DMCA is now a European Directive

Karin Kosina kyrah at
Tue Jun 19 22:30:47 UTC 2001


Thanks for that link!

After reading through the document, I would say that we cannot expect
much from that directive, in either way. 

E.g. they specifically make an exception for computer programs, and for
the field of "rental" and "lending" right, which i assume also covers
the topic of whether or not you can make a "private" copy of a DVD or

See page 22:

2. Except in the cases referred to in Article 11, this Directive shall
leave intact and shall in no way affect existing Community provisions
relating to: 

(a) the legal protection of computer programs;
(b) rental right, lending right and certain rights related to copyright
in the field of intellectual property;

As far as I see it, this directive is more about general copyright
stuff, but I am not a legal expert, and this is just my impression.

> Will it make software like DeCSS illegal in the member countries after 
> they put this directive in their national laws?

Why do you think so? There are two questions around DeCSS (again, that's
what I figure, maybe someone from the legal field could jump in here and
help me out ;)):

(1) Can a computer program "as such", or the distribution thereof, 
    be illegal? (since computer programs are just long strings of 
    numbers: Can a number be illegal?! - most people say no, only 
    the use of it for an illegal purpose makes it illegal)

(2) In which cases is it illegal to make a copy of a DVD? 
    In most European countries (including Austria, where I happen 
    to live) it is explicitly allowed in the copyright to 
    make copies for private use, e.g. backup purposes, --
    which is referred to as "Fair Use". It's also allowed to make
    copies for friends, as long as you don't sell them, and there 
    has to be a personal relationship involved (so, putting mp3s of
    your cds on your web site for public download is copyright
    infringement, but sending them to me by email, if I personally
    request them, is not). If you see it this way, the encryption 
    of the DVD content is in itself a violation of YOUR rights! 
    (This has also been mentioned in the DeCSS law suits AFAIK.)
As far as I know, the whole DeCSS thing is still not decided for sure.
But I do not think that this EU directive will change much here.

(I repeat the disclaimer that this is just what I was able to figure out
 and that I would appreciate any necessary corrections...)

Regards,                                     gpg - public key 0x1FE281EB
    Karin "kyrah" Kosina                      
In the beginning was the word, and the word was content-type: text/plain

[ please sign the petition against software patents at ]
[  ]

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 232 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list