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Monday, October 3, 2011

Copyright Modernization Act - My View

For some pre-reading for this article:

I am not satisfied by what I read about the upcoming Copyright Modernization Act. As a technology industry expert I am quite familiar with the methodologies and rationale involved with the implementation of Digital Rights Management

Most importantly is the implications around digital content locks and their viability.

Foremost in my concern is that otherwise legitimate usage of digital content is permanently restricted simply by the presence of a digital lock of any kind. The implications of this is that legally purchased content can only be accessed through pre-approved processes and devices. Otherwise fair access to the locked content becomes illegal under the provisions of the new bill.

For instance, my mother has been a subscriber to where she purchases recorded audio books which are stored in the DRM encumbered audible format. However, one of her intentions for purchasing the content is to be able to consume it while in her vehicle.  Unfortunately her vehicle does not include authorized audible decryption software, so it becomes necessary to convert the encrypted files to a format which the vehicle does comprehend (in this case MP3). In no way is this an illegal activity, nor should it be under any appropriate copyright law, however with the new digital lock provisions, doing this becomes illegal.

There are a number of other consequences to the act that I am uncertain are covered by exemptions such as recovering installation keys to installed software products on Microsoft Windows and viewing encrypted content over an unsecured monitor.

Effectively the law has the digital locking aspects backwards, where fair dealing with content should trump any locking provisions, not the other way around.