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Posts tagged DMCA

Dropbox uses file hashes to comply with DMCA requests. So what?
April 2, 2014 | 2:50 am

Surprise! Dropbox has anti-piracy measures in place. You’ve probably seen the stories by now. When you right-click that file on your drive and ask for a public link that you can share so your friend can download it, Dropbox runs a hash on the file—it basically takes the file’s fingerprint by assigning a specific character to particular bits. If it finds that hash matches a list of hashes that have been declared verboten by DMCA request, it tells you that you can’t share it. (Likewise, it hashes files so that it can save space by only storing one copy of...

Tarantino suit of Gawker over link to leaked script may be capitalizing on Streisand Effect
February 3, 2014 | 12:40 pm

tarantinoQuentin Tarantino got so upset that someone leaked a copy of the script for his next movie, The Hateful Eight, online that he announced he would not be making that movie after all. He got further upset when he found out that celebrity/tech news site Gawker’s “Defamer” blog actually linked to file locker sites where the script could be downloaded. So, he is now suing Gawker. Tarantino’s suit claims that Gawker itself posted the leaked script to those sites, which Gawker editor John Cook insists is false. In the end, the suit comes down to “contributory copyright infringement”—the same...

Major cell phone companies agree to implement unlocking of paid-off phones
December 12, 2013 | 6:30 pm

Here’s good news for all those who do their e-reading on their smartphones or cellular-enabled tablets. Ars Technica reports that major carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular have “voluntarily” committed to unlocking customers’ phones or tablets so they can be moved to other networks once their contracts have been paid off. (Prepaid phones would be unlocked no later than one year after their original purchase.) In July 2010, we reported that a DMCA exemption for cell phone unlocking and jailbreaking had gone into effect. However, that exemption only lasted for two and a half years, expiring...

Lego Mindstorms + Kindle + Laptop = E-book Scanner
September 7, 2013 | 6:47 pm

Fullscreen capture 972013 54201 PMPaging Rube Goldberg… Found via BoingBoing, Arik Hesseldahl has a report at AllThingsD about an Austrian university professor who has used a Lego Mindstorm kit to hack together an e-book de-DRM scanner out of his Kindle and his laptop. Professor Peter Pergathofer built a Lego device that keys the page down button on the Kindle, then the space bar on the computer, to take a picture of one Kindle page at a time. The computer then submits the picture to a text recognition service to OCR it into a text file. Pergathofer created the project to protest against...

Ownshelf e-book sharing system seems pointless
July 9, 2013 | 10:05 pm

ownshelfMediabistro’s AppNewser has a report on a new service called “Ownshelf,” at which we looked briefly last December. The idea behind Ownshelf is that it lets you set up your own lending library for e-books you can share with friends. AppNewser calls it a “Dropbox for e-books.” Of course, the terms of service specify you can’t do this with books that you don’t have permission to share, which limits it pretty much to public-domain and other free titles, making it a pretty toothless “library”. What, exactly, is the benefit of sharing public-domain books through a system like this when...

Congress to Consider DMCA Anti-Circumvention Reform…But Probably Not Very Hard
May 9, 2013 | 10:40 pm

Well, it’s that time of decade again. Someone in Congress has finally—or, rather, once again—taken note of how the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions step all over consumer rights and introduced legislation to try to balance the scales. Ars Technica reports that three Democrats and a Republican, including California rep Zoe Lofgren, have introduced the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013. This act would rewrite the anti-circumvention provision to make DRM-breaking illegal only if it’s done in order to “facilitate the infringement of a copyright.” Non-infringing uses, such as ripping DVDs, unlocking cell phones, and so on, would presumably be allowed....

Unlocking Cellular Devices Became Illegal Today
January 26, 2013 | 4:00 pm

How to unlock iPhone 5  By Keaton Keller A while ago, I thought that cellphone carriers were unaware that consumers could buy a phone for the contract price and then use it anywhere unrestricted. Then, after a while I learned this wasn’t the case and that carriers had every possible loophole filled in. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a bill to hinder hackers from wandering away from their device’s service provider, will now include an additional rule stating that unlocking phones will be deemed illegal. Keep in mind, people will do it and in the past we’ve seen the U.S. Government do something like this before. Jailbreaking, the act...

Copyright Office considers DVD-cracking DMCA exemptions
May 19, 2012 | 2:30 am

I mentioned yesterday that as part of the Copyright Office’s 3-year DMCA exemption hearings, the office would hear arguments on whether to permit cracking the CSS encryption on DVDs. Although it doesn’t directly have anything to do with e-books, I found this coverage by Ars Technica/Wired of the CSS issue interesting enough to bring up in a general DRM-related sense. As with the last go-round, one of the proposals was to allow filmmakers and other clip-users to decrypt DVDs so as to excerpt clips for use in films and for other fair uses. This use was authorized last time,...

Jailbreaking DMCA exemption likely to be renewed
May 18, 2012 | 3:57 am

Wired’s Threat Level blog has some coverage of the latest hearing in the current round of U.S. Copyright Office DMCA exemption hearings. Topics argued today included the iPhone jailbreaking exception, cracking CSS on DVDs, cracking the protections on video game consoles, Prospects look poor for cracking video game consoles (sadly for PlayStation hacker George Hotz), but good for the jailbreaking exemption. Apple, which argued last time around that jailbreaking would destroy its business model and open cell phone towers to sabotage, was nowhere to be found at this meeting after its business model turned out to remain notably...

Universal responds to Megaupload allegations in viral video takedown
December 13, 2011 | 12:06 pm

The saga of the Megaupload viral video takedown just got weirder. Universal has responded that several of the artists portrayed in the video did not consent to appearing in it, and Techdirt reports featured artist will.i.am filed a takedown notice of his own for that reason. Megaupload insists that it has contracts for all artists and material featured in the video, so someone on one side or the other is obviously either lying or mistaken. I do wonder why those artists allowed Megaupload to film them singing its praises if they didn’t want Megaupload to use what it filmed....

Allegedly fraudulent Universal DMCA takedown notice raises questions about DMCA, SOPA
December 11, 2011 | 12:17 pm

This story might need to be taken with a grain of salt based on its sources, but it could have some serious implications if true. Megaupload, like Rapidshare, is a cyber-locker site where people can upload files of any kind for others to download. Many of those files are illicitly-copied commercial material, which naturally gives Hollywood, record labels, and publishers (after all, this material does include both e-books and audiobooks) conniptions. Recently, a number of music celebrities recorded a music video in support of Megaupload. This was considered a newsworthy event, and covered by a number of places, but...

Library of Congress to consider granting DMCA exemptions again
October 27, 2011 | 12:15 pm

It’s time for the tri-yearly circus to kick off again. Ars Technica reports that it’s just about time for the Library of Congress to consider granting exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s DRM anti-circumvention provisions. This process comes every three years, and the exemptions last only until the next exemption granting—which means that even already-granted exemptions have to be requested and argued again. The last go-round resulted in six exemptions, including allowing circumvention for incorporating clips into new works for purpose of criticism or comment, including educational purposes. (Apparently the MPAA’s suggestion that professors should just point a...