sure their copyright laws had certain similar features. Among those were requirements that they have laws against breaking digital locks to access copyrighted works, and that they only have certain kinds of exemptions to them. Cell phone unlocking is not one of the specific exemptions.

Mike Masnick at Techdirt characterizes this (at least in the article’s title) as the US “signing away” its ability to enact a more permanent exemption for phone unlocking.

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Cell Phone Unlocking: The Root of the Problem (and Solution) is in Copyright

March 5, 2013 Copyright Office , DMCA , DRM , Internet Blueprint

Yesterday, the White House responded to a We the People petition on phone unlocking, stating that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones and tablets. This puts the administration in line with a large number of consumers who are upset that the Library of Congress refused to exempt phone unlocking (modifying phone software so consumers can use their phones with a different mobile phone company) from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA.”)

However, the White House statement doesn’t reverse the Library’s decision, and nothing in the statement seems to suggest that it plans to.

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Will the White House Explain why Copyright Laws are Privileging Cell Phone Companies?

February 22, 2013 Anti-circumvention , Competition , Copyright Office , DRM , Handset Exclusivity

So 100,000 of you (and counting) are as puzzled as we are as to why copyright laws such as the DMCA should prevent people from keeping their existing phones when they switch phone companies. By hitting that threshold of signatures several days before the 30-day deadline, the petition should generate a response from the White House.

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