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Post-move notes

Most of the following was cross-posted from campaigns wikia on 2006-08-04 and as such gives an idea of the debate (productive and otherwise) extant at that time. It is being kept here for reference purposes; the salient points are being extracted for eventual inclusion on the main DMCA page or wherever relevant.

Note: the naming of this page results in an implied page named DMCA/Archive, which doesn't exist; perhaps it should be moved to Archive:Talk:DMCA?

Response to an issue not related to DMCA specifically:

  • Languages: if anyone wants to start creating entries in other languages, let me know. For now, they can mingle with the other pages; maybe name them with a language prefix, like "Deutsch:"; I think this should ease finding them and collecting them for eventual movement to their own language-space. (I should eventually mention this in Issuepedia:About.)

Original top notes

[ Lucychili said: ] hallelujah! ok below i am pasting all the stuff i have put into the digital rights discussion page on campaignwikia. i have despaired of any of it seeing the light of day there - so i am pasting it here in the hopes that this issue can get a bit of a work out. ive left all the conversation there as a backstory. we can strip it out and keep the stuff that is useful here.

Woozle responded

This looks useful, though (as you mentioned) there's some irrelevant sidetracking as well; I'll probably archive the original on a separate page and then trim this page down to just the relevant parts. Thanks for the contrib! --Woozle 11:36, 31 July 2006 (EDT)

Lucychili responded

No worries the material is by no means a finished thing. Just having a place to get it hammered out is great. For example I have used the word consumer which is not appropriate and restricts access to information to only being in a customer context. I am new to trying to explain this stuff. What happens with multiple languages here, is there a mailing list for

Main Discussion

On the campaign wiki site there is discussion about language and content. imho the two flavours emerging are:

  • to use the site to list the politicians parties and campaigns around the world with translations

this seemse to be heading for a site with a main english basis with translations for other languages or other locations tranlated to english.

  • and then theres another group of people looking for a place to really thrash issues.

I'm one of those. For that to work the site needs to be *not* mainly english with translations ie there needs to be ways to include opinion from different perspectives and translate those into english and to distiguish those perspectives from english stories which start in english. ie in any language there will be material which started there and material translated to there from another language A wiki that took on this task would be very likely to be contentious and flamewarry, but if it got some momentum or structure based on

  • starting ideas
  • people's concerns perhaps linking to other refs
  • people's proposals for alternatives to current
  • people's examples of experiments of using different approaches etc.

There might be a way to use a wiki like that to formulate opinion and propose and even implement and report alternatives. Perhaps crazy ambitious but heavens knows we need somewhere to negotiate differently and to ask for different solutions than our governments currently offer? Lucychili 11:23, 4 August 2006 (EDT)

some links:

Different perspectives among the groups who are pro reform.

  • pro-access & creator A2K uses this model and looks to have a fair sharing of access and creator rights.
  • open source groups aiming for restriction of circumvention to copyright infringing activities, and to have protection for a range of business models.
  • academics who want to be able to research and comment without threat of litigation
  • components manufacturers who want to be able to develop for a range of systems and not be locked into specific partnerships.
  • makers inventors recyclers who will be using hardware to make new things which were not anticipated by the original manufacturer.
  • webcasters who are concerned that traditional broadcasters are aiming to have themselves considered as a special kind of boradcaster and provided rights at the expense of creators and other business models.
  • democracy advocates concerned about software providers who want to blackbox their systems effectively avoiding transparency regarding the accuracy of their products.
  • pirate parties which are representing strictly a consumer perspective as they see that the system is so broken that non compliance and non recognition of the broken system is the only way to change it.

The IP laws being progressed through international treaties are primarily backed by large business groups who have pre-internet business models and wish to restrict the function of the internet to broadcast models, and to ban peer to peer kinds of projects. Wikis are not the only peer to peer creator/consumer model which has a lot to offer. Creative commons and music collaboration have a lot to gain from peer to peer sharing.

Open source is largely peer to peer. Patents on medicines are another system of laws which are using this kind of compulsory USFTA and similar treaty process to gain traction around the world despite being counter to the community and business interests of smaller nations. Lucychili 02:39, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Digital rights

As a broad topic digital rights divide into

  • rights to access/use, and
  • rights to own/control technologies, ideas or information.

From the ownership perspective protective digital rights have been traditionally a way to give one person or group a headstart on specific information as a result of their previous loyalty, investment or innovation. They usually exist as special cases and work in conjunction with a default system of access rights or rules about what people usually can expect to do with technologies, ideas and information.

Recently there has been a shift in this system which puts much more emphasis on the creator and content distributor side of the balance. Where previously copyright protections were a special consideration or exception to generic access rights, now we are requesting generic access rights as exemptions to copyright. This is a reaction to the internet which enables people to share information freely. The DMCA lobby have successfully lobbied to have their perspective on digital rights implemented around the world as a prerequisite of trade negotiations with the United States.

As a result there is a response from other parties to try and regain consideration, control and access to information. The internet also changes the landscape of information managment from the perspective of those who aim to create and distribute it. Publishers and distributors have far more access to the buyer's personal equipment and conversations which then has extensive implications for basic rights with information. For example there are moves from broadcasting groups to define the broadcasting process as a process which claims rights for the broadcaster at the expense of the artists webcasting or sharing their work online.

Many groups are concerned about the current legal situation and are talking about these issues.

  • Some groups are working on developing alternative models which look at the needs of creators and consumers in an internet enabled world.
  • Some groups are looking to negotiate with the existing digital rights laws to establish exemptions for fair use and fair dealing.
  • Libraries have specific needs and are lobbying for those.
  • Universities have specific needs as researchers who need to be able to report freely and are lobbying for those.
  • Some groups are reacting directly to the existing system by argue that the system is not valid in their eyes.

Artists, musicians, authors and scientists and people who create with information have not traditionally had a strong voice in these negotiations as their rights were often expected to be represented by the distributing organisations. The internet provides an opportunity for these groups to find ways which they can directly manage and license their work.

So basically there are opportunities which have emerged as a result of the internet. Some parties are aiming to establish right of way with those opportunities. People around the world who have not traditionally needed to lobby to have fair use and fair dealing rights to access information are at a disadvantage because the groups which have access to the international treaty process have been investing heavily in progressing their perspective.

Internet enabled communications methods such as blogging have enabled people around the world to see each other and to discuss the concerns openly. The challenge for these groups is to translate that online perspective into effective voices at the treaty table. It has been suggested that this will take a mass recognition of the issue around the world by people, and pressure through electoral and government lobbying processes. Given that many of the people in this internet community are the people who do innovate and create and manage information there may be ways to effect change more directly. The challenge is to gain enough support to be recognised as an important voice at the treaty table.

Eben Moglen has contributed greatly to debates on these issues:

Public Domain

The public domain comprises the body of knowledge and innovation (especially creative works such as writing, art, music, and inventions) in relation to which no person or other legal entity can establish or maintain proprietary interests within a particular legal jurisdiction. This body of information and creativity is considered to be part of a common cultural and intellectual heritage, which, in general, anyone may use or exploit, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Adelphi Charter

The Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property responds to one of the most profound challenges of the 21st century: How to ensure that everyone has access to ideas and knowledge, and that intellectual property laws do not become too restrictive.

The Charter sets out new principles for copyrights and patents, and calls on governments to apply a new public interest test.

It promotes a new, fair, user-friendly and efficient way of handing out intellectual property rights in the 21st century.

The Charter has been written by an international group of artists, scientists, lawyers, politicians, economists, academics and business experts.

Fair use and fair dealing

Fair use and fair dealing are the basic digital access rights with information which a person can expect to be able to apply. In the past the fair use or fair dealing system has been the constant, with specific exceptions for copyright of material. Fair Use/Dealing and Copyright are the two halves of the traditional access v protection model.

Many changes have impacted on digital access rights including the development of alternatives to the traditional copyright license such as Creative Commons. The Creative Commons license effectively broadens the base of what is possible as a fair use by specifying customised extra access rights which a person can apply with Cc licensed material.

The open source licenses such as GNU GPL are also a way of relaxing the copyright control of the copyright holder in specified ways to enable the public to have improved digital access rights.

DMCA operates differently. While traditional copyright oerates as an exception to basic freedoms, DMCA and DRM operate as a new default way of interacting with material. Interested groups have been invited to ask for exemptions for specific fair use. The fair use allowances are being contracted further by each successive iteration of the DMCA legislation. In addition specific technologies such as e-book ban activities which were normally seen as a fair use on specific books, ie for some books it is not allowed to read the book aloud. Lending, sharing and other activities normally legal with paperbooks are not always legal with digital books.

Communities have not had to negotiate for fair use previously it is taking time for the implications of negotiating for specific fair uses to be understood.



The goals of Access to Knowledge are embodied in a draft treaty, emerging from a call from Brazil and Argentina for a development agenda for the World Intellectual Property Organization. The treaty is intended to ease the transfer of knowledge to developing nations, and to secure the viability of open innovation systems all over the world.

Open Source Licences

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons website enables copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others through a variety of licensing and contract schemes including dedication to the public domain or open content licensing terms. The intention is to avoid the problems current copyright laws create for the sharing of information. -


This word has always been used fairly randomly to represent a kind of theft. For purposes of digital or intellectual property it is used to describe four main situations:

  • a home user working with material in a way which is not licensed.
  • a trader of material who is not licenced to trade that material.
  • a political party representing consumers who feel that the overall copyright system is broken.
  • some view the offensive(ie not defensive) copyright laws as a kind of piracy.

What is theft

With information there is a debate about whether information can be stolen as both groups still end up with the information. This quote from Thomas Jefferson represents that perspective:

"He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property."IP FAQs

However one can also equate copyright infringement as invasion of privacy, like publishing another's credit card number or phone number, without permission, in public. Copyright can be used to protect authors from plagiarism, and to ensure authors, musicians, scientists gain income and recognition for work they have created. Copyright cases are often based around potential loss of income as a result.


  • origins
  • recent
  • regional
  • current - POV: Patents on medical research. South Africa is not a party to the DMCA because people are dying of AIDS while patent groups shut down generic drug companies in India which were able to provide medicine at a cost African people could afford.


Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by governments to regulate the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally "the right to copy" an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. The symbol for copyright is ©, and in some jurisdictions may alternately be written (c).

The major change which is contentious and relevant to is that there has been a broad shift from defensive copyright policy to offensive copyright policy. This means that fair use and fair dealing are now required to apply to be exempted from a copyright state, where as previously copyright was seen as an exception or special case to a default set of access rights. The new DMCA Digital Millenium Copyright Act also allows, through use of TPM's the copyright holder to limit other technologies which interact with the copyrighted product. This is seen, by groups wanting reform, as putting a fence around other people's copyright and freedoms rather than being a defense of the copyrighted content only.

DRM and the DMCA

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a system, usually involving encryption, designed to prevent unauthorized used of content. Examples of DRM include the CSS encryption found in nearly all commercial DVD movies, and Apple's FairPlay encryption found in music downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. Use of these DRM schemes are mandated by movie studios and record labels (respectively) to prevent copyright infringement, but they also prevent non-infringing uses such as making backup copies of DVDs and playing iTunes music on non-Apple portable devices.

The concept of DRM is fundamentally flawed, because software and devices used for authorized playback of media need to contain all of the information needed to decrypt that media, making it relatively easy to defeat. Jon Johansen has cracked several of these systems, earning himself the nickname "DVD Jon". Instead of coming up with a better system, proponents of DRM convince governments to enact Digital Millennium Copyright Acts, which among other things, make it illegal to crack DRM, explain how to crack it, or to make or distribute tools to do so. This use of weak protection compensated-for by legal threats only serves to ensure that hones people with no interest in copyright infringement must either put up with crippled functionality or become criminals, while there is little to deter others from pirating content or otherwise infringing upon copyrights.

1/3 of DMCA complaints don't hold up under scrutiny, and 1/2 are filed by companies against competitors. People tend to err on the side of taking down infringing material rather than face lawsuits:

Broadcast flag


Technological protection measures are any kind of barrier between the user and the copyright material. Anything which has a call response to any other thing, has an interface. These interfaces are becoming a part of the copyright issue as distributors are building packaging for their content which uses TPM locks so that it can be difficult to interface with the material. These digital locks have been developed by copyright holders or distributors to manage how the user/owner/developer/inventor interacts with the material. TPMs have caused a large part of the concern because:

  • It means that the purchase of a digital information product is now a lease on that product for the amount of time and for the specific purposes permitted by the TPM.
  • A TPM has to assume to lock you out of material, ie no fair use, until you prove you are a current customer with permission to do what you want to do. This has proven to be a problem for example when people upgrade their computers and the TPM thinks it is not the same customer.
  • TPMs enable a software to be black boxed so you can't see if it has spyware included, or incldues someone elses copyright material, or to see if it needs improvement if there is a bug. ie They provide privacy for the publisher but not for the owner of the computer, as both of the monitoring systems installed by Sony and MS were specifically intended to report back to the parent companies about the customer's use of their computer.
  • The exemptions for when it is permissable to work around a TPM are contracting with each iteration of the DMCA act. A request to have an exemption for risk to critical systems and loss of life is being contested by the DMCA lobby in the current round.

Technologies impacted by DRM

  • Any technology which has a call response to another technology can be 'protected' with a TPM. (Printer cartridges, car ignitions)
  • Any technology which could be used for an illegal purpose but does not have a large commercial base can be considered a circumvention device.
  • These laws are being used to threaten/sue people who develop technologies, because other people found an illegal use for them.
  • Technologies which help to format shift or to communicate between different systems, or to share files between people are being targeted.(file sharing, bitstream, I2P, Tor, font embedding, sound mixing)
  • Any networking technology that interacts with a copyrighted system could be blocked from being developed or sued for being used. (Samba, any mixed platform environment)
  • Black boxing of critical systems so that the owner cant see what's inside (Sony's DVD, MS WGA, Digital voting, Power station monitoring, economic or environmental modelling
  • Strong encryption



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