An Infringement of your Freedom of Speech

Copyright laws in the UK are generally seen as a good thing. However, check this clause in The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003.
The clause prohibits you from publishing information that describes how to circumvent protection applied to computer software. I personally believe that one should be able to publish and view this sort of information without any laws getting in the way. Clearly the act of breaking protection that has been delibrately put there to stop you doing something is dodgy.

I do think consumers have the right to own the things they buy (as opposed to glorified renting as seems to happen quite a lot). I also think that consumers should be able to make backups of digital products - after all, once you've bought it, you should be able to enjoy it regardless of the degredation of the original media, and regardless of the physical location of the original media. So long as you own it, you should be able to do pretty much anything with it, so long as only you get to enjoy it.

Clearly, the removal of protection does something you're specifically not supposed to be doing. It's put there deliberately, you're specifically stopped from doing something, so removing the protection is a very concious action. This is a bit like locking your house when you go out. You're specifically protecting yourself, and you don't expect anyone to circumvent this protection and help themselves to your stuff. However, someone breaking into your house is not "fair use" of something they own.

The changes to copyright laws mean that consumers need to consider the protection applied to a product, as well as the product itself. In principal this is reasonable - you evaluate software before buyng it, for example. However, how about CDs? If you buy a CD and want to listen to it on your PC, but can't due to the protection, then what can you actually do about this (bear in mind that you may have bought this CD some time in the past, so out of any reasonable evaluation period). Needless to say, the record company isn't going to help you. Personally, I think this is an unreasonable situation, and one now made firmly legal by new laws.

The above scenario is one that I find difficult to justify. The "fair use" of music should allow you to at least listen to in any manner that is "reasonable". I guess a judge will have to decide if listening to it on your PC is reasonable or not. I also think that making a copy of a CD for yourself is also reasonable. Again, a judge will probably have to decide if I'm right or not.

So, all said and done, what ever you do, don't publish it on a UK website. Instead, get someone to publish it outside the UK. I'm sure other European countries are okay, although probably not for long. I expect India, Russia or parts of the Far East will be more than happy to help you out. I'd have thought some enterprising person will provide a service just like that.

Submitted by coofercat on Sun, 2003-10-12 21:07