[Fsfe-uk] Re: EU Communication on the Management of Copyright and Related Rights

Philip Hands phil at hands.com
Wed Jun 16 12:27:25 UTC 2004

MJ Ray wrote:
> 2. DRM must not override fair use/fair dealing provisions, or things 
> like the disability discrimination act (need to check EUCD Art5(2)(b) 
> about this).

I think you have the "fair use/fair dealing" concept a little out of 
kilter with UK law.

In the US, I have a feeling that they effectively have a right of fair 
use, whereas in the UK fair dealing is a defence against a copyright 
violation suit.

That being the case, the fact that DRM might make it physically 
impossible to get yourself into a situation where you might want to 
claim fair dealing as a defence probably doesn't mean that you've been 
deprived of any rights (at least as far as any IP lawyer is concerned)

If we build our arguments on the assumption that we have the right to 
perform the actions for which one might subsequently need to use fair 
dealing provisions to defend, then I think our argument may be built on 

Obviously, IANAL, so that may all be nonsense.

We might be better off arguing that various other EU counties (some of 
which appear to have something like Fair Use Rights) will be at an 
unfair advantage if we implement something that prevents us from reverse 
engineering, when they have reverse engineering built into their 
constitution as a right.

Cheers, Phil.
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