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Posts tagged DMCA

Why we need an e-book DRM DMCA exemption
October 30, 2014 | 8:54 pm

It’s that time again. Ars Technica reports that the Copyright Office is accepting petitions on activities to exempt from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, making it legal to crack DRM for certain restricted purposes. We’ve reported on this procedure a few times over the last few years. The way it goes is that various people or organizations make proposals and the copyright office considers whether to grant them for the next three years. The exemptions then have to be requested again at the next session if they are to continue. Public Knowledge will be submitting requests to legalize...

Randy Queen backs down from DMCA threats against Escher Girls
August 6, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Here’s a quick update to yesterday’s story about Randy Queen using the DMCA to stifle Escher Girls’ criticism of his art. The Mary Sue reports that Queen has apologized and stood down his threats. He posted a public statement to his Facebook page in which he indicated a period of high stress in his personal life led him to lash out without thinking. Tumblr has restored the posts in question but the images are still absent. Hopefully they can get put back soon, too, given that their use was well within the bounds of criticism and commentary that have...

Comic book creator Randy Queen attempts to stifle criticism with DMCA, provokes Streisand Effect
August 5, 2014 | 7:26 am

If you don’t think you’re getting enough attention on the Internet, there’s a way to fix that. Though you probably won’t like the results. Every so often, you run across one of those “Streisand Effect” cases where someone decides to try to stifle criticism of themselves and it backfires in a big way. I thought I’d seen the most amusing possible example of that yesterday with this Ars Technica story about a hotel whose web site promised a $500 fine for negative Yelp reviews (they swore they were “just kidding,” but not before a major backlash brought them...

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...