DMCA

You may have heard of the extremely controversial Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed a few years ago in the US. Well, the EU passed a very similar law recently, the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations (EUCD), and the UK will start enforcing it from today. These snippets from this Guardian article some up the shit storm that is about to be released:

Since the beginning of November, new European copyright laws have started to limit access to some online material and have made downloading or copying certain things – even if they are solely for your personal use – a criminal offence. Devices that allow you to play legitimately acquired, but copy-protected, CDs or DVDs on your PC will be illegal and file sharers could face an unlimited fine or a jail term of up to two years.

Copyright had always focused on people infringing rights and making copies. This goes further and says that any kind of technology that can help you do that is now illegal. The record companies are trying all sorts of ways to try to prevent copying – such as releasing CDs that you can listen to on a hi-fi but can’t on a PC because it won’t read it. The EUCD says it is illegal to break those copyright mechanisms even if you do it for a perfectly valid reason. So, if you buy a CD and want to listen to it on your PC at work, which is quite legitimate, you can’t.

The ban on bypassing digital controls is so broad that it has been used to jail an employee of a competing Russian software company, threaten journalists and researchers over scientific publications, and prevent innovation and competition. With several bills to amend the DMCA pending before US Congress, the lesson of the US experience is to avoid passing overly broad circumvention bans such as the DMCA and EUCD.

Legal experts have expressed surprise that there has been no wider public debate on the directive. “There was a consultation in August 2002, when the Patent Office put out a series of proposals,” says Mark Owen, head of intellectual property at the law firm Harbottle & Lewis. “But that was only made available to people who knew about it already. While there isn’t really a consumers’ body that deals with that sort of thing, the fact that there has been absolutely no public debate is quite
astonishing.”

Over time it could change the whole nature of copyright and the way we buy and sell copyrighted works. Eventually you may realise that what you are getting is not a thing but some sort of licence to access a concept and that licence is limited in all sorts of ways.

Has the fact that this is going to happen been publicised? Has it bollocks. Just like the way the ban on using mobile phones whilst driving is going to be put into effect from the beginning of next month.

I understand the reasoning behind the later, it’ll make the roads safer for us all, but this music copyright issue is just getting out of hand. Read more on how copyright law has finally caught up with UK web users.

There is a point where seat posts fitted to bikes can just be too long. After this point is passed things look disproportional – the frame looks too small for the rider. This point may have been reached, click for the evidence.

How about Singletrack backgrounds for your WAP mobile phone. Any takers? Anyone?

Ni h-e la na baisti la na bpaisti

‘A rainy day isn’t a day for children’ . You can hopefully now get the local weather forecast, well local to Manchester anyway, from the link over on the right (or here).

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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