Post Tagged with: "anti-circumvention"

Ficsor Attacks: WIPO Treaty Architect Still Fighting Lost Policy Battle

CRIA lobbyist Barry Sookman's blog is home this week to a guest post from Mihály Ficsor, a well-known international copyright author who is the former Assistant Director General of WIPO.  Ficsor is closely associated with the creation of the WIPO Internet treaties and today works with the International Intellectual Property Alliance, the leading U.S. copyright lobby representing the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, and other groups.  Unlike Bruce Lehman, another leading creator of the WIPO Internet treaties who has acknowledged that they (along with the resulting DMCA) have been a policy failure, Ficsor remains determined to fight for his baby. 

The post is filled with remarkable vitriol toward those arguing for balanced copyright, with Ficsor warning of "free access revolutionaries" and against Canada becoming "an isolated hostage and victim of demagogue campaigns organized in the hatred-driven style of Maoist Guards as during that other brilliant 'cultural revolution.'"  Most reasonable readers will likely dismiss the post on that basis alone.  For those willing to look beyond it, however, the key question is whether the WIPO Internet treaties requires a prohibition on the distribution and manufacture of circumvention devices.  Ficsor argues that they do, stating:

The allegation that the two Treaties do not require protection against the manufacture and distribution of unauthorized circumvention devices is completely groundless. The negotiation history of the Treaties clearly indicates that, although their anti-circumvention provisions finally used a more general language, they had been based on proposals extending to the prohibition of such activities.

While it is true that the initial U.S. proposals (which led to the WIPO Committee proposed language) targeted circumvention devices, the negotiation history actually shows that there was not consensus support for this language. 

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December 22, 2009 41 comments News

The ACTA Internet Chapter: Putting the Pieces Together

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations continue in a few hours as Seoul, Korea plays host to the latest round of talks.  The governments have posted the meeting agenda, which unsurprisingly focuses on the issue of Internet enforcement [UPDATE 11/4: Post on discussions for day two of ACTA talks, including the criminal enforcement provisions][UPDATE 11/5: Post on discussions for day three on transparency].  The United States has drafted the chapter under enormous secrecy, with selected groups granted access under strict non-disclosure agreements and other countries (including Canada) given physical, watermarked copies designed to guard against leaks.

Despite the efforts to combat leaks, information on the Internet chapter has begun to emerge (just as they did with the other elements of the treaty). [Update 11/6: Source document now posted]  Sources say that the draft text, modeled on the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement, focuses on following five issues:

1.   Baseline obligations inspired by Article 41 of the TRIPs which focuses on the enforcement of intellectual property.

2.   A requirement to establish third-party liability for copyright infringement.

3.   Restrictions on limitations to 3rd party liability (ie. limited safe harbour rules for ISPs).  For example, in order for ISPs to qualify for a safe harbour, they would be required establish policies to deter unauthorized storage and transmission of IP infringing content.  Provisions are modeled under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, namely Article 18.10.30.  They include policies to terminate subscribers in appropriate circumstances.  Notice-and-takedown, which is not currently the law in Canada nor a requirement under WIPO, would also be an ACTA requirement.

4.   Anti-circumvention legislation that establishes a WIPO+ model by adopting both the WIPO Internet Treaties and the language currently found in U.S. free trade agreements that go beyond the WIPO treaty requirements.  For example, the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement specifies the permitted exceptions to anti-circumvention rules.  These follow the DMCA model (reverse engineering, computer testing, privacy, etc.) and do not include a fair use/fair dealing exception.  Moreover, the free trade agreement clauses also include a requirement to ban the distribution of circumvention devices.  The current draft does not include any obligation to ensure interoperability of DRM.

5.   Rights Management provisions, also modeled on U.S. free trade treaty language.

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November 3, 2009 306 comments News

Study Finds Canadian C-61 Anti-Circumvention Provisions Unconstitutional

A new academic article published in the Journal of Information Law and Technology by Professor Emir Aly Crowne-Mohammed and Yonatan Rozenszajn, both from the University of Windsor, concludes that the anti-circumvention provisions found in Bill C-61 were unconstitutional.  The authors argue that the DRM provisions were "a poorly veiled attempt […]

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October 27, 2009 12 comments News

CFHSS Issues Call for Copyright Action

The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) has issued a Call for Action on the current copyright consultation.  The CFHSS, which made up of 69 scholarly associations, 75 universities and colleges and 7 affiliates, as well as more than 50,000 scholars, students and practitioners across Canada, focuses […]

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August 16, 2009 8 comments Must Reads

Apple Claims Unlocking iPhone Violates the DMCA

Apple has filed a response to the U.S. Copyright Office's review of the DMCA exceptions that argues that unlocking the iPhone infringes copyright and violates the DMCA.  The applicability of anti-circumvention legislation to cellphone unlocking was a major issue under Bill C-61.

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February 13, 2009 9 comments Must Reads