The Copyright Office's DMCA-defanging is nice, but man, there are: So. Many. Hoops to jump through

Yesterday's Copyright Office ruling on when you are allowed to break DRM went further than any such ruling in the DMCA's 20-year history, and that's swell, but when you drill into the ruling, it's still a flaming pile of garbage. Read the rest

The Copyright Office just greenlit a suite of DRM-breaking exemptions to the DMCA

Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act bans bypassing "access controls" for copyrighted works -- that is, breaking DRM. Read the rest

Behold! The Library of Congress's audacious plan to digitize and share the nation's treasures

The Library of Congress has published its latest digital strategy, laying out a bold plan to "exponentially grow" its collections through digital acquisitions; "maximize the use of content" by providing machine-readable rights data and using interoperable formats and better search; to support data-driven research with giant bulk-downloadable corpuses of materials and metadata; to improve its website; to syndicate Library assets to other websites; to crowdsource the acquisition of new materials; to experiment with new tools and techniques; and to preserve digital assets with the same assiduousness that the Library has shown with its physical collection for centuries. Read the rest

EFF and iFixit are hosting a Reddit AMA on jailbreaking TOMORROW at 11AM Pacific

Join me, EFF attorney Kit Walsh and iFixit's Kyle Wiens -- along with special guests! -- in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session tomorrow (Thursday) from 11AM-3PM Pacific; we'll be talking about the upcoming Copyright Office hearings on creating exceptions to the DMCA to make room for independent repair and security research. We'll be live here at 11AM tomorrow! Pass it on. Read the rest

To do in LA, April 24: come hear from the people fighting for Right to Repair, freedom to tinker and the right to know

Update: due to popular demand, we've moved to a bigger space! We'll be at UCLA Moore Hall, Room 3340 (Reading Room), 457 Portola Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095. There's 20 new spaces open: RSVP today!

A law intended to stop people from making off-brand DVD players now means that security researchers can’t warn you about dangers from the cameras in your bedroom; that mechanics can’t fix your car; and that your printer won’t take third party ink. Read the rest

The Copyright Office is spending the year deciding technology's future, but the future doesn't get a seat at the table

Every three years, the US Copyright Office creates temporary exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ban on breaking DRM, provided that people can show that they've been prevented from doing something customary and legitimate with their own property. Read the rest

EFF tells the Copyright Office: we don't know how to make voice assistants better, but here's how not to make them worse

Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks for proposals for exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM; in 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation won a broad "jailbreaking" exemption to modify the firmware of phones and tablets; this year, we're asking for that permission to be extended to smart speakers like Alexa/Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePods, and the smaller players in the market. Read the rest

EFF will tell the Copyright Office (again) to protect your right to remix, study and tinker

Every three years, the US Copyright Office has to ask America about all the ways in which Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which bans bypassing DRM, even for legitimate reasons) interferes with our lives, and then it grants limited exemptions based on the results. Read the rest

What's wrong with the Copyright Office's DRM study?

This month's US Copyright Office study on Section 1201 of the DMCA identified many problems with America's DRM laws, which ban bypassing DRM even when no copyright infringement takes place. Read the rest

Leaked Inspector General's report reveals millions lost to incompetence and waste at the US Copyright Office

A leaked report from the Inspector General reveals that the US Copyright Office blew $11.6m trying to buy a computer system that should have cost $1.1m (they ended up canceling the project after spending the money and no computers were purchased in the end), then lied to Congress and the Library of Congress to cover up its errors. Read the rest

When the FCC asked about unlocking set-top boxes, the Copyright Office ran to the MPAA

It's been more than 20 years since Congress told the FCC that it should do something about the cable and satellite companies' monopolies over set-top boxes (American households spend more than $200/year to rent these cheap, power-hungry, insecure, badly designed, trailing edge, feature-starved boxes), but it wasn't until this year that the FCC announced its Unlock the Box order and asked for comments. Read the rest

The Copyright Office wants your comments on whether it should be illegal to fix your own stuff

Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, a law passed in 1998, people who fix things can be sued (and even jailed!) for violating copyright law, if fixing stuff involves bypassing some kind of copyright lock; this has incentivized manufacturers so that fixing your stuff means breaking this law, allowing them to decide who gets to fix your stuff and how much you have to pay to have it fixed. Read the rest

The US Copyright Office is the poster child for regulatory capture

Public Knowledge's new report, Captured: Systemic Bias at the US Copyright Office makes a beautifully argued, perfectly enraging case that the US Copyright Office does not serve the public interest, but rather, hands out regulatory favors to the entertainment industry. Read the rest

EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA's DRM provisions

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the "Digital Rights Management" provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices. Read the rest

Modern Farmer on how the DMCA takes away farmers' rights over their tractors

In spring, 2015, American farmers started to spread the word that John Deere claimed that a notorious copyright law gave the company exclusive dominion over repairs to Deere farm-equipment, making it a felony (punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense) to fix your own tractor. Read the rest

Brewster Kahle for Librarian of Congress!

The Library of Congress is about to get its first new honcho in a generation, and not a day too soon, given that the guy who presided over the past generation's worth of copyright policy in America is a proud technophobe whose favorite technological innovation is the fax machine. Read the rest

Modern farm equipment has no farmer-servicable parts inside

Ifixit's Kyle Wiens writes about the state of modern farm equipment, "black boxes outfitted with harvesting blades," whose diagnostic modes are jealously guarded, legally protected trade secrets, meaning that the baling-wire spirit of the American farm has been made subservient to the needs of multinational companies' greedy desire to control the repair and parts markets. Read the rest

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