Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged DMCA

From YouTube:

Hey folks. Hope you all enjoyed my latest video, because the studio behind “A Matter of Faith” decided to take it down. Even though my video is a clear example as to what the FAIR USE clause is meant to protect under section 107 of US copyright law, this appears to be nothing more than an act of censorship and thus it’s another example of DMCA abuse. Along with EssenceOfThought and MrRepzion, we’ve had our videos taken down even though they were obviously criticism and criticized the trailer, which is what the FAIR USE clause is meant to protect.

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PandoDaily and Explainer Music’s David Holmes collaborate to bring you an explanation of copyright via a music video.

Thanks to the Internet, social media, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), navigating copyright issues has never been harder. And the tragedy of Aaron Swartz underscores just how ill-equipped current laws are at addressing modern copyright issues. But before we can reform copyright law, it’s important to understand it. In our latest song, we’ve broken it all down for you, from public domain to fair use to creative commons. That way, when you post something to the Web, you’ll know your own rights, and the rights of others. (All videos are public domain except where noted).


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The Transpacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, is a new trade agreement being sought after by the United States with its trade partners in Asia. If signed, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru , the US, and Vietnam would cover goods and services and intellectual property between partner nations. Unlike ACTA, the first draft of TPP hasn’t been made yet, however, content owners in the United States are already attempting to dictate what should and should not be included in the agreement.

A paper prepared by the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP (reported to be drafted by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Motion Picture Association of America) and leaked on the Internet, indicates that rights holders are urging the USTR to include in TPP IP protections more extensive than those present in ACTA. Specifically, the paper suggests that the following issues be addressed in TPP:

Temporary copies: The US Business Coalition paper urges TPP countries to include a provision requiring protection for temporary copies. Temporary copies are copies made when you access webpages, or music, or any other content on the Internet. In addition, your computer makes transient copies, such a buffer copies, in the course of replaying such content. These copies have no value independent of the ultimate use they facilitate – your viewing of the movie or listening to the music. Treating them as worthy of copyright protection allows rights holders to claim additional rents where none are due.

This provision actually makes sense. There is no point in copyrighting this sort of information when it is only needed for a short time before it is deleted and of no further use. The fact that such a provision is even needed displays the fact that many companies on the internet are already thinking of implementing such usage of temporary files.

Besides provisions covering copyright length, statutory damages, and circumvention of digital locks (DMCA, WIPO, WPPT), there has been talk of forcing ISPs to act as copyright cops as well as punishing those who commit a single act of infringement the same as someone who commits multiple acts and who may be profiting off of said infringement.

Fortunately, some of the countries negotiating the TPP seem to be aware of concerns with IP provisions in trade agreements. An internal document of the New Zealand government, leaked on the Internet, indicates the government’s reticence to adopt an IP chapter similar to ACTA. The document observes:

“Analysis of the costs and benefits of IP protection shows that there is a tendency towards overprotection of IP in all our societies, particularly in the areas of copyright and patents. The analysis also shows that the optimal rate of protection differs between countries and that it can differ across time as countries move through different stages of economic development.”

“These developments are underpinned by an increasing pressure from rights holders to internationalise a larger array of issues and find international solutions to issues that have only had limited consideration at the national level. This is particularly true for the area of copyright, where rights holders have been seeking the adoption of more intrusive international rules with respect to a range of copyright issues at an early stage of norm development.”

The good news is tat the New Zealand government believes that existing treaties, such as the DMCA, are flawed and were implemented without enough information to formulate an ethical and fair treaty. The bad news is that, while New Zealand government thinks the enforcement of IP and copyright through DRM is bad, they believe it should be monetized instead.

New Zealand also believes that governments should re-evaluate their current treaties in order to bring them up to date with modern technologies while discontinuing the practice of passing any treaties in secret without any civilian oversight.

Many of the current laws and agreements are at least ten years old. Some go back a century or more. It it is vital that these laws be re-evaluated, rewritten, or simply inactivated so that new laws can be created to keep up with the technology that didn’t even exist when they were enacted.

While privacy activists prefer to have the section of TPP’s IP recommendations removed, if it is to be forced upon the citizens of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru , the US, and Vietnam, then it is vital that the negotiations be publicly held, with input from the public. Without public input, then only those who are directly involved in IP (MPAA, RIAA, etc.) will be the ones dictating policies that affect millions who have no voice.

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Rhapsody has announced that they will be shutting down their RAX DRM encumbered music system and that users will have until November 7, 2011 to convert any music downloaded before July, 2008.

On November 7th, 2011 Rhapsody/RealNetworks will no longer support certain music files you purchased before July 2008. These songs will continue to play after November 7th unless you change to a new computer or substantially update your current computer. However, we strongly recommend you back up these RAX tracks to audio CD to ensure you can continue to enjoy your music.

Once you take this small step, you can continue to play these tracks on your audio CD or rip them to any format you desire and play them on your PC.

Please don’t delay – after we shut off support for RAX files, you will not be able to play them if you move to a new computer or upgrade your operating system.

While Rhapsody is allowing its customers to back up and convert their music, it is not as easy as they claim. If you own a few tracks, it might by easy, but if you own hundreds or thousands of music tracks, it becomes a cumbersome and time-consuming task.

There is also a question of legality. While Rhapsody is telling people how to circumvent the RAX DRM, it may not legally be able to. According to US law, unless Rhapsody owns the copyrights to the songs that use RAX DRM, then they are actually aiding others in breaking the law.

Section 103 (17 U.S.C Sec. 1201(a)(1)) of the DMCA states:

Q No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.


(A) to 「circumvent a technological measure」 means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and

(B) a technological measure 「effectively controls access to a work」 if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

In the closing of Rhapsody’s RAX DRM, we see, yet again, how the music industry is punishing those who wish to legally purchase digital music. There are so many of these companies that have shut down over the past ten years that it is difficult to fault those who turn to piracy. By doing so, users do not have to worry about the DRM. They also do not worry about making upgrades to their computers and risking the loss of their music. They also do not have to worry about the limits of how many computers they can keep their music on. They simply listen to their music where ever and whenever they want. After experiencing ten years of attempting to do the right thing only to be screwed over again and again, why would anyone want to return to unhelpful DRM schemes?

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On June 2, 2010, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-32, new copyright reform legislation that would dramatically change the law. Michael Geist gave a lecture on copyright in the Canada the following day and this video is the portion discussing the implications of the bill.

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