We’re in the middle of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial DMCA exemption rulemaking. As you might expect, most of the filings are dry as dust, but buried in the latest submission by a coalition of big copyright owners (publishers, Authors’ Guild, BSA, MPAA, RIAA, etc.) is an utterly astonishing argument.
Some background: In light of the Sony-BMG CD incident, Alex and I asked the Copyright Office for an exemption allowing users to remove from their computers certain DRM software that causes security and privacy harm. The CCIA and Open Source and Industry Association made an even simpler request for an exemption for DRM systems that employ access control measures which threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives. Who could oppose that?
The BSA, RIAA, MPAA, and friends — that’s who. Their objections to these two requests (and others) consist mostly of lawyerly parsing, but at the end of their argument about our request comes this (from pp. 22-23 of the document, if you’re reading along at home):
Furthermore, the claimed beneficial impact of recognition of the exemption that it would provide an incentive for the creation of protection measures that respect the security of consumers computers while protecting the interests of the record labels ([citation to our request]) would be fundamentally undermined if copyright owners and everyone else were left in such serious doubt about which measures were or were not subject to circumvention under the exemption.
Huh? Say again? Unbelievable? Well, there’s more.
Read on at the article on Freedom To Tinker. You won’t believe you’re eyes!