Items tagged "DRM"

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PK In the Know Podcast

July 23, 2010 DRM , Fair Use , Network Neutrality , TXTSMS

In this week’s edition of the In the Know Podcast, we discuss rumored wireless data buckets at Verizon, the next generation of DRM, and the legality of the iPad app Flipboard. Finally, we interview Grigory Kruglov about Greg’s Pulse, a site that can send you a text message when something you care about happens online.

You can download and listen to the audio by clicking here (MP3) or stream it using the player below:

Want to subscribe to our podcast? Click here for the MP3 feed and here for the mixed audio/video feed.

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Defining ‘circumvention’: another DMCA case

July 23, 2010 Anti-circumvention , DMCA , DRM

What do printer cartridges, garage door openers, and universal power supply calibrations have in common? They all use copyrighted code, they all feature technological impediments to unauthorized execution of their code — and now they’ve all been the focus of appellate litigation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

One of the most-litigated and most-argued provisions of the DMCA is section 1201, the “anti-circumvention” provision which forbids breaking or bypassing certain technological measures that protect copyrighted works. Broadly speaking, section 1201(a) deals with technological measures that restrict access to a copyrighted work, and 1201(b) deals with copy controls and other measures that restrict not your access to a work but what you can do with the work after accessing it. Section 1201(a) forbids both trafficking in circumvention tools and the act of circumvention itself; 1201(b) covers only trafficking. An ongoing source of controversy is whether and how closely ‘access’ under 1201(a) must be tied to an underlying act of copyright infringement before circumvention liability will attach. To put it another way, is what you were going to do with a work once you accessed it relevant to the question of whether you’re allowed to grant yourself access? Different appellate courts have come down on opposite sides of this issue, and another circuit court just waded into the mix.

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ACTION ALERT: Tell the Obama Administration What You Think of ACTA

June 22, 2010 ACTA , DMCA , DRM , Piracy , Three Strikes

CLICK HERE TO WRITE THE WHITE HOUSE NOW

The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continues to roll along with negotiations taking place in Switzerland in the coming weeks. Rumor has it that these negotiations might be bringing us to a finalized ACTA soon, despite protests from public interest groups, technology companies, and legislators around the world that its ham-fisted approach to enforcement can do grave harm to consumers, innovation, communication, and can even make it harder for lifesaving medications to reach populations in need. It’s time to make sure that your voices are heard on this important issue. And we have two ways that you can do that. One is by signing a declaration of principles crafted by a coalition of experts assembled at American University. The other, more direct method is by writing to the President himself, using our action alert submission form.

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Should Customs decide what’s a circumvention device?

May 24, 2010 Anti-circumvention , DMCA , DRM , Enforcement

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a complex and highly controversial statute, and the anti-circumvention provisions in section 1201 are some of its most complex and controversial components. Despite more than a decade’s worth of judicial interpretation, there remain plenty of unsettled questions about just what constitutes circumvention and just what constitutes a protected technological measure. And what we do know for sure makes a strong case that the anti-circumvention provisions are overbroad and have significant and harmful unintended consequences.

Yet the Senate is considering a bill that could significantly ramp up enforcement of section 1201 and exacerbate those unintended consequences. Among other things, the bill would give US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the authority to decide for itself whether merchandise is a prohibited circumvention device, and thus to seize the merchandise at the border.

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DECE and the War on Ownership

January 15, 2010 Analog Hole , Anti-circumvention , DRM , MVPD , TV Everywhere

In the media world, there’s an ongoing war about what it means to “own” a copy of something. Most of us are used to the world of paper books and plastic CDs, where the media you buy is yours to do what you like with, be that play it in your living room, lend it to a friend, or (as a practical matter) rip it to your computer for your own use on other devices or locations. But in the world of DRM, the copyright owner gets to decide when, if, and for how long you get to do those things. The latest salvo in the battle to get consumers to accept DRM is DECE: the “Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem.” DECE appears to be an attempt to make DRM interoperate better across different devices, services, and content sources. Is this a good thing – or at least a less bad thing – for content users? I’m not holding my breath…

**Ownership vs.

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Five Takeaways From World’s Fair Use Day

January 15, 2010 DRM , Enforcement , Fair Use , Statutory Damages

By many accounts, World's Fair Use Day was a great success. We had a capacity crowd, with hundreds more joining in on the webcast. Members of the audience included staff from the White House, the State Department, the US Copyright Office and Congress. Since one of the main missions of the event was to demonstrate to policymakers the importance of fair use to our culture, our discourse and our economy, having a strong turnout from government is key.

I've now had a few days to reflect on the day's events.

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MPAA: Still No Reason to Break TVs, DVD Copy Protection Does Not Stop Copying

December 11, 2009 Analog Hole , DRM , Fair Use , HDTV , Plug and Play

As devotees of our hit video series Five Minutes with Harold Feld (or as the cool kids call it “5MWHF”) will no doubt recall, on the eve of Thanksgiving MPAA dropped a lengthy filing into the Selectable Output Control (SOC) docket. Among other things, it called Harold a liar. Harold immediately took five minutes to tell MPAA to chillax, and yesterday we filed our official response with the FCC. Although I urge you to read our full reply (I promise it is much shorter than the MPAA’s), if you are in a rush here is the short version. Our response basically made three points.

**Most of MPAA’s Filing is Unrelated to SOC.

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Who’s Running the Show–the FCC or Hollywood Execs?

September 21, 2009 DRM , FCC , MPAA , National Broadband Plan , Three Strikes

Last Thursday, PK President Gigi Sohn delivered a statement at an FCC broadband workshop titled “The Role of Content in the Broadband Ecosystem”. If you find yourself questioning what relevance a discussion of content protection has in the context of the National Broadband Plan, you’re not alone. In her statement (oral | written), Gigi questioned the FCC’s jurisdiction over copyright issues and asserted that the Commission certainly does not have the authority to combat online copyright infringement by using the sort of blunt instrument–solutions like copyright filtering and three strikes–that the industry is calling for. So, why even convene a workshop on content protection as part of the National Broadband Plan? The point of the workshop, it seems, was to appease the big entertainment companies that are clamoring for the Federal government to take a more active role in protecting the intellectual property of private companies. This fact could not have been made more clear by the FCC, given the manner in which the workshop was conducted. Embedded above, you’ll find a video of Frederick D. Huntsberry’s presentation from the workshop. While the time limit for oral statements was supposedly five minutes, Huntsberry, the COO of Paramount Pictures, was inexplicably allowed to give a 10 minute presentation. In a move reminiscent of the MPAA’s how-to-camcord video, Huntsberry demonstrated how to unlawfully download and/or distribute a film online (using a torrent tracker, Drop.io and a streaming site), spoke at length about camcording and insinuated that a number of legitimate companies–including Google, eBay, Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Boxee–are enabling the unlawful trade of copyrighted content online.

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DRM is Dead, Long Live DRM

July 20, 2009 DMCA , DRM , Filtering , Music Licensing , Piracy

DRM is dead, or so they say. With the “big four” major labels having completely abandoned DRM protection schemes for CDs and with online music juggernaut iTunes now offering all of its music DRM-free, you might think that the era of restricted music files and rootkit fiascoes is now behind us. But you would be wrong. While DRM may be dead as far as mainstream music distribution is concerned, many labels–both major and independent–continue to utilize various forms of DRM and watermarking when distributing music in specific contexts and for certain purposes. Perhaps the most visible category among these is the pre-release promo, generally a CD or digital file sent to journalists in advance of the street date for review purposes. In an article for the Washington City Paper, music journalist Mike Riggs sheds some light on the practice of sending DRM and watermark-laden music to critics:

I had been looking forward to reviewing Depart From Me, the new album by Definitive Jux rapper Cage, since I discovered 2005’s damn-near brilliant Hell’s Winter. When the package arrived one month in advance of the street date, I set aside everything I was doing and with trembling fingers popped the promo CD of Depart From Me into the computer. And after listening to the first minute and a half of every track, I tossed the CD in the trash. Why? Because Definitive Jux, in order to keep me from leaking the album, made the review copy nearly unlistenable by inserting promo drops–breaks in the music during which a voice says, “This is a promotional copy”–on every single track.

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Camcording, DVD-Ripping and Normative Behavior: the MPAA’s Disingenuous Argument Against Fair Use

May 11, 2009 Analog Hole , Copyright Office , DMCA , DRM , Fair Use


If you were following the DMCA Section 1201 anticircumvention rulemaking proceedings last week, you likely saw Tim Vollmer’s video of the MPAA’s demonstration on how to create a film clip by pointing a camcorder at a TV set (embedded above). This demonstration was the MPAA’s response to an exemption request filed by educators, who are seeking to exercise their fair use rights by breaking the CSS encryption on DVDs in order to make short clips for classroom use. As you’ll recall, a group of media studies professors led by Peter DeCherney successfully filed for just such an exemption in 2006 (for more on that, see our video interview with DeCherney, embedded after the break). Three years later, the educators have returned, in an attempt to renew the exemption and to expand it to include students in media studies classes as well as educators outside of the media studies field. Despite having three years to regroup, the studios returned with the same tired, apocryphal argument: despite the fact that DVD-ripping is already widespread, if educators are allowed to legally rip, demand for DVDs will plummet and the industry will collapse. As an alternative, they suggest camcording, a cumbersome process that produces low-quality clips while requiring a significant investment in video recording equipment. Practical matters aside, the MPAA’s argument for camcording also happens to contradict a number of the organization’s other arguments against fair use–a fact that was not lost on many of the witnesses at last Wednesday’s hearing.

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