European DMCA

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Fri Aug 3 08:16:33 UTC 2001

> Huh? Reading a book is typically none of the author's exclusive  
> rights, you I don't need a license to read it.

Because someone got a license to publish it. Distribution of the work
is an exclusive right of the author (who can sell that right). So if
Adobe is the copyright owner they can control who can read the book.

Similarly, the publisher of a printed book controls who can read the
book by selling copies. While I agree there are differences, I don't
see your point as sound.

> You could also write reading software that does not allow to  
> "circumvent" the copy protection.

No, you can't. Since copying is "reading and writing", and the
protection is applied on the "reading" part, you can write a
free-software program that allows reading without breaking the
protection. Anyone can modify the program to also write (in addition
to "speak" or what else; the tool is therefore helping circumvention
of copy protection.

> Yes, that is my main problem with this law. The way it is written it's not
> clear if a GPL'd reader is a "circumvention device" or not. In the US the
> judge decided that DeCSS is. I think it's not.=20

It obviously is. The official software reads but doesn't allow
writing, and you can't easily change it as it's binary-only. A free
tool can be modified to write, and the change is trivial. They don't
care at all that this means you can't read the stuff you lawfully
bought unless you also meet another set of conditions as a user.

I'm not defending those positions, I'm just reading the information I
have about the new demential rules.

And yes, I'm quite concerned about this stuff.

Nick Hockings:
> Remember we are not here to promote the use of non-free ebooks or software.
> If non-free stuff is nasty to use, that's good for freesoftware.

No, it's not. When most users get used to those non-free tools and
probably depend on them, we have lost. We'll show them GNU and they
will refuse it because they can't use GNU to read the cartridges they

When law authorizes such lock-in behaviour, it will soon be extended
to other tools and other media. We must work to avoid that; not only
to further free software but also to avoid people's lives to be
controlled by companies.

E L Tonkin:
> Hands up for volunteers to staff the first Free ebook
> publishing house.

The point is that we do *not* need anything like that. The whole idea
of ebook was born to give users less freedom (definitely less than
they have with conventional books). If you want free information, just
upload it to the net with a free license. I am the co-author of a free
book (GNU FDL, available on the bookshelves and on the net), and we
didn't need all the cruft of ebooks in order to make our information

/alessandro offline

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