[Linux-aus] FTA circumvention devices

Rusty Russell rusty at rustcorp.com.au
Fri Mar 5 07:47:05 UTC 2004

On Thu, 2004-03-04 at 18:25, Daniel Stone wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 04, 2004 at 06:13:31PM +1100, Rusty Russell wrote:
>  Here's the section:
> >  "non-infringing reverse engineering activities with regard to a
> > lawfully obtained copy of a computer program, carried out in good faith
> > with respect to the paraticular elements of that computer program that
> > have not been readily available to the person egnaged in such activity,
> > for the sole purpose of achieving interoparability of an independently
> > created computer program with other programs"
> > 
> > ie. is a DVD a computer program?  If not, you're SOL.
> Well, it has a whole bunch of executable code that's probably enough to
> class it as a 'program', and I don't know what a DVD player is if not a
> computer ...

Sure, if you were just decoding the menu software you might have a
chance.  But I'd find it unlikely that accessing the content could be
construed as being covered by this clause (I am not a lawyer).

Certainly playing copy-protected CDs isn't covered.

Looks like the US Trade Agreement (consciously avoiding the 'Free' here)
curbs free software immediately through disallowing DVD playing and
whatever future technologies the industry comes up with, and opens us up
to Business Method and wider use of software patents, which will be used
by threatened businesses to shut down projects.

In particular, note that the treaty explicity endorses novel
combinations of existing ideas (eg. selling books WITH A COMPUTER!).
(dfat offline again, otherwise I'd quote)

Needless to say, it's pretty much what we feared.  I would think that
the widening of patents is worth hundreds of millions to the US, and
when you include the legal fees the battles will incurr, could add up to
billions in costs for Australia.  The damage to Free Software should
Microsoft or "Technology" companies go after us will potentially cost
many more millions.

Anyone who quotes me in their signature is an idiot -- Rusty Russell

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