Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Copywrong

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  • Stephen Marshall,

    If this is such a fabulous piece of legislation, where are the posts from the musicians claiming they can't live without it? Or the small record labels calling for the ability to imprison their customers?

    Sadly, from my reading of the TRIPS agreement and the WCT and WPPT this Bill is all about sucking up to the US in the hope of making some progress towards an NZ-US FTA (despite the Australian experience showing that up as being completely worthless or worse). Apart from some very minor cleaning up, the real meat in the Bill is the protection of TPMs and Rights Management Information, both of which are important provisions in the treaties. Once the Government gets this law passed, they can then accede to the WCT and WPPT and claim to be good little citizens of the WTO. The New Zealand voter is really a small player here.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    As an interesting background to this, and for anyone who thinks Microsoft is involved in most high-tech conspiracies, have a read of the Roughly Drafted article, The iTunes Vendor Lock In Myth.

    It gives one cause for thought. We may all be aiming at RIANZ, and rightly so, but there are other significant players with real commercial interests in seeing this bill gets through.

    Microsoft, if you weren't aware, has made it illegal to use any virtual technology for Vista machines if DRM technology is required. So you can have a couple of VMware/Wine/Parrallels etc. instances of Vista machines but if the apps you use need (do you know?) Microsoft DRM then you are prohibited from doing so.

    From the Vista license agreement :

    Use with Virtualization Technologies.

    You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.

    There is more at stake here than just legal access to different forms of media.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    Sadly, from my reading of the TRIPS agreement and the WCT and WPPT this Bill is all about sucking up to the US in the hope of making some progress towards an NZ-US FTA.

    Sadly, Stephen, I think you are 100% correct in your assessment. There is clearly no value for the NZ consumer/voter in the bill, so the primary motivation must be the delusion that an FTA with the US would result in some kind of economic benefit to the country. Yet the idea that the US agri-businesses will suddenly open their doors to NZ farmers is just .... beyond naive.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    Here's how easy it is to be a criminal under the new Bill.

    Let's say you go buy an audio CD from your local retailer, and it contains the current generation of DRM software on the CD. This is generally Windows-only, and relies on the auto-run feature in Windows to load the client software. Of course, being a smart consumer, you didn't wake up this morning thinking "I wish someone would invent a way for me to do less with my music", so you sensibly hold down the Shift key while inserting the CD. This disables the auto-run functionality, and you just defeated the DRM.

    Congratulations, you've now committed a criminal offence and are liable for a $150,000 fine and 5 years in jail.

    And remember, a key difference between this new Bill and the US DMCA is that the offence is criminal and not civil. So instead of the spectacle of the RIAA suing grandmothers, chidren and dead people to extract a few thousand dollars, we will have the RIANZ taking private prosecutions that result in a criminal conviction and criminal record.

    Gee, thanks Judith.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    So would that mean my company, which disables auto-run in group policy for security and anti-viral reasons, would be infringing (on a couple of thousand PCs); or does intent count? Are CEOs in the firing line for corporate breaches of the law? Could the head honcho be looking at jail time? Considering how IP sensitive the company is, that could be very ironic.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Clarke, I think you're OK with the shift key, because you're not defeating a TPM for commercial reasons?

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    So would that mean my company, which disables auto-run in group policy for security and anti-viral reasons, would be infringing (on a couple of thousand PCs); or does intent count?

    Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer - IANAL!

    However .... intent is obviously the first step. But it does emphasise how appallingly badly drafted the Bill is. If you disable auto-run for anti-virus reasons, you may well be in the clear. But if you decide not to play the CD on your PC, but load it onto your Mac as you know the DRM software is Windows-only (and therefore you had the intent of bypassing the TPM) are you potentially a criminal?

    And bear in mind how disproportionate the penalties are - if you get this wrong, you end up with a criminal conviction to your name. You get to spend the rest of your life explaining to Customs & Immigration people at every international airport how you were convicted for copying a CD to your iPod ....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    Clarke, I think you're OK with the shift key, because you're not defeating a TPM for commercial reasons?

    Nice try, Ben, but the Bill seems to work like this:

    s226: "TPM ... includes any process, treatment, mechanism, device or system that is designed in the normal course of its operation to prevent or inhibit the unauthorised exercise of any of the rights conferred by this Act." [emphasis mine]

    So clearly holding down the Shift key qualifies as a process designed to inhibit the TPM.

    s226A(1): "A person ... must not make, import, sell, list for hire, offer or expose for sale or hire, or advertise for sale or hire, a TPM spoiling device that applies to a technological protection measure if (the person) knows or has reason to believe that it will, or is likely to, be used to infringe copyright in a TPM work."

    This appears to get you off the hook ... but wait, there's more!

    "s226A(2): A person ... must not provide a service, including the publication of information, if --
    (a) the service or the information is intended to enable or assist persons to circumvent a technological protection measure; and
    (b) knows or has reason to believe that the service or the information will, or is likely to, be used to infringe copyright in a work that is protected by a technological protection measure." [emphasis mine]

    Presumably you can therefore keep the whole hold-the-shift-key-down thing to yourself, and avoid criminal conviction. But if you were to tell your girlfriend .... remember, there's no requirement that the service is a commercial one. Simply "publishing" the information by whatever form (verbal advice on the phone? E-mail to a mate having problems with his computer? Drunken conversation with work colleagues?) has the effect of invoking the penalties.

    Which, I guess, emphasises the batshit-crazy nature of the Bill:

    Girlfriend: "How do I get this &^%$% CD to play in my computer?!"
    You: "I'm sorry my darling, I can't tell you because of the criminal penalties contained in the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers Rights) Amendment Act 2007 ..."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Shunternz,

    Hard News: Copywrong

    Right now I pay $ for a CD and can play it on pretty much anything I like. The reduced price for downloaded music is supposed to recognise a considerably lower distribution cost, not fewer rights.

    It seems to me that all this discussion will go unnoticed by the powers that be and we can't have that. I'm new to this site so I may be sugessting something obvious and already underway but I wonder if we can't get an online petition happening. I got an email a few months back which I can't find but it was an online petition to be sent to an MP. Does any one know how / where to start one?

    Kapiti Coast, Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • matthewbuchanan,

    Does any one know how / where to start one?

    Try Petition Online...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    To rehash a tired old donkey:

    I subscribe to an EU focused information rights newsletter, and when I remember to read it they often have some interesting stuff.

    Here are some links for copyright:

    A US publisher's take on NZ and our copyright laws from 2007 - we are a "special mention" state.

    Note they really don't like the proposed TPM provisions -
    http://www.iipa.com/rbc/2007/2007SPEC301NEWZEALAND.pdf


    An indepth examination of the history of TPM legislation - I've only read part of it so far, and so far it is rather interesting.

    http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/I.Brown/anti-circ.pdf

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I was on Engadget today and found that they (or people associated with their site via forums) have created a campaign to boycott the RIAA for

    The website (and their mission)
    http://www.boycott-riaa.com/mission

    poster taking the piss out of the anti piracy clip on dvds:
    http://www.boycott-riaa.com/article/21485

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

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