9 February 2000

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 23:02:12 -0500
Sender: Law & Policy of Computer Communications <CYBERIA-L@LISTSERV.AOL.COM>
From: Seth Finkelstein <sethf@MIT.EDU>
Subject: DMCA Anti-Circumvention comments - deadline Feb 17

Did you like Section 1201(a)(2) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? That provision under which we've seen programmers subjected to everything from injunctions to a raid by the police? Well then, you're going to LOVE Section 1201(a)(1) of the DMCA.

1201(a)(2) is the "offer to the public" prohibition.

1201(a)(1) applies to the very act of "circumvention" itself:

(1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected"

This is something like patent, copyright, and trade-secret all rolled into one. We've just seen the DMCA in practice, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Now regarding this provision:

"The Copyright Office is first seeking written and reply comments from interested parties in order to elicit information and views on whether noninfringing uses of certain classes of works are, or are likely to be, adversely affected by the prohibition against circumvention of access control technologies."

The implications should be obvious.

The deadline for comments has been extended to February 17, 2000. Read the above for format information, there's some picky requirements on how to submit a comment.

Send your contribution before it's too late. The court case you avoid may be your own!


Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Web Programmer, potential circumvention-criminal