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Games Government Entertainment Politics

ECA Plans Games-Related DMCA Showdown 64

Gamespot is reporting that the Electronic Consumers Association (ECA) has picked its first legal fight since vowing to step up lobbying efforts. The organization is going head-to-head with the Electronic Software Association (ESA), a long-time backer of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), by coming out in favor of H.R. 1201 (also known as the Fair Use Act of 2007). "If it became law, the Fair Use Act would create a variety of exemptions to the DMCA's prohibitions on circumventing anti-piracy measures. The Fair Use Act would make it legal to bypass anti-piracy measures in a handful of situations, for personal archiving; for researching, critiquing, or reporting on works of substantial public interest (if that is the sole reason for the circumvention); or to skip commercial or personally objectionable content. It would also create an exemption in copyright law for people who make and distribute equipment used to bypass copyright protection (like modchips), provided the device 'is capable of substantial, commercially significant non-infringing use.'"
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ECA Plans Games-Related DMCA Showdown

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  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marcion ( 876801 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @05:35PM (#21134535) Homepage Journal
    It is pretty sad that this law is even needed (researching, critiquing and reporting should never ever not be allowed), but it is passes then it will reduce some of the madness.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
      "It is pretty sad that this law is even needed..."

      Well, we all know that $$$ speaks much louder than words, emails or handwritten letters to our congress-critters.

      > So, is there a fund set up yet, where all of us good, fair use minded citizens, can contribute money to pay off those lawmakers that will support this? Can we use this money to buy a lobbyist to get this to the attention of the lawmakers that we in the US actually WANT this law?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) *

        > So, is there a fund set up yet, where all of us good, fair use minded citizens, can contribute money to pay off those lawmakers that will support this? Can we use this money to buy a lobbyist to get this to the attention of the lawmakers that we in the US actually WANT this law?
        Yes [eff.org].
    • I feel the same way about a constitutional amendment being needed to protect free speech, but all the same, thank fucking God it's there.
      (PS: yay hitler)
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

        I feel the same way about a constitutional amendment being needed to protect free speech, but all the same, thank fucking God it's there.,

        There's also a constitutional amendment requiring warrants for any sort of search of person or property and another one that says no locking someone up without a demonstration of probable cause (habeas corpus).

        Those amendments aren't doing us much good at the moment, are they? There's no telling how much more damage to the Constitution a certain jug-eared dry drunk is

    • In spite of my inclination toward cynicism, the proposed Fair Use Act sounds like one of the best things that could happen to copyright law lately. DRM would no longer exist as a loophole for content producers trying to bar their consumers from fair use, and ordinary people would not be vulnerable to lawsuits for backing up their iTunes libraries. Overall, I think that this act would help alleviate some of the present contradictions in IP law.
  • Gogo H.R 1201!
    We need this.

    How about writing your house reps?
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @05:47PM (#21134651) Homepage Journal
    Ok games related stub, but i'm going to use karaoke as an example since that's what I work with.

    Karaoke fair use is a subject of hot debate between singers, KJ's (Karaoke Jocks) and karaoke manufactuers. Basically guys like me (1 man shows) are considered "commercial". Therefore fair use doesn't apply to us. This whole argument extends not just to karaoke, but music and gaming as well.

    Ok from the karaoke anti-piracy agency faq.
    http://www.karaokeantipiracyagency.com/faq.html [karaokeant...agency.com]

    Am I allowed to make a copy of my discs for archive purposes?
    This is one of the most confusing issues involving copyrighted music. It is also one of the arguments often presented by those who want to break the copyright laws. This entire issue revolves around the definition of the class of copyrighted material. By law, you are permitted to make an archive copy of "Software" class copyrighted material. However, music (including Karaoke CDGs) is part of the "Phonorecord" class of copyrighted materials. Archive copies are not permitted in this class. So, no, you may not make an archive copy of your Karaoke discs.


    Some of the most prominent karaoke companies want to see the practice of PC based karaoke outlawed. Doesn't matter if you're pirating or not.

    Now for a counterpoint from an IP lawyer.
    http://ipjustice.org/wp/2007/02/22/karaoke_legal_myths/ [ipjustice.org]
    TRUTH: While a commercial use weighs against fair use, copyright law permits copying a CDG disc in a number of commercial circumstances. Commercial use, does not by itself, determine if it is an illegal use.

    I'm all for a new law that promotes fair use, but the one question I have in mind is will it protect guys like me. Will fair use extend to both personal and "Commerical".
    • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @06:00PM (#21134785) Homepage Journal
      From a layman's reading, it doesn't look like there is anything for ya in this bill. This bill doesn't do anything about clarifying what is or is not fair use, it only corrects the absence of legal use exemptions from the DMCA.

      The bill has 3 primary parts. First is a requirement for retail packaging of DRM'd software (specifically music and digital books on CDs) to include a DRM warning label that identifies that the media contains a DRM security system and may not work in all players. Second is a requirement for a follow up report 2 years after the bill has been passed. And Third is the corrections to the DMCA. That part consists of:

      (a) Scientific Research- Subsections (a)(2)(A) and (b)(1)(A) of section 1201 of title 17, United States Code, are each amended by inserting after `title' in subsection (a)(2)(A) and after `thereof' in subsection (b)(1)(A) the following: `unless the person is acting solely in furtherance of scientific research into technological measures'.

                  (b) Fair Use Restoration- Section 1201(c) of title 17, United States Code, is amended--

                              (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the period at the end the following: `and it is not a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in order to obtain access to the work for purposes of making noninfringing use of the work'; and

                              (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

                              `(5) Except in instances of direct infringement, it shall not be a violation of the Copyright Act to manufacture or distribute a hardware or software product capable of substantial noninfringing uses.'.
      -Rick
  • with ?

    we are gamers. we are people who have opinions, and we act on them. if you annoy us by "RIAAing" whatever we hold dear and like, annoy our community sites or sour our gaming fun on the internet or any place, we will make sure that whichever jerkados involved in this "showdown" gets their show down in the next title they put out to the market.

    consider yourself warned.
    • we are gamers. we are people who have opinions, and we act on them.

      I would be hard pressed to think of a less frightening scenario than pissing off a bunch of gamers.

      • The truth is that Gamers are lazy. If we weren't, we'd be outside pretending to do what we do in video games.

        If you can motivate a gamer to act they are a force to be reckoned with.
        • by UserGoogol ( 623581 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @08:40PM (#21135905)
          Yeah, one of these days I need to get off my ass and start killing people for real.
        • by Godman ( 767682 )
          You are so entirely correct. In fact, just this morning as I skydived from a plane into the middle of a battle and single handedly defeated the enemy with nothing but a pistol and a medkit I was thinking something similar.

          The thought began to grow when I left the battle in my car, cruising 200 mph around the streets of downtown manhattan and shooting policemen. I think there were hookers.

          But alas, I had to put this thought on hold... ALIEN INVASION!

          I jumped into my 1000 pound battle suit and charged up my s
          • You're forgetting that before video games kids played cops and robbers and the like. Without the video games kids would do the same.

            Older people want to have some fun and if they don't play video games they go sky diving or bungee jumping. Or they learn to fly a plane. Or they take one of those race car driving classes.

            You may think that you're being funny or making a point but if you step back and look at the reality of it all you'd see that you're close to the truth, and you'd be a lot closer if you
      • because this bunch of gamers are the customers of the gaming companies. if they cant sell, they cant keep up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

          because this bunch of gamers are the customers of the gaming companies.

          Gamers, as all other Slashdot demographics, are genetically incapable of boycott: "I will not ever buy from Valve again! I will not ever buy from Valve again! I will not... hey, wait, the cake is a lie! Shiny!"

          Say what you want, but you know it's true.

          • we are not capable of, but dislike mass boycotts or similar stuff unless there is a real big thing going on, like the net neutrality thing. but, we have strong opinions and act on them. just think about linux/ms, open/closed source and so on. think about consolers and pc gamers.

            we dont go boycott, we silently make preferences. it affects things eventually.
      • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )

        I would be hard pressed to think of a less frightening scenario than pissing off a bunch of gamers.
        Congratulations! You have passed the "Not Jack Thompson" Turing Test.

        (He thinks we want to kill him and that games have trained us in the skills to do so. <vox name="Dirk Ruddy">But that's only mostly true.</vox>)
        • Gamers do wanna kill him. They do have the skills to do so. There is just no time to get anything done or get anyone organized. People got raids to take care of and instances and whatever.
      • I would be hard pressed to think of a less frightening scenario than pissing off a bunch of gamers.


        Not if you're a game publisher/developer.

    • we are gamers. we are people who have opinions, and we act on them.
      We are the people that Jack Thompson warned you about.
  • They may as well push to retract the DMCA. The only thing(s) left really are the take-down notices which are known to be wildly abused. And just about anything else could be deemed to fit under the exemptions stipulated by 1201. But hell, if 1201 passes (which I seriously doubt... we're NEVER that lucky as consumers) it would be a seriously good day for the makers of Mod chips and copying technology.

    • by Kesch ( 943326 )
      Actually there will still be the safe harbor provisions which I suppose are sort of related to the take down notices.
  • Am I reading this wrong?

    "The Fair Use Act would make it legal to bypass anti-piracy measures"..."to skip commercial or personally objectionable content"

    well I find DRM personally objectionable, so if I lived in the US I could legally bypass all of it? :)
    • I'd say "personal archiving" would fit the bill, since you are a person and you are archiving it (never mind that said archive is your $MP3_PLAYER)
    • by clemdoc ( 624639 )
      Nice idea. I doubt however, that DRM would be considered 'content'.
      • I doubt however, that DRM would be considered 'content'.

        If it's in the box when you bought it, it's "content". IANAL, but if it's encoded in a tiny pit, with value to either you or the distributor, it's content.

        Clue armchair lawyers/actual lawyers in 3...2...1...

  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @05:51PM (#21134701) Homepage Journal
    This bill has been "Referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection" for over 2 and a half years. Kudos to these guys for stepping up the lobbying, but call me when something actually happens.

    -Rick
  • With that kind of backing maybe fair-dealing provisions in US copyright won't become exinct! We need that up here in Canada as well, before we get our own DMCA. The mainstream media industries are stepping up their lobby to bring us in-line with DMCA so if we can get some protections in place before that happens it would be great.

    Anyways, with this new bill, I'd interpret it as meaning that DeCSS encryption needed to make practical use of our DVD players in Linux machines would no longer be contraban in t
    • The ECA is not an industry group, they're the Entertainment Consumers Association. Check the link above...

      The whole point of them getting involved here is to show that it's the legitimate consumers that are being harmed by these practices.

  • Copyright (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @05:56PM (#21134737)
    I was at a Librarian IT conference and attended a seminar on copyright. They brought up a good point that if the modern restrictions on copyright had existed at the advent of the printing press or even at the advent of the book, we would not have libraries.

    Preservation and access to information is the primary concern of society. Copyright is a temporary concession granted to creators to enable wider spread of information. It has morphed into a tool to protect a particular business model. DRM is insidious because it impeded archiving attempts and the DMCA is even worse because it makes such circumvention illegal. The expiry of a copyright should also expire any protection the DMCA grants and the copy right should expire in a more sensible term then 99 years.

    "Thus, no one shall do to Disney what Disney did to the Brothers Grimm." -Lessig

    It should be notable that most creative works build on top of existing works, like how Disney drew a lot of content and inspiration from the brothers grimm. So the current culture of copyright severely impeded creativity.

    So if we wish to preserve content or if we wish for more creativity, it's important to place more meaningful limitations on copyright and to view copyright for what it is intended to be not what corporate interest want it to be.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "The expiry of a copyright should also expire any protection the DMCA grants"

      Unless I am greatly mistaken (obligatory IANAL disclaimer), the DMCA provides that circumvention of mechanisms used to protect a copryighted work is illegal. By very definition, at the expiry of copyright, protection granted by the DMCA also expires, (as the DMCA does not outlaw circumventing protections placed on a work in the public domain).

      Of course, whether or not it will be PRACTICAL to circumvent such mechanisms... or whethe
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by quanticle ( 843097 )

        Right. The issue is that, with the lifetimes of modern media being not that long, we might get to a point where even if you were around in 2100 there might not be any legal copies of LotR to break the encryption on. That's where the issue about breaking encryption for the purposes of personal archiving comes in.

      • This is true.

        However, the DMCA also makes systems for breaking copyright protection illegal (except in certain, very narrowly-defined, circumstances). So even if it was 70 years from now, and you had a now public domain copy of LoTR (and, somehow, the copyright term hadn't been extended to 150 years by Congress), you could still get in trouble for having a copy of DeCSS around because there'd still probably be a big body of works around that were still in copyright and using that as protection.

        That's the so
    • "Thus, no one shall do to Disney what Disney did to the Brothers Grimm." -Lessig

      That brings to mind an interesting approach to the unreasonable term extensions: if your work is based on any previous works, your copyright lasts no more than the time from the creation to your use of the most recent work you used. This would apply regardless of when the work was made, so it would mainly affect companies like Disney who had a huge amount of recent public domain material to derive from, without any obligations t
    • by ricegf ( 1059658 )

      One thing that has always bugged me about closed source software. Society grants a copyright "securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". However, if the source code isn't published, then society has no means by which to benefit from the software once copyright expires. Society has granted the temporary monopoly, but doesn't get the use of the work once the monopoly expires.

      Seems like a raw deal on society's part to me.

      Just m

      • One thing that has always bugged me about closed source software. Society grants a copyright "securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". However, if the source code isn't published, then society has no means by which to benefit from the software once copyright expires. Society has granted the temporary monopoly, but doesn't get the use of the work once the monopoly expires.

        Closed source software is sort of like how the state of tech
    • "Thus, no one shall do to Disney what Disney did to the Brothers Grimm." -Lessig

      It should be notable that most creative works build on top of existing works, like how Disney drew a lot of content and inspiration from the brothers grimm. So the current culture of copyright severely impeded creativity.

      Interesting enough, the Brother's Grimm may have "Disneyfied" the originals. This weeks straightdope draws the originals as pretty gruesome [straightdope.com]

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @06:18PM (#21134947)
    Great! I find Personally Objectionable all the commercials, non-skippable FBI warnings, copyright notices and all the other crap you have to sit through before (or during) a movie on DVD or TV.
  • Is there a paypal donation I can add some funding to, after all, among the politicians and lobbyists, money talks....

    I do agree with some previous posters that the fua2007 (Fair Use Act of 2007) should not be needed, but unfortunately in the over litigious environment we live in here, its necessary to push hard for getting our rights back.
    • Just an odd comment... It's FAIR USE Act of 2007, not Fair Use Act of 2007... FAIR USE is itself an acronym.
  • What the hell? Who are these Electronic Consumers? What size batteries do they run on? How the hell did they become associated?

    And what can a normal human do to stop them?

    My mom needs her medicine, I'm sure that's what these robots are really after.

  • This bill is at least a step in the right direction. It at least gives us back some of the fair use we had before the DMCA and explicitly gives us a more than what we had. Now, if we can take it a step further and say outlaw DRM all together.
  • DRM expiry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday October 26, 2007 @07:21PM (#21135367) Homepage
    I would like to see an obligation for any corporation that releases (sells) anything that it DRM 'protected' to have to lodge an unencumbered copy with an appropriate national library. When the copyright expires the library will then make the unencumbered copy available to the public.

    I will probably not see these copies released in my lifetime, but we must act to prevent these things being locked up for ever.

    • Re:DRM expiry (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @08:02PM (#21135657) Homepage
      Maybe there is: [copyright.gov]

      What is mandatory deposit?
      Mandatory deposit (17 U.S.C. section 407) requires the owner of copyright or of the exclusive right of distribution to deposit in the U.S. Copyright Office for the use of the Library of Congress two complete copies of the best edition within 3 months after a work is published. Copies of all works under copyright protection that have been published or distributed in the United States must be deposited with the Copyright Office within 3 months of the date of first publication. (See Copyright Office Circular 7d, Mandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords for the Library of Congress, and the Deposit Regulation 202.19.) Electing not to register your copyright in the work with the Copyright Office does not exempt you from the mandatory deposit provision of the law.

      We are a foreign publisher. Do we need to submit our publication to comply with the U.S. deposit requirement?
      Yes. If you distribute your work in the United States, you are subject to the deposit requirements of the United States. These requirements apply to a work that is first published in a foreign country as soon as that work is distributed in the United States through the distribution of copies that are either imported or are part of an American edition. The deposit requirement is one copy.
  • ...because the DMCA is a law protecting the protection system, the means of copying themselves. Either you control the means of copying, or you don't. If you allow legal circumvention tools, then you don't. That's effectively no protection at all, and you're back to traditional copyright law of trying to catch them after the actual copying has taken place rather than trying to stop the means themselves. While that might be good, I doubt you can sneak it in by creating exceptions which would make the whole s
  • by jhfry ( 829244 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @10:39PM (#21136749)
    Here's what I wrote to mine:

    Dear Sir,

    As my congressional representative and fellow U of D Graduate, I would encourage your support for HR 1201: Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007.

    This bill amends some serious issues in past legislation regarding the copying of copyrighted materials that include some form of copy protection measures.

    It has always been a concern for the producers and publishers of audio, visual, print, and other copyright works that the public will violate their copyright and illegally distribute their product. Finally, in the "information age" technology exists which allow these copyright owners to attempt to protect their work.

    History has shown, repeatedly, that these copy protection measures are not only inadequate, but can often cause limitations for legitimate use of the product. For example, I would like to create a "scratch copy" of my legitimately purchased DVD's for my children to use, or copy my music collection to my portable music player or computer.

    Both of these actions are considered "fair use" by copyright law. But more recent laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), have made it illegal to bypass the copy protection measures that have become commonplace on modern media (CD, DVD, software, etc.).

    Essentially, the bill I encourage you to support would decriminalize the act of bypassing these copy protection measures so that the copyrighted work might be used for legal purposes as defined by copyright law.

    I realize that the copyright holders will argue that these measures prevent mass distribution (piracy) of the protected works. However, time has shown that these measures do not deter those interested in piracy and are easily bypassed. Therefore, the only thing they actually achieve is to prevent honest customers from using the product as allowed by fair use.

    One example I would like to provide is one regularly faced by educators. If a teacher would like to create a multimedia presentation that includes clips from movies, songs, or even text from an electronic book (an use that is clearly allowed under copyright law), they must first bypass copy protection measures on all of their sources... an act which requires the use of software or hardware that is illegal to produce, distribute, and use. HR 1201 resolves this discrepancy.

    Thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of myself and all of those you represent.

    Truly,

    Joe Fry


    Grammer Nazi's have fun with this, the rest of you feel free to modify it and send it to your representative:

    First get the +4 for your zipcode: http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp [usps.com]
    Then visit: http://www.house.gov/writerep/ [house.gov]
  • Is there anything in there that helps the laptop user? I mean, you can squeeze your entire music collection into a match-box sized media player, but if you want to play games on the road you're expected to carry your collection with you....
    • Usuaally you can image the disk as a *.iso image and use tools like "Daemontools" to mount the CD image when you want to play. It works well for me for several games I like.

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