DMCA might be getting stronger

28 04 2006

If you like putting your CDs on your iPod (or similar device), this may pertain to you.  Or if want to make MP3s of your purchased CDs and you don’t like rootkits being installed on your computer, this may affect you.  Oh, and get this — the new law (if passed) will make it illegal to even know or talk about anticircumvention tools.

This kind of legislature affects us thusly :

  • if your DVD gets scratched, then you just have to buy another one, because you aren’t allowed to make backup copies.  I imagine most of us take care of our DVDs, but what about those of us with kids?  Besides, scratches happen, even when you’re trying to take care of it.
  • a music CD can install rootkit software on your computer without your knowledge, leaving it on there and running even when you aren’t playing the CD and even if you get rid of the CD; and it’s illegal to remove it.  And it may make your computer run slower, be more susceptible to hackers and viruses, and crash.  How can they have the right to do this?  It’s my computer.  I bought the parts, I built it, I maintain it, etc.
  • if you buy a song from iTunes but your portable player is a brand other than an iPod, well, that’s too bad, because they aren’t compatible.  And it’s illegal to make it work.  That just ain’t right!  Suppose you have an iPod and bought lots of iTunes songs, but then your iPod broke and you wanted to get a different brand, but your songs can’t be legally transferred, so you’re almost forced into buying another iPod, unless you want to break the law or throw away your songs.  And I’m not just picking on Apple, because other companies do this, too (like Sony).  That’s just what the big companies want, but it’s not right.
  • talking about how to make a backup of your DVD will be illegal.  Doesn’t this infringe upon free speech?  It already has, when the Sony BMG rootkit was found to be like a virus, and the first discovers of this were afraid to publish that for fear of being sued.

There’s a blog at CNet.com that’s talking about this already, and there’s some good points being made in the comments (plus a few people who seem to not understand what’s going on).  One comment I’d like to share, from Renegade Knight :

What we need is a fair use lobby so that we can rip our CD’s for our own use on MP3 players and we can rip our DVDs to PVPs and so on.

The more of a pain in the butt it is to actually use their products as you should be able to do (and used to be able to do), the less interested people are going to be.

They are biting the hand that feeds them in hopes of being better fed.

What the RIAA and MPAA and the senators voting for this garbage don’t understand is that this doesn’t stop piracy, and this approach is not worth all the effort.  While it will slow the piracy of those who just want to give a copy to their friends, the determined pirates can still bypass the security, so the widespread piracy will continue.  And the law-abiding consumers have their Fair Use rights taken away and are inconvenienced by this.  So it helps a little in some areas, but instead of hurting the big-time wrongdoers, it hurts the good customers the most.

The DMCA is already a debacle, and if this revisions passes it will take away even more freedoms from us.  We need to do something — write our representatives, refuse to buy these kinds of products…  Will we be silent while our freedoms are stripped away?  This will continue if left unchecked, because even the proposed measures won’t stop piracy…

And another thing that bothers me is how they’re putting many legislations into this one bill, and some of them are actually good.  This seems to be a common tactic employed by politicians.  And so the emphasis will be on the good parts of the bill, while the nefarious parts slip through and become law.  That is SO not right!

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