Tag Archives: section 1201

Filmmakers Want The Right to Break DRM and Rip Blu-Rays

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/filmmakers-want-the-right-to-break-drm-and-rip-blu-rays-171228/

The major movie studios are doing everything in their power to stop the public from copying films.

While nearly every movie and TV-show leaks on the Internet, these companies still see DRM as a vital tool to prevent piracy from spiraling out of control.

Technically speaking it’s not hard to rip a DVD or Blu-Ray disc nowadays, and the same is true for ripping content from Netflix or YouTube. However, people who do this are breaking the law.

The DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions specifically forbid it. There are some exemptions, for educational use for example, and to allow for other types of fair use, but the line between legal and illegal is not always clear.

Interestingly, filmmakers are not happy with the current law either. They often want to use small pieces of other videos in their films, but under the current exemptions, this is only permitted for documentaries.

The International Documentary Association, Kartemquin Films, Independent Filmmaker Project, University of Film and Video Association and several other organizations hope this will change.

In a comment to the Copyright Office, which is currently considering updates to the exemptions, they argue that all filmmakers should be allowed by break DRM and rip Blu-Rays.

According to the filmmakers, the documentary genre is vaguely defined. This leads to a lot of confusion whether or not the exemptions apply. They, therefore, suggest to apply it to all filmmakers, instead of criminalizing those who don’t identify themselves as documentarians.

“Since 2010, exemptions applicable to documentary filmmaking have been in effect. This exemption has helped many filmmakers, and there has been neither evidence nor any allegation that this exemption has harmed rightsholders in any way.

“There is no reason this would change if the ‘documentary’ limitation were removed. All filmmakers regularly need access to footage on DVDs and without an exemption to DVDs, many non-infringing uses simply cannot be made,” the groups add.

The submission includes letters from several filmmakers who explain why an exemption would be crucial to them.

Filmmakers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein explain that they refrained from making a film how they wanted it to be, fearing legal trouble. Their film included a lot of drama elements and was not a typical documentary.

“Given the significant amount of drama in the film [we are working on], we decided early on that our storytelling toolbox could not include fair use of materials from DVD or Blu-ray, because the exemption did not cover accessing that material for use in a drama,” they write

“Already, we were hindered in our ability to tell these stories. So, there is already a chilling effect in that a drama-heavy documentary might be seen as a drama outright, and thus under a different set of rules.”

Another filmmaker, who wants to remain anonymous, plans on making a hybrid documentary/narrative feature about a famous film duo. Without ripping the clips he needs, this movie is never going to be made.

“I am unsure of whether my project would fall under the exemption because it is a combination of documentary and narrative, and my fear of a lawsuit once my project is publicly viewed and distributed stops me from ripping from these sources.”

These are just two of many examples where filmmakers show that they need to break DRM and rip content to make the work they want.

The MPAA and others have previously argued that these changes are not required. Instead, they pointed out that people could point their cameras or phones at the screen to record something, or use screen capture software.

However, these are not viable alternatives according to the filmmakers, as the quality is inferior. They, therefore, call on the Copyright Office to expand the exemption to cover all films and filmmakers.

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Gamers Want DMCA Exemption for ‘Abandoned’ Online Games

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/gamers-want-dmca-exemption-for-abandoned-online-games-171221/

The U.S. Copyright Office is considering whether or not to update the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, which prevent the public from tinkering with DRM-protected content and devices.

These provisions are renewed every three years. To allow individuals and organizations to chime in, the Office traditionally launches a public consultation, before it makes any decisions.

This week a series of new responses were received and many of these focused on abandoned games. As is true for most software, games have a limited lifespan, so after a few years they are no longer supported by manufacturers.

To preserve these games for future generations and nostalgic gamers, the Copyright Office previously included game preservation exemptions. This means that libraries, archives and museums can use emulators and other circumvention tools to make old classics playable.

However, these exemptions are limited and do not apply to games that require a connection to an online server, which includes most recent games. When the online servers are taken down, the game simply disappears forever.

This should be prevented, according to The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (the MADE), a nonprofit organization operating in California.

“Although the Current Exemption does not cover it, preservation of online video games is now critical,” MADE writes in its comment to the Copyright Office.

“Online games have become ubiquitous and are only growing in popularity. For example, an estimated fifty-three percent of gamers play multiplayer games at least once a week, and spend, on average, six hours a week playing with others online.”

During the previous review, similar calls for an online exemption were made but, at the time, the Register of Copyrights noted that multiplayer games could still be played on local area networks.

“Today, however, local multiplayer options are increasingly rare, and many games no longer support LAN connected multiplayer capability,” MADE counters, adding that nowadays even some single-player games require an online connection.

“More troubling still to archivists, many video games rely on server connectivity to function in single-player mode and become unplayable when servers shut down.”

MADE asks the Copyright Office to extend the current exemptions and include games with an online connection as well. This would allow libraries, archives, and museums to operate servers for these abandoned games and keep them alive.

The nonprofit museum is not alone in its call, with digital rights group Public Knowledge submitting a similar comment. They also highlight the need to preserve online games. Not just for nostalgic gamers, but also for researchers and scholars.

This issue is more relevant than ever before, as hundreds of online multiplayer games have been abandoned already.

“It is difficult to quantify the number of multiplayer servers that have been shut down in recent years. However, Electronic Arts’ ‘Online Services Shutdown’ list is one illustrative example,” Public Knowledge writes.

“The list — which is littered with popular franchises such as FIFA World Cup, Nascar, and The Sims — currently stands at 319 games and servers discontinued since 2013, or just over one game per week since 2012.”

Finally, several ‘regular’ gaming fans have also made their feelings known. While their arguments are usually not as elaborate, the personal pleasure people still get out of older games can’t be overstated.

“I have been playing video games since the Atari 2600, for 35 years. Nowadays, game ‘museums’ — getting the opportunity to replay games from my youth, and share them with my child — are a source of joy for me,” one individual commenter wrote.

“I would love the opportunity to explore some of the early online / MMO games that I spent so much time on in the past!”

Game on?

Header image via MMOs.com

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DMCA Used to Remove Ad Server URL From Easylist Ad Blocklist

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dmca-used-to-remove-ad-server-url-from-easylist-ad-blocklist-170811/

The default business model on the Internet is “free” for consumers. Users largely expect websites to load without paying a dime but of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. To this end, millions of websites are funded by advertising revenue.

Sensible sites ensure that any advertising displayed is unobtrusive to the visitor but lots seem to think that bombarding users with endless ads, popups, and other hindrances is the best way to do business. As a result, ad blockers are now deployed by millions of people online.

In order to function, ad-blocking tools – such as uBlock Origin or Adblock – utilize lists of advertising domains compiled by third parties. One of the most popular is Easylist, which is distributed by authors fanboy, MonztA, Famlam, and Khrinunder, under dual Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and GNU General Public Licenses.

With the freedom afforded by those licenses, copyright tends not to figure high on the agenda for Easylist. However, a legal problem that has just raised its head is causing serious concern among those in the ad-blocking community.

Two days ago a somewhat unusual commit appeared in the Easylist repo on Github. As shown in the image below, a domain URL previously added to Easylist had been removed following a DMCA takedown notice filed with Github.

Domain text taken down by DMCA?

The DMCA notice in question has not yet been published but it’s clear that it targets the domain ‘functionalclam.com’. A user called ‘ameshkov’ helpfully points out a post by a new Github user called ‘DMCAHelper’ which coincided with the start of the takedown process more than three weeks ago.

A domain in a list circumvents copyright controls?

Aside from the curious claims of a URL “circumventing copyright access controls” (domains themselves cannot be copyrighted), the big questions are (i) who filed the complaint and (ii) who operates Functionalclam.com? The domain WHOIS is hidden but according to a helpful sleuth on Github, it’s operated by anti ad-blocking company Admiral.

Ad-blocking means money down the drain….

If that is indeed the case, we have the intriguing prospect of a startup attempting to protect its business model by using a novel interpretation of copyright law to have a domain name removed from a list. How this will pan out is unclear but a notice recently published on Functionalclam.com suggests the route the company wishes to take.

“This domain is used by digital publishers to control access to copyrighted content in accordance with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and understand how visitors are accessing their copyrighted content,” the notice begins.

Combined with the comments by DMCAHelper on Github, this statement suggests that the complainants believe that interference with the ad display process (ads themselves could be the “copyrighted content” in question) represents a breach of section 1201 of the DMCA.

If it does, that could have huge consequences for online advertising but we will need to see the original DMCA notice to have a clearer idea of what this is all about. Thus far, Github hasn’t published it but already interest is growing. A representative from the EFF has already contacted the Easylist team, so this battle could heat up pretty quickly.

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“DRM is Used to Lock in, Control and Spy on Users”

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/drm-is-used-to-lock-in-control-and-spy-on-users-161108/

fsfLate last year the U.S. Copyright office launched a series of public consultations to review critical aspects of the DMCA law.

This includes a review of the anti-circumvention provisions (section 1201), which prevent the public from tinkering with DRM protected content and devices.

A lot has been said on the topic over the past months. Most copyright industry groups are in favor of keeping tight restrictions, while digital rights groups argue the opposite.

Most opponents point out that DRM does more harm than good and some see it as plain evil. The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which is a rightsholder of a lot of GNU/Linux software, clearly falls into the latter category.

FSF sees no future for DRM and urges the Copyright Office to repeal the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions.

“Technological protection measures and Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) play no legitimate role in protecting copyrighted works. Instead, they are a means of controlling users and creating ‘lock in’,” FSF’s Donald Robertson writes.

According to FSF, copyright is just an excuse, the true purpose is to lock down and control users. Through DRM, companies try to keep users on board, as it often restricts them from easily switching to other platforms or digital stores.

“Companies use this control illegitimately with an eye toward extracting maximum revenue from users in ways that have little connection to actual copyright law. In fact, these restrictions are technological impediments to the rights users have under copyright law, such as fair use.”

Even if copyright was the main concern, DRM would be an overbroad tool to achieve the goal, the foundation notes.

FSF highlights that DRM is not just used to control people but also to spy on them, by sending all kinds of personal data to technology providers. This is done to generate extra income at the expense of users’ rights, they claim.

“DRM enables companies to spy on their users, and use that data for profit,” Robertson writes.

“DRM is frequently used to spy on users by requiring that they maintain a connection to the Internet so that the program can send information back to the DRM provider about the user’s actions,” he adds.

Under current law, there are some exemptions which allow people to circumvent DRM, but FSF says this is by no means sufficient. Abandoning the anti-circumvention provisions entirely is the only right thing to do, they say.

The foundation adds that there are plenty of alternatives to address copyright concerns. FSF itself holds the rights to a lot of GNU/Linux software, for example, and says it has resolved many copyright violations without the need for invasive DRM.

“All DRM is a violation of the rights of users. The exemptions process as outlined by section 1201 is completely broken beyond repair. No amount of exemptions, except a permanent exemption for all uses, can rectify the situation,” FSF writes.

“It is unethical and harmful for the law to treat all users as criminals – which is exactly what DRM does. The DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions do too much harm and should be repealed, so that users may once again enjoy their rights under the law without interference.”

If the Government is not ready to for a full repeal of the anti-circumvention provisions, it should at minimum broaden the existing permanent exemptions to more uses, FSF argues.

The Copyright Office now faces the unenviable task of reconciling the positions of all parties that submitted comments. Given the wide range of positions, it’s impossible to reach a compromise that will please everyone involved.

The full comments of the Free Software Foundation have been published by the Copyright Office in pdf format.

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