Post Tagged with: "30 days of drm"

30 Days of DRM – Day 02: Region Coding (Markets)

DVDs are a good example of a consumer product that contains several types of TPMs.  Many DVDs include Macrovision (designed to stop copying a DVD to VHS), Content Scramble System or CSS (the subject of important litigation involving DeCSS, a software program created to allow Linux users to play DVDs since they were otherwise unable to do so due to CSS), and region coding.  I think the region coding issue is of particular concern and should be the subject of a specific exception within anti-circumvention legislation.

The premise behind region coding is fairly straight-forward. With DVD region coding, the world is divided into eight regions (Canada and the U.S. form Region One).  Consumer electronics manufacturers have agreed to respect region coding within their products by ensuring that DVD players only play DVDs from a single region.  The net effect is that Canadian-purchased DVDs will play on Canadian-bought DVD players, but DVDs purchased in Europe, Australia, or Asia (all different regions), are unlikely to work on those same DVD players (with the exception of those DVDs that are region coded zero, which can be played worldwide).  The is also true for playing the DVDs on a personal computer – my Macintosh will only allow a limited number of region changes.

Note that the use of region coding has nothing to do with traditional notions of copyright law.  The underlying work may involve a copyrighted work – DVDs and video games regularly use region coding – yet the protection is designed to manipute markets by restricting the ability to use fully authorized copies of works.

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August 20, 2006 22 comments News

30 Days of DRM – Day One: Linking Copyright and Anti-Circumvention (Markets)

I need to begin day one with a couple of introductory issues for those new to copyright reform.  When I speak of a Canadian DMCA, I am focused chiefly on anti-circumvention legislation.  The forthcoming bill will likely contain many other provisions (few of which will address the needs of users and many creators) but it is the anti-circumvention provisions that will likely prove to be the most contentious.

So what are anti-circumvention provisions?  They are provisions that grant legal protection to technological protection measures (TPMs).  In plainer English, traditional copyright law grants creators a basket of exclusive rights in their work.  TPMs or digital locks (such as anti-copying technologies on CDs) effectively provide a second layer of protection by making it difficult for most people to copy works in digital format.  Anti-circumvention legislation creates a third layer of protection by making it an infringement to simply pick or break the digital lock (in fact, it even goes further by making it an infringement to make available tools or devices that can be used to pick the digital lock).  Under the DMCA, it is an infringement to circumvent a TPM even if the intended use of the underlying work would not constitute traditional copyright infringement.

This broad legal protection for TPMs has raised numerous issues over the past eight years.

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August 19, 2006 7 comments News

30 Days of DRM

Many people are still in summer mode, but the Canadian copyright rumour mill suggests that there is a lot happening behind the scenes with a copyright bill quite possibly a top priority once the fall session begins in 31 days.  While there was much to criticize about Bill C-60 (the […]

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August 18, 2006 10 comments News