[Linux-aus] FTA circumvention devices

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Thu Mar 4 13:30:01 UTC 2004

On Thu, Mar 04, 2004 at 03:46:55PM +1100, Jan Schmidt wrote:
> Plus, that's not why _I'M_ writing the software... _I'M_ writing it for
> interoperability. If someone else modifies it for circumvention, that's
> THEIR legal issue as far as I'm concerned.

It's already circumventing the technological prevention measure; if it
weren't, none of this would be relevant. And most open source software
doesn't need to be modified to enable infringing uses, because otherwise
it'd become a nuisance to do non-infringing things, like export bits
of the DVD to an editing programme, or display it on a thin client,
or similar. There used to be a defence that circumvention devices that
had significant commercial uses other than circumvention, although aiui
that was actually pretty hard to demonstrate (in the modchipping case)
for plugins that just do the circumvention, whether for infringing
purposes or not. In the FTA, even if you pass that test, there are two
other ways you can get yourself caught out.

I should note that my summary on the reverse engineering bit might've been
misleading. The full text is:

	(e) Each Party shall confine exceptions to any provisions implementing
	subparagraph 7(a) to the following activities, which shall be applied to
	relevant provisions in accordance with subparagraph 7(f):

		(i) non-infringing reverse engineering activities with regard
		to a lawfully obtained copy of a computer program, carried
		out in good faith with respect to particular elements of that
		computer program that have not been readily available to the
		person engaged in such activity, for the sole purpose of
		achieving interoperability of an independently created computer
		program with other programs;

		(ii) ...

In any event, whether it's your legal issue or not depends more on what
the government says, than what you say...


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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