Tag Archives: DMCA

EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

Post Syndicated from jake original http://lwn.net/Articles/695118/rss

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced that it is suing the US government over provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The suit has been filed on behalf of Andrew “bunnie” Huang, who has a blog post describing the reasons behind the suit. The EFF also explained why these DMCA provisions should be ruled unconstitutional:
These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.

Ostensibly enacted to fight music and movie piracy, Section 1201 has long served to restrict people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials—including the software that is increasingly embedded in everyday things. The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices. It criminalizes the creation of tools to let people access and use those materials.”

GitHub’s 2015 Transparency Report

Post Syndicated from ris original http://lwn.net/Articles/692959/rss

GitHub has published
its 2015 transparency report. “This 2015 report details the types of
requests we receive for user accounts, user content, information about our
users, and other such information, and how we process those
requests. Transparency and trust are essential to GitHub and to the open
source community, and giving you access to information about these requests
can protect you, protect us, and help you feel safe as you work on
” The report notes that a significant number of requests for
removal of content are notices submitted under the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, or the DMCA.

Conservancy’s Year In Review 2015

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2015/12/18/conservancy-yir.html

If you’ve noticed my blog a little silent the past few weeks, I’ve been
spending my blogging time in December writing blogs on Conservancy’s site
for Conservancy’s 2015:
Year in Review series

So far, these are the ones that were posted:

Karen Sandler Speaks about IRS Charity Issues
Bradley M. Kuhn Speaks About Future of Copyleft
Bradley and Karen Speak at FOSDEM 2015
Conservancy Wins DMCA Exception for Smart TVs

Generally speaking, if you want to keep up with my work, you probably
should subscribe not only to my blog but also to Conservancy’s. I tend to
crosspost the more personal pieces, but if something is purely a
Conservancy matter and doesn’t relate to usual things I write about here, I
don’t crosspost.

The Internet of Incompatible Things

Post Syndicated from Matthew Garrett original http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/37522.html

I have an Amazon Echo. I also have a LIFX Smart Bulb. The Echo can integrate with Philips Hue devices, letting you control your lights by voice. It has no integration with LIFX. Worse, the Echo developer program is fairly limited – while the device’s built in code supports communicating with devices on your local network, the third party developer interface only allows you to make calls to remote sites[1]. It seemed like I was going to have to put up with either controlling my bedroom light by phone or actually getting out of bed to hit the switch.Then I found this article describing the implementation of a bridge between the Echo and Belkin Wemo switches, cunningly called Fauxmo. The Echo already supports controlling Wemo switches, and the code in question simply implements enough of the Wemo API to convince the Echo that there’s a bunch of Wemo switches on your network. When the Echo sends a command to them asking them to turn on or off, the code executes an arbitrary callback that integrates with whatever API you want.This seemed like a good starting point. There’s a free implementation of the LIFX bulb API called Lazylights, and with a quick bit of hacking I could use the Echo to turn my bulb on or off. But the Echo’s Hue support also allows dimming of lights, and that seemed like a nice feature to have. Tcpdump showed that asking the Echo to look for Hue devices resulted in similar UPnP discovery requests to it looking for Wemo devices, so extending the Fauxmo code seemed plausible. I signed up for the Philips developer program and then discovered that the terms and conditions explicitly forbade using any information on their site to implement any kind of Hue-compatible endpoint. So that was out. Thankfully enough people have written their own Hue code at various points that I could figure out enough of the protocol by searching Github instead, and now I have a branch of Fauxmo that supports searching for LIFX bulbs and presenting them as Hues[2].Running this on a machine on my local network is enough to keep the Echo happy, and I can now dim my bedroom light in addition to turning it on or off. But it demonstrates a somewhat awkward situation. Right now vendors have no real incentive to offer any kind of compatibility with each other. Instead they’re all trying to define their own ecosystems with their own incompatible protocols with the aim of forcing users to continue buying from them. Worse, they attempt to restrict developers from implementing any kind of compatibility layers. The inevitable outcome is going to be either stacks of discarded devices speaking abandoned protocols or a cottage industry of developers writing bridge code and trying to avoid DMCA takedowns.The dystopian future we’re heading towards isn’t Gibsonian giant megacorporations engaging in physical warfare, it’s one where buying a new toaster means replacing all your lightbulbs or discovering that the code making your home alarm system work is now considered a copyright infringement. Is there a market where I can invest in IP lawyers?[1] It also requires an additional phrase at the beginning of a request to indicate which third party app you want your query to go to, so it’s much more clumsy to make those requests compared to using a built-in app.[2] I only have one bulb, so as yet I haven’t added any support for groups.comment count unavailable comments

Everyone in USA: Comment against ACTA today!

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2011/02/15/acta.html

In the USA, the deadline for comments on ACTA
is today (Tuesday 15 February 2011) at 17:00 US/Eastern.
It’s absolutely imperative that every USA citizen submit a comment on
this. The Free
Software Foundation has details on how to do so

ACTA is a dangerous international agreement that would establish
additional criminal penalties, promulgate DMCA/EUCD-like legislation
around the world, and otherwise extend copyright law into places it
should not go. Copyright law is already much stronger than
anyone needs.

On a meta-point, it’s extremely important that USA citizens participate
in comment processes like this. The reason that things like ACTA can
happen in the USA is because most of the citizens don’t pay attention.
By way of hyperbolic fantasy, imagine if every citizen of the
USA wrote a letter today to Mr. McCoy about ACTA. It’d be a news story
on all the major news networks tonight, and would probably be in the
headlines in print/online news stories tomorrow. Our whole country
would suddenly be debating whether or not we should have criminal
penalties for copying TV shows, and whether breaking a DVD’s DRM should
be illegal.

Obviously, that fantasy won’t happen, but getting from where we are to
that wonderful fantasy is actually linear; each person who
writes to Mr. McCoy today makes a difference! Please take 15 minutes
out of your day today and do so. It’s the least you can do on this

The Free
Software Foundation has a sample letter you can use
if you don’t
have time to write your own. I wrote my own, giving some of my unique
perspective, which I include below.

The automated
system on regulations.gov
assigned this comment below the tracking
number of 80bef9a1 (cool, it’s in hex! 🙂

Stanford K. McCoy
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20006

Re: ACTA Public Comments (Docket no. USTR-2010-0014)

Dear Mr. McCoy:

I am a USA citizen writing to urge that the USA not sign
ACTA. Copyright law already reaches too far. ACTA would extend
problematic, overly-broad copyright rules around the world and would
increase the already inappropriate criminal penalties for copyright
infringement here in the USA.

Both individually and as an agent of my employer, I am regularly involved
in copyright enforcement efforts to defend the Free Software license
called the GNU General Public License (GPL). I therefore think my
perspective can be uniquely contrasted with other copyright holders who
support ACTA.

Specifically, when engaging in copyright enforcement for the GPL, we treat
it as purely a civil issue, not a criminal one. We have been successful
in defending the rights of software authors in this regard without the
need for criminal penalties for the rampant copyright infringement that we
often encounter.

I realize that many powerful corporate copyright holders wish to see
criminal penalties for copyright infringement expanded. As someone who
has worked in the area of copyright enforcement regularly for 12 years, I
see absolutely no reason that any copyright infringement of any kind ever
should be considered a criminal matter. Copyright holders who believe
their rights have been infringed have the full power of civil law to
defend their rights. Using the power of government to impose criminal
penalties for copyright infringement is an inappropriate use of government
to interfere in civil disputes between its citizens.

Finally, ACTA would introduce new barriers for those of us trying to
change our copyright law here in the USA. The USA should neither impose
its desired copyright regime on other countries, nor should the USA bind
itself in international agreements on an issue where its citizens are in
great disagreement about correct policy.

Thank you for considering my opinion, and please do not allow the USA to
sign ACTA.

Bradley M. Kuhn