Archive for: DMCA

Say It Isn’t So! Judge Rules UCLA Within DMCA Provisions To Rip/Stream Legally Purchased DVDs.

  • October 5, 2011 9:59 am

CD/DVD ripping has long been one of the big no-no’s built into the DMCA, the bastard child of various music and movie content owners. The DMCA itself (as well as pretty much all other similar laws/bills) favor corporate interests first, government second, and then if there’s time, consumers dead last. But a recent ruling on a lawsuit filed by Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME) against the university of ULCA in December 2010 has the potential to make waves in the tech world.

The original complaint of the lawsuit was based on some DVD ripping software that UCLA bought back in 2006 to rip legally purchased DVDs to school servers for streaming throughout the university’s closed network for educational purposes. AIME didn’t like this and sued over not only the copying of copyright protected content but also over laws regarding public performances, rebroadcasting, etc. UCLA hit back with (1) that their purchase agreements with AIME include public performance rights and that (2) the laws governing “fair use” have specific provisions for educational institutions and purposes. Surprisingly, Judge Consuelo B. Marshall sided with UCLA. If you follow this scene at all, you’ll know common sense and consumer rights being put before corporate/lobbyist greed is a rare, rare occurrence.

It goes without saying the case will likely be appealed. Let’s hope the appeals court, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, comes to the same conclusion. If so, the world in which we live and how the digital content is controlled could see a massive shake up.

UK Joins Modern World: New Law Makes It Legal To Copy Purchased Music/Movies For Personal Use.

  • August 2, 2011 11:04 pm

Digital cancer (read: DRM) and the overall backwards stance movie studios and music publishers take towards end user copying of CDs/DVDs gets another victory — For us! — today. The UK government is this close to enacting a new law that will officially make it 100% legal to copy CDs and DVDs to computers and other mobile devices for “personal/home” use. Public (read: file sharing of any time) sharing without the copyright owners permission is still off limits.

In other news: the UK is joining 95% of Europe, the U.S and Canada with laws that officially legitimize acts consumers have been doing for years. Major labels and other similar organization won’t likely be too happy people can now legally copy their purchased content, thereby breaking down their ancient business model based off of 300-year old copyright laws. To that we say good riddance. And oh yea…Fuck them.

PS3 Hacker George Hotz Interviewed.

  • January 17, 2011 10:10 am

George Hotz is one of the biggest news items in the tech world in there here and now. He is the little guy, a small time hacker who took down the iPhone, and has now taken down the PS3. Sony is a multi-billion dollar company who doesn’t like Geohot’s tinkering. A fight for generations to come for sure. The legal battle has already begun, with a recent court appearance ending with the judge questioning why the lawsuit was in her California court room. (George Hotz lives in New Jersey.)

But as we wait for the legal proceedings to…um…proceed, hop on past the break to check out George on camera as he was invited to speak on G4′s “The Loop”. In the interview, he goes over the basic concept of his PS3 jailbreak and reveals something pretty astonishing — he actually designed it specifically to block pirated games and similar content. So why is Sony suing him? Good question. Video after the break…

Apple falls to new low: Patent filing details ways to wipe/deactivate/disable jailbroken users’ iPhones.

  • August 22, 2010 7:46 pm

Apple makes some great products. There’s no doubt about that. They’re easily a market leader when it comes to consumer electronics. But they’re far from perfect. The one thing that ruffles the most feathers as of late concerning Apple is that of iDevices and jailbreaking. Those whom are pro-jailbreaking say it opens up Apple’s devices, adds functionality, and provides an overall more enjoyable experience. Those on the other side of the fence, however, say it destroys the iPhone’s security, causes system instability, and could possibly lead to the end of the human race. Apple even went as far as to try and get jailbreaking be deemed illegal. That thankfully never happened, and in fact, was protected with a recent DMCA revisions which provides safe harbors for end users to hack their devices for personal pleasure. But Apple isn’t stopping.

A recent patent filing shows the Cupertino giant stepping to a new low. The patent details ways to deactivate, wipe, and render completely useless the jailbroken devices that proliferate the world. With the recent DMCA changes, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple can destroy users’ phones legally. The claims of security and poor user experience side effects are nothing but a BS smokescreen. Simple as that. Apple has absolutely no right to tell anyone how to use their device. If someone wants to alter their iPhone’s icons, skin, swap out a keyboard, etc., what basis does Apple have for wiping and deactivating their iPhone?

Common sense prevails: Exemptions made in DMCA clause to allow for jailbreaking/rooting/hacking (for legal content)

  • July 26, 2010 1:04 pm

Each and every day, it literally pains me to read headline after headline of some new boneheaded politician or government body who makes a law based solely on the persuasion of company lobbyists. We all know what I’m talking about — companies who “donate” money to politicians so they’ll push for laws that favor monopolistic ways for the company on top and just fuck over customers overall. But there is hope!

The Library of Congress announced today a change to the DMCA’s god awful anti-circumvention clause. Specifically, verbiage pertaining to the act of hacking/jailbreaking/rooting your handset for the purpose of installing “legally obtained” software is permitted. Score +10 for consumers!

Though don’t get too excited just yet. While the law specifically states end users more or less have final say what they do with their phones, it does not say manufacturers can’t try to stop consumers — as Apple has time and time again…and failed repeatedly. Furthermore, the DMCA still prohibits “tools” (read: software in this case) that aid in DMCA-type circumventions from being discussed or publicly shared for others to download. Stupid — yes. So technically, it’s legal to jailbreak our phones, but obtaining the software and retweeting the hell out of new updates about Dev-Team products is not. Fluster cluck it is.

Still, it’s a huge win for consumers who have in recent years, seen plenty of their rights trampled on by the almighty corporate dollar. Baby steps folks, baby steps.

Brazil gets it: 100% legal to circumnavigate DRM for legal purposes. Fines given to rights holders for preventing fair use.

  • July 12, 2010 7:38 am

At first, the title “100% legal to circumnavigate DRM for legal purposes” may seem a bit cryptic. As we’ve seen countless times throughout various governments, “legal uses” is a highly ambiguous and misleading term. But in the case of Brazil and their digital rights laws, it’s a far prettier picture as far as consumer protections are concerned.

Here in the United States, it’s technically illegal to circumnavigate DRM (the digital cancer that pollutes more and more of our digital goods each and every day). Usually, consumers will witness the utter useless of this “technology” when copying a DVD or CD of theirs to their computer or digital device. But, the simple act of doing so technically makes them a criminal — a provision in the law that big media giants just love. Sadly, big media runs this country, not the citizens.

But Brazil is at a shining beacon of light, showing that not every government has bent over for the media industry, and actually stood their ground for consumers’ rights. Under Brazilian law, it is completely legal to break through DRM so long as you aren’t doing so to upload to file sharing sites, pirate, etc., etc. But the best part about Brazil’s digital media laws is this: Any copyright holder who laces their content with DRM and goes against current federal laws for consumers’ rights and “fair use/fair dealings” actually faces a fine for hindering consumers’ rights! +1 Brazel!

§1º. The same sanction applies, without prejudice to other sanctions set forth by law, to whom, through whatever means:

a) hinders or prevents the uses allowed by arts. 46, 47 and 48 of this Act [which addresses limitations to copyright including fair dealing]; or

b) hinders or prevents the free use of works, broadcast transmissions and phonograms which have fallen into the public domain.

How’s Brazil this time of year…anyone feel like a permanent vacation?

And the little guy scores two today: Universal may have to pay for bogus DMCA takedown over “Dancing Baby Video”.

  • March 1, 2010 8:57 pm

So often we see big corporations (namely labels and so called IP owners) over uses of their property being misused. There are actual cases where infringement has occurred and as such, warrants a courtroom visit. All too often however we see companies with too much time on their hands and deep pockets that apparently hold the little common sense they own blatantly (and falsely) issuing DMCA takedowns for every little thing. The funny thing is, when actual infringement has been proven not to have taken place and instead highlighted a very gross negligence by the big corps involved, the system as a whole doesn’t even so much as blink an eye. If the claimed guilty had actually been ruled “guilty”, a very different story would have unfolded.

The gem in it all is that within the DMCA loopholes and legal jargon is a little clause that gives end users the ability to defend themselves and even counter DMCA takedowns and lawsuits with their own lawsuit of “knowingly filing a false DMCA takedown notice” (words may vary). Unfortunately, so far there have been little if any such claims made by “the little guys of the world” (or at least none that have received any media attention).

Today seems to be a day for the little guy though. First there was Senator Herb Kohl standing up for the disservice NBC has bestowed upon Americans for the last two weeks, and now there is this — Universal having to actually pay up for bogus DMCA takedowns in relation to the whole Dancing Baby saga.

If you are finding yourself slightly out of the loop on this one, the “Dancing Baby Video” was hardly a case of infringement as it featured a baby dancing to a Prince song. Simple. Harmless. Cute. End of story. Universal felt differently. Because they can’t spur sales and interest in their own content by themselves, they figured they’d issue a DMCA takedown as it infringed on intellectual property (because someone is really going to avoid purchasing a Prince single or album and instead get their fix from the dancing baby video.) Can you now begin to understand why major labels are in the trouble they find themselves in these days?

Anyway, back to the point. After the DMCA takedown was issued in 2008, the EFF sued Universal for failing to actually consider if there was really anything infringing or not before filing the takedown notice. As again, all too often these major labels and big corporations sue/issue DMCA takedown first and “oops, our bad” later. In the case of the Dancing Baby debacle, it appears that Universal will see the courtroom as a district judge in California has granted the defendants request for trial.

Any real damages sought by “the little guy” in this case would probably be limited to court costs and at most a small take home check as actual damages to the end user are next to nothing. Regardless of the outcome however, even if Universal doesn’t have to pay a cent, it’s nice to see that at least *one* judge in a country full of technologically incompetent old farts has the common sense to push back to big corps and actually use their head rather than their pockets.

So let’s here it for the little guy/consumer as we have not one, but two things to talk about today…

For your viewing pleasure, the Dancing Baby video that started it all:


[Image Source 1] [Image Source 2]

Entitlement and greed in the digital age never cease to amaze me…

  • August 21, 2009 11:30 am

Since the age of entitlement is upon us, why not highlight the problems and idiocy that is prevalent in today’s world with another story of someone/group abusing and using DMCA to stifle forward progress. Today’s story-o-stupidity centers around an iPhone app named “StationStops” (iTunes Link) and the MTA. StationStops as you can gather from the name, provides offline access to train arrival/departure times for New York’s metropolitan train lines. The problem is that the MTA is throwing out the now all too common complaint of a DMCA violation as they claim the train schedules and data are copyrighted intellectual property. The developer, Chris, believes stalled negotiations with the MTA is the reason they’re being less than hospitable.

DMCA bullshit be dammed! Free Speech FTW!

  • August 21, 2009 7:01 am


Just because I can! To hell with Yahoo and Flickr! You may or may not know the controversy surrounding the whole Obama/Joker image and the removal of said image from Flickr. The last couple of days has seen an outpouring of angered individuals across the internet accusing Yahoo and Flickr of trying to sensor the internet and such. Yahoo has rebutted with a DMCA violation take-down notice they received saying that they cherish free speech but the law made them do it. But did they really? Why wasn’t a similar notice filed for the Jokerized image of Bush? Such double standards make one curious. Yahoo further added that any individual with a side of beef can file a counterclaim themselves. Wow. Way to rollover. Here’s a crazy idea…grow some balls people and stand up for yourself and your rights! If every company and individual was as spineless as Yahoo/Flickr God help us. Censorship is something that we usually hear about occurring outside of the US. But now it is coming from within.

The utter useless horseshit that is the DMCA is quickly killing any shred of common sense and fair use across the internet. DMCA notices are being unleashed in a flood to users all across the internet all over the world. Often times, such as the case with the Obama/Joker picture, the DMCA accusations are being grossly misused. The last couple of years copyright laws, policies, and DMCA non-sense has escalated to alarming levels. What does the future hold for us? Now I’m not trying to drum up fear and drama to get another post done. It is a legitimate concern. Now that the sensor/DMCA abuse ball is rolling, how/when is it going to stop? How about another dose of fair use and free speech! (See below)

Either way you look at it, either the DMCA and “copyright violation” are being abused, or we’re seeing the beginning of censorship. Which is it?


*I realize that Obama portrayed as the joker and the word socialism don’t go together (as noted by Tech Crunch) as the joker in his true form is an anarchist…still…the larger issue remains*

Source:TechCrunch, LA Times