[Linux-aus] FTA Guide Out

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Thu Mar 11 13:31:02 UTC 2004

On Wed, Mar 10, 2004 at 09:05:00PM +1100, Brad Hards wrote:
> It should be emphasised that the "circumvention devices" are actually a 
> counter to certain anti-free trade practices (eg DVD region encoding isn't a 
> copyright protection thing, because it doesn't. It is a market segmentation 
> tool for multinational corporations).

I noted this in an offlist conversation, but it bears repeating. WRT
circumvention devices, the FTA makes a key change in the focus of the
measures.  Existing copyright law in .au reads as follows:

] "technological protection measure" means a device or product, or a
] component incorporated into a process, that is designed, in the ordinary
] course of its operation, to prevent or inhibit the infringement of
] copyright in a work or other subject-matter by [...]

Note that the emphasis is on preventing copyright infringement.

The FTA, by contrast, defines their corresponding term as follows:

] Effective technological measure means any technology, device or
] component that, in the normal course of its operation, controls access
] to a protected work, performance, phonogram, or other subject matter,
] or protects any copyright.

Note that the emphasis has changed to controlling access, not inhibiting

We've long argued that this isn't about protecting copyright -- if you
want to pirate a DVD, you don't bother with decoding it, you just blat
bits around. Forbidding decoding devices just limits the ways in which
people can access works, it doesn't stop them accessing illegal copies
/at all/.

(Well; one proviso. There have been some PS2 piracy cases in Australia;
it'd be very interesting to know if they involved modchipping and
circumvention or just run of the mill copying.)

> If we are serious about free and open trade, the trade agreement shouldn't be 
> supporting restrictions on technology that exist to prop up profits by 
> restricting trade.

Some would say that if we were serious about free trade, we'd have
dropped our tarrifs and restrictions unilaterally. The proper response
is probably "we're not *that* serious about free trade, ya libertarian
kook". So there's probably a line to walk here.


Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

             Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
           http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
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