European DMCA

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Wed Aug 8 17:21:51 UTC 2001

David O'Callaghan:
> They lock an ebook to a particular computer, but this is not a right
> based on copyright.

That's the problem of DMCA: it allows restricting fair use and makes
illegal any tool to circumvent such restriction. Independently of
whether it is used to get back fair use or circumvent copyright.

> Once the publisher makes the first sale, they have no control over
> who uses the book, and this is as it should be.

Actually, the same (though to a much lesser extent) happens with
ebooks. I can lend the computer, or get people at my home. Or copy
information by hand. There is no NDA associated to theinformation, so
they do not control who can read it.

But this is of minor importance (and note that I defenitely do not
agree with those resctrictions, I was just trying to play the devil's

What I care about is this:

> You are saying that a piece of software that COULD be modified to
> breach a copyright should not be allowed?

I'm saying that is *is* not allowed. Not that it should. That's DMCA,
that's why Dmitry has been arrested, that's why DeCSS is illegal and
people is being sued for publishing those few lines of code.

> Well it should be possible to write, say, an Adobe eBook reader that
> does not step on users 'Fair Use' rights.

No. Not while DMCA is effective. At least not in the USA. (I don't
know the details of our directive, yet, but I fear it's the same in
this respect). And US laws and companies are very powerful abroad as


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