Consultations on anti-circumvention exceptions in the U.S. and Australia have raised at least two circumvention rights that involve the right to circumvent to access concealed information contained in software code. In the U.S., there is a specific exception for circumvention to access the list of websites contained on "block lists" maintained by filtering companies, sometimes referred to as "censorware." Blocked access to these lists has been viewed as a free speech concern.
In Australia, Linux Australia recently requested a right to circumvent to investigate suspected copyright infringement. The group noted that open source developers would be unable to investigate suspected cases involving violations of open source software licensing agreements (which require users to make modifications available to the public) if the software vendor used a DRM system that blocked access to the underlying code. Without a circumvention right, attempts to circumvent the DRM to access the underlying code would constitute an infringement.
The commonality in these two cases is that there may be a public interest in gaining access to code that is concealed by DRM. Bill C-60 would have addressed this concern by only making it an infringement to circumvent for the purposes of copyright infringement. If that approach is abandoned, a general right of circumvention to access concealed information where there is a broader public interest concern at stake is needed.